Major firmware updates for “X” cameras

Major firmware updates for Fujifilm X-Pro 2 & X-T2 Coming

Fuji has proved itself very willing to add features, updates and improvements to it camera bodies via firmware upodates over the past few years and it continues with that positive approach by announcing a significant and extensive firmware update for its two top end “X” cameras the X-Pro 2 and X-T2.

The first one, available at the end of this month, brings the X-T2 up to version 2.00 and the X-Pro2 up to 3.00. Another update will arrive in late May.

The first update brings no less than 27 feature improvements to Fuji’s flagship mirrorless cameras, including an option to enable focal length-dependent minimum shutter speed in ISO Auto, up to 15 minute exposures in T mode, more options for bracketing while shooting Raw and added autofocus flexibility.

Several other updates are aimed at improving handling during video shooting, including the addition of a live histogram for X-T2 owners.

A second round of updates will come in May. Firmware 2.10 for X-T2 and 3.10 for X-Pro2 will add -6 and -7 EVF brightness settings for very low light shooting and the ability to assign functions to the rear command dial. A few functions are added for the X-T2 only including tethered shooting via Wi-Fi.

Other companies should follow Fuji’s lead in the quanity and quality of firmware updates offered as this approach fosters loyality in users and this equates to improved sales. Well done Fuji

Here’s the list of improvemens that will be offered over the next few momths, WOW

X-T2 version 2.00 & X-Pro2 version 3.00

(Due late March 2017)

1. Shooting RAW in Bracketing and Advanced Filters
The update enables you to use the RAW format when shooting not only in AE Bracketing but also in other Bracketing modes (ISO, Dynamic Range, White Balance, Film Simulaitons) and also in Advanced Filter modes.

2. Extended ISO 125 and 160 selectable
The update adds ISO125 and ISO160 to extended ISO levels available.

3. Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minutes
Long exposure in the T mode currently goes only up to 30 seconds. The update will allow users to extend it up to 15 minutes.

4. ON/OFF for 1/3-step shutter speed adjustment (X-T2 only – already in X-Pro2)
The update allows you to turn off the Command Dial’s function to adjust shutter speed by 1/3 steps in order to prevent unintended adjustments.

5. Full-range ISO adjustments with the Command Dial (X-T2 only)
With the update, set the ISO “A” position to “Command” to adjust ISO sensitivity across the full range, including extended ISOs, with the Front Command Dial.

6. “AUTO” setting added for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting
The update adds an AUTO option for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting, that allows the camera to automatically define the minimum shutter speed according to the focal length of the lens attached.

7. Faster “Face Detection AF”
The update enables the use of Phase Detection AF for faster performance in Face Detection AF.

8. Improved in-focus indication in the AF-C mode
The update reduces focus hunting in the AF-C mode, making it easier to track a subject.

9. Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF
The update adds a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF, bringing the total number of available sizes to six. The new smallest size facilitates pin-point focusing.

10. Addition of “AF Point Display” (X-Pro2 only – already on X-T2)
With the update, you can choose to have AF Points constantly displayed in Zone AF and Wide / Tracking AF, making it easier to track a subject.

11. Addition of “AF-C Custom Setting” (X-Pro2 only – already on X-T2)
The update adds “AF-C Custom Setting” for specifying focus-tracking characteristics. Choose from five presets according to your subject’s type of movements.

12. Addition of “Portrait / Landscape AF Mode Switching” (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to specify separate AF mode and AF point settings for portrait orientation and landscape orientation.

13. Change of focus frame position while enlarging it
The update allows you to move the position of focus frame while enlarging it in Single Point in the AF-S mode or in the Manual Focus

14. Activation of the Eye Sensor in video recording (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to use the Eye Sensor during video recording to automatically switch between EVF and LCD.

15. Change of ISO sensitivity during video recording (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to change ISO setting during video recording.

16. Re-autofocusing in video recording
With the update, half-press the Shutter Release button or press the button assigned to “AF-ON” function during video recording to re-do autofocusing.

17. Display live histogram during video recording (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to display a live histogram during video recording.

18. Optimization of external microphone’s input level (X-T2 only)
The update optimizes external microphone’s input level (lower limit revised from -12dB to 20dB) to reduce white noise when an external microphone with preamp is connected.

19. Addition of “Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display” in the View Mode
The update gives the “Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display” option in the View Mode that allows you to shoot through the viewfinder and check images on the LCD, just as you would with an SLR.

20. Shorter EVF display time-lag (X-Pro2 only – already in X-T2)
The update shortens EVF’s display time-lag in the AF-C mode so that you will not miss a photo opportunity.

21. Constant “Dual” mode display (X-T2 only)
With the update, the small window in the Dual mode stays on even when you half-press the shutter release button.

22. Automatic vertical GUI for LCD (X-T2 only)
With the update, when you hold the camera in the portrait orientation, the camera will automatically display the GUI on the LCD in the same orientation.

23. Name Custom Settings
The update allows you to assign a specific name to Custom Settings 1 – 7.

24. Copyright information in EXIF data
The update allows you to register the photographer’s name and the copyright holder’s name in advance so that the camera automatically adds the information to EXIF data for each image.

25. Voice Memo function
The update enable you to record 30-second “Voice Memo” clips in the Playback mode.

26. Extended AE Bracketing
The update extends AE Bracketing from the current 3 frames +/-2EV to up to 9 frames +/-3EV.

27. Addition of “Shoot Without Card” mode
With the update, you can have the “Shoot Without Card” mode turned OFF so that the camera can not shoot when there is no SD card inserted.

X-T2 version 2.10 & X-Pro2 version 3.10

(Due late May 2017)

28. Support for computer tethering via Wi-Fi (X-T2 only)
The update adds support for computer tethering via Wi-Fi.

29. Addition of “All” AF mode (X-T2 only)
With the update, select “All” in the AF mode so that you can select the AF mode and Focus Area size by only using the Command Dial.

30. Function extension for “Shutter AF” and “Shutter AE” (X-T2 only)
With the update, you can specify different settings for AF-S and AF-C in “Shutter AF” and for AF-S / MF and AF-C in “Shutter AE.”

31. Addition of “-6” and “-7” to EVF’s brightness setting
Additional options of “-6” and “-7” to the “EVF Brightness” setting so that, even in an extremely low-light condition, the brightness of the EVF does not distract you from shooting.

32. Switchover of the main and sub displays in the Dual Display mode (X-T2 only)
The update allows you to switch between the main and sub displays in the Dual Display mode.

33. Function assignment to the Rear Command Dial
With the update, you can assign a specific function to be activated when the Rear Command Dial is pressed.

March 2017

Panasonic Lumix GH5 online Review

Panasonic Lumix GH5: The best Panasonic Lumix camera yet

Panasonic Lumix GH5 Leica 12 60mm Lens (1)

Photographic online review site Cameralabs has published a very detailed and comprehensive review of Panasonic’s answer to Olympus’s OM-D EM1 II micro four third (MFT – M43) flagship mirrorless camera the Panasonic Lumix GH5.

The new GH5 promises unrivalled video capacity as well as the best image quality yet for a Panasonic micro four third camera.

So has the new Panasonic GH5 moved the game on for Panasonic’s micro four system and like the OM-D EM1 II does it represent Panasonic’s first proper “pro” focussed camera?

Panasonic Lumix GH5 (3)

From Cameralabs:

“The Lumix GH5 is Panasonic’s most powerful mirrorless camera to date and a worthy successor to the GH4, whether you’re shooting stills or movies. It’s fast, flexible and feature-packed, easily taking-on rivals in this category and out-performing virtually anything at its price for video. Like the recent Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II it proves Micro Four Thirds can not only play with the big boys, but beat them in many respects.

It’s easy to concentrate on video with the GH5, so I’m going to start with the stills. Panasonic could have been complacent in this regard, but has combined a new sensor with improved image processing which delivers photos that look as detailed – and crucially as natural – as the Olympus OMD EM1 Mark II in my tests. The built-in stabilisation is Panasonic’s best yet offering three to five stops of compensation in my tests, while the DFD focusing delivered a high hit rate on moving subjects even at the top speed of 9fps. While a lot of attention is devoted to continuous AF these days, it’s also important to credit Panasonic with supremely quick single autofocus that continues working in very low light levels.

I also welcome the upgrade in Panasonic’s 4K Photo modes, now available at double the frame rate on the GH5 or at a higher 6K resolution. The ability to grab stills from short video clips remains the same, but the chance to do it at 18 Megapixels makes it much more useful than the 8 Megapixels previously. Meanwhile a higher resolution viewfinder, larger and more detailed screen, dual SD slots (both of which exploit UHS-II speed), 5GHz Wifi and Bluetooth, all enhance the shooting experience.

Video is of course where the GH5 becomes really exciting. The GH4 was the first camera in its class to offer 4K video at 30p and now the GH5 boosts this to 60p with no crop in the field of view and no recording limit either. Forget half hour clips: on the GH5 I recorded an uninterrupted two hour clip at 4K / 50p on a single charge, while the ability to run on mains power and hot-swap SD cards suggests even longer recording times are also possible – I’ll test this capability soon.

Previously the GH4 could only record 4K internally in 8-bit / 4:2:0, but now the GH5 can do 10-bit / 4:2:2 internally at 30p. This along with built-in stabilisation, new vectorscope and waveform views, and an optional compact XLR mic adapter means the GH5 can satisfy the needs of many pros in a very compact and portable configuration – and if you do want to connect an external recorder to access 4K in 10-bit up to 60p, the HDMI port is now gratifyingly full-sized. Meanwhile a series of firmware updates during 2017 will bring higher video bit rates, a high resolution anamorphic mode, and an optional V Log L profile that’s very flat.

The GH5 is, in short, triumphant at video and the features and frame rates could be sufficient to even tempt those who previously switched from the GH4 to the full-frame Sony A7S Mark II. Yes, the Sony is cleaner at 6400 ISO and can continue filming at absurdly high ISOs (even looking very respectable at 25600 ISO), but if you can shoot below 6400 ISO I think there’s few who wouldn’t be very satisfied with the GH5’s output and feature-set, especially for the money.

Indeed there’s very little I can criticise the Lumix GH5 on. I personally feel some of the buttons are unnecessarily small or flush to the body, but appreciate this is a personal opinion. The viewfinder resolution falls when shooting at fast burst rates with continuous AF. The autofocus slows down in the 4K and 6K modes compared to shooting ‘normal’ stills. There’s no Bulb timers to preset long exposures. There’s no support for USB charging in-camera. Some may also argue the camera was released a few months too soon with a flurry of firmware updates promised by Summer 2017, but I feel the camera as tested was sufficiently complete to be very usable and the updates will be here before we know it.

I don’t think any of the things above are deal-breakers, so arguably the biggest issue for the GH5 is the old argument concerning its Four Thirds sensor size. There’s no denying Four Thirds is smaller than APSC, which in turn is smaller than full-frame, and unsurprisingly the larger formats will deliver cleaner stills or video at high ISOs. But in my tests I didn’t really notice much difference until I was shooting at 6400 ISO or above, and I rarely needed to use these sensitivities thanks to the combination of effective built-in stabilisation and bright lenses that perform well even at maximum apertures. I do appreciate some photographers and videographers will need to deploy high ISOs though and if they want the cleanest results, they’ll benefit from a larger sensor, but I would urge any potential buyers to think carefully about how they’ll shoot and whether – or how often – they’ll truly need very high ISOs. Even if you desire the high ISO performance, you may find the GH5’s feature-set ultimately more compelling”.

Panasonic Lumix GH5 (4)

Summary

” Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 is a worthy flagship body, greatly extending the quality and capabilities of the earlier GH4. A more detailed viewfinder, twin SD slots which both support the full speed of UHS-II, effective continuous AF at 9fps, and built-in stabilisation all make it a powerful stills shooter and the improved sensor and image processing delivers the best-looking images from a Lumix body to date. Panasonic’s unique 4K Photo modes now operate at twice the speed or at 6K for extracting higher resolution stills from video clips. Unsurprisingly it’s the movie modes which really impress with unlimited 4K video internally at 60p or in 10-bit at 30p (or both if you’re using an external recorder), and a wealth of features including vectorscope and waveform displays, anamorphic capture, programmable focus transitions, optional XLR inputs and very flat output (especially with the V Log L update), all making it one of the most portable and professional movie solutions for the money. The GH5 is a no-brainer for video pros but also becomes a highly compelling stills camera too – Highly Recommended”.

March 2017

My Take:

Well the Olympus OM-D EM1 II certainly has equal now in the Micro Four Third ( MFT – M43) world and although for me personally I’d choose the EM1 II (after all am a EM5 II owner with a clutch of M.Zuiko “Pro” lenses),  if I was seriously into video the Panasonic Lumix GH5 would be the camera to go for.

Sure outright image quality doesn’t quite reach that of the best APS-C DSLR from say ISO 800 upwards but mirrorless cameras bring some features and capacities that DSLR’s simply cannot match.

To my mind the new GH5 is a proper “pro” camera just like its Olympus brother and that’s no bad thing at all.

Mark Baynham ( March 2017)

 

 

Fujifilm X-T20 online review

Fujifilm X-T20: The wise choice for the cost conscious buyer 

Online review site Dpreview has published its full review of Fuji’s mid level mirrorless Trans X camera the Fuji X-T20 and they seem very impressed

Fujifilm X-T20 Review thumbnail

From Dpreview

“Fujifilm’s X-T20 takes the design and handling of the X-T10, adds many of the ‘guts’ of the X-T2, and stirs until a very competent mirrorless camera emerges. It offers the direct setting controls found on nearly all of Fujifilm X-series cameras that make it a real pleasure to use. Image quality has improved, courtesy of Fujifilm’s latest 24MP X-Trans CMOS sensor, and the AF system has been updated, as well, though its performance is inconsistent. The X-T20 also gains 4K video capture and clean HDMI output, as well as the company’s latest Film Simulation modes.

The Fujifilm X-T20 isn’t just a very competent camera; it’s a competent camera that’s fun to shoot with, unlike most of its peers. While things like its build quality and attractive design and responsive performance are all appealing, it’s the combination of numerous direct controls and a great viewfinder that make the X-T20 a camera I want to pick up and use.

The X-T20 has shortcomings, of course, like a good-but-not-great autofocus system, 4K video that’s not as good as the best of its peers and a few ergonomic foibles, but in this reviewer’s eyes, the X-T20 is a midrange mirrorless camera that should be strongly considered.

Conclusion:
The Fujifilm X-T20 is a beautifully designed mirrorless camera that is a pleasure to use. It offers numerous direct controls, a high resolution EVF, snappy performance and excellent image quality. The X-T20’s continuous AF system can struggle in low light, and subject tracking is inconsistent. 4K video quality isn’t the greatest, and capture controls are limited. Despite that, the X-T20 is a first-rate mirrorless camera and a great value, to boot”.
March 2017

Another Review Another Gold Award: X100F

FujiFilm X100F : A Real Winner

Verdict From Amateur Photographer Magazine:

“Fujifilm’s X100 series has long been a favourite of serious photographers, for its unrivalled combination 
of stunning good looks, intuitive, dial-led handling, and excellent image quality. With the X100F, the firm has continued its tradition of making substantial improvements without losing the essence of the original, and its 24-milion-pixel sensor brings the best image quality 
yet. But in many ways, it’s the X-Processor Pro that’s the real star here, because it makes the camera feel that much snappier and more responsive in every aspect of its operation. This is particularly noticeable with the autofocus – I’m really quite impressed Fujifilm has managed to get the lens moving so fast.

But there’s more to the X100F than improved image quality and focusing, and it’s the accumulation of small but significant handling changes that boosts its appeal even further. Additions such as the AF joystick, full-image electronic preview in the optical finder, and extended ISO and exposure compensation control options all make the X100F an absolute joy to use. Few cameras inspire you to pick them up and go out shooting in the way this one does, and few deliver such attractive results when you get home and look at your pictures. Make no mistake; it’s a serious photographic tool.

Of course £1,249 is a lot of money to pay for the privilege of owning a camera with a fixed lens that doesn’t even zoom, being quarter as much again as the X100T was at launch. For most photographers, it’s probably not even going to work as their only camera, but more a companion to something with interchangeable lenses, which makes it something of an indulgence. But then again, the price has to be seen in the context of the competition – because there really isn’t anything else quite like it.

With the X100F, Fujifilm has produced a camera that’s as lovely to shoot as it is to look at, and it delivers image quality to match. Users of the X100S and original X100 will find it a huge upgrade, while even X100T owners should appreciate the new sensor and improved controls. One thing’s for sure – like its predecessors it’s one of the most desirable cameras on the market”.

March 2017

Another Fujifilm X100F Review

Fujifilm X100F Review thumbnail

Online review site Photography Blog UK has published its review of Fuji’s X100F and here’s what they concluded:

From Photography Blog UK:

“The Fujifilm X100F is a very enjoyable camera to use, and fans of the brand and this style of camera will not be disappointed by the improvements made to this latest iteration. 

Autofocusing has been improved, and you can rely on it to get the shot in focus consistently and quickly, especially if you already have the focus point in the correct place. 

Images are bright and vivid, while the different film simulation modes give you lots of scope for getting the colours you desire to match the scene you’re shooting. You’ll probably find you have your own favourite, but they’re great to experiment with. 

The Fujifilm X100F is the perfect size and weight for maximum portability, and with a 35mm f/2 lens, it’s the ideal camera for street photography – if that’s the kind of work you like to do, then you’ll find it very appealing. Some will find having a fixed focal length a drawback, but it’s quite a flexible length for a range of different subjects that forces you to work with your feet rather than relying on a zoom. 

That said, at the end of the day, the Fujifilm X100 range remains a niche camera. You have to have a specific need for a camera like this, and while it does what it does extremely well, many will be looking for something which is a bit more of an all-rounder – especially for the cost involved. 

Using the Fujifilm X100F is generally great – lots of dials and buttons make changing most settings quick and easy. Improvements have been made to ergonomics which make sense, but the screen is the biggest let down. Not being touch-sensitive means that sometimes, just sometimes, you can miss the definitive moment because changing the AF point isn’t the split second action it would be with a touch-sensitive screen. That aside, it would also be super helpful if the screen tilted so you could use it as a waist level finder for street photography. 

Ultimately, there’s a hell of a lot to like, if not love, about the Fujifilm X100F. It’s a beautiful camera, is great to use and produces lovely images – there’s just a couple of reasons which means it stops just short of perfection. If you’re looking to save money, take at the look at the still excellent X100T, or even the X100S or original X100″.

March 2017