Fuji 27mm f/2.8 First Impressions

I got the Fuji 27mm. Why? Because it was on sale now for only $200! Also, after reading the comparison between the X100s and the 27mm at FujivsFuji, the 27mm seemed like a more economical choice for me.

The X100s is my baby, and I love that camera. The X100 was my first “real” camera, and I cut my teeth on it. I mainly do portraiture now. My Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm is my main system for that. My X100s is now used for events, snapshots, travel, etc.

I compared the size between the X-E1 with the 27mm and X100s. The X-E1 seemed a tad bit bigger. I think they both can fit into my coat pocket with ease.

What do I lose if I decide to go with the 27mm and sell my X100s? I would lose the leaf shutter, the quietness, ND Filter, phase detect pixels, OVF, aperture ring, and a stop of light. Honestly, none of those matter to me.

Leaf Shutter and ND Filter. 

The benefits of the Leaf Shutter is the quiet shutter and the fast sync speed. I rarely use my flash outside in the desert at high noon. 1/180 second sync speed is enough for me at the studio. So I have no need for the leaf shutter or the ND filter.

Phase Detect and Autofocus Speed

I did a bunch of AF tests with my Fuji X100s, and the X-E1 with the 27mm. Using the middle focus point with the biggest focus window, the X100s blew away the X-E1. But I rarely use it that way. I move my focus points around a lot, and I use a smaller window for critical focus.

When I use the outer AF portions and a smaller AF window, the AF speed seemed about the same. Sometimes, it felt like the X-E1 was faster. For my use, the AF doesn’t seem improved with the X100s.

OVF

It’s been months since I used the OVF for the X100s. I use the back LCD most of the time anyway. Heh, maybe I should just get the X-M1 instead. So the OVF isn’t important for me. I won’t even miss it. In fact, I find it a gimmick in the X-Series cameras.

Aperture Ring and One Extra Stop of Light

Okay, I’ll  miss those. I love the aperture ring. But using the wheel on the back isn’t too bad. I can get used to it.

The One Extra Stop of Light is what I’ll miss the most. Then again, with the X100s, the softness at 2.0 annoys me at times. So I stop up to 2.8 or higher anyway. I only go to 2.0 if the venue is dark. Also, the X-E1 has a pop up flash. I’ll just use that if I need to illuminate the scene.

What Will I Do Now?

I’ll put the 27mm through its paces and see if it performs as well as my X100s. I’m sure it will. I’ll be selling my X100s soon. I’ll miss it.

What Improvements Can Fuji Make After the X-T1?

Since I’m a Fuji fanboy, I’ve been reading a lot of reviews about the X-T1. This camera has got as much hype as the x100s when x100s came out. From all the reviews I’ve read, it sounds like the perfect Fuji X-Camera.

Unfortunately for Fuji, I can control my G.A.S. because I bought the hype of the X100s. When I finally got the X100s, it underwhelmed me. The image quality didn’t look  better. The AF didn’t seem faster, only at the center point in good light. The only good thing was the manual focus. That experienced helped me to save my money and control my G.A.S.

Let’s say the Fuji X-T1 is as good as the hype. Lets say the autofocus is super fast with all lenses and all points. Lets say the EVF is magical. And so on. What more can Fuji do for its future cameras? What would make me want to buy a new Fuji camera even though I have a perfectly good X-E1?

The X-Trans Sensor

I don’t think it can be improved much. Sure, they can increase the megapixels, but why? That’s a worthless improvement. I describe why here. Fuji needs to come out with a sensor breakthrough to get  noticeable improvement.

In the short term, if I was Fuji, I would work with the popular RAW processors like Adobe, Capture One, etc. Fuji should work with them to get the best RAW processing for the X-Trans sensor. I think that can improve the image quality alone for us RAW shooters.

I don’t care about Full Frame. I want Fuji to be the best APSC system. I don’t want them to be distracted by Full Frame before they solidify their APSC lineup. Olympus and Panasonic are committed to their m43. Fuji should be committed to their APSC system and squeeze as much as possible they can from it.

Autofocus

I don’t care if they have the fastest AF with only a particular type of lens at good light with the center point AF. It should have fast AF at all AF points in any light with any lens. In addition, the PDAF pixels only covers the center part of the sensor. They should cover the 100% of the sensor.

Also, if they need to release version 2 of the lenses to get the AF faster, then so be it. If it gives a huge improvement in AF, then I know most people will switch.

For example, I would buy the 60mm f/2.5 if it had faster AF. I don’t need a 1.2 for the 56mm. With that much depth of field, I’ll lose focus every time I breathe.

While I’m on the topic of AF, I would like to have back-button focus for all AF box size. So in the MF mode, I should be able to change the size of the AF to the smallest size.

Also, I would like more AF points. The amount they have now seems pathetic to me.

Camera Meter

Why is Fuji’s  meter is only at the center AF point? It should be at whatever AF point we choose. This is one big thing they should change.

Tethering

I have no idea if the WiFi allows Fuji to tether to Lightroom or Capture One. If it can’t, it should. Or they should allow some sort of tethering using a USB cable.

Fuji did a good job to be more “pro” by offering weather sealing with the X-T1. Now they should allow real tethering.

1/3 or 1/2 Stops on the Shutter Dial

Just make the dial bigger and make it go 1/3 stops (or 1/2 stops) for shutter speed. I don’t know why they made the exposure compensation dial bigger instead of the shutter dial. I hate using a different dial to adjust the shutter speed in 1/3 stops. That makes no sense.

 

You Must Follow The Rules!

In Photography, there are a lot of rules, especially in portraiture. I used to be a strict rule follower. Never crop her at her feet! Place her at the exact thirds of the picture! Make sure her eyes are above the upper thirds! Make sure to get that catch light in her eyes! And so on.

Even though I followed those rules, I noticed pros who I admire rarely followed them.  I began to realize that the rules weren’t always to be followed. In fact, if the content is solid, the rules don’t matter. They’re  minor distractions.

Before, I would critique other photos based on those rules. I now cringe at the stuff I said. Nitpicking photos on those rules isn’t constructive. It’s just an ego booster. But that’s another post.

Other clueless photographers  critiqued me with those nitpicky rules as well. Over time, no matter how perfect I try to make the photo, someone has something irrelevant to say to boost their ego. I got tired of it and decided to just break the rules.

You Can’t Have Shadows In the Eyes, That is Unflattering

A common rule in portraiture is to have catchlight in the eyes. That is supposed bring soul and life into the eyes.  In fact, they hate shadows in eyes. They say it make women look unflattering. These girls look ugly don’t they?

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You Must Always Point the Face Towards the Light

In addition to the rule above, you should just have the model face the light. These images below are crappy since the light isn’t shone on the face.

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Don’t Crop At Fingers, Toes, Feet, Under Elbows, Tip of Heads, etc.

We all know the proper body cropping rules. Don’t chop off the limbs. But this is the rule that all top photographers break.

Honestly, if you control the contrast at the crop, it isn’t as bad. Also if the brightest part of the image draws the eyes away from the  crop, it’s okay too. Heck some top photographers blatantly do it. It’s like they don’t even know about this rule.

So here are my crappy images since I break cropping rules:

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The Eyes Must Be Razor Sharp

The eyes are the soul. You must focus on them and have them razor sharp.

I used to follow this rule pretty religiously. Lately, I’ve been lazy about keeping this rule. One reason is because I have heard one photographer  blurs his pics! You don’t need to have a super sharp picture. Would my pictures be any better if the eyes were razor sharp?

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Flashlight

As you can see, some of these break more than 1 rule. These aren’t the best photos I’ve taken. But I don’t think they’re that bad. Would they’ve been better if I followed the rules? I don’t know. Maybe.

Also, I know there are photographers out there reading this post cringing at my photos above. Oh well, I can’t win them all.

I’m not saying we should not follow the rules. I try to follow them most of the time. In fact, getting a good photo becomes easier when you follow the rules.   However, I will break them when it requires me to have the right expression, feeling, and emotion at that moment.

My Journey Of Post Processing

I talked about using Capture One to process my photos. I’m still on my 60 day trial license. I don’t know if I want to buy it yet. I already have Lightroom, and I’m wondering if it’s good enough. Granted, there are a lot of stuff I like about Capture One like sessions and their keystone tool. But I’m sure Lightroom will copy a few features over in later versions. Besides, rumor has it Lightroom will have better X-trans support. Maybe I’ll wait until then.

Sure, I found out that through my experience, Lightroom is one of the worst Fuji RAF RAW processors. I’ve been messing around my new shoots and decided to use Photoshop for most of my processing. I used to do a majority of my processing in the RAW converter itself (Capture One or Lightroom). Now, I just tweak the exposure a bit and just pass it off to Photoshop.

How do I like that method? I think I like it. This frees me up to use Iridient or Photo Ninja as my RAW converter, Capture One or Lightroom as an expensive photo catalogue, and Photoshop as my post-processor. It doesn’t kill my workflow much either. I’m fast in Photoshop. To copy the settings, I drag the layers I created to the other pictures, and it’s copied over.

So, here are some images I’ve created using Capture One to tweak and convert the RAWs and Photoshop to do the rest of the post-processing.

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For Beginners: What Camera Do You Need? What Lenses Do You Need?

As a beginner, you get caught up in figuring out what gear to get. People usually say to get the best glass available. That is true. So one common thing I see in forums is beginners getting caught up in which set of lenses to get. They end up getting a couple of primes or a few zooms. That’s a lot of lenses just to get pictures of their kids, cats, and flowers.

What do they really need? Just one lens. Just pick one. I would recommend a something in between a 23mm and 50mm and stick with that for a year or so.

As for the body, it doesn’t matter. Anything that is at least a micro 4/3 or higher will do fine. 90% of the people won’t be able to tell the difference if it’s shot with a m43, APSC, or Full Frame sensor. Seriously, they can’t, unless you’re planning to print huge prints and paste them on your wall.

For camera bodies, it more about how it fits, the usability, and the style points. As long as it’s a modern camera, the IQ won’t matter much. They will all look similar.

Once you shoot in one focal length for about a year, you begin to realize what you need. I shot my X100 and X100s (the same camera basically) for a whole year. I realized I’m more into portraiture. So I wanted a longer lens. So I got the X-E1 and got the 35mm lens. Now I’m 90% content.

When the 56mm f/1.2 lens came out, I pre-ordered it. But I’m wondering if I really needed that  lens. I’m so happy with the 35mm, I wonder if I made the mistake getting the 56mm. Sure, it’s probably good for closeup face shots, but I do that anyway with the 35mm since the distortion doesn’t seem bad.  I’ll probably get it and see if it’s something I would want to keep. If not, I’ll just sell it.

Now, my X100s is my snapshot, food, travel, and do everything camera. My X-E1 is my portraiture camera. That’s all I shoot these days so I don’t need anything else.

Will I be able to shoot sports or wildlife? No, but it’s nothing something I need to do or interested in. So I have my gear set.

Here are some stuff I did with my year with the X100s:

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So as you can see, you can do a lot of stuff with just one body and lens.