16 April 2015 Reviews


Fujifilm Middle East here in Dubai, provided me a pre-production copy of their latest prime, the Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 R WR lens.  I have been using the lens for 2 weeks now and here are my initial impressions.

Here are the technical specifications of the lens:

FUJINON XF16mmF1.4 R WR key features:

  • FUJIFILM X-Mount is compatible with all FUJIFILM X-Series interchangeable system cameras
  • Weather-resistant design with 9 sealing points in 8 areas
  • 0.11 seconds autofocus speed and nearly silent operation
  • Uses 13 elements in 11 groups, including 2 aspherical lens elements to control spherical aberration and distortion, and 2 ED glass lens elements to reduce lateral and axial chromatic aberration
  • Nano-GI coating alters the refractive index between glass and air to reduce ghosting and flare
  • 9 blade aperture creates smooth and circular bokeh
  • 1/3 EV steps
  • Minimum working distance of less than 6 inches



The build quality is typical Fujinon quality, impeccable build quality.  When I first held it, it reminded me of a bigger Fujinon 14mm lens.  It has the same “shot gun” type AF / MF mechanism.  Size wise, it is almost the same as the Fujinon 56mm f1.2 lens and in my “hand-meter” tells me they weigh pretty much the same.

To give you an idea on the size of the lens, here it is compared to other Fujinon lenses:

35mm f1.4 , 16mm f1.4 and 10-24mm f4 Fujinon Lenses

Here it is with the 56mm f1.2, it is slightly taller and narrower than the 56mm lens.

56mm f1.2L and 16mm f1.4

As per the size, I didn’t find it too heavy or to bulky for a prime lens.  Of course I wanted a smaller one since one of my main reason for having a mirrorrless system is the size and weight.  That being said, it is still relatively smaller to a prime L lens from canon.  We also have to consider that this lens if mounted on a weather sealed body like the X-T1 will give you a complete weather sealed protection.



Here it is mounted on a Fujifilm X-T1



This is how it looks with the X-E2



I showed you how it looks on both cameras since I think, both cameras have the size and weight to carry the 16mm lens with a good balance.  By the way, it is also very well balanced on X-Pro1 too, which is the camera I used taking all the photos above.  But where it feels the best is when mounted to the X-T1.  The only camera I tried it on which feels lens heavy is with the X-M1, but that doesn’t mean you cannot use this lens with a smaller body.  This may sound useless to you but when you are shooting for long hours, you will learn that a well balanced gear in your hand is a blessing.

When it comes to performance, it is as good as it looks.  It focuses really quick and I’ll probably update this post with a video showing how quick the AF motor on this lens is.  The 1.4 aperture makes it very useful for situations where light isn’t enough; this will enable you to shoot in lower ISO thus making your images so much cleaner even in low light situations.  I can see a lot of events photographers using this lens quite a lot.  I think, this is an excellent lens for wedding photographers as well.

I personally use 24mm (full frame equivalent) a lot, on my Canon 24-70 lens, most of my shots are either 24mm or 70mm; that is why I really like this lens.  This focal length is not for everyone though, it is not as popular as the 35, 50 and the 85mm, but what makes this lens appealing is the f1.4 aperture, this is what I think makes this lens useful. There are a lot of times where f2.8 is not enough and you will wish that you can open up your aperture a bit more.

… to be continued.

On part 2 of the review, I’ll show you samples and some image analysis of the lens.  I’ll cover the sharpness, the focusing speed and the bokeh quality of the Fujinon 16mm f1.4.





16 October 2014 Reviews



So, Fujifilm Middle East here in Dubai sent me a pre-production unit of X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition and I have playing with it for more than a week now.  What’s the difference between the older X-T1? Is it better? So let’s get started…


Looks and other physical differences

The main difference with this camera is the color, in Fujfilm film terms, it is graphite silver.  To me it looks a bit like that gun metal finish which is very popular in car rims/wheels.  I have to admit, if I haven’t own the black X-T1, I would definitely go with this one.  I might even sell my black X-T1 and get this one, that’s how much I like the Graphite Silver, but that’s purely subjective.   This color is so much sleeker and it gives the X-T1 a more retro look.  I felt like the black one is not “retro” enough, compared to X-Pro1 or X100s, but the “graphite silver” color gives the X-T1 that retro kick it lacks.  To me, it is gorgeous!  I was never a fan of how the X-T1 look/form, I much prefer the rangefinder style, but I think, the Graphite Edition changed that.

Upon using the X-T1 Graphite Silver, I immediately noticed the directional pads at the back of the camera.  It is definitely better than the black X-T1 that I have.  It is more tactile and it gives that satisfying click that I want, none of that mushy buttons like the older X-T1 has.

Another thing I noticed is that it comes with a metallic flash hotshoe cover.  Which is at this point, I can’t remember where I put it (ooops!).  So, the takeaway here is to put it in a safe place, so you don’t end up like me.  I hope I could find it before I return it back to Fujifilm Middle East.

Here is side by side comparison with the Black X-T1 and the Graphite Silver X-T1_DSF2452 as Smart Object-1 copy

_DSF2454 as Smart Object-1 copy

  Here is the X-T1 Graphite Silver compared to the Silver X100S
_DSF2457 as Smart Object-1 copy


Electronic Shutter

Ok, here is the main feature.  To be honest, when I first heard about it, I was like wow! 1/32,000 shutter speed that’s just insane!  And then I realized, when will I use 1/32,000?  I never really put much thought into it until I used the camera with the Fujinon 56mm f1.2.  As it turns out, it is actually quite useful!

Shooting outside in mid-day here in Dubai, the sun is very bright, switch the camera to Electronic Shutter and set the 56mm aperture to wide open which is f1.2, and shoot!  Getting exposures at 1/14,000 at f1.2! No ND filters required!  I think that is the most practical use of the electronic shutter.  At least for now.

Here are some outdoor shots of my friend Sam Tring, a singer / songwriter / model based here in Dubai, UAE, you can check her Facebook page here.

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2  | f1.2 | 1/10,500 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome Film Simulation

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2  | f1.2 | 1/11,000 | ISO 200

The camera have 3 shutter modes now, Mechanical Shutter, Electronic Shutter and Electronic Shutter + Mechanical Shutter.  So we know the mechanical shutter is limited to 1/4000 and the Electronic Shutter can go as far as 1/32,000; The Electronic + Mechanical shutter simply combines them.  When selected, the camera will shoot shutter speed 1/4000 and below with mechanical shutter and anything above 1/4000 will be on Electronic shutter.

With the Electronic + Mechanical Shutter enabled, when the shutter is 1/4,000 and below, it will use Mechanical Shutter.  If its on Electronic Shutter only, it will use electronic shutter in any shutter speed.   Here’s another photo of Sam with Electronic + Mechanical Shutter; on this exposure, the camera uses the Mechanical shutter since it is below 1/4,000.  Electronic Shutter will kick in if the exposure is 1/5,000 and above.

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2  | f1.2 | 1/1,300 | ISO 200

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to Electronic Shutter Mode.  There’s a few quirks that I found, when using Electronic shutter or even the mixed Electronic + Mechanical shutter, you can’t fire up a strobe.  If you use a pocket wizard or any flash triggers, it won’t fire unless you are in Mechanical Shutter.  It is possible that this will changed in the final version, since what I have is a pre-production model.

Another quirk about the electronic shutter is the “jello effect” or “rolling shutter effect”.  And I am not referring to video, this is on stills.  I noticed some of the photos I took with high shutter speed of 1/10,000 and above have some distortion. However as advised by a Fujifilm Engineer, the Image Quality is not final.  This is probably one of the Pre-Production quirks.

I was not able to take advantage of the silent shooting mode when using the Electronic shutter, as advised by a Fujifilm Engineer, the pre-production unit doesn’t have the ability to turn off the Electronic Shutter Sound, but the final production will have it.  I think, this will be very useful when shooting in silent places and street photography.  I also have the Fujifilm X100T and the electronic shutter is dead silent.


Classic Chrome Film Simulation

I think this is by far my favorite film simulation from Fuji.  It gives a nice contrast and somehow have that de-saturated look.  I think, it gives a nice pop on the skin tones too.   It also changes the look from picture to picture, some of the pictures appear to have more cyan and some are with warmer tones.  Like other film simulation, it might not be useful for every scenes, but that’s why there are other film simulation to pick from.  I shoot primarily in raw format, but from time to time, I use jpegs for photowalks and other casual photos and I can see myself using Classic Chrome all the time, except maybe for shooting food, where I’ll go with Velvia.

Here are samples of Classic Chrome Film Simulation straight from the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition (No Post Processing has been done except for cropping and re sizing)

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 10-24mm | f4.0 | 1/1,100 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome 

DSCF1401 copy

X-T1 Graphite Silver  + 10-24mm | f4.0 | 1/1,400 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome
DSCF1407 copy

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2 | f1.2 | 1/280 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome
DSCF1983 copy



Final Thoughts:

The X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition is a great camera just like the Black X-T1 before it.  It is even better in regards with the menu buttons being more tactile and responsive.  Come December, the new firmware for X-T1 will give both the black X-T1 and the Graphite Silver edition some additional features.   The older X-T1 will get the Classic chrome and the electronic shutter feature as well (as far as I know).  Knowing that the features are pretty much the same as the black X-T1 after the firmware upgrade, it will all come down to color preference.

The X-T1 is probably the best camera Fujifilm has to offer, the Graphite Silver Edition is no exception.  I generally  like black cameras because it makes it easier to blend in with the crowd, it is “stealthier” compared to silver ones.  However, I love the retro design of cameras and this is one reason why I got attracted in Fujifilm X-series in the first place; the Graphite Silver edition adds that missing retro flare on the X-T1.

For those who have not tried the Fuji X-Series system and if you are looking on getting the X-T1, which almost all reviewers and photographers are raving about; This is a good time to get one.  And in case you decide to get the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, not only you will own one of the best mirrorless camera in existence, you’ll also get to own one of best looking cameras around.

21 August 2014 Reviews


This is Fuji’s first weather sealed lens.  It is not the fast lens by any means, widest at f 3.5 up to f 5.6; but the focal length makes it a great travel lens.  This 7.5x super-zoom lens is equivalent to 27-206mm on a full-frame camera (35mm) it also comes with Optical Image Stabilization.


Build Quality

If you are familiar with the 18-55mm lens or any Fujinon XF lenses you will have the same feel right at home with the XF 18-135mm.  The build quality of the lens is top notch and with a reasonable price tag it is a very attractive lens.  The mount like with any Fujinon XF lenses is metal and looks like it will last for a long time.  The Zoom ring has enough torque and smoothness combination to it.  I have no issues going back and forth for a different zoom range.  There’s also a knob to turn the OIS (Optical Image Stabilizer) on or off and a button for manual or Automatic Aperture control.  It also comes with a lens hood and a soft cloth pouch.



Size comparison from Fujinon 35mm , 10-24mm and 18-135mm
Size comparison of XF 18-135mm vs. Canon 24-70 f2.8L Mark I

Zooming is not internal so the length of the lens changes as you change focal lengths, the longer the focal length the longer it goes.  I didn’t observe any zoom creep issue.  Overall the build quality is excellent and it feels great in the hands, it is a combination of metal and high quality plastics.  It feels very solid and at 490 grams, it is a lot lighter than any 7.5x DSLR super zoom I have tried.  The weight is very well balanced for a bigger camera like the X-T1 and X-Pro1.


Size comparison of XF 18-135mm vs. Canon 24-70 f2.8L Mark I with Zoom extended


Regarding the weather-sealed capability; I have conducted a test with X-T1 and this lens and pour a bottle of water, here’s the video  :  http://bit.ly/18_135



Performance and Image quality
The lens has an internal focusing (IF) system and it is very quiet compared to Fujinon 35mm f1.4 for example.  I have a canon system and the focusing is as quiet and as smooth as the L lenses. The front of the lens is also fixed and doesn’t rotate on focus which is good for those who are planning to use filters.  In actual use, the focusing is fast and accurate in any focal length or any lighting conditions.
Chromatic aberration is very well controlled, in fact I didn’t find any fringes on all the images I took with the 18-135mm, which is a very good indication about the quality of the glass used in this lens.  The out of focus bits or bokeh is very smooth as well.  This is really a well put together lens.




Fujifilm X-T1 and the Fujinon 18-135mm after the water test

When it comes to image sharpness, it doesn’t fall short, it is sharp not only on all focal lengths but even when aperture is set wide open.  Especially at 18mm up to 100mm.  At 135mm, the center sharpness is still superb but the edges are on the soft side at f5.6; I don’t find that as a problem since it gives better subject isolation. However, if you want it sharp from edge to edge, stopping down to f8.0 is where the sharpness is at its best.

Personally, I didn’t have any problem shooting wide open on this lens; the images are sharp and with good contrast and details.



Final Thoughts

The Fujifilm XF 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is a superb telephoto lens.  I don’t see any major flaws for this lens.  Of course it could be faster or it can have a fixed aperture of f2.8, but this is not the purpose of this lens.  This is an all-around purpose lens, which is perfect for travelling or photo walks in which you don’t want to change lenses or simply because you want to travel light.  For that purpose, this is a superb lens.  This is not a surprise since all Fujinon lenses to date are all wonderful lens and with excellent build quality with a very reasonable price tag.  For those who are waiting for a fast telephoto that lens in Fujifilm lens roadmap; so that should be coming in the future.  But for those who wants to enjoy the benefits of a 7.5x super zoom, I don’t think you will regret getting this lens.  Pair it with a Fuji X-T1 and you have a weather-sealed kit that you can take pretty much anywhere without having to worry about water or dust ruining the your gear.  It is a perfect adventure and travel companion.


3 March 2014 Reviews

Since the beginning of my journey in photography I have always been interested in Ultra Wide Angle (UWA) lenses and I have used different ones, Canon 10-22mm, Sigma 10-20mm, Sigma 8-16mm, Tokina 11-16mm and Canon 16-35mm. If you look at most of my work, you will hardly see any tightly composed shots except for some portraiture work. I always like wide and sweeping view.  I think, it’s more of a personal preference and also depends on what you shoot.    Here in Dubai, you wont have a problem using a wide angle lens, in fact if you want to take a good composition of the Burj Khalifa, the wider the lens the better.

So with my fascination with wide angle lenses, I was really excited the first time I have learned about the Fujinon 10-24mm f4.0 OIS. In fact I was more excited with this lens than the venerable 56mm f1.2. Simply because 60% of my work are taken by a wide angle lens and I know that this lens is going to be my workhorse.


Size compared to Canon 16-35 f2.8L Mark II


_DSF8713 as Smart Object-1 _DSF8711 as Smart Object-1

The 10-24mm construction is top notch. It is no different with the high end X Series lenses like 56mm f1.2, 14mm f2.8 and the 23mm f1.4. In other words, it is beautifully crafted and you will know that it will last for a long time. Fuji doesn’t have a lot of zoom lenses but the 10-24mm is quite big compared to the 18-55mm lens, but don’t be put off with that because it still feels balanced with the X-E2 and X-Pro1. The zoom ring is made of rubber and it takes an amount of force to zoom in and out, which is something I like. I have a problem with my Canon 16-35mm f2.8 of accidentally turning the zoom ring so I end up with a different focal length I intended it to be. This doesn’t happen with the Fujinon 10-24mm. In terms of weight, it is heavy compared to the other zoom lens but it is not that much compared to the 56mm f1.2 and the 23mm f1.4. The weight makes it feels more solid and premium.


It is everything I hoped it will be, it is fast focusing, sharp and gives superb contrast. From my experience with all Ultra Wide Angle Lenses, most of them suffers with two things, first is that the edges are soft and the second is that it shows Color Aberration or color fringing. So the question is, is the same problem with the Fujinon 10-24mm?

In terms of edge to edge sharpness, the Fujinon performed pretty well, although the edges sharpens up a bit more when the lens is stepped down, I think the sweet spot is in the f8 to f9 range. But, even at wide open (f4.0) I have no complain.

Color aberration is the color fringing you see on your photos in areas with high contrast. In the short time that I have used this lens, I deliberately shoot high contrast areas, like tree branches in a brightly lit sky and I hardly see any color fringes. I am quite surprise about this because compared to all the ultra wide lenses I used before, this is by far the best when it comes to color fringing. They did a great job with this lens.

The lens is image stabilized and to be honest at its widest focal length at 10mm you wont need it but it is a feature you wont mind having because it is quite handy to have. It is something essential especially when you are traveling and you don’t want to carry any tripod with you, having an image stabilized lens solves this problem.

I really had a great time using this lens. This is the lens that I always wanted for my X-series system. The focal length is very useful for photographers who shoots landscapes, architecture and even street photography.  I don’t really have any negative comment about this lens, I know others would have wanted a 2.8 lens but it might have made this lens bigger and I think, the current size is just perfect for the X-Series cameras.  And to be honest in landscape or architecture photography which this lens will be most used, you will use high aperture values anyways and at f4.0 it is by no means a slow lens.

This is the lens I have been waiting for the complete my X-Series system.  If you are looking for an ultra wide angle lens, look no further this is one of the best out there.


_DSF8354 as Smart Object-1 _DSF8619 as Smart Object-1 _DSF8660 as Smart Object-1 jh

3 February 2014 Reviews

This is a follow up on the Fujifilm X-T1 camera that Fujifilm Middle East provided me .  Here is a video of the menu structure of the X-T1, it shows the new menu structure including advance settings, time lapse, movie settings and other settings on the menu.

If you haven’t seen my first impressions for the X-T1, you can read it here.


I think the menu on the X-T1 is a lot more organized and if this is the direction of where to X-Series are heading then its going to be a bright future for Fuji.  I think Fuji really listened to the photographers when they designed this camera.

29 January 2014 Reviews

Yesterday, I received a SAMPLE unit of the Fujifilm X-T1 + VG-XT1 Battery Grip from Fujifilm Middle East.  This is probably the most anticipated camera in the mirrorless world.  Ever since the rumors and leaked photos came out, it created quite a buzz in the photography communities around the world.

Feature Highlights:

  • 16.3 MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor + EXR II Processor
  • 0.77x EVF magnifcation (Largest in its class) with 54 fps refresh rate
  • First camera to support the UHS-II SD Cards (240 MB/s Write , 260 MB/s Read)
  • Supports Contrast Detections AF, Phase Detection AF and motion predictive AF
  • 8 fps with Continuous AF
  • Weather resistance Body
  • Vertical Battery Grip Support (VG-XT1)
  • Interval Timer Shooting (Time Lapse)
  • Enhanced Wireless Function (WIFI) with WiFi Remote feature

Complete Technical Specifications  can be found here.

Fujifilm X-TI Size Comparison
(Kindly excuse the quality of the photos since  I only have the iPhone’s LED flash (as my lighting system) available to me at this time :)  )

X-T1 vs X-Pro1
DSCF6486 as Smart Object-1

X-T1 vs OM-D EM5
DSCF6514 as Smart Object-1 DSCF6516 as Smart Object-1 DSCF6523 as Smart Object-1

X-T1 vs Canon 5D Mark III

DSCF6492 as Smart Object-1 DSCF6494 as Smart Object-1 DSCF6504 as Smart Object-1 DSCF6506 as Smart Object-1

Build Quality

The first thing I noticed was the soft-touch rubbery material that wrapped the X-T1.  It really feels a premium product.  Somehow it reminds me of a brand new high-end DSLR (like 5D Mark III).  The rubber material also adds additional grip.

The built-in grip on the side makes a “perfect fit” in your hands.  It feels a lot better compared to an Olympus OM-D EM5 with no grip attached.  It also feels solid and very well made.  The only cheap bit that I found is the SD Card cover but that’s already nitpicking.

It is similarly sized to the X-E2 in terms of dimensions, although the X-T1 is a bit heavier mainly due to the weather resistant construction and the built in grip.


In terms of looks and build quality it is hands down is one of the best in the industry and I am glad to say that it also plays the part.  It delivers excellent performance that has never been seen in any X-Series Cameras before.

Although in paper, it looks like the sensor and the processor is a carry over from X-E2 but what’s different in X-T1 is the Predictive AF which in my initial testing works quite well.  It is quite effective actually; I will probably do more in-depth testing in the future regarding this feature.

Here’s my video of the X-T1 in Continuous High Mode:

It takes around 23-27 RAW + Fine JPEGs before it slows down and I was not able to count it with FINE JPEGs but it last more than 40 secs before it starts to slow down.  Really impressive, this is a bold departure form the other X-Series cameras.

Here is a video of the AF speed.  It is quite a dimly lit room although it looks quite a bit bright on the video; it is by no means scientific test but it will give you an idea on how the AF speed is like.


Here’s a video of the X-T1’s Menu:


To be honest I am quite amazed on how quick the focus of the X-T1, even with the older lens like the Fujinon XF 35mm f1.4, it is still quick.  On all my other X-Series camera reviews, I always mentioned that the AF is not an issue and it very quick but not as quick as the OM-D, but in this case, I have to say that this is fast as the  AF system of the OM-D EM-5.  In fact, I find the X-T1 to be more well built and have better ergonomics than the Olympus EM-5 which makes the X-T1 a better camera in that regards.


Electronic View Finder (EVF)

With 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder, on paper this EVF is quite impressive, but to see it in person is something else.  I was shocked how big and how it looks like an Optical View Finder (OVF) rather than EVF, it is probably because of the .77x magnification which is the biggest in its class and the 54 fps refresh rate (even on dark environment) works really great!  I am amazed.  This is hands down the best EVF I have seen in the market right now.  Apart from that, the layout and the information is nicely placed and it doesn’t feel cluttered like everyone else’s viewfinder.

Here’s a more detailed look of the X-T1’s EVF.

Camera Remote App (WiFi)

There is a first among other X-Series cameras.  Unlike the other WiFi  equipped X-Series Cameras, X-T1 supports the Camera Remote App which basically enables you to change camera settings in your Phone or Tablet;  It also supports the “tap-to-focus” feature which is quite handy.  I hope the other X-Series cameras will have the same feature via firmware upgrade.

Here is how the app interface looks like in the iPad :
photo 1 as Smart Object-1

My take on the Fujifilm X-T1

I have been an X-Series user since X100 and I have been lucky enough to have used pretty much the entire X-Series cameras and lenses; looking at the X-T1 I can say that Fuji made a big leap with this camera.  They made a new category with probably the best usable features that you need in a camera.

There’s a lot of photographers and photo enthusiast waiting for a new camera that will define a new category for the X-Series cameras, since the previous cameras that was released are more of updates of the existing models.  The X-T1 a bold statement from Fujifilm that they can compete among the best in the mirrorless industry.

I currently have 3 camera system that I personally use.  A DSLR which is my Canon 5D Mark III and 2 mirrorless systems; namely Olympus OM-D EM-5 and my X-Series cameras.  I mainly shoot with the X-Series cameras right now but I am still holding on with my OM-D EM-5 since I feel that I still need it and it comes with useful features that is not on the X-Series cameras yet, but if I’m being honest right now, after 2 days with the X-T1, I’m starting to think that I might have no use for my OM-D anymore.

There are still some features that I haven’t discuss here which I will in the future.  Like the external dials and the dual screen mode when Manual Focusing.  There’s just so much to cover with this camera!

I you noticed, I haven’t said any negative thing about this camera.  Well, I don’t really have any.  Maybe a few wishes for the X-T2; additional features  like a touch screen LCD or a Live Bulb feature; but apart from that, the X-T1 is simply the best X-Series camera yet.

I will really feel sad returning this camera to Fujifilm Middle East as I really enjoy using this camera and I feel that this might be the camera I have been waiting for.  I think, I know what I want for my Birthday :)

Here are some of the sample photos taken with Fujifilm X-T1

XT1_2 as Smart Object-1 XT1_5_full as Smart Object-1 XT1_7 as Smart Object-1

XT1_9 as Smart Object-1

Everything written above are my own opinion.  I have voluntarily tested this camera and I have not in anyway been paid to do this.  I love photography and I am a self-confessed gadget/tech geek.


23 January 2014 Uncategorized

This lens has been pretty much the missing link from the entire X-Series lens line up.  Fujifilm Middle East is kind enough to send me one unit for testing. Yay!!

The 56mm f1.2 which is 85mm equivalent on full frame cameras is the classic “Portrait lens” focal length.  The build quality is on par with the rest of the XF X-Series lens and other world class lenses from Zeiss and Canon L series lenses.

I will be posting my initial impressions, review and comparison very soon.

For now, here are my unboxing photos.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

7 November 2013 Reviews


I’ve had the X-E2 for about two days now (as of this writing) – Fujifilm Middle East gave me a pre-production unit and asked me if I want to try it out and see how it performs;  Well, being a photographer, there’s nothing better than trying out new gear :)


Hardware Changes

Like a kid getting a new toy, first things first… Fiddling time.  Being a gadget geek, I checked all the hardware changes side by side with the X-E1.  Overall, there are no major changes in terms of the size, structure and weight of the X-E2, so don’t expect anything new in this regard.  However there are a few new button changes that I noticed right away.

I can see  that the Q button has been moved and the X-E2 supports a slightly bigger LCD which is now 3” compared to 2.8”, that might be too small to notice but the improvement is not with the size it is actually on the LCD resolution which is now 1.04M dot LCD from a measly 420K dot screen from the X-E2.  Looking at it side by side, there is a big noticeable difference, especially when you are looking at high-detailed shots.  That is a welcomed change.

Another hardware change is the new 180x option on the shutter speed dial, not really something big for me but it’s good to have it there especially if you are working with strobes or flash.

At first, I didn’t notice any changes on the EVF, mainly because they have the same resolution; but then when I was shooting with it last night, in a poorly lit environment, you can see that refresh rate has been massively improved, there’s almost no lag!

Another hardware change I noticed right away is the added +/-3 stops on the exposure compensation dial.  This might not be useful to some, but for a bracketing junkie like me, that works to my advantage.  Since Fuji doesn’t support more than 1 EV on AE bracketing, I have to use some other technique to get two or three stops bracketing.  I will be discussing on that AE bracketing solution some other time.  But having a +/-3 in that dial is a convenient thing to have.


Taking it out for a Test Drive!
***Note:  Please excuse the photos, since these are merely snap shots.

I was thinking of how I can give it a quick test drive and since I was planning to go to the Dubai Motor Show, I thought it would be a great idea to test the camera out at the same time!  It’s like hitting two birds with one stone, so off I went!

Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 23mm f1.4 | f1.4 | 1/950 | ISO 800


Another new hardware in my possession is the Fujinon 23mm F1.4 lens. Now this is a superb lens! I cannot say anything bad about it. Since I started using it, I cannot get enough of it.  It’s been a very high-quality lens, which applies to both its build quality and image quality – but I will try to cover that in a separate review.  So, in other words, I used the 23mm f1.4 lens with the X-E2 and I was not disappointed with that decision.

Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 23mm f1.4 | f1.4 | 1/600 | ISO 800



Just like any exhibit, it was a fairly lit room with lots of spot lights everywhere with nasty green lights all over the place. It’s funny, only photographers can see this. Well, now that I can see it, I cannot “un-see” it anymore, so as a photographer, you deal with it and find your way how to go around it.

Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 23mm f1.4 | f1.4 | 1/680 | ISO 800



Going back to the X-E2, because I have a pre-production unit, there are some options that show ### on some of the menus, so I didn’t bother using it, i.e. the panorama feature.  As I clicked, I already had in the back of my head that I am not going to be able to process these pictures in Adobe Camera Raw since the X-E2 is not yet supported – as of this time – being a new camera, so I will be dealing with JPEGs the entire time.

Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 23mm f1.4  | f1.4 | 1/150 | ISO 640



The Auto Focus (AF) is quick and accurate, gone are the days when the AF was an issue with X-Series cameras.  Again, don’t expect Micro 4/3 fast, but this is  faster than any APS-C mirrorless I have tested; comparing it with NEX series and Canon EOS-M, the AF of X-E2 is faster.  I’ve had the X-Pro1 for quite some time now and I can tell right away that the focusing on this is a lot faster, this is probably because it uses the new X-Trans CMOS II sensor which features hybrid focusing (Contrast and Phase Detection) just like the X100s. It came very handy especially in a mixed-lighting situation and it doesn’t hunt in poor lighting conditions, too.

Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 23mm f1.4 | f1.4 | 1/750 | ISO 800



So far, I have no complaints with the performance.  The writing speed (on the SD card) is also much quicker compared to the X-Pro1.  Performance-wise, this is a better camera than the X-Pro1, but there are things that will still make me use the X-Pro1 as my main camera, mainly ergonomics. It just fits better into my hands, but apart from that, I can see the X-E2 being a main camera for a lot of people.  It is quicker in all aspects and suits you better, if you are a street photographer.  I also think, it makes  a perfect travel camera, with its WIFI functions, which is handy when you are on the road.  You can send photos directly to your phone or to you laptop wirelessly.  I haven’t tested this feature yet but I have tested it on the X-M1 which has the same feature and it’s quite handy to have.


Fuji X-E2 + Fujinon 23mm f1.4 | f1.4 | 1/1800 | ISO 800

I will try to be more detailed in my full review of the X-E2.  For now, I can tell that despite the change on the exterior, the X-E2 is a new camera from the inside and you can tell the improvements once you start using it.  I will continue to test the X-E2 and will probably compare it with the X-E1 and the X-Pro1 in part 2 of this review.

** Notes:
I used Aperture Priority mode, Velvia, Auto DR and Auto ISO and the rest are camera’s default;  Please remember that I am using a pre-production unit so it could be that the EXIF might not be that accurate.

I have not been paid or compensated by any means by Fuji on doing this review, this is my personal experience while using the camera.  They asked me if I wanted to test it and I agreed, that is pretty much it.

1 September 2013 Photography,Workshop

If you are in Dubai or in UAE, you can join me in a FREE workshop sponsored by Fujifilm Middle East and Fullframe Photography Magazine.  There are 4 workshop covering, portraiture, fashion editorial, car photography and product photography.   I myself will be doing car photography.

I’ll be showing the participants :

1) How to properly light a car , showing different lighting techniques.  Lighting positions, light power, direction, etc.

a) Using multiple lights (studio strobes)
b) Using a single Flash (one light)
c) Using LED lights

2)  I will also provide some simple and advance post processing techniques on improving your car photography.  I will be using Photoshop CS5.

a) Enhancing details
b) Simple dodge and burn techniques
c) Achieving that 3D look on your images

3)  I’ll be showing different Fujifilm X-Series cameras

a) Tips on using Fujifilm X-Series cameras
b) My settings for X-Series cameras

Don’t miss this free opportunity. You can register here:


If you have any question about my Car Photography FREE workshop, you can send me a message here:

Dates and Venue:

September 13 Portrait by Donnell Gumiran
September 14 Fashion Editorial by Chris Calumberan

September 27 Car Photography by Michael Cruz 

September 28 Product Photography by Mosh Lafuente



September 27 – Al Serkal Avenue, Al Quoz, Dubai.



Laptop, Fujifilm X-SERIES camera
And if you don’t have Fujifilm camera we will provide one for you.
Don’t forget to bring your own SD cards.

Only 1 workshop is allowed per person so choose which amongst the four workshop will you attend…..





Canon 7D + 16-35 f2.8 II
f5.0 | 1/100 | ISO 100


Strobist info:
580 EXII pointed at the right bumper and wheels @ full power
430 EXII ponted at the left bumper @ full power
YN 460II pointed on the side of the car @ full power (optical slave mode)
YN 460II placed inside the car @ 1/2 power (optical slave mode)


Trigger: YN RF603C


This is a client shoot for Mr. Tariq Alateeq here in Dubai. This is Vip Auto Salon 2007 LS 460 project which is the only one in world and is specially built for Mr. Tariq. The Vip Auto Salon 2007 Lexus LS 460 SEMA project vehicle marked the very first image vehicle they produced for Lexus Corporation.


I shot this at around 6am in the morning in an empty parking lot where you can see the Burj Khalifa (tallest building in the world) at the background.




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