21 August 2014 Reviews

6_text

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.

3

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.

 

2

Size comparison from Fujinon 35mm , 10-24mm and 18-135mm
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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.

5

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.

 

7

 

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.

PHYSICAL CONSTRUCTION

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.

PERFORMANCE

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.

SAMPLE SHOTS

_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.

Performance

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
Note:

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

X-E2

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

xe2_1

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

xe2_2

 

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

xe2_3

 

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

xe2_4

 

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

xe2_6

 

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
xe2_5

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:

http://form.jotformpro.com/form/32415381135952

If you have any question about my Car Photography FREE workshop, you can send me a message here:
http://michaelrcruz.com/?page_id=255

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

 

Venue:

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

 

REQUIREMENTS:

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.

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

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1150358_379053065557382_827455744_n

 

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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.

Cheers!

/Mike

 

2 May 2013 Reviews

cintiq

I have been dreaming of a Cintiq tablet for a long time.  My main problem is the cost; I cannot justify the cost of a 22 or 24 inches model although they are probably really good, they are out of my budget.  I am not a retoucher or graphic artist by profession… so, splurging thousands of dollars doesn’t sound like a good investment for someone like me.   Although, I do like using Photoshop and I retouch pretty much all my photos, but I can always do it with a regular Intuos tablet (I am currently using an Intuos 5 Medium size).

After using an Intuos tablet for more than three years, I am now incapable of retouching using a mouse.  There is a Cintiq 12wx model which has been there for years… Why did I not get that one? Well as per user reviews, it is expensive, very bulky, heats up, lots of fat wires and with a 1280 x 768 resolution… Yeah, I think that explains it.

So here goes the Cintiq 13HD which according to its specifications will solve all the downfalls of the previous model… I won’t be giving all the technical details, you can Google that one out; but here is my honest user experience, after using it for a few hours yesterday.  Just so we are clear, this is not a review unit.  I purchased this from my own wallet.  This is from one of the first units that came to UAE.

 

It is slimmer than I expected and quite light too
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

As I mentioned, it is almost similarly sized to the Intuos 5 Medium size tablet, even the finish is the same.  It has that matte / rubbery feeling; I like it, it looks sleek and very well made.  It does attract some finger prints but if you’re a “smudge/ OC” freak, you can use a soft cotton hand glove while using it… you will probably look weird though :)  For me, I use it bare hands and I just wipe it down with the cleaning cloth that came with it and it goes back to its shiny out-of-the-box look.

The Full HD (1920 x 1080) 13″ screen is really good
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My 15″ MacBook pro’s resolution is 1440 x 900 and it’s not bad, not Retina good, but OK.  Now, squeezing the 1920 x 1080p into a 13 inches display will give you around 170 ppi which is quite good, I personally can’t see any jaggies or pixels on the fonts on the display.  Looking at my retina iPad, the display of the Cintiq 13HD is not far off.  And you won’t be using this as close to your eyes like the iPad , so it will pretty much give you a Retina-ish experience (at least that’s how I see it).  Viewing angles and brightness are quite good too.  I don’t find any problem with the colors as well.

New stylus pen with a really well made case! (the pen holder is still there)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

My two  previous Intuos tablets (4 & 5) didn’t come with any pen casing, so when I travel, I need to find an empty pocket on my bag to store the pen so I don’t lose it.  I guess this is a nice addition and it looks pretty good too.  It is well-made.  I can’t say right now if it’s better than the stylus on the Intuos series, but what I can say is that the Intuos 5 stylus pen doesn’t work on the Cintiq 13HD boooo!! :(

Button layout is good and it has a firm tactile feel to it so you wont accidentally press them
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

That’s my problem with the Intuos 5, I always press those buttons by accident.  I’m glad I won’t have that same problem here.  That being said, I wish they would have put more buttons, like the ones in the Intuos to get more custom keys.  I didn’t like the lack of LED labels on the Intuos 5 (Medium), the 4 has it and it’s quite handy at night.  Anyway, those are just small complaints, nothing that you can’t get used to.

User experience

Let’s get down to the important stuff.  I used it for around 3-4 hours, doing quick edits and customizing the keys and all that; I find no adjustments necessary if you are coming from Intuos tablet. In fact, I find it much easier to use and the pressure sensitivity is much better compared to my Intuos 5.   I came from a painting/drawing background and it takes me back to the good old-fashioned-paper-sketching and coloring.  It feels freakin’ good! It comes with a stand, which is nothing fancy but it serves its purpose (giving you a tilt).   You can easily work on it on your lap while sitting on a sofa or on the bed; just like sketching on a nice sturdy sketch pad.

Here are some of my other observations:

  • I didn’t notice any heating problem; I used it for three hours straight and I don’t remember it heating up.
  • You can easily tilt the tablet giving you more natural strokes.  If you work on paper before, you will feel at home.  This is quite a big factor for me.  Takes me back to the paper/sketch pad experience.
  • The cables are long enough so you can work on it on your lap while sitting on the sofa or lying on bed.
  • You will need a mini-display to HDMI adapter if you are a Mac user.
  • I find the cable connecting to the Cintiq to be a weak point, so extra care is needed.
  • I can use rulers! to get straight lines (probably not a biggie to others but I find that great!).
  • Full HD on 13″ can get really small when clicking menus (i.e. Photoshop), I personally have no issues with it, but you can use lower resolution if it’s too small for you.
  • NO JITTERS! Again, very paper-like experience.
  • NO LAG!
  • ACCURATE; you can always calibrate it to fit your position (sitting/lying/etc.).
  • There’s almost no gap between the pen tip and your image… again very sketch pad like experience.
  • Dodging and burning experience is so much better! I say, 5x better than the Intuos experience.

On Part 2, it is a follow-up review after using the tablet for a longer period of time.

Until then…

/Mike

Fuji X100S, Dubai, UAE.

There you go… X100s chillin’ in my bag :)

I am currently reviewing the new Fujifilm X100s.  I really love Fuji cameras and always a fan of its JPEG files.  Also, the design is just simply drop dead gorgeous.  While others doesn’t mind the looks of a camera, well… I do!

If you haven’t read my Fuji X100 review, here it is:  http://bit.ly/ZuwW0i

And for the XPro1, here you go:
Part 1 : http://bit.ly/Y58fdS
Part 2: http://bit.ly/YTGPGU

I will be creating a FULL REVIEW in the coming weeks; but here are my initial impressions:

1) Build quality is pretty much the same like the X100, which is superb and classy.
2) The dials are more firm; i.e. the exposure compensation is now much better and prevents you from turning it by accident
3) The focusing is fast!  Oh yeah! Finally! It is not OM-D fast, but, it’s almost 90%.  That’s quite a speed jump.
4) I wish the macro automatically turns on when you shoot up close to the subject, but its a much better implementation than the previous model.
5) Manual focus is 100 times better!
6) The famous Fuji colors are just lovely as always…

Full review coming soon!  and I’ll do a comparison as well… X100s vs OM-D, stay tuned.

/Mike

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