Fuji X70 & X100F...best vacation cameras?

Back from Walt Disney World and I’m exhausted.  Every day we clocked in over 10 miles of walking...no..... running from attraction to attraction.  I wouldn’t change it for the world.   I have been visiting Disney since I was three years old and have so many fond memories of my family all together enjoying the parks and hotels.  I have returned almost every year with the exception of a few.  We loved Disney so much that back in 1995 we invested into a DVC membership and have been using the time share options since then.  Back in the early days of my Disney experience I can recall my father with his Canon AE-1 and various gear trekking through the Florida heat snapping photos and changing roll after roll of Kodak film.  Back then you could have your film developed right on Main Street USA in the Magic Kingdom.  Along with all the stories we also had film slides to help give a visual representation of our memories when we came back home.

* FULL WARNING*  If your not a fan of Disney then I apologize as obviously the images to follow will all be from there.  I’m a self confessed Disney Freak.

Fast forward to today at the age of 41 and I still fell like a kid when I enter Disney World.  Only it’s better.  I get to experience the laughter and joy on my daughter’s face along with my nieces which instantly brings me back to my own childhood.  Staying up late and eating ice cream for dinner.  Running from ride to ride.  What better way to capture these precious family moments then with a camera.   What better camera to bring then a Fuji?   What’s better then a Fuji Camera?     

Two Fuji cameras!!!!!!!!! 

 

One my vacation I brought the Fuji X100F & Fuji X70.  I could of brought just one but that wouldn’t of been much fun.   I started the first leg of the trip with the small X70.  My thinking was to utilize the X70 during the day for a few reasons.  First, being a smaller camera it would be easier to pocket or pack especially during the 90deg humid Florida heat.  Secondly with the sensor being older I didn’t need to worry about pushing ISO ceiling so much in the daylight where I knew the X100F sensor would exceed the X70’s capabilities.  The big con I assumed I would be dealing with would be the flip out screen offering a difficult view in daylight but I must confess that wasn’t a problem for me.  In fact I rather enjoyed using the flip out screen to employ the ever so popular “Im looking down at my cell phone and walking stance” everybody is already doing anyway.  I found it less distracting and easier to move and shoot then having one eye and half my face obstructed while walking like I would do while using the X100F.  If that style is not for you then you could always slip the Fujifilm 21/28 Optical Viewfinder into the hot shoe (Part#VF-X21).  This won't give you any real time info but it will give you old school rangefinder style frames lines.  I was not happy to learn that there is no definitive lock on the hot shoe foot and it seems that it could easily be knocked off.  That would be an expensive mistake.


A few from the Fujifilm X70 with the 18.5mm f/2.8 Lens.  What sharpness in such a compact package.

Shooting the X70 throughout the day I hovered between my three ISO settings.   200-6400 1/60th for indoors.  200-1600 1/250th for out door shooting and 200-6400 and 1/400th for anything with some movement to it.  This seemed to work well with my f/8 setting.  Obviously I would open the lens up indoors or to get creative but f/8 - f/11 was my starting point.  Mostly utilizing the Classic Chrome setting however I was still shooting RAW so my film simulation was a moot point.  The 18.5mm (28mm equivalent) was extremely sharp and even offers a nice close focus.  What I found extremely helpful was the X70’s quick auto switch function which basically set my camera up as a point and shoot when handing it off to a stranger for a family group shot.   I wasn’t too worried about anyone running off with the little X70 as I just purchased some new running shoes prior to the vacation and they really make me go fast.   The one caveat to the Auto Function is you only get a JPEG image.  This is not too much of an issue as most of us are beyond pleased with fujifilm’s JPEG processing but it still needs to be mentioned.  I found the older X-Trans CMOS II 16.3mpix to be excellent all around offer both image quality and color representation.

Slightly adjusted JPEG taken by unknown tourist while in AUTO MODE.

Slightly adjusted JPEG taken by unknown tourist while in AUTO MODE.

 

I had the X70 around a cheap wrist sling which started to fray the first day out so I found myself basically palming the camera throughout the day and to be honest it was hardly a chore.  It’s just so damn small.  Handing my camera off to one of my family members gave them instant familiarity as it was basically like shooting a cell phone due to the X70’s touch screen feature.  One of the best “Fun” features of the X70 is the 180 degree flip screen that allows a selfie mode.  One thing to mention is facial recognition is automatically activated during this mode and since your only about an arms length away I would lean towards stoping the lens down if your going to take a photo with more then one person in the frame or you run the risk of one face being out of focus.  

Thankfully my beautiful wife is in this pic or this would be a scary picture....lol. Fuji X70 in Selfie Mode.

Thankfully my beautiful wife is in this pic or this would be a scary picture....lol. Fuji X70 in Selfie Mode.

So was this the better family vacation camera choice?


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Onto the mighty Fujifilm X100F.  A powerhouse not to be reckoned with.  I’ve talked about this camera so much I’m surprised Fuji hasn’t called me up to offer me a rep job yet....if your reading this Fujifilm give me a call, I’m ready when you are.

I’m totally in love with the Fuji X100F.  It just can’t do anything wrong.  Are there things I would like to see different...of course.  However what it does right it does perfectly.

The Fujifim X100 line is a gorgeous work of art.  In fact while on vacation in the hotel lobby I had my silver X100F slung around my side with my trusty Hyperion Camera Strap and out of nowhere a gentleman approaches and says "thats a beautiful camera, Is it a film camera"?  I say no it isn't and show him the rear LCD screen and Fuji Top Plate markings.  He was astonished.  His wife even chimed in, "I thought that was an old film camera,  thats cool".  I quickly do my part and give him a quick look/overview and go on my way.  Like a door to door bible salesman, maybe I possibly converted yet another poor DSLR soul.  It happened a second time while eating in Epcot in the world showcase in Mexico.  I see the waitress glaring at my midsection.  I immediately become self conscious as I'm full aware of my food intake on this vacation having abused the Disney Dining Plan.  Then as soon as I remember that the X100f is sitting on my lap the remark about how beautiful this camera is made from her standing tableside.   

The Fuji X100F is definitely a larger camera compared to the X70 but is still not a very large camera.  Adding a lens hood does increase the size but it also offers you an alternative when it comes to lens protection instead of using the metal lens cap the X100F is supplied with.  I tend to leave my lens cap off and add the B+W UV Filter along with a lens hood by JJC.  I carried the camera in this configuration all week without any issues.  The one issue I did have with the X100F was my pinky finger constantly hits the battery door latch when raising it to my eye.  The next thing I realize is the battery door is wide open.  Please Fujifilm, address this issue.  The joystick is a welcomed addition on the X100F and it’s placement is perfect for me.  I didn’t mind the lack of a joystick on the X70 due to the fact that the camera employees at touch screen which works just fine.  Capturing action shots with the X100F was a breeze due to the fast 8fps and wonderful focusing.

Fuji x100F 1/800th f/8 ISO 200

Fuji x100F 1/800th f/8 ISO 200

Another useful feature you have with the X100F that you don't have on the X70 is the 3 Stop internal ND Filter.  This is helpful when you want to cut down the light but maintain a shallow DOF.  Also this allows you some room with the mechanical shutter before you reach the electronic shutter.  For anyone that has tried capturing moving subjects with an electronic shutter.....well you know the results.  Also when using the ND filter make sure you switch off your Auto ISO and manually adjust your shutter values or you will basically cancel out the benefit because your camera will adjust its values to match the loss of light.  When using the ND Filter correctly you can achieve some great effects even in the bright Florida sunshine.  Below are two images using the X100F's three stop ND filter in broad daylight.

Unlike the X70 the Fuji X100F sports a faster lens.  We have a 23mm that opens up to f/2 (35mm equivalent due to the crop sensor) and the amazing X-Trans CMOS III 24mpix Sensor.  If your new to the X100F I can tell you this is the same sensor found in their flagship XPro2/XT2 bodies.  I love the 23mm lens on this camera but you must know how to use it correctly especially at closer distances to get the most out of it.  More on that topic can be found on my other blog post all about the Fuji X100F HERE 

You also get the new Acros Black & White Film Simulation which has become even more popular since Fuji has discontinued making the real 35mm film version......For now ( I've been hearing rumors ) SHHHH!!!!

If you enjoy the FULL AUTO option on the X70 I wouldn't worry too much as you can pretty much set the X100F up the same way it just takes a few more steps.  Set your Auto ISO limits to your liking and place your lens aperture on A just past f/16.  Place your shutter dial on A as well and let your camera do the work.

The X100F delivers images that consistently blow me away with the amount of quality the X-Trans III sensor can render.

Both cameras during the trip were carried in a small Swiss Army pouch I had from years ago.   I basically stored extra batteries and a small Manfrotto tripod.  The X100F did a lot better with battery life then the X70 thats for sure.  I basically would run through one maybe two batteries on the X100f and almost three on the X70.  Neither camera is weather resistant and even though that was the case I still was subjected to tropical down pours everyday.  I did my best to protect the cameras while the rain was coming down and I can confident report I never had an issue with either camera.

So I know we started this blog post with a question and sadly I'm not sure I can answer that for you.  For me however I would be happy to have either one on my next family vacation.   To be honest they are both small enough to pack even if one is just a back up shooter.  

What I liked about the Fuji X70 was its small pocketable size and flip out screen.  I also enjoyed the selfie mode not that I'm a fan of myself in photographs but for family shots its fun.  The touch screen was also extremely fast and easy to use.

My favorite aspects of the X100F are the robust gorgeous build and that 23mm f/2 lens.  I love the images from the newly improved sensor and at times the viewfinder comes in handy.  Even for reviewing images taken earlier in the day.

The X100F definitely has the edge in the High ISO department.  Both the images below are at 6400.  The Girls were with the X100F and the Castle was taken with the X70.  In the end this post was not meant to be a head to head shoot out between these two as I feel they are completely different cameras.  It was basically my take on traveling with them during a high paced family vacation and they both passed with flying colors.

Well, time to close out this blog as I've gone on long enough.  Look for a blog post soon on the Fuji X70 by itself.  It really is an amazing little camera that packs a big APSC sensor punch.  Who knows when Fujifilm will make a successor.

Also, I plan on following up this article with a video on my youtube page so if you haven't checked that out please stop by and give it a look.  As always be sure to check in regularly and visit my instagram page for daily snaps with all the gear I use and please feel free to comment on this blog.  I respond to everyone and let me know what cameras you travel with.

In closing, thank you for reading and I'll leave you with a few more images taken from my trip with both the Fujifilm X70 & X100F.

YouTube Video of my editing with my Preset Packs

Hello everyone.  I put up a youtube video explaining my new Film preset packs which are available.  I go into detail on how they can be used to enhance your photos and workflow.  Please check it out.

You can see more about the preset pack on the Lightroom Preset Collection page of this site.

You will get 5 presets.  Kodak Portra400, Fuji400H, Light & Airy, Clean Black, Faded Black.  Some examples below using the presets.  Thanks again!!!!

Hyperion Camera Straps

I wanted to take some time today to discuss a question I am always asked on my instagram feed.  That question is....What strap is that?  Well to put the subject to rest the answer is Hyperion

Hyperion's braided leather.

Hyperion's braided leather.

A while back I was looking into straps for my Fuji X Series cameras.  I didn't want anything pretentious or with complicated hooks and sliders.  I really didn't even want a quick release system.  All I was looking for was a utilitarian style simple strap that could be worn cross carry or around the neck.  Easy on easy off.  Something that wouldn't get in the way when I shoot.  A strap that if I so wished I could wrap a few times around my wrist while raising the camera to my face for some added security.

Well enter Hyperion Camera Straps handmade and owned by a wonderful gentleman named Pavlos.  Pavlos makes these straps in an assortment of sizes, designs and materials.  They are amazingly comfortable and completely customizable.  Delivery is quick and I almost forgot the best part.  They hardly break the bank at 15/23 Euros (Thats $17 - 26 USD).

 Needless to say Im obsessed.

Relax people, I don't take myself that serious.  All the straps you see are Hyperion's 135 length.

Relax people, I don't take myself that serious.  All the straps you see are Hyperion's 135 length.

Not only do they check all the marks I've stated above they also look amazing on your new as well as old Vintage cameras.

As you can see below I have an assortment of Hyperion Straps, and why not at the the price they sell for.  I choose the 135 length.  I'm 6ft and 245lbs and this is a great cross body carry length for me.

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If I got my Hyperion I'm ready for my day of shooting.

The "Beast" Pentax 67

            I started this blog a while back and have slowly added more and more ideas and thoughts as the days and weeks have gone on.  I keep harvesting more and more scans back from my most recent lab of choice, Richard Photo Lab. They do an outstanding job and have some of the best turnaround times I've experienced thus far.

The Pentax 6x7 or 67 or.......67II if your have cash in your pocket to spend, are all variations of the same camera.  Subtle changes were made between the first versions until we arrived at the Pentax 67II.  I've owned three Pentax 67 cameras and currently still have two.  I have an original version the 6x7 non-mirror lockup and a Pentax67 MLUP.  Going forward on this post all images were created with the Pentax 67 Mirror Lock Up version with the TTL Metering viewfinder.

The Mighty Pentax67 & 105mm f/2.4 Super Takumar

The Mighty Pentax67 & 105mm f/2.4 Super Takumar

Now I am far from an expert on the Pentax 67.  I am also far from an expert on shooting film however put the two together with my enthusiasm and something decent is bound to happen.  The Pentax 67 is a medium format film camera which accepts 120 or 220 roll film.  I shoot with 120 so I get ten exposures per roll.  The camera, although for me is not excessively heavy is large and does have a thunderous shutter/mirror clap.  Thats to be expected because remember your shooting a 6x7 negative here.  Loads of detail and beautiful fall off.

When I purchased my first Pentax 67 it was to use with the assortment of 67 Lenses I was already adapting with my Fujifilm GFX.  Coincidently the Pentax 67 glass work phenomenally on the GFX due to the sensor being quite a bit smaller then the image circle needed to cover a 6x7 negative.  The other great advantage is that 67 glass is CHEAP.  Not cheap in quality but cheap in price.  Currently I only own the 105mm and the 55mm f/4 and they are both razors.  Another great thing about the Pentax 67 is the high shutter speed of 1/1000th and an ISO capability of metering for 3200.  A huge bright viewfinder which can also accept a waist level finder should you choose to use one.


What do I love about the big 67?  PORTRAITS. All day long. The Pentax67 with a 105mm mounted is a portrait monster.  I love getting this lens down to its minimum focus distance which is right around 3ft and focusing on the eyes.  When you get your negatives scanned you will be blown away by the crisp details and beautiful depth of field which melts all the other details away.  It produces an almost surreal three dimensional effect.

KODAK TRI-X 400 PUSHED TO 1600 METERED FOR THE HIGHLIGHTS.


Again, I'm not an expert film shooter but I know what looks good and pushed Tri-x is it.  When shooting black and white I meter for the highlights.  Film has great latitude but with black & white I want to retain as much detail in the highlights as possible.  I really don't need to worry about muddled shadow coloring that much because, well....its black & white.  I love the look of a well detailed highlights exploding from the black shadows.  A strong contrast that slices like a knife from the darkness.

Whenever my film cameras sit for a while I like to blow off a test roll just to make sure everything is working properly before I use it on a paid gig.  So below are a few shots of my daughter using the 105mm and a variable ND filter.  It was 3pm and sunny.  Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200 and metered for the SHADOWS.

           What a funny kid, one day you'll be reading her blogs.  Again I'm not concerned about the highlights when shooting film due to the latitude it offers.  Had I metered for the highlights I would of killed the shadows and and detail and color would of looked like a muddled mess.  The ND filter offered me a chance to shoot wide open at f/2.4 to get the look I wanted and being that the meter reads via TTL there are no issues or guess work involved.


So for my next big day of fun with the Pentax67 I took it out for an engagement session.  I knew we were going to have some amazing light once golden hour hit so I figured why not.  I also had my Nikon D5 with 58mm 1.4 and my Fuji GFX with the Zeiss 85mm 1.4.  I did a post on this combo the other week so definitely check that out HERE.  

Unfortunately during this session my Zeiss 85mm kissed the concrete pavement and I bent the lip so.......no more ND Filters for me right now until I can have it fixed up. Enough of my troubles...lets take a look at the photos.  Yes thats me below welding the Pentax67.

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Below are all Shots with the Pentax 67 105mm @ 2.4 Kodak Portra 400 rated at 200 ISO.  Metering for the shadows.  No ND Filter was needed.

Don't be afraid to experiment either.  Remember they are your images that you took.  Do what you want with them.  Some may look down on this but who cares.  What maters is you and your clients, if you have them, are happy.  Convert a few of them to black and white.  They look amazing.  I hear Kodak Ektar looks great converted in post.  I haven't tried it just yet!

Some of the above images converted to black & white using Lightroom and my Fuji Acros Simulation.

Now some will say film is a waste of money.  We're in a digital age now why not stick with the times and shoot digital.  Digital is easier and more cost effective.  Why are you still shooting film?

Well, I addressed a lot of these questions in a previous blog FILM PHOTOGRAPHY.  Im happy to answer it again here.  Film slows you down and captures the true essence of photography.  If you don't expose correctly you mess it up.  Try fixing a film scan in post and watch what happens.....good luck!  I'm not saying to solely rely on film.  I'm saying when your not rushed and have the time why not hybrid shoot.  Shoot film and digital.   Most people/clients are drawn towards film photography and have no idea what it even looks like.  Look at the success of VSCO, RNI or Mastin Labs.  Or any other popular photog pumping out his latest preset version of Portra 400 for $50 Bucks.  Film is popular and everyone is always trying to mimic film.  You can get close....really close but at the end of the day IT STILL AIN'T FILM BRO.  Yes it can be costly thats why I say shoot a roll or two along side of your digital images.  Now I know this isn't a big reason for most but for your pros out there especially the wedding photographer crowed.  Pull out a film camera on your next shoot and explain to the couple that you want to shoot some film frames and watch their eyes twinkle.  Most people, even ones that have no idea about photography know it takes some skill to shoot film and it will establish not only trust but confidence that they made the right choice.  Choice nowadays is a huge thing with everyone labeling themselves as a photographer because they have the latest iPhone or spent $350 on a DLSR package at their local electronics store.  Make yourself stand out from the crowed.  Your clients will feel special.

OK....end rant!!!  Now speaking of hybrid shooting lets do something fun.   A TEST.  I know whats fun about a test?  Well nothing but maybe this one will be different.   Lets see who can tell me whats film and what digital?

So, where you able to spot the film from the digital?  Like I said you can get very close using presets but you still need to make adjustments to get the tones and even then its difficult and not %100.

ANSWERS:  FILM on the left -------------- DIGITAL on the right.

All these images were with the 105mm 2.4 shooting the film shots and the Zeiss 85mm C/Y 1.4 @ f/2 shooting the digital shots.

Thanks again all and check out my other blogs, youtube page and instagram.  Links are at the bottom.

Joe

Fuji X Pro 1 Revisited

So I'm sitting here on a rainy morning looking over my Lightroom catalog and I click on my XPro1 files.  I often do this when organizing my everyday work.  I file the images in categories according to the camera or lens I shot with.  It makes it easier for me at least when I need to find images to use for the blog post I intend to write.  Thats exactly what happened here today.  I hit the XPro1 files and as usual I am extremely impressed with the outcome.  Now, Im not making any wild claims that my imagery is above and beyond.  I'm simply talking about the files.  

Fujifilm X Pro 1 / Fujinon35mm f/2 ISO 1600 1/30th handheld

Fujifilm X Pro 1 / Fujinon35mm f/2 ISO 1600 1/30th handheld

No, its not an Xpro 2, nor is it an XT2, XT20 or even an X100F.  It is an X Pro1 and it is different.  Very different, and quirky.  The XP1 has such an organic feel to its files due to the magic of the 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor.  This sensor is highly regarded and respected by those who know about it and shoot it.  The colors are amazing, skin tones have a beautiful feel to them.  Black & Whites ???? Forgettaboutit !!! As Donnie Brasco would say.  They are amazing especially at 1600 ISO.

Now there are some annoyances with the XP1 but that goes without saying.  You have to remember we are talking about a camera released in early 2012.  Thats 6 years ago and in the camera/tech world that might as well be the stone age.  Auto focus although not as slow as some would make it out to be can be cumbersome to move around due to the lack of a joystick.  You have to set it to the "D" Pad or hit the AF button on your opposite side.  AF Continuous is an absolute mystery to me on this camera as all you get is a cross hair type prompt so I'm left to guess where focus is in or out.  The buffer is less then stellar.  There is no control over shutter speeds using the command wheel.  I've found the best way to shoot this camera is in Aperture Priority setting an AUTO ISO and a desired shutter speed then rock the exposure comp dial.  This will allow you to latest move the shutter a few stops (2) up or down within range of your initial choice on the top dial by using the “D” pad.  Or you can set the shutter speed dial to A and set your AUTO ISO to your desired ceiling and base perimeters.  Off you go!!!!

BUT NONE OF THIS MATTERS BECAUSE THE FILES ARE AMAZING!!!!!!

Xpro 1 Fujinon 35mm f/2 ISO 2000 1/80th

Xpro 1 Fujinon 35mm f/2 ISO 2000 1/80th

Listen, It has to be an amazing camera.  We are still talking about it 6 years later.  Sure there is better tech right now, light years better but thats not the point.  Do you need all of it all the time?  This camera invokes a feeling of nostalgia and surprise.  You go out all day take your shoots.  Not overly overwhelmed ( if thats even an actual thing ) about menus and crazy technological options your camera has.  You set your perimeters and shoot.  Check the LCD screen if you like however its not mind blowing so your feedback is limited.  Might as well just focus on what you came out to do and that’s to create images. Forget about everything else of unimportance.  Did you see the shot? Did you get the shot?  Thats all that counts.  This camera will do that for you.

Now for the surprise factor.  Pop your SD Card out (you only have one single card slot) and load that sucker into your desired editing program.  Lean in and scan your files and shake your head at how much fun you can have with what you get.

Check out my original Blog post on the X Pro 1 HERE

 

Another thing I love to do with the X Pro 1 is shoot gear.  I love the crisp sharpness of this sensor combined with the Black & Whites.  I love film cameras and I think its great shooting some true classics with another camera that is destine to be labeled as one of the greats.

As always I hoped you enjoyed my little write up here.  I can't help but to be drawn in by this camera and I'm sure if you have had an experience with it you have been drawn in as well.  They can still be had for a good deal so why not grab yourself one.  Thanks again and be sure to check out my other postings, youtube page and Instagram account.  Links are at the bottom, you know what to do!

HandeVision IBERIT Lens Line UP

I first learned about KIPON through their adapters.  At the time I was beginning to shoot a lot of mirrorless systems and particularly the FUJFILM GFX50 Medium Format system.  Quickly after buying the native 63mm Fuji Glass the other thing I was dying to try out was adapt lenses.  Luckly KIPON had that area well covered as they pretty much support every combination you can think of.  Their adapters are impeccably made and machined to the strictest tolerances.

After researching KIPON's Baveyes Focal Reducer for adapting my Pentax 67 Lenses to my GFX I was able to strike up a conversation with KIPON owner Xiaoming.  He was extremely helpful and kind and even took a look at my work.  After talking a bit more he asked me if I would like to take his IBERIT lens line up for a spin.  Knowing what kind of quality and attention to detail he puts into his adapters I knew I was in for a treat.  I had two months to shoot the FUJI X Mount IBERIT lenses from HandeVision.

HandeVision Lens Line UP

HandeVision Lens Line UP

Now I'm not going to tell you that I am a numbers or charts kind of guy. I've never taking a picture of a Resolution chart and WOWed my potential clients.  I create images to invoke a feeling within the viewers eye.  I don't care if I use a $5600 Nikon 200mm f/2 or a $45 Minolta 45mm f/2 I scored on eBay.  They are all tools and I use what I can to get the job done.  Now that you understand where I'm coming from I think you'll have a better idea of how I subjectively look at gear.

Now for the numbers crowed I took the liberty of copying some specs from the HandeVision Website which can be seen here. As you can see there, the whole story is explained on how these lenses came to be as well as the various systems they can be mounted to.

I returned home one day and the package from KIPON USA is sitting on the table.  I slice that sucker open and I see all the black boxes with the red KIPON lettering.  Delivered to me was the 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 75mm and 90mm.  Every lens they have in this IBERIT line up has an aperture of f/2.4 to f/16.  They are MANUAL FOCUS lenses only.  They come in matte black and matte silver.

As you can see the sizing on all focal lengths are relatively similar with the exception of the 35mm.

As you can see the sizing on all focal lengths are relatively similar with the exception of the 35mm.

Upon first glance a few things really stood out.  First of all the lenses are of an all metal construction.  Focusing is nicely dampened with a solid stop at each extreme.  The lettering and focus scale is beautifully engraved with a nicely finished paint fill.  The design is very similar to that found on a Leica lens.  The aperture ring has a solid feel with a subtle audible click at each F-stop.  Thats right, solid aperture clicks.  Each lens has a solid metal lens cap which is screwed and unscrewed on.  While I do like this design and can see its limitations with the way some people like to shoot.  Each lens has a solid metal lens hood in a petal style.  Again beautifully machined with the lens MM designation on the ring.

Now to address the elephant in the room.....the widest aperture of f/2.4.  I would of loved to see at least an f/2 but at least its not a 2.8.  While f/2.4 is not extremely fast I feel with the direction that where on in regards of sensor technology f/2.4 can certainly be fast enough in allowing the camera to keep some lower ISO readings.  If you have to push it a bit most systems on todays market can handle up to ISO 6400 fairly nicely.  However again we are talking about prime lenses not zooms.  An f/2 would of been a nice compromise.

 A benefit to the f/2.4 though would be an easier time manual focusing such a shallow depth of field and it will also enable the lenses to be smaller over all.  Speaking of small, the 35mm seen above is the smallest out of the line up and it also happened to be my favorite during the time I spent with these lenses.  In my opinion it not only performed beautifully on the Fuji XPro 2 but looked stunning as well.  Dare I say ........Leica????  Any competent photographer will know how to work the lens and its aperture to get the most out of it. 

IBERIT Lens Line up

 

Now if your looking for a faster lens from HandeVision then its gonna cost ya a bit more.  The offer their IBELUX 40mm f/.85.  Now I haven't been able to shoot this lens just yet but I'm getting word I may have that opportunity sooner then later.  This would be a direct competitor to the Mitakon 35mm f.95 which has gained an almost cult following and for good reason.

Photography from Handevision's Website.

Photography from Handevision's Website.

Now the reason you have most likely shown up at my blog post was not to hear me ramble on about lenses but to see examples.  So.....I won't keep you from them.  I'll go lens by lens and post examples.  All the images you see where made with either the Fuji XT2 or Fuji XPro2.


The IBERIT 24mm.  Very Sharp and with a really nice close focus ability which can be seen on some of the watch photographs.  One of my favorites.

 

The IBERIT 35mm.  Easily my favorite out of the group.  Small and compact and looks amazing on your XPro series bodies.

 

The IBERIT 50mm. This is where I would of liked to see an F/2.  We are starting to get into portrait territory and for portrait work I love an f/2 or shallower.  I'm looking for fall off from the eyes back towards the ears and I'm just not getting it here.  Also because I'm shooting a crop sensor I'm effectively a 75mm f/3.4.  I found the focal length odd for me.

 

The IBERIT 75mm.  I had fun with this lens and I found the bokeh pleasing.

 

The IBERIT 90mm.  A fun focal length on a crop sensor and isolates the subject rather well.  I found the bokeh to be a bit busy for my taste.  Another rather unfortunate trait of the 90mm which I did not see in the other lenses was the appearance of chromatic aberration.  Rather strong too.  Now I understand this can be corrected in post however it adds another step and if the CA is too strong, trying to fix it in post will leave you with a grey outline in place of the purple fringe..  Your trading one problem for another.

 

The dreaded CA as shown in these 2:1 crops of unedited images.  As you can see the purple fringe in the high contrast areas of the helmet, lettering and metal handle bars.  The bokeh in the back ground also seems to be exhibiting what looks to be lateral chromatic aberration.

Overall I was pleased with the line up from HandeVision especially at the wider end of the spectrum.  I thought they were pleasantly sharp throughout the range and offered some close focus ability.  I was pleased with the size and build quality especially the 35mm.  Again as I said before and even f/2 would of been nice especially at the telephoto lengths.  The f/2.4 is not so concerning with the wide angle lengths mostly because when shooting wider lenses  a narrower DOF is the norm.  Especially when your subject matter is landscapes or street photography.  The same goes for manual focus lenses.  Right off the bat that will turn some potential buyers away but for most that truly know what their looking for manual focus will not be an issue.  The telephoto range ( 50mm, 75mm, 90mm )  offer relatively decent subject isolation for having a maximum f/2.4 aperture however I was disappointed with the 90mm for the reasons discussed above.  

A quick search for the lenses at your major retailers like B&H Photo or Amazon will offer you all the focal lengths and appropriate mounts for your camera.

The Contax Yashica Zeiss 85mm 1.4 Planar

The title alone brings a feeling of excitement and excellence and it should.  The C/Y Zeiss 85mm Planar 1.4 is an exceptional lens which can elevate you to the level of a photography God......well maybe not that last part but at least you will feel that way.  This “vintage” lens is made for the Old Contax / Yashica 35mm film cameras and are easily considered some of the best glass a photographer can own and are highly regarded by those who have them.  The C/Y Zeiss lenses can still be had at a good price if you can find a deal but with the resurgence of film photography as well as the ability to adapt glass to todays mirrorless systems, prices have certainly risen.   

The Fuji GFX with Adapted 85mm 1.4 Zeiss Planar

The Fuji GFX with Adapted 85mm 1.4 Zeiss Planar

The construction of the lens is everything you have come to expect from the name Carl Zeiss.  My specific copy was made in West Germany however many Zeiss lenses have been made in Japan as well.  In my experience either type will suit you just fine and I haven’t noticed an edge either way.   

Smooth focusing with solid stops and just the right dampening.  Solid audiable aperture clicks. The famous T* Zeiss coatings that offer extraordinary contrast and pop to give you that a Zeiss 3D rendering they are known for. 

 

When I set out for my copy I had two...well three applications in mind.  First and foremost I wanted to adapt this lens to my Fujifilm GFX50S digital Medium Format camera.  I have seen results and they were amazing.  Not wanting to spend close to $2,000 USD on a Zeiss 80mm F/2 Contax 120mm Film Medium format lens, I opted for the 35mm film version the 85mm Zeiss Planar 1.4.  As luck would have it the image circle covers the GFX sensor just fine with a very soft and minimal vignette which is easily gone when adjusting the vignette slider in post to about 65-70%.  This set up when adapted to the GFX gives me roughly a 67mm f/1.1 in 35mm equivalent focal length.  People are not used to seeing a 67mm focal length let alone the wide DOF of 1.1 and needless to say it makes your image stand apart.  A really three demensional look where your subject just pops from the image.  A lot of talk as of late is the great debate as to why one would adapt an old lens to a new resolution Beast like the GFX.  Why not use the native Fuji glass.....well, because its my camera and I'll do what I want to.  No, in all seriousness though adapting glass while fun also offers benefits like different looks and effects not seen before as well as a cheaper option to shoot various focal lengths.  Plus it just plain F.U.N.

Rigatoni the Doxie:  Fujifilm GFX50s 85mm Zeiss Planar

Rigatoni the Doxie:  Fujifilm GFX50s 85mm Zeiss Planar

 

The second application would be to use on my crop sensor Fuji bodies.   This gives me a 127mm f/2.1.   Another really nice focal length for portrait work.  Focus peaking on the XPro2/XT2 series cameras works wonders.  A little tip I found helpful is to set you cameras film simulation to black and white and the focus peaking is even easier to spot.  If your shooting RAW files it won’t matter at all once imported because everything goes back to the standard image info (no simulations).

 

The third reason these lenses and this 85mm lens in particular was beneficial to me is I use them on my Contax RTSii 35mm film camera.  Yep... you guessed it.  The focal length is......85mm f/1.4.  A true classic portrait lens.  Portrait photography is one of my favorite genres of photography.  It’s pretty evident if you took the time to browse my website or Instagram feed.

 

I'm not much of a technical charts/numbers guy when it comes to evaluating glass.  I never check the DXO rankings.  I skip over the highly technical reviews of lenses made by other bloggers.  While I appreciate the effort, skill and knowledge they put into those reviews they hardly tell me the most important aspects a lens has to offer.  For me that most important trait is CHARACTER.  Some lenses have it and some are just plain duds.  Some lenses are a necessity when doing pro work but are uninspiring.  The Zeiss Contax 85mm Planar is no dud.   It oozes character out of every element.  This lens is just ready to work and if deployed properly will make you look like a hero.  It’s huge front element combined with its fast 1.4 aperture sucks in every ounce of available light.  Sometimes this isn’t a great thing if you want to shoot wide open on a sunny day.  Thank god for ND Filters right?  Go grab yourself a 3 step or variable ND filter for those hard light days.

The massive chunk of perfect glass that graces the front of the 85mm Zeiss.  Beautifully T* coated like only Zeiss can do.

The massive chunk of perfect glass that graces the front of the 85mm Zeiss.  Beautifully T* coated like only Zeiss can do.

I truly enjoy this lens for weddings as I feel it gives my work a look that stands out for the everyday images potential clients see when researching their future photographer.  I was using the Pentax67 105mm 2.4 a lot for weddings and while it is a fantastic lens I found the look to be similar on the 85mm plus the set up is smaller.  This is definitely helpful when your shooting with two cameras and the other one is a huge Nikon D5.  I mostly break out this beastly combo during bride/groom prep as well as intimate couples portraits.  The images are just so rich with detail and the fall off is something surreal that a full frame 35mm cannot give you.  Here is a recent set I took using the GFX and 85mm Zeiss combo while shooting for another wedding photographer Devin Peppler Photography.  He called last minute asking me to help him out and I was happy to test this combo out professionally........it did not fail.

Please keep in mind all these images in this set are slightly edited Jpegs as the RAWs were handed over to the photographer I was shooting for at the time.

While shooting these images of the groom during prep I also used my Nikon D5 with the amazing 58mm 1.4 lens.  I really love this lens.  It definitely gives off a bit of that medium format feel when shot close up and in a portrait setting.  I love shooting the men in this pose.  Sitting in a chair near a window with arms and elbows resting on the thighs.  Have them lean forward a bit and it will really square off the jaw bone adding to that masculine look.

For more info on my approach to wedding photography please visit my recently featured interview in FUJI X Passion Magazine.  You can head to their website HERE or check out my blog post indexed below as well as other interesting things you may like.

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Nikon D5 & 58mm 1.5 Nikkor

Fuji Acros Simulation ( a little brighter then the GFX image)

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Fujifilm GFX & 85mm Planar

Fuji Acros simulation 

When we start getting some distance is where we see the gorgeous medium format fall off become apparent.  Especially with the 85mm Zeiss.  Not only are we at a shallower DOF but the Zeiss lenses are known for their contrasty pop.

                                                                 GFX/Zeiss 85mm on Left ---------Nikon/ Nikkor 58mm on Right

                                                                               Shhhh!!!!  I'm aware the colors are not an exact match.

Ok, I've babbled on long enough.  Below are an assortment of personal images I took with the 85mm Zeiss 1.4.  

Well, to close this one out please send in your comments and questions and I'll do my best to help you out and answer what I know.  Please share the blog and help others out.  Check out my Instagram Feed and while your there give it a follow.  Also come check out my youtube channel and subscribe.  I'm posting more videos soon but right now there is an accompanying video on this exact topic so you may find that helpful as well.

A Cheap way to improve your photography.

I have been wanting to post about this for some time now and I'm finally getting around to it.  The house is quite and a good time to put some thoughts on the website.  From time to time I'll get asked whats the best camera I can get for this or that?  Or, Im just starting off what should I buy?  How can I achieve better photos?

These are all hard questions and there is not a definitive answer for any of them.  What I can say for certain is one of the cheapest and best ways to improve your photography is........... (Get close and Ill tell you a secret) Buy a 50mm Prime lens.

A 50mm Prime can tell your story!!!  Canada / 58mm Nikkor Prime

Lets look into the benefits of a Prime lens and for the interest of this post, the 50mm prime specifically. 

1. 50mm Primes are among the cheapest prime lenses to purchase.  Even some of the top of the line designs are cheaper compared to other focal lengths.  This is where the term "Nifty Fifty" came from.

2. Primes allow you to achieve a narrow DOF ( Depth of Field ) which will enhance subject isolation and bring the viewers eye towards whats important in your photograph. 

3. Wider F-stops like f/1.4 through f/2 allow for two advantages in addition to subject isolation.  You will achieve faster shutter speeds to ensure crisp sharp images in failing light as well as lower ISO numbers which offer better noise control.

4. They are usually lighter and smaller which offer obvious benefits.

5. A 50mm focal length or focal lengths within that range offer a great combination of compression for portraits yet wide enough to go walking about and tell your story.  If you look at the image above of my daughter holding onto the telescope viewer at Niagara Falls you can see the surrounding elements that are important in telling this story.  You can see the binoculars, you can see the mist from the falls.  The buildings and people around her.  You can even see her clothing which tell you it was a nice sunny day.  Had this shot been taken with an 85mm or even a higher telephoto focal length these important factors would of been left out of the image.  It would be a tight portrait of a child and thats all.

6.  BOKEH !!!!  We all love it even if some of us have no idea what it is.  We know it when we see it.  Bokeh can be explained in THIS article.  

This is bokeh.  Nikon 58mm.

The good news is pretty much every major camera manufacturer offers more then one 50mm prime.  In fact most offer their high end Prime 50mm right along with a budget conscious 50mm and the results are usually close to the same.  In most cases 50mm primes will offer an F/1.4 as well as an F/1.8 or F/2.  Some of these prime lenses are legendary to say the least.  Im not going to list them all but a few like the Leica 50mm Summicon, Minolta 58mm 1.2, Canon 50mm 1.2, Nikon's 58mm 1.4 and a few Russian Vintage lenses like the Halios offer distinctive looks that are bound to make your photography stand out.

A 50mm prime lens will teach you to frame your photographs with your feet not a zoom lens.  You will probably start to even learn where you need to plant yourself for the right distance before you even take the picture.  Prime lenses can teach you how to look for potential imagery.

My advice to you if your a beginning photographer and looking into making your first camera purchase.  Buy a 50mm prime right away and start benefiting from these wonderful lenses.  If your shooting an APS-C body be mindful that the crop factor must be taken into account so a 35mm lens on a crop body will give you your 50mm focal length.

If you happen to shoot mirrorless, well then.....as they say the worlds your oyster!!!  You can pretty much adapt any 50mm lens to your camera so things just got a lot cheaper for you.  Or expensive depending on if you want the really high end stuff. 

Its works both ways.  The Mamiya 110mm f/2.8 Medium Format 6X7 equals a 55mm f/1.4 focal length on a standard 35mm frame.

Its works both ways.  The Mamiya 110mm f/2.8 Medium Format 6X7 equals a 55mm f/1.4 focal length on a standard 35mm frame.

Worried about your wide angle shots.....don't be.  Just learn how to stitch in post.

Below I'm going to bombard you with a ton of imagery all taken using 50mm equivalent lenses.  I was using everything from Fujifilm Crop sensor bodies all the way to Medium Format cameras.  Some shots are even on film.  Thanks for checking out the post and as always come visit my youtube channel as well as my instagram page for more blogs and images.  As always I welcome questions and comments so please feel free to reach out.  Im always happy to help.