Updated: May 7
Carry over from my blog Fujifilm GFX100
March 5, 2022 for my coming trip to Russia!
March 8 Anna, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia
March 9 Rybinsk at day break, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia
March 19 Myshkin, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia
March 29 Myshkin, Yaroslavl Oblast, Russia
November 20 Nutwch Theerarat at All Day Fine Cafe Bangkok, Thailand
Not much shooting with my GFX cameras but apparently Fujifilm has been busy!
September 2 Fujifilm Announcement
Fujifilm released the GFX 50s MK II precisely as predicted as the so-called rumor - indicating the pattern of "Rumor Marketing" still works so far.
I was not a fan of the original GFX50S for its dated design and was not fond of the 50R model, but I bought it for its best feature - "inexpensiveness".
Image quality is not a concern, not for Fujifilm or Hasselblad; and not for Phase One IQ150 and Pentax 645z both use the same 44X33mm SONY sensor years before the Fujifilm GFX50S and Hasselblad X1D-50C. I use Pentax 645z for a couple of years and sold it for the system is heavy I have Hasselblad H and Phase One XF already in use.
My prediction of Fujifilm made a strategically wrong decision on camera body design stands until the GFX100S, which I enjoy using. However, I think the GFX100S is still not quite right in its design. I was wrong to assume it will take another generation before Fujifilm finally settled, but it seemed Fujifilm might have decided that they will stay with the 100S chassis for a while.
The new GFX 50S Mark II is simply a GFX100S replaced with an older but still good sensor, and by the age of sensor technology, the autofocus is contrast-based instead of phase detection. I have used many contrast-based AF cameras such as Leica SL and earlier SONY mirrorless cameras, and including Fujifilm GFX50R and Hasselblad X1D - not a problem. However, I am happier with the newer Phase-detection based AF system.
The GFX50S II is not a camera for me in 2021, and it is only USD 1,500 lower than the GFX100S that I am using -my backup GFX camera would be another GFX100S. Others can make their call.
Updated G Mount lens roadmap with three new lenses scheduled
New lenses are always welcome, although nothing is exhilarating for my use of the GFX system.
GF 20-35/4 - there is no wide-angle lens wide enough for those looking for a wider lens. I am not one of them. I have the GF32-64/4, GF45-100/4 and GF100-200/5.6 that cover my most needs. I could add the GF 20-35/4 to stretch the coverage of my lens collection, although I may not use it often. I found my Canon TS-E 17/4L and TS-E 24/3.5L II suited better for wider angle shots.
GF 55/1.7 - this is a nice lens that will be a higher priority for me to add. I have the GF 45/2.8, GF 63/2.8, GF 80/1.7 & GF 110/2 so the 55/1.7 can round up the lens collection and be a more practical lens for me than the GF 63/2.8. I don't question Fujifilm's motivation to make this 55/1.7 lens but a f/2 - f/2.2 lens should be a more sensible decision to keep the lens more compact, but it is understandable as there are loud noises for fast primes. Fujifilm cannot satisfy everyone.
Tilt/Shift lens ? I was wrong to assume Fujifilm may not need it, but obviously, Fujifilm knows better. The challenge is that Fujifilm needs more than one Tilt/Shift lens. There is no additional information at the announcement time, but I guess it is a TS-GF 28/4, hopefully including close-range focus to ¼ life-size. I have all the Canon TS-E lenses that cover 17, 24, 50, 90 and 135 and can't imagine I need the Fujifilm TS-GF but never say never. There are many systems that Fujifilm can adhere to create a total solution of lens/camera movement, and one lens won't do it. But it will silence some noises. Will see.
September 5 The call answered?
For those who pushing Fujifilm to release Tilt/Shift lenses, I am not among them, but It is not for the implementation that no photographers use the Fujifilm GFX system requiring technical movement solutions. The point is if the photographer is serious and determined enough, he would have exercised plenty of choices already, many probably superior to Tilt/Shift lens. Arguably, the Sinar PX, Cambo Actus, Linhof M679, Arca Swiss Universalis, Novoflex BALPRO T/S and alike offer the broadest range of possibilities in addition to various adapters.
And there is quite some selection of tilt/shift lenses workable through a smart adapter: five available from Canon 17, 24, 50, 90 & 135mm (showing here the TS-E 17/4L on GFX50s II and TS-E 24/3.5L II on GFX100S), four from Nikon 19, 24, 45 and 85mm, three from Schneider PC-TS 28, 50 and 90mm (discontinued but easy to find on-line), the TS-Apo-Elmar-S 120/5.6 from Leica, and the HTS 1.5 that works with the H lenses, and a few more.
There are always voices from those who ask for more lenses, most of whom don't buy what they are asking but ask nonetheless. But Fujifilm has to answer, partly business, partly system, and brand PR.
The challenge is that Fujifilm needs more than one Tilt/Shift lens to call it a program. For the moment, there is only one planned for 2023 - an MF TS-GF 28/4 (my guess) that is on the safe side but likely gets criticized for it is a bit too wide, or not wide enough, not fast enough, and so on, and more lenses. The TS-GF 28/4 should be a good one because as MF lens has less restriction for optical design and there are already plenty of Tilt/Shift lenses available that Fujifilm can reference. It will cost similar to the Canon TS-E or Nikon PC-Nikkor lenses, as Fujifilm GFX has labeled itself an affordable system. Will see.
The third party solution
As a photographer and industrial designer, the technical camera platform is ideal for images that require lens or camera movements. Tilt/Shift lens is an alternative and a very convenient one. As a user of multiple cameras systems, I have all the five Canon TS-E lense, two of the four Nikkor PC lenses, the Leica TS-Apo-Elmar-S 120/5.6 for my S system, the Schneider PC-TS Macro-Symmar 90/4 Canon E mount to use on my Canon and SONY cameras.
It is not a wise situation for today's mirrorless cameras. Ideally, a lens maker can produce a set of high-quality manual (CINE) lenses to fit all systems and purposes with an interchangeable mount adapter! Hello, Mr. Kazuto Yamaki!
September 16 Crest Sukhumvit 34 Bangkok with Liza Kaylee & Maria Klepikova
April 4 Long 1919 Bangkok, Thailand
Visit the Mango International Art Fair at Lhong 1919 and stumble upon Anastasia in one of the showcases helping her artist friend for presentation. Seeing her just got a beer that is a good match to her skin and hair color while dressing in black with a black Mickey Mouse purse, I asked her to stand in front of a black wall for a quick snapshot.
It was about 6 pm when I took the shot; the outdoor natural light still plenty and soft, which helps to have an image of a smooth transition.
Elena, another friend, dancer, was also there preparing for a performance with her body painted in sync with the artist's painting. I captured this shot at almost 7 pm; ambient light is low and street lamps up; I positioned her in a spot where she can get some available light with a dark steel background to get better isolation.
April 5 The L Bracket arrived!
April 9 Izem Yilmaz
The water festival "Songkran" was Thai's official New Year until 1888, when Thailand adapted the western new year during its modernization campaign. One significant Songkran tradition is paying respect to elders. For this, Thai children gently pour, not splash, scented water over parents and grandparents' palms as an act of gratitude and devotion. As Thailand promotes itself as a tourist destination, the once beautiful tradition evolved into public water fights, fueled by international visitors' added imagination; and the water bowl replaced by water pistols of all sizes and design. During the pandemic and requirement of social distancing, water pistol for once, not a poor solution!
April 22 Crest 34 Bangkok, Thailand
Camera developments with the latest technology allow the photographers close to unlimited options in photography with a vast amount of optics and accessories presently available and those of the past. In addition, a wide variety of software adds versatility. The combination brings convenience, compactness, efficiency, and if managed carefully with sufficient knowledge, the potential to achieve results superior to the past.
The Canon TS-E 17/4L and Canon TS-E 24/3.5L II I bought back in late 2009 to use with my EOS system are still competitively valuable today, mainly using with my SONY A7X cameras or Fujifilm GFX cameras.
The 2nd generation of Canon TS-E lenses, such as the 17mm and 24mm, improved with independent movement control over the older mechanical, provides ±12 mm shift with respect to the center of the image area and ±6.5° tilt with respect to the film or sensor plane. They are my go-to choice for travel landscape, macro photography, and casual interior/cityscape photography.
The TS-E lenses are not replacing traditional technical camera platforms, which are also shrinking in size, such as the Cambo Actus, with more optics choices, many legendary ones. The TS-E lenses can be handheld in tight spaces or macro photography for more flexible depth-of-field control, such as the bulk of my Cycle of Life project shot mostly with Canon TS-E 90/2.8L.
There is next to no reason not to go out and shoot with all the cameras and tools available today.
April 30 Bang Rak, Bangkok
March 5, 2021 My GFX100S delivered!
It is what it is, and as expected! It is not a small camera, but it is, by comparison, very compact to GFX100. I have been using the GFX100 since July 2019 and was not bothered by its weight and size, but I welcome the camera of similar specification in a smaller package. The weight is not what I concern much; size is; for being travel-friendly. However, it is not something I would complain although I don't mind that the GFX100S is a couple of hundred grams heavier, so it may balance better with the larger lens.
The battery is one of the factors to allows the GFX100S to be able to shrink in size. The in-camera battery capacity was reduced from two on GFX100 to single in GFX100S. It is not an unreasonable approach as GFX100 runs on one battery even when you can place two inside or just one, and the most camera runs on single battery anyway. The switch made possible from Fujifilm re-engineered the electronics, so it runs on 7.2 V than 12.6 V on GFX100. The new battery NP-W235 is about the weight and size of the older NP-T125 but has a higher capacity of 16 Wh/2,200 mAh to just 14 Wh/1,230 mAh, which means the GFX100S run on lower consumption on a higher-capacity battery so that it may outrun the GFX100 with two cells.
The GFX100S is the fourth member of the Fujifilm GFX camera line. My prediction from the introduction of Fujifilm GFX 50S still holds today - I predicted that Fujifilm would struggle to settle on the final camera design for at least 3-4 models.
My take on the 50S was a new mirrorless system camera built on a decades-old camera concept; 50R mimicking rangefinder but in the wrong size; GFX100 rushed to market with design half-finished!
The GFX100S appears modeled from Fujifilm's popular APS-C cameras with re-arrangements; on the other hand, it is almost like a sister camera to Panasonic S1R, a great FF camera much better built. However, the GFX100S is by no means a poorly made camera; it is decent enough, and I am without a doubt it will deliver exceptional image quality, as does the GFX100, and it is what mattered the most.
On paper, Fujifilm filled the specification sheet with most features essential for photography and much more. My perspective on the camera as an industrial designer will not make my appreciation of new photographic tools such as GFX100S any less as a photographer. The photographer's job is to learn the camera, be acquainted with the camera, and be the master.
"It is the photographer, not the camera, that is the instrument."
~ Ansel Adams
Do I miss anything on the GFX100? The EVF - probably at the cost of more power consumption, but it is more desirable, although it is not a deciding factor for picture quality.
The rest very much inherited from the GFX100, except the integrated vertical grip with convenient controls, but I take the size reduction. The GFX100 has a nice weight that makes low shutter speed shooting with more confidence; I need to find out with GFX100S. The handle feels a bit short that can be improved with an after-market "L" plate, which will also add some weight and structural strength to the camera, something I do to all my cameras, except Leica M and Q, since the founding of RRS.
Fujifilm did what the company needed to do to try to break new marketing grounds. It is a straightforward strategy: a good quality product at a bargain. It will work to some extent but will it result in what Fujifilm hopes for? I have a reservation. The old marketing tactic is again at play to use low initial volume to drive market anxiety. Better safe than risking.
It is an excellent time with technology developments available for camera makers to make great products; it is a dangerous time when only a few things are certain, camera business not among them.
Go out and shoot!
March 6 Shalika Chitkosolsuk "Screened" Samut Prakan, Thailand
Red Carpet vs. Street
Photography has changed a lot and without a doubt has become one of the most popular activities involved by most people after drink and eat. The camera also becomes an object for the user to identify oneself, particularly among non-professional users. Such a trend also let rise to the accessorizing camera as a widespread photography discussion with absolutely nothing or very little to do with photography.
Likewise, the swarm of camera reviews goes as far as analyzing rumors, un-boxing, all the comical characters of initial camera review, serious, funny, crazy field review, all the way to finding ways to break the camera by putting it to laundry machine or blender. Where is authentic photography is not a concern; identification is what most are after.
The rise of digital media also helped diversify the use of images, still and animated; the content creation targets various audiences that quality of image often not the most critical concern, popularity probably is.
Here we have two good examples, the Hasselblad 907X and the newest Fujifilm GFX100S, one from a company trying to keep its head above water and one juggernaut that has probably more resources than the management capable of manage effectively.
On the specification sheet, the Fujifilm wins in a sweep. The GFX100S with its IBIS can potentially shoot at ISO 100 when the 907X needs to push to ISO 1,600 with all other things equal. The 100MP can allow larger and higher quality print than 907X's 50MP if the user makes prints. And the system cost - camera plus several lenses. There is a logical choice to make, and the logic shows in sales.
The reality is that camera is a tool; the best tool today will be replaced by the following tool, usually better, sooner or later. Usually sooner! The old tools do not become useless; in fact, I would comfortably assume that the best 10% of pictures from a decade ago are still better than most of the images taken by the most advanced cameras today by average users. And a decade-old camera can still service what most people do with their pictures today, except instant post. We can pick one camera over another base on logic; however, logic does not rule everyone's life.
March 13 Continue working on my project Cycle of Life
March 15 My GF 80mm F1.7 R WR arrived!
The GF 80/1.7 R WR could eventually be a more practical lens for me than my GF 110/2 R LM WR because I plan to use GFX100S more outdoors than inside the studio. I am not crazy about the F/1.7 specification; what interests me is the focal length equivalence of 63mm in FF term aligns the most often use focal lengths I use with my Leica M cameras and SONY A7R III/A7R IV cameras for portraiture. Otherwise, my GF 45-100/4 R LM OIS WR is my preferred choice for general use.
The lens description indicated it is not an "LM" - linear motor lens - and it does exhibit somewhat slower focusing speed and agility, which may not make the lens less functional; however, it may require more acquaintance with the lens to avoid hiccups in demanding shoots. The decision behind using a DC motor instead of a linear motor raises questions as the DC motor is noisier and reacts slower. Fujifilm must know what they are doing, but as an industrial designer, I am not sure why abandoned the linear motor, although I do believe it is a judged decision than a wrong one.
Fujifilm aims for a claim of a super-fast lens for bragging right; the lens could be a faster-focusing and more efficient one if it is an f/2-2.2. I don't usually shoot wide open, and those who did may evaluate it otherwise. Anyway, the lens is in my hand, and I need to learn to use it and make it work!
The GF 80/1.7 is not a large lens nor a small one, and it sizes well with the GFX100S, making the combination around the size and weight of a premium FF camera with 85/1.4 primes.
Fujifilm's obsession with implementing the "Q" button on the back of the handgrip is a terrible one; it compromises the handgrip ergonomics and forces the hand position lower than it is necessary, which makes the handgrip feels smaller than it is! I got annoyed with the "Q" button on my GFX50R; it is forgivable on my GFX100, and I hate it is there on the GFX100S. Fujifilm now allows the user to disable the "Q" button, indicating that they knew there are complaints. It is time to remove it from the handgrip area and place it somewhere else, and it should be no bigger than other functional buttons.
For outdoor portraiture works, I can see myself using the 80/1.7 and 110/2 alternatively, and probably use the lens hood from 80/1.7 also on 110/2 to help manage the camera bag space. The GF 80/1.7 allows the closest focusing at 70cm and 0.15X max. magnification compares to GF 110/2 at 90cm and 0.16X, so if I were to limit to just one within the two lenses, then more likely, the 80/1.7 would be my pick.
Images from 80/1.7 are coming soon!
March 17 with Katarina Gartell
Last frame, keep the tradition going..
March 20 Makkasan Community
Taking the Fujifilm GFX100S to the streets!
It is probably a debate if one needs a 102MP camera for street photographs? And such debate may never end as higher resolution, and faster cameras continue to launch. There is no answer to everything, so I don't seek a definitive answer here; instead, I let my curiosity took charge.
I want to know how Fujifilm GFX100S works, if any differently, from my SONY A7R IV, my Leica M10-D and M10 Monochrom, or the Hasselblad X1D II and 907X. And I might as well having fun.
The GF 32-64/4 R LM WR was my more often used travel lens on GFX50R and GFX100 for street and portraits since it has more coverage for the sense of location and can get closer to the subject for more intimate shots. With the first street shot using GFX100S, I paired it with the GF 45/2.8 R WR to keep the size to the minimum, and it worked out well.
It has no comparison of speed in autofocus and operation to my SONY A7R IV + FE 35/1.4 GM that I shoot at this exact location a week earlier; as I expected, I probably miss a couple of shots, but overall, the result is satisfactory. The GFX100S is not my first choice nor even second choice for street shooting, but if I travel to a location where I like to shoot landscape and the environmental portrait that I could have more control, with limited luggage space and weight, I will take the GFX100S.
March 30 Chon Buri, Thailand
Trip to Rajamangala University of Technology Tawan-Ok Waterlily Institute, Chon Buri, Thailand to work on my "Cycle of Life" project.