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Friday, 10 November 2017


Yes. I did enjoy the Fujifilm GFX review!

No fresh snow Foto of the red chair ?

Mike, regarding the Surface Book 2, the key is the 2. Never - and I am being serious - buy a Microsoft product with a version number less than 3 unless you like being an unpaid Alpha tester. This has been true since the days of Word on Xenix and it's still true now.

It might not be bad but they'll never get money from me again for a too new product.

+1 for the GFX review trio. Please encourage Stephen to do more. His TOP blog comments are always worth reading as well.

Yes, I enjoyed Stephen’s GFX review. I suspect the review contributed to the large number of comments to your other MF posts.

I have had a Surface Book (1) since May. It replaced both my Surface Pro 3 (used outside the office) and desktop computers. The accessory Dock connects the Book to the large monitor and extra disk drives when I'm at my desk. When I'm on the road I can do everything I can in the office and with a 1TB disk I usually have everything I'm working on with me.

Speedy, powerful and reliable. Like a good car, it starts every morning and takes me where I want to go. Like a really good car it looks and feels great.

If I hadn't just bought one, I'd be in line for a Book 2. Not sure if I'd get one with the larger screen. Ok. I probably would.

Coda: I bought mine from B and H so Mike made a few bucks on the deal.

I didn't read the review closely because I'm not interested in medium format. But...I did skim a couple parts and thought the review was well done.

Stephen’s review of the GFX was great. Couldn’t think of anything to say in a comment to any of the three parts, other than thanks and great review. Not having the budget for one may have also played a role in not commenting. A case of Champaign taste and koolaid budget.

Two different things.

1. I enjoyed reading about a camera I have no interest in ever buying. I print at 11x14 or smaller. I think the camera is overkill for most of us readers as is the price.

2. Apple has been ignoring it’s computer arm for years. They don’t even make a separate monitor any more do they? All the money goes into things that start with a lower case i. If I worked at Apple I would be very red faced by the fact that a lumbering giant like Microsoft (Microsoft?!?!?) has become the innovator in the segment while we were making sure that customers could not upgrade even a Mac mini anymore.

"Microsoft Surface Laptops and Tablets Not Recommended by Consumer Reports-The problem is predicted reliability, with estimated two-year breakage rates of 25 percent"

This is a quote from Consumer Reports magazine. I have no personal experience with these laptop/tablets but tend to rely on Consumer Reports magazine especially in areas of reliability of products, e.g. cars, home appliances, and computer stuff.

Yes a well done review of the Fuji, interesting reading. The reality is I will never purchase one as I print few images and, as mentioned, viewing images on a monitor does not represent much of a challenge to the camera. And, oh, it's a bit out of my budget right now (like forever).

"I woke up today and found
A frost perched on the town...."

(Sigh) still in Joni Mitchell mode....

Tech reviews are the last thing I come to TOP for. Teh web is already chock full of'em, TOP is always refreshing in its more philosophical approach to photography.

I did enjoy Stephen's Fujifilm GFx review.
The best reviews are (in my opinion) when real working photographers take a camera on real jobs and use them.
--Michael Reichmann style
I liked it enough that I went to look at the camera. It is indeed very easy to hold and surprisingly light.
But I realized , that Stephen has already been a Fujifilm user and for me at least, I was very put off by the viewfinder. It feels so much like looking at a big beautiful TV, where the brightness seems to have nothing to do with the relative brightness of the scene.
There may be an adjustment for that ??
The camera adds video gain to some assumed optimal level.
One can get used to anything of the camera is good enough, so I do think I will look again, because the other aspects of the camera are fairly compelling. I really do wish the flash sync were a bit higher, but the lens selection is already good for me, and relatively cheap for the quality they provide.
Thanks for a thoughtful evaluation

Please. More reviews like the GFX one. Good stuff.

I have two Surface-branded devices, both fully loaded: an SP4 and a “Surface Book with Performance Base”. They have beautiful monitors, but are otherwise garbage. There is no other tech or photo-adjacent purchase I’ve ever made that I regret as much as these.

The hardware underperforms, the docking station is an underpowered, buggy joke, the power supplies aren’t interchangeable (but they are proprietary) so don’t you dare forget which brick you left in your bag.

Support is basically nonexistent. Remote support goes through scripts that nearly universally resolve with instructions to go to a Microsoft Store. Store support tends to reboot the machine and shrug.

I wouldn’t buy a Surface Book 2 even with someone else’s money.

PS, I do a lots work near the ocean in very bright light, I have read that this somtimes causes a difficulty for EVF's
I wonder if Stephen could comment on that
Also, what software is Stephen using, I'm a long time Aperture user, andI was planning on moving to Capture One, but it appears that there will be no support for the GFx because it is a direct competitor of Phase One cameras.
Thank You

The Surface 2, like the newer Macbook Pros, are very sexy, but I’ll be effed if I’ll pay three grand for a portable these days.

Enjoyed the GFX review. A guy can always hope, can't he?

"Does anyone have any opinions about the Microsoft Surface Book 2 released today?"

When I shopped for a 13"-ish portable just a year ago, there were a handful of very similar products from various makers.

The then MS Surfaces were competitive, if not best of breed, but rather pricey. I ended up with an HP Spectre, as equal or better in major performance measures, significantly less expensive and slightly better matched in little details to my needs.

It folds into a tablet, for example, rather than coming apart, which may matter to some. Like the Spectre, the Surface requires a dongle for Ethernet connection. It adds an SD card slot, but it doesn't support UHS II, so I'd be using a reader in the standard USB 3.0 port anyway. To get more than one USB 3.0 port requires a dongle. Just samples of how little details may matter a lot to some users.

The HP has turned out to be an excellent machine; I have no second thoughts. Lovely touch screen, fine keyboard, etc.

I imagine the situation to be much the same today, just with slightly more powerful processors.

Being an AppleHead, you may not fully realize that all these different makes look and act just the same on screen, as they all run Win10. Win runs no differently, no better, no worse, on MS's hardware than anyone else's. They are also generally closely matched in performance in matching models.

My choice ended up being driven as much by small details as headline processor/memory/SSD specs.

I don't come to TOP for reviews, but when they are posted, by whomever writes rhem, they are always interesting. But I know I'll never buy a MF camera, not in this life! I am impressed with what Fuji is doing; working hard to create a loyal customer base.

I thought it was going to be a huge work. Anyway, try to get a nice rest tonight.
Yes, it was a very nice review.

Hmmm.... Micro$oft... work in the controls side of technology and never understood why this was a prevalent company.

Been a Unix (Linux) guy since early 90’s and made full transition when most distros became user friendly (I mean who wants to recompile the kernel every rev?).....

Microsoft in spite of being ubiquitous (monopoly) does not have much going for it: they tend to invent their own standards and implement existing ideas to make them their own.

Although Never had a need to buy into the latest things, I would probably buy Apple because of their adoption of POSIX standards, which guarantees security from the ‘root’.


Stephens review was terrific and I read the 3 parts many times over. Written by a photographer for sure and if medium format digital was anywhere near reasonably affordable I would consider jumping in with both feet. I just can't imagine anyone buying medium format at these prices, it just leaves many of us wishing and wanting and never having unless of course you have a winning lottery ticket in hand.

Michael, why no fotos of the first snow. You live in a beautiful part of New York state.

@Michael Perini:
Regarding the EVF: Yes, you can configure the EVF display in a number of different ways. One is you can configure the camera EVF to be in Auto mode, where the camera decides how bright the scene in the EVF should be and Manual, where you can set the brightness to what you want it to be. Also depending on what the camera setting "Preview Pic Effect" is set to and the exposure settings on the camera, the camera may or may not display the relative brightness of the scene. This is all configurable and explained in the User Manual.

Regarding image editing: I used Adobe Lightroom and/or Iridient Developer for RAW conversion, but there are other apps e.g. Luminar and possibly OnOne and/or Affinity that would support editing GFX files. There is also a workaround for working with GFX files in Capture One by first converting the GFX file to a DNG, and then editing the EXIF information so that the file is recognized by Capture One, but that involves a couple of manual steps.

Cheers, Stephen

100% on more reviews from Stephen. His review was informative and useful to other photographers in a way that many of the review sites are not. Probably the result of his being a good photographer, good writer and not running a review site and being pressured by the manufacturer.

User reviews like Stephen's are a great addition to TOP. In fact, I wish there were more posts by working photographers that appreciate what a piece of gear is capable of (or isn't). Besides, practical talk of equipment balances the historical/esthetic discourse on TOP nicely.

To simplify the bakers dozen, I think you need to make them more obscure. Even more so than the first. Photos done using wet plate method or photos shot using a 58mm lens with film, ete.
Then we will not only like the images, but be surprised how many people are using obscure tools or technics.
The GFX review was good. Real life reviews are harder these days. Too many are very tech spec focused. Its good to heard stuff like handleing, speed and use. The camera store's review of the Hasselblad small MF with non-function rear touch screen turned me totally off that camera. Its best when the reviewer has used the camera for at least a month.
Thanks for all your hard work,

did you enjoy Stephen's three-part GFX review?

A bit meh? At those prices it's like reading about n thousand dollar Leica cameras - only if I'm bored, I'll never be able to afford one so what's the point?

I've been very happy with my Surface Book(1) with the performance base. If I'd known they'd be releasing a model with a bigger screen a few months after I bought it I would have waited! The 13" screen is beautiful but too small for photo editing comfortably. You can plug in an additional monitor without extra accessories. So as long as the performance of the 2 is as good or better than the 1 I say go for it.

While I enjoyed Stephen's GFX review, I'm not in the market for the camera, so commenting seemed kinda pointless. I would like to thank Stephen though. I know those reviews demand a great deal of work to do well and he did well. Now, if a review of that new Lumix G9 ever comes along...

My wife bought an HP Spectre for around $1300. Very fast, nice flip-around touch screen, pen included, light. I still balk at Windows, but it works well enough. I see the design appeal to the Surface, but like others I would miss the easy Apple support, and that is definitely part of the price premium. HP appears to offer ok support, but repairs are by mail, not an appointment at the Apple store.

I did like the GFX review. I would not mind the occasional offbeat review or project articles, like favorite film cameras, unusual print presentations, travelogues, and of course “how to” on things like using your dslr as a negative scanner. Also articles on 1-3 year old digital cameras, after a user has lived with them for a long time, for a different perspective. These cameras lose value so quickly, but of course are wonderfully usable.

The last MF camera I had was a Super Ikonta.
I can't imagine me getting another MF, but Stephen's review was excellent and really interesting reading.

I am writing from ignorance.

According to Phase One ...

Redesigned RAW processing for Fuji X-Trans files enables the full suite of Capture One Pro 10 tools, including graphics acceleration to speed up your workflow. Paired with support for Fuji’s compressed file format you can exploit Capture One Pro to the fullest.

I would like to encourage Steve to write more reviews on cameras he is interested in. I tend to keep cameras for a long time and often buy used. This long cycle does present problems when purchase time does come up. If I haven't kept up with things as they are introduced it is either invest a lot of time educating myself about whatever I am interested in or simply buying a pig in a poke. Steves r,eview means that I now have a fairly positive image of the Fuji in case I am ever involved in a situation where I am considering buying one, although that is not expected any time soon.

I enjoyed the review - part of the fun, back in the day of print photo magazines, was reading the reviews of gear I'd never own:) Would be very interested in a 1 year retrospective review on the X-T2.

As for the Surface Book, when it works, it's quite nice - but it doesn't necessarily work all the time. A large number of issues seems to plague the first version, it's worth waiting to see if V2 has the same sins.

I agree with those who stated that while it is interesting to read about these so-called "medium format" cameras, I am never going to get one. These thoughts may have accounted for the low number of comments. I remain skeptical about the Fuji's superiority over a regular high resolution 35 mm format camera, to be honest. Stephen's review put in various claims about why theoretically it might be better, but personally I would probably only be convinced by looking at comparative images taken with a Nikon D850, Canon 5Ds, or Sony A7RIII etc, which of course he does not have. This should not matter to the review, which was otherwise excellent, but somehow I feel I need to be convinced: something I don't feel necessary with 4/3, APS, or FF reviews. I can't rid myself of the feeling that amateur "medium format" buyers are using film-era outmoded logic when pining for these cameras.

Instead of cameras, how about reviewing other things that get short shrift elsewhere? I remember looking forward to TOP's printer reviews a few years ago. I'm sure there are plenty of there photographic devices out there that should get more attention: tripods, printers, and lighting are some areas that come to mind.

Here's a vote for a review by Stephen of the X-T2. I'd be very interested in reading that.

Some say they don't come here for reviews, but I ask where they propose to find honest, comprehensive reviews by a thoroughly knowledgeable, working photographer who writes with no commercial agenda? Such reviews are not so easy to come by, so I say we should have more of them, not less.

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