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Friday, 29 October 2021


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I get the 'flippy screen' thing. I shoot a lot with Fuji's, mostly an X-H1 that lives in my car but also a couple of lovely silver X-T2/3 bodies. I exclusively view and compose using the (barely adequate) electronic viewfinder. I only use the rear display for chimping. I have never flipped out, rotated or otherwise used the rear screens as anything other than a chimping display, or to go through the (terrible, poorly organized) menus. It just feels all wrong to me. So I would not miss an articulating rear screen for one nanosecond if Fuji did away with it.

I figured you would have gotten one of the Z cameras with the 40mm f/2 lens!

Supposedly Sigma will soon announce Fuji support, and perhaps that means we will see the 30 1.4 soon in X-mount as well. Have fun with the Sony! By the way, I've been having fun with the new masking tools in Lightroom, available in the latest release (the AI detect subject, for instance). I wish it had more user control, of course, and didn't for something in the middle. The same features are likely in ACR.

I will have to try out the latest Silver FX. I hope you return to a few posts about how to create good BW images digitally. Those are some of my favorite.

[Off-topic, if there was one]
I'm sure that when you do a B&W conversion you work hard to match what you printed with film and paper. Even for those who have never used film, the classic examples are film and paper with their limitations. Is anyone going beyond that? I actually have trouble imagining this... maybe I'll look around.

[My position is that digital was the coming-of-age of color, but that B&W was perfect as it was. The problem is not going beyond the best of B&W in direct-negative film and paper, the problem is getting back to that high standard. We're doing poorly. --Mike]

I've been using the A6600 for the past six months. It's a fine camera.

The files are clean, the color is good, lens options abound, and it's AF is a dream.

4K video capture is very good (8-bit), however care must be taken to minimize "jello" readout while filming active subjects.

It pairs well with the Tamron 11-20 f/2.8, a nice all-rounder for video, great wide angle for stills.

It's a solid camera with a premium feel, the haptics are right for me.

I've been a license holder of Capture One since version 7 in 2012, back when C1 was only convertor that did an excellent job with Fujifilm X-trans RAF conversions (this was before Iridient Developer added X-Trans support). ACR/LR never did the trick to meet my requirements.

And since Luminosity Masking was introduced in Capture One (version 18? 19?), I've moved completely away from LR/ACR and only use it for photos I deliver to the the real-estate photographer I shoot twilights for.

Capture One has really been on a roll the last few years, and added a lot of useful new features, including full layers support, the aforementioned luminosity masking, and style brushes. They also have the code from Fujifilm to do the same exact B&W film conversions on RAW files that Fujifilm does.

The introduction of Luminosity Masking in C1 was really significant, and it's the most significant editing technique I've learned in the last 10 years. Having it easily and readily useable and editable as a separate layer in C1 is an absolute game-changer for me.

Also, many, many working fashion pro photographers and retouchers (e.g. Pratik Naik and Earth Oliver) will tell you that LR/ACR simply cannot render skin tones the way C1 does. I agree with them.

Bottom line for me is I only use LR/ACR when I'm absolutely forced to. Otherwise, nooo, thank you.

"...fact the X-T4 might be the No. 1 most recommendable all-around, all-purpose camera on the entire market at this moment. Although sadly not for me, because I don't like flippy screens..."

If you discover that you should have stayed in Fuji world after your experiment, don't over look the X-T3. They are pretty cheap, still in production and if video is not important to you pretty much as good as the -T4 assuming you can live without IBIS. The screen is the same as the one on the X-T2... hinged up and down, plus some side hinge for vertical shots. It is not a floppy screen like the X-T4's.

I like my X-T3 so much that I bought a second, the first redundant body for Fuji in my arsenal.

Saw this one the other day. Doesn't fit my system, otherwise I would put it on my shortlist.

If you still want to use your X-T1 or X-H1 Mike I recommend a $40 piece of software called Iridient X-Transformer. It demosaics your raw file into a DHG with handling of detail as good as Capture One can do. Then you do the rest in ACR as normal.

Congratulations Mike! I have been hoping you would find a way to allow yourself to buy an a6600 since I saw the strong emotion in your review of it.

I wonder if the Sigma DC 30 has any optical similarity to the compact Samyang 45/1.8 that I recently got for using on my a7R III? (The camera, BTW, bought 11 months ago on sale and being my first step outside of µ4/3 since 2013 and a real pleasure.) The FOV, at least, is identical. I don’t know how to read a lens’ optical layout, but you can find it here: https://www.samyanglens.com/en/product/product-view.php?seq=434

USA: Sony A6600 for $1198, Sigma 30mm for $298. Total $1496.
Europe: Sony A6600 for €1359, Sigma 30mm for €349. Total €1708 or $1973.
Amsterdam - New York return ticket for €298 or $344.

Profit $133 and a trip to NY!

I've been mulling over buying a new camera for the past year or so and I've reached the conclusion you did, it needs to be Sony. My reason? Given that the sensor produces pleasing and sufficient quality, it boils down to lens choice for me. Like you, I'm impressed by Sigma and it's very noticeable that virtually every Sigma lens is available first in Sony mount. As are virtually all other independent makers' lenses.

The other reason is that I own the trio of Zeiss/Contax G lenses, the 28mm, 35mm and 90mm, with their idiosyncratic autofocus. Now that there's an adapter to Sony for them that retains the autofocus (Shoten), I might finally get to use them to their full potential.

On the other hand, I need a new camera like a new hole in my head. I have more cameras than I need and I don't use them. Fool.

Note that this is one occasion when the US price is cheaper than the Australian price.

I think you'll get along with this camera well. I moved from Canon to the a6500 and then to the a6600 for the battery life, brighter screen for video and tracking autofocus. Try setting the latter to a back button and let it lock on a subject- it really does change the way you can shoot for moving subjects and is more reliable than older approaches.

I also have the Zeiss 24mm 1.8 and 55mm and bought both used and heavily discounted (<$500). That's the only way I'd do it!

I also am using the Sigma 30mm 1.4 as a main lens but actually the EOS version plus Metabones. I just couldn't justify buying the same focal length a second time. It's a great, well-sorted camera system for both photo and video and I don't need to upgrade to anything any time soon.

I have a Fuji X-T20 which has the 24MP X-Trans sensor and in my experience, the files work well with Lightroom/ACR. For me, the bonus is that with ACR, you're not stuck with their Film Simulations (which I don't like). I made myself an import preset which applies the "Adobe Neutral" profile on import. This results in natural, pleasing colors.

It’s the lenses! I am not sure that I understand you reasoning. Once you have a stable of lenses, why shift to another system? The camera body, while important, is basically just a support for the lenses. If you’re happy with the lenses and happy with the basic body configuration, why start on the ground floor with a different system? Why not just upgrade the body?

[I mentioned that I'm keeping 2 Fujis as well as my Fuji lenses. I'm not intending to switch systems. --Mike]

I feel for s.wolters and the seemingly exorbitant prices in Europe. But I think he misses two things. In USA prices are usually listed without tax. When you go and buy the camera and lens, the shop adds local sales tax, about $100 in this case. You might be able to get it tax free as it is for export, but not every shop does that. And when you import them into Europe you are supposed to pay the ~20% VAT, as it is over the tax free allowance. Otherwise you are smuggling and breaking the law.

You might already be aware of this, however if you are not, DXO Photo Lab has recently added Fuji Xtrans raw conversion to their latest Photolab update, PhotoLab 5. It is still in the Beta version, however I think we can assume it works quite well now. You can download a full working Free edition to try for 30 days. I have been using photolab since version 3 and it is quite awesome. I think it deserves serious consideration for anyone using Micro 4/3, as I do. Their already excellent "Deep Prime" noise reduction has also been improved and it is quite amazing to say the least. It makes noise disappear while keeping the details sharp. A side benefit is the way it smooths the out of focus areas for creamy bokeh. I realize I sound like a Photolab evangelist, but I personally think if you own a 4/3 camera, it is the way to go. It is not just the raw conversions that are nice, the lens corrections are great also. I recently purchased a budget Olympus 40-150 lens because I heard good things about it and it was also on sale for a very good price. I took a few photos with it on my camera and opened the files in Lightroom. It was ok but I was a little disappointed. However, when I sent the files over to Photolab...it became the "little lens that could." I'm quite sure it will make your already excellent sigma lens even better. Just go to "plug in extras" in lightroom and it will export the photos to Photolab. You can set photolab so it will apply the standard corrections to your photos, which I use and just make changes to taste, or no corrections or just lens corrections. It will open with the standard settings the first time you use it.

Re B&W, (hopefully you'll get back to comments for this post):

I am itching to plunge into carbon ink sets for printing B&W. I've seen examples in some local art club shows, and they are freaking amazing. But, you have to be willing to fuss around with non-standard pigments and software. Being ex-IT and a geek by nature, I would love to delve into that world. (But I've got to clean out the basement and garage first, both of which have become an embarrassment).

I get the desire to have the Sigma 30mm f/1.4. I have it in Pentax K mount, from back when it was in the Art series and had only one aspherical element and no special glass - truly a modern resolution lens with an old soul. The bokeh is truly gorgeous and the files are a pleasure to work with. If I could have only one lens I think this would be the one.
And I get the flippy thing as well... I don't have any cameras with a flippy screen. And it's interesting that the new Pentax K-3 III doesn't have one... but that's another story I guess.

"Capture One Express for Fujifilm - Instantly boost your Fujifilm images with free photo editing software"


You know it is free?

[It's a good option. I prefer to stick with Photoshop, which I've been using for 27 years now (although that seems very hard to believe!) and ACR. --Mike]

Too many people buy cameras that are "the most advanced" in one regard or another instead of buying a camera they love for one reason or another. As a matter of fact, this holds true for cars as well. I have learned that you can research all you want, in the end you have to buy with your heart.

Sony has so many models of cameras for sale that I can't keep track of them. By chance, I just found Sony's A7C, a full-frame camera with similar insides to the A7 III and built in the style of the A6600.

The A7C is full-frame sensor in an APS body. It also comes with a super-compact Zoom that covers 28-60mm. Sounds like it would make a good travel companion.

Not for me though, I'm still using my 8 year old Fuji X-T1.

My biggest issue, by far, with my A6500 is the abysmal battery life. I heavily researched it prior to purchasing, and noted mentions of non-class-leading battery life, but it is considerably worse than I anticipated. Otherwise, I am happy with the camera.

[The A6600 certainly fixes that. I had the test camera for a week and didn't need to recharge the battery once. I'm not a heavy shooter, but that's impressive. My new camera is still on its first charge. I'll report back when I've had more experience with it. --Mike]

A camera may be a tool, but it is first and foremost an instrument. Some cameras are so entertaining that they can turn as a toy.

The Sigma 30mm 1.4 is a wonderful lens. Very sharp. I like the way it renders and I like the versatility. It will do portraits, group shots, landscapes, street etc. It is my most used lens by far. I'm still shooting with an A6000. I get along quite well with it and it seems to give me all the image quality and AF performance I need. I have a nice collection of E mount lenses, some Sony some not. Eventually, I will upgrade from the A6000 but it's not a priority.

Sorry to say, but I’m afraid TOP is becoming, well, boring. Posts are up to three days apart, and if posted late enough, it seems like four days. Then, “I bought a new camera!” Oh….ok….

[Sorry Basil. It's true that this post was not one of the more popular recent posts. I'm still trying to feel out a reduced schedule and I don't feel I've achieved success yet, so please stay turned and pardon our growing pains, or, as a waggish reader put it the other day, our shrinking pains. --Mike]

Wikipedia tells me that Adams "Moonrise over Hernandez, New Mexico" was shot on this day in 1941

I take haptics to mean the precision and quality of the feedback one gets from applying an input to a mechanical control. That feedback is not limited to tactile. For me, I always include the sound.

Haptics may be, but is not necessarily, correlated with functionality or good outcome. It is an additional, rarified dimension to the best mechanical design -- one which appears to be the special domain of the Germans, the Swiss, and to a lesser extent, the Japanese. In other words, notorious joyless OCD types.

Some of us gearheads are addicted to haptics independent of functionality or outcome: the film advance crank; the aperture ring; the way the door closed on earlier generations of Porsches, Bimmers and Mercs (only Ferraris have managed to retain that delicious, precise engagement.)

Sad to say, but good haptics is a disappearing art because it is a disappearing concern.

Mike, I share your detestation of "flippy" screens. Which why have the X-E4 instead of the X-T4.

Did any other Fuji cameras share the same sensor as the XT1? I know Fuji often (always?) share sensors across multiple cameras.

Did the later fuji models (XT2, XT3, XT4) continue to improve in the areas you found so appealing with the XT1 (i.e. B&W images)?

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