Category Archives: Gear

Fuji X-T2 landed in Australia

Last week I had a sneak peak at the new Fuji X-T2. There’s alot to be desired with all the improvements! This may be the most perfect camera right now.

Fuji, fujifilm, xt2, x-t2, mirrorless, camera,

Fuji X-T2 with large eye cup and new battery grip kit using 3 batteries. With the extra juice from the batteries the camera can fire its mechanical shutter to 11FPS!!! Thats PRO camera body territory!

Continuing on from the very successful X-T1, and sharing new technology from X-PRO2, while adding a few extra features, we can see Fuji is doing everything right with the X-T2. I’m sure their loyal userbase will be excited to get their hands on one or 2 of these.

The same 24.3 megapixel X-Trans CMOS sensor as the X-Pro2.

More focus points!! 325 phase detect autofocus point for fast and accurate AF! This should be as good as the Sony A6300, cant wait to see the comparison.

The grip will take 3 batteries and give you approximately 1000 frames per charge!

As with many other Fuji caneras, they have included a threaded shutter release so you can add a splash of flavour and personalise your camera.
Turbo button!!  When using the grip, you can choose to fire the mechanical shutter at 11 frames per second. Without it, the shutter still shoots at 8 FPS, or 14 FPS using the electronic shutter!

The Joystick on the back of camera is super handy, a feature I liked about the Canon cameras and glad to see it in the Fuji X-T2. Navigation in the menu is so much easier with it.

The D-pad sticks out a little more and does feel alot better to press than the X-T1.

By popular demand the mechanical dials on the top were also made a little taller so there is better traction when changing ISO and shutter speed.

4k video!! And 60FPS recording. Slow-motions scenes will look amazing. This is better than what Canon cameras are offering. I’d love to see the rendering of colours and detail with the super sharp Fujinon lenses.

A new 3 way tilt screen makes framing the subject easier when shooting high and low angles, in portrait and in landscape orientation.

Officially announced on 7th of July but according to the Fuji representatives, stock will be pretty limited so pre-order as soon as possible to make sure you get one.

Leica T (Typ 701) Mirrorless Camera Review

Leica T (TYP 701) mirrorless camera with Vario-Elmar 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

Leica T (TYP 701) mirrorless camera with Vario-Elmar 18-56mm f/3.5-5.6 lens

Leica Australia gave me the the opportunity to test-drive and review the Leica T (TYP 701) and a couple T-lenses over a period of 2 months, it was my first proper experience with a Leica camera, and having read about played with these prestigious cameras on display in my local camera shop, I was excited to finally see how this luxury boutique camera fares against my much cheaper DSLR canon gear.

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Original Canon 5D – First Impressions Review and my first steps into full frame

My friend Michael from O’Farrell Photography lent me his Canon 5D, a memory card and a couple batteries! Even threw in the manual! Such a kind and generous offer!

I took it for a spin with my Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM MKII  around my back yard.

This camera+lens combo is something I desperately needed a full frame camera for. I didn’t have any L-quality glass that could do 57-115mm on my cropped Canons’, only with EF-s zoom lenses.

The sun was setting and most of these subjects were in the shade, I had the camera maxed out at 1600 ISO shooting as slow as I could to get a decent exposure, lucky I had the image stabiliser on the lens to keep the images sharp.

The images below are  my first digital full frame shots!

Being so used to seeing my lenses through cropped sensors, it’s great to see the lenses expressed in their full glory. I realised also how much of the shot I was missing when compared to a full frame, even down to the way the vignette fades off is different.

And yes, we’ve probably all read about this and seen examples all the time about the differences between APS-C and 35mm full frame sensors, but when it’s your gear, and you get to see it with your own eyes, it is much more enlightening!

 

Canon EF-s 10-18mm and EF 16-35mm f/4L on Australian shores pre-release – My first impressions

It’s approaching the end of financial year and in the world of business, it’s another Christmas! Well, today it certainly felt like it when I met someone, lets call that person Santa, who had a few surprises in their camera bag.

My source informs me that I’m the 5th person to see this on Australian shores, so I am really excited to get my hands on them! These ultra-wide angle zoom lenses are a great addition to Canon’s range and will suit different levels of photographers.

I’m most surprised by the Canon EF-s 10-18mm IS STM, it’s tiny size (like a 50mm prime lens), light-weight, solid feel with many more features and I think this will sell really well at the price. I also think it will be the ultimate budget traveller’s Landscape Lens if you are a photographer that wants high quality,  light weight and low replacement costs in case it gets damaged of stolen.

It is replacing Canon’s EF-s 10-22mm , which was released in 2004 and is still a great lens if you want an ultra-wide angle lens that has ‘L-series’-style colour reproduction and overall, a sharp quality with little distortion. I haven’t had a chance to pixel peep into at the images from the EF-s 10-18mm on the 70D because there was no memory card in the camera! So I can only hope that this lens will be as good if not better than the EF-s 10-22mm’s image quality. Here are some pictures from Mic’s review of the Canon EF-s 10-18mm.

A few other features that stood out were the image stabilisation and an STM motor for a quick and ‘silent’ auto-focus. Great for any handheld work, especially landscape and architectural photographers and videographers.

For low-light situations, the image stabilisation will give you 4 stops more light, in the case that a real estate agent/photographer forgets to bring a tripod, they can shoot indoors handheld providing there is sufficient light, and a higher ISO setting may need to be used.

Canon EF-s 10-18mm IS STM specifications:

  • Focal Length: 10–18mm
  • Maximum Aperture:  1:4.5–5.6
  • Lens Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 107°30′ – 74°20′
  • Focus Adjustment: Rear focus system
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.72 ft. / 0.22m
  • Filter Size: 67mm diameter
  • Max Diameter x Length, Weight: 2.9 x 2.8 inches, approx. 8.5 oz. / 74.6 x 72.0mm, approx. 240g

Canon 70D with EFs-10-18 f3.5-5.5 Australian Pre-release hands on review

 

And for the enthusiast, semi-pro or professional there is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L USM IS Lens, the glass and the build quality in this lens is much better than the EF-s 10-18mm, but that’s because it is the signature L-series, with that comes a price and a quality standard to be expected.

This lens has the added benefit of image stabilisation, again, great for the videographers, although I don’t find it necessary for my handheld video or landscape needs, it will be great for the price, which is a little cheaper than the Canon 16-35mm f/2.8L MKII.

As a current owner of the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L MKII, I can vouch for the quality of these L-series Ultra-wide lenses. They render rich beautiful colours with great micro-contrast within the details. I am currently using this lens on Canon 50D and 70D, both are APS-C cropped sensor cameras, and it has a very usable zoom-range of 26-56mm on an equivalent 35mm sensor. It is my work-horse lens that I use for landscapes, portraits and events.

In saying that there are still disadvantages of Canon’s wide angle zoom lenses like having corner softness. But hopefully this lens is sharp at f/4 in the corners. As mentioned above, I wasn’t able to pixel peep, but here are some sample shots from Canon Rumors Guy. Seems pretty sharp in the corners to me, I did spot 1 image that had corner softness, but it really depends on your focusing technique and the aperture setting of the lens.

Canon EF 16-35mm f/4L USM IS specifications:

  • Focal Length: 16–35mm
  • Maximum Aperture:  1:4.0
  • Lens Construction: 16 elements in 12 groups
  • Diagonal Angle of View: 108°10′ – 63°
  • Focus Adjustment: Inner focus system
  • Closest Focusing Distance: 0.92 ft. / 0.28m
  • Filter Size: 77mm diameter
  • Max Diameter x Length, Weight: 3.3 x 4.4 inches, approx. 21.7 oz. / 82.6 x 112.8mm, approx. 615g

 

Canon 70D with EF 16-35 f4 IS

 

 

Cronulla Rock Pool sunrise shoot with Lee Big stopper Filter – Part 2

Lee filters test shoot and product review – Day 2

Sunday (the second round), I got to the Rock pools at Cronulla 10 minutes before sunrise and claimed my spot, this time only 2 other photographers were there.

The environmental conditions were much better today than yesterday, however there was a long stretch of cloud off to the horizon that covered and delayed the sunrise shot by around 10 minutes. I wasn’t using a chart or app to calculate exposure times with the Big Stopper so this gave me plenty of time to compose the shot and get a feel for how long to expose each shot for.  To get a properly exposed pre-dawn shot using the Big Stopper, I exposed for 160 seconds, using f/11 and ISO 100.

Cronulla Sunrise

Unedited – Sunrise delayed by cloud cover in the horizon.
160 sec exposure on F/11 ISO 100
Taken with the Big Stopper

When the sun was half way up the clouds, the exposure was dropped to 61 seconds (using the same setting as above image), and once the sun was just above the clouds, I exposed for 39 seconds, using the Big Stopper and the 0.9 (3 stops) soft gradient neutral density filters to reduce the glare and brightness of the sun.

I felt more comfortable now with the Lee filters, knowing beforehand which ones I wanted to use helped me focus more on composition.

Next time I will implement the use of an exposure calculator so speed up my process of capturing these seascapes.

Cronulla Rock pool Sunrise

Sun salutation at the Rock pool
39 sec exposure on F/11 ISO 100
Taken with Big Stopper and 0.9 (3 stops) Grad ND filter

 

Cronulla Rock Pool sunrise shoot

Lee filters test shoot and product review – Day 1

OK, by the time I was finished with my 1 hour yoga session at 6:20 a.m. I didn’t really have much time to look for a spot, compose the scene, setup the camera and test which Lee filters would give the best results. Plus, there were 6 other photographers already there, taking the prime spots!

By 6:45 a.m. the sun had risen above the horizon, we got about 5 mins of sun before it was covered by the clouds, luckily I managed to capture the shots I wanted.

But in saying that, the Lee filter system did take some time to setup and get used to. The first test shots were with the 0.9 Soft Grad filter on it’s own, I was rushing so I actually forced it into the mount crossing the first and second slots, which I found was easy to do, fortunately it didn’t damage the mount. A couple minutes later I tried the Big Stopper filter and achieved the nice looking effects I wanted. But noticed that the sun was flaring up a bit in the shot so I added the 0.9 (3- stops) Soft Grad ND filter and this seemed to control the harsh light in the horizon better.

Cronulla Sunrise at the Rock pool

Sun Salutation – Cronulla Sunrise at the Rock pool
Taken with the Lee Big Stopper + 0.9 ND Soft Grad

 

I tried the polariser on it’s own and it didn’t make too much difference to the quality of the shot, just darkened the image and perhaps saturated the clouds a bit more, I should also note that and at 11mm on my wide-angle lens (actually 17.6mm on cropped sensor), there was some harsh vignetting occurring at the corners but not too much. Anyways, I used the Big stopper with it to get a decent shot, just crop off the vignette at the top and bottom to make the panoramic style shot.

Cronulla Sunrise at the Rock pool, Lee big stopper and CPL

Unedited – Taken with the Lee Big Stopper and CPL – Notice the vignette at 11mm (17.6mm equiv. on cropped sensor)

 

It was another learning experience and I will keep going back for more!

Also spotted Women’s Health & Fitness Magazine’s glamour girl and former Hockeyroo Kate Hollywood snapping pics, enjoying the sunrise and going for a swim… boy does she have a fit and strong body!

My Lee Filters just arrived!

Got the Lee Filters! They will make great additions to my photographic arsenal helping me expand my creative potential. Especially for landscape and architectural shots.

  • Lee Big Stopper filter (reduces incoming light by 10 stops).
  • Lee Circular Polarizer filer (To cut through the glare or hazy sky and add colour saturation to the images).
  • Lee Neutral Density Soft Graduation filter set – (1,2,3 stops darker)
  • …and the necessary Lee mounting kits for the polariser (polarizer) and other filters.

I will review these to let you know my thoughts as soon as I get some decent experience with them. Going to test them out this weekend.

[UPDATED]: View my initial experience with the Lee Big stopper and Circular Polarizer Here

[UPDATED]: View Part 2 of the review of the Lee Big stopper and Circular Polarizer Here