Category : The Learning Center

7 years, 9 months ago 7



When Fuji announced plans to cancel the 120mm Macro lens and replace it with a 80mm f 2.8,  I was very disappointed.  I do a lot of close-up work and I’m totally committed to the Fujifilm X-System. I love the 60 macro, but really wanted something with more reach and better working distance.  I had a Nikon 200mm Micro Nikkor autofocus lens , which was incredibly sharp but big and bulky and just didn’t seem to fit the Fuji mind set that well.  A friend asked if I would sell it and if it had been anyone else I might not have let it go, but she needed it and I was not using so it is now gone.  Knowing Fuji was bringing a 120mm Macro which would’ve have been the equivalent of a 180mm, I was going to be fine.  Well, things change.


Back in the 70’s and 80’s Nikon had a manual focus Micro Nikkor that was pretty nice.  It was smaller, lighter and had internal focus so it is very smooth and easy to focus (I use manual focused of all my macro work anyway).  The issue is finding one today that is in good shape and has the removable tripod collar.  Many people removed them and lost them and you see this lens from time to time without the collar, which for me would be useless.  I always lock my camera down a tripod or other support for doing closeup work.


I decided to start hunting for a good one and it took a while.  A few weeks ago I checked eBay again and found a Excellent +++ rated  one in Japan, it was exactly what I wanted.  I took a chance and ordered it and it arrive a week ago, and it is perfect, just like new!!!!  I paid $300. which is very reasonable for one of these in this kind of condition.  It will give me the long macro lens I am missing!!!  Is it as sharp as the 200mm Micro Nikkor AF model?  No, but it is not very far behind and more than usable for my needs!   A big plus is that it takes 52mm filters and I have, the old long discontinued,  3T and 4T diopters which allow this lens to go to much greater than life size!!!  Here are a few sample images shot around my office with it!



This image of a Kansas State Troopers patch and pen, ( a gift from my dear buddy and former Kansas State Trooper and wonderful photographer, Ken Metz.),  shows just how sharp it is, the focus point is on the left hand side of the pen’s star at f11, very shallow depth).



The colored pencils are shot at f 16 and the focus point is the green pencil at mid right frame!



The Shure logo on my desktop decoration, a Shure 55SH Series II microphone that reminds of me of all the great singers that  have lived with this microphone pulled over close as they belted out some of the great songs of all time!  Shallow depth at f8 but the S logo is tack sharp!


Time will tell if this will be a good workable solution, and I’m sure I will love the 80mm Macro coming from Fujifilm next year, but I sure wish they had stayed with the 120mm first planned!! To be honest I hate to complain about anything they do since I love my X PRO2s (2) and my X-T2, X-T1 and all the great lenses!  As I said, time will tell, but I think I’m off to a good start with this old classic, blast from the past, kinda like me!




the pilgrim



7 years, 9 months ago 1




There is nothing like the great variety of “L” brackets we can access today for our camera bodies.  For years Really Right Stuff and Kirk Enterprises have both produced high quality brackets. and now thanks to Amazon, a number of imports are also available, many of very good quality.  Are they up to the RRS and Kirk standards, probably not, but quite good none-the-less.  One thing some of the imports offer that sometimes the two big players omit is a grip.  I own RRS and Kirk brackets and stiles them, but have to admit that some of the new brackets with a grip are handy too!


One problem is that all those “L” brackets are made of  aircraft aluminum and are smoothy finished and then anodized.  That’s all good and fine, but….. it means they are slick in your hand.  For sometime I’ve wished they had added some texture, but sadly they haven’t.  I was watching a video on Youtube about a product called Talon Grips that many handgun shooter use to add texture and grip to their guns.  Being a gun enthusiast I was aware of the product and, in fact have used it.  It comes in a 5″X7″ sheet.  You simply cut it to the size you need, clean the metal and apply.  It adds a nice rubbery feeling and textured grip.  I will use them for a while and report back, but for now I think they are going to make using the camera easier and more secure.  Below is the info from Amazon oaths product.





Hope this is a helpful solution or you too!




the pilgrim

7 years, 11 months ago 27


Finally, I can talk about it!!!!  For the last two months I have been shooting the new Fuji X-T2.  Today I can tell you all about it.  Now, there are tons of article coming-out that review all the features and and changes so i won’t hash all that out again.  What you want to know is should I buy one?  The answer is YES!  However there is more to it than that, so let’s get started!


Is it better than the X-T1?   Absolutely.  It inherits all the great advancements that came out in the X PRO 2.  With a 24.3 mega pixel sensor, a much faster processor, greatly improved viewfinder and LCD, better attention to the buttons and dials, and the deal breaker, the new focusing joystick it is a must upgrade from the X-T1.  Now a little love for the X-T1!  It is still great camera and I would not throw mine away, (o.k. I had three and I sold two)!  I plan to keep one around since I still love it and will find a good use for it!  But yes, Virginia, the X-T2 is everything you hoped it would be and more!


Is it better than the X PRO 2?  No, it’s just different.  It is better suited for those that enjoy a SLR type camera even though it is not an SLR, it handles and operates for those that are more comfortable  with that style camera.  The X-T2 has a better LCD, it tilts both horizontally and vertically!  It has 4K video!  The electronic viewfinder has faster refresh rate, almost twice was fast, and it is much brighter, and has more magnification all great things!  It is smaller than the X PRO 2, which is good or bad depending on which you prefer.  It has a much faster frame rate, with the battery compartment it will do a blazing 11 frames per second!!!  The battery compartment is also much improved, fits tighter, and has it’s own shutter release and joystick, much needed!  If you love rangefinder type cameras, the  X PRO 2 is still your cup of tea!


What am I going to do?   I am going to buy one!  Then I’m going to shoot it along side my X PRO 2 and decide which one will get a sibling!  Don’t I already know??? Actually the camera we had the opportunity to shoot early did not have the final firmware so they were less than ready for prime time.  This is normal, but I still will have to shoot a full blown production camera with the final firmware to know some of the things I need to see.  I know this much for sure, it is a very worthy successor to the wonderful X-T1.  I’m sure I will end up with a pair of them, and the X PRO 2 will be my other camera, but since I promised you I would always shoot straight with you, so I will tell you more after I’ve shot the production camera for a while.  All indictions are it is going to be the one you will want.  Dang Fuji, wish they hadn’t made the X Pro 2 so fabulous, both have there charms!!!!  Stay tuned on this soap opera!


What about Image Quality?  My estimation is it’s fabulous, all I could have hoped for!  But I will let you decide, these are images made over the last few months with the X-T2.






While this image below was not shot with the X-T2 it was shot with the X PRO 2 in Acros monochrome mode which is also in the X-T2 and is the greatest break through in forever for monochrome shooters, it’s simply wonderful!




So, to wrap it all up; The Fuji X-T2 is a fabulous edition to the Fuji X System!  It will be an even bigger hit than the X-T1 was and with good reason, Fuji did what they do best, they listened to the customer and made virtually every change we asked for and added some on top of that!  I guess I will be buying a pair of them!!!


Check out Jack Graham’s excellent review as well, on our Fuji Workshop Site:




the pilgrim

8 years ago 9





I got my production X PRO 2 just before leaving for two trips down Route 66 and to Arches/Canyonlands National Parks in early March.  I was on assignment for Fuji to shoot early stuff with the “2”.  Before you can appreciate my thoughts on this camera you need to know that I have been a life long SLR guy, and of course then a DSLR shooter when digital stormed in,  in the late 80’s.


My first DSLR was a Nikon D1 and at the same time the Nikon D100.  The D1 was not my cup of tea, but the D100 was a much better and easier to use camera, (for me), and it was where I cut my teeth for the digital revolution.  I worked for Nikon as their Nikon Professional Services Tech Rep for the Southern U.S. for 11 years, retiring in 2013.  Shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff, ended my big DSLR days!  While recovering I picked up a Fuji X10 as a “maybe I can shoot with this until I recover” alternative.  A funny thing happened, it made me slow down and think again, and my images got much better, and more importantly I started to really love shooting again, more than ever before!!!!


So I ended up with a X-E1 which I loved but my real love affair started when the X-T1 came along, now I was back in my element, even though it was not really a DSLR, it felt and worked like one and the much improved viewfinder was fantastic!


Now over the years I’ve “flirted” with rangefinder type camera and it never lasted, I had a couple of Leicas, and a few other rangefinder type camera but I was just too  much of a SLR person for it to stick.


When I learned that the X PRO 2 was coming ( full disclosure – I had a X PRO 1 and never shot it, never really liked it much,  and sold it cheap), I thought it would be a great way to see what improvements will be in the X-T series camera, so I agreed, actually I suggested it, to do the Fuji project!


This time it was different, the Fuji X PRO 2 is a much more fluid experience.  Everything is in the right place the speed of operation and the new focusing system plus the even better sensor, it was a winner and I found myself really loving the advantages of having both kinds of viewfinders, both Optical and Electronic!


Here is a short list of what I really Love:


ONE:  Image Quality.  The X PRO 2 with it’s 24.3 mega pixel X Trans Sensor is a big improvement over the 16 mega pixel X-T1.  Somehow the engineers have given us a much tighter resolution package without loosing the great high ISO low noise performance.  This camera actually is usable ad 112,800 ISO!!!!!  It is phenomenal at ISO 200 – 400 and 800, but the higher settings are remarkable in how clean they look!  Film simulations have also gotten another improvement.  Fuji “evolves” the simulations with each new sensor and this set is the most accurate and true to the films they represent,  The new ACROS monochrome setting is simply stunning!



TWO: Handling & Speed.  The Pro Processor has stepped up the speed of all operations and the camera now has a real feeling of fluidity, much as the Nikon D4 did.  Everything just works as it should and almost instantly and the X PRO 2 doesn’t feel like a cinder block in your hands, no offense Nikon, I know you built the D4 for other customers, doing different things!



THREE: Focusing.    The new focusing system not only is much much faster, it is very accurate and hits dead on focus more than any other camera I’ve ever used, though they have always been pretty accurate in locking on.  Even my first X10 was a good focusing camera.



FOUR: Ergonomics.  The X PRO 2 is bigger than any of the other Fuji cameras, and it feels wonderful  in my hands, it is not too large, but it is not too small either, if is obviously very well built and it feels just right it in your hands. I bought a second X-PRO 2 and one has the Really Right Stuff L Bracket the other Fuji’s MHG-XPRO2 Arca Swiss plate with a grip, sadly it is not an L bracket but the front grip makes it the best solution for hand held shooting, which I now do a lot, this X PRO begs you to shoot it off the tripod!



So if I bought a second X PRO 2 does that mean I’m walking away from the XT series?  No, I plan to buy a couple of the next XT series cameras too.  I find that each style of camera lends itself to a certain style and kind of shooting, they both can do anything you might want to do, but each has it’s own unique qualities that work best for certain kinds of work.  I will team the X PRO 2 up with the fabulous single focal length lenses much of the time, the 14 – 16 – 23 – 35 – 56 & 90!  each are fast and great to work with on this camera.   The XT series will be mated with the zooms most of the time!  I do still have an X-T1 which I will keep for it’s own special qualities!


One thing is for sure, Fuji, you knocked it out of the park with the X PRO 2, a three run homer, a Grand Slam!




the pilgrim


OK full disclosure again…. Anything I hate?  No, but I do wish it had the following:


A tilting rear LCD like the X-T1


A different way to set the ISO, while I commend the effort the ISO  inside the Shutter Speed Dial is fidgety and hard to use, thankfully Auto ISO works great.


One more  level of Optical viewfinder magnification for the 90mm f 2.