Gear review: Small yet big …Fujifilm X70

fujifilm x70 | THE VIEWFINDER-1

..also a great piece of fashion accessory..”

A camera that needs to be highlighted …the Fujifilm X70. Retro stylisch with modern technology. Not only a good camera but also a great piece of fashion accessory for those fashionistas and fashionistos out there.

What makes this a good camera?
For starters this small camera has a large 16 megapixel sensor, APS-C, a new processor and a fast fixed 28mm lens of f2.8. It also has a touchscreen for both focus and trigger option ….which is quite convenient and honestly it works like a charm. This camera performs good in low light situations, that doesn’t comes as a surprise because of the large sensor combined with the fast lens.

Design
Fujifilm is well-known for its retro design so of course the X70 has this design too. It’s design a very close to it’s bigger brother the X100 series. I truly love the retro designs of Fujifilm …that’s why I have the X100 of course. Thanks to its design adjusting the settings is easy and quicker than on other cameras, in my opinion that is.

Lens
On thing you have to keep in mind is that this camera has a fixed 28mm lens, which is quite wide. So there’s no zoom option there, however this will garanty the best quality. As you can see down below the image quality is very nice. So cropping your image after taking it is possible and very usable.

Visiting Canon HQ & 80D with EFS 18-135mm Nano USM

Canon HQ _ THE VIEWFINDER copy

Ohayo gozaimasu ..uh …Good morning”

I had the pleasure of visiting Canon HQ in The Netherlands for their newest DSLR camera, the EOS 80D with the new EFS 18-135mm Nano USM. This wasn’t announced yet so we had to sign a confidentiality agreement. Of course reviewing this new unannounced gear was great but also visiting Canon HQ …

The first thing that popped my mind when entering the building was the idea of seeing lots of Japanese people …well that wasn’t the case. It seemed like there were a lot of people from India and still a lot of Dutch people. So that Japanese language refreshing course (some books from my shelf) wasn’t needed …

EOS 80D & EFS 18-135mm Review

As I said earlier the camera was announced so we, my colleagues and I, secretly had to shoot the review video (down below) inside this meeting room with doors closed. If that wasn’t enough already we also had one of the Canon employees to accompany us the whole day, just to make sure we didn’t say anything strange for the review of leave this room.

I’m not about to go in-depth about the 80D and the new lens. What I can say is that it has an improved sensor technology which makes it faster and better with auto focus. What I honestly miss with this new camera is the lack of 4K video, I mean the 70D was the first DSLR that could do video with autofocus and great quality.

The new EFS 18-135mm Nano USM had a nice physical upgrade and the ability of mounting an autofocus adapter for an auto zoom functionality.

In short, my visit to Canon HQ was a nice experience, the people were friendly and quite cooperative.

 

Gear hands-on review: Canon 135mm f/2 L

canon 135mm lens review THE VIEWFINDER

A lens I’ve been willing to try out for a while …the legendary tack sharp lens. After testing it I have to admit that it’s quite the lens, indeed tack sharp and fast focus. The lens is well build, has a large focusring and such a beautiful front element.

Still, after using it I have my doubts of the usability of this lens. I mean, we’re talking about a 135mm lens which is perfect occasionally . Mostly it’ll be to narrow, so I me see myself changing lenses already.

Shooting wide open it shows a bit of vignetting but stopping it down to f5.6 it’s as good as gone.

I will try this lens some time on a shoot to really experience the usability of this lens. I’m honestly curious how it performs.

Have you shot with this lens? What do you think?

Review: Lumix GX8

lumix gx8 review the viewfinder

I had the pleasure of reviewing the Lumix GX8, the successor of the GX7. I must say it’s quite a camera and I will tell you why.

(review video for Kamera Express, Dutch only)

Improvements
Firstly the key improvements are the new 20 MPX sensor, Venus Engine Image processor, 4K video and faster AF-system. For me  the most important improvements are the faster AF in both video and stills, the faster burst of 10 pics per second and the larger body/ grip.

Not only is this camera specs-wise better than the GX7, the whole handeling is better. Buttons are more logically placed and the camera reacts faster, which is essential on the streets.

lumix gx8 review the viewfinder 2

Option overload?
One downside of this camera, after only using it for this review, are the extensive options. I’m quite basic when using a camera, so I immediately noticed lots if options I normally don’t need. So there were moments I had to search for a specifik setting. This is a personal  thing maybe, these extensive options quite be practical for another person.

lumix gx8 review the viewfinder 3

In short
This camera has quite a large sensor so expect to see good quality photos, nice shallow depth and good low light performance. A small body(compared to reflex bodies) and especially awesome small build lenses with great performance. Luckily the GX8 has still kind of the same body as the GX7, so perfect for street photography thanks to its retro rangefinder look.

 

 

Gear: Red Rings ….Canon 85mm f1.2 L II

canon 50mm f1.2

Here’s a small share about the legendary, Canon 85mm f1.2 L II lens. I decided to mount it on my DSLR for a few minutes and it was a nice experience. The barrel alone is quite a thing ….it is bulky but that’s because of all the glass elements within it.

In short …
I only got it mounted for a few minutes so there’s no deep review here. What I can say is that the lens performs good, but not good enough looking at the price tag. The photos show a lot of color fringing, nevertheless it does a good job at minimizing the vignetting at f1.2. The lens itself it heavy of course, but the worst thing is the slow focus. If I had owned this lens it would probably fill a empty space on my shelf because on the streets I need fast focus and less weight. But hey …it would be a pretty thing standing on my shelf 😉

Gear: Highly spoken of ..Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art

sigma 50mm art - copyright THE VIEWFINDER-0109

“..a piece of art.”

Before I get into this nice piece of glas,  let’s answer some of the common general questions I get: Why Sigma? Aren’t they just a cheaper imitation of the Canon lenses?

I get why people sometime ask me these questions, because yes Sigma used to produce cheaper versions of Canon lenses (also other brands). So several years ago one bought a Sigma lens to get a more affordable lens with almost the same quality. But that’s in the past now! Sigma launched their ‘Art’ series lenses, which aren’t only better in performance but some are even more expensive than the Canon lenses. Now when you decide to purchase an Art lens of Sigma you want to get the best in performance and build quality.

Sigma 50mm f1.4 Art
One of the most spoken Art lens is the 50mm f1.4, which seems to be even better than both the 50mm f1.4 and f1.2 of Canon. That’s why I decided to test this nice piece of glass.

This new lens is perfect for portrait and wedding photography. It’s great to see Sigma making such professional lenses. Thanks to the f1.4 the depth of fields is shallow and good for isolating the subject.

Build
The 50mm lens is well designed and solidly build, as expected of an Art lens. I like the simplicity of its design and the large focus ring. There’s only a MF/AF switch on the barrel and of course the nice shiny ‘A’ logo. The weight and size of this lens is too much for me …walking the streets with this lens would be quite uncomfortable with a tired wrist at the end of the day. When comparing this lens to my Canon 50mm f1.8 II the Sigma really is large, heavy and professionally build.

Performance
When looking at it’s performance it does the job. The photos are sharp, shot fully open at f1.4 the centre is sharp but unfortunately it shows quite some vignetting. Closing the aperture to f2.8 makes the vignetting disappear and the photograph more useful, for me that is. When doing studio work, this lens could be your choice.

Conclusion
Yes, Sigma made one piece of ‘art’. The quality it delivers is good and the build is professional.  No doubt about it. If you need a lens that gives the best quality, the Sigma Art is the lens of choice. It may be heavy and large, but that’s needed to get the quality and light sensitivity. I already got the 24-105mm Art lens for most my shoots, which works perfect. The 50mm Art a nice lens for a shoot, wedding and especially studio work. For me I’d rather mount my Canon 50mm when hitting the streets, it’s smaller, lighter and also gets the job done (with less quality). On the streets it’s not only the quality that matters, the more practical use of the lens is more important in my honest opinion.

Gear: My beloved X100 …reborn (after firmware update)

The Fujifilm X100 …still the best looking digital camera out there. I have this piece of awesomeness for quite a while now but never spend time for upgrading its firmware. Now, as I plan on using it more frequently I decided to upgrade the firmware with great results.

Speed

I have to be honest that it really is an improving …the autofocus is really fast now. Feels the same as the X100s (the second generation X100). This way the chance of missing a shot is getting smaller. Also the startup time (from off to on) is faster, which is so nice because I unfortunately missed some shots in the past due to the slow startup time.

Old school manual

Before shooting with the X100 and Canon DSLR I shot with the Olympus OM10 and several Rangefinders. I like focusing manually …it feels like you’re really making the photograph instead of relying on the autofocus doing its job. With the manual focus you can easily focus while framing your shot …something not easily done with the digital cameras nowadays.

Now the X100 firmware update improved the manual focus-ring (by wire) and added the great focus peaking feature, so manual focus has become useful now.

I plan on shooting more ‘on the go’ with this camera, because this one is some compact and easy to take with …this makes it even more possible to get those impulsive street shots with a wider angle (35mm).

PERSONAL: Christmas wishlist, item #1

Wishlist The Viewfinder

Of course I have several external hard drives …but I really need a more professional one now that my photography and blog activities are increasing and growing. A harddosk that’s more reliable, quieter and of course way faster. I don’t want my hard drives to be the weakest link in the chain anymore…

I’ve seen some great hard drives to store my photographs …one more expensive than the other. Luckily it’s christmas very soon …
So let’s wait and see what Santa thinks about this!