I’ve been at Photokina for the past two days checking out all the new gear, and some old gear too!

I’ll get around to talking about other gear when I get back onto a laptop, but as it’s my main interest, here’s a quick round up of what’s new from Fujifilm…

My first stop was naturally to the Fujifilm stand and straight over to check out the new X-E1. I’ve had my heart set on a silver one, but as soon as I saw them in the flesh I’m hooked on the black! Somehow it just seems to go better with the camera. Having had a good go with it, it’s confirmed my decision to get one as a backup body to the X-Pro 1, though I’m torn as to whether I’ll sell the X100 – I think it is enough of a different camera to live alongside the X-E1. I also I think the X-E1 is different enough to the X-Pro 1 to be a good companion. I know a lot more people are likely to buy the X-E1 rather than the X-Pro 1, but there are still a lot of people (especially serious enthusiasts/pro’s) who won’t go near a camera without an optical viewfinder.

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I’m happy that pretty much all the buttons are in the same place as the X-Pro 1, the battery is the same, and one biggie for me is that the Q menu button has been recessed so its not as easy to accidentally press – something I do a lot on the X-Pro 1, and is my greatest annoyance of that camera!

The electronic viewfinder is great, probably one of the best out there right now, and I won’t be regretting the fact that it doesn’t have the optical option. Image quality-wise there is little to report and it’s the same internals as the X-Pro 1, so like-for-like is the same IQ. Focus times are snappier (as they are on the X-Pro 1 with FW 2.0) and surprisingly I really got to like the 18-55mm kit zoom, though I still wish they had made it a 16-50 instead, and because it is a variable aperture, the f-stop markings are missing which is a shame. Image quality from it looks great, though I didn’t get to take many files home from that lens and will only really know when I look at it on my laptop screen at home – it may even tempt me to buy the X-E1 as a kit with that lens, though I love the fast Fuji primes so much I’m not sure I could go out without them! Speaking of fast primes, Zeiss has announced two AF (yes, autofocusing!) lenses for the X-mount cameras, a 12mm f/2 and a 32mm f/1.8 due out before summer 2013. The Zeiss guy reckoned on a price of around $1000, but it could be cheaper. The 12mm might be ok at that price, but the 32mm better be cheaper as you might as well go and by the Fuji 35 1.4 for less!

I was fortunate to spot Greg from the Fujiguys, who is also the VP of Fujifilm imaging division in Canada and I had a good long chat with him about the X-Pro and X-E1. I’m glad to learn he’s a huge photography enthusiast like the rest of us, and not just a business man!

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Greg Poole of Fujiguys fame – Taken with the X-Pro 1 and the new 18-55mm zoom at 35mm f/5.

I also went to check out the new X-F1 compact camera. It’s not a camera I’m likely to be buying myself, but it looks interesting and is sure to gain a good following. Same image quality as the X10, but in a much smaller body. One of the best features is the fold-away lens, which almost makes the front flat. Carried over from the X10 is the great twist to turn on/manual zoom of the lens, which gives just so much more control than the electronic zooms you find on most cameras of this type. I’m very impressed and loved the tan coloured one, especially with the matching cool looking retro leather case!
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After a good wander around, a quick purchase at the thinkTANK stand 🙂 I headed back to the Fuji stand to hear Zack Arias talk about the X-Series. Still can’t believe I got to see him, he’s been an inspiration to me, and I only fairly recently found out he was into the Fuji X-series! He’s also a very decent down to earth bloke and brought his wife along on the trip too. He was hanging around before the presentation so I managed to have a quick chat and a take photo of course! If you don’t know Zack’s work, get to know it!

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Zack gave a great presentation on the X100 and X-Pro 1.

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He echoed a lot of my own feelings about what Fuji have achieved with the X100 – they have given it a soul, a personality, and that’s something you rarely find in the world of digital photography. Zack describes the X100 as the greatest digital camera ever, and he may just be right! It can be as frustrating as it can rewarding, but that gives it a special character, and a special feeling when it all comes together and you see those gorgeous images come up. These cameras will be the future, and Zack is talking about letting his Canon dSLR gear go in favour of the Fujifilm X-series by this time next year. I’m sure more and more people will follow – if not with the Fujifilm mirrorless cameras, with something like them. I see dSLRs becoming much more of a speciality camera in the future. My Nikon dSLR gear all went about a year ago and I will personally only go back to one if I re-take up wildlife photography and need super fast focus and a super-tele lens, other than that I’m done with dSLRs as day-to-day cameras.

It’s late here in Cologne now, so I’m signing off for now, but I’ll leave you with a last photo from the Fujifilm stand!

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