Tag Archives: Lens

Fuji 10-24mm f/4 Sample photos have surfaced!

This thing is the real deal: Tack sharp wide open, surprisingly rectilinear and with RIDICULOUS optical image stabilization

– David Hobby

If you don’t know who David Hobby is, he is the strobist, and here is his blog, this is him on DigitalRevTV doing the Pro Photog Cheap Camera Challenge, and just a super cool dude overall.

While I don’t have the luxury of trying out unreleased lenses, I do keep an eye out for these things and David Hobby just posted up 5 photos he took with his pre-release copy in Dubai.  You can see them in all their their hi-res glory on this flickr set.

Just reading through his captions and the images themselves, the things that jump out immediately are:

  • The lens is really sharp, like REALLY sharp
  • Distortion is extremely well controlled, no sign of barreling or pin-cushioning
  • The short focal length and OIS allowed him to get handheld shots at up to 2secs (I may have to try this one day).

Now, more about the lens … it’s full name is fujifilm XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS and it is designed to be used with the existing range of Fuji compact system cameras (CSC) such as X-E2, X-T1 etc.  The 10-24mm focal length gives a 15-36mm equivalent, while I’ve never used that exact focal length beforeI have spent a few days with a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 and also own a Canon 17-40mm f/4L and Canon 15mm f/2.8 fisheye.

Sydney Queen Victoria Building. Canon 5D MkII with EF 15mm f/2.8 fisheye

Note that the Canon 15mm is a fisheye, so even though it is a rectilinear fisheye, the Fuji 10-24 won’t be quite as wide.  This will give you a good idea though.  Optical Image Stabilisation (OIS) is an interesting addition and shouldn’t be forgotten about.  Most camera manufacturers don’t bother adding OIS to ultra-wide lenses like these because they figured you wouldn’t need it.  Both Canon and Nikon have yet to release a fast ultra-wide lens with IS/VR but that may change in the near future.  The constant f/4 aperture is quite nice, I know a lot of people would prefer a constant f/2.8 but those are also the same people who refuse to pay up for it.

In this lens Fuji has managed to put together an optically sound, great looking, and robust lens that fills a void in their system while keeping it at a reasonable price ($999 USD on BH).  Keeping it below the $1000 mark is key because let’s face it not many of us are willing to pay any more than that on a CSC lens (regardless of how awesome it is).  Fuji has also managed to create a f/1.2 lens under that magic price point but I’ll cover that in another post!

As far as we can tell Fuji stepped up their CSC game, as an enthusiast I’m excited about where this is headed, as a Sony owner I’m curious to see what they’ll come up with to compete.

Is it the shoes? Is it the camera?

If you’re not talented, your work will still appear uninspired. 

I have a lot of camera gear (relatively), but all that doesn’t matter if I don’t know how to make use of it properly.  Think about it, camera have come a long way since the early days of photography.  There was the development of Single Lens Reflex, improved darkroom techniques, digital sensors etc.  How is it that we still don’t have a photographer as highly regarded as Ansel Adams.  There are photographers who hike out to the exact GPS co-ordinates of Ansel Adams’ photos in an attempt to replicate the image.  They now have much improved gear, likely professional SLR’s and medium format cameras (Hasselblad).  Theoretically, these “adaptations” should be better.  In reality, they lack the type of emotion and impact that the original photographs held. 

Why?

Buying Air Jordans won’t make you play like Mike, an expensive piano doesn’t make you a great pianist, a Waterman fountain pen won’t turn you into Robert Frost.  In the same way, an expensive camera and an impressive array of lenses will not automatically turn you into a great photographer. 

In contrast, give a great artist a familiar instrument of any grade and they will be able to create something beautiful.  Give Nathaniel Anthony Ayers (schizophrenic homeless musician) a beaten down 2-stringed violin and he will make sweet music.  Take away LeBron’s sneakers and replace them with Chuck Taylors and he will still posterize you so bad your own mother will be ashamed to look at you.  For photographers, here’s something easier to relate to, Chase Jarvis and his iPhone.  You get the idea.

Ken Rockwell once said, the word image, comes from the work imagination … not “lens sharpness” or “low noise levels”.  No imagination = no image.  “The most important component of a camera is the 12 inches behind it” Ansel Adams. 

But there HAS to be a reason why the pros use the best gear right?
Sure, but only for limited reasons:
– Good gear makes it easier to get the results you want
– Good gear  will be more durable, you’ll need this if you thrash your gear on a daily basis
– It may be more convenient (again, easier)
Notice how I mentioned YOU in those points.  At the end of the day it’ll all come down to you as the artist.  Don’t ever start thinking that it was the gear that made your artworks.  YOU did it. 

IMG_9076

I went rally driving today, in a real rally car on a rally track.  I know how to drive, you push the pedal and turn the wheel and avoid killing yourself.  The rally car had much higher performance than my everyday car, more grip, more torque, bucket seats, Momo steering wheel.  In the briefing, my instructor focussed on steering technique, braking and throttle timing, and that sometimes less is more.  On my first lap I was crap, I was slow, the car was sliding everywhere and I was shitting myself.  A couple of laps later I got a lot better and a lot more confident.  Having a sweet ride tuned for the conditions didn’t automatically make me a rally driver, just like having a sweet camera won’t make you a photographer. 

Barry White once said “Too much of anything is not good for you”.  Sometimes the easiest way to get a crap shot is to have too much gear.