Introducing the Fuji X Weekly Vlog!

My wife has been telling me for awhile now that I should be on YouTube. She’s completely right about that! Almost two billion people worldwide watch YouTube videos regularly, and about one billion hours of YouTube video content is watched daily. YouTube is the #2 search engine, only behind Google. More than half of YouTube views are on a phone, tablet or other mobile device. There are a ton of statistics which demonstrate that those under the age of 50 are spending a lot of time watching YouTube videos, and about half of those videos are uploaded by people and not companies. There’s a massive audience I’m missing by avoiding YouTube!

I like to joke that I have a face for radio and a voice for print. That’s all in fun, but the truth is that I don’t have the eccentric personality to be a video star. I’m just a regular Joe. I don’t look or sound the part, and so I prefer not to be a video guy. I like to write and I’m pretty good at it. Even though I hunt-and-peck, I’m comfortable and happy typing out paragraphs. I like that I can lay out my thoughts in a clear and organized manor, and it’s easy to change the words if I didn’t communicate something well. I will continue to write the Fuji X Weekly blog because I love doing this!

When it comes to photography, there’s a lot of long-winded content on YouTube. Most videos exceed five minutes, many exceed 10 minutes and some seem to go on forever! That’s good sometimes, but what I often prefer, and I figures others might feel the same way, is content that’s short and to the point. I often don’t have time for ramblings. I feel that there is a need for quality photography-related videos that are under two minutes long, that get right to the point and concisely explain things. That’s my vision for the Fuji X Weekly vlog. I want to produce short videos that are mobile device friendly, that are interesting yet informative, and, perhaps most importantly, don’t feature me rambling on.

I just started the Fuji X Weekly vlog a couple of days ago. I think it will be a good companion to the Fuji X Weekly blog. I hope that it will reach some new people, perhaps some folks who wouldn’t normally go to an “old-fashioned” blog, but would definitely look at a video. I hope that it’s a fresh way to view my content, pictures and ideas. I’ve made three videos so far, which I’ve included below. Feel free to like and share them. Please subscribe so that you don’t miss anything! I appreciate any feedback that you have. Hopefully it just gets better and better as time goes on, because I’m very new to this whole video-making stuff. I hope that you enjoy!

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Fujifilm Acros Film Simulation Recipes

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Taos Tourist – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F “Agfa Scala”

Acros is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It looks incredibly similar to the black-and-white film that it was named after. In fact, in my opinion, it produces the most film-like results of any settings on any camera! It’s easy to see the draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Acros film simulation.

I love Acros and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Acros in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Acros. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Tri-X Push-Process, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F and X-Pro2, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

Original Acros

Acros Push-Process

Agfa Scala

Ilford HP5 Plus

Tri-X Push Process

My Fujifilm X Camera Lens Recommendations, Part 2: Third Party

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Part 1: Fujinon

I listed my recommended Fujinon lenses for Fujifilm X cameras in Part 1. In this second segment I will give my recommendations for third party lenses. Like in the previous article, I will be focusing on what I’ve actually used, because I prefer to talk about what I have experience with. My opinions are based off of my own use of these different lenses.

Let’s jump right in!

Rokinon/Samyang 12mm f/2 NCS CS

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Salt & Stars – Bonneville Salt Flats, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & Rokinon 12mm

The 12mm f/2 NCS CS ultra-wide-angle lens, which is sold under both the Rokinon and Samyang brands (it’s the exact same lens), is a great manual focus lens. It’s sharp with surprisingly little distortion and few flaws. Since it is so cheap, it’s a great budget-friendly alternative to the Fujinon 16mm f/1.4, or even a companion to it. Not everyone needs a lens as wide-angle as this one, but it’s a fantastic option for those who do. If you need something ultra-wide for astrophotography or dramatic landscapes, this is a must-have lens!

Meike 35mm f/1.7

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Securely In Father’s Arms – Mount Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & Meike 35mm

The Meike 35mm f/1.7 is a “nifty-fifty” standard prime lens on Fujifilm X cameras, and if you don’t mind an all-manual lens, this is a great budget-friendly option. In fact, it’s probably the best $80 you’ll ever spend on new camera gear! It’s not without flaws, though. You can read my review of the lens here. For the cheap price, I wouldn’t be afraid to try the Meike 28mm f/2.8 or the Meike 50mm f/2, either. In fact, you could buy all three for less than the cost of one Fujinon lens! The 7Artisans 25mm f/1.8 is a good alternative, which I reviewed here. I’ve never tried the 7artisans 35mm f/1.2, which is an intriguing option but a little more expensive.

There are, of course, plenty of other third-party lenses, of which I’ve tried zero. I know that the Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 II is highly regarded, yet it’s also on the expensive side of things. The Rokinon 50mm f/1.2 and Rokinon 100mm f/2.8 are two lenses that I’ve seen highly recommended by others, and, based on my experience with their 12mm lens, I’d definitely believe it. However, I don’t want to spend much time on lenses that I have no experience with. Instead, let me offer one other alternative: vintage lenses.

You can typically buy old film lenses for very little money. Since most people don’t shoot film any longer, these lenses are cheap, yet many of them are exceptionally good in quality. You will need an adapter to mount them to your Fujifilm X camera, since they’ll have a different mount. Just make sure you know which mount the lens is so that you buy the right adapter. Thankfully most adapters are pretty inexpensive. Below is a video that I made on this topic.

Current Fujifilm X Camera Deals

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There are a number of great Fujifilm camera deals currently on Amazon. I wanted to pass these along in case anyone is interested in these cameras. As always, if you use my links to purchase something it helps to support this website.

Fujifilm X-H1 with grip is only $1,300!

Fujifilm X-E3 is $700.

Fujifilm X-T3 is $1,400.

Fujifilm X-T2 is $1,100.

Fujifilm X-T20 with 18-55mm lens is $1,000.

All of these are good deals, but the X-H1 and X-T2 stand out as the two best bargains, and I think it’s because of how well the X-T3 has been selling. The X-T20 is my top recommended camera, and it’s a good price with the 18-55mm lens. The X-E3 is pretty inexpensive, and it’s a very tempting option.

Fujifilm Classic Chrome Film Simulation Recipes

Classic Chrome is one of the most popular film simulations available on Fujifilm X-Trans cameras. It produces a look similar to quintessential Kodak color transparency films like Kodachrome and Ektachrome, which graced the pages of publications like National Geographic and Arizona Highways for many years. With all things vintage being in style, there is a huge draw to the analog-esque results produced by the Classic Chrome film simulation.

I love Classic Chrome and I have used it as the base for a bunch of different film simulation recipes. It’s possible to achieve a number of different interesting looks straight out of camera by adjusting the settings. Honestly, I think that I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible. I plan to create even more film simulation recipes using Classic Chrome in the coming months. As I do, I will add them to this article.

Below you will find all of my different film simulation recipes that I have created that use Classic Chrome. If you haven’t tried them all, I personally invite you to do so and see which are your favorites! My personal favorite is Kodachrome II, but they each have their own usefulness and charm. Let me know in the comments which recipe you like most!

Even though the different recipes say X100F, X-Pro2, and X-T20, they are completely compatible with any Fujifilm X-Trans III or IV camera. For example, you don’t have to use the X100F recipes exclusively on the X100F. You can use any of my recipes on any X-Trans III camera.

My original Classic Chrome recipe.

My dramatic Classic Chrome recipe.

My Vintage Kodachrome recipe.

My Kodachrome II recipe.

My Vintage Agfacolor recipe.

My Kodak Portra recipe.

See also:

My Classic Chrome recipe for Fujifilm Bayer and X-Trans II.

If you like these recipes, be sure to follow Fuji X Weekly so that you don’t miss out when I publish a new one! Feel free to comment, as I appreciate your feedback. Please share on social media this article or any other that you found useful so that others might find it, too.

Weekly Photo Project, Week 23

Another week down! These pictures were from the last full week of 2018, and it always amazes me how quickly each year passes by. I really hope that you all had a great holiday season. I hope that 2019 is an amazing year for you! I appreciate all of you who visit this blog, read my articles and view my pictures. You guys and gals are great! Thank you for being a part of this project and a part of this blog!

Monday, December 24, 2018

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Christmas Eve Candle – South Ogden, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

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The Joy of Instax – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

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Great Salt Lake Evening – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Thursday, December 27, 2018

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Winter Forest Impression – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Friday, December 28, 2018

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Cold Mountain Evening – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Saturday, December 29, 2018

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Lifting Clouds Around The Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20

Sunday, December 30, 2018

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Winter Shrub – SLC, UT – Fujifilm XF10

Week 22  Week 24

My Fujifilm X Camera Lens Recommendations, Part 1: Fujinon

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Perhaps you got a new Fujifilm X camera for Christmas, or maybe you’ve had one for awhile now, and you are considering the purchase of a new lens. What options do you have? Which ones are good? What should you buy? You probably have a lot of questions, and you’re hoping to find some sound advice. Well, my goal is to give you sound advice! I’m hoping that this article will be helpful for those who are in the market for a new lens for their Fujifilm X camera.

There are tons of great lens options, most of which I’ve never owned. You could spend a small fortune collecting camera lenses. I certainly don’t have that kind of money lying around, so I’ve only owned a handful of different Fujinon lenses. I’m not going to talk much about the camera lenses that I’ve yet to use, and concentrate on the ones that I have firsthand experience with. I want you to know that the lenses listed below are ones that I have owned and used, and my opinions are based on my experience of capturing photographs with them.

Just so that you are aware, I am providing links to Amazon where you can purchase these lenses if you want to. If you do, I will receive a small kickback from Amazon for referring you, which helps to support this website. Nobody pays me to write these articles. If you happen to decide that you want to purchase a certain lens that I have linked to, and if Amazon is the seller you would normally use, it would be great if you used my links to do so. I certainly appreciate it!

Now let’s talk about lenses!

Zooms

Zoom lenses are popular because you can cover a large range of focal-lengths without carrying three, four or five different prime lenses. It simplifies things and allows you to have a smaller and lighter camera bag. It might make your camera kit more affordable, too. Zoom lenses are versatile, but there’s always a trade-off, which might be sharpness, distortion or maximum aperture. While I prefer prime lenses instead of zooms, Fujifilm offers many compelling zoom choices that are worth considering.

Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

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Mirrored Mountain – Mirror Lake, UT – Fujifilm X-E1 & 18-55mm

The first lens that I want to talk about is the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS, which is one of Fujifilm’s best zooms, available at Amazon for about $700. If you have the cheap kit zoom that came with your camera, this lens is similar but better–definitely an upgrade! It has a larger maximum aperture and produces results more in line with what you’d expect from a fixed-focal-length lens. There are some professional photographers who use this as their primary lens because of its size, quality and versatility. If you want something better than your cheap kit zoom lens but still want the convenience of the standard zoom, this is a very good option that you should strongly consider. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR lens is even better, but will cost you several hundred dollars more.

Fujinon XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II

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Clouds Around Timpanogos – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 50-230mm

If you have a standard zoom lens but would like an option with more telephoto reach, the Fujinon XC 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is a good lens that won’t break the bank, and it’s available at Amazon for about $400. This lens is surprisingly lightweight for its size and surprisingly sharp for the price. If you are a wildlife or sports photographer, you might not find this lens to be sufficient for your needs, but for those who only need a longer lens occasionally, this is your best bet because of its excellent value. Alternatively, the Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R LM OIS is a better lens for a few hundred dollars more, or for about $1,600, which is a steep price, the Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR is the best quality option.

Primes

I prefer prime lenses over zooms. Since the focal-length is fixed, the optics can be more precisely engineered, often resulting in sharper glass with fewer flaws. Often prime lenses have a larger maximum aperture than zooms. The disadvantage is that you will likely need three, four or five different prime lenses, which can cost a lot of money and add significant bulk to your bag, while one or two zoom lenses might cover all your focal-length needs. There are pluses and minuses to both routes. Still, I’d rather have several prime lenses than one or two zooms, but that’s just my personal preference.

Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR

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Night Sky Over Needles Highway – Hill City, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 16mm

The Fujinon XF 16mm f/1.4 R WR, which is available at Amazon for about $1,000, is an excellent wide-angle prime lens. It is sharp and fast and quite wide, which makes it particularly great for dramatic points of view and astrophotography. Not everyone needs a lens that’s as wide-angle as this one, but for those who do, this is a superb choice. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 14mm f/2.8 R, which doesn’t have as large of a maximum aperture as the 16mm, is slightly wider and cheaper, and overall an excellent option.

Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR

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Starry Nights – Park City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 23mm

Everyone should have a walk-around prime lens, and the Fujinon XF 23mm f/2 R WR, which is available at Amazon for about $450, is a great choice for that role. This lens is superb, small and lightweight, and the focal-length is good for everyday shooting. If you’ve never owned a prime lens before, this is an excellent one to start with. There are several good alternatives, including the more expensive Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R, the more wide-angle Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R, the more telephoto Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R and the more compact Fujinon XF 27mm f/2.8, all of which are quality lenses that are worth having. Pick one, as you should definitely own one.

Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 & 60mm

One of my favorite lenses is the Fujinon XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro, which is available at Amazon for about $650. This lens is a short telephoto (in other words, telephoto but not too telephoto), which gives you a little more reach than the kit zoom, and is great for portraits or landscapes. It’s a macro lens, if just barely, which allows you to focus closer to the subject than many other lenses. I find it to be quite versatile. The quality is exceptional, and it’s pretty small and lightweight for what it is. If there is one complaint it’s that autofocus is a tad slow, which is typical of macro lenses, but it’s not that big of a deal. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R, which some consider to be the very best Fujinon lens, is a similar focal length, but it’s about $1,000, and the Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, which also gets brought up in the “best Fujinon” conversations, might be a better macro lens, but it costs about $1,200.

Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR

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Great Salt Lake Evening – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & 90mm

A great portrait lens, which is also a great landscape lens when you are a distance from the subject, is the Fujinon XF 90mm f/2 R LM WR. It’s available at Amazon for about $950.  This lens is a bit big and heavy, but it’s super sharp and captures lovely images. Because of its focal-length, it can be tough to use at times, but in those situations where you can use it, the lens delivers stunning results! As far as image quality is concerned, this is my favorite Fujinon lens. Alternatively, the Fujinon XF 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro, which is more expensive and not quite as telephoto, is really your only other option (outside of a telephoto zoom lens), but it’s also an excellent choice.

The list of Fujinon lenses above, plus the alternatives mentioned, are only some of the lenses available for your Fujifilm X camera. There are other great Fujinon options, plus third-party lenses, that you might also consider. These lenses have worked well for me and my photography, and I believe that they will do well for others, as well. If you do go with my suggestions, know that I am sincere in my recommendations, but that doesn’t mean that those lenses are necessarily the right ones for you and your photography, because I don’t know what your exact needs are. These are definitely generalized suggestions, and it’s a good idea to consider what would be the best options for what you will be capturing. Anytime you see someone recommend a certain camera or lens or other gear, it’s smart to do your own research to better understand what your needs are and how to best meet those needs. I hope that this article has been helpful to you in some way in your search for a new lens for your Fujifilm camera!

Part 2 – Third Party Lenses For Fujifilm X

My Favorite Photographs of 2018

“Twelve significant photographs in any one year is a good crop.” –Ansel Adams

I like to begin each new year with a look back at the year that just ended. What happened that was particularly good? What happened that was especially bad? What successes did I have? Failures? Did I achieve my goals? I examine the different aspects of my life to see what went well and what didn’t so that I can hopefully do better in the coming 12 months. New Year’s is a good opportunity for self-reflection.

2018 was a particularly prolific photographic year for me. I captured more images than any other year in my life. I have never made more pictures in a twelve month period than I did in the last twelve. Perhaps one reason why I captured more photographs is because of the 365 project that I’m almost halfway through, which keeps me shooting even when I don’t think I have time or don’t feel like it. Another reason is because Fujifilm cameras allow me to get the results I want straight-out-of-camera without the need for editing, so I have noticeably more time for capturing photos. In fact, of the twelve pictures below, only one received any post-processing aside from minor cropping, and the rest are unedited camera-made JPEGs. It might also be because I did a little more traveling than in years past. Besides quantity, I think that the quality of my photographs also reached new heights. I made many pictures that I’m proud of in 2018.

I was attempting to compile a list of my favorite photographs that I captured in 2018, and that turned out to be a big task. Based on the Ansel Adams quote at the top of this article, I kept it strictly to twelve pictures. It took me several days to review all of my photos, and when the dust settled I had over 50 finalists! It wasn’t too difficult to narrow that list to 14 color pictures and 17 black-and-whites because there were clearly two tiers of images. Reducing those 31 to 12 was actually quite hard, and I’m not confident that I got it right. I might not have picked the right twelve!

It’s difficult for photographers to decide which of their own pictures are the best because photographers carry a lot of biases. Steve McCurry’s famous Afgan Girl photograph wasn’t his favorite from that shoot, but National Geographic preferred the exposure that would grace the June 1985 cover, and it’s the one we all know and love, while Steve’s favorite has pretty much remained unnoticed. Just because I chose a picture as my favorite doesn’t mean that it’s my best. I don’t really know which pictures are my best. Often it’s not the photographer that decides this.

Whether or not the twelve pictures below are my best, or if my best pictures were tossed out when I reduced the list from 31, I believe the group found here could be called a good crop. I think these pictures are significant in their own way. Each one of them are interesting. I feel like they all convey something. Perhaps more importantly they’re my favorite. It’s good to look back at these pictures and mark them as successes. It makes me excited for all the photographs that I will capture in 2019. If I keep working hard, next year’s list will be even better!

Color:

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Great Salt Lake Evening – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 (Dec.)

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Canyon Pinion – Canyonlands NP, UT – Fujifilm X100F (Feb.)

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Vibrant Autumn Forest – Zion NP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 (Nov.)

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Securely In Father’s Arms – Mount Rushmore, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 (May)

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From Dust To Dust – Great Sand Dunes NP, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 (July)

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Needle’s Eye Night – Custer SP, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 (May)

B&W:

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Taos Tourist – Taos, NM – Fujifilm X100F (July)

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Watchtower Sky – Grand Canyon NP, AZ – Fujifilm X100F (Mar.)

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Twisted Tree – Keystone, SD – Fujifilm X-Pro2 (May)

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Epic Zip Line – Sundance, UT – Fujifilm X100F (Oct.)

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Clouds Around Timpanogos – Heber City, UT – Fujifilm X-Pro2 (Oct.)

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Storm Over San Luis Valley – Alamosa, CO – Fujifilm X-Pro2 (July)