Cheap Fujifilm Cameras

Fujifilm X-E1 Camera Photography Blog

I’ve been searching the last couple of days for a new Fujifilm camera. Actually, a used camera. You might recall that back in September I posted that I wanted to buy a full-spectrum camera for infrared photography. I’ve had an interest in infrared photography for a long time, and I’ve been eager to try it, but the funds to buy such a camera have eluded me. I did get the green light to spend $300 or less on a used camera to eventually (maybe mid-2020) convert to full-spectrum. There are a few different companies that will convert your camera to infrared, and the going rate seems to be about $300, plus you still need to buy various filters, so it’s not exactly a cheap endeavor. I have been searching for a cheap Fujifilm camera that’s hopefully gently used, since I need to keep costs down in order to make this dream a reality.

When I looked at various places, such as eBay, Facebook Marketplace, KEH, etc., I was surprised to see a lot of great options for $300 or less. I found some Fujifilm X-E1 bodies for under $200, one as cheap as $150. The X-E1, or “Sexy One” as it was once called, was my introduction to Fujifilm cameras, and is a solid choice. I saw an X-T10 that claimed to have a low shutter count but with some serious scratches for $200. There were several X-E2 bodies for around $250, and an X-E2s for under $300. I was surprised to see a few X-T1 bodies for $300. There were also some non-X-Trans Fujifilm cameras, such as the X-A3, X-A5 and X-T100, for under $300. I had a lot to choose from.

As I was looking at all of these cameras, I was reminded of some articles I’ve written. About a year-and-a-half ago I published Digital Is Disposable, which is about how we continuously buy the latest gear and don’t keep what we own for very long. It’s just as true now as it was then. People (myself included) upgrade their gear much too quickly, and cameras that are still excellent get tossed aside like an old moldy bag of tangerines just because there’s something else that’s brand new. Last week I briefly touched on this topic in my Photography Investments article, and just the other day in 5 Tips To Become A Better Photographer. It’s better to keep your gear longer and spend your money on experiences instead of upgrading your very capable and practically still new camera.

The flip side to this coin, however, is that if you want a cheap yet excellent camera, there’s plenty to pick from. Maybe you’d like a second camera body. Well, you can have one for $300 or less, maybe even as low as $150! Perhaps your kid or spouse has been begging for a camera, but you don’t want to spend a bunch of money. Why not buy something used and affordable instead of brand new and expensive? I’m just throwing this out there in case you didn’t realize that used Fujifilm gear is going for so little.

I purchased a Fujifilm X-T1 that claims to have a very low shutter count and is in like-new condition for only $300. That seems like a fantastic deal! Sometimes someone else’s description doesn’t match how I would describe it, so when it arrives I’ll see just how “very low” the shutter count is and just how “like new” it actually is. If it’s in halfway decent shape I’ll be happy. With any luck sometime in the coming six months or so I’ll be able to convert it to full-spectrum, something I’ve wanted to do for many years. One man’s junk is another’s treasure, as the saying goes, and I’m hoping this camera will prove to be a treasure for me.

5 Tips To Become A Better Photographer in 2020

Fujifilm X-E1

It’s almost the new year! 2020 is at the doorstep. This year is nearly over. You might be wondering how to improve your photography in 2020. Perhaps you feel that your pictures aren’t “good enough” and you wish you could make pictures like what you see others creating. Maybe you are in a rut and don’t know how to move forward. Or it could be that you always keep your camera in auto because you are intimidated by all of the different settings and you don’t really understand all of the technical stuff. Perhaps you just received your first “real” camera for Christmas and don’t know where to start. Whatever the reason, you want to become a better photographer in 2020. Well, this article is for you!

If you are not moving forward, you are moving backwards. No matter what your skill level is, you should always be striving to improve. You should be pushing yourself to be more technically proficient or to learn a new technique or to be more creative or to have a stronger vision. Throughout your life, and not just in 2020, you should be trying to become a better photographer. Keep working towards improvement. Don’t stand still, because you can’t.

Really, I’m in the same boat as you. I’m trying to become a better photographer in 2020. I’m pushing myself to improve my camera skills. My advice is aimed at myself just as much as you. We’re all in this together. I hope that you find the five tips below helpful in your quest to become a better photographer in 2020!

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UP 4014 & UP 844 Racing West – Richardson Draw, WY – Fujifilm X-T20

Tip #1 – Know Your Gear, Part 1: Read The Manual

This might sound silly and obvious, but it’s important to know your camera and other photography gear inside and out. You need to know what all of the different settings do. You need to know how to make adjustments. You need to know how it all works. Most people thumb through the manual when they first get a new camera or other gear, and never look at it again. It’s a very good idea to take a careful look at it during unboxing, but it’s also a good idea to revisit the manual every so often. Pull the booklet back out after owning the camera for three months, and again at the one-year mark. You’ll be surprised at what you’ll find! If you are like me, you’ll learn new things each time that you do this. Knowing your gear is the necessary foundation for improving your photography.

Tip #2 – Know Your Gear, Part 2: Understand How It Works

Knowing how to change the aperture is one thing, but knowing how it will affect the picture is another. Those who have been doing photography for awhile likely have a good grasp on what all of the different settings do to a picture, but those who are inexperienced might have no idea. Even if you have a good grasp, it’s always beneficial to investigate more deeply, understand more precisely, and try new techniques. There are tons of people who don’t understand even the basics, and things like the exposure triangle are completely foreign to them. If you rely on the camera to guess what the right settings should be, you are basically crossing your fingers and wishing on a star that your picture will turn out well. If you intimately understand how your camera works and how different settings affect the image, you can ensure that your pictures turn out just as you want them to.

There are tons of great resources for learning different aspects of camera settings. Nowadays, with the internet, everything is right at your fingertips. Oftentimes the best way to learn is by doing, which means that you take your camera out of auto and play around with it. Spend some time experimenting with different apertures, different shutter speeds, different ISOs, etc.,etc., and compare the results. This is a learning process, so don’t worry that your pictures aren’t good yet. It takes a lot of time, but the time investment is well worth it. Whatever you are trying to learn, read up on it, then go out and do it, not being afraid to fail, but trying again and again until it’s second nature.

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Onaqui Wild Horses – Dugway, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Tip #3 – Invest In Experiences

Camera companies want you to think that you need the latest and greatest gear to become a better photographer. If only you had more resolution, better auto-focus, a larger sensor, a faster lens, etc., your pictures would look amazing, and they don’t because you didn’t buy it. My advice is to use what you already have to the best of your ability, and spend the money on experiences instead of new gear. Travel! Go someplace amazing. It doesn’t have to be far. Even if you were only going to spend $500, that money could get you somewhere. Take your camera with you and use it. Take lots of pictures! It’s better to keep the gear that you own and really use it, than to buy new gear and not use it as much. Eventually it will make sense to “upgrade” to something new, and you’ll know when that time is, but for now spend your money on experiences and not gear.

Tip #4 – Find The Light

Photography requires light, so it should come as no surprise that great photography requires great light. “Great light” is a little difficult to define, and it varies greatly depending on the subject, but oftentimes you know it when you see it. You can find great light anytime of the day or night if you look hard enough, and most of the time you have to seek it to find it. You can sometimes even create your own great light if it does not naturally exist. The most obvious great light is found near sunrise and sunset, and that’s a great starting point for those searching for it. With practice and experience, you’ll more easily spot great light, recognizing how to best utilize it for stronger pictures. The key is to always actively look for great light, but it takes a lot of clicks of the shutter to be proficient at finding it.

Tip #5 – Be The Man Who Came Back

There was an article in the September 1955 issue of Arizona Highways magazine by photographer Chuck Abbott entitled You Have To Go Back To Get The Good Ones. In the article he addresses the very question of this blog post: how does one become a better photographer? His answer: be the man who came back. Return again and again to the same subject. Try the picture at a different time of day, in a different season, under different light, from a different angle, etc. Keep coming back to it over and over, and don’t stop, even if you are satisfied with the results. Press yourself to make a more interesting picture of something that you’ve photographed before. Be a better storyteller than the last time. Make a stronger composition than your previous attempts. This is the best piece of advice that I can give you: if you want to become a better photographer in 2020, be the person who came back.

Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 + Fujifilm X-T30

Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

The Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is a wide-angle prime lens that was made by Pentax in the early-1960’s through mid-1970’s for their M42-mount cameras. If you are a regular reader of the Fuji X Weekly blog, you will know that I love to pair my Fujifilm X-T30 with vintage lenses like this one. It’s incredibly fun for me, as I learned photography in the film era with manual-only cameras and lenses. Besides, many of these old lenses have tons of character that can add a little extra interest to my pictures. Super-Takumar lenses tend to be especially great, so I was excited to give this one a try.

There are actually four variations of the 28mm f/3.5 Takumar lens. The first two are very similar to each other. The main difference is that the original model has a minimum aperture of f/22 while the second model has a minimum aperture of f/16. The third and fourth models have a completely different design inside and out from the first two, and aside from sharing the same focal-length and maximum aperture, they don’t have all that much in common with the earlier models. My copy is the original version, which dates back to somewhere between 1962 and 1965.

Because of the crop factor, when mounted to my Fujifilm X-T30, the Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens has a focal-length equivalence of 42mm, which is barely wide-angle. It’s very close to being a “standard” prime. It’s actually a great all-around focal-length, which makes it especially appealing for many different genres of photography. The minimum focus distance is about 15″, so it’s not a macro lens and you can’t focus particularly close to your subject. The f/3.5 maximum aperture isn’t all that impressive, which means that this lens isn’t the best option for achieving a shallow depth-of-field or for low-light situations. Since it’s an M42-mount lens, you’ll need an adapter to use it on your Fujifilm X camera.

This lens has some obvious flaws. At f/3.5 there’s significant corner softness and vignetting, both of which don’t completely disappear until f/8. Center sharpness is good-but-not-great when wide open, and I noticed some chromatic aberrations, too, but both improve significantly as you stop down. This lens has noticeable barrel distortion, which is obvious if you photograph brick walls and not especially obvious otherwise. Flare isn’t controlled especially well (I’m sure the Super-Multi-Coated version is much better at controlling flare), but I like the way the lens renders flare, so at least there’s that. Bokeh is rather mediocre.

What I love about the Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens is that it’s super sharp (“tack as a Tak”), especially between f/5.6 and f/16. The sweet-spot for this lens is between f/8 and f/11, which means if you are an “f/8 and be there” type of photographer, this lens will suit you well! Below f/5.6 there’s noticeable corner softness and even the center isn’t quite as crisp, becoming worse as the aperture increases, although it is still sharp even when wide open. Diffraction sets in when the aperture is smaller than f/11, but really isn’t a problem until beyond f/16. This lens has great contrast and renders pictures very nice overall. It’s built solidly, and my copy functions smoothly and flawlessly, like it’s new and not over 55 years old.

The Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 lens certainly has some shortcomings, but it also has some great strengths. Whether or not those strengths outweigh the weaknesses depends on how you use it. It’s a great lens within a somewhat small envelope, and a so-so lens outside of that. I personally love it, but part of that might be because I’ve learned when to use it to best take advantage of its strengths, and when it’s better to put it on the shelf. The Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 is not a lens that I will use all of the time, but it’s definitely a great one to use when the time is right.

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American Christmas – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Roof Curve – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Ice Cold City – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Iowa Pump – Centerville, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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House Blend – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Style – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Sisters – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Jo at a Museum – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Amanda Waiting – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Criddle’s Cafe – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

See also:
Downtown SLC w/Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Lenses
Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm
Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4
Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

Christmas Portrait Fails

My talented wife, Amanda, loves to make videos, and she’s becoming good at it. She’s made a couple for the Fuji X Weekly blog YouTube channel, which I’ve shared before, and they’ll be some more in the near future, so be sure to keep an eye out for those. A couple of weeks ago I shared with you my experience photographing our family’s holiday portraits, and Amanda took some of those images and made a video out of it, which is at the top of this post. That’s her Christmas gift to the Fuji X Weekly community. I invite you to take a look; it’s pretty short yet entertaining.

Amanda has made many videos, mostly family films of our outings. She’s made several creative videos, and some of my favorite ones feature slow motion footage. These short films aren’t related to Fujifilm (except for the last one which has some of my pictures in it), as she used her iPhone and not her X-T20, but I thought you might enjoy them nonetheless. You’ll find a few of them below.

Feel free to “thumbs up” any of the videos that you like. If you don’t already do so, please follow the Fuji X Weekly blog and YouTube channel. You can also find me on Instagram @fujixweekly. I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season!

Fujifilm X100F Now Only $900!

The Fujifilm X100F has been discounted at Amazon, and right now you can buy it brand-new for only $900! Wow, merry Christmas! It only applies to the silver model, and only at Amazon. I have no idea how long this sale will last. Click here to buy!

The X100F is one of the best-looking cameras ever made in my opinion, and it’s easy to fall in love with the camera. It’s incredibly fun to shoot with. It’s the epitome of what’s great about Fujifilm! If I were stranded on a desert island and could have only one camera, the X100F would be it.

I hope everyone is having a great holiday! And if you don’t find an X100F under your tree in the morning, you know where to find it for a fantastic deal.

This post contains an affiliate link, and if you make a purchase using my link I will be compensated a small amount for it.

Photography Investments

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Cameras are terrible financial investments. In a way they’re like cars: as soon as you own it, the value drops, because it’s now used and not brand-new. And the more it’s used and the older it gets, the more the value drops. That’s not 100% true all of the time–there are exceptions–but it’s pretty true. You don’t buy cars as a financial investment, unless it’s a rare antique car, and you don’t buy camera gear as a financial investment, unless there’s something that makes it collectible. Most of your photography gear, if not all of it, is worth a little less now than when you purchased it.

About a year-and-a-half ago I did something really crazy: I distressed a Fujifilm X-E1 to look old and worn. It was a gutsy thing to do, and I had mixed thoughts as I did it. I mean, who takes sandpaper to their cameras? Once finished, I sold the distressed camera for more than I had paid for it. I turned the camera from an appliance into art, and that increased the value of it, at least a little. That’s an unusual situation. Most of the time, the photography gear that I buy decreases in value, not increases.

Cameras are a lousy investment, but you can make money with them if you want. You can do family portraits or weddings or sell prints. People make money with cameras all of the time. Not necessarily lots of money. In the United States, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the medium salary of a photographer is about $35,000 annually, which is an average wage. You can use your gear as a tool to make money, even if down the road you sell your camera for far less than you paid for it.

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The photography business world is extraordinarily crowded. Everyone’s a photographer nowadays. Not only are there a ton more photographers than there used to be, but the number of great photographs being created has skyrocketed. What used to be considered “good” is now “average” and what used to be “great” is now “good”–yet “amazing” photographs are still amazing. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd, and there’s very little being created that’s unique. Starting a photography business has never been easier, but creating a successful photography business is still just as tough as it has always been, if not more difficult because there are fewer photography consumers (from a business standpoint) than there used to be, yet with stiffer competition.

There is a way in which photography gear is a worthwhile investment, and that’s experiences. Because I own a camera, I want to photograph with it, and because of that I go places, see things, meet people, and otherwise live differently than if I didn’t have a camera. The camera opens up a life of experiences that would be completely foreign to me if I wasn’t a photographer. You cannot put a dollar figure on these experiences because they’re priceless. Their value transcends money. I wouldn’t trade these experiences for any amount of money.

Besides, I love creating photographs. There’s something deep inside of me that yearns to be creative, and photography is my preferred artistic outlet. I feel that photography is just as necessary for me as eating, sleeping and breathing. An investment in photography gear is an investment in experiences if I allow it to be. Even though the camera I spent $1,000 on might only be worth $500 next year, it was still money well spent, just as long as I create photographs with it. If gaining wealth isn’t the goal, investing in photography is a great decision because my life is richer for it. In my opinion, it’s better to live a rich life than to live a life devoted to being rich. My photography gear allows me to live a richer life, not because of the gear itself, but because of what I do with it.

Photoessay: Passing Through Nevada, Part 2: Monochrome

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Terrible Ford – Boulder City, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

Part 1: Color

I’ve passed through Nevada many times, often only stopping for gas or lunch. It never seems to be my destination. I’m headed somewhere else, and I have to go through the Silver State to get to where I’m going. While I have stayed longer than a few hours, most of the time I’m through Nevada so quickly that it’s easy to forget that I was ever there. The photographs in this article were captured during those times where I just passed through, and didn’t stay. In fact, many of them were captured from inside my car. I hope that you enjoy this set!

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Plaza Hound – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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I-15 Overpass – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

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Chance of Rain – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Abstract Roof Lines – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Empty Hoppers – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Palm Shadow – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X100F

See also: November Arizona

Downtown SLC Street Photography with Fujifilm X-T30 & Vintage Super-Takumar Lenses

Downtown Salt Lake City Street Photography

Walking Next To The Trax – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

Earlier this week I was able to do some street and urban photography in downtown Salt Lake City, Utah, with my Fujifilm X-T30. I had two vintage Asahi-Pentax lenses with me: a Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5 and a Super-Takumar 105mm f/2.8. I mostly used the 28mm lens, as its focal-length is more ideal for this type of photography. As you already know if you follow the Fuji X Weekly blog, I really love pairing vintage lenses with my Fujifilm cameras. They go together like peanut butter and jelly! I have so much fun with it, and for whatever reason using vintage lenses seems especially appropriate for street photography.

I used my Kodachrome II recipe, with Color set to +2 on some images, for the color pictures in this series. The black-and-white photographs are my Acros Push-Process recipe, except I set Grain to Weak, Dynamic Range to DR400, and Highlight to +3 or +2, depending on the picture. I like to say that you can “season to taste” my different film simulation recipes; it’s something that I do. If a scene requires something to be adjusted a little different in order to create a stronger picture, I will not hesitate to do so. While my different film simulation recipes work well as-is in many circumstances, sometimes they need an adjustment to best fit the scene.

Downtown Salt Lake City is a great location for street and urban photography. It’s pretty safe. Parking is easy. Getting around is easy. It typically has just enough going on for interesting pictures, but not too much where it feels crowded. It’s large enough that you can’t do it justice in just one visit, but not too large where you might get lost. There’s interesting architecture and art. There are interesting people. Downtown Salt Lake City might not be the most idealistic street photography location, but it is nonetheless ideal in many ways.

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Federal Traffic Signal – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Urban Sunshine – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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1st & 4th – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Man On Main – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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The Joy of Train Riding – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Rail Riders – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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35 Minute Parking – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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City Winter – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Urban Mailbox – SLC, UT – Fuji X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Every Style – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Table For One – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Old Business – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Urban American – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Planetarium Platform – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Climbing Aboard – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Electric City – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Tribune – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm f/3.5

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Gateway Living – Salt Lake City, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 105mm f/2.8

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Gateway – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Super-Takumar 105mm f/2.8

See also:
Downtown SLC Street Photography w/Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2
Downtown SLC Street Photography w/Fujifilm X100F & Fujifilm XF10

‘Tis The Season For Stealing

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Ethos – Riverdale, UT – Fujifilm X100F – Double Exposure

It’s come to my attention that I’m the victim of theft. People have been stealing my words and pictures from the Fuji X Weekly blog. They have taken them without permission and illegally used them on their own websites. Sometimes they’ve even claimed them as their own. It’s extraordinarily disheartening. This blog is intended to be helpful to Fujifilm photographers, and not a place to find license-free content. I, and I alone, own the copyright.

This isn’t the first time, and it won’t be the last, that someone has illegally taken my intellectual property. Five or six years ago I was reading a newspaper (something that I rarely do) and I spotted one of my pictures in an advertisement. Someone found my picture on the internet, copied it, and used it in a printed ad to sell their product. Crazy, huh? I’ve seen someone trying to illegally sell one of my pictures on a print-on-demand site. Someone else used some of my pictures without permission in an article that was factually untrue. In a theft that I just recently became aware of, an entire article of mine was copy-and-pasted onto someone else’s website, word-for-word, picture-for-picture, without permission. They didn’t even credit it to me (not that it would have made it any less illegal, but perhaps slightly less unethical). Sometimes creative people are easy targets because we put ourselves “out there” for the public to see.

The internet has made theft incredibly easy. It only takes a couple of clicks to steal someone’s pictures or words. As many times as my pictures have been illegally taken and used, my words have been plagiarized even more often. There are ways to use someone else’s words legally and ethically, but there are people out there on the internet who either don’t know or don’t care. Perhaps ignorance is better than irreverence, but they’re both bad. I just want people to stop stealing my stuff. I don’t want to be victimized by lowlifes on the internet who are trying to benefit from my work. Go write your own words! Go capture your own pictures! Oh, you’re not very good at those things? Well, did you ever think to contact me and go about this the right way? Or do you only care about yourself?

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I do this website mostly as a service to you. Nobody pays me to write the articles you find on Fuji X Weekly, a blog that has been beneficial to many Fujifilm photographers. I do get compensated a small amount for the ads and the affiliate links, but it doesn’t pay much; mostly it covers the cost of running the website. In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, “That’s like a dollar an hour!” If only it were that much. But I enjoy “giving back” because so many have helped me along the way, and it’s good for the soul to be helpful to others. I also love to write, and this blog is good practice for me. I hope that you like seeing my pictures, too. There are many reasons why I do this Fujifilm blog, but being victimized is surely not one of them.

If you are reading this and you illegally copied my pictures and words and are using them without permission and in a way that violates “fair use” laws, please take it down. Please remove from your website what you stole from me. If you go to the About page, there’s a way to contact me. Please use that to reach out to me if you’d like to use my pictures or words the right way, the legal way: with permission. I’m sure we can work something out. But please stop stealing. I don’t like it. Nobody does. It’s wrong. This is a community, and we’re all neighbors, so let’s be kind and not disrespectful. Thank you.

Some of you have shared my content in limited ways, citing the source, and following the rules of fair use. Rest assured that this article isn’t aimed at you. I appreciate what you do and your support. My disdain is aimed towards those who don’t follow the rules, operating outside of ethical and legal; those who would rather steal, profiting off of the hard work of others. My words belong to me, and my photographs are mine. Don’t take what’s not yours, it really is that simple.

Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 2: Monochrome

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North Mountain Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 1: Color

Many years ago, Ansel Adams photographed the Arizona desert in black-and-white. Many people might be unaware that he was a regular contributor to Arizona Highways magazine back in the day. Adams’ photographs of the desert have been an inspiration to me even before I captured a single exposure in Arizona. Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not trying to compare myself with the legend. What I am saying is that Arizona and black-and-white photography go together like peanut butter and jelly. There’s something timeless about it that just makes me feel good on the inside. It brings me back to those classic pictures by Ansel Adams that I carefully studied back in the early years of my own picture-making. As colorful as Arizona can be, to me it looks best in black-and-white.

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Downtown Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro In The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Monochrome Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2 

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Hillside Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Cactus Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Morning In The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Arizona Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Couple – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Rushing New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bridge Over Troubled Waters – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Photoessay: Passing Through Nevada, Part 1: Color

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Nevada Motel – Boulder City, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

I’ve passed through Nevada many times, often only stopping for gas or lunch. It never seems to be my destination. I’m headed somewhere else, and I have to go through the Silver State to get to where I’m going. While I have stayed longer than a few hours, most of the time I’m through Nevada so quickly that it’s easy to forget that I was ever there. The photographs in this article were captured during those times where I just passed through, and didn’t stay. In fact, many of them were captured from inside my car. I hope that you enjoy this set!

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No Parking Allowed – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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God Knows If You’re Prepared – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Review-Journal – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Sky Obscured By Structure – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Red Cranes – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

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Crappy Odds – Las Vegas, NV – Fujifilm X-T30

Part 2: Monochrome

Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 + Fujifilm X-T30

Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 Fujifilm X-T30 Blog

The Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 is a legendary M42-mount lens made by Pentax in the mid-1960’s through the mid-1970’s. There are four different versions of the Takumar 50mm f/1.4 that were manufactured. The first version is optically different from the three that followed. Versions three and four are Super-Multi-Coated and are slightly radioactive (version two might also be radioactive, but the first version is for certain not). My copy is the fourth version. Some say that the original version is better, while some say that versions three and four are better. There are endless debates, but, regardless of which Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens you have, you can be assured it’s a great lens!

The Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 is super sharp in the center at all apertures. Even at f/16, which is subject to diffraction, the lens is pretty sharp. Below f/4 there’s some noticeable corner softness, which is quite pronounced at f/1.4. There’s vignetting when wide open, but that disappears completely by f/4. From f/4 to f/11, this lens is “tack as a Tak” (as the kids used to say), and that’s where it optimally performs. I noticed some chromatic aberrations when wide open and focused close to the end of the lens. There’s a little distortion that you’ll only notice when photographing brick walls, and even then you’ll only barely notice. It’s a tremendous lens, no doubt about it!

A lot of people talk about bokeh, and it’s a misunderstood term. People get it confused with depth-of-field. The Takumar 50mm f/1.4, which when mounted to my Fujifilm X-T30 is equivalent to 75mm, has an excellent close focus distance of about 18 inches. That’s not quite macro territory, but when you combine the focal length with the close focus capabilities and the very small maximum aperture, it’s possible to get a super thin depth-of-field. This means that you can get a whole lot of the frame out-of-focus, which some people call bokeh by mistake. Depth-of-field is the amount of blur, while Bokeh is the quality of the blur, and it is subjective. Bokeh is pretty darn good on this lens, although in my opinion the Fujinon 90mm f/2 actually has better bokeh, if you want something to compare it to. Still, you won’t be disappointed by the blur, whether the amount or quality, especially at the larger apertures.

Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4

The coating on this lens, which controls flare only moderately well, has a yellowish tint that shows up in pictures. It’s easy to correct with white balance if you don’t like it, or perhaps it adds to the charm of the lens if you do like it. I personally like it. The lens has pretty good contrast. It feels solid and well built. It’s about average size and weight for a vintage “nifty-fifty” lens. You’ll need an M42 to Fuji X adapter to mount it to your Fujifilm camera.

The Takumar 50mm f/1.4 is an all manual lens, which means that you’ll have to adjust the aperture and focus yourself. The aperture ring and focus ring work very well on my copy. It may take some practice to get the hang of using it if you don’t have much experience with manual lenses. I used full-manual cameras for many years when I shot film, so I actually enjoy it, as it’s a bit therapeutic for me.

The Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4 is an excellent vintage lens! It really is something special. It’s not perfect from a technical standpoint, but it’s those flaws that make it special. It’s super sharp and will produce lovely pictures. This is one of those must-have lenses if you enjoy manual photography. Below are some pictures that I captured using this lens with a Fujifilm X-T30. Enjoy!

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December Mountain – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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December Leaf – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Morning Tower – SLC, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.2

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Jon In The Kitchen – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Shoe Zipper – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Gather For Christmas – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Holiday Dreaming – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Christmas Light – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Beautiful Blur – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Monochrome Christmas Scene – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Angel Choir – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Artificial Santa – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

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Christmas Wonder – Ogden, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi SMC-Takumar 50mm f/1.4

See also:
Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm
Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

Family Holiday Portraits: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

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Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Every November my wife, Amanda, asks me to take some family pictures for the Christmas card. Actually, for several years now she’s been wanting to hire a photographer to capture our annual holiday portraits. But, you know, I’m a photographer, and I’m also stubborn and cheap, so I usually tell her that I’ll take care of it, no need to hire anyone. I know that it’s a big challenge to be both in front of the camera and behind it at the same time, but I’ve done it before, so no big deal, right?

Amanda likes to pick the location and our clothes. Actually, location scouting is a joint venture; Amanda has an idea in her mind of what she wants, then I help her find it. Last year I photographed our family at Antelope Island State Park. The year before we went to downtown Ogden. This year she wanted a tree-lined road, and we found a good location not terribly far from our house. You wouldn’t know from the pictures that we were actually in the city, right behind a restaurant.

Everything was set, we were all dressed and ready to go, but I had already encountered a problem: one of my tripods was missing. I discovered in past photo sessions that I get the best results when using two cameras. I have a primary camera that I shoot using a remote, and I have a secondary camera offset to the side, which has the interval timer set to snap a random picture every five seconds. The primary camera captures the staged portraits, while the secondary camera captures the natural moments in-between. This setup has worked well for me, but without the second tripod it wasn’t going to happen. After much searching without success, I found some step-stools and books to stack onto each other to form a makeshift tripod, which was far from ideal but better than nothing.

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

Upon arriving at the photo-shoot location, I encountered another issue. The plan was for our family to be far away from the camera to make us smaller in the frame, but I discovered that the camera remote range was not large enough. I was too far away from the camera to remotely activate the shutter. After trying a few different things, and after much frustration, I settled on ditching the remote and using the camera’s interval timer, set to snap an exposure every three seconds. This is like spray-and-pray to the extreme. The wheels were beginning to come off, but we put on a smile and pressed forward.

I’m not a family portrait photographer. I’ve done it before a few times, but it’s really not my cup of tea. Trying to get everyone to look good simultaneously is nearly impossible. There’s inevitably always someone with a goofy look on their face. And even if you think an exposure looks good, one of the adults (usually but not always the wife) will find something insignificant to nitpick about. It seems like, as the photographer, you just can’t win. Maybe some of you have better experiences than me, but I just don’t find much joy in family portrait photography. Still, doing it myself is better than paying someone, I told myself.

In my family, the two youngest children, ages five and two, are the goofballs, and they also don’t follow instructions well, sometimes defiantly so. If you’re behind the camera, you can observe their behavior, and offer some words or bribes (candy works well) to get them to pose appropriately. When you are in front of the camera and not behind, it’s much more difficult to catch them in the act, and so you’ll get a bunch of shots where they don’t look good. The ten-year-old tries much too hard to smile, and often looks as unnatural and uncomfortable as possible. Only by telling funny jokes can you get him to loosen up. The 12-year-old thinks that she’s the boss of the other three, which sometimes causes unnecessary conflicts. The challenge is somehow getting all of this under control at just the right moment when the shutter clicks. And it’s clicking every three seconds on one camera and every five seconds on the other.

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Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

It’s actually a tiny miracle that any of the pictures turned out decent. The light was rapidly changing. At one point the sun found a place between the clouds and the trees, and put a bright hazy flare right through the middle of the frame (and not the good kind, either), and during this time someone walked through the scene. I couldn’t see this because I wasn’t behind the camera. As the sun got lower the temperature rapidly dropped, as did the spirits of those being photographed. It was all a mess, beginning to end. We did it anyway, determined to have a nice picture on the Christmas card. Afterwards we had some hot cocoa to warm us up.

The primary camera was a Fujifilm X-T30 with a Fujinon 90mm f/2 lens attached to it, set on a tripod. The secondary camera was a Fujifilm X-T20 with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 lens attached to it, which was set on top of a stack of stools and books. I used the Provia film simulation, DR400, Grain Weak, Highlight 0, Shadow +1, AWB +1R & -2B, Color +2, Sharpening +2 and -4 NR on both cameras. This is a new recipe that I created for these pictures.

This article would not be complete if I didn’t share with you the outtakes. Below are the pictures that were failures, where things didn’t go as planned, and the pictures are far from the “good” photos that we had hoped to capture. These are the “bad” and “ugly” images that show what really happened during our family holiday portrait session; not what we wanted, but certainly real life.

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

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Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 90mm f/2

Photoessay: November Arizona, Part 1: Color

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River & Rays – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

I love Arizona! It is perhaps the most beautiful state in America. Some might disagree with that sentiment, thinking that the desert is dull and brown, but I find it to be a colorful and diverse landscape. Others might consider California, Colorado or my current home state of Utah, or perhaps another state like Maine, Alaska, Hawaii, etc., to be more majestic, and they are each certainly majestic, but to me Arizona is at the top of the list, and my heart belongs there.

My family and I like to travel to Arizona whenever we can, which is usually once or twice each year. A few weeks ago we visited some family of ours in Phoenix, and of course I brought my Fujifilm X-T30 along, with a Fujinon 35mm f/2 attached to the front. I appreciate this setup for travel because it’s small and lightweight enough to not get in the way, yet can produce some stunning pictures. The film simulations I used were Velvia, Kodachrome 64, and “Classic Negative” (for Quit My Job). This wasn’t a photography trip, but as always I captured a number of pictures. I hope you enjoy!

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In It Together – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Gravel Road Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Above, City Below – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Saguaro Above Phoenix – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Neighborhood – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lookout Mountain From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Phoenix From North Mountain – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Above The City – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Two Palms – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palm Tree Bees – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Hill – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Red Barrel Cactus – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Foothills Saguaro – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Desert Warmth – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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The Desert – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Bright Spikes – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Palo Verde Sun – Phoenix, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Quit My Job – Lake Mead Nat’l Rec. Area, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Lucy – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River Trail – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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New River – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Water Under The Bridge – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Falls & Foam – Peoria, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

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Pigeons Over A Roof – Surprise, AZ – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

Part 2: Monochrome

See also:
Willow Beach, Arizona
McCormick Stillman Railroad Park, Scottsdale, Arizona

Fujifilm Grain Settings

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Blue Winter Sky – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30

Many of my film simulation recipes call for faux grain, in order to achieve a more analog aesthetic. The picture above was captured using my Kodachrome 64 recipe, which requires Grain set to Weak. Fujifilm cameras with X-Trans III or IV sensors have a faux grain option, which can be set to Off, Weak or Strong (the X-Pro3 has additional grain options). The Acros film simulation has built-in grain that increases as the ISO increases. I have often said that X-Trans digital noise is also grain-like in appearance. But all of this is hard to see, especially when viewed at web sizes, so it can be tough to know exactly what the different settings are doing to pictures. I thought it would be helpful to take a closer look at the grain on Fujifilm cameras. For this post I used a Fujifilm X-T30.

Let’s take a closer look at Blue Winter Sky, the picture at the top of this article. Here are some crops:

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ISO 640, Grain Off.

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Grain Weak

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Grain Strong

You likely can see the grain in the bottom crop, which has Grain set to Strong, but the middle one with Grain set to Weak is a little more difficult to notice. It’s subtly there, but the difference between Grain Off and Grain Weak isn’t huge by any stretch, and you have to look very closely to find it. Even Grain Strong isn’t particularly obvious, but it’s certainly noticeable upon close inspection.

Let’s look at some massive crops from another picture:

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ISO 640, Grain Off

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Grain Weak

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Grain Strong

This example is a little bit deeper of a crop, and so it’s also a little easier to spot the differences in grain. Still, there’s not a huge distinction between Grain set to Off and Grain set to Weak. Grain set to Strong stands out from the others, but again it’s still not especially obvious.

Can you spot the difference between Grain set to Weak and Grain set to Strong in the two images below?

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ISO 400, Grain Weak

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ISO 400, Grain Strong

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ISO 400, Grain Weak

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ISO 400, Grain Strong

I think if you study the crops above long enough, you can see that the bottom one has a stronger grain, but just barely. It’s not obvious whatsoever, even when viewed this closely.

Can you spot the differences between the two crops below?

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The top image is ISO 400 with Grain set to Weak. The bottom is ISO 6400 with grain set to Strong. You could probably tell that the top image is slightly cleaner and crisper, but it is very subtle, and not something you’d ever notice without closely comparing crops side-by-side.

Now let’s take a look at some Acros crops. Can you spot the differences?

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ISO 400, Grain Weak

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ISO 400, Grain Strong

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ISO 6400, Grain Strong

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ISO 6400, Grain Weak

There’s not much to notice, but there’s (once again) a subtle difference between ISO 400 with Grain set to Weak and ISO 6400 with Grain set to Strong, and you’re not likely to spot it without closely comparing crops. In real life, nobody does that.

The conclusion is that the faux grain options on Fujifilm cameras aren’t especially obvious without a close study. Grain Strong stands out much more than Grain Weak, but neither are particularly noticeable without a close inspection. Even the difference between ISO 400 and ISO 6400 (with or without grain) isn’t all that big, especially if you aren’t viewing the pictures large. The more you crop, the more you zoom into the image, or the larger you print, the more you’ll notice the differences. For internet viewing, you’ll have a tough time even noticing. It’s perfectly fine to set Grain to Off if you don’t like it. I personally enjoy seeing the grain, even if it’s not immediately apparent, because I first learned photography in the film era and I love grain. I look forward to someday trying out the new grain options that Fujifilm has included on the X-Pro3, and I hope it’s added to the X-T30 via a firmware update, but in the meantime I’m happy to use the faux grain that’s currently available to me in my camera.

Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4 + Fujifilm X-T30

Asahi Pentax Macro Takumar 50mm f4 Fujifilm XT30

Asahi Pentax Macro Takumar 50mm f4 Fujifilm XT30

I recently purchased an Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4 lens from Fuji X Weekly reader Tony Reidsma. I love Takumar lenses! Generally speaking, they are super sharp and have great character. There’s something special about them. They are often quite affordable, so you can add a bunch of Takumar lenses to your collection without going broke.

Asahi was the original name of Pentax. Up until the mid-1970’s when they switched from M42 screw-mount to K-Mount, Pentax used the Asahi brand name for their lenses. Asahi called their lenses Takumar in honor of the founder’s brother, Takuma Kajiwara, who was a famous photographer and painter. Asahi Takumar lenses require an M42 to Fuji X adapter, which can be found for cheap, to attach them to your Fujifilm camera.

The Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4 is, no surprise, a macro lens. It has a 1:2 magnification ratio, which is not as close up as some macro lenses. An earlier version of the lens (without SMC) does, in fact, have a 1:1 magnification ratio. This SMC Macro-Takumar has a similar close-focus capability as the Fujinon 60mm f/2.4 Macro, which is good-but-not-great.

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What I love about the Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4 lens is that it’s very crisp. There’s some corner softness at f/4, but the lens is edge-to-edge super sharp at f/5.6 through f/11 (diffraction begins after f/11). I haven’t noticed much distortion, vignetting or chromatic aberrations. This lens has excellent contrast and controls flare very well. Bokeh is pretty nice, too. The lens is made of metal and feels very solid. It was a quality lens when it was new, and all of these decades later it is still a quality lens.

The Macro-Takumar is an all-manual lens. You’ll have to manually set the aperture and manually focus. The aperture ring on my lens is a little stiff, but otherwise works as it should. The focus ring is super smooth and accurate. Because it’s a macro lens, it takes a little effort to get from the close end to infinity, and the lens will actually focus just past infinity, which isn’t entirely unusual.

On the Fujifilm X-T30, because of the APS-C crop factor, the 50mm focal length is equivalent to 75mm. Essentially the Asahi SMC Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4 is a mid-telephoto prime that’s very sharp but with a maximum aperture of only f/4, which isn’t especially fast. It doubles as a macro lens, and it’s quite good at that, just as long as you’re not trying to get really close, as the magnification ratio isn’t particularly impressive. There are certainly shortcomings with this lens, but it has the “it factor” when it comes to image quality, producing especially lovely pictures. If you find this lens for a good price, be sure to buy it, because it’s worth having around. The technical specs of this Macro-Takumar lens won’t knock your socks off, but the images that it produces very well could.

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Micro Christmas Lights – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Christmas Berries – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Amanda’s Eyes – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Citrus Ladder (N Scale Model) – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Country Barn (N Scale Model) – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Highway Sunset – Layton, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Sierra Snow – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Old Truck & Old House (N Scale Model) – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Two Horses Monochrome (N Scale Model) – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

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Speedy Super Chief (N Scale Model) – Fujifilm X-T30 & Asahi Macro-Takumar 50mm f/4

See also:
Industar 69
Asahi Super-Takumar 135mm

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


Fujifilm Fujinon 50-230mm Lens Review Blog

Fujifilm’s Fujinon Super EBC XC 50mm-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens is a budget telephoto zoom option for X series cameras. It has 13 elements in 10 groups with seven rounded blades and a maximum aperture of f/22. This lens accepts 58mm filters. Because of the APS-C crop factor, it has a full-frame focal-length equivalence of 75-345mm. The only Fujifilm lens that has a longer focal length is the Fujinon 100-400mm, which retails for about four times as much.

The Fujinon 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II is mostly made of plastic. It doesn’t feel especially sturdy, like it would probably break if it took a big fall, but it’s super lightweight at about .8 pounds. This lens is fairly small, at between 4.4″ and 7″ depending on the focal length. For how telephoto this lens is, it’s impressive how light and small they were able to make it!

There’s no aperture ring, which is expected since it’s an XC series lens, but a bummer because the aperture ring is something that I appreciate about Fujinon lenses. There’s no doubt that this is a cheap lens when you look at the body. Manual focus is electronic and pretty good overall. Auto-focus, which is very quiet, isn’t especially quick, but it’s also not super slow. I would say that it’s sufficiently snappy for most purposes, and probably too slow for quickly moving subjects.

The lens has a maximum aperture of f/4.5 at 50mm and f/6.7 at 230mm, and variously in-between at other focal lengths. That’s not especially large, which means this isn’t a good lens for working in dim light or trying to achieve shallow depths of field. The close focus distance isn’t bad, though, so if you use the largest aperture at the closest focus distance you can get a nice out-of-focus background. When you do, bokeh is decent enough, but not particularly great.

The Fujinon 50-230mm lens is equipped with optical image stabilization, which Fujifilm claims will give you four stops extra. The math calculation I learned many years ago for achieving sharp hand-held pictures is the shutter speed should not go any slower than the focal length. That means, using good technique, you would expect to get a sharp hand-held image at 50mm with a shutter speed of 1/60, and at 230mm you should not go slower than 1/250. While Fujifilm says you get four stops extra because of the image stabilization, the reality is that you don’t, and even three stops might be pushing it. I would avoid going slower than 1/30 at 50mm and 1/125 at 230mm, although you may be able to get a little slower than that if you hold the camera really steady. The optical image stabilization is a nice addition, though, especially considering that the maximum aperture of this lens isn’t especially large.

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There’s pretty much no distortion on the Fujinon 50-230mm lens. There’s a tiny amount of vignetting when wide open, especially at the further focal lengths, but that goes away as you stop down. I haven’t noticed any chromatic aberrations. Lens flare is well controlled. There’s very little negative to say about the optics.

This lens is surprisingly sharp for how cheap it is. It’s not as sharp as a typical Fujinon prime lens, and that’s to be expected, but it is more crisp than I thought it would be, especially considering that it’s a budget series lens. It’s better than many budget zooms I have used from other brands. While it comes across as cheap on the outside, the glass on this lens is clearly Fujinon, and it delivers the image quality that you’ve come to expect from that brand name. Sharpness is a highlight of this lens!

The Fujinon 50-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens is lightweight and sharp and optically sound. With an MSRP of $400, it’s cheap, and some corners were cut to make it cheap, but none of that relates to image quality, which is excellent. It’s easy to recommend this lens. If you are a sports or wildlife photographer, you might find some aspects of it to be frustrating, such as focus speed and maximum aperture, and you should consider the 50-140mm or 100-400mm instead. Otherwise, this is an excellent addition to your Fujifilm X glass collection.

You can buy the Fujinon Super EBC XC 50mm-230mm f/4.5-6.7 OIS II lens here:
B&H   Amazon

These are affiliate links, which, when you purchase something using them, I get a small kickback. It doesn’t cost you anything, yet it helps to financially support this website. I would never ask you to purchase something that you don’t want, but if you found this article helpful and are planning to buy this lens, using my links to do so helps me tremendously. Thank you for your support!

Example photographs, all camera-made JPEGs captured using the Fujinon 50mm-230mm lens:

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

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Brush Strokes Over The Great Salt Lake – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Pollution – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Snow Cap – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Full Moon Over Cold Ridge – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Cold Bicyclist – Antelope Is. SP, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Garage Door – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T20 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Frosted Hill – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Peeking Peak – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

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Autumn & Winter – South Weber, UT – Fujifilm X-T30 & Fujinon 50-230mm

See also: Fujifilm Gear

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