Neptune Photo Newsletter
February 2017 Volume 61
by Steve Zimic
Fuji's latest addition is a slightly feature trimmed version of the highly acclaimed XT-2, with the most obvious omission being weather sealing. You still get the latest 24MP XTRANS sensor and Fuji's Pro processing. A comparison on Fuji's website shows the performance of the XT-20 to be virtually identical to the XT-2 with the exception of a slightly smaller buffer. Physically you'll loose the much touted joystick and the ISO dial, however you do get the addition of touchscreen in all modes. According to the specs the camera has a pop up flash instead of the small detached flash that comes with the XT-2. Eyeglass wearers may have a problem with the 17mm eye relief compared to 23mm on the XT-2. In conclusion it appears that fair weather shooters that don't wear glasses would be well advised to purchase this new model at $899 over the XT-2 at $1699 (body only). More info on Fuji's website.
Fuji 50mm f2.0
Should you decide get into the mirrorless system with the new FUJI XT-20, you could spend some of that money you saved over the XT-2 on this fast short portrait lens. Fuji's APS-C size sensor will yield the equivalent of 75mm on a full frame camera, so it's a perfect lens for candid indoor available light shooting of pets or kids without the use of harsh flash. Unlike similar lenses from other manufacturers, this lens is weather resistant so its versatility is greatly expanded. Personally I've always been a fan of the high speed short portrait lens and to this day I leave one on the camera when home. It's really convenient to be able to grab the camera without having to fiddle with changing lenses in order to catch that special moment, plus the fast aperture allows you to isolate your subject nicely from the background. You should see this lens on shelves sometime this month at $449. More info can be found on the Fuji website.
Fuji X100 F
Looks like Fuji is taking center stage this month with new products. Here we have the 4th version of this rather unique fixed lens, retro styled camera. The camera now has the latest 24MP APS-C XTRANS sensor and Pro processing as found on the XT-2 and XT-20. Also new is a joystick and an even more retro ISO control on top of the shutter speed dial. In addition to the control wheel on the back of the camera, there's now an additional and identical one on the front. The camera still has the hybrid viewfinder allowing one to switch from the optical rangefinder mode to a live view digital display simply by flicking the lever on the front. Focusing points are also improved going from 49 to 91 with a focusing time of 0.08 seconds. With its fixed 23mm f2.0 lens the camera has limited use but it is the perfect camera for street shooting. I still have the original X100 and use it for just that. What's really cool about the ultra retro look is that whether you run across an experienced photographer or the average lay person, they all think it's a film camera which for some reason people are not intimidated by. Should you want a bit more wide angle or telephoto, Fuji makes both, with no loss of speed or quality. You should see the camera become available by the middle of this month for $1299. Check out the full features and specs on Fuji's website.
For many years Leica has represented the gold standard in photography and the M10 certainly continues that tradition. There are some physical changes, most notably a smaller body and battery, however the big change is the new 24MP image sensor which is designed to handle light entering at oblique angles more efficiently resulting in sharper and more uniformly exposed images. The much improved oblique light handling might be enough for those favoring wide angle lenses to take the plunge into the M10. The new sensor is also claimed to have improved contrast, dynamic range and noise, plus the ISO range is now 100-50,000. The latest Maestro II processor combined with a 2GB buffer delivers 5 FPS - the fastest Leica ever made. Another nice addition is the ability to vary the magnified view to anywhere within the frame, both on screen and in the new optional 2.4MP tilting Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Other physical changes are dedicated manual ISO dial and a 50% improvement in viewfinder eye relief which is huge for eyeglass wearers. The camera is available now at $6595. More details can be found of course on Leica's website.