Thursday, January 14, 2016

NEW! XF100-400mm zoom, Fujifilm X-E2s and X70...



Along with the X-Pro2 announcement, Fujifilm has announced a slew of other products, including the highly anticipated XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6R LM OIS WR zoom. Above is a photo of the preproduction X-Pro2 on the new zoom and as you can tell, it isn't exactly a svelte lens! Thankfully, it isn't quite as heavy as it looks, but you sure wouldn't be lugging this around for casual shooting. Carrying this lens will mean you are going to be wielding it with purpose, motor-sports, wildlife, birding etc.

Since the lens was preproduction and I had very little time with it, I am unable to comment on its image quality. That said, I did do a few indoor handheld shots at between 1/10 and 1/15 second, and even wide open at 400mm (a 600mm equivalent), they were mostly tack sharp. The 5-stops of image stabilization that Fujifilm is claiming certainly does not seem exaggerated. It features a weather-resistant design, has fast focusing, a lens hood with a built-in, sliding polarizer adjusting door, a tripod foot and apart from all the usual controls, also has a focus limiter switch. Here is a comparison, hoods off, to the largest of Fujifilm's other tele zooms, with the new big gun on the left, the the XF 40-150mm f/2.8 zoom in the middle, and on the right, the XF 55-200mm…




Below, you can see the lenses with hoods attached, and zoomed to their longest focal length. As you can see, both the new 100-400 and the 55-200mm extend when zooming, but the 50-140mm has an entirely internal zoom mechanism…



The XF 100-400mm should be available for sale on February 15th for $2,149. Once this lens ships, Fujifilm will have full-frame 35mm equivalent focal lengths from 15mm all the way up to 600mm, a pretty darn complete lens selection after only 4 years of interchangeable X-system bodies. While I may not be buying this lens right away, I will hopefully have a chance to thoroughly test a production version and report back on its image quality and performance.

Next up, the new X-E2s! Notice, I didn't say "all new"…



The X-E2s is a slightly upgraded version of the popular X-E2. The only real physical changes that I can see are an improved hand-grip and a relabeling of the buttons on the back. Oh, and the addition of the 's' beside the model name of course. Please note that I have not seen one in person so cannot comment on the button or control action, nor the viewfinder but I suspect those will all be more or less the same, which is not a bad thing. However when it comes to its firmware, the changes from the older X-E2 are dramatic!

The X-E2s will apparently sport dramatically improved AF, on par with the X-T10, dramatically improved video capabilities with full manual control, on par with the X-T10, full silent electronic shutter capability, yep you guessed it, like the X-T10, new Q menu customization like, well, the X-T10 and… well… you get the picture I think? Basically this will be the guts of an X-T10, stuffed into the body of an X-E2. Sweet! Well, that is if you prefer the rangefinder style of body layout and don't mind not getting a tilting rear LCD...

What is surprising though, and heartwarming for all those X-E2 shooters out there, is that a HUGE firmware update is coming which can be installed in your original X-E2, bringing with it virtually all of the improvements of the X-E2s, apart from the minor mechanical differences in the body. Wow! In a way, Fujifilm is shooting themselves in the foot with this firmware update since who is going to bother getting an X-E2s, if they already own an X-E2? However this very generous move on Fujifilm's part will also create a lot of goodwill with their existing customers, and will pay dividends in brand loyalty. Fujifilm has done this before, with major updates to the X100 series, the X-T1 and more... and I can really see how this helps with customer loyalty. Fujifilm has not released full details of what exactly the new X-E2 firmware will include, and there could be some last minute changes, so we'll have to wait and see to get the final scoop. UPDATE: Here is the scoop from Fujifilm!

The X-E2s will be available in black or silver, as before, and also at the same $899 price for the body or $1249 for the kit with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4R OIS zoom. Availability is slated for February 15th.

Lastly, we have the all new (yes, all new this time) X70!



Think of the X70 as a little brother to the X100T. The X70 has a 16MP X-Trans CMOS II APS-C sensor, just like the X100T, but instead of a 23mm f/2 lens, it has a fixed 18.5mm f/2.8 lens, working out to a 28mm full-frame equivalent focal length. The X70 is noticeably slimmer and lighter than the X-100T and apart from an even smaller lens, the other savings came from leaving out the Hybrid-VF. I find it a shame that they left out the excellent Hybrid-VF, but realistically there are many people that are perfectly happy shooting their cameras at arm's length. What the X70 has gained though, is a tilting touch-screen (yes, touch!) that can also swivel up 180 degrees for selfies. You'll note that the X70 too will come in silver and black versions…



While light in the hand, the X70 feels very solid and well built too, with great feeling controls and decent ergonomics. Personally, I am a fan of touch-screens and I can't wait until Fujifilm starts incorporating them into their higher end models too. The X70 also features electronic shutter capability, Full HD video, WiFi, a built-in digital teleconverter, 8 fps shooting with focus tracking, film simulation modes and most other features from the X100T.

The X70 should also be available on February 15th for a price of $899, quite a bit less expensive than its bigger brother. Here is one more shot of the top of this sleek, new pocketable camera…


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