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Fujinon XF 80mm F2.8 LM OIS WR Macro lens

If you’re reading this on Facebook, make sure to click through, or you’ll miss some photos.

In the early days of my Fujification, I bought the 60mm macro lens. Well, techincally it’s not actually a macro lens, as it doesn’t match the strict definition of being able to create an image on the sensor that’s the same size as the actual object. But it still managed some quite nice close up shots. But Fujifilm being Fujifilm, they’ve now rectified that with the shiny new 80mm actual macro lens that I accidentally bought yesterday. Well, it was like this. I’d seen some reviews, and some sample images and thought I might put it on my shopping list. But I was in Jessops in the Metrocentre and there it was in the cabinet. Ooooooooh. So, I wandered off for a bit, thought about it and went back in and sort of bought it. They made me do it! They forced me!!! I’m innocent, I tell you!

While I was at it, I added a bit of light, the usual UV filter to protect the front element, and took the unusual step of accepting the offer of repair insurance, on the grounds that with the various discounts I was being given, it was effectively free.

I’ve been doing a bit of playing, making maximum use of the new light and not taking the trouble to set up a tripod, and so far I really like what I’m seeing. Here are some more examples.

First, just to show just how close this thing gets:

It's a matter of scale

It’s a matter of scale

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 80mm
ISO: 1000
Taken: 25 February, 2018

I don’t think I need to tell you the actual size of what you’re seeing there.

There’s always a Dalek around somewhere:

Exterminate

Exterminate

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 80mm
ISO: 2500
Taken: 25 February, 2018

And where there’s a Dalek, you just know who’s going to show up:

Eleven

Eleven

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/4.5
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 80mm
ISO: 800
Taken: 25 February, 2018

And the other thing you’re likely to find here is a dragon, of course:

Dragon

Dragon

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 80mm
ISO: 1250
Taken: 25 February, 2018

So, seems like a nice lens.

Manfrotto Lumimuse 8 High Power LED light

I’ve got another LED light for photography, but I’ve rarely used it, what with it being a bit bulky and relying on AA batteries that have just run out when I want to use it. So, I was tempted enough by this little thing to wave plastic in Jessops. Well, I was buying something else, and they gave me a discount, so it all made sense.

What we have here is one of a range of LED lights, starting with a 4-lamp one and moving up to this 8-lamp model. Power comes from the ubiquitous micro-USB socket and supplied cable (no power plug supplied,on the sensible grounds that most people will be charging this from a computer or an plug they already have). The charging socket it protected by a rubber cover, but you should note that this isn’t attached in any way, so it has a high risk of being lost.. Oh, and according to the manual it won’t work while being charged.

Also in the box are a filter holder and three filters – a couple of diffusers to soften the light, and one to add a warm cast to the pure white it otherwise puts out. And finally, there’s a foot which will fit in your camera’s hotshoe or on a standard tripod, if you needed to position it away from the camera.

Unlike the previous light, this doesn’t have a dial for varying the power, just a single button. One long press to switch it on, then a tap to cycle it through three power levels, which can best be described as:

  1. Bright
  2. Very bright
  3. Aaarrggh, my eyes!!! The goggles, they do nothing!!!

So, what you have is a very portable, very bright source of constant light, ideal for macro work. First impressions are that this is a nicely made bit of kit, with a really solid feel to it. Oh, and did I mention that it’s bright?

You’ll have seen some samples in the last couple of posts, but here’s another one:

Smiler

Smiler

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/7.1
Shutter speed: 1/60s
Focal length: 80mm
ISO: 1250
Taken: 25 February, 2018

Tiggercam has been upgraded

Tigger told me he wasn’t satisfied with the webcam (it was a bit low-res, not to mention low-budget), and insisted that I get him a new one, and a mini-tripod to make it easier to carefully position it. Here’s the new kit in position:

Live!

Live!

Camera: X70
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/30s
Focal length: 18.5mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 10 December, 2017

Peak Design Leash (new version)

When I talked about the new, improved Peak Design Cuff the other day, I suggested that I’d quite likely be trying out the new Leash. And so I have, and here it is.

Like the Cuff, it comes in a neat little box:

The box

The box

Which opens up to show the goodies:

Open the box!

Open the box!

And unpacks to reveal all:

Contents

Contents

Along with the strap you get four of the new, thinner anchors, a small plate for attaching to the tripod screw on the bottom of the camera and an allen key for tightening the screw that holds the plate to the camera. The idea is that with an anchor on the bottom of the camera, it’s all more comfortable to use in sling mode – where you wear the strap across the body rather than around your neck or over one shoulder. As I generally use the X-T2 with the battery grip attached, I use the provided bar for attaching an anchor, so I don’t really need the plate, but I could see it being useful if I’m walking around with one of my bigger lenses attached – using the tripod foot to attach the plate might help balance the weight a bit better. Oh, and you get another sticker with a reminder to register your product on its back.

Here’s a closer look at the neat little plate:

Attached

Attached

It’s really very small – clearly designed to be less likely to get in the way of battery compartments, which might have been an issue with previous models.

The strap itself is the same kind of webbing as the Cuff, and also available in Ash Grey or Black. I went for the grey. There are adjustment points at both ends, which use a loop. Simply slip a finger in the loop and pull to change the length. This is easier than the already quite easy adjusters on my Slide strap, which I think were the same kind used on the previous Leash model.

Here’s what the adjusters look like:

The business end

The business end

And here’s the kit attached to my X-T2

Ready for action

Ready for action

As you can see, it’s a quite thin strap – just over half the width of the Slide. I’ll be using it sling style, as I think that’s how it’ll work best, and will be less likely to dig into me.

As with the cuff, if you want instructions, watch the video:

And if you want to know more, watch the design video:

Nice kit – worth a look.

Weight and Stuff Report – 9 January 2017

Down another wee bit today, how thrilling!

Talking of thrilling, UK readers should be aware that the £1 coin is being replaced by a fancy new  model this year. The new 12-sided coin (any resemblance to a pre-decimal “thruppeny bit” is entirely deliberate) featuring multiple security features[1] to make forgery more of a challenge[2]. I ordered the 2017 coin set from the Royal Mint so I could have one to look at before they go into circulation in March. And in case anyone wants to know, the old round pounds will be withdrawn by October, so if you’ve got a jar full of them, make sure to spend them or pay them into the bank in good time.

This is just a quick shot – I’ll try for a better one when I can set up the tripod and a better light, but it gives the general idea.

Funny Money

Funny Money

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/5.6
Shutter speed: 1/50s
Focal length: 60mm
ISO: 3200
Taken: 9 January, 2017

What you can’t see in this image, and indeed can’t see with the naked eye[3], is that the fine line just inside the rim actually has text on it – 2017 on each segment on the tails side and ONE POUND repeated on the heads side. The heads side also has a clever bit of engraving that shows £ from one side and 1 from the other.

[1] Including one they’re not telling us about
[2] Nobody’s silly enough to say it would be impossible, of course. Just difficult and expensive
[3] Unless you’ve got much better eyes than me

Weight and Stuff Report – 16 November 2016

Up a wee bit today, but still lower than recently.

You might have noticed a lot of nonsense the other day about the “supermoon”, which seemed to lead people tho think the Moon would be appearing much larger than normal rather than just a wee bit. Well, it was a bit cloudy, and I was a little preoccupied by matters relating to work, which I won’t be talking about here[1], so I didn’t do anything about that. But when I got in this evening, I looked out of my bedroom window and had a go:

Not quite so super...

Not quite so super…

Camera: X-T2
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/1400s
Focal length: 800mm
ISO: 1000
Taken: 16 November, 2016

Could do better, etc – forgot to attach the foot thingy to the big lens, so couldn’t get it suitably stable on tripod, so it’s not as sharp as it could have been. Bit it’ll do for now…

 

[1] Well, not yet, anyway…

Weight and Stuff Report – 13 August 2016

Down again today, good stuff. Though it is probably more random wossnameness.

I took myself to Tynemouth today as I wanted to get some shots of some apparently abandoned cargo ships with my long lens. More on that in another post, with rather more photos in it.

This is Souter Lighthouse, which apparently I don’t need to actually visit because I can see it through my 100-400mm lens with the 2x teleconverter. A quick check with a mapping site tells me that the distance from camera to lighthouse was almost exactly four miles. I’ll say that again: this was taken from four miles away, which accounts for any haziness. Oh and that’s a moderately heavy lens with no tripod or anything of that kind, so a big shout out for Fujifilm’s quite impressive image stabilisation technology.

Souter Lighthouse

Souter Lighthouse

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/11
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 800mm
ISO: 320
Taken: 13 August, 2016
Location: 55° 1.0612′ 0″ N 1° 25.0907′ 0″ W

Weight and Stuff Report – 20 April 2016

Hmmm, back up a bit today, but still lower than the last few weeks…

I had a bit of a play with the X-T1 and the 100-400mm lens last night. This is a hand-held shot, so it’s not as sharp as it could have been, but the subject just refused to get into a position where I could use the tripod and point the lens out of my window. This is an uncropped JPG, with no post-preocessing other than being reduced in size.

Hooowlllll

Hooowlllll

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/8
Shutter speed: 1/1000s
Focal length: 560mm
ISO: 640
Taken: 19 April, 2016

HD Tigger

I’ve finally got round to having a play with the Aurora HDR software I bought a while ago. Now I’ve played with HDR a bit in the past, but always found it a bit slow and fiddly, and ended up not bothering very much. So leave it to the nice people at Macphun, creators of the Tonality app I’ve mentioned previously, to make it much quicker and easier while still allowing more fine control than most people are likely to need.

For this test, I had the X-T1 on a tripod and used a remote release. I set the ISO and aperture, letting the camera work out little matters like exposure and focus. I then used the exposure compensation dial and took seven shots ranging from -3 to +3.

I imported the images into Lightroom and then exported the raw files to Aurora. There are, in the usual Machphun way, oodles[1] of presets which you can either use as they are, or as a basis for your own edits. This one’s possibly a bit extreme, but I like it anyway:

HD Tigger

HD Tigger

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/3.2
Shutter speed: 1/8s
Focal length: 55mm
ISO: 400
Taken: 5 March, 2016

[1] Technical expression

Fujifilm XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 LM OIS WR Lens

If you’re reading this on Facebook, be sure to click through to see the photos!

I’ve been waiting for this beast to appear for a long time now. Pretty much since I got the X-E1 two and a half years ago. At the time, the one thing I really wanted was a longer telephoto, and soon enough one appeared on the Fuji roadmap. At first it was vaguely described as a “super telephoto”, but eventually it was announced that it would have a very useful 100-400mm range. Now you might recall that I had a rather large and heavy 150-500mm lens when I had the Canon 5D Mk III, which was quite nice, but really a bit too heavy to carry around much. But on the Fujifilm system, things are a wee bit smaller. And because of the crop factor[1], 400mm on my X-T1 gives a field of view equivalent to around 600mm on the full-frame 5D, so this was looking like it would be seriously useful. Add in compatibility with the 1.4x teleconverter, and we have the potential to get up close and very personal. So, when it was finally announced as being available for order, I didn’t hesitate for more than a microsecond or two. I pre-ordered from Wex Photographic (as you do – and I should point out that their price is a lot better than Amazon’s). I then took the semi-drastic step of selling the lenses I don’t use to MPB, which raised most of the substantial cost of the new lens).

Anyway, as I might have mentioned, it arrived yesterday. It is indeed quite large, though it’s actually about 400g lighter than the 70-200mm lens I had on the Canon, and I had no trouble carrying that around. Unlike the 50-140mm lens, this one doesn’t have a fixed maximum aperture through the zoom range – that would have made it a lot bigger, heavier and even more expensive. It also gets longer when you zoom in. It comes with a tripod foot which I’ve left on for now. There’s a lens hood which I haven’t looked at so far. Other than that, the box contains the usual pouch and manual.

Today was my first proper chance to take it out. I’ve got a sort of tradition[2] when it comes to long lenses. I like to see just how close a view I can get of Grey’s Monument. So for this first impressions review, let’s start with a view from the 100mm end, taken from a moderate distance along Grey Street:

Grey's Monument

Grey’s Monument

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 100mm
ISO: 500
Taken: 24 February, 2016

As it happened, today must have been an open day, or something, because some people had climbed the steps, which is handy, as it gives a nice idea of the scale of the monument:

Earl Grey and Friends

Earl Grey and Friends

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/10
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 400mm
ISO: 500
Taken: 24 February, 2016

As you can see, that’s quite a large statue.

So, I walked around the corner, added the teleconverter, zoomed right in and….

Earl Grey in detail

Earl Grey in detail

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 540.4mm
ISO: 640
Taken: 24 February, 2016

It’s worth clicking to see the bigger version of that – there’s a load of texture in the stone.

And just for extreme detail, this is a tight crop of the above image, just showing the Earl’s head:

Earl Grey 100% crop

Earl Grey 100% crop

Camera: X-T1
Aperture: ƒ/14
Shutter speed: 1/500s
Focal length: 540.4mm
ISO: 640
Taken: 24 February, 2016

I’ll need to go some more places with this one….

[1] Not explaining that. Anyone who cares knows already
[2] Or an old charter, or something