Friday, September 11, 2015

I've Never Met Jeff...

I think I've bought three Fuji cameras and I have no idea how many lenses from Jeff. I guess he is the only Canadian dealer I buy from now. He's a no nonsense salesman at Photocreative in Mississauga Ontario. We have never met in person, all of our dealings have been phone or email. A good guy to know.

I'm not sure why, but he seems to have some pull with Fujifilm Canada. He always has the best prices and is able to get the latest Fuji equipment faster than anyone else. Maybe he sells Fuji in volume and is on their A List, I don't know.

What impressed me right from the start was his knowledge and honesty about Fuji products. The kind of salesman you just don't find at places like Henry's.

For me Jeff's an old school salesman, knows his stuff, always up on the latest industry rumors and test reports, never let's you down. He always tries to sell me small add-ons like memory cards, filters and the usual. Almost never works on me, although he did recommend a used Vertical Battery Grip VG-XT1 that he had in stock; "really good price" he said "try it and if you don't like it I'll take it back." Jeff was right, it made the XT-1 fit better in my hand and the extra battery power is always useful. 

I have no financial connections with Jeff, so this recommendation is real. If you are a Fuji nut like me I suggest you at least talk to Jeff Chevrier at Photocreative.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Not a Review of the FUJINON LENS XF90mmF2 R LM WR

Nope, this is not a review but some some first impressions of the new Fuji 90mm f2.0.
Love it!

Freaked out a little when I heard a thump rattle when I moved the lens in my hand but some quick Googling assured me this was normal. The have a new magnetic system that makes it focus crazy fast. I have no idea how magnets help it focus but it definitely does focus fast (a pet peeve of mine in some previous Fuji lenses).

I was nervous about buying this, I mean I have the 56mm f1.2 and that has been my #1 go to studio lens (Equivalent of about 85mm on a 35mm format) but this new 90mm is the equivalent of 137mm on a 35mm format. Too long for my little studio... nope. Perfect for head shots and half lengths, and I do a lot of those.

With my lovable 56mm I felt I was almost climbing on top of someone to get a tight head shot.  The 90mm gives me a more comfortable working distance.

But forget all that.... 

Here's the thing. Shallow depth of field, so critical for portraiture. My background is even more out of focus than my 56mm was giving me. I have been finding lots of creative ways to cut the power on my White Lightning 800's, just too powerful for studio lights for my tastes . So I have to put them on minimum power, insert baffles, and have diffusion material stuffed inside the soft-boxes.
I mean only crazy people shoot at f8 or 5.6 right, unless it's a group shot. Eyes in focus ears slightly soft is my goal on a tight head shot.

I stumbled on an old 62mm HOYA ND X4 filter that allows me to shoot in studio, with flashes at f2. Yup, incredible. Disappointed to report that the HOYA ND is not truly Neutral. I have programmed a separate custom white balance setting so when my NDx4 is attached it compensates for the slight tint shift.

This 90mm lens is super sharp wide open, crisp and focuses fast. It gives me the soft background I crave. I'm an old school Mamiya RB67 150mm Soft Focus lens trained photographer. Soft backgrounds, out of focus highlights (bokeh) is the look I love. But lost to me since I went digital, until now. 

Sorry to report that is, like the 56mm the 90mm does not come with Image Stabilization.  Their logic is that it's a fast lens so you get to shoot at higher speeds speeds. My logic is I shoot the faster lenses in low light conditions so the image stabilization is important to me so I can be tripod free. Oh Fuji, when will you ever learn? Your electronic design people turn out the best colours, clarity, exposure and sharpness out there. But you are not photographers, you need guys like me to help you with the practical how it works in your hands part.

Hey Fuji what's the deal with the fake lens case, a bag? really? a piece of cloth with a half pocket in it. $1000 for a lens and no case? Oh well, that's why they invented eBay. My super protective $1.25 neoprene pouch case is on the way to me from China as we speak. All of my Fuji lenses have their own $1.25 cases. 

In short (yup too late) LOVE IT LOVE IT My new favorite everyday lens. In my 35 years I don't think I've own a lens that thrills me as much. I have high hopes for you 90mm f2.

And a terrific 2 week early 60th birthday gift to myself. Happy Birthday Robin, hope you like your gift.