Fujifilm X-T4 and the future

In you haven’t been living under a rock for the last week, you’ve probably seen the countless videos of the X-T4 in action. It seems Fujifilm blanketed anyone with a YouTube channel an X-T4 for review (except me, thanks Fujifilm). If you’ve watched any of those videos, you’ve seen the wonderful improvements Fujifilm has made to the X-T4 over the X-T3 – IBIS, bigger battery life and the fully articulating “vari-angle” screen being the stand out features. The X-T4, when it starts shipping at the end of April, is sure to be one of Fujifilms best sellers. But let’s take a minute to talk about what happens after the X-T4. 

A few interesting nuggets of information accompanies the X-T4’s launch. First, is that the X-T3 will continue to live alongside the X-T4 in the Fujifilm lineup. At $1299 for the body, this is going to be a great camera at a great price. And really, if you are looking at buying either the X-T3 or the X-T4, and you don’t need or like the fully articulating screen, don’t need IBIS, or are OK with the smaller battery (and body size), the X-T3 will save you $400. What will be interesting to see is what happens on the next iteration. Will Fujifilm make an X-T3 Mark II? Will the X-T3 remain in the body lineup for years as is, while the X-T4 will receive a new sensor and processor on the next iteration? It will be interesting to see. Perhaps the more interesting nugget of information released was that Fujifilm has not abandoned the X-H line. The big differentiator between the X-T and the X-H lines was IBIS, and now that the X-T4 has gained that advantage, all that really separates the two lines are the body shape. 

I suspect if the X-H line is going to soldier on, then Fujifilm sees it as a way to reach a market segment that the X-T line still isn’t reaching after it’s latest additions. Perhaps Fujifilm believes that with a bigger body, in the next iteration, they can give the X-H2 an even better implementation of IBIS. Or maybe they believe they can use the larger body to increase the processing power of the X-H2 to such that it could shoot at 30 fps and give it a buffer that can handle sustained sports shooting. Whatever they add to the X-H2, I’m sure it will position that camera as a more professional alternative to the X-T4. The biggest knock on Fujifilm and their current lens lineup is that there aren’t a lot of options for sports shooters. The XF 200mm f/2 R LM OIS WR is a beautiful, capable lens. But it doesn’t cover all the ranges a professional photographer shooting sports and wildlife might need. There’s a couple of lenses Fujifilm is releasing in 2020 that haven’t been identified on the lens roadmap. These lenses, when announced may tip their hand at what Fujifilm has in store for the X-H2. 

As someone who has owned every X-T camera since the release of the X-T1, it’s been a joy to see Fujifilm build their camera lineup from a small, capable, lightweight DSLR replacement with a few compromises, to a fully tricked out DSLR killer with the X-T4. Video, which was just downright terrible on the X-T1, is now the signature feature of the X-T4. And it’s class leading. The sheer amount of video options that Fujifilm has stuffed in the X-T3 and the X-T4 is just showing off at this point. Sure, the removal of headphone jack on the X-T4 is a step backwards. But with the option to restore that feature via the dongle or the battery grip, it’s not a crippling feature. It’s just an annoyance on what is, one paper at least, nearly the perfect hybrid camera.

Autofocus, which was a joke on the original X-T1 is now in the same league as Sony, which is generally considered to be the segment leader in autofocus. And no other camera manufacturer has been as dedicated as Fujifilm in releasing firmware updates that improve AF with nearly each release. 

So, those are my thoughts on the X-T4 and the future. What do you think? Are you happy that the X-T4  addressed the battery, articulating screen and IBIS? Are you going to upgrade to the X-T4? Do you think Fujifilm left space in their lineup for a new X-H2? Sound off below and let me know what you think.

Fujifilm X-T3 (Silver) – Amazon

Fujfilm X-T3 (Black) – Amazon

Fujifilm X-T4 (Silver) – Amazon

Fujifil X-T4 (Black) – Amazon

Canon EF Lenses on Nikon Z mount cameras

If you are a Nikon Z shooter, and are looking to to expand your lens options beyond the small-ish selection of Nikon Z mount lenses and the large selection of Nikon F mount lenses, you have options.

Enter the TechArt TZC-01, a lens adapter that will allow you to use your Canon EF mount glass on your Nikon Z camera. TechArt also makes a version that will allow Sony E mount lenses to work on the Z mount as well, but for this review, I’m focusing on the Canon EF version.

The adapter is about what you’d expect from a lens mount adapter. It’s roughly the same size as the Nikon FTZ adapter, albeit without the tripod mount attachment that the FTZ features.

The adapter is built solidly, featuring a brass mounting ring, metal construction, and 1.45 oz / 41.0 g weight. If you are used to shooting with the FTZ, this won’t feel much different.

An unexpectedly nice feature of the TechArt TZC-01 is the lens dock, which is really just the lens cap. It features metal contacts to interface with the adapter, and a Micro-USB port, allowing you to deliver firmware updates to the adapter as they become available. How useful this feature is will ultimately rest with the manufacturer, and if they ever decide to issue a firmware update. But, it’s good to know that if Nikon ever issued a firmware update that rendered the TZC-01 inoperative, TechArt might be able to push their own firmware update out that would restore compatibility.

I jumped off the Canon system years ago, so I didn’t have many lenses to test against. My sole Canon EF lens I’ve retained – the Canon 50mm f1.8 STM II lens – aka the ‘nifty-fifty’, was the first test subject. Autofocus was quick, and all the standard auto focus options that are available to native Z mount lenses – Eye/Face autofocus and Animal AF – new to the Z with firmware 3.0 – worked great.

I rented the Canon EF 100mm f2.8 L lens for testing as well from Aperturent. Being a macro lens, this is not a super fast focusing lens even when used on a native EF mount body. That said, the lens performed admirably on both the Nikon Z6 and Z7.

Using the adapter, the camera will pick up limited EXIF data from the lens. You will get the maximum F stop and the focal length, but not the lens brand name. For instance, the Canon EF 100mm f2.8 L lens identifies only as ‘100mm f2.8’. This isn’t a dealbreaker, as I noticed when I was testing out the Sigma 70-200 f2.8 Sport lens on the Nikon Z cameras with the FTZ adapter, it too didn’t report the brand name of the lens.

At $249.00, I’ll leave it to you to decide if the price is worth the benefit. I suspect if you love your Nikon Z cameras, and have access to a good selection of Canon EF mount glass, the price of admission is worth it.

There are some quality Canon EF lenses that don’t have a Nikon Z (or let alone a Nikon F) equivalent. The Canon EF 50mm 1.2 and Canon 85mm f1.2 come to mind. Both of those lenses are beasts and have some great optical characteristics (namely, the insane bokeh both feature). However, neither were autofocus speed demons when mounted on the Canon 5D IV, so I wouldn’t expect them to be any better mounted on the Nikon Z cameras. Still, until Nikon ships the 50mm. 1.2 S lens sometime this year, it’s an option.

If you are a Canon EF shooter moving over to the Nikon Z ecosystem, this adapter could be indispensable as you slowly convert you glass to native Z mount offerings, as they become available over the next few years.

TechArt Canon EF to Nikon Z Mount Adapter – Amazon Affiliate Link

Canon 50mm f1.8 STM II – Amazon Affiliate Link

Nikon Z6 with 24-70 f4 S lens – Amazon Affiliate Link

Aperturent – Photo/Video/Lens rentals – Amazon Affiliate Link

Sigma 70-200 f2.8 Sport – Whole lotta lens for little money

My review of the Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 Sports DG OS HSM.

Images shot with this lens used in the review: https://www.flickr.com/photos/serpicolugnut/albums/72157712985998117

Currently on sale at Amazon for $1185!

Use affiliate links below to support the channel.

Sigma 70-200mm F2.8 Sports DG OS HSM for Canon Mount – https://amzn.to/3707edG

Sigma 70-200mmF/2.8 DG OS HSM for Nikon F – https://amzn.to/31t5RU3

Lenovo’s ThinkPad X1 Fold

I see that the 2019 fold craze isn’t dead yet. This doesn’t look any more promising (or sturdy) than the Galaxy Fold.

I do think that as a concept, a foldable device is something that could take off in the industry. However, as Samsung has shown, execution matters. None of the players in the foldable arena have gotten recipe right yet. I’m not saying it’s not possible, I’m just saying one year in, nobody who is shipping (or close to shipping) a foldable product has produced anything better than a lab quality prototype.

Will Apple jump in to this segment? Possibly. But if they do, I hope they hold their fire until they have a foldable screen that is as reliable and sturdy as a non foldable one. If it isn’t, then what’s the point?

Nikon D780 specs and pricing leaked

The Nikon D780, the successor to the popular 2014 D750, has long been rumored to be released in early January. Nikon Rumors just published pics and pricing of the D780 (and two other lenses and a new Coolpix camera) that all but confirm it’s release.

Nikon D780 Specs:

  • 24.5MP sensor
  • 12 fps continuous shooting speed
  • Eye detect AF (presumably in Live view)
  • 51-points AF
  • 273 AF areas in live view (just like the Z6)
  • ISO 100-51,200
  • Shutter speed: 1/8,000 – 900s
  • 3.2-inch 2.36 million dot articulated TFT LCD tilting touchscreen
  • 100% field of view pentaprism
  • 4k/30p video
  • Dual UHS-II SD cards
  • Weight: 840g
  • Battery life: 2260 shots
  • EN-EL15b battery
  • USB-C charging
  • 3.5mm audio input and output interface
  • Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Weight: 840g
  • Release date: January 16th, 2020
  • Price (including tax): body 14,800 RMB, 24-120 kit 18,300 RMB (around $2,000 for the body)

Not content with just releasing a new D750 successor, Nikon is also releasing the long expected AF-S Nikkor 120-300 f/2.8E FL ED SR VR. It’s expected in February of this year for about $10,000. You would kind of expect that this lens would be released alongside the D6, since they are considered to be Nikon’s one-two-punch for the 2020 Olympics, but the D6 release date still hasn’t been tipped.

Additionally, the ‘lost in the lens map roadmap reshuffle’ Nikon 70-200 f2.8 S lens for the Z camera system is revealed as being released in March of this year for about $2600 USD.

Luminar 4.1 brings new features

Luminar 4.1

A little over a months since the release of Luminar 4, Skylum today announced that Luminar 4.1.0 is now shipping. New features in version 4.1 include:

  • Erase Tool Technology (think Content Aware fill in Photoshop
  • Atmospheric Haze slider for AI Sky Replacement – helps make a swapped in sky adapt to the rest of the photo
  • Portrait enhancer now works with smaller faces
  • 53 bug fixes, 17 memory management improvements
  • Photoshop 2020 support

Luminar 4.1.0 is a free update for Luminar users and can be updated thru the app itself.

Source: Skylum

XQD vs CFExpress

Today, I’m going to talk about the differences (and similarities) of XQD and CFExpress.

Now, if you are a Nikon Z shooter or a Sony Camcorder shooter, you already know what XQD cards are. For the rest of you, XQD is a format, developed by Sony, that allows for high speed transfers – 1gb/s to 4gb/s  – and larger storage sizes – theoretically over 2TB (although the largest card you can buy at this time is 240GB).

XQD is designed for professional applications. The card itself is thicker and larger than an SD card, and it’s construction is generally sturdier and more robust as a result. The cards themselves are designed for fast read and write speeds, allowing you to clear the buffer of your camera quickly. For video, they are fast enough to write out full 4K 30 footage without any issues.

XQD cards are used in the Nikon Z6/Z7, D850, D500, D4s, D5, PhaseOne XF IQ4, and some Sony camcorders. 

The XQD format was developed by Sony, but you can find XQD cards manufactured by Sony, Nikon (which are most likely Sony cards rebranded), SanDisk, Delkin, and Prograde. XQD cards tend to be more expensive than SD cards, but that can generally be attributed to their more rugged design, faster speeds, and generally higher reliability than SD cards. 

Now, much has been made about the Nikon Z6/Z7 only having one XQD card slot, and while redundancy is an important tool in a professional setting, the higher quality and lower failure rate of XQD cards means that you shouldn’t need the extra card slot for reliability. Still, some people refuse to trust a camera that doesn’t offer a second card option for redundancy.

So what is CFExpress?

CFExpress is a card format that is physically the same size as XQD, and pin for pin compatible with XQD. Any device that uses XQD should be able to theoretically use CFExpress with a firmware update. CFExpress is not owned by an entity, like XQD is owned by Sony, so there isn’t the issue of licensing royalties that need to be paid when using CFExpress. CFExpress also uses two PCI lanes of PCI Express, which provides twice the throughput of XQD. 

CFExpress cards are just now hitting the market, with cards by Sony, ProGrade and SanDisk being available now, and cards from Delkin, Lexar and Wise coming soon.

So late in 2019, Nikon released the long promised firmware update to allow the Z6/Z7 to use CFExpress cards. The update however, only promised compatibility – for now – with the Sony cards. Additional manufacturer card support is promised in the future, as Nikon has time to test and certify these cards with the cameras. The Nikon D850, D500 and D4s and D5 are still promised the CFExpress update, which should be coming in the near future.

So the obvious question is – if I own a camera that supports XQD cards, and now it also supports CFExpress cards, is there any advantage to switching to CFExpress cards? 

And the answer, right now, is not really.

First of all, the prices for CFExpress cards vs similarly configured CFExpress are nearly identical. 

Second, while CFExpress cards are faster than XQD cards, the camera writing the actual data hasn’t changed, and it can only write that data so fast. So while CFExpress gives you more read/write headroom than XQD, don’t expect your camera to be able to utilize that speed. 

Another consideration in the switch from XQD to CFExpress is with any peripherals you use to read the cards. If you bought an XQD card reader to pull images in to your computer, don’t expect that XQD card reader to be able to read that CFExpress card. Sure, the manufacturer could theoretically provide a firmware update to make it compatible, but there has yet to be any XQD card reader that is getting this type of upgrade. Considering that most XQD card readers cost less than $50, I wouldn’t expect any of them to offer an upgrade path to CFExpress. Instead, they’re expecting that you will shell out another $50 or so for their CFExpress card reader. Such is the price of progress.

So in short, CFExpress is the future. Now that it has arrived, expect it to supplant XQD rather quickly, and when new cameras arrive that take advantage of it, expect it to offer even better read/write speeds than XQD. In existing cameras that have been upgraded to use CFExpress in addition to XQD cards, expect that you get another card options that will work just as well as XQD.

So if you are a XQD user, do you plan to update to CFExpress? Let me know down below in the comments.