Fuji X-E1 review by David Saffir, published in Photo Technique Magazine

Full text of the review I wrote published on Photo Technique web site: http://phototechmag.com/the-fuji-x-e1-print-sized-photo-powerhouse/

From the E-X1

From the E-X1

Free Webinar: “What’s In Your Camera Bag?” with David Saffir and David Tobie

A camera, of course! But what else might you want or need to have with you while traveling, shooting on location, or in the studio? Find out which items are needed for Indoor vs. Outdoor portraits, Landscapes vs. Scenic vs. Panorama and Macro vs. Still life. What is the best way to organize these items in your bag to make sure all of the essentials fit?

Join us, Thursday, March 28th from 3PM-4PM EST, as Datacolor Experts David Saffir and C. David Tobie discuss these topics, plus share some important info about lens focus correction, color management tools, setting yourself up for success in post-production and more!

One lucky webinar guest will win a free SpyderCUBE and Deuter Freerider Pro Hiking Bag w/ TrekPak insert!


First Impressions, Fuji X-E1

I’ve had the X-E1 for a little while, courtesy of Fuji and Photo Techniques Magazine. I’m working on an article for the magazine, and I thought I’d share a few thoughts along the way:

First Impressions, Fuji X-E1:

  • A very lightweight camera body, due in part to its largely magnesium-based construction.
  • Controls are well-placed on the camera body.
  • LCD-based menus require some studying of the instruction manual.
  • LCD is bright and easy to read, even outdoors.
  • Camera automatically switches from LCD view to electronic viewfinder.
  • Image quality is very good (more on this later).
  • RAW processing software is subject of debate (more on this later).
  • The 18-55 kit lens provided with this camera exceeded expectations.

Here’s an image taken to test resolution and color:

Test shot, Fuji X-E1, Studio Lighting

Test shot, Fuji X-E1, Studio Lighting

Finished Testing the New Fuji X-E1 Camera

Just finished testing the new Fuji X-E1 mirrorless camera. A very nice package with the 18-55 lens. I also had use of the 60mm macro. Now to get to work on writing the article for publication!

fuji with kit lens

Fuji Announces New X-Mount Lens Lineup for 2013 at CES

Fuji officially announced its 2013 “roadmap” for X-Mount series lenses for 2013:

56mm f/1.4 (84mm)
27mm f/2.8 (Pancake type) (41mm)
23mm f/1.4 (35mm)
55-200 telephoto f/3.5-f/4.8 OIS (image stabilized) (83-300)
10-24 Super-wide zoon f/4 OIS (15-36)

*focal length equiv in 35mm FX format is provided in parentheses.

Two of the new Fuji lenses

Two of the new Fuji lenses

Fuji also announced some “upgrades” to existing cameras at CES.

PS – I’m working on a review of the Fuji X-E1 camera and a couple of lenses. This will appear in an upcoming magazine article – and I’ll offer a couple of excerpts here, too!

Fuji XE-1 – Just Received Camera for Review!

Well, I have a great way to start the New Year – got the loan of a brand new Fuji XE-1 for review! I’ll be writing an article of course. First impression out of the box: very light, classic layout for controls. Took a few test shots and now I’m reading through the manual….. I will be working with the camera for a week or two, and I will publish some images and brief comments here. I’m particularly interested in the performance of the new CMOS sensor. I will also be writing a review article for publication.

Fuji XE-1, Front View

Fuji XE-1, Front View

fuji rear - stock

Rear view

fuji with kit lens

Reivew: The Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

Reivew: The Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

I received a package from Gura Gear the other day; tucked inside was their workhorse Bataflae 32L camera bag. This is a fairly large bag, which has exterior dimensions of 14x21x9 inches. This bag is built with the traveling photographer in mind. Total linear dimensions are equal to or under the maximum allowed by most airlines. It is set up as a dual carry-on bag and backpack.

First impressions: Light weight, definitely not a bag that weighs as much as the camera gear. Very high build quality. Great zippers. Compartment shapes and access well thought out, designed with the photographer in mind. Ergonomic carry handles, terrific backpack strap design and storage, versatile tripod carry.

Per cubic foot of storage space, undoubtedly the lightest bag I have used. The padding built into the bag provides plenty of protection, but it’s what I might call “low profile” – not as bulky as other bags I’ve used. More than enough room for medium-format gear, or a big collection of 35mm DSLR.

Also, Gura make the best compartment zipper pulls and zippers I’ve ever seen. I have several bags that are in great shape – except that half the zippers are broken, so the bags are useless. And get this – the zippers are water-resistant, and they’re installed “inside-out” with the waterproof layer facing out –very clever. The main compartment zipper pull is color-coded (they are blue, lower left of this image); interior compartment pulls are color coded as well.

Gura Gear Bataflae 32L Camera Bag

The side carry handle is ergonomically designed, set at an angle to protect your wrist.

Ergonomic Side Handle

The padded backpack straps are very cleverly designed, and hide away (or deploy) quickly and easily. A padded weight-bearing waist belt and chest strap are also provided, the former not only puts the weight where it belongs – on your hip bones – but keeps the bag stable, a real safety issue. The backpack strap design includes some subtle curves that help the straps lie flat across the body, and also help the pack rest flat against my back – quite comfortable and balanced.

Releasing the backpack straps

The image above shows the straps positioned outside the back cover pocket – it’s easy to deploy and re-stow these straps as needed.

Straps deployed

Main compartment access is provided through a dual-end-zippered front flap, which hinges at the bottom. As far as this goes, a fairly conventional design.

Bag interior with partitions

But wait, there’s more! The main compartment has a center spine (see photo – red arrow) which is covered with Velcro. The front flap also has Velcro down the center – which means that you can open the zipper halfway around the edge of the bag, and hinge the flap in the middle for access to one side of the main compartment.

Bag loaded; one-half butterfly flap deployed. Note inside compartments with color coded zipper pulls.

This isn’t just a matter of convenience – much of my photography work is done on location, and quite a bit of that is outdoors, in the weather. Dust and moisture are constant concerns, and the main flap design does help keep the crud and critters at bay.

Note the inside compartments, which are large, and have see-through mesh and color-coded zippers.

The main compartment is light gray in color, which I prefer for visibility. (Gura provides plenty of extra partitions, so there are no issues with setting up the interior any way you like.)

Pockets and compartments are easy to get to, and are gadget-friendly – not only good shapes and depth, but plenty of top clearance to let your fingers in. Exterior pockets are full-length.

Loaded up, it carries well. Nicely balanced. If you don’t wish to use the waist strap, it folds out of the way very comfortably. Interestingly, carried ruck-style the bag rides exactly as it should, low and close to your back. With the waist strap in use, the bag rides a bit higher, positioned correctly over the hip bones – and it’s nice and steady. Inspires confidence for trail hiking and rock-hopping.

The tripod carry system is set up for side or rear carry. I’m not a big fan of side carry for field use, but I can see how it can come in handy during air travel and such. Carrying, I’d rather mount it on the back and let the weight rest evenly on the bag.  Here’s two view of the tripod side-mounted, and back-mounted.

Tripod side mount

Tripod back mount

Gura Gear have come up with a very clever system for attaching the tripod; see this video for a quick demo. I particularly like the quick on/off of the tripod strap design. (note how the tripod rides centered on the bag for better balance; many bags position the tripod too high).

The Bataflae 32L is also provided with a waterproof rain cover which doubles as a ground cover.

Many bags will carry a lot of gear, but not very comfortably. Stability can also be an issue. This bag is very stable and easy to carry, even with a full load of medium-format and DSLR gear. Overall, this is a bag that can handle a variety of assignments, from short trips or location work, all the way through extended field hikes in rough country. Very nicely done!

See David Tobie’s review of the Gura Gear Bataflae 26L camera pack.

More information on Gura Gear Products.