Fstoppers Reviews the ZhongYi Mitakon Speedmaster 35mm f/0.95 for Fujifilm

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Dec 102017
 

Over the past few years, Zhongyi Optics have introduced several lenses in their Mitakon “Speedmaster” series of reasonably-priced, well-constructed, super-fast manual focus lenses. The 35mm f/0.95 Mark II lens falls straight into that category. We’ll be looking at the Fujifilm mount version, but this lens is also available for EOS-M and Sony E cameras. So, let’s get into it and look at sharpness, build quality, and, of course, bokeh.

I picked up this lens a little over a month ago and was initially a little disappointed with it. It didn’t seem to fit the Fujifilm system all that well and it certainly didn’t fit my style of shooting. That would all change over time as I got used to the way it was designed and learned to work with it for certain types of shooting. It’s certainly not an all-rounder, but it is a beautiful lens and one worth considering if you like to shoot wide open a lot.

Build Quality and Handling

The all-metal-and-glass construction of the ZY Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 makes for an “old-school” feeling lens. When I first picked it up, I found it reminiscent of the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 I used to use on my old Nikon FM. The resistance in the focus ring and the weight were the first things that stood out to me.

At 460 grams and just 63x60mm in size, it is a stocky lens that feels very solid in the hand. It’s almost too heavy on the smaller Fujifilm bodies and I found that it felt best on the X-Pro2. On the X-T2, or especially with the smaller bodies, it tips the center of balance too far forward and I felt like I was constantly supporting the lens and not the body. Compared to Fujifilm’s 35mm offerings it is much larger and heavier and you will instantly notice the difference.

The aperture ring is positioned at the front of the lens and is declicked. Both of these things feel rather strange on a Fujifilm body at first and take some getting used to. The aperture ring is far too easy to knock in the position it is in. Perhaps a lock switch would help to stop it from rotating with everything it touches. I have found that keeping it at f/0.95 (and let’s face it, that’s why you buy the lens) is quite difficult in the field. I’m constantly having to check the ring before I raise the camera to my eye. This declicked design may be useful for video shooters, but to be honest, I’d prefer a clicked aperture for stills.

The front element of the lens also sits disconcertingly close to the end of the lens barrel and the package doesn’t come with a lens hood. This is disappointing in a $500-plus lens and I would hope that ZhongYi includes hoods with their future lenses. There are a few options out there from third-party manufacturers, so you can certainly get one to fit.

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FUJIFILM X-E3 Review – Sample Footage and First Impressions

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Nov 132017
 

The new FUJIFILM X-E3 is the latest edition to the ever growing family of FUJIFILM’s X-mount line. This APS-C sensor-sized, mirrorless stills camera, can shoot high quality 4k (UHD) video and, dare I say it, is the best they have produced so far! As a reviewer, I had the chance to work with the X-PRO2, X-T2, X-T20 and the GFX 50S. While all produce nice looking images, the new X-E3 sets itself apart from the crowd by offering greater ease of use (mostly due to the added focus lever and LCD touch screen), enhanced autofocus capabilities and very pleasing video quality. Read on for my FUJIFILM X-E3 review. 

FUJIFILM was kind enough to supply me with a production sample that I could use and explore for a few days; here are my findings from my FUJIFILM X-E3 review:

Ergonomics

The first thing I noticed when taking the camera out of the box was how light-weight it is, to the point of not being sure if FUJIFILM had decided to pull my leg and send me an empty camera shell! In a world where every gram counts, particularly in relation to international travel, this is a big advantage.

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Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA is Here by; Jakub Han

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Apr 022017
 

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed booster ULTRA was recently announced. It uses special materials and allows you to mount PL (Positive lock) full-frame cinema lenses on E-mount Sony cameras and X-mount FUJIFILM cameras.

Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA

The new Metabones PL-E T CINE Speed Booster ULTRA features a new 5-element/4-group optical design with ultra-high index tantalum-based optical glass, which should improve corner sharpness, distortion, and reduce vignetting.

Just like the original Speed Booster, it reduces crop factor by 0.71x. Given the standard crop factor of 1.5 of most APS-C/Super35 cameras, using the new Speed Booster will result in having almost no crop at all (1.5 x 0.71 = 1.065). Remember that Speed Boosters are designed to only cover an APS-C/Super35 image circle, so on full-frame camera bodies (A7 series, NEX-VG900) the camera needs to be in “APS-C/Super35” capture mode.

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Five Things Fuji Missed With the X-T2

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Oct 122016
 

Fujifilm recently released the updated version of their flagship DSLR-styled mirrorless body, the X-T2. There are plenty of great things to be said about this new body. However, after a few weeks of using it, I’d like to share with you and Fuji a few things I’d like to see fixed or changed in the next firmware update.

The Menus

Although perhaps not as convoluted as the menus on Sony cameras, the X-T2 menu system is starting to go that way. Simple things seem to be buried very deep — things like formatting your memory card. The new menu has a cleaner look, but I find it to be overly complicated when compared to the older menus on the X system. Although this is not the place to provide a full list, I feel that some things could be pulled out from the third-tier menus up to the main tier.

Saving the Focus Settings

I’ve written about this before. It seems like such a simple thing. When I’m using AF-S, I like to use my camera in single point AF. When working in AF-C, I like to use 3D tracking. I very rarely switch away from these two settings for my day-to-day work. However, the Fuji system keeps the focus mode and drive mode absolutely separate. This means that every time I switch to AF-C, I also need to switch the focus mode to 3D tracking. Then, when I switch back to AF-S, I also need to change the camera back to single point focus. This is a two step process that could be a single step.

Flat Picture Profile

With all the effort Fujifilm went to in order to improve their video integration, the missed some things that would be really useful. I am a huge fan of Fuji’s film simulations. I love them. Classic Chrome and Velvia make the shooting experience more fun just by having them. However, that’s not what I always want for video. A flat profile would be really great. Of course, you can create a similar effect by pushing shadows and pulling highlights in camera, but simply being able to switch to a flat profile would be so much simpler. Of course, then there’s F-Log.

Internal F-Log Recording

HDMI output only? Really? This feels like something Sony might charge you an upgrade price for. However, we can hope that the Fuji engineers will find a way to incorporate it through firmware. The hardware is there, so presumably, it’s just heat dissipation that they’re finding to be a problem. The F-Log footage looks great, so hopefully we’ll see that in the next firmware upgrade!
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Jul 092015
 

Here is the inside look at how the X-T10 is manufactured from molding and trimming of the camera parts to packaging all items inside the box to get shipped.

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Oct 112014
 

Yesterday we posted a video about Nikkor lens production. Here is something along the same line from Fijifilm/Fujinon.