Tag Archives: Fujifilm X20

Just another trip to laid-back Perth

It has been donkey-months since I last posted..and for legitimate reasons – that my PC is being kept within one of the 60+ boxes packed nicely in a storage place quite some distance from where I am staying right now.

Yes, I am in the midst of moving house. Though I am handicapped by the lack of a computing device, my photo-capturing tool stayed close to me as I shifted my place. But the hectic schedule between planning the move and working doesn’t permit much photography to be done. Within these sterile months, I was glad that I was able to go for an overseas conference which would provide me with the opportunities to take some frames.

The last time I went to Perth and Fremantle was about four years ago, and during then I was wielding my first DSLR. Actually it’s a m4/3 – the Olympus EP2. It was the newest m4/3 then. This time round, I “downgraded” and took along my Fuji X20, a compact that’s less than 1/2 the size of the the m4/3. But I love Fuji and I have absolute trust in the camera…and the user ūüôā

The streets of Perth are interesting – a melting pot of nationalities and races, of culture and the arts. The Fuji excels in its film-like colors and its B&W.

In the right conditions, the Fuji X20 is able to capture amazing details and colors that rivals its bigger-sensor counterparts. It works well especially with structures, and Perth provides some of the nicest structures that we can find in this region.

And who can ever go to Australia without taking some photos of the native animals! I was glad that my choice of camera was the X20 as there is no need for me to change my lens. Zooming in and out was a breeze, and especially useful in capturing the unpredictable subjects. The only pitfall was that the X20 doesn’t fare well in low-light and the metering was not accurate enough. In dim places, it was quite a challenging task to get some good shots.

I had some other shots that I was quite happy with. I have inserted them below for sharing. Enjoy.

 

 

Advertisements

Just like a mist

I was driving past Mandai Road, near to the Upper Seletar Reservoir area when I spotted some nice thin mist covering over it. Mist also adds a serene feel to your images and are perfect for re-working into ink painting-like photos. It would even be better if I could use an ND grad filter to smoothen the water surface. But I have learnt to do without it with my X20, and settle for more dramatic compositing instead.

For three of these shots, I kept to my earlier promise to do B&W, and I was glad I did ūüôā

DSCF0086

DSCF0081

DSCF0060

DSCF0101

Just another beautiful sunset

This has been a lovely week as it was one of the rare times that I managed to get my wife to approve a few hours for me to take my trusty X20 out for a walk ūüôā

I decided to go to the nearby Upper Seletar Reservoir to take some shoots of the sunset. I must say that though I have been there a couple times, it was mostly in realms of the dark nights and mostly long exposures shots. It was kinda embarrassing to say that taking sunset at Upper Seletar Reservoir was a first for me, even though I lived there for more than 4 years.

DSCF9933

DSCF9907

DSCF9915

DSCF9970

Anyway as shown in my previous posts, the X20 was quite capable of taking sunset, in full glorious colors. The sunset at Upper Seletar Reservoir was slightly different as the direction and view was largely blocked by rail tracks and trees. But then, its a reservoir and the water masses made up for it with the beautiful reflections.

DSCF9922

DSCF9927

DSCF9916

DSCF9964

DSCF9957

As nightfall, it became a stretch for the X20 again as it struggles to take long exposure. For example in the below image, it has obvious slight grains, but acceptable. (by the way, the streak of light is the train passing by). One thing that got me a bit impatient though was the long processing time when taking long exposures. I managed to play a few rounds of Candy Crush and Injustice while waiting. Perhaps Fujifilm can do something about it as a firmware upgrade.

DSCF0036

Next time, I will take some sunset in B&W – which is where the X20’s true strength lies. Would love to see the results ūüôā

Just plain beautiful sunset

I didn’t have the discipline nor opportunity to take sunsets for a long time. Was delighted to get wife’s nod to go out for a short 45 mins in the evening to “walk” my X20. Decided to go to Pierce Reservoir which is nearby and has one of the few nicer view of sunset in the northern region.

The X20 is a marvelous camera that consistently deliver beyond expectations and beyond its pitiful sensor 2/3 size. But taking sunset in all its glory proves to be a challenge for it. With a f/11 limit, no bulb control, and no ND filter, there’s just that much the X20 can do. That being said, the X20’s color controls are fantastic and the images that came out of the camera rivals some of its higher-end and bigger sensor counterparts in the market.

DSCF9723

DSCF9768

Did a panaroma using the X20 built-in function. It gives you a choice of 120 degrees, 180 degrees or 360 degrees. I stood by the 120 degrees as it is sufficient to show the horizon beautifully.

DSCF9772

DSCF9793

DSCF9786

DSCF9822

DSCF9833

DSCF9847

DSCF9816

DSCF9882

DSCF9891

DSCF9896

DSCF9898

DSCF9900

Invisible Singapore [03] Keep North – Yishun šĻČť°ļ

Sometimes it’s amazing how a small island like Singapore could pack in so many things. i have been living in the northern side of the island ever since I know how to mumble my abc. Till today, i have yet to even explore a quarter of this segment in detail. Yishun is one of the towns in the northern side, alongside Sembawang and Woodlands, and nearby to Ang Mo Kio as well as the new towns of Sengkang and Punggol. It is also along the Upper Thomson Road which offers a myriad of scenic and gastronomic experiences.¬† Yishun used to be a sleepy old town that houses reserviors and natural lushes of greens. With the explosion in population,¬† the laid back style was replaced by more concrete landscaping. Yes, it’s harder to find natural formations to shoot but if we try, there are still some spots that offered an opportunity.

Bottle Tree Park

located at the entrance to Yishun is the Bottle Tree Park Рa place for relaxation and for corporates to host cohesion or team building activities.  The owners tried to replicate a rural landscape witnin their premise which comes with a fishing pond, a RC car racing track, a handicraft area, a vegetation growing area and even a heritage area. while most of the things are man-made,  thee are still some nice scenic stuffs worth shooting. I shoot largely in base ISO 100 in the bright sunlight which the X20 performs very well.

DSCF9401

DSCF9376

DSCF9408_HDR

DSCF9403

DSCF9407

Black and White houses

Nearer to Sembawang, there exists a stretch of land where many colonial black and white houses stand. These are bound by roads with very foreign names such as Pakistan Road and Queens Road. Apparently, the houses are still inhabited but could still be felt as quite secluded from civilisation. The X20 is able to output a good level of contrast for the structures and highlight the beautiful tones of the b&w buildings.

file177

file172

file170

file179

file191

file201

file196

file192

Pierce Reservoir

It is advisable to go with a partner, at least, if you intend to visit Pierce Reservoir.  Even at broad daylight, walking the covered tracks is an eerie experience. I decided against venturing in alone amidst the thick vegetation into the reservoir.  I was glad that I stood with that as the sky soon turned dark with threatening roars of thunder. Though I missed the landscape shots, I managed to take some shots of the monkeys that are abundant along the reservoir road. These rascals are totally unafraid of us humans and wanders into close proximity of my car. One stood just outside my car window allowing me to shoot it while it got drenched in rain. I was impressed by the capability of the X20 that despite its small sensor, it was able to deliver a high degree of sharpness and dynamic range that breathed character into the images. Great job Fuji!

DSCF9524DSCF9520

DSCF9519

DSCF9489

DSCF9498

DSCF9451

DSCF9450

There are many more nice places in Yishun and the rest of the northern regions. Hopefully I will have the chance to cover more of them in the next few weeks.

DSCF9539

DSCF9438

Just to show the X20 Super Macro mode

I was still in the process of exploring the Fujifilm X20 and one of the modes that I found interesting was its Super Macro Mode. Apparently, this mode allows you to take macros at only 1cm away. When I tried it on a USB cable, I was literally almost touching the cable itself. Loved it! Another plus side is the sharpness and clarity!

DSCF9081

 

When I cropped it to 100%. Look at the clarity…

DSCF9081-100

Just some monochromes from Fuji X20

After getting some low light yesterday, decided to push the cam harder and go real low in light. As expected, the performance was not exactly good, but the Fuji B&W has its own character.

DSCF8716

The above shot of a person imposed against the backdrop of the wharf, with an angled shoreline attracted me as it gave very strong dissection of the entire image.

DSCF8720

While the jetty was fenced off for construction, there were still a number of people pitching tents and enjoying a night out.

DSCF8730

The above image and the subsequent ones were taken in better light and hence much sharper and cleaner.

DSCF8734

DSCF8737

DSCF8726

Just another PnS? No! It’s the Fujifilm X20!

Yes. I traded in my trustworthy¬†X-Pro1 set and got¬†myself a Fujifilm X20. It was a hard decision that involved nights of tossing and flipping. My X-Pro1 was a stunner and has given me hours of¬†delights with its¬†portability¬†and great colors. It has incredible ISO control surpassing that of a high-end APS-C or full frame camera. The colors are iconic Fuji-style, and its black and white astonishingly striking. ¬†But still, I’ve let it go because as great a camera as the X-Pro1 may be, it lacks a range of versatile lenses and a good autofocus system. ¬†I did not get much choice over the past year playing around with a Carl Zeiss 35mm and a Fuji 35mm. These two are fantastic glasses, especially the legendary Carl Zeiss f/1.4, but sometimes as a photographer, you will yearn for more versatility and range. ¬†As for the autofocus, it’s a decent one but in low light, it kinda sucks…

image taken from Fujifilm Singapore website

Of course the Fuji X20 will not be my primary system. I will be looking out for a suitable one. My heart tells me to wait for a X-Pro2, hoping with a full frame sensor and blazingly fast AF , like the XE1 or 100s. My head tells me to go for the Canon 6D.  In any case, I am not in urgent need and the new X20 will fill the void in this period.

The Fuji X20 cost me $770 Singapore dollars or about $610 USD. This is slightly more expensive than the US set which goes for 599 USD at B&H. I was torn between this, the Sony RX100 and the Canon G1X. The Sony and G1X are cameras that received rave reviews, and their prices are not exactly that far from the X20 i.e. $640 USD for RX100 and $699 USD for the G1X. But the sample images from these 2 cams lack the emotive factor which the¬†Fuji colors give. For me, Fujifilm have a strong color¬†character – deep and arousing. Contrast that with a Leica which has a classic and refined character. But Sony and G1X just doesn’t emit those kind of sensation though they have very high¬†quality built and¬†glasses, and a much bigger sensor than the X20 (X20¬†only has a 2/3 inch sensor, compared to a 1 inch for Sony and a 1.5 inch for G1X) Find out more about the difference in sensor sizes¬†here.

Anyway, it is naive to assume that the X20 can match up to its big brother X-Pro1 or the X100s. But it would also be silly to belittle this beast of a Point and Shoot (PnS). Technologically,  Fujifilm has somehow managed to shrink all the great stuffs from the X-Pro1 into this handsome retro-looking box  that weights only about 300+ grams. The upside is that you get the Fuji look with a cheaper and lighter package that rivals the performance of entry DSLR. The downside are the limited ISO performance, the limited DOF/bokeh and a missing BULB mode for those long exposures.

DSCF8555

I just got the X20 two days ago and gave it a test run out in the field yesterday – to see its speed, IQ and ISO performance. It’s neither scientific nor professional, just your average street testing with the naked eyes. And I must say that I am¬†mightily¬†impressed. The autofocus performs well in challenging conditions, and the IQ was very good. The ISO performance is about the same as a mid-range mirrorless¬†or entry DLSR (usable up to ISO3200). This is where you realised that as mighty as the Fuji sensor may be, its 2/3 inch sensor still fails to match the ¬†ISO prowess¬†of a RX100 or Canon G1X. ¬†Anyway, pictures speaks a thousand words, so ¬†here are some of the image samples from yesterday.

DSCF8603

DSCF8571

DSCF8521

DSCF8576

DSCF8580

DSCF8589

DSCF8553

DSCF8557

DSCF8545

I ran a few tests at night to test the ISO from 800 onwards till 6400. I find the images very usable at ISO1600. However 3200 and 6400 is more suitable for black and white given the noise and artefacts. And don’t think about ISO12,800, it’s not palatable even in black and white, unlike the X-Pro1 which is usable even at ISO25,600!

Here are some images at ISO800, under low light.

800-1

800Here are some at ISO1600

1600-2

1600

1600-1

Here are those at ISO3200

3200-2

3200-1

3200

And finally, these are the ISO6400

6400-1

6400

So the verdict?
Small? Checked
Light? Checked
Great IQ? Checked
Fuji? Checked
This cam is staying!