Marco Secchi Blog

Photojournalist in Slovenia and Hungary

Fujifilm XE-2 Firmware update ver. 4.0

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Fuji had always promised they were going to issue a firmware update for the nearly 3 years X-E2, mid-range mirrorless camera, to bring it in line with the XT-1 but after the release of the new camera X-E2s many were dubious.

On February 4th Fujifilm has released the new firmware update which adds a host of feature and operational improvements, including the AF upgrades, also a revised user interface and multiple Auto ISO settings. The update brings the camera into line with most of the latest X-series models and continues Fujifilm’s habit of supporting existing users.

This is one of the reasons why I moved from DSLR professional Nikon to Fujifilm. Just thinking at myXE-2 that I had since the very beginning in October 2013 I believe that thanks to the Fujifilm supportI have had a new camera probably 2/3 times with major updates in those 28 months and for sure it is is not something I was used to.
I am always surprised that not many camera brands release updates as phones, computers, tablets etc.   In my view extending the functionality with updates or fixes is always a good thing and would make for more the reason to purchase oftheir brand, especially as these cameras become more computer like and sophisticated.

 

Improvements and function enhancements with this firmware 4.0 update

New AF System
(1) New AF system with Zone and Wide/Tracking modes for effortless capture of moving subjects
(2) Improvement of AF accuracy
(3) Eye Detection AF
(4) Auto Macro mode
(5) AF improvement in the Movie mode
Function enhancements
(6) High-speed electronic shutter with a maximum speed of 1/32000sec.*
(7) White Balance Bracketing
(8) Enhanced ISO Auto Setting to AUTO1/AUTO2/AUTO3
(9) Exposure Compensation control in Manual.
(10) Natural Live View function is just like the naked eye.
(11) Finer lines on the framing grid enhances visibility
(12) New Video Frame rates (50P / 25P / 24P)
(13) Manual Shooting in Video mode
(14) Phase detection AF support for Instant AF
(15) Expansion of shutter speed in Program Shift mode
Operability improvements
(16) The new user interface
(17) Improved Shutter Speed Dial operation
(18) Name of Silent mode changed to avoid confusion
(19) Direct selection of AF area
(20) Unlocked AE-L / AF-L Buttons
(21) Variable Focus Area during MF
(22) Q. Menu customization
(23) Interlocking of Metering and Focus areas
(24) Movie Recording
Other changes with the update
(25) Supports focus limiter function for XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR
(26) “BACKGROUND COLOR” menu
(27) The maximum number of images taken in the continuous shooting mode

After this update, I really feel my XE2 ismuch faster and it added many useful things that will help my workflow

What I was really hoping with this update was to get

-Autofocus brought inline with X-T1 speeds, especially continuous focus
-Electronic shutter option
-Auto Macro Mode

I got them all

PRO
Autofocus – Single, Fixed subject isfor sure an impressive upgrade. Works in a fantastic way and really seems a new camera.
Autofocus – Single, Moving subject a great improvement
Autofocus – Continuous + Tracking again asubstantial improvement on continuous focus and very happy with it
Auto Macro mode will save time and makes life easier
Electronic shutter for still subjects it’s a dream, 1/32000th in the daylight wide open and completely silent is superb.

This new firmware is very very good, make sure you update your camera right now, these added functions bring the X-E2 in line with X-E2s and XT-1

New Firmware 4.0 can be found here

CONS
Grrrr….Why did the firmware not include 36 megapixel upgrade, tilt-able screen, IBIS, and the possibility to make an Espresso?? That was mean.
Just Joking of course.

Thanks Fujifilm! You’ve shown that the most important factor are (we) the end users.

 

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

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Written by msecchi

February 25, 2016 at 8:31 am

World Press Photo 2016

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This morning when I received the email from World Press Photo  I did not know what to expect and I was a bit worried to check their website, but for once when I saw the the winning image I was overwhelmed and I really like it!

Hope for a New Life                                               Spot News, first prize singles August 28, 2015    A man passes a baby through the fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in Röszke, Hungary, 28 August 2015.

Hope for a New Life                                               Spot News, first prize singles August 28, 2015    A man passes a baby through the fence at the Hungarian-Serbian border in Röszke, Hungary, 28 August 2015.

 

It’s a very strong and powerful photograph, which highlights  the  extremely important issue of migrants and borders in Europe, it has been photographed with superb skill and empathy. 

Warren Richardson is an Australian freelance photographer, currently based in Eastern Europe, and he explained how the picture was made:

“I camped with the refugees for five days on the border. A group of about 200 people arrived, and they moved under the trees along the fence line. They sent women and children, then fathers and elderly men first. I must have been with this crew for about five hours and we played cat and mouse with the police the whole night. I was exhausted by the time I took the picture. It was around three o’clock in the morning and you can’t use a flash while the police are trying to find these people, because I would just give them away. So I had to use the moonlight alone”.

Technical aspects of the winning image: the shot was made on a Canon 5D MkII using a Canon 24mm f1.4L lens at 6400 ISO, f1.4 with a shutter speed of 1/5 of a second.

Here you can see the  entire collection of winning images from the 59th World Press Photo Contest. They were selected from 82,951 photos made by 5,775 photographers from 128 different countries.

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Written by msecchi

February 18, 2016 at 11:28 am

FUJIFILM XF100-400MM WR Lens Quick Review

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If you are the proud owner of a Fujifilm X-series camera and you’re looking for a super zoom lens, now you are in luck with the new XF 100-400mm. Thanks to some good friend I managed to briefly try one on my XT1  and on the new XPRO2

What is the  FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens? For those unfamiliar with the Fuji X terminology, this lens is a 400mm which on a cropped sensor equates to 600mm,  comes with optical image stabilization OIS that definitely  is handy to keep photos from being blurry due to camera shake. Finally “WR”  means that it is weather resistant, as several other Fuji lenses and the XT1 for example.

 

FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR key features:

Uses 21 elements in 14 groups, and 5 extra-low dispersion elements and 1 super extra low dispersion elements
Rounded 9 blade aperture
1/3 EV (15 steps)
Water-repellent fluorine coating
Weather-sealed with 13 water and dust resistant seals at 12 points
Included lens hoods features a sliding window for accessing a polarizing filter and locking mechanism
Compatible the XF1.4X TC WR teleconverter (140-560mm F6.3-8 or 213-853mm in 35mm equivalent)
Compatible with optional lens plate (MLP-75XF) and optional ARCA SWISS tripods

I compare it with my 50-140 and  difference is 100-400 1,375 grams,  the 50-140, 1,093 grams.  The diameter is in keeping with the filter size, 50-140 – 72mm, 100-400 – 77mm.

The  side controls are: the focus limiting switch that allow you to choose full range or 5 meters to infinity.  The Program or Aperture Priority switch and finally the Optical Image Stabilization on and off switch.  Between the zoom ring and the aperture ring is the Lock switch for keeping the lens locked in the 100mm position.

I was surprised then when the lens extends out to 400mm it only grows slightly less than 2.5 inches!  

Comes with an amazing 5.0-stop image stabilization system and twin linear motors for speedy autofocus that makes it perfect for shooting fast-moving subjects. I was able to get a good percentage of sharp images with shutter speeds as long as 1/30th second at an effective focal lengths of 600mm handheld that is quite remarkable.

This lens is tack sharp.  I did not have the time to try it adding the Fuji’s XF 1.4X Teleconverter but was told that even with the teleconverter image sharpness is superb and there’s no appreciable drop in sharpness.

Let me state the obvious. This is a large lens and it seems clear that at Fuji at this stage they have no intention to make a full 35mm sensor camera. Having said that I think can fit anyway in the spot of my 50-140 inside my bag. It also felt quite light which helps maintain a decent balance with the X-T1 mounted as long as you properly support the lens by hand or with a monopod. Of course I would have loved to see it as a smaller lens but I am sure there are optical rules and I’m confident this was the smallest and lightest, Fujifilm could make this high quality telephoto! 

Pros:

  • Excellent sharpness 
  • Strong Image Stabilization
  • Excellent close focus distance
  • Long focus throw for precise manual focus adjustments
     

Once again, it is very hard to find negatives for this lens…probably the only issue is the fact that the lens-foot is not Arca-Swiss compatible from the start. But do I often use a tripod…???  No for the type of work I do. I see it more as an issue for other photographers

For sure there will be  the usual comments  ” Hey this lens is not sharp!”…. As I was saying you need a very good  handholding technique or a monopod that are anyway essential to get good results at 600mm effective focal length! 🙂

The Bokeh, quality of the out of focus areas, is nice and soft. Being not a very fast lens when it comes to maximum aperture, one could think it would be hard to throw the background out of focus. However because of the long focal length  the effect is very much present, even at f 5.6.

Lastly, will I be buying the new XF100-400? More than likely yes, is the short answer! I know that is a relative big and  heavy lens and goes against one of my primary reasons for switching from Nikon to Fujifilm, but I am sure I will need it and I have the feeling that after all it is still lighter than the Nikkor 70-200 I use to carry around every single day!

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by msecchi

February 17, 2016 at 10:36 am

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Zenit Camera to come back

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A new Zenit Camera?

Back in 2014, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev talked about the possibility of re-starting the production of Zenit cameras.

The official announcement was made on Monday at a press breakfast in Moscow by the Russian state corporation Rostec, which develops, makes, and exports high-tech products.

Russia wants to launch Zenit as a luxury camera that rivals the German Leica brand.

“It’s a very popular product, we want to make it a luxury device as an analogue to Leica [German camera manufacturer],” said Vasiliy Brovko, the head of Department of Communication and Information at Rostec, according to the source.

Russia wants to launch Zenit as a luxury camera that rivals the German Leica brand.

Rostec owns the Krasnogorsky Zavod optical factory in the city of Krasnogorsk, near Moscow. During the Soviet era, this plant was known as Krasnogorsk Mechanical Works, and it produced millions of still photography and movie cameras. The brands included Zenit, Zorki, and Krasnogorsk.

The Zenit was an SLR camera that was inspired by the Zorki rangefinder design. After being launched in 1953, the Zenit went on to sell millions of cameras over the following decades. The famous Zenit-E itself had over 12 million units made.

Production came to an end after the Zenit-KM Plus of 2004, and there were no SLR cameras manufactured in the Krasnogorsk factory by the next year. Now it seems that production will start back up a decade later, except the Zenit will likely produced in much lower quantities, with much higher quality, and with ridiculously hefty price tags.

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

 

Written by msecchi

February 13, 2016 at 12:04 pm

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Fuji Xpro2 my take!

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Fujifilm X-Pro2

The most awaited upgraded premium camera finally arrives!

During the last couple of months I was lucky enough to try the Fuji X Pro 2 thanks to Fujifilm Slovenia! I used to own the original Xpro1 and I shoot on a daily bases with 2 Leica and I use 2 XT1 and  1 XE2 with an array of fuji lenses so was really looking forward to try this new gem.

The Fujifilm has released the long-awaited modern, advanced model, the Fuji Xpro2 compact system camera. It is one of the coolest, hippest and most desirable APS-C cameras available in the market today.

 

The details and Capability

The Fuji Xpro2 is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera with a Hybrid Viewfinder system that incorporates both electrical and optical viewfinders. It has an ultra advance image sensor, X-Trans III technology, for a remarkable image quality and sharpness similar to full-frame DSLRs: brand new 24.3 megapixels. It features a Hybrid AF system with 273 points, of which 77 are phase-detection and cover about 40% of the frame, while the rest is covered by contrast-detection areas for accurate focusing from edge-to-edge.

When paired with the X-Processor Pro, the sensor is delivering clean image quality with minimized noise value, along with a sensitivity range of ISO 12800 that can be expanded to ISO 51200. Besides benefitting the low-light performance, the sensor contributes to faster overall performance, including shutter lag time of 0.05 seconds, AF speed of up to 0.06 seconds, start-up time of 0.4 seconds and shooting interval of 0.25 seconds. The mechanical shutter speed is up to 1/32,000 seconds, with an enhanced flash sync speed of about 1/250 seconds, and a new X-Processor Pro that brings extraordinary improved response time for superior performance. It simply delivers the best ever result from Fuji X-Series camera.

Body and Interface Design

Fuji Xpro2 has a robust, weather-resistant body to meet the unique needs of any professional photographer in a touch shooting area. Its chassis is made of four pieces of magnesium alloy, which are sealed with more than 60 points, making it a splash-proof, dust-proof and even capable of operating at low temperatures. Besides, it features two SD card slots for reliable video and image storage.

The exposure compensation dial, shutter speed dial and finder switching lever are milled from high quality aluminum for a comfortable feel and premium look. It also features water and dust resistance command dial on both the rear and front of the camera, plus a push function that are easy to use. Its design also includes various customizable function buttons together with a 3.0″ 1.62m-dot rear LCD for live view shooting, image playback and menu navigation. The built-in Wi-Fi allows you to share images wirelessly to mobile devices, or remotely control the camera from your Smartphone.

What I think

The X-Pro2 is something special, the performance and capabilities of the X-Pro2 make it my instant go-to camera during my travels. The X-Pro2 excels everywhere, the camera is starting to focus before I even decide to take the shot and with the speed, accuracy and amazing colour rendition I found all I had to do was focus my attention on composition. I do not need to shoot anymore in Raw I can simply use jpg.  Put simply the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a joy to use, it is a phenomenal upgrade to an already superb camera.

The camera will officially be sold in the market in February 2016 for £1,349.00, so get ready for a new world of photography.

 

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This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Written by msecchi

January 17, 2016 at 8:20 am

Esplanade Hotel in Zagreb

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Luxury was the first word that came to mind as I walked into Esplanade Hotel Zagreb. From the breath-taking columns that held up the hotel to the old-school elegant exterior to the art décor lobby, I knew that my visit was going to be a great one. This luxurious hotel definitely lived up to all the hype.

First Impressions
I was excited to check-in and get to my room.  First, we got a really warm welcome from the bellboys that took care of my car and luggage. Then the front desk clerk made the whole process quick and easy, all with a smile on her face. Overall, the check-in process was top-notch with superior customer service.

Room
Entering the room I was in awe. I had stayed in many hotels, and this was by far one of the most stunning room that I’d been in. The décor was beautiful and quite unique. Not to mention, the room was huge. Even the bathroom was quite spacious and luxurious with its marble, high-end toiletries, and super soft robe. The view of the city was pretty amazing, too. I was impressed by the complimentary Internet, welcome gifts, chocolate and teas and the post cards.

 

Breakfast
Zinfandel’s Restaurant – Breakfast was really impressive. The selection is magnificent, everything is fresh and prepared using only the best produce. The breakfast room has a lively and buzzing atmosphere. The service was impeccable as my waiter was very attentive.

Spa
I enjoyed my visit to the spa where I had a very relaxing massage and they have a great Gym with state of the art fitness equipment

Amenities
The hotel had quite a few amenities that I did not get a chance to use on this visit, but would love to try them in the future. There was Oleander Terrace and Esplanade 1925 Lounge and Cocktail Bar. 

Overall, I enjoyed my stay at Esplanade Zagreb and would recommend the hotel to anyone planning to visit Croatia. The historic building, the gracious accommodations, the award-winning food, the personalized service, the centralized location, and so much more all make it the most prestigious hotel in Zagreb.

This post has been partially sponsored I did get media rates during my stay at Esplanade Hotel. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Written by msecchi

January 4, 2016 at 11:13 am

Posted in Travel

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Christmas in Zagreb – Croatia

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Advent in Zagreb 

Zagreb, the Croatian capital, is beautiful year-round, but during the Advent it looks its best. Christmas trees, lights, decorations, delicious foods and beverages, along with joyful holiday goodness made Zagreb one of the best Christmas destinations in 2015 and due to the festive and welcoming atmosphere, it was also named Best Christmas Market 2015. Along with the festive, holiday mood, there are many activities that bring the Christmas spirit to Zagreb.

Advent on the Main Square

Surprise and suspense fill the air as the Advent calendar comes to life in Zagreb’s main square. Visitors enjoy the holiday spirit and take part in festive events including readings, concerts, lectures, workshops, performances, exhibitions, and light installations.

Advent on Zrinjevac

The city’s old music pavilion welcomes visitors to dance, sing, eat, shop, and enjoy their time amongst the cheerful decorations and jovial atmosphere. Talented artists make their beautiful, unique ornaments and souvenirs available. Hungry visitor can choose from many delicious Zagreb specialties, including fried apples, cabbage clothes, baked štrukle, as well as mulled wine and hot chocolate. Music fills the air, too. Waltzes, Christmas classics, and other musical treats are enjoyed by all.

 

Ban Josip Jelačić Square

Situated at the city’s main square, the open air stage hosts many unique festivities, including concerts, children’s performances, and cultural and art events.

Christmas Fair

Surrounding Jelačić Square, Zagreb’s artists and craftsmen offer traditional Croatian products. Shoppers are able to choose from colorful decorations, gingerbread hearts, cookies, jewelry, souvenirs, and a plethora of seasonal gifts.

Ice Park

Just like a Christmas fairy tale, the ice skating rink is home to skating, delicious foods and beverages, and joyful music events.

The Advent in Zagreb is a special event that is not to be missed. Join in as visitors stroll the city streets and sing, dance, eat, shop, and enjoy the festive entertainment in Croatia’s capital city.

Not to be Missed

  • A glass of Medica will put you in a good mood straight away.  Its Rakija made out of honey and spiced with propolis. Medica is a devil in disguise. It’s sweet, flows smoothly, and once you get going you don’t really stop until it’s too late. It has a certain jet lag effect as it can kick you long after you had your last one. 
  • Fritule  are aromatic bite-sized dough balls, flavoured with lemon and orange zest, grape brandy  and/or dark rum, and sprinkled with icing sugar or covered with chocolate. Like almost any home will have its bowl, there is probably no housewife, especially among older women, that doesn’t have her own recipe, the best in the world!

 

This post has not been sponsored and I did not get media samples or freebies. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Written by msecchi

January 3, 2016 at 9:06 am

Posted in My Job, Travel

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