Cameras

Fujifilm X-T30 Review: Remembering my love for photography

An ode to how I first fell in love

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I fell in love with photography when I was around 10. There was a different kind of glee whenever my hands carried a compact camera. My younger self would capture photos that I find beautiful, even things with little to no significance like walls, sidewalks, and ugly buildings. It’s probably the reason why I pursued photography and made a career out of it. I just love photography so much.

Soon after joining GadgetMatch, I found myself using my camera less and less. I started leaning towards smartphone cameras, taking snaps to be uploaded on social media and sample photos for our smartphone reviews and camera shootouts. Everything became for work and I forgot why I love photography.

When I got my hands on Fujifilm’s latest camera, the X-T30, there was a yearning inside me — to go around, to see places, to take on an adventure. And I did.

An ode to my love for photography

The Fujifilm X-T30 made me remember why I fell in love with photography. It was like the days when I was 10 years old, carrying a compact camera innocently. The X-T30 felt like an invitation to try photography, once again.

Its vintage look is like a trip down memory lane. It brims with nostalgia and takes you to the wonders of your humble beginnings. No wonder I felt like a kid again, curious about the world and ready to explore.

But despite the classic approach, the Fujifilm X-T30 still has a modern and sleek feel to it. It’s something that youngsters would love to use during their travels; something that will let them flaunt their love of  photography without appearing like a professional photographer.

Going back to where it first started

The X-T30 made me want to use cameras again instead of smartphones during my travels. When I went on an adventure, I kept my smartphone in my bag and focused on taking photographs. The X-T30 is lightweight at 383g and was made with portability in mind. Even though I have thin, fragile arms, I can carry the camera with just one hand.

Despite using a Fujifilm camera in my earlier trips, I found it confusing to navigate Fujifilm’s dials and other functions. It’s because I’ve been using Sony’s mirrorless cameras for more than two years already that I’ve grown accustomed to its design.

Nonetheless, you don’t have to be a quick learner to figure out Fujifilm’s cameras, especially the X-T30. Once you start getting the hang of it, you’ll be unstoppable in taking lots of photographs. It packs a lot of camera modes, complemented by easily accessible controls to suit different situations.

It’s also easier to grip and hold, with ample space for your hand beside the controls. It has a tiltable touchscreen LCD monitor too, so you can take amazing low and high angle shots.

With this camera, you will truly love to fall in love with photography again. I repeat: Photography, not mobile photography. There’s a difference.

Reminding you of your potential

Just like every mirrorless camera out there, the Fujifilm X-T30 can provide my photography needs. But what sets this camera apart from its competitors is its ability to be a beast in photography, despite being small. Some dubbed it a “Little Giant,” and I couldn’t agree more.

The X-T30 sports an even better sensor and processor, the latest X-Trans CMOS 4 and X-Processor 4, respectively. With the combination of these two, it’s easier to take photos quickly with outstanding quality. Your photos will look rich in colors and tones and you can now track a moving subject faster with its improved face- and eye-detection AF. It’s even more accurate as it can let you select faces and focus on them.

Additionally, you can take photos swiftly, too! The mechanical shutter will let you shoot continuously at up to 8.0fps in full resolution, while the electronic shutter allows a high-speed continuous shooting of up to 30fps. Oh, you can take 4K/30P videos too!

This camera just reminded me of my potential when I was just starting, and the potential that I can still achieve. How one can dream big and believe in itself that it can do a lot of things. Despite being small and compact, the Fujifilm X-T30 is one powerful camera.

To put my heart on my sleeve once again

In this age, photographs are meant to be shared. However, taking photographs with the X-T30 didn’t feel like I want to brag about my shots. Yes, I’m happy (and proud) that I didn’t lose my skill and passion, but the photographs I took felt too personal. It’s as if an array of emotions linger in every photo, and personal stuff makes me shy away from the spotlight since it makes me vulnerable.

It’s just like falling in love with someone. We’re afraid of showing off our emotions (or works, in this scenario) that we tend to avoid confronting these mixed feelings — ranging from joy, fear, bliss, and frustration.

Using the Fujifilm X-T30 made me take photos for my own consumption and keep it to myself — just like what I do when I love someone.

On another note, taking photographs with the X-T30 made it less about me and more about the world around me. When I was using a smartphone, I’ve always taken selfies and asked people to take my photo so I can post it on Instagram. This time around, it’s just me, the camera, and the moments waiting to be captured during my adventures.

Even our producer Vincenz focused more on his surrounding during his travels. Here’s an example of the night shot he perfected by being in tune with the world around him:

Knows how to match you (and your aesthetic)

What I love about Fujifilm is its unique Film Simulation modes. It lets me use a certain film as a preset to be applied to the photo I’m taking. For instance, my favorite is ETERNA, which subdues the color as if it’s a still from a movie. Take a look at the example below:

While it’s better to apply our favorite presets and our own editing style during the post-processing, Fujifilm’s Film Simulation modes made me feel like it knows me, my taste, preference, and aesthetics. And even though I have a particular set of style that I like, there are still a lot of films to choose from. I think what I’m saying is we all deserve something (or someone) that offers more than what else you want — and the X-T30 has that.

Some of the film simulations are Fujifilm’s very own photographic films: PROVIA, which delivers radiant colors exactly as you remember them, and Velvia, which provides high saturation and vivid colors.

Film Simulation: PROVIA | Photo by MJ Jucutan

There are also ASTIA offering soft tones for outdoor portraits, CLASSIC CHROME for creating subtle colors and muted tones, ACROS for a monochromatic shot that is rich in texture and deep blacks. Furthermore, PRO Neg. Hi and PRO Neg. Std both offers natural skin tones with the former creating high-contrast portraits while the latter produces realistic and softer tones in portraits.

There are stories that we can keep in our hearts forever

While on the boat looking out on the horizon, it dawned on me that I haven’t checked my smartphone in a while. I started living in the moment. One second, I’ll be stunned by the gorgeous landscapes we encountered along the way. Another second, I’m out shooting these vivid sceneries.

I’m astounded with how Fujifilm made me focus on capturing these wonders. It’s also amazing how it lets me keep these stories and it hit me: We can store these memories in different ways — it can be uploaded on social media, saved on our smartphones’ clouds and galleries, or for old souls, printed on a scrapbook and kept in a photo album.

Photographs, for me, are forms of moments translated into something tangible. Fujifilm lets you decide how to keep these memories. It remains modern in a way that it lets you transfer your photographs to your smartphone through its Camera Remote app and Bluetooth connectivity. It also has a micro USB cable for you to connect it to your laptop or PCs, since I’m sure some of you would opt to print your photographs the old-fashion way.

Is the Fujifilm X-T30 your GadgetMatch?

If you’re looking for a travel companion or getting back into photography as a hobby, the Fujifilm X-T30 is the right match for you. It’s basically a down-sized X-T3 complete with style and power.

The Fujifilm X-T30 starts at a retail price of PhP 52,990 (US$ 1,012) for its body only and PhP 75,990 (US$ 1,452) for the 18-55mm lens kit bundle. It’s now available in stores nationwide.

Cameras

Razer’s new webcam: the Kiyo Pro

For work and play

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With Razer showing off their dedication to workers and gamers staying safe and indoors, they’ve announced the new Razer Kiyo Pro.

The Kiyo Pro is a USB camera with a high-performance Adaptive Light Sensor to deliver sharp video quality even in low-light conditions. Combined with an ultra-sensitive Type 1/2.8 CMOS sensor with STARVIS technology, the Kiyo Pro boasts professional-level image quality to video conferencing and streaming.

In this day and age, it’s no surprise that Razer is bringing new webcams especially with work-from-home and new digital communications. Working from home has really become an integral part of professional life today.

However, sometimes built-in laptop cameras lack the resolution and framerates for professional-looking conference calls or streams. They often struggle to cope with low-light and deliver blurry images and that’s where the Kiyo Pro comes in.

The Kiyo Pro is capable of uncompressed full HD 1080p 60FPS. Razer says this will not only ramp up dynamic range but also, correct under- or overexposed areas on the fly, eliminating silhouetting if the subject is lit from behind.

Making sure it’s ideal for video conferencing or streaming, the wide-angle lens on the Kiyo Pro gives you a choice of three fields of view: 103°, 90° or 80°. The 103° view lets everyone fit in a group video call or allow streamers viewers to show off their set up. But, if you’re just looking for a perfect headshot view for meetings or streams, the 80° view will suffice.

Other features

The Kiyo Pro has a range of extra features with flexible mounting options to perfectly set it up. And, its omnidirectional stereo microphone array ensures your voice is properly picked up wherever you’ve mounted it. A separate cover is included to protect the lens and assure your privacy when not in use. 

Razer Kiyo Pro Specs:

Camera Specifications

  • Connection type: USB3.0
  • Image resolution: 2.1 Megapixels
  • Video Resolution: 1080p @ 60/30/24FPS / 720p @ 60FPS / 480p @ 30FPS / 360p @ 30FPS
  • Video encoding: H.264 codec
  • Still Image Resolution: 1920×1080
  • Image Quality Settings Customization: Yes
  • Diagonal Field of View (FOV): 103°, 90°, 80°
  • Focus Type: Auto
  • Mounting Options: L-shape joint and Tripod (Not included)
  • Cable Length: 1.5 meters braided cable

Microphone Specifications

  • Channels: Stereo
  • Audio Codec: 16bit 48KHz
  • Polar patterns: Omni-directional
  • Sensitivity: -38dB

System Requirements

  • PC with a free USB port
  • Windows® 8 (or higher)
  • Internet connection
  • 500 MB of free hard disk space
  • Compatible with Open Broadcaster Software and Xsplit

The Razer Kiyo Pro is already available on Razer’s website with the price tag of USD$199.99 or EUR€ 209.99

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Cameras

Canon EOS M50 Mark II is finally here in the Philippines

With improvements in autofocus

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Image by GadgetMatch

Canon finally unveils the Canon EOS M50 Mark II in the Philippines, the successor to the EOS M50 from three years ago.

Just like its predecessor, it’s a mirrorless camera designed for amateur and casual photographers who are also into shooting videos and livestreaming.

The good stuff

Just like the first Canon EOS M50, the EOS M50 Mark II features a 24.1MP APS-C CMOS image sensor. It also has the nifty DIGIC 8 Image Processor with Auto Lighting Optimizer for better photos and videos altogether.

Other than that, it still has that 3-inch articulating Vari-angle LCD monitor which is always helpful for shooting in tight angles and situations. It also supports touchscreen recording, movie self-timer and an external microphone jack that’s helpful for vloggers out there. There’s also a 2.36 million dot built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF) for clearer viewing when shooting outdoors and a more comfortable ergonomic grip than its predecessor.

ISO Sensitivity is still limited to 25,600 (and expandable up to ISO 51,200), and it still shoots videos of up to 4K/24p and 720p/120p in Slow-Motion. The old high-speed continuous shooting of up to 10fps (frames per second) in One-Shot AF mode is still present in this newer model. Its quick and accurate Dual Pixel CMOS AF (Autofocus) is also here, but with some changes and updates.

Autofocus improvements

Fast and stable AF is essential when it comes to shooting videos of moving subjects. On the EOS M50 Mark II, the AF frame display in EVF or LCD screen has been improved with faster tracking so users can see which part is in focus without any on-screen lag. Also, there’s a new Tap AF feature where users can instantly switch focus from one person to another by just tapping on the screen — helpful in group shots.

Meanwhile, its old Eye Detection AF has some improvements in detecting and focusing. It can now focus on a subject’s eye even when the person is far away. Users can also use this feature to capture subjects faster and more accurate when they are approaching from a distance — ideal for candid shots.

The combination of Eye detection AF with Servo AF when shooting still images will help you capture your subject’s natural expressions even when they are in motion. In this AF mode, it also lets you shoot up to multiple shots (7.4fps) of moving subjects such as children or pets.

Eye Detection AF also works with Movie Servo AF mode. By simply keeping the subject within the frame while shooting, it will track the subject at ease. Users can focus on the composition of the video and leave the tracking of the subject to the camera.

More video enhancements

In this modern age where people often use social media apps such as Instagram and TikTok, more users dedicate their time in shooting videos vertically. With the EOS M50 II, you can now shoot vertically — something the older model can’t do. , movies shot vertically are displayed smaller in a horizontal position when users play back the movie on a smart device. On the EOS M50 Mark II, an “add rotate info” option enables automatic vertical playback on smart devices, PCs and compatible social media, which enables a better viewing experience.


An improved contrast AF algorithm gives you more stability when shooting 4K clips using Canon’s EF-M lenses. This will enable smoother and reduced wobbling when recording. There’s also the ability to digitally zoom (around 3-10x) at the central part of the screen when shooting. This can be paired with optical zoom on a telephoto zoom lens to achieve better close-up shots.

Users of the M50 Mark II can also directly livestream to YouTube through its built-in Wi-Fi without using a streaming unit. Also, this new model also supports Canon’s new cloud platform wherein registered users can upload, store, download and transfer images between various devices seamlessly.

Pricing and Availability

The Canon EOS M50 Mark II in the Philippines is currently offered in two packages:

Package no.1:

  • Body Only = PhP 36,998
  • Body + EF-M 15-45mm lens = PhP 49,998
  • Freebie: Canon PV-123 mini photo printer
  • Available in all Canon authorized dealers nationwide

Package no.2:

  • Body Only = PhP 36,998
  • Body + EF-M 15-45mm lens = PhP 49,998
  • Freebies: Canon PV-123 mini photo printer and HG-100TBR Camera Tripod
  • Available only in Canon Image Square and Concept Stores nationwide
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Cameras

The Fujifilm GFX100S is a 102MP camera made for tougher environments

An improved medium format camera with a less expensive price tag

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Remember the Fujifilm GFX100 from 2019? Well, Fujifilm has finally updated it with an updated model called the GFX100S — but what exactly has changed?

A medium format camera in a full-frame body

Medium-format cameras are a lot larger than the usual full-frame DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. But the GFX100S is an exception as it only weighs at 900g (1.9lb) — almost half the size of the heavyweight GFX100 at 1400g (3.1lb) and can go with existing full-frame bodies.

Despite its small size, it has a 3.2-inch touch-enabled LCD panel and supports up to 2.36 million colors. It’s not fully-articulated but it can be tilted up (90º), down (45º), and right (60º). There’s also a 1.8-inch sub LCD monitor at the camera’s top for viewing those handy EXIF settings that can also be customized depending on your liking.

Built for harsher climate conditions

The new GFX100S is built for tougher climates. Whether you’re shooting at a beach, desert, or even as high as Mount Fuji’s summit, the GFX100S can withstand all of that. This is a rare feature among most cameras and this is what makes it better than its two-year-old predecessor.

With its magnesium alloy body, it’s dust and moisture-resistant. At the same time, it’s also capable of operating under cooler temperatures (-10ºC or 14ºF).

Better autofocus + improved stabilization

Having an almost 100% coverage of phase detection pixels on its sensor, the GFX100S is capable of focusing as little as 0.18 seconds, even in low-light situations.

Although it still rocks the X-Processor 4 quad-core CPU, it will still be able to provide high-performance shooting on-the-go. With an updated focus tracking algorithm using the same sensor, it’s still capable of using Face and Eye AF functions for better focus at moving subjects.

Other than that, there’s also an improved and more compact 5-axis IBIS (in-body image stabilization) system that’s 20% smaller and 10% lighter than the older model. Even if there’s a size reduction, the stabilization system provides 6-stops of CIPA-rated IS and has a 0.5-overall improvement than the GFX100.

Still with 102MP and 4K video recording

Fujifilm has kept its secret sauce. The GFX100S still has that same 102-megapixel sensor that’s around 1.7 times larger than any of the full-frame offerings out in the market today.

The 4K/30p video recording support is also present for those crisp footage and be able to keep up with the industry’s standards. But other than shooting in the standard 16:9 aspect ratio, it also supports 17:9 that’s used in digital cinema.

To make video shooting even better, you can choose between F-Log and HLG (Hybrid Gamma Log) other than the usual H.264 and H.265 codecs. This means you can edit and have better color-grading options in post-processing to achieve a more cinematic output.

For utmost video capability, the GFX100S can also record 4K/30p footage in 12-bit RAW (recorded as Apple ProRes RAW files) through an HDMI hooked up to an Atomos Ninja V Monitor Recorder. Also, simultaneous outputs of RAW and F-Log / HLG footages with Film Simulation mode is also doable.

With their 86-year expertise in color science, it comes to no surprise that their classic Film Simulation Mode still remains. You can pick between 19 exclusive modes and simulate that classic film look with just a press of a button.

New FUJINON lens

The new GFX100S is paired with the announcement of the newest FUJINON GF80mmF1.7 R WR lens. From the name itself, it is a prime lens with an 80mm focal length (a 35mm equivalent of 63mm) and a wide aperture of f/1.7 for better bokeh and brighter images at night.

The lens is composed of nine rounded diaphragm blades plus 12-lens elements with one aspherical element and two Super ED elements. These provide better background segmentation with sharper subjects and smoother bokeh.

What makes it special is that, it’s the world’s first f/1.7 lens with an autofocus for a large format system. The powerful DC motor is enough to make the subject stand out — even with the wider aperture and shallower Depth of Field (DoF). There’s even support for Face and Eye AF for better-looking portraits even when you’re on the move.

Just like the GFX100s, it’s also weather-resistant that survives colder temperatures as low as -10ºC (or 14ºF). The seals around the lens also protect it from dust and rain. The front lens element is also coated with fluorine that repels dirt.

Pricing and availability

In the Philippines, the Fujifilm GFX100S retails at PhP 329,990. On the other hand, the FUJINON GF80mmF1.7R WR will cost you exactly PhP 128,990. Both of these will be available at the end of February 2021.

For an enhanced in-hand feel when using this camera, there’s a Metal Hand Grip accessory (MHG-GFX-S) which is priced at PhP 8,390. This hand grip is helpful for supporting larger lenses without feeling unstable. At the same time, it’s compatible with Arca-Swiss tripod plates for faster and smoother transition between mounted and handheld scenarios.

If you’re planning to buy all of them, it will cost you roughly PhP 467K. That’s still less expensive than the sub PhP-600K body-only GFX100 launched two years ago.

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