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

myFirst Insta Wi lets kids take and print photos, labels

Instant camera and printer in one!

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Photo by Oaxis Singapore

All-in-one instant cameras and printers aren’t new, but they’re not entirely kid-friendly. This is why myFirst — a kids tech collection by Oaxis in Singapore — decked out its newest product called myFirst Insta Wi.

It follows its previous models, bringing a 16-megapixel digital camera on its rear and a wide-angle selfie lens that lets you take crisp photos and print them in just 10 seconds.

Its newly added selfie camera sits above the 2.4-inch IPS screen — which also allows you to shoot full HD videos.

The Insta Wi comes with low-cost thermal paper and sticker thermal paper, perfect for printing photos and stunning labels.

There’s a dedicated app that lets you customize labels by drawing, typing text, or symbols. With an added Wi-Fi feature, you can bring the device and print stuff whenever you want.

More importantly, it comes with a memory card slot so you can save photos taken — which you can print elsewhere as colored photographs.

Since it’s designed to be lightweight for comfortable usage, kids will surely have fun using an all-in-one camera and portable printer for their adventures at home and outdoors.

Support the Kickstarter campaign

The myFirst Insta Wi is up on Kickstarter for a campaign, costing EUR 59/USD 69. The campaign’s target is to reach EUR 7250/USD 10,000 until October 14, 2021.

The official campaign starts on September 14, 2021. For more information, visit its Kickstarter page.

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Cameras

FUJIFILM announces the GFX50S II medium format camera

This is by far their cheapest medium format camera

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It hasn’t even been a year ever since FUJIFILM announced the GFX100S, and now it has a new, yet more affordable, medium format sibling. Just a refresher, the GFX50S II (read as GFX50S Mark II) is the successor to 2017’s GFX50S.

Medium format camera for less

The FUJIFILM GFX50 S II has a 51.4-megapixel large-format sensor that’s 1.7 times bigger than a 50-megapixel 35mm full-frame sensor you’ll find on most high-end DSLRs and mirrorless cameras nowadays. This means you get better image quality whenever you take photographs.

What makes this different is its specialized design. This camera uses smaller light-collecting micro lenses on the image sensor in order to create wider gaps between pixels. Not only does this result to sharper images, it also brings better ISO sensitivity, dynamic range, and better post-processing flexibility.

With a new Pixel Shift Multi-Shot function, the FUJIFILM GFX50S II can capture and generate 200-megapixel images without lapses in color presentation. This works by recording and combining 16 RAW images into one DNG (Digital Negative) RAW file via its “Pixel Shift Combiner” software.

A GFX100S minus the 102-megapixel image sensor

Some things stay the same though — but it’s not a bad thing. Just like the GFX100S, it weighs at just 900g (1.9lb). It also has a magnesium alloy body for utmost robustness and durability without sacrificing heft. The camera is also weather-sealed, dust and moisture-resistant, and most of all, can work in cooler places under -10ºC (or 14ºF). It even has the same 3.2-inch LCD monitor with support for tilting that an EVF (electronic viewfinder) cannot always shoot in high and low-angle shooting.

Moreover, the FUJIFILM GFX50S II is powered by the similar X-Processor 4 quad-core processor which fusions its high-speed image processing together with ultra-fast and high-precision Auto Focus (AF) system. The latest algorithm brings more life to the photos captured by this camera.

Stable, sharp shots

It even has the same 5-axis IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization) but unlike the GFX100S, the GFX50S II is able to bring up to 6.5-stops of Vibration Reduction — which is the highest in the history of its kind. This became possible with a high-performance gyro sensor and accelerometer that can both detect motions with high accuracy rate. This just means you’ll get less-blurred shots with sharp details and more precise Face / Eye Detection as well as subject tracking.

For easier operability, it has six customizable C1-C6 controls that can be modified and assigned depending on your liking. There’s even a switch between shooting Stills and Videos for added convenience so you don’t have to rotate the Mode dial all the way. There’s even a 1.8-inch sub LCD monitor at the top for better control of the EXIF settings.

Lastly, FUJIFILM’s signature Film Simulation is still here and were not left behind. You can choose between 19 different presets designed for different types of subjects and scenes. An effect can be seen directly an image through Live View.

A new FUJINON lens

The FUJINON GF35-70mm F/4.5-5.6 WR is FUJIFILM’s new interchangeable zoom lens for their large-format GFX cameras. It weighs just around 390g, making it a total of only 1300g when paired with the GFX100S or the GFX50S II. Despite it being lightweight, it’s great lens that delivers high-resolution images with fast AF performance as well.

This is an 11-elements lens with one aspherical element and two ED elements in nine groups. Paired with a stepping motor, operability is silent when shooting fast subjects while still being able to retain focus and sharpness. Just like the new FUJIFILM GFX50S II, the lens is also dust and moisture-resistant that works in sandy deserts or tropical rainforests and can withstand temperatures below -10ºC or 14ºF.

Two new XF lenses, too

Other than the new GF lens, FUJIFILM also brings two new lenses for the X Series: the FUJINON XF 23mm and XF 33mm f/1.4 II LM WR. While they’re different in the size of focal lengths, they actually share the same aperture of f/1.4 with nine aperture blades. This not only provides brighter shots with less noise at night, it also brings the best of shallow Depth of Field while still being able to preserve sharper images.

Both of these lenses consist of 15 lens elements with two aspherical and three ED elements in 10 groups that reduces chromatic and spherical aberration when shooting. They even possess a silent yet fast and highly-accurate AF system. This is meant for photographers who love to capture fast-moving subjects.

Best of all? They’re also dust and moisture-resistant at 11 locations. The ability to withstand cold temperatures is still here so you can shoot astrophotography shots even in colder nights.

More lenses to come

If you’re a heavy FUJIFILM user, there are a total of 17 G-mount lenses being developed for the GFX series. One of them is a tilt and shift lens that can correct image distortions to produce undistorted photographs — more helpful in architecture shots.

For the X-Series, the current 2021 lens roadmap will bring a total of 40 interchangeable X-mount lenses. There’s the XF 18-120mm catered for videographers who rely on versatile zoom lenses. There’s also the XF150-600mm ultra-telephoto zoom lens ideal for wildlife and sports photography. Despite the long focal distance, it will actually be compact and lightweight lens meant for the XF camera line.

Pricing and Availability

A body-only FUJIFILM GFX50S II retails for PhP 223,990 and goes up to PhP 251,990 if you’ll buy it with its GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR kit lens. Both of these will be available by the end of September 2021. Practically speaking, it costs just like the usual full-frame cameras out there.

If you’ll compare it with FUJIFILM’s recent medium format camera releases, you’ll get a price cut of more than PhP 200,000 to 400,000. This makes it the cheapest medium-format camera available so far.

Meanwhile, you can grab it as early as September 9 until the 25th and enjoy their exclusive pre-order perks including:

  • Free 1-piece NP-W235 (worth PhP 3,990)
  • Free 1-piece BC-W235 Dual Battery CHarger (worth PhP 3,990)
  • Exclusive GFX workshop with FUJIFILM X-Photographer

For more details, just look at the pre-order mechanics below.

FUJINON Lenses

If you just want the lenses, you have to wait a little bit before you get your hands on them. The pricing and availability of the new FUJINON lenses (plus one lens hood) are as follows:

  • GF 35-70mm f/4.5-5.6 WR – PhP 55,990 (Late November 2021 release)
  • XF 33mm f/1.4 R LM WR – PhP 45,990 (Late September 2021 release)
  • XF 23mm f/1.4R LM WR – PhP 55,990 (November 2021 release)
  • LH-XF23 II Lens Hood – PhP 3,990 (November 2021 release)
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Accessories

Dell UltraSharp Webcam promises a premium experience

A 4k webcam is on your way from Dell!

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Dell Ultrasharp

Dell introduced Dell UltraSharp Webcam, which was designed to give users a seamless webcam experience. Dependency on video conferencing is expected to continue as remote work is expected to be the norm moving forward. Additionally, Dell’s newest webcam promises best-in-class image quality, intelligence, and seamless experiences. True-to-life clarity, mounting options, and intelligence for customization and security are added features fr their 4K webcam.

The Dell UltraSharp Webcam provides 4K image quality and produces sharp video quality in any lighting condition. Taking inspiration from DSLR cameras, the Dell UltraSharp Webcam features a large 4K Sony STARVIS CMOS sensor and multi-element lens that captures more light. 

Regardless of lighting conditions, the Digital Overlap HDR capability in this Dell UltraSharp webcam helps preserve true-to-life colors and balanced exposure. The 3D/2D video noise reduction eliminates grainy images, ensuring images are captured clearly even in low light. 

Built-in security features

Dell is commited to developing intelligent products across its business PCs. The Dell UltraSharp Webcam is accompanied by intelligent features to adapt to any set-up and situation. Users will experience the Auto-framing feature that utilizes Artificial Intelligence (AI) to keep them in focus and center in every frame. Users can also customize their field of view from 65°, 78° and 90°, plus 5x digital zoom.

Windows Hello allows users to sign in securely using facial recognition. It is also embedded with Dell ExpressSign-in feature that enables proximity sensors on the webcam.  This detects the user’s presence as they approach and automatically logs the user out when they step away.

Price and availability

The Dell Ultrasharp Webcam is already available today at these prices — PhP 21,500 / SG$ 284 / US$ 199.99

 

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