A Question About Camera Equipment

When it comes to new camera equipment, are we placing too much reliance on the media and those held up as experts? I think the answer is probably yes.

The problem with the media is that they often use a circulated press release to produce their articles. They do this because they are short on time and have deadlines to meet.  They also often don’t have the facilities and time it takes to do proper testing.

When it comes to the likes of “experts” or should I say those in the public eye, they don’t have long enough with the equipment to do a meaningful review. And because of this it’s also easy for them to be tripped up and come to poor conclusions.

The reason that I’ve been thinking about this, is because of the results I’m seeing from my new Fuji XT5. Initially when the camera was first released, I was ready to jump in and buy one. But then a friend shared a video with me by a reviewer I respect. Their conclusion was that several of the Fuji lenses performed poorly when used with the XT5. They also presented several examples to back this up including images from many of the lenses that I use regularly.

This was enough to make me think twice and hold off buying the camera. I then went hunting for more information and turned up several other videos and reviews mentioning the problem. Some linked to a list put out by Fuji of lenses that would perform poorly. The consensus opinion was that these lenses couldn’t resolve enough detail for the 40Mpixel XT5 sensor.

I was now in a quandary. Many people were highlighting this problem and the XT5 was a costly camera. As a result, I didn’t want to take the risk and decided not to buy one.

Having now finally made a purchase, I’m extremely pleased with the camera’s real-world performance. But I have noticed some unusual results that make me question the articles and videos about image quality. To give you an example, the focus point doesn’t seem to be where I expect it. It’s noticeably further away from the camera than compared with the XT3 using the same lens. Another example is that when I use the Fuji 16-80 lens with my XT3, the corners are soft unless I stop the lens down quite a lot. But with the XT5, I don’t need to do this, and the corners are fine.

Here’s an example of an image shot using the 10-24 lens at 11mm and f/11.0.

Blea Tarn near sunset with the Fuji XT5

This is one of the problem lenses that was quoted a lot. Many of the comments I saw said this lens was unusable on the XT5 and produced images that looked like camera movement. I’ve found the lens fine, providing I’m careful about where I place the point of focus and I don’t use Lightroom to process the RAW file.

These are just some of my initial thoughts on the subject. You can read more, together with an explanation of what I think may be happening, in my May Newsletter published tomorrow. You can also read past newsletters on Lenscraft website.

I hope you like the image and have a great weekend.

10 thoughts on “A Question About Camera Equipment

  1. Thank you Robin for giving us the benefit of your experience. I’m glad that your fears have not been realised and your images meet your exacting standards. At the moment I’m happy with my XT2 but am concerned that the 40mp sensor will try my iMac of only 4 or 5 years beyond its capabilities.

    1. Thank you, but you should also treat my views with caution. I’ve come to the conclusion that the only safe option is to test the camera for yourself. If you find problems, send it back. As for the image file sizes testing your Mac, my Mac (Intel-based i7) is now 7 years old and handling them fine. I hope this helps you when deciding.

  2. I guess a newer higher resolution sensor can reveal the defects in an older lens.
    I mainly shoot with a medium quality 24-200mm zoom because it has a lot of range. I can definitely see the softness, especially at the limits, but don’t think it has ruined any photos. I am just trying not to blow too much money on gear if I don’t need to

    1. Yes, it’s true that higher resolutions can reveal problems with older lenses but I’m not convinced that’s what’s happening here. Some of my lenses do show problems but when I change how I shoot those problems vanish. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

      1. I think some cameras automatically apply corrections for lenses for stuff like distortion or vignetting. Maybe something is going on with that.

      2. Yes, they do but I also suspect there is something in the body and mount positioning in the XT5 when compared to my XT3. The point of focus seems to have shifted. Also, a lens that doesn’t look good on the XT3 now produces amazing results on the XT5. I can’t really explain that any other way.

  3. I’m intrigued by your statement that “I’ve found the (10-24mm) lens fine, providing I’m careful about where I place the point of focus and I don’t use Lightroom to process the RAW file” Since I save my shots as RAW files and process them in Lightroom (and I suspect the same is true of most of your readers), what can I expect?

    1. My experience of using Lightroom to develop my RAW files shot on the XT5 with this lens is that the corners are soft and the image lacks fine detail. Rocks look like they were painted witha spong is probably the best description. The alternative I use at the moment if I want to edit one of these image in Lightroom is to process the RAW file first using DxO PureRAW. The resulting DNG then looks great when edited in Lightroom and rocks have a gritty, real texture to them.

  4. One could always use the older manual glass with an adapter and create images that highlight rather than detract the imperfections of the older glass when making certain images. A bit of a nostalgic view. When I shot with Fuji I used older manual focus Canon glass, especially 400mm and a 200mm lenses. The resolution of that glass gave a distinct and pleasant look to the images I could not achieve with the newer Fuji glass like the 50-140. I had to limit the lenses usage for stationary subjects as my eyesight has changed along with the reaction time in using manual focus lenses as I got older. But those lenses with the Fuji sensor at that time, XT-2, created some nice images.

    1. I spent a lot of time shooting with adapted lenses on a Sony and in the end hated the experience. But to be honest, I’m very happy with the results I’m seeing with my existing lenses. The Fuji 14mm prime is perhaps the only one that I’m dubious about at the moment.

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