Monday, October 30, 2017

L-Brackets and Remote Cables for the Fuji GFX 50S

I've been enjoying most aspects of the Fuji GFX 50S camera for my landscape photography, but some of the decisions by Fuji's designers have me scratching my head.  Fuji obviously understands that photographers will sometimes use the camera in the vertical ("portrait") orientation, since they wisely decided to make the rear LCD articulate in that plane.  However, they must not have considered that many serious photographers, myself included, use quick-release L-brackets for mounting the camera on a tripod.  

Fuji's decision to move the battery door to the left side of the camera means that the battery cannot be replaced without requiring tools to remove or reposition the L-bracket.  I initially purchased a Really Right Stuff L-bracket, being familiar with the quality products RRS normally produces.  The RRS L-bracket design is a clever two-piece arrangement with a screw that can be loosened to re-position the vertical portion of the bracket - unfortunately, it does not move far enough away from the body of the camera to allow the battery compartment door to open wide enough to remove the battery.

Really Right Stuff L-Bracket for the Fuji GFX 50S 
In order to change the battery, the user needs to completely remove the fastening screw and the vertical portion of the bracket.  I quickly discovered that re-installing the screw was a very fiddly procedure, and I dropped it numerous times while sitting at my desk trying to re-assemble the bracket.  I can only imagine how much more difficult this task would be out in the field, in cold rainy or snowy weather, and how easy it would be to lose the fastener.

RRS L-Bracket removed to access battery compartment

I returned the RRS L-Bracket, and ordered a bracket from Kirk Enterprises, which is a simpler, one-piece bracket, but the bracket can be loosened and moved far enough to the side to allow the battery to be replaced without removing the screw holding the bracket to the camera.  While this does mean carrying a smallAllen wrench to loosen and tighten the screw, it's a much less fiddly procedure than what is required with the RRS bracket.  The Kirk bracket has a clever holder in the bottom to store an Allen wrench, and I keep spares in all of my camera bags anyway, so I feel I'm much less likely to be inconvenienced while working in the field as I would if I lost the screw from the RRS bracket.

Kirk Enterprises BL-50S L-Bracket on the GFX 50S

Battery can be replaced without reming the Kirk L-Bracket


The other common issue with using an L-bracket is the placement of the ports for the remote control cable on the GFX.  The L-bracket needs to be moved away from the camera a considerable distance in order to attach the Fuji RR-90 remote cable, resulting in a somewhat top-heavy tripod head.

Fuji RR-90 Remote Cable attached to the GFX 50S

The Fuji RR-90 Remote requires a lot of clearance
Due to the size and configuration of the USB connector on the RR-90, it also requires that the Kirk L-bracket be loosened and re-positioned in order to attach the cable... which means digging out that Allen wrench again.

Fortunately, Fuji decided to give us not one, but two remote sockets on the GFX 50S.  The Fuji RR-90 connects (somewhat awkwardly) into the camera's USB3 port (at top right, in the photo below), but the camera also features a 2.5mm min-plug connector port for third-party remotes (the small round port at bottom left, below).  

Fuji GFX 50S Connection Ports


The remote I chose was the Canon RS-60E3, which features a right-angle mini plug connection.  It is small enough that with a bit of dexterity, it can be attached to the camera and removed again while the Kirk bracket is fixed in place, leaving the bracket positioned securely against the side of the camera for maximum stability.

Canon RS-60E3 Remote attached to the GFX 50S

Stable vertical shooting with the Kirk L-Bracket and Canon RS-60E3

Canon RS-60E3 (left) and Fuji RR-90 (right) Remote Release Cables

Canon 2.5mm mini-plug and Fuji USB connections

There are a number of third-party remotes available, but I chose the slightly more expensive Canon RS-60E3 because I find that the Canon remote cables tend to stay a bit more flexible in cold weather compared to some other brands.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Park Swing, Gabriola Island

I discovered this old swing hanging from the trees in Drumbeg Provincial Park on Gabriola.  It looked okay in colour, but I decided to try the Fuji Acros + Ye film profile, and I think it works pretty well.  

I hadn't been a big fan of the Acros film simulation, because it seems to be over-used as an attempt to salvage a poorly exposed image, but with a bit of restraint, it can yield some pretty pleasing results - but it's all a matter of personal taste.

Click to view larger version on black background

Park Swing, Gabriola Island

(Fuji GFX 50S with GF 23mm f4, Acros + Ye Filter)

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Lee Filters Adapter Ring for the Fuji GF 23mm f4 WR Lens

One of the first lenses I purchased with my new Fuji GFX 50S camera was the Fujinon GF 23mm f4 WR lens.  This stunningly sharp wide-angle lens has an equivalent field of view to an 18mm lens on a 35mm camera, so it requires thin 82mm filters to avoid vignetting.

I use the Lee Filters 100mm filter system for most filtration duties, and I already had the Lee 82mm WA (wide angle) adapter ring, but as I had seen reported on Fuji Rumors, the standard 82mm WA filter ring would not thread onto this lens, despite having the correct filter thread size.  It turns out that the metal lugs on the front end of the lens, where the lens hood attaches, block the standard adapter ring before the threads can properly engage.

Lee Filters has recently released a special adapter ring for the GF 23mm lens, and I was able to track one down at Canadian distributor for Lee Filters.  They were not aware of the new dedicated filter ring, but after I contacted them they were able to source one for me.  I am pleased to report that the new ring fits perfectly on the lens.

Lee Filters Adapter Ring for Fuji GF 23mm (left) and standard 82mm WA Adpater (right)
I can also confirm that the Lee 105mm Landscape Polarizer does not vignette on the Fuji 23mm f4 lens, even when mounted in front of two slots on the Lee Filters 100mm holder.

Lee 105mm Landscape Polazrizer - no vignetting on the GF 23mm f4 lens at f/32, mounted on the front of a Lee two-slot 100mm series filter holder


The new Lee Filters Fuji GF 23mm adapter ring will be available at B&H Photo starting October 28, 2017.


Monday, October 9, 2017

Evening at Drumbeg with the Fuji GFX

One of my first outings with the new Fuji GFX 50S medium-format digital camera, at Drumbeg Provincial Park on the south end of Gabriola.  The amount of detail this camera can capture is astounding, and the colours and dynamic range are equally impressive.

One of my favourite spots for photography (or quiet contemplation) is Drumbeg Provincial Park at the south end of Gabriola Island.  There are some fascinating sandstone rock formations that are exposed at low tide, and I think they make very interesting subjects when the golden hour of sunset corresponds with low tide.

Click to view larger versions on black background

Gabriola Passage and Valdez Island

Oak Leaf in Pool, Drumbeg Provincial Park

Sandstone Shoreline, Drumbeg Provincial Park

Evening at Drumbeg Provincial Park, Gabriola 

(All images taken with Fuji GFX 50S and GF 23mm f4 WR lens)

Friday, August 25, 2017