Monday, May 26, 2014

The new World Trade Center with the X-T1 and Fuji triumvirate of zooms

Most of the scaffolding has been removed from the new World Trade Center and the building has begun assuming a dominant role in the shifting visual landscape of New York City. Now that the weather has finally turned and there are green leaves on the trees, I am beginning to re-photograph the profile vistas of New York that include the WTC. I will be photographing it for the rest of the year for every angle and will also be including some aerials.

This morning on my bike ride to lower Manhattan I stopped in at 911 Memorial Park, which is now easily accessible without the need for tickets -- a "must" place for anyone now visiting the city. I had with me what is quickly becoming my favorite, all-around travel pack -- a Fuji X-T1 plus the three zooms: 10-24mm, 18-55mm, and 55-200mm. This makes a compact kit covering almost every focal length I would need, although there was one occasion where I wish I had something just a bit wider that 10mm.

I have used and tested quite a number of super-wide angle zooms. It is a tough lens to manufacture and, as a breed, they usually fall in quality, especially in the corners. I have found the Fuji 10-24mm to be best of breed in this category. The only other lens that may be its equal is the Nikon 14-24mm, and even it has substantial rectilinear distortion that, once corrected, knocks its practical focal length down to around 15-16mm after the crop.

Taken with the Fuji 10-24mm at 10mm and f/8. This is the only situation where I felt like I could have used something a bit wider, maybe like the Sigma 12-24mm on a Nikon. 
I went back the next day to re-photograph the scene above with a wider view and a more exacting compositional alignment. Click here to see the redo.

Shot with the 55-200mm.

More and more, as I select a lens kit for my trips, I find myself deciding on the Fuji 10-24mm zoom over the 14mm f/2.8. This is particularly the case when I know I will not be needing the extra one stop of aperture speed.  I have always loved the super-wide zoom range for travel and landscape work, but rarely been satisfied with the optical quality of even the best of this breed. Only the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 can deliver the same optical quality of the Fuji, and it is a monster of a lens compared to the compact package of the Fuji 10-24mm. You can read my entire hands-on review of this lens here.

The Fuji X-T1 camera can be ordered at:  BH-Photo  Amazon 
The Fuji 10-24mm f/4 lens can be ordered at: BH-Photo   Amazon

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