It’s been a little over a year since Fuji released the X-Pro 1 – a Leica for the rest of us. It paid homage to the great rangefinder type cameras of yesteryears. Although digital, it was the first camera that handled like it was a film camera with files that were incredibly film-like. The familiar manual, mechanical-like controls were a delight for those who began with pre-autofocus film cameras. The X-Pro 1’s output was also unexpected. The colour reproduction is so true to life that it amazes me even today. The camera comes with simulations of Fuji’s great films like Velvia, Provia, Astia, colour negative & b/w. With the X-E1 as a second body and just waiting for the 55-300mm zoom to come, my X bag will be all set for more great photography.
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This week was a special mix of satisfaction, surprise and anger. First I went for a walk at 23h30 and was in awe under the sky still lit, helped by some Aurora Borealis. Then the next day, I saw the Inuit version of “The Hockey Night in Canada” as young boys were playing in the streets despite the ferocious cold wind. The anger came with a letter from Getty Images wich I describe in a precedent post. After having spent most of the week-end questioning myself about the Getty Issue and decided to fight back, I went on a walk without any other goal than observing and exploring, as I often do. I stumble upon this little Inuk, who can’t wait any longer to make sand castle. A few feet away, the sea ice is still covering part of the bay, although it is shattered and flowing slowly to the Ungava. Wanting to see how much ice was left, I climb a nearby mountain and walked over to the big bay. Here’re a few pictures from the week and from this climb. Although summer seems a long way, the small boy on the beach was already in his summer play. No more time to waste. Text & Photographs © Marc-André Pauzé – all rights reserved. You can diffuse and share on your social media using the buttons on the upper left side of the window, but the use of the picture is restricted through Stipple. Make sure you link back to this site and credit the author. Please forgive if there are any grammatical errors, my main language is french. To see the pictures in maximum size, click on one of them and change using the arrows of your keyboards or by clicking on the right edge of the picture…..
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I’m a photojournalist by profession, a documentary photographer by choice, and a street photographer in my heart, but before all of that, I just love photography, and l love to take pictures. Enter in the Fuji X-Pro 1. Very recently, less than one month ago, I sold all of my DSLRs, fast glass and long lenses and purchased two Fuji X-Pro 1 bodies, the XF 18mm f/2 (approx. 28mm equivalent), the XF 35mm f/1.4 (approx. 50mm equivalent), and the XF 18-55 zoom and I couldn’t be happier. For nearly two decades I’ve wanted a Leica film body (M6), but in my career as a newspaper photojournalist and with all of the professional sports I had to cover, I just couldn’t justify it. In the late 90s I bought the amazing Contax G2 and loved it dearly. But as film started to fade and digital started to pick up speed, the M6 dream also faded. I finally sold the Contax in 2005 while it was still had value. As Leica released the M8, and I saw that the price was significantly higher than the already pricy M6 (I was never really interested in the M7), and that it was not a full frame sensor (because I really wanted a 35mm Summicron–Leica’s 35mm f/2 lens), I lost interest. Then the Leica M9 was released which caught my attention, but I knew that as a working photographer, I could never afford nor justify the cost of one camera and one lens, let alone a complete system. I love Leica, but it simply cannot be justified in its cost (for me personally), thus out of my reach. Leica used to be the camera of the working photojournalist, and many legends of photography have made iconic photographs with them, but the world has changed, and making a living with photography is harder than ever. With new amazing technology, and steep competition, working photographers are now using new tools that get the job done. There was a time in my career that if a photographer showed up for an assignment with anything but a Nikon or a Canon, they were looked at as an amateur, but not anymore. One of the big attractions of the Leica, to me, is its simplicity; in this it’s unbeaten still today. I applaud Leica for (mostly) remaining true to its heritage with the digital M cameras, and I hope they always will. No other camera system even comes close to the workmanship and quality build and materials of a Leica. If you’ve ever held a Leica lens, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Fuji, analogously, has invented a camera system that gets back to the basics. Things like a real shutter speed dial, check, a real aperture dial, check, a real optical viewfinder, check. But Fuji also added a real exposure compensation dial that’s even better than the ones the old Nikon’s used to have on their film bodies. Also, the wondrous beauty of Fuji’s hybrid viewfinder, where the user can switch, on the fly, from optical (OVF) to electronic (EVF), is the icing on the cake to me. This camera is a breath of fresh air to photograph with. The buttons are perfectly placed and they are few (only what’s needed). Today I chose to slow down and shoot just for the sheer joy of it. While photographing with the X-Pro 1 I was able to switched from optical finder, to rear LCD, to electronic viewfinder, to changing the ISO, the aperture, etc., etc. all effortlessly and without a thought. It was so much fun. In fact, it was pure joy. I really haven’t had this much fun shooting with any camera since my Contax G2. Imagine that, a professional photographer actually enjoying shooting when not getting paid to do so. (By the slightest chance if anyone from Fuji happens to read this article, I ask you to PLEASE not change a single thing on the X-Pro 1 camera body with the future X-Pro camera body, but instead just install dual, quad-core processors (for a little more speed) and we’re good to go. This camera is that good! …..
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Since a few days isn’t enough time to write a review with a capital “R”, I thought it would be more interesting to share my initial thoughts about the camera and the X system in general. The Fuji X-Pro 1 is one of the cameras that has deeply captured my interest since its release, and now that I’ve had the chance to test it, I’m trying to figure out if it is a system that I could embrace for my personal projects or work. I had the chance to play around with it two weekends ago. Heather and I went to Genova in the Liguria region, chasing the sun, as the weather is very unpredictable these days in northern Italy. Luckily for us, the day was wonderful and I was able test the camera along many of the small streets of the old city, as well as along the Costa Ligure. Genova is a very interesting city to photograph: the old part of town consists of very small and narrow streets that create contrasted scenes where shadows are sliced in half. An inspiring way to begin my photographic day. My initial feeling when holding the X Pro 1 for the first time was actually strange, because I found it bigger than I had expected. After several years of DSLR shooting, I shouldn’t have been surprised, but at the same time I had become so used to the small size of the Olympus OM-D and the Fuji X100s that all of a sudden, the X-Pro 1 looked like a big camera to me! But it only took a few hours to get used to it, and to realize it isn’t that big in the end. The size, the design, and the “philosophy” behind it clearly reminds me of another camera, the Leica M series. It is clear to me that Fujifilm wants to offer a professional system in a smaller and cheaper package without compromise in terms of sensor and lens quality. Of course, there are many differences between the two systems and since I am not a Leica expert, I won’t go in that direction. For me, it is enough to say that the “Pro” term used to name this camera is substantiated by the camera itself: it is solid, feels nice and steady in my hand, and has an all metal build. From the first test shots after unboxing the camera, you recognize that this camera exudes quality … and isn’t half bad to look at as well! ….
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A little blog about shooting Mixed light set ups with the Fuji X-Pro
It seems to be that most people first looked at the Fuji X -Series cameras as street style cameras or reportage cameras. At least this might of been how they were first marketed. It was quickly very evident that the camera system was more than capable for much more. A fashion photographers dream is a quick, simple, stripped down camera that packs a punch. Super sharp and super punchy. Shooting natural light is a lot of fun with these cameras as it does let you travel with smaller kit bags and encourages freedom and movement. Being able to use the “photographers eye” to work with natural light can be super rewarding.
For my work, I love to create a mix of the two. As much as I love the lighting styles of people like Joey L and Damien Lovegrove. I am trying to work out what my lighting style still is. Maybe one day I might work it out !! The Fuji works great in the studio, on location and a mix of the two. Which is what I like to to.. Using speed lights, mixing them with naturally created light and additive lighting styles is just so much fun. Playing about with light can be very rewarding. When syncing the X-Pro, you have a number of options. It is great having the back up Sync port for a cable, but I use the Pocketwizard triggers. I do find that keeping the shutter around 1/60th of a second works well compared to the 1/125th that most people would be used to with a DSLR. Also.. when in the studio or using strobe lighting, I tend to go for the 18-55 zoom lens for some reason over the faster primes. I think this is the idea that if I don’t need a fast lens I might as well have the OS lens or the chance to zoom. It would be nice to have the X-Pro shoot using some kind of tethering to Lightroom or Capture one though, maybe some day !! The other thing that would be nice, which I am sure they will change for the next iteration of the X-Pro is to have the screen show the exposure rather than balance the LCD and only leave you to gauge exposure using the +/- meter. Trying to balance out all your tones can be hard, and shooting with colour filter or grad filters is not much fun either. Maybe also a dedicated X- Sync mode would be nice.. Kinda something like Pentax have. I am a big fan of the Pentax shooting modes…..
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Da wir auf Hochzeiten selten im Studio zu finden sind haben wir mit der Fuji x100s und der Fuji X-E1 Lutz Graichen von Windflüchter Surfboards besucht um etwas realere Bedingungen für einen Test zu haben als Schärfetafeln oder Stilleben. Der studierte Sportwissenschaftler baut seit 2008 in Rostock an der Ostseeküste Windsurfboards unter dem Namen Windflüchter. Und so wie sich die Form eines Windflüchters, eines Baumes dessen Wuchsform stark durch die Winde an der Küste beeinflusst wird, passt Lutz seine Boards nach den Wünschen seiner Kunden an. Ausgeglichenheit, Liebe zum Detail, Präzision und die Leidenschaft für das Handwerk sind allgegenwärtig wenn man bei ihm in der Werkstatt ist. Allerdings erwarten die Kameras in seiner Werkstatt auch flackernde Neonröhren und viel Staub. Nicht gerade das wir normalerweise auf Hochzeiten vorfinden, aber ein recht extremer Test für die kleinen Fujis da sie keine wirkliche Versiegelung haben. Zwar hat meine X-E1 auch schon den einen oder anderen Regen überstanden, aber wer weiß. Am meisten war ich auf den neuen Autofokus und natürlich das “digitale Schnittbild” im manuellen Fokus gespannt. Soviel sei gesagt: Ja, der Autofokus der x100s ist schneller als der, der X-E1, aber unter erschwerten Bedingungen noch nicht mit einer DSLR Vergleichbar. Vielleicht in der nächsten Generation von Fuji Kameras. Intelligent Hybrid AF nennt Fuji die neue Methode zur “Scharfstellung” und meint damit eine Mischung aus “TTL Phase detection” und “TTL contrast”. Die Bewegungen von Lutz beim Shapen des Boards einzufangen ging der kleinen Fuji dann aber doch nicht so einfach von der Hand wie erhofft. Sicher kann das den schlechten Lichtverhältnissen geschuldet sein. Ein weiterer Test mit spielenden Kindern in der Sonne wäre wohl notwendig bevor wir die kleine mit dem neuen 16.3 MP X-Trans CMOS II Sensor zu einer Hochzeit ausführen. Wenn man die Ruhe des Moments nutzt sitzt der Fokus natürlich perfekt, keine Frage. Zeit also das Fokus Peaking und das “digitale Schnittbild” im manuellen Fokus zu testen. Einer der vielen Punkte auf der Wunschliste der Fuji Nutzer ist das Fokus Peaking und siehe da, Fuji hat die Gebete erhört. Zumindest teilweise. Denn wenn wir mal ehrlich sind ist ein Fokus Peaking mit weißen Kontrastkanten dann doch im realen Leben weniger hilfreich als erhofft. Grün oder Rot wären wohl die bessere Wahl gewesen. Wer weiß, vielleicht liefert Fuji hier per Firmware noch nach. Eine neue Welt eröffnet das momentan “weltweit erste Fokussystem, das eine sensorbasierte Phasenerkennung nutzt” – Zitat Fuji. Soll heißen, wenn die Kanten der dargestellten Bildhälften aufeinander liegen, ist der entsprechende Bereich scharf. Anfangs ist es etwas ungewohnt, aber es funktioniert perfekt wenn man sich erst Mal daran gewöhnt hat. Im Direkten Vergleich der Schärfe zwischen dem 23mm f2 der x100s und dem XF-35mm f1.4 an der X-E1 verliert das fest an der x100s angebrachte Objektiv. Nichts desto trotz ist die Kombination der 35mm äquivalenten Kleinbild Brennweite am X-Trans Sensor eine Wucht bedenkt man das Kamera und Objektiv locker in die Hosentasche passen. Und darin besteht momentan auch der Vorteil gegenüber der X-E1, die vom Body her eine ähnliche Größe aufweist, aber durch die wechselbaren Objektive eben wesentlich “sperriger” daherkommt. Hier will Fuji noch dieses Jahr mit dem 27mm f2.8 Pancake eine Hosentaschen Variante anbieten. Das Rauschverhalten haben wir ja schon in anderen Blog Einträgen bis ISO 6400 gezeigt. Und wer sich über Randunschärfen unterhalten möchte kann sich auch unseren Vergleichstest ansehen. Die folgenden Bilder sind alle mit ISOs zwischen 1600 und 2500 bei Aperture Priority aufgenommen. Die Fuji x100s musste dabei bei komplett geöffneter Blende, also f2 belichten. Die X-E1 konnte mit dem XF-35mm f1.4 auf f2 abblenden. Ein Bild mit ISO6400 hat sich eingeschlichen. Wer’s findet darf es behalten. Eines muss noch zu den Farben gesagt werden. Beide Fuji Kameras haben es geschafft bei den schlechten Lichtverhältnissen, ständig wechselnden Farbtemperaturen im und automatischem Weißabgleich perfekte Farben zu generieren. Timos betagte 5DMKII hatte da sichtlich ihre Probleme und man konnte von 3 Bildern hatten alle 3 einen anderen Weißabgleich im Auto WB Modus……
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I’ve had my X-Pro1 for about five months now, and I’d like to think I’ve put it to good use. Up until recently, all I had was the 35mm lens, which I’m very fond of. I’ve been wanting a wider lens for a while, but I was torn between Fuji’s 18mm and the 14mm. The difference in focal length was only one of the reasons I chose the XF 14mm 2.8 R. I first put it to use on my trip to Trinidad & Tobago. My very first shots were taken at Reagan National Airport, but I used it quite a bit throughout the whole trip. When my friends and I got to the beach, I had the 14mm locked in. I wasn’t too pleased with a lot of the shots I got, but one of the main reasons for that was the overcast weather. At first, I wasn’t sure whether or not the lens or the weather were to blame, but now I’m sure it was the latter. I took many other pictures in Trinidad, mostly on the beach. Unfortunately, I didn’t do any street photography on the entire trip, but when we got the beach in Tobago, I put the 14mm to the test once again. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating as much as I would have liked, but I still think I got some good shots. The 14mm was often my lens of choice during the trip, not because I preferred it to the 35mm, but because I wanted to put it to the test as much as possible. But while I was shooting with it, I sometimes found myself wishing I had the other lens on. The opposite wasn’t true as often. Don’t get me wrong, the 14mm is a great lens, but the 35mm has it beat when it comes to image quality. The larger aperture surely has something to do with it, but that can’t be all. I’m no technical expert when it comes to lenses – I just go by what I see. The shot below was taken a little past 3am. It’s an 8.5 second exposure that was shot wide open at 2.8. I was trying to shoot the moon, and my friends’ shadows got in the way. When we saw the image in the viewfinder, we decided to position ourselves in the shot. The results were pretty cool……..
- nice and wide with very little distortion
- great bokeh when shooting objects up close
- distance and depth of field indicator
- smooth manual focus ring
- superior image quality
- solid build and feel
- great lens hood
- price $900
- somewhat heavy
- outside gathers dust very easily
- not always as sharp as one would like
- sometimes yields problems with blown highlights and shadows
This is a great lens, although I’m still not sure that I wouldn’t have been better off with the 18mm. I’m all about the image quality, and it seems the 14mm might lag slightly behind in that regard. But the extra width and other features make up for the slight difference in sharpness between the two lenses. The images shot with the 14mm look great and they’re virtually free of distortion. Manual focusing is very smooth, and the sliding ring that reveals a distance and depth-of-field indicator is a very useful feature. The 35mm is still my preferred lens of the two, and although it is my choice for a walk-around lens, I will be using the 14mm a lot more in the weeks and months ahead. I’m looking forward to seeing what it can do with sweeping landscapes and on the streets. Of course I’ll be sharing the results. I don’t think I’ll be buying anymore lenses anytime soon.
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Post process: Fuji RAW (RAF) + Adobe Lightroom 4 + VSCO PX-70 and PX-680 film simulation + Adobe photoshop for architecture/Barrel Distortion for 14mm lens.
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