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! …..
See more pictures on streetphotoworkshops.com
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.
See more on blog.karimhaddad.com
The other day I had to make a call I never wanted to have to make. At 28 I needed to see a chiropractor – some would call it the photographers curse, a curse that unfortunately goes with the territory. Lugging heavy camera gear around, usually with it hanging from the neck, waist or one shoulder eventually takes its toll. This realisation along with some other vague and equally suspicious excuses was one of the reasons I’d been interested getting myself one of Fujifilm’s X-Series cameras – the thought of having a camera that was small and light and could maybe even supplement my heavy old SLR was appealing. I knew they would probably never replace my SLR for work but as everyday cameras they seemed to offer a good compromise. In 2011 I bought the Fujifilm x100, a camera I loved to hate, a camera that for me was so nearly there in terms of what I personally was after but somehow not quite. It looked fantastic (for some reason more of an appeal to me than it really should be) and contained pretty much my perfect carry around set-up; packing an equivalent of 35mm f/2 lens. It was almost too silent when it took a photo (to the point where at times I wasn’t even sure it had taken) but is small size and discretion were a big plus for me, the whole thing could slip in my pocket and yet it felt good in the hand with a nice weight. The whole manual shutter and aperture operation were a total winner for me. I think Fuji had finally realised that most camera manufacturers seemed to have failed to realise, photographers are creatures of habit, we are by and large dinosaurs, and we like what we know, and what we know works. So many cameras that come on to the market aren’t aimed at dinosaurs, they are aimed at the mass consumer. Manual shutter dials and aperture rings disappeared from all but ‘pro’ cameras because they seemed archaic. This may well be the case but equally they were a tried and tested function that had been the norm for decades, and yet within a matter of years digital cameras had consigned them to the graveyard, much to the annoyance of the dinosaurs. Fuji it seems finally cottoned onto this and their x-series cameras are evidence of that – they’re a nod to a system that is tried and tested. Nevertheless with the x100 they still managed to get a few things wrong. They may have designed the hardware well but the internals, the menu system, was a generally nonsensical and the camera had a habit of not responding particularly fast, it was sluggish, not much but just enough, and it acted at time likes a despondent child. Luckily Fuji were a company that actually listened to its customers and the firmware updates did start to tackle these problems…….
See more pictures on www.focus52.blogspot.co.uk
I’ll put my cards on the table right away: I’ve developed a slightly tumultuous relationship with zooms. They’re very useful tools but I’ve come to realize they also tend to drive me into what I’d call visual laziness. When I decided to jump to the X system as my one and only kit, I also embraced the fact that I’d be shooting with nothing but primes. In fact much of that decision was coloured by my experience with the X100’s fixed focal length and the way it affected my shooting reflexes. Not that this was anything new: I used Nikon primes as well. But committing to a single focal length for extended periods of time wasn’t something I’d really done before. When I shoot a prime I need to move — Obviously; I need to walk in order to alter my distance to the subject; and while I walk my brain works, and when my brain works it notices its surroundings and finds details or angles I often would’ve overlooked otherwise. But with a zoom… No matter how much I try, it’s always much too easy to fall back to those old reflexes. Twist in, twist out. Maybe if we stopped calling them zooms in the first place. That word doesn’t do justice to what’s going on optically. Maybe instead we could describe them as multi-focal lenses. There’s definitely something pretty fantastic about having the equivalent of 8 primes on a single lens… IF you use it as such. IF you understand how to use each individual focal length in the right context, and how each one changes the entire aspect of an image way beyond making things look nearer or closer. Compression, distortion, spatial perception. Of course you can also use it to get a closer shot of that mountain way out there; but perhaps if you actually GO to the mountain, something amazing will happen along the way. Right, so where was I? Ah yes: no zooms for me. Huh…
Absolutely. As surprised as I am to say this, it’s a no brainer. Until we get the extremely anticipated 56mm f/1.2 — yes, it’s now 1.2!!!!! — This will be my 85ish equivalent. It’s a great lens to have in my arsenal, especially for studio work. If you’re looking for an all around travel zoom lens, this will certainly do the job and then some. Personally, I still prefer something smaller and less visible and the X100S remains the ultimate travel solution for me. As I said earlier, I like committing to a single focal length and forcing my brain to make the most out of it. But I love what Fuji has done with this lens. And it certainly bodes well for the upcoming XF 55–200mm. More random images below…….
See more pictures on www.laroquephoto.com
I recently posed this question to colleagues because I have been experiencing the benefits of shooting wide open with one lens and the trials of relying on the variable aperture of the zoom lens. These experiences have led to results with which I’m really happy (portraits shot with the 60mm) and an unhappy photographer (me with the 18-55mm). Let me back up a bit. When the X-Pro 1 arrived on the scene last year, I purchased the three available prime lenses. For what I use them for, I have been very happy with all three. Of the three, the 60mm lens has been used far less than the 18mm and 35mm lenses, restricted to portraits, some close up work and more portraits. That said, despite the focusing quirks of the lens, the results have been very good and recently, as I have better understood how to use it, the results have been outstanding. Having used all three lenses on the X-Pro 1 for work and freelance gigs, plus the X100 on occasion, I was feeling that I needed/wanted to have the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 zoom lens to shoot events. The zoom simplifies, to one way of thinking, lens and camera choice and since I shoot with flash indoors and don’t have to worry about a fast aperture shooting outside, you would think that this is the ideal event lens. Well, I’m not so sure about that. Earlier this week, I shot an indoor event, an awards dinner and presentation for a freelance client. The end result was that the photos turned out well and I rarely missed a shot, but it wasn’t the best shooting experience. And I have to take a good portion of the responsibility for the poor experience part. I will give all of the credit for the good shot results to the lens and camera. So what went wrong you ask? Since I shoot with primes most of the time, using the zoom complicated things. It did give more reach or a wider field of view than with a prime, but I felt like a klutz most of the time. Also, the variable aperture is a pain. Tempting as it might be to set the lens to f/2.8 at the wide end and let the lens stop down as I zoomed to the 55mm end of things, this plays havoc with exposure when I’m shooting with a non-TTL flash. Instead, I set the aperture between f/4 and f/5.6 and left it there, no matter which zoom range I was in. Again, this worked well and I have no complaints with the results, except for those rare occasions when the ambient light was right and I switched off the flash and tried to shoot as wide open as I could. Then, the ISO zoomed to uncomfortable levels, which wouldn’t have happened if the lens had a constant aperture of at least f/2.8 or better. Couple this with needing to shoot with the EVF most of the time rather than the OVF and using Auto Focus instead of Automated Manual Focus, which is my preference, it was a frustrating night of shooting. Poor me you say? Well you might. The AF worked as well as can be expected of any lens in the dim light of the event, but it wasn’t street fast, which is what I wanted this to be. It wasn’t rangefinder fast. So, therein lies the problem. The 18-55mm lens is a really good all around performer (I have made some gorgeous long exposures with it) but not as easy for me to use. There, let me put it this way, the problem is really me and I know it……
See more pictures on doncraigphoto.wordpress.com
A friend of mine used to own a Jaguar. In fact he owned a series of Jags during the ’70s and ’80s. This was a time when Jaguar quality control was – how shall I put it – less than perfect? At the time I was driving German and Japanese made cars, and only visited the dealership for oil changes. Al on the other hand knew the Jag dealership’s mechanics by their first names. He knew their freek’n kids first names. He had to. He spent a lot of time hanging out in the garage with them, frequently on weekends. Poor Al, right? But, when we went anywhere together we took his car. Why? Because, as he claimed, the Jag had “character”, and I completely agreed with him.
Quirkiness Vs. Character
So, what is character when it comes to inanimate object like cars and cameras? Why do we put up with less than perfect products, while high-reliability even almost “perfect” ones are readily available?
This was brought to mind a couple of months ago when my friend Kevin came to to visit me in San Miguel, Mexico. He brought along his Fuji X-Pro1 and the new Fuji 18-55mm zoom, a lens which I hadn’t yet seen. Though we were busy with other things, I managed to “borrow” his set-up and do some shooting with it. I had not expected to be terribly excited. I’d field reviewed the X-Pro 1 last year. Indeed my colleague Nick Devlin had also reviewed it on these pages (Pt 1 and Pt 2), and I’d published a field report on the camera by Daniel Web. Enough – right? Well, not quite. The X-Pro 1 that Kevin brought down to Mexico had Firmware V2.03 installed, and as I mentioned, was fitted with the just-released 18-55mm lens. This is a camera transformed. Most (not all) of the operational annoyances that Nick and I had initially written about have been mitigated by a series of firmware updates and the addition of a mid-range zoom lens similarly extends the versatility of the camera. What’s so special about a kit zoom? Well, first of all, this is anything but a kit lens. The optical quality is nothing less than excellent. But more to the point, it works brilliantly with the hybrid optical viewfinder, which is one of my favourite features of the camera. The illuminated frame lines zoom smoothly with the lens, and a 2 second hold on the viewfinder selection lever pops an optical magnifier into place so that the frame lines are made much larger in the viewfinder at longer focal lengths. Simply a joy to work with. The icing on the cake is that the latest Capture One software now does a proper job of handing Fuji’s X-Trans sensors. And, almost as soon as Phase One released C1 V7.1 Adobe updated both Camera Raw and Lightroom with similarly much-enhanced raw support. The hat-trick was now complete. Update: April 18, 2013: Apple’s Aperture now also supports the X-Pro 1 and other X-Trans sensor equipped cameras with their DCR Update 4.5. What the X-Pro 1 now has is what I refer to as ”character” rather than just “quirkiness”. Being quirky isn’t enough, and rarely is tolerated for long. Fuji camera have always been at least a bit quirky. But with proper mainstream raw support, a highly competent and well integrated mid-range zoom lens, and most of the bugs squished, the Fuji X-Pro 1 is reborn – or at least it seems that way to me.
Since getting back from Mexico I’ve purchased a body, 18-55mm lens and the also excellent 14mm f/2.8 lens. I have an order in for the upcoming 55-200mm lens, which when in hand will complete a nice travel shooting kit, one that I plan on taking with me to Australia in June where I’m teaching a PODAS workshop…..
See on www.luminous-landscape.com
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about selling my X-Pro 1, especially since the introduction of the X100s. I bought the XP a year ago to try to spark my love of photography, and boy did it ever. But lately my work is going in a direction that the XP really has trouble. For instance, long exposures at the beach. It takes forever to write the image to the card, and try changing the lens of a mirror-less camera on a windy wet beach with any kind of confidence. My sensor is filthy! Then theres the 60mm. I really hate this lens. There is no love involved. This afternoon I was out in my backyard trying to take some shots with the 18mm, my favorite because of the fast focus. I had noticed a fly on the wall bathing in the warm sun, but thought nothing of it. I don’t really like insect photography. Anyway, I wasn’t having luck with the 18mm so I went back in to get the 35mm, came back out, fly still there on the wall in the sun. The photo I was trying to get wasn’t working so I turned to go inside and saw the fly still there. Hmm. So back inside I went to get the, ugh, 60mm. On my way back out I set the camera to manual focus, macro, and set the exposure. I knew I wouldn’t have much time. The sunspot that the fly was in was about gone. I brought the camera to my eye, cranked the barrel for what seemed an eternity, zoomed the focus to confirm, and took the shot. (On a side note, my XP seems to have reverted back to the original MF problems) The fly hung around long enough for me to refocus, but not to press the shutter again. He was gone, and I was bored already anyway. When I loaded the image into LR, WOW! I couldn’t believe how sharp it was. The download to the internet does nothing for the detail in this shot. I can zoom way in and its crystal clear. This is a RAW file, uncropped, straight out of the camera. Like I said….I love this camera, I hate this camera.
See on robertmilici.wordpress.com
I’ve had the X100S for a couple of days now and I am enjoying it immensely. Here are some of my initial impressions and thoughts. Bear in mind that I don’t have any experience with the X100. I use the Nikon D90 as my main camera and was using the Ricoh Digital GRIII as my carry about.
When I took it out of the box, I was surprised at the heft, even though I had held both the X100 and the X100S in shops. I guess hearing so much about the lightness, compared to DSLRs altered my expections plus my previous carry about was a compact camera. I’ve gotten used to the weight and it feels almost just right, maybe a little heavy.
Next is that it is already doing its job. I bought it to document my life, taking snaps of my family and friends will probably take up 2/3 of its frames. Sounds crazy to use such a camera for snaps, but its something very important to me. I have already taken shots that I wouldn’t have been able to with my D90 or the GRIII. Most people including my kids largely ignore the X100S. If I whip out the D90 even with a 24 f2.8 there’s a different dynamic. Ergonomically the GRIII was great but its small sensor let it down. I always felt I was fighting the camera to squeeze out the best image quality. Especially indoors at high ISO, most times I came out on the losing side. So much so I stopped carrying it with me.
The X100S is really impressive in this regard. ISO 2000 looks great, and I do find I need it a bit. It’s better than the D90. And it isn’t a noise factor, it is dynamic range. Past 1000-1250 the D90 files looked sickly and unnatural even when properly exposed.
Other thoughts, the manual focus ring still has the fly-by-wire limitations. It is nowhere as responsive as a direct coupled lens. The split image aid works but depending on what it’s over, it can be equally hard to judge if the two halves line up.
The AF-C mode on the other hand has impressed me so far. For keeping the focus on a moving child’s eye, it works as well as a DSLR.
I heard stories about the slowness of the SD card handling but so far I can’t see any issues. I was about to buy a San Disk Extreme Pro but I’m not sure I need it. I am using an EyeFi card that is only rated Class 6.
Oh, one piece of bad news, I have managed to freeze the camera once. I had to take the battery out to solve the problem. Switching off via the switch didn’t have any effect. I think it was because the AFS/AFC/MF switch was in a in between position when I took a photo.
Feel free to ask my any questions. And don’t worry, I am intending on using it as a creative and professional tool as well. Delighted to hear about LR4.4
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I mentioned earlier that I sold off my Nikon D7000 and three lenses last month. The main reason was size: Having traveled around Europe with the whole kit for a month, I didn’t see myself carrying all of that weight on a trip again. And around San Francisco, I prefer my Fuji X100 for street photography. Even more, I didn’t find myself being as deliberate with my photos with a DSLR compared to the more manual and sometimes slower X100. I just enjoyed the Fuji photos more, and it was nice to not end up editing hundreds of quickly shot burst photos. I also figured that if I ever actually wanted to use a DSLR for a trip, I could rent one from BorrowLenses. I took a big hit on depreciation for the D7000 and lenses, so I wasn’t too eager to jump back into another camera system, even ones that were smaller like Fuji X and Micro Four-Thirds. Jumping into the Leica system seemed intriguing, but having a need to continue eating and living under a roof, I wasn’t about to spend a few months mortgage on a used M9 and lenses. I decided to compromise by getting a new Fuji X-E1 and one used Leica lens, with the idea of eventually buying into a Leica M in a few years if I really feel like it. Since I already use a Fuji X100, I would be used to the controls on the X-E1, but the Leica lens would offer me something new and force me to learn manual focus. And at least I wouldn’t have to worry as much about the lens depreciating in value like my Nikon lenses did. After a few weeks of reading reviews of the X-E1, Leica lenses, and using Leica lenses on the Fuji X system, which on the surface was research to make a decision but was in fact searching to justify a decision already made, I started putting together my new kit:
I ordered a black X-E1 body from B&H and a RainbowImaging lens adapter from Amazon. Another Googler put a Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Type 5 in excellent condition up for sale and I got a good deal on it.
Before taking any photos, I was struck by how small the Leica Summicron 50mm was, especially compared to my old Nikon primes. I read the X-E1 size is comparable to the X100, and I found that to be true. Despite the small size of the Summicron 50, it still is a bit heavy compared to the X-E1, causing the combination to be a little off balance. You’ll notice that while resting on the table it’s angled forward onto the lens. Holding the camera hasn’t been an issues, however…..
See on blog.roshanvyas.com
Since I sold my SLR gear and started shooting exclusively with X-series cameras I have started enjoying photography once again. I spend less time playing with menus and settings and focus instead on light and composition.
The biggest drawback of the system so far has been the lack of wide-angle lenses – my favourite perspective. But my problem has been solved. This weekend I picked up the latest Fuji lens – XF 14mm F2.8. What a lens it is!
I came from the pro-level Nikon and Canon gear and after one day of shooting, this lens has impressed me. In fact, after my initial assessment this is the best wide-angle lens I have ever shot with. (To make it even more interesting, the very same day I borrowed a Nikon D800 with the AF-S 14-24mm 2.8 zoom lens and used it along with my Fuji X-Pro1 and XF 14mm F2.8. You will find the whole story of my “Camera Fever” episode in the next post. For now all I can say that the Nikon D800 and its super-heavy lens is back in a store). Having said that, I am not going to give a scientific review (I prefer to spend time photographing); instead I would like to share a few images I shot yesterday with this newest lens. Please note that these are sample images without any distortion correction applied. Processed in Capture One 7 and Lightroom 4.
See more pictures on olafphoto.wordpress.com