Fuji..Finally..Nails It. The X-T1 seems to be “the” Fuji Body to wait for..
Just as I said Sony grew some balls when they designed and released the (now older) NEX-7, it appears Fuji finally did what I have been waiting for them to do. Yes, it appears Fuji finally ditched the hollow and cheaper feeling bodies and decided to design and create and release a truly solid and professional X body. One of the reasons I was so hard inn Fuji since the X-Pro 1 is because I KNEW that they could do better..much better. Sure, they had the color and IQ but everything else was sub par, especially in their “flagship” the X-Pro 1.
I predicted two years ago that Fuji would some day release a truly great X body worthy of their great lenses. The time is just about here :)
It appears that this X-T1 will also be a SOLID, WEATHER SEALED and MUCH FASTER body with external controls ala Nikon Df and Olympus E-M1. (THIS is a GOOD thing).
The body is very Olympus E-M1 and A7 like in design. You have the grip and the EVF hump. As for the EVF it should be much larger and nicer than previous EVF’s.
The EVF will be center mounted with all controls easily accessible. From these leaked images (courtesy of mirrrorless rumors) it appears that yes, Fuji did get it right. The rumored price is said to be $1700 US for the Body only. Add the superb 23 1.4 and you have a $2600 combo, about the same price as a full frame Sony A7 and Zeiss 35 2.8. It appears the competition and new tech just never ever stops!
I can feel it in my bones..this is the Fuji that will be “the one” many have been waiting for from Fuji. Will it be the “no compromise” body? Who knows but the X-E2 was and is a step in the right direction but I am really looking forward to this new one. Let us see what awaits on the 28th!
Steve Huff review –Experiencing Borneo with the Fuji X-series
By Ben Cherry
A bit of background about me, I am a Zoology student at the University of Sheffield and have been passionate about photography for the past ten years with my main interests being travel and wildlife. First of all I must thank Fujifilm UK for sponsoring me with some X-series cameras for my six-week trip to Malaysian Borneo. I approached Fujifilm because the X-series cameras offered a compact, yet high quality system that is ideal for travelling especially when weight and space are at a premium.
The cameras allowed me to take photos I wouldn’t have otherwise taken with my 5DIII, simply because I could take them everywhere, much more than an SLR. This especially applies to the X100s, as it’s so pocketable. Being a second-generation camera, it felt very refined, with my keeper rate being much higher than the other cameras. Walking around with these discrete cameras, I was at more ease than with my SLR; this isn’t a reflection of Malaysian Borneo, where the people are charming. The Fuji cameras allowed me to relax more and focus on taking photos. When walking with my SLRs I am always aware how obviously they stand out and how much I’ve invested in them! An example of how the X-series blend into surroundings is when I attended the Hungry Ghost Festival in Kuching. The big event had ten press photographers covering it for national newspapers. I left my SLR at the hotel and photographed the amazing spectacle with the X-series. With the big press presence I simply slipped under the radar with most people oblivious to my photography. This allowed me to capture more candid shots that I would have otherwise.
The versatile X-series lenses allow this system to capture photos that would require a much heavier set of equivalent SLR lenses. I love the fact that they initially focused on a strong series of prime lenses. I only took the 14mm, 35mm and 60mm with me on the trip. I had the option to take the two zooms available at the time plus the 18mm, but because of weight restrictions and equivalent zooms for my SLR, I decided to leave them behind. Despite the lack of telephoto lenses I was able to attain a good variety of shots with these three lenses. I used the 14mm and 60mm lenses the most, in conjunction with the X100s. This collection was brilliant for street photography, as well as pretty much anything else I threw at it. Even some wildlife!
Now I’m not saying I’m getting rid of my 5dIII just yet, as there are some things these cameras can’t quite cope with. Focus tracking is the main problem I have with the current X-series, it simply doesn’t work. Other than the slow writing speed of the cameras, I have no other quarrels. What I have found though is you can work around all of these problems, adapting by pre-focusing (where possible) and using selective bursts can counter these problems. The bonus of Fujifilm is that they seem to really listen to their users, making the X-E2 sound very interesting with its new and improved auto focus system.
A benefit of this compact system that I didn’t anticipate is the usability of the EVF. Having that real-time preview of what exposure compensation does to an image is invaluable when you’re trying to capture that fleeting moment. Yes, people will say “well with experience you know what to compensate”, probably a valid point but being able to see an accurate representation of what the end product will look like is extremely helpful to me, although the EVF does massively drain battery life, in an already short duration battery compared to SLRs. It’s one of those annoying things, having to carry around so many spares but at the same time it’s understandable as the small compact systems have proportionally smaller batteries too.
Regarding the build quality of these cameras, they stood up to hostile conditions deep in the Borneo rainforest where the humidity levels left me with a constant layer of sweat. I didn’t have a single problem with the cameras or the lenses. It’s worth pointing out that they were out of a camera bag much more than my 5Diii, as they were used generally a lot more.
The X100s is superb for flash use because of its leaf shutter and has actually got me out of a sticky situation where I was photographing a Bearded pig foraging on a beach at sunset, the little inbuilt flash came to my rescue and gave just enough filler to bring out the pig’s detail against the wonderful orange sky. I haven’t used the X-pro1 enough with flash to comment on its usability. Unfortunately it does have quite a slow flash sync but I’m still excited to try this out in the future.
Looking ahead, I think it’s an exciting time to be an X-series user/in the camera market in general. The lens road map has one lens that really stands out, the 56mm f1.2 as well as the recently released 23mm f1.4, which will be really interesting to try alongside the X100s. This combination of lenses will be truly mouth-watering for portraits. The already mentioned X-E2 and the future X-Pro2 will have important improvements, like the X100s over the X100, maybe the next round of improvements will make me seriously consider the Fujis as my main travel cameras, certainly have all the foundations to really become a legendary system. I’m not sure if this system will ever be able to really attack wildlife photography but then again would we want it to? Instead should it stick to the path its currently on and continue to make important improvements that make Fujifilm one of the brilliant camera companies that really listens to its users when creating future generation cameras as well as regular updates to firmware.
All in all I’m hooked on these cameras and really don’t want to give them back to Fujifilm UK! Below are some photos that I’ve taken with with these delightful cameras.
I would share with you some photos of my New York City trip. I have been there in January with my girlfriend. I have taken with me my new Fuji X-E1 with the very good Fujinon XF 18-55mm zoom lens. The weather was not very good and I have not found the classic blue sky that I can see everyday here in Sicily. But … New York is New York and you will always found something interesting wherever you point your eyes, so what is the problem if the sky was gray!
This was my second time in the Big Apple and I can clearly affirm that it is the city of my dreams. A city that is live and that never sleep, where you can meet people from all over the world.
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY! Zeiss Touit Lenses for Fuji X or Sony E Mount!
PopFlash.com has informed me that they are offering a very cool program for the Zeiss Touit line of lenses where you can actually try them out before you buy. In other words, give the lenses a try. If you like them, great! if you do not like them, send them back! This is a great way to see if you like the lenses before committing to buy 100%.
Here are the details from the PopFlash.com website:
“Here is your opportunity to have a hands on experience with the ZEISS TOUIT LENSES for Fuji X Mount or Sony E Mount. You will be billed for security purposes, then shipped the tryout lenses of your choice. Upon return, you will be refunded minus the shipping cost. All you pay for is shipping to your destination plus the **shipping cost to return the camera and lenses. If you like the “TRYOUT SET” and decide to purchase any of the lenses, just return the tryout equipment and we can bill and ship brand new Zeiss Touit Lenses of your choice at our current sale price.”
To check it out and read more visit the page at PopFlash.com HERE. You can read my thoughts on the Zeiss lenses for Fuji HERE. That 12mm is a superb lens!
Gorgeous new SLR Magic Hyperprime 35mm T0.95 and 35 T1.4 arrives for testing!
The “Noctlux” for your APS-C Mirrorless
The 35 T 0.95 Hyperprime ASP-H M mount Lens
So..you want a super fast, super sharp, super built, super bokeh 50mm equivalent cream machine for your Sony NEX, Fuji X or EOS-M camera? How about a 70mm equivalent for your Micro 4/3? Want one for each system without having to buy three different lenses? I know I do..and such a lens has just arrived to the Huff Household. Yep, UPS arrived yesterday with a huge box from SLR Magic and what the box held were two lenses I have been excited to review for a few weeks now. One of them is the premium 35mm APS-H Hyperprime (their premium quality line of lenses) and I have to say that it is a BEAUTY.
It’s large, hefty, built like a solid brick and is a damn nice T0.95 lens, which in F stop land means about f/0.92! This is the 50mm equivalent 0.95 lens for APS-C mirrorless camera shooters! Almost Like having a Noctilux for your Fuji X or NEX, speed wise anyway :)
This is an all manual lens designed for ALL of the popular mirrorless systems. You can shoot this one lens on the NEX system, Fuji X system, EOS-M or Micro 4/3 system. How so you ask? Well, when ordering you just choose which system you want to use it with but the beauty of it all is that if you own 2 or 3 or all of these systems you only need ONE lens and it will be compatible with all of your cameras using an adapter.
This lens is actually an M mount design but not to be used on an M camera. Instead SLR Magic made it in the M mount because so many adapters are made for this mount. So this one lens can be used on almost any mirrorless system with an adapter. This was a great move IMO. For example, if I have a Fuji X camera and an OM-D and a NEX-6 or 7, this one lens can be shot on all of them. Awesome.
One thing I found while doing test shots is that even with focus peaking set to on with the NEX-6 this lens is a beast to focus correctly when shooting wide open. It has a massively razor thin level of DOF at T0.95 so your focus has to be pinpoint precise or else the images will be slightly soft at the focus point if you miss.
A quick OOC JPEG at T 0.95 and the Sony NEX-6 - remember this is wide open at T0.95
The particular lens that was sent to me was shipped with the Sony E Mount adapter so I will be testing it on the NEX-6 (see 1st three OOC JPEGS above) and then later the Fuji X system as soon as I get an adapter for it. It appears the Fuji adapter will not work correctly but there are some that will and SLR Magic will be shipping them with their own Fuji adapter that will work just fine.
Out of the box, this lens looks pretty bad ass but I can not speak enough about how large it is. IT IS LARGE. So if you are hoping for something small this is not your lens. If you want super quality Bokeh and image quality it just might be your lens. The packaging is solid this time around with the lens and adapter encased in solid foam so there is no chance of shipping damage (unless the UPS guys decide to play soccer with it). I am excited to review this one.
A couple of B&W JPEGS with the NEX-6 wide open at T0.95
This 35mm T0.95 APS-H Hyperprime lens will be selling for $1349 starting in February 2013 from SLR Magic and that is a decent price considering their 50 T0.95 for M mount was nearing the $5k mark (this was mainly due to the RF coupling and it being a full frame lens). In the same price range as this lens is the Voigtlander 35 1.4 in M mount. Many use that lens as their fast 35 on their mirrorless systems and love it but from what I have seen, this lens just may surpasses that one in Image Quality and Bokeh when used on mirrorless cameras. The only negative is that you can use the Voigtlander on an M camera as it is a full frame lens. Again, This SLR Magic is NOT full frame so while it has an M mount, it is not compatible with M cameras.
The soon to be released SLR Magic 35 T0.95 HYPERPRIME premium lens. (all product shots with Sony RX1)
For those of you who have seen my review on the previous SLR Magic hyper prime, the 50 T0.95 for Leica M mount you may remember that I loved it and declared it to be just about equal to the Leica Noctilux f0.95 in image quality (in real world use) and I preferred the Bokeh of the SLR Magic. The construction of the Leica Noctilux is better (as is the resale value) but for all out IQ the HyperPrime was amazing. I never had one issue with it on my Leica M9-P or the Monochrom. It was large and heavy but it packed some serious glass. Unfortunately, as far as I know this lens is no longer shipping in the USA (the 50 T0.95) so if you managed to snag one, you have a rare lens in your collection :)
This new 35 T/0.95 seems to have rock solid construction and design, is much less expensive with maybe even better build quality and is a T0.95 35mm which will be like a T0.95 50mm on APS-C mirror-less cameras. Finally a fast and exotic 50mm for your APS-C. BUT, can it deliver the goods? I am not sure yet as I just got it so I will be shooting it in Vegas next week to give it a workout.
I will not know anything until I thoroughly use it but from the looks and feel it is impressive. This lens will come in at $1349 and will be available from SLR Magic starting February 2013. They are also offering $100 off for early buyers so keep an eye out here for info.
The SLR Magic 35 T1.4 for APS-C
SLR Magic also sent me their new 35 T1.4 lens to test out on the Fuji X-E1 and this lens is coming in at only $349. It is a budget lens but it certainly does not look or feel like one. This lens is also available for all other mirrorless systems but will come in whatever mount you order it in. The one that I was sent is for Fuji X and for a $349 lens this is one hell of a well built lens. Metal construction with the weight of a Leica 50 Summilux ASPH. This is no cheap toy lens in the construction department and the packaging is just as nice as the Hyperprime lens.
Andrew from SLR Magic told me they have tweaked their packaging and it shows.
This lens is not up to par with the T0.95 Hyperprime in the IQ department but it is not designed to be. This $349 lens is built for Bokeh it seems as it delivers a rich and creamy out of focus rendering with bit of softness to the images when shot at 1.4 wide open. The lens seems to sharpen up by 2.8 but even wide open will give you a soft etheral look.
What is nice about this lens is the build and the fact that you can order it NOW in any mount you want. This is what SLR Magic told me about the availability of this lens:
“The 35mm T1.4 is available now. We have it for X mount, E mount, EF-M mount, and mFT mount. It is not up on our website or eBay yet but people can already order by emailing us at [email protected] to get it before it is up on our website. We have already sold a bunch for the mFT version”.
So you can order this lens now if you desire and what is even better is that if you bought one of their older 35 1.7 toy lenses you can trade it in for a $90 credit towards this new lens (which is a much nicer lens than the toy lens in build and IQ). Also, if you order by Feb 2013 you can take $70 off of the price:
“We have two programs
A) Owners of the SLR Magic 35mm f/1.7 can ship their lens back to Hong Kong for trade-in at $90 value to upgrade.
B) If bought by Feb 2012 from us we have a $70 promotional rebate program.”
So if you buy this lens by Feb 2013 it will come in at only $279. Great buy for any mirrorless camera system if you want great Bokeh and a unique quality. This lens is not a pin sharp lens when used at 1.4 or f/2. It sharpens up by F2.8. I will be reviewing this lens as well with the Fuji X-E1 so stay tuned!
A couple of OOC JPEGS to show Bokeh Quality and expected sharpness at 1.4
“Best Beer in the world Part 2″
Remember that this is an all manual lens so you will have to manually focus and manually set Aperture on the lens barrel. Much like using a Leica M lens on your mirrorless camera. Both of these new lenses also have clickless aperture rings as they are “Cine” lenses which happen to be great for videos as well.
So if you want to order this 35 T 1.4 lens for your system you can e-mail SLR Magic for details at [email protected]. My full reviews will be coming soon on both of these.
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I wanted to make you aware of my journey to photograph the streets of many countries around the world. Very recently, I spent a month in Iran. A country that is very misunderstood, and quite mysterious to most. Of course, what I found is that street shooting in Iran, is just like anywhere else on Earth. Why? Because as the song goes – people are people. It needs to be said that Iranians are the most friendly and welcoming people I have encountered, and I’ve been to 37 countries so far (and counting), all in the name of cultural experience. The people of Iran hold no animosity towards Americans, or Westerners in general – they really do see the issues of governments as totally beyond the control of the citizens – whether that be their own government, or the US government. We’re all human, and we’re all in this together, right?
I’m traveling the world indefinitely, and at this point, I’m only using a single camera, with a single lens. The Fuji X-Pro 1, and the 18mm F2. This combination is in my opinion, the best travel camera set-up available. I’ve gone from a Nikon DSLR, to a Leica M6, to the Fuji. When you’re traveling, you need a light-weight setup – so that rules out DLSR’s. I love film, especially black and white, but it’s a chore to constantly be finding places that will develop my work when I’m in a foreign place. A digital Leica M would be nice, but it’s out of my budget. In my opinion, the IQ of the Fuji, combined with the shutter dial/aperture ring/exposure compensation adjustments and the optical viewfinder, make it the best camera for me. Of course, the X-Pro is not without quirks, and not for everyone.
I found it difficult to shoot street photography at first, not knowing what photographic regulations I needed to adhere to, nor knowing how the people would react to me. However, I slowly got into the groove, and a month later I had a small portfolio of images that I can look back at again and again, to remember such an incredible country.
If any of your readers would like to follow the journey, I think they would find it interesting – one lens, one camera, one world. I’m blogging as I go, and try to do a new set of street photos every few weeks or so.
Keep on doing your thing Steve, we all appreciate it. (Thank’s Nate)!
Well here we are and I have now had the Fuji X-Pro 1 in my hands for a little while and I am ready to let you all know how I feel about it! First off, let me say that this is the camera I have been waiting for with the kind of excitement that only comes around once a year or so, much like a 7 year old on Christmas morning. When Fed Ex came and the driver resembled Santa Clause I knew there was something special in that big brown box.
The last time I was this excited about a camera release was with last years Fuji X100, which I adored but at the same time, found frustrating on many occasions. You can read my X100 review HERE and see how much I loved that camera. I no longer have an X100 but still have a soft spot for it. On several occasions I even had the $200 overpriced black edition in my shopping cart because even though it is NOT a Leica (In case you did not know, I love my Leica) I felt a connection to it. The image quality, the feel, the small size and the hybrid EVF/OVF…it all brought me back to the basics of photography even though it was a bit more technical than a basic Leica M. What I mean by that is that it did not have the Zen like simplicity of an M.
But we can not deny the fact that the little X100 was the big camera hit of last year and when it arrived it was sold out for months. Prices on Amazon were jacked up and people were paying $1600 for the standard X100 kit and yes, even at that price they would sell out within a day or so. One of the reasons for this was that Fuji did a super job with the marketing and hype for that camera and with the huge success of the X100 they decided to keep the X train rolling full steam ahead. Even though MANY of the X100 users were having the “sticky aperture blade” issues with the cameras, Fuji started to work on a new higher end version. Yes, Fuji started working on the “top secret” X-Pro 1 and the internet buzz was insane for months about it.
ISO 1000 – Fuji X-Pro 1
Leica Is In Trouble? Well, not really…
I sat there and thought “Uh Oh” – Leica is in trouble. There it was…Fuji was set to release a PRO version of the X100 with interchangeable FAST lenses at 1/4 the price of a 3 year old M9. They even designed it like a black Leica M with that awesome retro look and feel. If Fuji could pull off a nice solid body, fast AF and rock solid reliability…then yes, I feared Leica would lose some sales to Fuji. Why wouldn’t they? There are so many people that would LOVE a Leica M9 but refuse to pay the $7000 body cost and even more for lenses. Some refuse to pay that price and some simply can’t. But with a camera like the X-Pro 1 at 1/4 the cost, it is now possible to get a Leica look-a-like and fast primes that give superb image quality. Fuji knew this so they targeted this camera system at those people.
In my honest opinion they are not trying to beat the M9 as the X-Pro 1 simply does not, but many of us who can not buy an M9 WILL think about the X-Pro and a few M9 users will buy one as well to play with. For Fuji it seems like a win/win.
So now that I have been shooting with this “X-Pro 1″ for a while, what do I think? Well, read on to find out my thoughts as I share my real world results about the build and feel, use, and image quality of the camera. I will say right now the main competitor to this camera is not the Leica M9 but rather the Sony NEX-7 and even the new Olympus OM-D. I will tell you all up front RIGHT NOW that this is not an M9 nor is it even remotely similar in operation. It feels nothing like an M9, shoots nothing like an M9 and the quality in not equal to an M9. The only area where this beats an M9 is in high ISO, and in this area it slaughters the M, kicks it while it’s down and stomps it before it kicks it across the street. In other areas like build, use, feel, manual focus, simplicity and image quality, the Leica wins. Period.
There, I said it. I am sure Fuji fans will call me a Leica fanboy but the fact is that there is still nothing like shooting an M. Unless you shot one, owned one and used one with great Leica glass you wouldn’t understand. Then again, do I feel the M9 is worth $7k? No, not in 2012. Do I feel the Fuji X-Pro 1 is worth $1699? No. I feel the X-Pro 1 should have come in at $1399 for the body only because as it is, this camera will cost you $3300 with all three lenses. Add the grip and extra battery and you are at about $3500. That’s a lot of cash for just about anyone.
Then again, if image quality is your #1 priority, then the X-Pro 1 may just be worth the $1699 body only cost as the IQ is SUPERB for a crop sensor APS-C camera. Probably some of the best IQ I have seen from any mirrorless to date. Due to lack of AA filter, the images that come from this sensor pop with detail and sharpness. Add to that the Fuji colors and you have a fantastic camera for image quality. Again, it is much like the X100 but you gain the advantage of the faster and different focal length lenses.
The 35 1.4 at ISO 1250 at night
A Video Overview of the Fuji X-Pro 1
In case some of you missed it, below is my video showing the X-Pro 1 body, lenses, and the menu system of the camera. It is a long video but if you want to see everything about it, take a look below.
The Fuji X-Pro 1 – What is so “Pro” about it?
The Fuji X-Pro 1 is a step up from the X100 in a few ways but in reality, the image quality is VERY similar and the usability is about exactly the same. I have shot both cameras in real world use and have to say that the cameras feel the same when shooting. What I mean by that is, both are on the slower side when compared to what is out there today in this class of camera (NEX, Micro 4/3). The reason this camera is more advanced and desirable than the X100 is that you can not only use the new Fuji X lenses like the 18 f/2, the 35 1.4 and the 60 2.4 macro but you can also shoot Leica glass with an adapter. So this camera is like an X100 on steroids as it is bigger, badder, and yes, much more versatile. It is also much more expensive and has the same size sensor and the same overall IQ traits.
The X-Pro has a 16 MegaPixel sensor, a 3″ LCD, the same Hybrid Viewfinder as the X100, Dust Shaker sensor cleaning and HD video capability. So what you get over the smaller and cheaper X100 is IC lens capability, a higher MegaPixel sensor, a slightly larger LCD display (2.8″ vs 3″) and higher ISO capability (12,800 max on the X100 and 25,600 for the X-Pro).
After shooting with the X-Pro 1 for a while it felt JUST LIKE shooting an X100 but with different focal lengths. I have to say that I have found some quirks with it that I was disappointed with but at the same time, much like the X100, the image quality that comes out of this camera is amazing. The colors and the look and the feel are all very “Fuji”. Yes, Fuji has their own look which is a bit on the brighter side, very poppy colors, and very sharp (with the 35 1.4 and 60 macro). I found the camera tended to overexpose when shooting in Aperture priority mode so I ended up using some Exposure Compensation to dial it down.
The signature Fuji “Velvia” colors – Both shots below were taken with the 60 Macro at 2.4
As with the X100, this review is all about the Photos and the Usability, so let’s get to it!
This beautiful X-Pro 1 is a camera I have been waiting for, drooling over and looking forward to with HIGH expectations. I mean, Fuji had the experience from the X100 so surely they would make this one as a statement piece. The Focus would be fast, the build would be solid, the lenses would be superb and sharp with creamy bokeh and the camera would not hang up, freeze or hunt for focus…right?
Well, that is what I had HOPED FOR and on some of those the camera delivered and in other ways it did not. I will now go over the usual suspects. The AF speed, HIGH ISO, Build and Feel, etc.
BUILD AND FEEL
The X-Pro 1 is MUCH lighter than many of you think it is. When you pick it up the 1st thing you think is “Wow, that is much lighter than I thought it was going to be”. In fact, my 1st impression was “man, this feels cheap”. BUT I remember the X100 was also lightweight, as is the Leica X1 (even more so) and even the new X2. So you really can not judge a camera on it’s weight though I must admit, a camera that feels like a solid slab does give you a feeling of confidence.
When you pick up a Leica M9 you think “Wow, this feels NICE”. When you pick up a Sony NEX-7 you think “This feels about right”. When you pick up an Olympus E-P3 or upcoming OM-D you think “Wow, this is heftier than I thought”. So we have super light cameras that perform just as well as the heavy ones. Weight is not really tied together with IQ.
With that said, the X-Pro 1 is lightweight but at the same time doesn’t wear out your hand or wrist. I shot it for hours one night and had no issues. The body and lenses are very light weight. In fact, one thing I was disappointed in was the build of the 18mm f/2 lens. It is so light weight it feels like it is made of all plastic. I wish Fuji would have made the lenses a little but more substantial. At $600 a pop, it seems they should be a bit more solid.
So the body is light, the lenses are light…but how do they FEEL when you are using the camera? The good news is that when shooting in real life situations the camera feels great in the hand, ESPECIALLY with the added grip. The grip that Fuji sells is Leica M9 like and at $100 or so it makes the camera feel even better when holding it. If you buy an X-pro 1, I highly recommend the grip. With the grip added I had zero issues with the feel of this camera.
The X-Pro 1 at ISO 400 – Low light, movement, she saw the camera and gave a quick smile – this was snapped just before that smile though
Careful with your thumb!
While shooting in Las Vegas for my Vegas weekend get together I realized my thumb had been moving the Exposure Compensation button so many of my shots were underexposed a bit. Could have been my fault for not paying attention but still, it happened. The buttons on the back of the camera are a HUGE improvement over the X100. They are bigger and easier to use. I never had an issue with pressing the wrong buttons so I appreciate what Fuji did here.
The dancing “Hello Kitty” – X-Pro 1 and 35 1.4 wide open at IDO 400
The Auto Focus Speed – The “X-Slow 1″?
So while in Vegas testing the camera some of the guys I was with were talking about the speed of the camera and how slow it was with focus. One guy nicknamed it “The X-Slow 1″ and we all laughed. The fact is that the auto focus of this camera is on the slower side. When in low light it can be VERY frustrating. I had MANY misses, many hunting moments and a few hits. I missed MANY shots due to the slow focus in evening light around 6-7PM when using the 35 1.4. The 18mm f/2 is faster but you do not always want to shoot with a 24mm equivilant lens.
So bottom line? The X-Pro 1 AF speed is decent in good light, fast in full sun, and slow/hunting in lower light. To me, it felt just like shooting with an X100. It may be a tad faster but if so it is not by much. UPDATE: Turn OFF Power Save mode for faster AF. When I did this, it was not as slow. Also, I am not saying this camera has the slowest AF ever, just that it is slow when compared to current cameras that are out now.
I was disappointed in the fact that Fuji could not get the AF speed to be as fast as cameras like the Olympus E-P3 or even the super fast Nikon V1. Not sure why this is but if I were the head honcho at Fuji I would sit down and test this product and say “NOT GOOD ENOUGH”! Don’t get me wrong, in good sunlight the focusing is pretty good. It’s quick. It is not lightning fast but it is more than acceptable. BUT, when the lights start getting low, and I am talking evening light or indoor light the AF hunts and sometimes misses. To be fair, the NEX-7 has also missed quite a bit for me in low light as well.
Still, why is it that Fuji can nail everything else – The design, the hype, the packaging (which is GORGEOUS, see my video above) and the whole concept but when it comes to AF it is the one thing that makes the camera feel sluggish. With the little Olympus E-P3 I had no problem raising the camera and firing away with AF, and it never missed. The high ISO suffered in low light though, so I guess it is a trade off. All I know is I look forward to the day when Fuji releases and X-Pro 3 or 4 with super fast AF :)
Spotted this kid in his stroller chilling out and his brother laughing. I quickly knelt down a bit and tried to AF and it missed the 1st two attempts. I did get this shot on the 3rd try, which was the best anyway due to the reaction on the face of the brother. He made that face because he knew I was taking the shot as I was down there for so long :) This was shot with the 18 at f/2.
High ISO Performance and Black & White
WOWZERS! This is a high ISO street shooters dream. Yes, I said STREET SHOOTERS DREAM. How so Steve? If the AF is slow in low light, how am I supposed to capture those quick moments?
Easy! Slap this baby in to manual focus and set your distance using the distance scale (zone focus) and you will be good to go. THIS IS a great street camera IF you set to manual focus and use ZONE focusing! For example…let’s say you are walking down the street at night, and you are looking for moments to capture. You can set the camera to manual focus using the handy switch on the front, set your distance to anywhere between 6-10 feet and when you see something just lift and shoot, or shoot from the hip. I had no issues shooting at ISO 1600-6400, and if shooting black and white, ISO 6400 is NOT a problem. I also tried shooting the street with AF and it was a no go. I always missed the shots as the AF hunted way too much. So if you want to shoot this on the street effectively, use zone focusing.
Also, just an FYI, I could Manual Focus my Leica M faster than I can Auto Focus the X-Pro 1 in lower light street shooting.
Below are some higher ISO examples when shooting in Black and White. Noise is not a problem. At all.
The next three images are all ISO 6400, JPEG – you can click them for a larger version
High ISO Color – The real test of high ISO
When shooting high ISO color the X-Pro also does a great job, again, keeping in mind that the AF is slow and hunts WHEN shooting LOW LIGHT images. With that, I found the X-Pro 1 to beat just about any mirrorless right now when it comes to high ISO with the Sony NEX-5n and Pentax K-01 hot on its heels. Still, who shoots over ISO 1600 anyway? If I owned the X-Pro I guess I would do so in Black and White after seeing my results but how about with color? Not bad! Well, really…some of the best high ISO around these days of ANY Mirrorless camera. I could use 3200 in color no problem. Click any image for larger version.
ISO 3200 – one lamp in the room – shot in Vegas in the confessional room of the “Real World Suite” during the Vegas weekend. 35 1.4 – at 1.4
ISO 640 – 35 1.4 at 1.4
ISO 1000 – 35 1.4 at 1.4
ISO 2000 with the 18mm at f/2
ISO 1600 indoors – after three tries (to nail focus)
and below, ISO 1250
Quirks of the X-Pro 1 – Grrrrrr
Starting up slowwwwwwww if you use bridge and photoshop…
As with the X100, there are quirks with the X-Pro 1 and I hope that Fuji will release new Firmware as they did with the X100 to make the shooting experience better and better. One problem I had with the X100 that 90% of shooters DID NOT is the slow startup issue. My X100 and X-Pro 1 takes about 20-30 seconds to start up. If you buy one, yours probably will not so why does mine? Well, it seems this camera has the same bug that the X100 has/had.
When I shoot for my reviews I do NOT use Lightroom or Aperture. I only use those programs for my personal images so I can catalog and store them. My review images do NOT get saved as they are review images and are forever documented and placed on this website. I do not need to save the tens of thousands of RAW image files from my review samples so I go old school. I use Adobe Bridge and Photoshop with Adobe Camera Raw. THIS is a problem when shooting with an X100 or an X-Pro 1, at least when using my mac (all I use).
The problem is this: If I shoot 100 images on the X camera and then put this SD card into my iMac or Macbook Pro and grab images off of them by browsing the card with Adobe Bridge it somehow creates an issue. If I take this card and put it back in the camera, I have to wait 20-30 seconds for it to start up. The camera turns on but the display is frozen and nothing can be done until it fully boots up. When it does, I have to format immediately or else this will happen every time the camera wakes up or powers on. I have never ever experienced this with ANY other camera and this was one of the reasons I ended up getting frustrated with the X100. Sadly, the X-Pro 1 does the same thing.
Sure, I can just use Lightroom, which obviously doest have this effect on the SD card but the problem should not be there to begin with. 98% of you will never see this issue.
Random freeze ups..
Another quirk I found was that the camera froze up on me twice while shooting in Vegas. I had to remove the battery twice to get the camera to power up. Not sure what this was about but it happened twice, which was irritating. To remain fair and balanced, my $7000 Leica has done this on several occasions over the years so it is not just a Fuji problem.
I found that this camera tends to overexpose. If I shoot one image with the X-Pro and the 35 1.4 and one with the Sony NEX-7 I find the Sony UNDEREXPOSES a tad and the Fuji OVEREXPOSES. You may have seen many overly bright Fuji samples on the internet over the past few weeks. This is because many of us early X-Pro 1 users are shooting JPEGS because RAW support is not here yet. In standard JPEG mode, shooting with standard evaluative metering, the Fuji errs on the side of OVEREXPOSURE. I dialed in some negative exposure compensation to help combat this. The cool thing is that it is easy to fix with the direct EC dial on the top. Also, shooting RAW will help with this as well.
So yes, the X-Pro 1 has quirks. It is not a fast as lightning pick up and shoot effortlessly type of camera. It is a thinking mans camera that excels at one thing. Image Quality.
As with all of the images in this review, this is an OOC JPEG. Velvia mode rocks and is one reason I love these Fuji’s so much in regards to IQ. Shot out of my windshield on my way back to Phoenix from Las Vegas with the 35 1.4 at f/5.6. Click image for larger view.
Abstract Color with the 35 1.4
The X-Pro 1 Launch Lenses – Which one(s) to get?
The Fuji X-Pro 1 shipped with THREE FAST PRIMES. YES, FAST PRIMES! No Zooms. Fuji listened to the enthusiasts with this one. Unlike Sony who seems to concentrate on slow Zooms for the most part Fuji came right out of the gate with three lenses that all LOOKED great on paper. But how are they in real use? Which one is THE lens to get?
Fuji shipped me the camera and ALL three lenses to evaluate but a few days after they did so I received an e-mail saying I had to send the 60mm Macro back to them as it was a pre-production copy. Now, I admit I did try out the 60 and found it to have amazing image quality. Razor sharp and great color. BUT, it did miss focus MANY times. I knew I would focus on one center point and it just wouldn’t or couldn’t do it. So maybe this is why Fuji have taken this lens back. It also seems it will not be shipping for 3-4 weeks while the other two ARE shipping so I think Fuji found an issue with the 60. But IQ wise, when I did get it to lock focus, it was superb.
I posted a couple of shots near the top of this review with the 60 but here is one more. I believe I used manual focus for this one and focused on the teeny leaf. Click image for larger view. This was wide open at 2.4 and as with all images here, a JPEG. Keep in mind that Fuji told me this was a pre-production copy so do not judge this lens by what I said here (AF speed and accuracy I am sure will be much better in the final version)
The 18mm is so small and so light that it almost feels hollow. At $599 it is priced a little on the steep side I feel, but it IS a wide angle 27mm equivalent and f/2, so that is a GOOD thing. THIS is the fastest focusing AF lens of the bunch and if you are just planning on shooting this lens then the AF worries are not a big deal. I found it focused fast, locked on and gave good results. This lens is not the last word in “wow factor” but if I were to buy an X-Pro 1 system I would probably pick this lens up so I could have a wide angle that didn’t cost me nearly $4k (Leica).
I did not do any scientific tests but I found no issues with this lens. Click on the images below to see them larger and in much better quality.
Ahhh! This, yes THIS is THE lens to get with the X-Pro system. A 35mm 1.4 lens at $599 that performs GREAT. At 1.4 the rendering is very very nice. Creamy, great look and color and a fast aperture that will get you the most from the camera in low light. The ONLY issue with this lens is the AF speed can be hit or miss depending on the light available. If you are in lower light then it is slow going. Do not expect to lift and fire away all fast and quick. If you are in full sun, then yes, but low light, no. With that said, the X-Pro 1 and ALL lenses are much quicker to AF than the old Leica X1, which is VERY VERY slow with AF. There are still people who ADORE the X1 so to some, AF speed is not that big of a deal.
Even with the slower speed, if you do buy the X-Pro 1 then this is a must own lens as you will get the best IQ from it.
I did notice this lens, much like the $5000 Leica 35 Summilux ASPH will show some CA in some situations.
Below: Example of CA
Shooting Leica Lenses on the X-Pro 1
NOTE: I will be doing the Leica lens test on the X-Pro 1 in a future update!
Yes, you can shoot Leica M glass on the X-Pro 1. All you need is an adapter and you can attach your beloved Summilux or Summicron lenses (or ANY M glass like Zeiss, Voigtlander, etc) and use Manual Focus to shoot. The big bummer here though is that Fuji did not include any kind of focus peaking like we get on the Sony NEX series and Ricoh GXR series. You can magnify the screen but that is a pain in my ass because you only see a super magnified portion of your subject and it is impossible to frame and focus at the same time. I feel Fuji should have put in focus peaking and have a feeling that shooting manual glass on this camera will be more of a pain than pleasure. On the Sony NEX-7 I LOVE shooting with the Leica glass as the EVF and Focus Peaking rocks.
I have not yet tried the Fuji with Leica glass as I still do not have an adapter (I DO NOT use Ebay or Paypal, so makes it tough). If anyone can sell me one, I would love to buy one from you or even borrow. I plan on doing a full article later and add to this review when I have had time to shoot Leica on this camera. So look for that in a future update. One thing to also note is that the X-Pro 1 does NOT have any kind of image stabilization and the upcoming Olympus OM-D will have a groundbreaking 5 Axis IS that is said to be pretty damn good.
Cool things about the X-Pro 1 – Just like its baby brother
The X-Pro 1 has the same cool features as the X100. Things like the film stock settings (Astia, Provia, Velvia, etc) panorama shooting and HD video. I will not go into details on those two things here as I already wrote about these things in the X100 review (see it here) but I do enjoy the film presets greatly. I find the Velvia setting to be superb and is the one I like to use the most. Others like the Pro Neg or the Astia settings. All are good. Below you can see the differences in the film stock settings.
X-Pro 1 Film Simulation Samples
Pro Neg Hi
Compared to the Sony NEX-7
Another hot camera that is available now is the Sony NEX-7. The NEX was another one of those HOT and exciting cameras that arrived MONTHS late so now it is competing with these new cameras arriving on the scene. No dount about it, the NEX-7 is a great camera. It is small, it is quick, it takes GREAT video (though seems to overheat), and the Zeiss 24 1.8 lens Sony released with it is fantastic. The problems with the NEX series is that there is a lack of GREAT lenses, sort of. The Zeiss 24 1.8 is great, the Sony 50 1.8 is very very good. But other than that, the rest of the lineup is good but not great and not able to get the most from the camera sensor.
In regards to speed, usability and fun factor…for me, the NEX-7 takes the nod. The Focus Peaking with Leica glass works REALLY well and images I take with the Leica 35 Summilux rock. There is depth and detail there that is, at times, jaw dropping. So the NEX needs good glass to get the most from it and it is an absolute JOY to shoot manual focus RF lenses with it. The NEX-7 comes in at $1198 for the Body Only, about $500 less than the Fuji X-Pro 1.So what do we gain in the X-Pro 1 over the Sony? Better high ISO, more flashy color and brighter out of camera images. We also get a full size camera body and smallish lenses. The NEX gives us a small body with large lenses.
If you want to shoot Leica glass, the Sony wins just due to the peaking feature which makes MF a breeze. If you want old school charm and better out of camera JPEG image quality, the Fuji wins. But is it worth $500 more? Not really. I feel the Fuji is a bit overpriced and should have come in at around $1399. That is just my opinion though and to many the $1700 asking price is well worth it. I can manual focus a Leica lens on the NEX quicker than the Fuji can Auto Focus with it’s 35mm.
One thing to know though is that the Fuji shoots like a camera. The Sony shoots more like a computer due to it’s complex nature and menus but also has the Tri Navi controls going for it and once you set it up to your liking it is a breeze to pick up and shoot, especially with old manual glass. To some, the design and feel makes the Fuji a better choice. When it comes to speed though, the NEX wins.
Below is a full size out of camera shot from the Fuji and Sony. The Fuji had the 35 1.4 mounted and the Sony had the Leica 35 Summilux APSH II mounted. Both lenses were set at f/4. Keep in mind the Fuji setup is $2200, the Sony with Leica over $6000! The fuji IQ holds up well to the Leica/Sony combo using just the Fuji 35 1.4 lens.
Fuji X-Pro 1 with the 35 1.4 at f/4 ($2200 Combo) – click image for full out of camera file – focus was on the “644″ on the camera.
The Sony NEX-7 with the Leica 35 Summilux ASPH II at f/4 ($6200 combo) – click image for full 24 Megapixel file – focus was on the “644″ on the camera.
and one more comparison.. 1st the Fuji at 1.4 with the 35 (click it for larger)
and the Sony with the Leica 35mm at 1.4 – both are JPEGS out of the camera to be fair to the Fuji (NO Raw converter at the time of this writing)
Compared to the X100
The X100 is smaller, and more compact and just as beautiful and with the latest firmware, the AF is even faster than the X-Pro 1. If you do not mind being stuck with ONLY a 35mm f/2 lens (I feel this is a good thing) then the X100 is a DAMN good camera. At $1199 for a full camera and lens vs $1699 for a body only, you will have to decide if you want the interchangeable lens capability. EIther one you choose will give you the same image quality with the X-Pro 1 delivering even better high ISO. With the new firmware out for the 100, I am tempted to buy one again instead of this X-Pro 1. In black, even though it will cost an extra $200 over the same compatible silver setup. Black is just so damn sexy with these types of camera designs!
Pro’s and Con’s of the Fuji X-pro 1
It is light and the design is retro cool
All black, stealth
There is a 35 1.4 available and it is VERY good.
Keeps the same look and feel of the X100 with gorgeous Fuji colors
Sharp detailed images that can pop when shot wide open with the 35
HIGH ISO is amazing, especially with B&W shooting
Zone focusing is easy to set up and use for street so makes for a great street shooter in manual focus mode.
The packaging is awesome :)
Fuji has a rep for putting out firmware updates so improvements can be made to the speed
Some of the best JPEG’s ever to come out of a camera
Has the good Fuji Dynamic Range just like the X100
Has the same OVF/EVF of the X100 – and this is good.
Again, image quality is gorgeous!
Slow AF and overall slow performance, MAINLY in low light – had many misses at dusk on the street with AF
Slow start up bug still here (in certain circumstances)
The 18mm lens is so light, it almost feels made of plastic
Manual Focus is still slow and is the same as the X100 MF
Price. $3500 for the complete system. $1700 for the body only.
The lenses do the “rattlesnake shake” when out in daylight (noisy clicks while not using it)
X100 now has faster AF than the X-Pro 1
My final words on the X-Pro 1 – Who is it for and will I buy one?
So far, to this point I have written 5,744 words in this review. Pretty short for a major review but I tried to not drag it out and repeat things that I already talked about in the Fuji X100 review. Many of the features of the X100 are in the X-Pro 1 and the image quality and overall usability is about the same. If you liked the X100 you will really like the X-Pro 1. It does allow you more creativity than the X100 due to the ability to change lenses and even shoot with M glass but at the same time do not expect huge speed increases with this “pro” model. In fact, just think about it as you are shooting an X100 with different lenses and better high ISO.
The X-Pro 1 for me is a mixed bag. I LOVE AND ADORE it for what it is and the images it can pump out, but the speed and usability kind of knocks it down just a bit for me. I WANT TO LOVE this camera and I just really LIKE IT, though I like it quite a bit because like I said, the Fuji files have a way of putting out incredible results and remember, EVERY image here was shot in JPEG mode as RAW support is not available at the time of this writing. The image quality will only get better.
So who would want an X-Pro 1?
Someone who wants to shoot JPEGS. The Out of camera JPEGS are very beautiful.
Someone who wants to shoot Black and White – B&W even at ISO 6400 is GREAT. Rich B&W files here.
Someone who doesn’t want to shoot FAST and doesn’t mind slow and steady photography.
Someone who wants to shoot landscape.
Someone who doesn’t want to spend several thousand more on a Leica M9 but wants a “Rangefinder Styled” camera.
Someone who owns an X100 and wants to have the ability to change lenses and have even improved high ISO.
Someone who enjoys shooting people/portraits or landscape
Someone who wants to shoot street using Zone Focusing
So who would NOT want an X-Pro 1?
If you own a Leica M9 and have been spoiled by the usability and file quality then you may not enjoy the slowness of the X-Pro 1
If you are used to speedy DSLR’s and expect lightning speed
If you don’t’ want to spend over $2k for a camera and lens
Those who shoot sports, action or wildlife
Video enthusiasts – other cameras in this class have better video capabilities
Basically the Fuji X-Pro 1 is a camera capable of putting out SUPERB IMAGE QUALITY. To many, this is all they need to hear. When you nail it you will be rewarded with beautiful color, depth and sharpness. The 35 1.4 lens is THE lens to get so if you do order the body, make sure you order this lens with it. JUST BE AWARE that in LOW LIGHT, as in indoors or outside even that the focus will hunt some and occasionally NOT lock on. I feel Fuji will be able to improve this with a Firmware update just as they did with the X100, which users are reporting is now MUCH faster and MUCH more accurate. In fact, I am confident Fuji will do this. You can also turn on the AF assist which helps lock focus quicker. Also, keeping the power save mode to OFF is said to increase AF speed, which I confirmed does indeed do so.
I have TWO X-Pro 1′s here that I pre-ordered and both have arrived. I have not yet decided if I should keep one or return them both before I even open them. The one I have been shooting with came from Fuji direct as a review sample. So I actually have THREE here! If it was not for the new OM-D coming in the next couple of weeks and the new Leica announcement on May 10th I would probably keep one for sure but as of today I am not 100% sure. I do love the EVF/OVF which is the same one used in the X100. These days, for me, an VF of some sort is a MUST.
I love the IQ I get from it, more so than most cameras I have shot with lately, well, really…any camera that has come out in the past year or so. It is HIGHLY capable in every area of IQ. Good light, low light, B&W and High ISO. It has an APS-C sized sensor so the IQ WILL be better than the OM-D but I have a feeling that the Olympus will kind of have it all. Speed, IQ, IS, Weather Sealing, Great video. I can not keep ALL cameras and I own the NEX-7 as well but the Fuji’s always tug at my heart a bit as they have a little bit of soul and magic. I just wish Fuji would get the quirkiness taken care of!
If you want great IQ, RF style and fast primes and have $2000-$3000 to spend, the X-Pro 1 may be the camera for you. With the 35 1.4 it is 1/4 the cost of a Leica M9 body with better high ISO capabilities. You be the judge. If you own an X-Pro 1 or have shot with one feel free to comment and let me know YOUR thoughts. One thing is for certain, this camera has image quality that will make you smile every time you view your images :)
UPDATE: I did shoot with the camera using “Power Save ON” and “Power ave OFF” and I did see an AF speed increase with this set to OFF. After shooting in my house at 6400 ISO with the Power Save off, I actually am more happy with the speed. Still doesn’t explain my freeze ups and other quirks but the more you use this camera the more you like it. Again, those damn beautiful Fuji files are sort of addicting :)
You can also RENT the X-Pro 1 at LensRentals.com HERE! They are the best rental shop, period!
I will leave you with even more images from the X-Pro 1…Enjoy!
Fuji X-Pro 1 Accessories
The strap I used on the Fuji, which is VERY comfy is the Street Strap. Very light, soft and recommended. You can see it on Amazon HERE
Also, I highly recommend the Grip if you are going to decide to buy an X-Pro 1. It dramatically helps the feel of the camera and makes it much more comfortable to shoot.
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New Fuji Interchangeable Lens rangefinder style camera leaks…
Fuji will be displaying and announcing its new X camera at this years CES next week. This one appears to be an APS-C (but no one is certain yet) and is sort of like a “pro” X100 with a new line of interchangeable lenses. If this has a solid body, quick operation and fast lenses then I feel Fuji is once again taking aim at Leica like they did with the X100 vs the X1. I am betting this will have the hybrid EVF (maybe even an improved version) as well as some fast primes at launch. All I know is that next week it will be revealed so this is pretty exciting news! As soon as I find out the details they will be posted here!