Friday, April 6, 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 Shooting Day 1

I was out on the streets of New York City yesterday using my Fuji X-Pro 1 camera with the 18mm f2 lens. It wasn't an easy day for me. I'm so used to my D700, and I know it intuitively. It's set up for exactly the way I like to shoot, I know where all the buttons and switches are, and it's fast. Unfortunately, for street work it's noisy and large - very large, think howitzer. The Fuji focuses differently, The lens is effectively a 28mm f2 lens (I most often shot at 24mm on the D700) so the framing is different and I couldn't get as close to my subjects as I'm accustomed to doing. The camera seemed to do strange things that I wasn't expecting - no fault of the camera, I just pushed wrong buttons and switches. And the size of the body, which is a decided advantage in shooting street, is going to take some adjusting to .... okay, a lot of adjusting to. My fingers continually hit the macro mode switch without me being aware of it, so when I brought the camera up to snap a shot, it was totally out of whack. My thumb continually hit the 'Q' button on the rear of the camera. It's a very cool feature that brings up a menu of items that are most often adjusted so that you don't have to hunt through all the menus to find a much needed options. The accessory hand grip will probably make holding the camera much more comfortable and move my hand position enough so that the buttons won't be so much in the way.

After the day of experimenting yesterday in New York City, today I went out in my hometown to try some new settings, new hand position, and new focus/shooting technique. The differences with one day of experience is remarkable. So far, I've found that the controls operate very intuitively. I've yet to try several settings that I need. But my brain just ain't as quick as it once was. My snaps are not yet ready for prime time, but here's a shot that pretty well sums up what the camera is capable of in the hands of a rank beginner. This shot has no intrinsic artistic merit, it's just an example.

The first is the RAW image out of the camera and converted to a jpg in Photoshop. It's a difficult lighting situation with dark shadows and bright sunlight. The color balance is rendered well, and the fine detail structure is really clear. 


The same image with a little noise reduction - it was shot at 400 iso -  and the distracting flag in the upper right corner is cloned out (not very well but, as I said. this is not art, just an example).



Here's the same image as the second example converted to b/w with some added warm tone:



I have to say I'm very pleased with the results. Since I shot this during the afternoon I discovered the links listed at the end of this blog entry. I learned a lot from them about using the controls on the camera to get faster auto focus response. Fuji has just released a firmware update for the X100 camera to optimize the auto focus response, and I expect that shortly the same update will be available for the X-Pro 1. 

Here are two links that discuss the details of shooting with the X-Pro 1. If you are considering a purchase, they may be helpful:
http://primejunta.blogspot.com/2012/03/x-pro-1-tips-and-tricks-basics.html
http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2012/04/04/the-fuji-x-pro-1-digital-camera-review-by-steve-huff/