Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fuji X-Pro1 Concerns

I’ve had quite a few responses in my emails with the same doubts and asking the same questions about the Fuji X-Pro1 as my friend Fuad posed in his comment. So I’ll try to address them one at a time.

1)  I’m not suggesting that the x100 would be the camera for you, and while 30 minutes of shooting may give you enough time to get the ‘feel’ of a camera, it certainly isn’t enough time to adjust to the technical differences and idiosyncrasies.

2)  There is always a trade-off between size and speed. The X-Pro1 is very small compared to the D700, and much lighter because it doesn’t have the motors and electronics that the D700 has. I too shoot with a D700 and love the speed of the autofocus and metering. What I don’t love about the D700 camera/lens combination I use when I’m shooting street is the size and weight. I’m very tired as the day wanes on from all the hefting the camera requires. For the few times I’ve been out with the X-Pro1 it’s been a dream to handle, I don’t get tired, and I actually want to spend much more time shooting because of that.

3)  Most importantly, it is very conspicuous when I walk down the street with a howitzer hanging around my neck or in front of my face. The camera screams ‘professional’ and people notice me much more readily and are more intimidated by it. The X-Pro1, because of its size and shape is a lot less attention grabbing by the general public. Although I have been approached by quite a few streettogs who recognize the camera and want to look at it.

4)  You are correct about the comparison of the x100 and x-Pro1. They are quite a bit different. I especially like the interchangeable lenses, although I have only used the 18mm f2 lens, I am excitedly looking forward to the announced M mount adapter with which I will be able to use my Leica lenses. It is, indeed, a much more serious camera.

5)  I have never experienced shooting with a micro 4/3 camera so I can’t speak with any authority on that, but for sure I can tell you that the sensor in the x-Pro1 is outstanding. It’s much larger than a micro 4/3 sensor, and since it doesn’t use the Bayer Array pattern of pixels there is no need for a low pass anti-aliasing filter in front of it. That contributes mightily to the incredible resolution I see.

6)  As for locking during transfer, that depends on how large the file is and much of the data has been moved from the buffer to the card before the next time you press the shutter. I’ve had situations where I can just click away with no difficulty and other times where the buffer just can’t accept any more data until it dumps it to the card. I suspect it’s better than the x100 though.

7)  As for focusing, I find it to be very accurate, and there is an automatic focus offset which you can see in the viewfinder that adjusts for the distance from the focused subject and the parallax correction. Very cool feature. The speed of focus, however takes some getting used to, and there are minor tweaks to the camera settings that can make it faster. Fuji has made a firmware update for the x100 to speed the focusing up, and I know it will come soon for the x-Pro1. I found that my technique for the D700, which was to press the shutter down immediately for the shot doesn’t work well for the x-Pro1. On the D700 the motors are so fast that I can do that and get the shot. With the Fuji I have to wait about 1/10th of a second before tripping the shutter. It certainly is different, but I have found that when I get it right the shot is great. I haven’t lost too many shots because of this and I’m sure that once I get the technique ironed out I will be nailing many more.

8)     As for replacing the Olympus with this as a pocket camera, it really depends on how big your pockets are. The x-Pro1 is about the same size as the M9. Could you put that in your pocket?

I’ll be addressing more issues in my blog posts as they arise. I have already decided that I need to get the hand grip accessory so that I can more comfortably hold the camera in my had all day without accidently gripping it hard and/or hitting buttons for the other controls.