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:


  1. Gene,
    very nice quick review! I tried x100 once but honestly, after 30 minutes of shooting it I've decided that this camera is not for me. After D700 and D7000 it is darn slow. And it is also too much of a money for point-and-shoot camera. As I understand, X-Pro 1 is the whole different story. It is much more serious piece of hardware. How is it comparing to Micro 4/3 cameras? Olympus, Lumix? Does it lock while transferring the image from buffer to card? That was one of the main drawbacks of x100 for me. What about focus accuracy? I've read a lot that x100 could not focus well sometimes. And one last question: if I have Olympus Pen as my pocket camera is it worth looking to this camera as a replacement?


    1. Fuad, since my reply to your comment is rather long, I'll post it as a blog entry for today. Many other people have the same concerns.

  2. Congratulations with your new camera, Gene. Looking forward to see more shots from the streets. Greetings from London.

  3. hello my friend, I find very interesting this camera to spend a little unnoticed, I want to know that your experience seeing you pass unnoticed, the expressions of people are not the same as with your other camera, explains what is that experience ??

    a hug for our friend Gene
    Manuel Tello

  4. Manuel, I answered Fuad's questions in my blog post for today, which may also address your issues. But I'll answer you perhaps with different words. When I walk down the street with the D700 I'm much more noticeable and the camera is also. It's BIG. With the Fuji most people don't see it because I hold it in my hand down at my side and bring it up at the last possible moment. And if people do see it, it's so small they don't think I'm some kind of hot shot pro. Just another amateur dude with a toy camera. So they are more relaxed, less intimidated, and their expressions are more natural.

    I wish you and your beautiful family a wonderful holiday.