One day Oscar Barnack got tired of lugging around 8×10 cameras, photography was just a hobby after all, he worked as an engineer in the motion picture department of Leitz and came up with the glorious idea to double the standard cine frame (18x24mm), got a small box, attached a prime lens to cover the full frame he had now, ditched his heavy monster of a camera and never looked back. The year was 1913 and Oscar had just created the Ur Leica. WW1 delayed things a bit but by 1925 Leitz started mass production of the little 24x36mm box and offered it to the public. Suddenly photographers were able to tell stories and photojournalism was born. Just in time for WW2. And after it was over, Robert Capa, one of best known war photographers of all times, founded Magnum photo in 1947 with Henri Cartier-Bresson. The past harmonizes
2:40:01pm, UPS just delivered the Fuji X Pro 1, the 35mm 1.4 and the 18mm 2.0 from BH.
2:40:29pm, Battery is charging.
2:50:11pm, the battery is at 2 bars and I am heading out to see what’s happening at Union Square.
5:35:35pm, finished with my first shoot. Camera was set to Raw+jpeg fine, uploaded jpegs, slightly cropped with minor tweaks for the color shots, and higher contrast for the b/w. Full set after the break
I hope you enjoy the photos, I will update this post tomorrow morning and tell you about my impressions from today with the Fuji X Pro 1.
Guten Morgen. Sometimes, the past harmonizes with the present
But before I tell you what I think about the Fuji X Pro 1 let my tell you a little bit about my experience with rangefinder cameras and then I will get straight to the point. After winning a major photography award back in the days I purchased the Leica M4-2 (made in Canada) and the Summicron 35mm 2.0. I would take it everywhere and it became my favorite camera for the next couple of years. I loved it so much that I even broke it three times. Won a few more awards and my work from that period made it into the MOMA in Vienna. Over the following years I ended up shooting with the Mamiya 7, Voigtlander Bessa and Fuji medium format rangefinders.
The Fuji X Pro 1 is a rangefinder-like camera and has nothing in common with the Leica M except for appearance and shutter sound.
All the same, I snapped into rangefinder mode and felt right at home with the Fuji X Pro 1.
I am a left eyed shooter and this is a blessing when using the Fuji – in case you want to switch AF points, the AF point select button is in the right place. Fuji’s hybrid viewfinder is my favorite way of looking at the world, bar none, the reasons are obvious. A) I can observe what is going on outside the frame while composing. B) I can get instant feedback via EVF without removing the camera from my eye. Parallax line indicators and selectable AF points.
The camera does not look or feel like a digital camera and I have noticed my subjects positive reaction towards the Fuji. The shutter sound is quiet and pleasant. The shutter speed dial can be locked (unnecessary, IMHO) and +- dial have the right resistance. Aperture ring on the lens.
When the X Pro 1 nails the AF it REALLY nails it.
Sure looks like this is the best APSC sized sensor to date.
No noticeable moire during this shoot.
The files are phenomenal, download the originals from flickr and examine at 100%. (set up for this shoot ISO 100 to 3200). Both, the 18mm and 35mm lenses are fantastic for my type of work. The 35mm 1.4-tack sharp wide open- produces the most delicious bokeh rivaling FF cameras. The 18mm is also tack sharp in the center (wide open), a great compact wide angle and it will stay on the body until Fuji releases the 14mm lens:)
The Not So Good:
One afternoon of shooting and the camera froze a few times on start up and went comatose while in sleep mode.
The AF select button would benefit from a lock, too easy to change accidentally, I had to gaffa tape it. Lack of buffer depth, I used a Class 10 HCI SD card and ran into trouble a few times shooting RAW+JPG fine. Mounting a quick release plate on the camera for tripod/monopod/bracket use will block the battery/SD compartment.
For right eyed shooters, the AF point select button is in the wrong place. Easily fixable with the next firmware update, allow to reassign functions to different buttons. Aperture’s cricket noise, unless wide open. For some of you the lack of raw support won’t be such a big deal since the camera produces beautiful jpegs. For others, including myself, this belongs in the ugly category.
Oh baby, please, just focus! There was nothing challenging to focus on during this shoot, plenty of contrast and texture, nonetheless, I can’t recall a shoot in recent years with so many mis-focused images. This is serious, my friends, because the best sensor/lens/hybrid viewfinder won’t matter if the images are blurry! I am at a loss for words here, there is really nothing I can say except, Fuji, PLEASE try your best to improve it with the next firmware and use a much better AF module in your next model. I love the camera but the current state of AF disqualifies it for the type of work I would want to shoot with it.
If you are seriously lusting over the Fuji X Pro 1 I highly recommend ordering it from a reputable dealer with a good return policy or if you have the chance just check it out at a local store before purchasing it, make sure AF performance is not a problem for you. I can totally see a variety of situations where it won’t matter and the files this beautiful machine produces are breathtaking. Update: I still love the camera, two days later, maybe even a little more and have decided to keep it, I will work around the slow/unreliable AF, the only serious flaw and hope Fuji will give us a firmware update very soon.
I already received two private messages asking if I would recommend the Sony Nex 7 over the X Pro 1. I am planning to do a comparison between the two, getting busy with work though should be done with in the next two weeks.
All I can say for now if you currently own a descent DSLR, chances are you will not be happy with the AF performance.
I will be updating this post over the next couple of weeks and share my experience with the Fuji X Pro 1. Let me know what your findings are, don’t hesitate to post here and ask questions.
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