For those looking for a new camera and considering the X Pro 1

Started Apr 9, 2012 | Discussions thread
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dzeanah
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For those looking for a new camera and considering the X Pro 1
Apr 9, 2012

I just finished spending way too many hours (days?) on a purchase decision, and I thought I'd share my thoughts with others who are in the same process. Hopefully someone will find this useful.

Background, and past lessons learned

I've been shooting since film days, when I used to either hand-meter or meter based on the light I saw, then process and print in the darkroom. The first time I went to Europe on vacation I was encumbered by the idea that carrying the best camera gear for the trip would result in the best images, so I carried medium format and 35mm gear (plus film, meters, and backup equipment) and ended up dragging a 45lb camera bag/backpack around 5 countries over two weeks. This didn't work so well.

It turns out that when you're walking through Paris, or London, or Salzburg, or doing day hikes in the Swiss Alps, that a 45lb backpack brings fatigue , and after a few hours of that one may determine that taking off the pack and getting out the camera gear is more effort than it's worth.

Never again.

So, I did photography professionally for a few years (portraits and weddings) and learned to like the way short depth of field would isolate the subject from the background. I shot with both medium format and 35mm, eventually moving to a Hasselblad 500C with lenses, and a Nikon F5 with lenses. Still around 30-40lbs of gear, but I thought it was necessary for the work I was shooting.

It was liberating to move to rangefinders. Moving from a big "professional" 35mm SLR and the matching 6x6 gear to a pair of Leica Ms with a Mamiya 7 for group photos was amazing. I worked slower, went through less film, had more creative energy later in the day (because I wasn't as exhausted), and ended up with better work as a result. This was the same lesson I learned with travel gear -- less is more, provided the gear is capable of getting the shots I was looking for.

All was good until digital hit, then I ended up stuck with DSLRs rather than the smaller kit I was used to. There wasn't a choice for professional work, as the cost and time constraints of film made it unreasonable, but there were no small cameras comparable to a Leica M or a Contax G capable of producing output of high enough quality.

The problem is that I'm not willing to put up with the weight and bulk of DSLR gear now that I no longer do it for a living. Hobbies are supposed to be fun, and big camera bags, DSLRs and f2.8 lenses around one's neck, and all the attention that brings simply aren't fun.

Goals and Selection Criteria

Photography is a hobby now. I enjoy photography provided the gear isn't cumbersome, but I also print at 20x30" or larger on occasion, and I'd like lightweight camera gear capable of performing to that level when I'm willing to do everything right.

The easiest way to get there is to shoot multiple photos on whatever camera I've got and stitch them together later, and I tried this with reasonable success with m 4/3 camera gear on my last trip to Paris, but it's not the way I always work. I'm happy to bring a tripod along and work from it when I drive across the desert Southwest, for instance, or when I'm day hiking in national parks. When the wife and I are traveling on foot while doing the tourist thing it's a different story. Plus, carrying a tripod on vacation means drawing more attention than I'd like, and dealing with a bunch of "no professional photography without a permit" hassles.

My viewing standards are also more slack than some other folks. I don't need medium format digital to create a print I like at 20x24" like some. I tend to view wall prints from about a meter away, and I'd like the prints to hold up well at closer distances but they don't really have to. A while back I printed one of the DPReview D300S samples at 20x30" and determined that it was OK at that size per my standards, but just barely. Ideally I'd like a bit more to work with than that.

I've got an Olympus E-PL2 right now with decent glass (the 9-18mm zoom is nice, as is the 20mm pancake; the kit zoom and the 50-150mm are reasonable as well, if not outstanding) so staying in Micro Four Thirds represents less cost than moving to something else entirely.

 dzeanah's gear list:dzeanah's gear list
Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm X-T1 Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 R Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 14mm F2.8 R +1 more
Nikon D300S Olympus PEN E-PL2 Panasonic Lumix DMC-F5
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