First Impressions: Using the Fujifilm X-Pro1
Fujifilm's unique hybrid viewfinder, a version of which was first seen in the X100, provides a bright optical view of the scene while simultaneously allowing you to view shooting information via an electronic overlay. In the example below, I've set the viewfinder to display minimal shooting information, for an uncluttered scene view.
|In optical viewfinder (OVF) mode, the viewfinder provides you with a wider angle of coverage than the lens you're using - in this case the 35mm f/1.4 without its lens hood. Image composition is made with the use of framelines (seen here in yellow) that correspond to the lens' field of view.|
In true rangefinder fashion, the framelines in the X-Pro1 indicate less than 100% coverage of what the lens will actually capture. Fujifilm claim aproximately 90% coverage in their specs but with the 35mm lens at least, I find it to be even less. Until you become familiar enough with the framing to take this into account, you'll likely end up with a composition including elements you thought were cropped out, but you'll never suffer the (even worse) fate of inadvertently cropping an element you though you had included.
In a subtle but welcome change over the X100, the framelines on the X-Pro1 change color based on the ambient light. With the camera pointed at a normal to dark scene, the framelines are white. Face the camera towards a bright scene, however, and those framelines become yellow, allowing for better visibility.
Fujifilm's engineers have provided two separate magnifications for the OVF when switching between the 18mm lens (.37x) and the 35mm and 60mm lenses (.60x). The higher magnification level ensures that even with the longest of the three XF lenses mounted, the framelines do not become unusably small in the viewfinder. The switch happens automatically upon mounting a lens, though you can also toggle between magnifications simply by holding the viewfinder lever selector for two seconds.
|The hybrid viewfinder contains a magnification lens that is offset from the viewfinder prism when the 18mm lens is mounted.||With the 35mm or 60mm lens attached, the magnification lens slides into the light path, enlarging the image seen in the OVF.|
If you want to see 100% coverage for your attached lens, you can do so by switching the viewfinder to EVF operation. As seamlessly as this hybrid viewfinder system operates, the performance of the EVF itself is a little disappointing. From my experience so far, I feel the same way about the X-Pro1's EVF as I felt about that of the X100. Matched against the best of its competition (the Sony NEX 7 and Olympus OM-D E-M5 are the obvious points of comparison) its refresh rate is a little slow. If you're panning with a moving subject, for example (admittedly not the most typical usage scenario for the X-Pro1), the screen image can lag considerably behind the movement of the camera.
For all of the comparisons to the ultra-expensive Leica M9, it's important to remember that the X-Pro1 has other competitors as well. Realistically, anyone interested in the X-Pro1 will also be considering standout mirrorless models like the Sony NEX 7 and Olympus OM-D E-M5. Be warned though - if you're excited by the very fast autofocus performance of these cameras, you might be disappointed by the responsiveness of the X-Pro1.
In reasonably well-lit scenes with subjects of moderate contrast, AF acquisition is certainly adequate, although no-one will ever mistake the X-Pro1 for an action or sports-oriented camera. The real frustration comes in lower light scenes when using the 60mm f/2.4. Focus hunting is a constant problem, with performance that is noticeably slower than either of the other two XF lenses. I must say though, that while AF may be slow, when the X Pro1 finds its mark it is very, very accurate. After reviewing hundreds of my handheld sample images on the computer, I've only been able to identify a small handful that are unusable due to mis-focus by the AF system.
Unfortunately, the MF complaints we had with the X100 are unchanged with the X-Pro1. In order to check focus you can set the EVF to magnification mode easily enough by clikcing-in the rear dial. Yet the camera insists on choosing its own aperture setting for the image preview - chosen presumably to maintain scene brightness in live view - which in some situations can make critical focus effectively impossible.
When pointed at a bright scene, for example, the camera will show you a magnified live view with the lens set to a narrow aperture, which of course shows a relatively wide depth of field. But if you actually want to shoot at a wide aperture (f/2.4 for example), you can easily be looking at a scene element that appears sharp in the magnified view but sits beyond the depth of field at the taking aperture. In this case, you'll end up with an out-of-focus image, despite it looking sharp in the magnified focusing view in the EVF. For a camera that is so clearly geared to enthusiasts and professionals, this is a critical misstep.
There is a workaround to this problem, although it's far from obvious. If you configure the Fn button for Depth of Field Preview, pressing it before you adjust focus sets the lens to the taking aperture. At this point, clicking in the rear dial for magnified view will allow accurate manual focus. Rather curiously, when set to video mode the camera honors the taking aperture in both normal and magnified live view all of the time, giving full time depth of field preview. I don't see why the camera can't behave this way in still image mode.
|When using the EVF or rear LCD in MF mode, you can view the scene at 100%...||...or press the rear thumb dial for a magnified view in order to adjust focus.|
There's another frustration that carries over from the X100. Looking through the viewfinder set to either OVF or EVF operation, in MF mode you can press the AE/AF lock button to engage AF acquisition on a chosen AF area. Yet there is no focus confirmation. Your only clue is an audible one, in that you can longer hear the lens being adjusted. Whether the camera thinks it has achieved focus or not is never clear; all you know for sure is that is has stopped trying.
Ideally, we'd like to see a firmware update that incorporated Sony and Ricoh-style focusing peaking in MF mode. After all, one of the potential benefits of a mirrorless camera design is a short flange back distance that permits the use of a range of lenses built for other systems, past and present. It's likely we'll see all sorts of third party adapters for the X-mount in the coming months, which could quickly broaden the selection of usable manual focus lenses. Improved MF capability could go a long way towards making the X-Pro1 an attractive option for owners of third-party lenses, but right now I don't think the manual focus experience has received the attention it deserves from Fujifilm.
Oddities and quirks
Fortunately, the X-Pro1 is free from the majority of the handling oddities, operational quirks and downright bugs that made the X100 such a painful camera to use when it was first released. Fujifilm appears to have taken some of the feedback to heart, with the result that the X-Pro1 behaves much more sensibly. It isn't perfect though - here are a few things that have bothered me during my time with the camera.
When shooting in continuous mode, the resulting files get saved according to a completely different filenaming system, which can cause all sorts of issues if you like to name and sort images using any camera-generated titles. Another bit of maddening behavior comes when you review vertical images in playback mode. Should you want to magnify the view, the enlarged view remains constrained to the same vertical format, as shown below. The only workaround - and I use the term loosely here - is to disable the camera's auto rotation ability, which is far from ideal. This quirk is also inherited from the X100, but on that camera it's been fixed in FW 1.20.
|Because the rear screen is in a horizontal format, vertical images occupy a much smaller screen area.||Frustratingly, and for no good reason, this behavior carries over into the magnified view, resulting in a lot of wasted display area.|
Finally, although you have the option to display compositional grids in the OVF, this function is rendered much less useful than it could (and should) be by the fact that they are positioned relative to the entire viewfinder area rather than to the framelines for the currently-mounted lens. Unlike the framelines, the gridlines don't adjust for parallax on focusing either. This means that when using the 60mm lens in particular, the gridlines are of limited practical use as 'Framing Guidelines', which is what Fujifilm claims them to be.
Mar 26, 2015
Dec 18, 2014
Jun 27, 2014
Mar 6, 2014
|Devil Rock (Stuttgart, Germany) by cornissimo|
from Neon Signs
|Carla... by lickity split|
from Beautiful caucasian female faces
|Lunar New Year Fireworks by Michael L NYC 99|
|Vatican Basilica by wam7|
from Street lights
Go behind the scenes with National Geographic photographer Renan Ozturk and see what it takes to capture a dangerous, harrowing, stunning Nat Geo photo essay.
Erez Marom tells the story behind this ominous photo of the sand 'reaching up' towards the mountains at Skagsanden beach in Norway. He calls this photo 'Torment.'
DPReview staffer Carey Rose has taken the Panasonic Leica DG 15mm F1.7 along for everything from a city-side boat ride to a bachelor party across the mountains. Find out how the little Leica fared.
Canon just unveiled the largest 12-ink printer on the market. The new imagePROGRAF PRO-6000 printer can make prints from 17 all the way up to 60 inches wide.
"Standing in one of the holiest places on earth, I felt uneasy," writes Wired's Jason Parham. "Most of my fellow visitors, I realized with a brief bloom of nausea, were taking selfies."
Christopher Nolan's Dunkirk has been receiving great reviews, but it's a challenge to see it in its full glory. This handy infographic reveals the aspect ratio chaos that is wrought as the industry retreats from film.
Anti-bullying organization Ditch the Label's Annual Bullying Survey 2017 reveals yet again that Instagram, more so than any other social network, has a the worst effect on youth mental health.
It's been a crazy day for innovative patent news. Apparently Sony is thinking of developing a medium format curved sensor camera.
An update to the Silkypix Raw converter fixes some bugs and adds support for several popular new cameras.
This crazy custom-built underwater camera shoots 8x10 large format film. It's supposedly "the first successful underwater 8x10 ever made," and it can be yours for $5,800... plus shipping.
Blackmagic just reveled a new accessory for their Cintel Film Scanner. The Cintel Audio and KeyKode Reader can capture KeyKode data and high-quality audio from film in real-time as it is being scanned.
A new Nikon patent shows a lens designed for a curved full-frame sensor. Could this be the high-end Nikon mirrorless camera people are hoping for?
The ability to shoot images at 1,000 fps first appeared in a Sony smartphone sensor. Now the Japanese manufacturer is using the same feature for industrial applications.
Astronomy expert and photographer Dr. Tyler Nordgren thinks you should "see your first eclipse, photograph your second." But if you do plan on taking photos this August, here are a few tips from someone who's been there.
How confident are you that you can spot a manipulated photo? A recent study at the University of Warwick shows that many people are pretty bad at it.
If you purchased a Leica TL2, do NOT attach Leica's Visoflex electronic viewfinder. Leica is working on a fix, but for now, it's possible the viewfinder will break your camera.
Google just released Motion Stills for Android. Unlike the iOS version, the Android app uses a redesigned video processing pipeline that processes each frame of a video as it is being recorded, creating instant results.
A huge copyright lawsuit between photography firm VHT and Zillow Group is heating up again, as both sides appeal a court ruling that granted VHT $4 million in damages.
European Space Agency astronaut Thomas Pesquet spent 6 months on board the International Space Station where he worked with Google capturing spheric panorama images that are now available in Street View.
It's official. PDN has confirmed with parent company Aurelius that 94-year-old lighting company Bowens is indeed going out of business.
The newly launched firmware version 1.06 fixes AF-issues that can occur with some lenses that are not officially compatible with the MC-11 converter.
Voyager is a waterproof smart light stick you can control entirely from your phone. The light has already blown past its $300K funding goal on Indiegogo.
2018 is the last year Photokina will take place during the traditional end-of-September dates. In 2019, Photokina will take place from the 8th to the 11th of May.
The Canon IXUS 50 (known as the SD400 Digital ELPH in North America) was one of a string of high-performing, pocketable PowerShots of the mid-2000s. In this week's throwback Thursday, Barney casts his mind back to 2005.
A close look at the EOS 6D II's Raw files suggest its dynamic range has taken a significant step backwards compared with the company's recent DSLRs. We look at how much difference this might make for your photos.
With a full-production review unit in our hands, we've got over 100 production samples from the new Canon EOS 6D Mark II to share.
Need a break from your day? Kick back and watch the making of a somewhat unconventional mojito filmed on Canon's new EOS 6D Mark II.
The Bonfoton Camera Obscura Room Lens can turn any room into a camera obscura, projecting the view from your window onto the walls of your room.
Adobe just released version 2015.12 of Lightroom CC, adding support for several new cameras and lenses, and baking in several important bug fixes while they were at it.
In this interview, Chiara Marinai, photo editor for VanityFair.com, explains exactly what she looks for in new photographers and photo submissions. Take notes.