Fuji X-Pro1 High ISO Review 3
A hundred more shots, a thousand more miles and a big smile; I’m very happy with the Fuji X-Pro1. Shooting with this camera has me more excited about my personal photography projects than I’ve been in years. Quirky? You bet! Capable of professional results? No sweat! I love shooting weddings, there are few things more satisfying than creating images I know people will hang on their wall and cherish for a lifetime. But my personal work, the landscapes, conceptual model shoots and documentation that make me a better photographer, can get a bit tedious. Photography starts to feel like a chore not the privilege it really is. The X-Pro1 has brought back that passion.
I spent last weekend camping with Stephanie and the kids giving me a chance to test the Fuji X-Pro1 out as a travel camera. I’m happy to report it did not disappoint as the more I use this camera, the more I like it. There were some rough spots at first but by the end of the trip I felt really connected. Connected? What is this, some sort of “new age” my-camera-is-connected-to-my-emotions thing? No, it’s just a tool that’s so good and so purposeful that it becomes an medium for art. It forces you to make decisions, not just blast away like a DSLR, resulting in a more connected feel.
When I used to shoot film, I would shoot in full manual mode. When shooting the latest DSLR I find myself shooting in Aperture priority mode most of the time then basing my exposure off compensation from what I know the camera is trying to do. Shooting a person backlit by the sun? Throw in +1.5. Even when I’m shooting with all my lighting gear I know to just set my camera to a certain exposure, set the lights to a certain output, put the model a certain distance from the main light and shoot away. The X-Pro1 encourages you to put those manual dials to use and start thinking more about your scene; I love that! Thankfully, it has about 1 stop more latitude than my Canon 5D Mark II so it’s pretty forgiving if I’m a little off. I find myself taking 10 seconds when I walk into new scene to really evaluate exposure and in the process I find things to shoot I might have otherwise overlooked. After a day of doing that I was able to quickly calculate my exposure like the old days; now that’s satisfying. There’s nothing like slowing down and shooting purposefully to make a personal shoot become a joy rather than a chore. Connection with a digital camera at last!
Every camera I have ever loved shares the trait of making me slow down. Not so much I loose a shot but just enough that I take an active roll in every part of the process. Photographic decisions change from being purely visual to cerebral in nature. My 5DII and 1 Series cameras are the best photographic tools available to the wedding photographer but I have no love for them, they are just tools. The Fuji X-Pro1 begs me to slow down just enough to enjoy the process and is just different enough to challenge me. Is it capable of shooting at “Wedding Pace?” I think so but I’m a guy who typically only shoots 1,000 frames in a 10 hour coverage so I may be biased. So far, I’d call it a great 2nd camera and possibly the best camera for candid shots I’ve ever used.
Next up will be using it as a nature camera for stitching together 85 Megapixel panoramic images…this ought to be fun!
An Aside: X-Pro1 vs. X100 AF continued…
This past week Really Right Stuff borrowed the X-Pro1 to make a tripod plate so I took out my X100. For the record, I love the X100. When I first picked up the X-Pro1 I thought the AF is maybe just a little faster but not by much. Trying to shoot my friends ride their bikes through the woods showed me just how much faster the X-Pro1 really is. It’s no Canon 1d Series but it’s certainly an improvement on the X100 and generally more reliable. Maybe it’s the increased magnification of the 35mm lens or the additional stop of light? I’m sure some tech site will elaborate but from a user’s perspective the X-Pro1 is fast enough for just about anything. Interestingly, using a slow constant press all the way to exposure, rather than a half press then full press, seems to increase the number of in focus shots especially on moving subjects. I have no idea why, but when I do that, 5 of 6 shots of the bride and groom walking toward me were in focus.
ISO 5000 f/1.4 1/60 Lit with only firelight. I used the light of the headlight to focus and the assist light didn’t even come on. Jpeg colors aren’t the best with odd color temperature light sources but the detail in the image is great.
f/1.4 1/30 ISO 5000 At this level of darkness the AF assist light comes on and is pretty slow. Not sure why Fuji chose to do a white light rather than a red pattern (like a flash AF assist uses) as the white light just isn’t that bright and doesn’t guarantee there will be any edges for the AF points to detect. Not terrible to use but not quick at all.