FujiXfiles

FujiXfiles blog with tips & tricks and personal experiences with my Fujifilm X-Series cameras. Fuji X10, X100, X100S and X-Pro 1 and Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8, XF 18mm f2, XF 35mm f1.4 and Samyang 8mm f2.8 fisheye lenses.

Fuji X100S Review - Is it worth to upgrade from the classic X100?

After a 2 year production cycle, Fujifilm upgraded the revolutionary X100 and introduced the X100S. The X100 was the reason I bought my first digital Fuji camera a little over 2 years ago and it has turned me into a loyal customer, also buying the X10 and X-Pro 1. The X100 was also the first camera that I preordered without ever holding it in my hands or reading a single review (there were no reviews at the time I preordered).

The X100S is my daily companion - even in bad weather

The X100S is my daily companion - even in bad weather there are scenes to capture

But now the question for me and countless other classic X100 photographers was: Should I upgrade to the X100S?

Fujifilm introduced the revolutionary hybrid viewfinder with the X100 and gave the camera an external control layout of a classic film camera with aperture, shutter time and exposure compensation that can be controlled blindfolded with your finger tips.

But the X100 was not without flaws. While the image quality was stunningly wonderful even in Firmware 1.0, some of the ergonomics were... hmmm... let's say "challenging".

The original FW was lacking some streamlining in the menu and the minimum focus distance before having to switch to Macro mode was almost a deal breaker for me. Especially since it requited the photographer to push buttons 3 times before the Macro mode was activated or deactivated.

But most of these issues were fixed with continuous FW updates and the AF plus MF quality and speed was improved over time, too.

Is it worth upgrading to the X100S

I'm already owning the X-Pro 1 and classic X100 - so is it worth buying the X100S?

So why should I upgrade if the X100 is a good camera with the current FW? Well, because the X100s is simply better at everything!

There were certain things that Fuji was not able to fix in FW on the classic X100 as they were hardware related. The X100 and the X100S exterior are almost identical but the trained X100 photographer will happily notice the subtle but important changes that Fuji made.

The first thing that I appreciate is the physically raised "menu" and "OK" button. You won't have to operate this important button with your fingernails any more. Secondly, the 3 position focus mode slider now has the most used modes at the easy to slide to top and bottom position (Manual focus and AF-S standard mode) while the least used mode for me (AF-C continuous that can only be used with center focus point) now sits at the fiddly middle position (where formerly the most used AF-S was placed). The AF-Point selection and Drive buttons also swapped places. This enables you to move the AF-Point with one finger while staying glued to the viewfinder. This fantastic improvement was also introduced in the 2.05 X-Pro 1 FW (1.06 on X-E1) update via Fn button.

Lastly, the RAW button turned into the Q-Menu (Quick menu overview) button that is known and loved from the X-Pro 1 / X-E1and X10 but did not make it to the original X100, yet.

Just these ergonomic changes could be reason enough for the enthusiast X100 photographer to upgrade. But wait, there is more! Fuji lists 70 improvements that have been implemented in comparison to the previous version of the X100. OK, let's make it 69 as I find the mere attachment of the "S" badge not to be a real usability enhancement ;)

I will not go through the whole list of remaining improvements but rather tell you what I find extremely helpful from a daily usability point of view:

The single biggest improvement for me is the reduction of the minimum focus distance before having to switch to Macro mode. It has been reduced by 40% down to 50cm (20in) from 80cm (31in) on the previous version. I was constantly in the close range for portraits and having to switch to Macro was annoying and slowed down the AF locking process considerably.

AF with improved close focus distance

The X100S has an improved AF close focus distance before having to switch to Macro mode - high five for that!

Next on the list to mention is the improved AF and MF speed. The contrast AF now gets supported by phase detection pixel on the sensor to speed up the AF in certain well lit situations. And when the phase detection pixel take control the AF locks very, very fast. If the contrast detection takes over, the AF speed feels about as fast as the AF speed on the classic X100 with current FW.

So how can one make the phase detection pixel to always be in charge? Well, Fuji claims that you will need a decent amount of light. Then you need to use the focus points around the center as these PD pixel are only covering 40% of the sensor around the center.

I did as Fuji told me, but I still find it very hard to control if PD or CD AF will be used to lock focus. Even if I aim the focus point at the same subject and try to lock AF repeatedly with half pressed shutter, it will sometimes pump (CD AF) and sometimes be instant (PD AF) to lock focus. This and an improved AF lock rate in backlit situations are two of the few areas where I hope for improvements in future FW updates. When you have a blazing fast PD AF it should be used as often as possible. But aside from this wish I should add that even right now this is the fastest and most reliable AF of the current APS-C size sensor Fuji X-Cameras.

And if you struggle with any of your Fuji X cameras AF,

read this article that I wrote about maximizing your AF results with Fuji X cameras

The improved X100S AF in action

The improved X100S AF in action

And thanks to a higher resolution EVF, focus peaking and the now ambient light independent manual focus system, this is currently also the best manual focus Fuji X-Camera (until the FW 3.0 update for the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 on July 24, 2013 anyway).

Operating Speed:

The X100S also operates faster than the classic X100. There is no noticeable shutter lag and switching settings in menu is instant. If maximum operating speed is important to you, then switch off all energy saving- and switch on all performance improving features. What also helps is when you use the fastest UHS-I SDHC cards. I use the 16GB SanDisk Extreme 95MB/s and I'm very happy with the speed they write my RAW + JPG files.

 No noticeable shutter lag = perfectly timed captures

 No noticeable shutter lag = perfectly timed captures

Power consumption and batteries:

But with all energy saving turned off, I highly recommend that you buy at least one, or better yet, two spare batteries for your X100S. There have been situations where I got less than 350 images out of one charge with lots of reviewing and constant EVF use. And since my first experiences with two off brand batteries were so negative (they would not physically fit into the X100 battery compartment without getting stuck) I now only buy the original Fuji batteries.

Landscape photography with an urban touch

Just a visual reminder to take extra batteries with you for long photo walks with your X100S ;-)

Charging:

Talking about batteries, the charger that comes with the X100S now doesn't have a loose adapter part (to hold the battery in place) any more. After loosing this part on my X100 charger on a trip, I glued the replacement part permanently to the charger. Now Fuji attached this part permanently.

But what also needed improving was the charging time for empty batteries. An empty X100(S) battery will need 3.5 to 4 hours to charge completely! And unfortunately this has not changed with the X100S charger :-(

This becomes really annoying when you are on a photo trip and come back to the hotel at night with 2-3 empty batteries. I end up setting my alarm to wake up after 4 hours to switch batteries in the charger, so that I have at least 2 fully charged batteries for the next day. If anyone knows a faster charger for the X100 battery, please let me know! And no, a second charger is not an option. Traveling light is one of the reasons why I switched from DSLR to mirrorless for the majority of my work.

Raw street photography

Raw street photography

Image Quality

The biggest change concerning the image quality between the X100 and the X100S is the switch from a 12 MPix bayer array sensor to the 16 MPix X-Trans II sensor (this is an updated version of the X-Pro 1 & X-E1 X-Trans sensor.)

The original X100 certainly has an outstanding image quality and color rendition and still performs incredibly well today. But the extra 4 MPix and new sensor technology of the X100S are nice for extra cropping and ISO headroom. From looking at my images EXIF data I would say that the X100S has a 1 stop ISO noise advantage over the X100. This becomes quite visible at ISO 3200 and 6400. But I also have the feeling that the ISO sensitivity on the X100S is about 1/2 of a f-stop less sensitive. This leads to slightly longer shutter times at equal exposure situations. But over all there is still a bit of a gain in favor of the X100S and the "noise" of the X-Trans sensor looks very film grain like.

@ the barbershop - Fuji X100s

I'm 100% satisfied with image and detail quality that I get from the X100S!

The JPG color rendition is also a bit different between these two generations of X100 cameras. I have noticed this when I first started using the X-Pro 1 with the X-Trans sensor compared to the X10 and X100. This difference is mostly visible in yellow and green parts of the image. The X10 and X100 are very similar to each other while the X-Pro1 and X100S are more of a match to each other. Yet, if you don't do a direct A-B comparison, you will not notice this subtle difference in tonal rendition. And the out of camera JPG image look is beautiful from both sensors!

Natural skin colors and an analog  film like look are one of the strength of Fuji X cameras

 Natural skin colors and an analog  film like look are one of the strength of Fuji X cameras

If you enjoy to give your photos a look of other analog film types than what the Fuji X-Cameras already offer internally, take a look at the products from VSCO. They offer their 3 film packs for LR and Aperture now with support for Fuji X100, X100s, X-E1 and X-Pro 1 Raw files.

A little VSCO Film adjustment in LightRoom gave the X100Simage this look

 A little VSCO Film adjustment in LightRoom gave the image this look

The lens picks up some flare and this is identical to the lens on the original X100. Hence, I would buy the lens hood with adapter for two reasons:

1. To control flare.

2. To have a filter thread for the use of filter or simply to plug in a standard lens cap (49mm filter and lens cap for the adapter without the lens hood and a 52mm lens cap for use with the lens hood attached - you can see this on the second photo from the top). And do get the lens caps with the pinch release in the middle of the cap!

Street Portrait - Fuji X100s

 The lens hood saved me from flare in this backlit image

My settings:

The X100S has turned into my every day take along camera. It is my street, portrait and city/landscape tool. And, I use it 95% of the time as a B&W camera! I set the camera to record JPG + RAW and set the JPG to be captured in BW + Red Filter. This way the EVF and the review image in the EVF & OVF will show a B&W image which is closest to the way I would process it. The RAW file still contains the color information and will be rendered as a color image in my LightRoom collection, next to the B&W JPG image.

I find that seeing a scene in B&W is less distracting and lets me focus more intensely on the subject and situation of the scene.

The Brick Wall test

Lens distortion is well controlled in JPG images and easily adjusted on RAW with a +5 setting in LightRoom

These are my preferred every day settings when I'm out with the X100S:

- Fn = ND Filter (heavily used in bright conditions to overcome the f2 & 1/1000s limit)

- RAW + JPG

- ISO: Auto 6400 at 1/100s (I'd rather take a bit more noise than motion blur)

- Film simulation: B-R (B&W Red Filter)

- Sharpness: +1

- Highlight Tone: 0

- Shadow Tone: +1

- Noise Reduction: -2

- MF Assist: Max

- High Performance Mode: On

- Power Saving: Off

- Review Time: 0.5 S

I'd say that even with a fixed 35mm equivalent field of view (to a 35mm film camera) the Fuji X100 and X100S cameras are very versatile:

Reportage photography:

Reportage photography X100S

Reportage photography X100S

Portrait photography:

Portrait photography with X100S

Portrait photography with X100S

Architecture photography:

Architecture photography with X100S

Architecture photography with X100S

Landscape photography (with VSCO Filmpack Filter applied):

Landscape photography with VSCO Filmpack Filter applied

Landscape photography with VSCO Filmpack Filter applied

My Résumé:

The original X100 was a revolutionary camera with great image quality and a few quirks, but most of them were taken care of in FW updates. Still, after using the original X100 for 2 years my first 24h with the X100S convinced me that this is the camera I have been waiting for! And at first I didn't even want to upgrade as the image quality of the X100 is still very, very good.

But it seems like all of my suggestions to improve the usability of the original X100 were implemented. Someone at Fuji must be either reading my mind or reading my blog and forum posts ;-) The X100S is truly a worthy successor with improvements in almost all aspects - making my daily work with this camera a pleasure.

When I'm out with the X100S I don't have to think about how to operate the camera. I can simply concentrate on framing my shot and evaluating the scene. I operate the aperture, shutter time and exposure compensation directly on the dedicated wheels without taking my eye off the viewfinder. And I'm get an instant 0.5 second quick review image to check if I got the shot the way I intended it. If the X100S didn't already exist one would have to invent it! :-)

I think that if Henri Cartier Bresson would still be alive and in the market for a mirrorless camera, he would probably look very closely at the Fujifilm X100S - it's that good of a street photography tool.

Add translates to:

Add translates to: "How to take good photos"

To finally answer the question if the X100s is worth the upgrade from the X100? After using this camera daily for more than 3 month with roughly 5000 photos taken, I can answer this question with a big "YES!" for myself. So if you are still in doubt if this upgrade is worth it for you, go to your camera store and give it a try! This camera might also be an alternative for people who are interested in the Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 lens for their X-Pro 1 or X-E1. Besides that the XF 23mm f1.4 lens is not released at the time I'm writing this, the X100S can also be seen as a 23mm f2 lens with a fine camera attached. And it would make a nice back up camera, too :)

And it is also worth a second look for people who had operating issues with the classic X100.

But I must also add that this does not make the classic X100 an obsolete camera. If you don't want to spend the new price on a X100S and don't mind the minor operating issues that I had with the classic X100 (mainly close focus distance before having to switch to Macro, MF in low light and two handed AF point selection) it is still a camera with wonderful image quality at a very interesting used price. And take a look at the Fuji X photographers who still use the original X100 and the stunning images that they create with it. Only the difference in image quality from the new sensor would not have been my reason to upgrade...

Probably one of my last Fuji X100 photos

One of my last photos taken with the classic Fuji X100

If you have any further questions leave a comment below or Twitter me @HamburgCam

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-) 

The Fujinon XF 14mm review - the best Leica lens Fuji ever built ;)

I have spent a few weeks with the new Fuji XF 14mm f2.8 R lens. I had heard good things about it, yet it was not love at first sight for me.

Testing the Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 R in the real world

Testing the Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 R in the real world...

And that is not to say that it is not a pretty lens. It is very attractive looking and the markings for the DOF indicator clearly separates it from the rest of the current Fujinon XF lens lineup.

Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - my X-Pro 1's birthday present

Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 R lens

But the timing for getting the XF 14mm was a bit off for me. I had just finished some intense

testing of the Samyang 8mm f2.8 fisheye

and absolutely loved the 180° field of view and image quality. And my main lens for the X-Pro 1 has been the light and very compact XF 18mm f2 for the past year. Compared to the XF 18mm the XF 14mm is big (41mm/1.6" vs. 58mm/2.28") and heavy (116g/0.26lb vs. 235g/0.52lb).

Fujinon XF 18mm f2 vs. XF 14mm f2.8

Fujinon XF 18mm f2 vs. XF 14mm f2.8

Will I be using the XF 14mm enough to justify the purchase? After all it is currently the most expensive X-Mount lens made by Fuji. And in the end it is only 4mm wider than the XF 18mm and even one stop slower.

Anyway, I now had the lens in my hands and did what I always do when I get new gear – I attached it to the camera, emptied my camera bag and locked all other lenses and camera bodies into my closet. The best way to get familiar with new gear fast is to use it intensely and exclusively.

So I went out on my first stroll with the new lens. But when I stepped out of my door I felt an unfamiliar strong pull on my camera strap (which I lug across my shoulder like a messenger bag). Not only is the XF 14mm heavier, it also sticks out longer to change the weight balance a bit into the “uncomfortable” department. Additionally, I do not like the style of lenshood that the XF 14mm requires. The XF 18mm and 35mm lenses have small and unobtrusive square lens hoods. But this is the Tulip style lens hood that draws much more attention and makes the camera look bigger than it is – not good for a stealthy aspiring street photographer.

Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 vs. XF 18mm f2 with lens hoods

Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 vs. XF 18mm f2 with lens hoods

The 14mm lens will equal the field of view of a 21mm lens on a full frame camera. So the 90° field of view should be perfect for landscape and architecture. And while I have gotten really used to the 27mm full frame equivalent field of view of the XF 18mm lens, I could clearly see the added benefit of a 21mm equivalent field of view of the XF 14mm lens. You can get closer and still get everything in the frame.

Dampfschiff St. Georg Hamburg - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

Wide angle lenses allow you to get closer to avoid having other photographers / tourists in your picture ;)

Hamburg Telemichel und Messehallen - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

Hamburg Telemichel and Messehallen - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

A quick check on the MacBook Air brought the first surprise: It does not show distortion - not even on the RAW file! Wow! For a wide angle lens like this, I’m impressed!

I also made myself familiar with the manual focus mechanism of this lens and it works pretty much the way I would have wanted it to. It is pretty comfortable to switch into the MF mode directly when you pull the focus ring back. No need to set the MF switch manually. And it goes right back to AF when you push the focus ring back to the forward position. Very smart! But it comes with one drawback: You can not automatically prefocus with the AF-L button in manual mode. The AF mechanism seems to be completely decoupled from the gears when in MF mode. And when in AF mode you can’t turn the MF focus ring as it is locked.

Elbtunnel - Underneath the Elbe River - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

 Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 @ f4 ISO 3200

Car Elevator Elbtunnel - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

Car Elevator Elbtunnel - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

Zone focusing has worked well for me with the XF 14mm and it raises the question, why many modern lenses don’t get these useful markings any more?

Hamburg Frühlings DOM 2013 - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

14mm gave the perfect 90° angle to capture this chairoplane

The manual focus is still focus by wire on the XF 14mm but it is the best feel of all the XF lenses I have tried so far.

Flying on the chairoplane - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

 Zone focus with DOF indicator on the lens worked well

The autofocus feels about as fast as the one in the XF 35mm and not quite as snappy as the XF 18mm

. The 58mm filter thread is a bit unfortunate compared to the 52mm of the XF 18mm and 35mm, but physics has it’s laws about front element size...

Rollercoaster panning - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

Roller coaster panning - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

The lens handles flare pretty good for a 14mm wide angle lens. It shares the same lens hood with the XF18-55mm zoom lens. That is convenient for people who own both lenses and only want to bring one lens hood. But it also raises the question if the zoom lens gets the maximum sun protection on the wide end if the cover area is enough for an even wider 14mm vs. 18mm lens?

Backlight and flare test with the Fuji XF 14mm lens - Fuji X-Pro 1

Backlight and flare test with the Fuji XF 14mm lens - Fuji X-Pro 1

This brings me to the image quality. As always I do not test my gear in lab conditions. Others who are much better at this already do plenty of these tests. For me it is important to see how the gear behaves in normal shooting situations. And here the lens performs stunningly well! Sharpness and contrast are already very good wide open at f2.8 and gets even better (especially in the corners) at f4 - f5.6 range. I hardly shoot beyond f5.6 if I don’t have to. But I tried some daytime long exposures with a ND1000 filter and aperture up to f16 to get a slow shutter time. IQ is still good but you loose some sharpness due to diffraction beyond f11 – like with most other lenses, too.

Hamburg Alster Architecture - Fujinon XF 14mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

 XF 14mm long exposure: 15s - f16

Space Odyssey 2013 - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

XF 14mm long exposure: 15s - f16

There is a bit of vignetting wide open at f2.8 (corrected on the JPG files, visible on RAW) and it decreases slowly when you stop down. Nothing out of the ordinary for a wide angle lens, though. But the vignetting has not spoiled any of my images so far.

Hamburg Alster Fountain Rainbow - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

Hamburg Alster Fountain Rainbow - I even added some extra vignetting on the top of this image!

If you have followed my blog, Flickr stream and Twitter feed long enough, you know how important bokeh is to me. So how does the XF 14mm handle the out of focus blur?

Take Courage! - Fujinon XF 14mm - Fuji X-Pro 1

 Take Courage! Get closer than you normally would to get a smooth bokeh

Hamburg Bokeh Sightseeing with the giraffe, Fuji XF 14mm and Fuji X-Pro 1

My

Hamburg Bokeh Sightsseing series

benefits from the XF 14mm wide angle lens

After tons of photos in all different lighting situations I am nothing short of impressed. I hear a few complaints about the price of this lens. And at a MSRP of EUR 899,- / USD 899,- it does not generally appear to be a bargain for a Fujinon XF lens at first sight. But imagine you could buy a Leica 14mm f2.8 lens for this price – you would not think twice. And from my image quality point of view I would say that the XF 14mm is the most Leica like wide angle lens I have tried so far.

If you take a look at it from this point of view the lens is almost a bargain! :)

Positive:

+ Great image quality, color and contrast

+ DOF scale on the lens

+ Handles flare well

+ Value for money!

Neutral:

o Normal wide angle vignetting

o 58mm filter thread vs. 52mm on XF18 and 35mm

o 1 f-stop slower than the XF 18mm lens

Negative:

- Bulky lens hood (also obstructs OVF on X-Pro 1 quite a bit)

- A bit too big and heavy for my taste

If you have any further questions leave a comment below or Twitter me @HamburgCam 

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-) 

How good is the Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 R lens?

It seems that the Fujinon XF 35mm f1.4 R is the most popular lens for the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 in the current XF lens lineup. That may have two reasons:

1. The 35mm focal length on an APS-C camera equals the field of view (angle of view) of a 52.5mm lens on a regular 35mm full frame camera. And that is very close to the 50mm standard focal length that has been very popular for the past decades.

2. The XF 35mm is very sharp even at f1.4

Reason No. 1: The general popularity of a 50mm field of view lens does not apply to me personally. I consider a 35mm field of view to be my personal favorite "standard" focal length while a 50mm equivalent is a bit too long for my style of shooting. That is why I am pretty excited about the upcoming Fujinon XF 23mm f1.4 lens (mid 2013?) that will equal a field of view of a 35mm lens on a full frame camera – just like my Fuji X100.

Reason No. 2: Is something I do agree with. The lens creates sharp images, but it is hard to compare the Fuji 35mm to other 35mm lenses if those are attached to a different camera body. There would be too many variables introduced by different sensors and in camera processing that makes it hard to judge the lenses directly.

So I needed to find another lens that can be attached to the X-Pro 1 for direct comparison. Thanks to the Kipon EOS-XF adapter (

I wrote a detailed review about it in this post

) I was able to test the popular and highly regarded Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L lens and see how good the Fuji XF 35mm compares to it. BTW, the Canon EF 35mm f1.4 is also my favorite and most used lens on my full frame Canon camera.

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 comparison No.1

The Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L on the left and the Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 R on the right.

 Please note that this blog is not about endless test chart comparisons and pixel peeping into sub atomic levels. There are other websites who do these kind of tests. I want to see how things work out in real life the way I would use my gear.

While the main specs of the two lenses are similar (35mm f1.4) pretty much everything else is different! The Canon EF is a full frame sensor lens and therefore it is a lot bigger and heavier (about 3 times heavier than the Fuji XF 35mm). And it is also a lot more (about twice as) expensive:

                                      Fujinon XF 35mm f1.4

Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L

Max Format size:.............APS-C.............................................FF

Weight:...........................187g (0.41 lb)..................................580g (1.28 lb)

Min. focus:.......................0.28m (11.02”)................................0.3m (11.81”)

Elements:........................8.....................................................11

Length:............................55mm (2.17”)..................................86mm (3.39”)

Diameter:.........................65mm (2.56”)..................................79mm (3.11”)

Approx. Price:..................550 EUR (599 USD)........................1,300 EUR (1,400 USD)

In order to compare these two lenses I attached them to the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 camera. Since the Canon lens mount is different from the XF mount, I attached the Canon lens to the Kipon EOS-XF adapter. And while the Fuji lens seems to attach to the X-Pro 1 it rather feels like that the X-Pro 1 attaches to the Canon lens. Looking at the specs the X-Pro 1 only weighs 450g (0.99 lb) and is about 1/3 lighter than the Canon lens. In fact, the Canon lens is almost as heavy as the X-Pro 1 with the XF 35mm lens attached!

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 comparison No.2

Side view of the Fuji X-Pro 1 with Fuji XF 35mm lens attached. (

here is my blog post on the leather strap and thumbs grip I use

)

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 comparison No.3

Side view of Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L lens with adapter attached.

So much for the specs, let’s see how they compare in image quality.

I attached the X-Pro 1 to a sturdy tripod and set the X-Pro 1 to manual focus, ISO 200, shutter time 1/15s, fixed manual white balance (K) and 10 second timer to eliminate for camera shake. The photos were taken under controlled lighting.

I manually focused on the mittle of the “Rolleiflex” letters. The Canon lens does not auto focus when attached to the X-Pro 1 so I used manual focus for both lenses.

Here are the results:

Click on an image to be linked to a 100% full size view!

Happy Bokeh Friday 04.01.2013 - Fuji X-Pro 1

This is the result from the Fuji XF 35mm f1.4 R.

Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L - Test

And this is the result from the Canon EF 35mm f1.4 L.

I redid this shot a few times for each lens as I noticed the difference in brigtness right away. But all variables stayed the same for both lenses - so the Canon lens seems to return about 2/3 of a f-stop darker results compared to the Fuji. So far I came up with two potential reasons for this difference:

1. The Canon lens has 11 glass elements versus the Fuji with only 8 elements. I have no idea how big of an impact this can make but it seems plausible that less glass elements between the light and the sensor will allow for more light to reach its destination. The f-stop value of a lens does not take this factor into account.

2. When the Fuji lens is attached to the camera the distance from X-mount surface to the sensor is only 1.8cm (0.7"). The light hits the sensor right after the last lens element. On the Canon EF with the Kipon EOS-XF lens adapter attached the distance is around 6cm (2.5").

I decided not to compensate the exposure on the camera to equal out the result in brightness. After all, I wanted a direct comparison between these two lenses with all factors that I can controll to be equal.

Now let's continue to image details:

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 No.1

The left side of the photo shows the head of the wooden elk. This one is a bit hard to compare as the difference in luminance takes away some of the detail on the elk's nose and forehead on the Fuji lens image. But looking at the region between mouth and eye, the Fuji seems to be a bit sharper.

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 No.2

The "Rolleiflex" letters were the focus target close to the center. Here both lenses have their sweetspot but the Fuji clearly is sharper and shows less color fringing.

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 No.3

Moving a bit lower in the center of the frame the difference becomes even more apperant. The Fuji shows more detail and is sharper with a lot less color fringing. Even extra sharpening on the Canon lens image would not bring the photo up to the quality and detail of the Fuji lens.

Fuji XF 35mm vs Canon EF 35mm f1.4 No.4

And the last sample is from the christmas tree on the top right of the image to compare the bokeh quality of both lenses. And while the Fuji's bokeh is good (

here is my intensive test on the XF lenses bokeh

), the Canon's bokeh is just that bit more smooth and creamy. This point goes to the Canon.

A few observations that I made during the test:

- While focusing I noticed that the Canon lens tended to show more color fringing from green to red while I was fine tuning the manual focus.

- The Canon was also more difficult to fine tune since the manual focus reacted rather fast and direct to small movements.

- The Fujinon on the other hand actually benefited from the fine graduation of the “focus by wire” setting in this situation at close focusing distances. This was the first time that I actually saw the benefit of this technology.

- The Fuji seemed to have a larger sweet spot of the sharp focus area depth compared to the Canon – even though both were set to f/1.4

I was surprised that the Fuji lens did this good in direct comparison to my favorite Canon lens!

But there is one factor in favor of the Fuji lens that also needs to be mentioned:

The X-Pro 1 recognizes the Fuji lens and applies some lens correction inside the JPG engine. The Canon lens does not get this special treatment and shows an uncorrected result from the lens. I could have partially avoided this by shooting in RAW but then the RAW converter of i.e. Adobe Camera RAW could have recognized the Fuji lens as well and add some auto correction. But in the end I wanted to see how the Canon lens compared when I use it on the X-Pro 1 in my normal use and this is what I got. The X-Pro 1 will not internally compensate for the Canon lens no matter what I do.

But if you happen to own some Leica M lenses and purchased the Fuji X-Mount to Leica M-adapter, then the Fuji will internally apply corrections to some of the Leica M lenses (i.e. the SUMMICRON-M 35mmF2 ASPH)

My resume:

The Canon EF 35mm f1.4 is a fantastic lens on my Canon FF DSLR camera. It has a fast Ultrasonic AF motor and the weight and size match the bigger camera body well. The Fujinon XF 35mm f1.4 R is a fantastic AF lens for the Fuji X-Pro 1 / X-E1 cameras. This comparison has solved the question for me if I could improve the image quality by using the Canon EF 35mm f1.4 instead of the XF 35mm f1.4 for special occasions. The answer for me is “No!” and I can now comfortably leave the bigger Canon 35mm lens attached to my Canon camera.“Bigger is not always better” :)

If you have any further questions leave a comment below or Twitter me @HamburgCam

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-) 

Fuji X-Pro 1 and Olympus OM Zuiko lenses

After my

review on the Kipon Canon EOS to Fuji XF adapter

, I am going to write about how the Kipon Olympus OM-XF adapter performs on the Fuji X-Pro 1.

Fuji offers their own intelligent adapter for Leica M lenses. And if I were fortunate enough to own Leica M glass, I would buy the Fuji adapter in a heartbeat.

But I still own some Olympus OM Zuiko lenses from my old analog OM-4 Ti. Therefore another Kipon adapter was ordered and I had it connected to the X-Pro 1 quite often in the past month.

Unfortunately, my OM lens collection on the wide side overlaps with my current Fujinon XF lenses in terms of effective focal length. This leaves me with the Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 Auto-S and OM Zuiko 100mm f/2.8 Auto-T as useful additions to my current X-Pro 1 lens lineup. Great thing about those two lenses is that they are rather compact (compaed to the Olympus 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2). And with the additional lengt of the Kipon OM-XF adapter, you'll want as short of a lens as you can get - unless you want to end up with an odd looking drainpipe sticking out from your slim X-Pro 1 body ;)

The biggest advantage of the OM lenses vs. the Canon EOS EF lenses is that you can select the aperture right on the lens itself. No aperture "hack" required :)

And how do they perform? The image quality is great! I mainly use the 100mm as this effective field of view equals 150mm on a full frame body. Somehow I did not find much use for the 50mm (75mm equivalent FOV), yet.

Both performe really well wide open. But in order to use them wide open your focus has to be spot on. And that is quite difficult to manage with the current stage of the EVF refresh and magnification rate offered by the X-Pro 1. Did I mention before that I wish for a second MF magnification level of 5X in addition to the 10X we already got? And focus peaking would make focusing long MF lenses so much easier...

But the way it is right now (X-Pro 1 with FW 1.10) I usually stop down on moving subjects to f/5.6 in order to get enough depth of field to compensate for focus inaccuracy. It works but it takes a bit potential away from this great combo.

So if you want to use your OM (or any other manual focus) lens wide open on the X-Pro 1 make sure you aim at static objects - possibly even with the camera set on a tripod.

Here are some sample images - as always click on the image to see a larger version:

Last one standing - Fuji X-Pro 1

"Last one standing" - X-Pro 1 with Olympus OM 100mm f/2.8 Zuiko at f/8

Happy Bokeh Friday 08.06.2012 - Fuji X-Pro 1

As they were posing for their own photo I was able to nail focus with the OM 100mm wide open at f/2.8 - nice bokeh, too

First contact - Fuji X-Pro 1

Architecture works also well with the OM 100mm at f/5.6 as there is virtually no distortion!

Analogman @ work in Paris! Fuji X-Pro 1

Another lucky shot with the 100mm at f/2.8 - I wished focusing this long lens would be more reliable with the EVF in scenes with moving subjects

Hiding - Shrouded in a scarf - Fuji X-Pro 1

This was shot in a crowded place but I was able to single out this undercover lady with the 100mm lens at f/5.6

Olympus OM 50mm f/1.8 auf Fuji X-Pro 1

This is an example of how well the OM 50mm f/1.8 looks on the X-Pro 1

Getting close - Fuji X-Pro 1 with OM 100mm

And just in case if you are interested in how the OM 100mm handles color images... Looks very natural to me :)

DSCF5813

The OM 100mm f/2.8 isn't a dedicated macro lens - but look at the details on the focus point on the "C" from Cycle in the full size image at f/2.8!!! (click the image)

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Kipon OM-XF adapter and Olympus OM 100mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens

And now you probably want to see how the adapter and lens combo looks like when attached to the X-Pro 1. Notice that the Kipon OM-XF adapter itself is about half as long as the 100mm lens.

To sum it up:

The Olympus OM lenses were good lenses back in the analog days. And the once I tested perform really well on the X-Pro 1, too. So if you still have some OM lenses in the drawer, think about getting an OM-XF adapter for your X-Pro 1. And if you don't have any old lenses, check for used OM lenses on the web or at you used camera store.

Against my usual believe to go for the "faster, bigger and more expensive lenses" I would suggest to go for the smaller, lighter, cheaper ones when it comes to OM 50mm f/1.4 vs. f/1.8 and OM 100mm f/2 vs. f/2.8. The "slower" lenses perform really good and due to the challenging EVF focusing on the X-Pro 1 you might end up stopping the lenses down anyway.

If you have any further questions leave a comment below or Twitter me @HamburgCam

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-)