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.

I am an official International Fujifilm X-Photographer now :)

I had been contacted by Fujifilm in December 2013 where they invited me to become an official Fujifilm X-Photographer. And now my profile and portfolio have been posted on the official Fujifilm X-Photographer website:

http://fujifilm-x.com/photographers/en/marco_larousse/

My special thanks go out to Fujifilm Middle East and Fujifilm Germany who supported me in the process. I am honored and happy to join the official Fujifilm X-Photographer community. It feels humbling to be part of this awesome group next to highly respected and famous photographers like

Zack Arias

,

Kevin Mullins

and Mr. Strobist himself:

David Hobby

. But there are so many other talented and creative photographers in this group, too. It is certainly worth to browse around and look at what other

photographers worldwide create with Fujifilm X-Cameras

!

What will change about my FujiXfiles blog now?

My FujiXfiles blog has been read by more than half a million readers since I started it in mid-2012. I have gotten a huge amount of positive feedback and got to know so many great photographers from all over the world through it.

My main reason to start this blog was to show what these little Fuji-X mirrorless cameras can do and to post tips and tricks on how to get the most out of them. And I will continue to do it in the future, too! :)

Hamburg Marathon 2014 - Fuji X100S with WCL-X100

Yes, you can get good sport action photos without a big DSLR :) - Fuji X100S

The most read post on my blog so far has been the one about the X system AF focus tips. And while the overall performance of Fuji X-Camera AF has been constantly improved via FW updates

it may still be worth to take a look at it again

to get the best possible results from your X-Camera.

Fuji X100S SOOC B&W JPG look great!

Remember that the

Fuji X-Cameras give you great B&W

images straight out of the camera?

I will continue to write about my experiences with Fuji X-Cameras and show photos that I have taken with them. And I will still speak freely my personal opinion about Fuji-X products. I have no problem to point out things that I feel can improve the products. After all, I want the Fuji X-Cameras to be the best cameras as possible for me. And Fujifilm has shown in the past that they listen to us photographers and customers in order to built a long lasting customer relationship. And that is what inspired me to write this blog post after 3 years of using Fuji X-Cameras:

"Domo Arigato Fujifilm and Ganbatte Kudasai!

"

Hamburg rain street photography - Fuji X100S

Fuji does not let their X customers stand in the rain. I love the  FW feature updates :)

And one more thing! If the X-Photographer status will ever get me to test gear that is not announced, I will naturally not talk about it! 100% certain, so don't even ask! And if I'll ever speculate about future Fuji X products this will be based 100% on my personal opinion without any inside information or knowledge. In that respect my guess is as good as yours :)

With that out of the way, I hope that I can be of help to Fujifilm and all X-Photographers in continuing to make the Fuji X-System the best it can be.

Leica M6 - Ilford Delta 400 captures Fuji X-Pro 1

I am a rangefinder style camera guy - Here my Leica M6 captures my Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 56mm lens

If you have any further questions or want to share your Fuji-X experiences just leave a comment below, Twitter me @HamburgCam or visit

my Homepage at www.MarcoLarousse.com

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

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 :-) 

Fuji X10 and Firmware 2.0 Review and Samples

One thing I really enjoy since I started using Fuji X cameras is that Fuji listens to us users and pushes out Firmware updates over time that don’t only improve speed and reliability, but also add features.

I have been enjoying the use of my Fujifilm X10 as my most compact “serious“ camera. I always take it along when I only have a coat pocket of space for a camera and I’m always amazed by the quality images I get from this small sensor camera. The awesome fast lens does work perfectly together with the EXR sensor. But the fast zoom lens comes at the price of a little bit bigger size. Unlike a Canon s95/S100 who’s lens retracts 100% into the body to give a small package that fits in your shirt pocket, the lens of the X10 sticks out too much for any shirt pocket that I own. But my coat pockets will hold the X10 comfortably.

I just returned from a 1 day business trip to Munich. I only had a little extra room in my bag and it was easily filled with the X10. Here are three quick photos that I snapped on the way:

As always, click on the image for a larger version

A cool looking subway station that is hidden in the south of Munich:

Spaceport Munich - Fuji X10 sample

And the very famous Marienplatz station that most Munich visitors come across:

Munich Marienplatz Station - Fuji X10 sample

The X10 has a great auto white balance even in this tricky yellowish airfield lighting and very good ISO 1600 quality for a small sensor camera

 Fuji X10 ISO 1600 AWB sample

Fuji X10 ISO 1600 AWB sample

___________

Firmware 2.0

Last Friday my almost one year old Fuji X10 received a 2.0 firmware update from Fuji. Two things were mentioned as changes in the release notes:

1. The “Q“ (Quick) Menu that I love so much on my X-Pro 1 was added to the X10 “RAW“ button. You now have the camera’s most important functions all on one detailed screen to quickly change them.

2. An “Advanced Filter” function has been added. Those filters can be activated in the Advanced Mode and give you the choice of 5 special filter effects (Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, High-Key, Dynamic Tone and 6 individual color key (partial color) filters.

I have spend some time over the weekend to play with the new firmware functions. The added “Q“ Menu alone made the upgrade worth it for me. Although you need to be aware that you loose the option to program the “RAW“ key with a custom function. The Fn key can still be programmed with you favorite function, though.

The color filters are a nice add on, too. But to be honest, I’m not a big fan of these filters in general. I do, however, see why Fuji added them to the prosumer targeted X10 compact. The X10 is a very capable compact camera. And I enjoy the excellent image quality and natural color rendition of the original files straight out of the camera. But there are users who prefer a different style of look to their images that had to be applied outside the camera in a photo editor, untill now.

But now you can choose the filter style you like in the Advanced menu and preview the effect the filter will create live on the LCD. One click and the image has been captured in that style and is ready for upload via USB, SD-Card reader or Eye-Fi card.

Here are some examples of what some of the filters look like (out of camera):

The Miniature filter:

 Fuji X10 Miniature filter sample

Fuji X10 Miniature filter sample

The Dynamic Tone filter:

 Fuji X10 Dynamic Tone filter sample

Fuji X10 Dynamic Tone filter sample

The Partial Color Blue filter:

 Fuji X10 Partial Color Blue filter sample

Fuji X10 Partial Color Blue filter sample

And the High-Key filter:

 Fuji X10 High-Key filter sample

Fuji X10 High-Key filter sample

While it is convenient to have the camera bake the filter style automatically into your photo there is a drawback. Once the JPG is created, there is no turning back! The effects only work in JPG and don't work on your RAW files. So there is no way to neutralize your image file after the filter style has been applied. Therefore use the filter effects wisely!

While I tested the filter effects, I started to wonder if their use could be improved. I came up with the following suggestions/questions:

1. Why can't the filter effects be created from a RAW file inside the camera's RAW converter like the film simulations?

2. Why can't the filter effects be incorporated into the "Drive" function "Film Simulation Series"? This way I could choose one or two effects and still have the original Provia file.

3. Why can't the filter effects be accesed in the "Q" menu for quick changing?Maybe Fuji listens once again to our suggestions - and please Fuji, add the "Q" menu to the X100's Raw button, too ;-)

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 AF (Autofocus) speed and accuracy - Review and tips

It seems to me that speed and quality of the Fujifim X-Pro 1 autofocus is one of the hottest topics about this camera on the web. "Is it as fast as...?" "Is it capable of sports, action, etc...?"

I will focus (no pun intended) on this topic for todays post and give you my experiences and tips on how to get the most out of the X-Pro 1 in terms of focusing. As of today, I took more than 10,000 images with the X-Pro 1 in the past 4 month. That gives me a pretty good idea of what the AF can and what it can't do.

The X-Pro 1 AF will not rival the speed of the Nikon D4 or Canon 1D X - that should not be a surprise to anyone. But there are ways to make the AF of the X-Pro 1 perform fast enough for most situations.

Future Dirk Nowitzki? Fuji X-Pro 1

No, you don't have to fake it like this in order to take photos of moving subject with the X-Pro 1 ;)

The X-Pro 1 uses contrast detection autofocus (CDAF) compared to phase detection autofocus that is usually found in DSLR cameras. As I have

shown in an earlyer post

, I like to photograph at minimum aperture to create a shallow depth of field. And in those situations perfect AF lock is essential for good results. The advantage of contrast detection is, that it is very accurate when it locks onto the target. On my phase detection  DSLR camera I have gotten used to pushing the shutter half way for 2-3 times before I trust that the AF locked correctly onto the subject.

You can give this a try for yourself. Take your DSLR and your fastest lens - a 50mm lens with f/1.8 or faster would work great. Then open the aperture all the way and look for a subject  about 1 m (3ft) away. Now press you shutter (or designated AF button) once untill you get the focus lock feedback. Now do it again. Did you hear the AF in the lens moving (pumping)? And give it a third try. Still hear movement? If so you are hearing the lens readjusting every time.

I found that in those situations the contrast autofocus is usually spot on the first time while the phase detection AF needs a few pushes and a series of images to get a perfect result.

The advantage of phase detection AF is, that it is better at tracking subjects, especially if they move towards or away from you. The continious contrast detection AF on the X-Pro 1 did not yield good results for me when set to AF-C (continuous) mode.

So is the X-Pro 1 useless for moving subjects? Not at all! You just have to approach things differently to get good results! Here are my tips to get the best results from the X-Pro 1:

1. Learn what the X-Pro 1 AF needs:

Although the X-Pro 1 will generally focus without a problem in good light, there are situations where you need to aid the AF to lock onto your subject. These situations could be a very low contrast object like a plain wall, low light or backlight behind your subject.

In those situations you need to remember that the contrast autofocus of the X-Pro 1 does not focus like a cross type sensor. Think of the AF to work like a split screen focusing screen on a classic SLR camera. Therefore you should aid the X-Pro in horizontal orientation (landscape orientation) to find a vertical line on the subject for your AF point to focus on. In vertical orientation (portrait orientation) look for a horizontal line to focus on. It took me some time to figure this out, but you can give it a try on your white bathroom tiles as a hands on exercise to remember this.

There are situations where you might not find the edge or line in the correct orientation for the focus frame to aim at. In those situations I keep the viewfinder on my eye, tilt the camera slightly (maybe 25° clockwise or counterclockwise) an half press the shutter untill I get the focus lock confirmation. I keep the shutter half pressed, turn the camera back into the orientation that I desire, reframe and click!

Drive by Tourism - Fuji X-Pro 1

This car was driving parallel to me and the AF of the X-Pro 1 did not have any problems to lock focus on the first try

2. Focus points are your friends:

Choosing you focus point is critical. In electronic viewfinder mode (EVF) I set my focus point (focus frame) to its smallest size (push the AF button and turn command dial to the right). This way I reduce the potential for focus error in situations where the focus point covers too much of a subject. How annoying would it be if you focus at an eye, but the AF chooses the nose as it happens to be in your focus area, too?

A larger focus point will however increase the chance that it can focus on something in critical focus situations as described in 1. above. So there might be situations where it can be helpful to increase the size of your focus point.

You should also get very comfortable to use focus point selection. I get far better results when I select the focus point to be on the correct spot in the frame compared to focus and recompose - especially with the XF 18mm lens. I tend to get really close to my subject with the 18mm lens to get a shallow depth of field. And during the focus and recompose process a few centimeters movement can ruin the focus. So get that muscle memory in your fingers trained to press the AF button once and then select the focus area on the arrow buttons. When you want to quickly recenter the AF point afterwards, just push the AF button once and then click the "OK" button in the mittle of the arrow keys - voilá :)

Fuji X-Pro 1 - XF 18mm f/2

The best way to get this sharp result was to set the focus point to the top right of the frame onto the keyhole

3. Focus speed - Yes, it can!

Like I said in my introduction, the X-Pro 1 AF will not be your best choice if you want to use AF-Traking for fast action photography. However, I found the focus speed to be much better than I expected. But once again, you'll probably have to operate the AF differently to what you are used to.

To archieve the fastest AF speed on the X-Pro 1 set the AF to AF-S (single) and turn the power save mode off. Then adjust your focus point to be on the area of the frame where you want to lock focus on (if you constatntly don't get good results try to increase the AF point size for that situation). Now aim at your subject and quickly press the shutter all the way. Yes, you press it all the way without waiting for half press focus confirmation! It took me some time to learn this approach as I have done it

properly

differently for the past 8 years. But change is good if the results improve. Give it a try, you will probably be surprised :)

Decisive moment for a soccer striker - Fuji X-Pro 1

Contrary to

Zack Arias review

I found that the X-Pro 1 is suitable for kids soccer photography ;)

4. Fast action sports - Yes, you can!

There are however limits to what the X-Pro 1 AF can handle. Once you are getting into really fast or close action it is up to you! Kind of "Don't ask what your camera can do for you. Ask instead what you....." you get the idea ;)

Once you reach the limit of AF speed, and that is the case for any camera, you will have to rely on your own skill to capture the action. Believe it or not, before AF was invented photographers took fantastic action photos, too. The secret for good results is to lern how to manual zone focus.

First, you will need to anticipate the area of the scene where the action will take place and switch the focus mode to Manual. Secondly,  prefocus to the spot where you want to capture the action and stop the lens down to an f-stop that allows for enought depth of field (zone) where the subject will be in focus. The manual focus distance scale indicator in the viewfinder will show this depth of field zone (white line) in front and behind your focus distance indicator (red line).

Finally, you only need to set your minimum shutter speed to either freeze the action or to leave a bit of motion blur. Now let the subject walk (or run) into your zone of focus.

Hamburg Marathon 2012 Impressionen - Fuji X-Pro 1

Zone focusing the X-Pro 1 with 35mm at f/2.8 was the only way to get a good image this close to the action

5. EVF or OVF for best results?

To get the most accurat framing and focus spot you are best off by using the EVF. And for manual focus and macro photography the EVF is pretty much your only choice. I also prefer the EVF in dark situations as it amplifies the scene and makes it much brighter than in the OVF! Yet, some people don't like to use EVF as there is a bit of lag and the refreshrate can be too slow for some situations. But as you have probably guessed by now, there is also a trick to overcome the EVF display lag in critical timing situations.This will work best if you are photographing with your right eye on the viewfinder. We can take advantage of the X-Pro 1 rangefinder style layout by framing and pre focusing our shot with the right eye on the EVF and then opening the left eye, too in order to look "live" at your subject. Now you see the live "feed" of the scene with your left eye a bit faster than the scene through the EVF. And this can give you the critical edge in timing that smile you want to capture or simply avoiding closed eyes due to blinking of your subject. It takes a bit of practice to get used to it, but it works really well for me. For people who look through the viewfinder with their left eye this trick will only work in portrait orientation.

Naturally, you don't have the lag issue with the OVF. Due to the bigger field of view compared to the actual frame lines the lens/sensor combination captures, you can also better anticipate a subject before it walks into your capture frame. The drawback of the OVF is parallax error. As you are not looking through your lens like you would in a (D)SLR or EVF style camera, you need to compensate for the difference in position from your eye to your lens. This parallax error gets bigger, the closer you are to the subject!

The X-Pro 1 offers a setting in the menu (switch Corrected AF Frame to "ON") to show an estimation of the focus point and framelines shift according to the distance the AF measured. The adjusted focus point and framelines will appear after you half press the shutter to focus and then recompose to adjust the framing. Note that you can't reduce the size of the AF point in OVF mode (it would not be accurate enough). You can however move the focus point around.

Hamburg Marathon 2012 Impressionen - Fuji X-Pro 1

I looked with my left eye past the camera to time this photo and with my right eye through the EVF for general framing. If I would have relied only on the EVF for timing, the lag would have caused me to push the shutter a fraction of a second too late.

Conclusion:

There are certainly limits to what the X-Pro 1 AF can do, but I find the performance of the AF and MF to be very usable. I sometimes read that people (probably not so experienced photographers) are unhappy with the AF performance of the X-Pro 1. But you'll have to do some things differently than what you might be used to in order to get the best results with this camera. There is no face detection or object tracking on the X-Pro 1 - so if this is what you have been used to in your previous camera you now have the perfect opportunity to learn more photography techniques that will put

you

in charge of the results. Try it, it can be very rewarding. After all, who likes to be only on the passenger seat all the time? ;-)

DSCF5670

A friendly Sony NEX-5n photographer wanted to return the favor and take a photo of me with my X-Pro 1. I guess he never photographed without face detection AF before ;)

Click on the image to read the whole story on this unsharp photo.

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

p.s. Most of these tipps will also work on the Fuji X100 and Fuji X-E1

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 :-)

How Bokehlicious is the Fuji X-Pro 1?

Tests have shown that the Fuji X-Pro 1 is able to challenge full frame sensor cameras in resolution, dynamic range and ISO performance.

But there is one physical limitation where even the best APS-C size sensor can't challenge a full frame camera - and that is shallow depth of field control.

Any sensor smaller than full frame will have a greater depth of field at comparable lens and f-stop settings. Now that does not automatically imply that this is a bad thing. Many wildlife, sports and macro photographers actually appreciate this characteristic for their work.

But I am a shallow depth of field and bokeh lover! I have used full frame DSLR's for 6 years and really make use of shallow depth of field to separate my subject from the background. So how can I create this effect with the X-Pro 1?

Well, the underlying physics of the X-Pro 1 APS-C sensor can't be changed. You have to a) shoot as wide open as possible and b) get as close as possible to your subject and c) use the longest focal length possible in order to increase the shallow depth of field.

The bokeh quality is a matter of the lens used. So how do the XF 18mm and XF 35mm that I own do in the bokeh department? See and decide for yourself:

Small but at the Top - Fuji X-Pro 1 macro

The Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 is capable of producing a nice bokeh and lots of details even at f/2.8!

Happy Bokeh Friday 11.05.2012 - Fuji X-Pro 1

The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 does produce a very pleasing bokeh, too.

Happy Bokeh Friday 30.03.2012

XF 35mm @ f/1.4 with sunlight coming in through the window behind the chair.

And let our grammar better get always ;) - Fuji X-Pro 1

This was a high contrast scene facing towards the sun with the XF 18mm lens. Blown highlights but nice bokeh.

Happy Bokeh Friday 20.04.2012

Detail of a classic Citroen DS taken with the XF 35mm f/1.4

Happy Bokeh Friday 13.04.2012

The wide angle XF 18mm f/2 allows for a good angle of view even if you want to get close to the subject in order to create background blurr

Happy Bokeh Friday 22.06.2012 - Fuji X-Pro 1

XF 35mm at f/1.4 - I use shallow depth of field to focus the viewers attention to the part of the picture that I want to highlight. The Lytro camera shown in this image lets the viewer decide where to focus on after the picture was taken...

The right one is somewhere out there... - Happy Bokeh Friday!

XF 35mm at f/1.4 - If everything would have been in focus, the background would have distracted from the subject and the story this picture was supposed to tell would have been less intense

Portrait in the rain - Fuji X-Pro 1

I am always amazed about how well the XF 35mm on the X-Pro 1 resolves details. Even wide open at f/1.4 you can clearly see individual hairs (click on the image to go to a bigger version)

Both the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 and 35mm f/1.4 are great compact lenses that can be used with wide open aperture and still resolve lots of detail.

Remember, the smaller the sensor gets, the tougher it is to separate your subject from the background! Therefore a smaller m4/3 sensor needs an even faster lens to create a similar shallow depth of field at a comparable field of view that you get from an APS-C sensor camera.

Looking at Fujis XF lens roadmap, the XF 23mm f/1.4 and XF 56mm f/1.4 (both in 2013) are two lenses that look interesting for the shallow depth of field style photographer :)

And as the Fuji X-E1 hast the same mount and sensor as the X-Pro 1, the results will be the same.

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 :-) 

Pimp my Fuji X-Pro 1

Don't worry! By pimping I don't mean that you need to add neon or a subwoofer to the X-Pro 1 ;)

When I say pimping I'm talking about what I did to increase speed and usability of my X-Pro 1.

1. Strap

The day I preordered my X-Pro 1 was also the day that I ordered a thin leather strap from

Gordy's Camera Straps

. I have used Gordy's straps on all of my old analog cameras for years. A beautiful camera like the X10, X100 or the X-Pro 1 deserves a beautiful strap. The strap is perfect for the weight of the camera and you can customized the length, color of leather and color of the wrapping cord to individulize your strap.

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Gordy's strap and soft release

2. Thumbs Up grip

Compared to an entry level camera body the X-Pro 1 is not that much smaller in width and height. But it's much thinner. That's great for portability but not ideal for ergonomics.

I have rather large hands and the X-Pro 1 is too thin to sit perfectly in my hand. Fuji was aware of this potential issue and offers a X-Pro 1 hand grip. The Fuji hand grip is screwed into the tripod mount of the X-Pro 1. It offers a centered tripod mount on the bottom (the X-Pro 1 comes with an off center tripod mount). I almost ordered the hand grip, but unfortunately it lacks the hole to access the battery and SD card compartment when attached. So you'll have to detach the hand grip every time you need to access the SD card or battery...

Then I read somewhere that a Thumbs Up grip for the Leica X1 fits the

Fuji X-Pro 1 (Thumbs Up CSEP-2) and the X100

. It was about 50% more expensive than the Fuji Hand Grip, but you still have easy access to the battery/SD door.

My black Thumbs Up grip arrived and has stayed on the X-Pro 1 since then. It is well made (as one can expect for this price) and fits ergonomically perfect for me. The camera is well balanced even when holding it in one hand. They now even make another

Thumbs Up (EP-7S)

grip especially for the X-Pro 1 that is a bit cheaper, but I have not tried that one.

If you opt for a Thumbs Up grip you should be aware of the following issues:

You loose the flash ability via hot shoe (I have not used a flash on the X-Pro 1 so far). And the paint of the grip will wear off quite easily and expose the brass underneath (see photo).

 Fuji X-Pro 1 with Thumbs Up Grip CSEP-2 and soft release button

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Thumbs Up Grip CSEP-2 and soft release button

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Thumbs Up Grip CSEP-2 and soft release button

3. Soft release:

I found the X-Pro 1 trigger to be a bit small for my liking and I ordered a soft release online. There are cheap soft releases on ebay so give it a try. And maybe order a few extra ones as I have managed to loose one already. (I did not dare to add LocTite)

4. Extra battery:

 I ordered two original spare batteries for my X-Pro 1. I get around 300-400 images on one charge under my normal use conditions. So the extra juice can come in handy...

5

. SD-Card

If you want to speed up the operations on your X-Pro 1 invest in fast UHS-I SDHC cards! Fortunately Fuji supports the new UHS-I standard and the X10, X100 and X-Pro 1 make use of it. I am using 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro cards rated at 95 MB/s and have never felt that the cameras operate slowly. The speed will most likely improve noticably even compared to a normal Class 10 card.

 SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I

6. SD-Card maintanance

No matter what SD card you use there is some precaution that you should take with the cards used on Fuji X-Cameras!

First of all always format the card inside the camera.

Secondly, SD cards come with a little "Lock" slider on the side. Do make it a habbit to switch the slider to "Lock" as soon as you take the card out of the camera and unlock it only right before you put it back into the camera! (unless you want to load a firmware update onto the card).

If you don't lock the card and stick it into a Mac or iPad (I don't know about Windows), the OS will add a little file onto the card that gives your Fuji camera the hiccups. The camera will feel totally unrespondsive and takes forever to start. Only cure is to format the card in camera and remeber to lock it next time you take it out.

7. Lens adapter:

If you still have some old lenses from a different camera system why not check out if they have an adapter for the XF mount? I recently wrote about my experience with the

Canon EOS EF to Fuji XF adapter on my X-Pro 1

and will soon post about my experience with the Olympus OM Zuiko to XF adapter.

Give your lens a second life and your X-Pro 1 some extra focal lenght to play with :)

Fuji X-Pro 1 with EF 135mm f2 L

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Kipon EOS-XF adapter and Canon EF 135mm f/2 L lens attached

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 Architecture photography

Any camera is capable of taking photos of architecture! But some do it better than others...

The field of view of the lens/camera combination and distance/point of view to the subject have to match in order to get the photo you want. Most of the time I end up shooting architecture from the ground-level up and a Tilt-Shift lens is most useful in those situations.

But Fuji does not make a Tilt-Shift lens for the XF camera mount so I have to work with what I've got. The XF 18mm and 35mm lenses do make decent architecture lenses on the X-Pro 1, though.

First of all they have a lot of resolving power and the X-Trans sensor delivers a lot of detail and sharpness thanks to the lack of a AA filter.

Secondly, the X-Pro 1 corrects the distortion for the lenses. THis way you get straight lines from your "out of camera" jpg image. This helps a lot in making the image look good even if you have to apply a bit of perspective correction in post processin.

Here are a few architecture shots I have taken with the X-Pro 1 recently:

Spaceship Egg Pano -Fuji X-Pro 1 @ Europapassage

No surprized that I start with an "in camera Pano" from the X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens -

This Fuji X-Camera function has served me very well in Paris, too :)

Eye puzzler - Fuji X-Pro 1

Quite an eye puzzler due to the perspective and reflection of the XF 35mm shot - no HDR!

Decision Time - Architecture - Fuji X-Pro 1

Left or right? X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens

Hafen City View Point - Fuji X-Pro 1

Plenty of negative space in this X-Pro 1 "in camera 180° panorama" taken with the XF 35mm lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 - Architecture

X-Pro 1 with XF 35mm lens and pretty much no distortion!

HafenCity Architektur Hamburg - Fuji X-Pro 1

I did not apply perspective correction to this XF 18mm photo - I liked it this way

HafenCity View Point - Fuji X-Pro 1

View Point - Taken with X-Pro 1 and XF 35mm lens

Disconnect - Fuji X-Pro 1

Visualization of the word "Disconnect" - Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 35mm lens

Urban Oasis - Fuji X-Pro 1

Urban Oasis taken with the XF 18mm lens

III down II up III - Fuji X-Pro 1

Down & Up - Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens

25% Stone vs. 75% Air - Fuji X-Pro 1

25% stone vs. 75% air - Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens

For me the X-Pro 1 with the XF 18mm and XF 35mm work well for the kind of architecture photography that I mostly do. And the build in Panorama mode allows for some extra cool images. What are your experiences?

Leave a comment below or tweet me @hamburgcam

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

Is the Fuji X100 enough camera for traveling? My Copenhagen experiment

I have used the Fujifilm X100 for well over a year now. It was my first serious mirrorless camera as I mainly relied on fullframe DSLR before.

There have been loads and loads of technical reviews posted about the X100 and the fantastic image quality, so let me focus on the question that I read so often in blogposts: Can I travel with only the X100 on my side? Here is my real life travel experience:

 I planned a photo trip to Copemhagen last year and wanted to start an experiment by only bringing the Fuji X100 as my digital camera. As reported in a previous post about my recent trip to Paris with the X-Pro 1 (

Traveling light to Paris with Fuji X-Pro 1 and X10

) I used to carry way too much heavy gear with me when I travelled. The fear of missing a shot because I did not have the right lens or flash with me was always present when packing the gear. But this time it was different.

Only the X100 - and I did not even have a spare battery at that time. And there was actually some room left in the smallest photobag that I owned! In a last second decision I grabbed my 1953 Rolleiflex analog medium format camera and a few rolls of film to fill that gap - something that I never had space for on previous trips :)

It was a funny feeling when I boarded the train early that Friday morning - kind of scared and reliefed at the same time with the light gear on my shoulder...

Rolleiflex Automat 1953 - on the morning train

The X100 taking a photo of this friendly Rolleiflex Alien on the train to Copenhagen ;)

The trip was planned to mainly visit the Copenhagen Jazz festival and to stroll around the city. But visiting a city without a wider lens than a 35mm field of view? What if I want to photograph architecture? 24mm or 17mm was usually my widest focal length for those trips. Sometimes I even brought the 15mm fisheye...

I arrived in Copenhagen central station and my friends picked me up and took me to the first photographic "must see" location: The famous "Vor Frue Kirke" - the Copenhagen Cathedral. This is one of those locations that screams for a wide angle lens to capture its full beauty. The gear remorse kicked in right away! Great, this isn't going to work with 35mm! Why didn't I bring a different camera and more lenses?

But then I remebered that the X100 has a build in pano stiching program. This is something that I had not really used as it seemed to be more of a point & shoot gimmick to me. But maybe it could get me a decent shot here? The best way to capture the cathederal hallway and ceiling would be in vertical orientation but I had not seen this "vertical panorama" option documented in the owners manual. So here goes the first try:

Vor Frue Kirke - Copenhagen Cathedral - Fuji X100 Pano

Vor Frue Kirke - Copenhagen Cathedral taken with Fuji X100 in pano stiching mode

It did work surprisingly well! This was the moment that would introduce a new style of photography to me :)

Take a look at this post to see really cool panos from Paris taken with a Fuji X-Camera:

Cool Panos from Paris

Off to the next challenge - capturing the spirit of the Jazz musicians. I knew that I had to get close to the action in order to get strong images. A 35mm field of view is a first row shooting lens and 12 MPix sensor resolution won't let you crop forever. But the Copenhagen Jazz Festival is a really open and easy going event that allowed me to get almost as close as I wanted:

Passion for Guitar

The facial expression tells it all :)

The outdoor venues were a breeze with the X100. But focusing did get a lot tougher inside the dimly lit Jazz clubs. At the time of this trip the X100 was still in its early stages of Firmware updates. And the contrast auto focus and manual focus was not really up to speed in low light back then. So I did have to do a lot of trial and error, but ended up getting some nice shots:

Happy Bokeh Friday 08.07.2011

Play louder, I can't hear you! ISO 3200

Passion for Saxophone

Lost in music

If James Bond would drive a Volvo it would be the P1800

While moving from club to club I came across this cool looking vintage Volvo.

If James Bond would drive a Volvo it would be the P1800

Nyhavn Copenhagen - Fuji X100 Pano

When I reached the famous Nyhavn canal it was time to try if the pano mode also worked in "traditional" horizontal panorama orientation

Vertical Pano Tower - Fuji X100

Another opportunity to use the pano function in vertical orientation was close by, though :)

And just in case you care to see one of my Rolleiflex photos, this is what I made out of 2 photos (6x6) from my Rolleiflex at the Axelborg staircase:

Copenhagen Eyes

Copenhagen Eyes at Axelborg building - 1953 Rolleiflex with Kodak Portra 160 VC

My resume about the X100 as main travel camera on trips:

I would not hesitate to only take the X100 along when going on a trip - as long as I can live without more zoom than the 35mm field of view that the X100 offers. Croping a 12 MPix image on a good resolving lens gives you some room to enlarge a subject but it is not an endless option.

On the wide side I think that the panorama function on the X100 can easily minimize the need for a wider angle lens.

If you feel that you do need more zoom or a wider angle at times, I would opt for an additional small camera companion like the Fujifilm X10 or a Canon S95/S100 instead of taking a big DSLR with lens(es). This way I have the option to leave one of the two "smaller" cameras (X100 or the compact camera) in the hotel room - but you can't really reduce the basic size of your DSLR camera body.

The X100 is today a much better camera than it was when I traveled to Copenhagen. Fuji has constantly listened to us photographers and implemented improvements in each firmware upgrade. Kudos to Fuji for constantly improving the X100 :-)

Leave a comment below or tweet me @hamburgcam if you have questions

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 Canon EF lenses

I was very excited when I found out that there will be an adapter to connect Canon EOS EF lenses to the Fujifim X-Pro 1 mount, and ordered it right away. I currently own the Fujinon XF 18mm and 35mm lenses that cover my mainly used focal length. But I have some nice Canon EOS EF lenses that I want to use when I need a bit more focal reach.

Obviously there are two caveat when using Canon EOS EF lenses on a X-Pro 1

1. You loose the AF and IS on the Canon lens and some of the EF lenses are not that comfortable to manual focus as these lenses are mainly built for auto focus use.

2. This is the big bummer! Let me put it in a Henry Ford style sentence: You have full control over the aperture setting on EF lenses as long as it is "wide open" ;)

The lens will only work at its open aperture - i.e. the 50mm f/1.4 will be at 1.4 when attached to the X-Pro 1 via the adapter.

But there is a hack for that! I have been using it and it has been working for me. You can set the aperture on an EF lens to stay/rest at your desired apperture when you follow these steps (at your own risk):

- I attach the desired lens (i.e. 50mm f/1.4) to my Canon DSLR camera and turn it on

- Then I choose the aperture that I would like the lens to stay at (i.e. f/4)

- Next I rest the camera on a steady safe surface such as a table

- Now I push the DOF preview button on the Canon DSLR (the aperture blades close to f/4)

- And while the DOF preview button is pushed I disconnect the lens from the DSLR

- Finally I switch off the DSLR and put the camera mount cap on it

If you now look into the front of the lens you can see that the aperture blades are still in the f/4 position - or whatever aperture you chose.

That's quite a finger acrobatics hack, isn't it?

Carrying a DSLR around with you and performing this hack every time you want to switch the aperture on your EF lens is not very practical in the field. Therefore you should choose the best "compromise" aperture for your DOF liking and use ND filters to allow you to still work at wide open apertures even in bright light situations.

I mainly shoot with the Fujinon XF lenses, but occasionaly I attach the Kipon EOS-XF adapter and a Canon EF tele lens for those situations that would not work well with my current Fuji lenses:

Fuji X-Pro 1 with EF 70-200m f4 L + 1.4x TC

The Canon EF 70-200 f/4 IS L plus 1.4x TC was the crazyest combo I came up with. The FOV 35mm equivalent is 420mm and the optical quality is pretty good!

Pink in the Rain - Fuji X-Pro 1

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @f/2.2

Bicycle chained to fence No. 6 / Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @f/2.2 creates a nice creamy bokeh

Nautical bitt - Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @f/2.2

EF 135mm L test @ f/2 - Lost Toy

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 135mm f/2 L @f/2 this creates an even better bokeh

Tonights Moon over Hamburg - Fuji X-Pro 1

And finally the mother of all tele test: The Moon! Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 70-200 f/4 IS L plus 1.4x TC @f/7.1 ISO 400 and 1/500s on a tripod in standard JPG mode

The three Canon lenses I tested worked well with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and the Kipon EOS-XF adapter. Here are the settings that I prefer and thoughts about the lens combination with the X-Pro 1:

- Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 makes the most sense in terms of focal length (around 130mm FOV on the X-Pro 1), size and weight for me. The optical quality is great but there is some color fringing wide open (just like on the Canon 5D MK II). Stopped down to f/2.8 I think this is a great combo!

- Canon EF 135 f/2 L is one of the sharpest Canon lenses with a beautiful creamy bokeh. It performs very well on the X-Pro 1 shows lots of detail resolution and has a nice size focus ring to work with. But it is heavy and difficult to focus on moving subjects. The equivalent FOV of 200mm on the X-Pro 1 is more than the EVF refresh rate and 10x zoom function can cope with. It is best used with a tripod on still objects.

- Canon EF 70-200 f/4 IS L with and without 1.4x TC. I was pleasently surprised how good the optical quality was on the X-Pro 1. Especially with the 1.4x TC I get quite a bit of color fringing on my Canon 5D MK II, but I hardly got any on the X-Pro 1. I also got a much better moon shot with the lens attached to the X-Pro 1 in jpg than I ever got on my 5D MK II in RAW. The X-Pro 1 does have a 1.5 crop advantage, but the Canon also has 5 MPix more resolution...

This combo is almost a telescope at 420mm equivalent FOV and not very practical to focus. You need lots of light, a still subject and shutter time of 1/1000s or a tripod to get a usable shot.

My resume:

The three Canon EF lenses that I tried so far did resolve details very well and gave pleasing and consistent color results. In terms of size, weight and focal length the EF 85mm f/1.8 works best for me. I got very good results with the longer focal length, too. But in order to focus these lenses correctly you need to switch to EVF, use the 10x magnifier and try not to get dizzy with all the motion blurr you get at those zoom focal length. Fuji did improve the EVF refreshrate in their last FW update 1.10 and that really helped. But an even bigger improvement woul be a second, reduced zoom factor option of 5x, an even faster refresh rate or (even better) focus peaking.

But even then the hack to change the aperture on EF lenses is less than perfect. The old Canon FD mount lenses did still have an aperture ring and might be your better alternative if you still own some of them or find one cheap on ebay. Although the optical quality might not be as good as on the majority of the newer EF lenses it might be worth looking at the FD-XF adapter, too.

Let me know what you think of alternative lenses on the XF Mount in the comments or tweet me @hamburgcam

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Fuji X10 goes to Paris, too - and does cool panos

When deciding what gear to take to Paris this year my prime mission was to go light without sacrificing the image quality that I am used to from my DSLR cameras. My second companion camera to the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 was the compact Fujifilm X10!

A compact? Why? After owning the X100 for 6 month I eagerly awaited the X10 to hit the stores towards the end of last year. Just like I did with the X100, I ordered the X10 without ever phisically holding it in my hand. Buying without trying is a very untypical thing for me to do, but I was pretty certain that the X10 would be the compact camera that I would feel least limited with - compared to a bigger camera.

My main reasons for choosing the X10 were the fast high quality lens with f/2-2.8 at 28-112mm (35mm equivalent field of view), relatively large sensor, Fuji color JPG engine, in camera pano mode and an optical view finder for extreme bright situations.

The great lens comes with the draw back that it sticks out quite a bit compared to other compact cameras. But photography and image quality are about compromises and the size of the lens was the compromise I was willing to take.

I took the X10 along to Paris as a safety net for those situations where I wanted more zoom than the X-Pro 1 XF lens lineup currently offers. But the primary reason was the in camera panorama stiching program.

To me, this is one of the most overlooked quality features of this camera! At first it seemed like a consumer gimmick to me. But after using it for many month it gives me capabilities of a Hasselblad X-Pan panorama camera, just digital, smaller, cheaper and more versatile (BTW, the Hasselblad X-Pan was a rebranded Fuji TX-1 build by Fuji)

The X10 is capable of 120°, 180°, 360° sweep panoramas that are stiched in camera and saved as jpg. You will need some practice to max this feature out, but this is what it is capable of:

Not your typical l'Arc de Triomphe postcard photo - Fuji X10 vertical pano

Since I found out that vertical panos also work, this has been my main style I use this feature for. Not your typical Arc de Triomphe postcard photo, eh? ;)

The lone photographer above Paris - Fuji X10 panorama

And this is a traditional 120° horizontal pano sweep from to of the Arc de Triomphe

Not your typical Eiffel Tower postcard photo - Fuji X10 vertical pano

Still, the vertical panos are so much more fun and give a new perspective of the Eiffel Tower :)

Spaceship launch pad Paris - Fuji X10 panorama

I would have needed a wide fishe eye lens to get this 180° field of view without the pano mode

Rue Chappe stairs - Paris panorama - Fuji X10

The 180° vertical pano worked pretty well on the famous "Rue Chappe stairs", too

Bibliothèque nationale de France - Fuji X10 Pano

Without the pano mode I could not have captured the impression I got when standing in front of the huge Bibliothèque nationale de France

If you already own a Fuji X10 / X100 / X-Pro 1 take this post as an inspiration to play around with the pano functions, too. Don't get frustrated if your results aren't perfect on the first few tries. It'll take some trial and error to understand what works and what doesn't.

Post a comment below or tweet me @hamburgcam if you want me to write more on my experiences with the pano mode of the three Fuji X-Cameras that I use...

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 goes to Paris

Every year I try to go on a weeken trip with photographer friends. This year we decided on going to Paris. This wasn't our first trip to Paris so I have a pretty good comparison on my experiences from previous photo visits.

In the past I used to take a heavy full frame DSLR with a bunch of good lenses with me. It seems to me that the burden of owning great lenses is that you have to decide which lens to leave at home and what kind of graeat photo opportunities you might miss due to that.

Once I did lug most of my gear with me through the city all day long that I did realize that I missed more photo opportunities while changing lenses or due to the intimidation factor of the big camera and lens. So this year was the year to go light on gear and still bring back good photos!

This was the lens line up I took along on my last trip to Paris:

Happy Bokeh Friday 17.07.09

And this was my gear I took along this time: Fujifilm X10 and X-Pro 1 (plus the Fujinon XF 35mm lens that was already packed in my jacket's pocket at the time I took this photo :-)

Happy Bokeh Friday 15.06.2012

My photographic mission on this trip was to use the X-Pro 1 for raw street photography. Henri Cartier-Bresson took many of his photos in Paris so this seemed like the perfect spot for me to give it a try. I converted most of these images from color into black & white in Adobe LightRoom 4.1

Paris Street Photography No.1 - Fuji X-Pro 1

It was really easy to go around take photos almost unnoticed with the small and unobtrusive X-Pro 1

Paris Street Photography No.2 - Fuji X-Pro 1

Framing and timing shots was really easy as I saw people walking into the scene before they were in the frame - thanks to the rangefinder style viewfinder of the X-Pro 1

Paris Street Photography No.4 - Fuji X-Pro 1

I also found the color to black and white conversion to be quite eays in LR4

Paris Photographer Reflections - Fuji X-Pro 1

And just in case you are wondering, the X-Pro 1 is capable of color photos, too ;)

Paris from a tourists point of view - Fuji X-Pro 1

Over all the city travel and street photography experience with the X-Pro 1 was very pleasing. The weather ranged from rainy to sunny and hot and I only had a small and relatively light ThinkTank Retrospective bag with me all day. There were few occasions where I would have wished for a bit longer focal length, but on those occasions I pulled out the X10.

There's more to come from my Paris trip and I'll post some really cool Fujifilm X10 shots later...

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 :-)