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.

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 :-) 

Ultra Wide Angle Fisheye Lens on the Fuji X-Pro 1 - Samyang 8mm f2.8 XF

APS-C cameras used to have a few drawbacks compared to full frame cameras:

1. The smaller sensor produced noisier photos at high ISO and lacked dynamic range.

2. It is more difficult to produce a photo with shallow depth of field.

3. Due to the crop factor it was difficult to get a good quality ultra wide angle lens with a larger field of view than 120°

The introduction of the Fuji X-Pro 1 solved No. 1. for me right away. And while No. 2 is based on a law of optics I have found my way of dealing with it by changing my approach on taking those kind of images.

That left No. 3 still to be desired.

I have a Canon EF 15mm fisheye lens for my full frame camera, but when I connect it with an EOS-XF adapter to my X-Pro 1 the APS-C sensor size reduces the effective field of view to about 85° - or the equivalent FOV of a 23mm lens on a full frame camera.  Fuji’s currently widest XF lens is the XF 14mm f2.8 with an effective field of view of 90° (equivalent FOV of a 21mm lens on a full frame camera) - and while this lens seems to be very impressive (it is my next review on the list), I had to look elsewhere to go much wider than 90°. My research led me to the Samyang 8mm f2.8 fisheye lens for the Fuji XF mount. The lens promises an effective field of view of 180°! Samyang is a Korean manufacturer and this particular lens is also branded as Rokinon, Bower and Walimex 8mm f2.8 lens and also available for different camera manufacturer mounts.

Throughout my photography career I have had mixed results with 3rd party lenses and ended up staying with the known “big” brands from the respective camera manufacturer. But due to the lack of alternatives and a reasonable street price of around EUR 300 in Europe or USD 300 in the US, I wanted to give the Samyang a try.

Samyang 8mm f2.8 XF for Fuji X-Pro 1

Samyang 8mm f2.8 XF attached to my Fuji X-Pro 1

After all, a fisheye lens is a specialty lens that should not be overused or you (and your audience) will soon get bored/annoyed by the effect it produces. And I can almost promise you that you will get tired of it after you see all the images in this post, too - so always use a fisheye lens wisely ;)

When the Samyang 8mm f2.8 lens arrived I was surprised! It is small yet very heavy. Compared to the Fuji XF 18mm f2 the Samyang is about the same size but a bit over twice as heavy (116g/4.1oz to 260g/9.2oz)! What did they use to build it – depleted uranium? But Fuji’s XF lenses are exceptionally well and light build and compared to the Canon EF 15mm f2.8 fisheye the Samyang is actually a bit lighter.

The Samyang’s aperture and focus rings are rather stiff even when compared to my legacy Olympus OM lenses. But this also gives me the feeling that this lens has a solid build quality and I will most likely get used to it over time. The lens is all manual and has no electronic intelligence that get’s passed on to the camera body. That has the big disadvantage that your Exif files will not contain any info about the lens and aperture. Luckily you can add a 8mm custom profile to the Fuji X-Pro 1 and if you activate it before you use the Samyang lens, the Exif will at least show 8mm. But the aperture will always read “f1”. And while you're in the Fuji's menus make sure that you activate the "shoot without lens" option, as the Fuji will not know that a lens is attached without electronic feedback from the lens.

Enough talk about the specs and feel, let’s see what this lens can do! I went out a few times and used this lens in situations where I think that a fisheye can work its magic.

All images were captured in RAW and processed and converted in LightRoom 4.3 with the "old" Adobe RAW converter. The new converter in version 4.4 could improve the image quality.

And as always click on the image to get the option for a bigger version in my Flickr stream.

Bad weather forced my to do most of my tests indoors so I started with some composition tests at the "Wandelhalle" in Hamburg's central station. On the first image I chose a vertical pano orientation as I wanted the clock as an eye catcher in the frame while giving the viewer an idea how the whole structure looked like:

Hamburg Hauptbahnhof Wandelhalle 8mm Fisheye - Fuji X-Pro 1

Vertical worked well here - 180° cramed in one photo :)

Just a few steps from the previous location I took this picture by pointing the camera up and aiming in horizontal orientation at the ceiling. Adding a stronger tone curve gives this image an even more dramatic look - looks a bit like an old factory:

Wandelhalle Hamburg Hauptbahnhof 8mm Fisheye - Fuji X-Pro 1

This angle of view created a totally different look of the same location

And finally I took an image of the station entrance pointing the lens straight up at the ceiling:

Wandelhalle Hamburg Hauptbahnhof with 8mm Fisheye - Fuji X-Pro 1

You need to take your time to align the framing carefully

After testing the versatility of this lens to create different looks in the same location, let's have a brief look at the sharpness in the next sample. I took this image in low light at f2.8 in a subway station and cut it close to a 2:1 aspect ratio to give it a panorama look. This is another advantage of having a 180° field of view - you get an instant one shot panorama :)

U-Bahn Station Jungfernstieg U4 - Fuji X-Pro 1

Cutting off some of the top and bottom of this frame creates a panorama look

 Let's get closer to the center of the frame. Remember this is at f2.8 and ISO 800 and 1/30s exposure. There may be slight motion blur in people but overall this is pretty good:

U-Bahn Station Jungfernstieg U4 - Crop - Fuji X-Pro 1

I am really happy with the results at f2.8 in this low light situation

Not wanting to turn this blog post into a pixel peeping competition let me just say this about sharpness, contrast and color rendition from my experience so far. Considering that it's a fisheye lens for a reasonable price I am astonished how well this lens does! At f2.8 it is perfectly usable and at f4-5.6 it leaves nothing for me to be desired in a fisheye lens. The edges are a bit softer the further you get towards the corners and there is some vignetting when shooting this lens wide open, but this should not be a surprise to anyone who has some experience with wide and ultra wide angle lenses.

U-Bahn Überseequartier with 8mm Fisheye - Fuji X-Pro 1

At 180° you get more info into your images than the human eyes can normally see (about 120° with peripheral vision)

At f5.6 the corners are very sharp for a fisheye lens. And if you set it to f5.6 and a focus distance of 2m (6ft) you get a sharp focus zone from about 0,5m (2ft) to infinity.

Time Tunnel - Samyang 8mm f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

This is one of my favorite wide angle subjects shot at f5.6

At 180° field of view you will often have light sources, like the sun, shining directly into the lens. The Samyang 8mm f2.8 has a permanent lenshood. But that is just large enough not to show up in the frame. And the convex outward pointing front element of the lens is easily exposed directly into a light source. So inevitably flare becomes an issue. And as for most wide angle lenses the Samyang 8mm is not immune to flare. Depending on the angle the light enters and the aperture chosen (the higher the f-stop the stronger the flare and aperture blade diamonds can show up) the stronger the flare will be visible. Yet, in this sample image I only had to stamp out two spots to get rid of the most visible (unwanted) flare:

IBA_Hamburg Komm_Rüber Sprung - 8mm fisheye - Fuji X-Pro 1

Shooting into the sun at f5.6 - I added a vignette in post

And it is a very similar situation with chromatic aberrations - only that they tend to be stronger when shooting at wide open aperture. The Samyang shows some chromatic aberrations in back light situations around fine structures, but it is very low and very easy to fix in LightRoom 4. The Canon EF 15mm fisheye on the other hand is a CA nightmare on my full frame DSLR!

X-Pro 1 with Samyang 8mm f2.8 XF Fisheye side view

The Samyang lacks DOF markings on the lens and its shortness introduces problems

So far I am very positive about this lens. But there are also a few problems that I encountered during the past week of intensive use. For one this is a fully manual lens like we used to have them before AF was invented. And during that time it was common to add a depth of field scale to the lens. This way you could easily prefocus to a distance and an f-stop that would deliver a sufficiently large DOF for your intended use. The Samyang does not have such a DOF scale and IMHO the person responsible for this omission should not get any dessert in the Samyang cafeteria for at least one year ;)

Secondly, and this really turned into a challenge for me, the lens is too short. How can that be a bad thing? Well, when packing and transporting your gear it is a big advantage. But when you hold your camera in one hand and use the other hand to support the lens while operating the focus ring, you will most likely end up unintentionally capturing your fingers very often! For me as a right handed person the fingers from my left hand (holding the lens) appeared many times in the bottom right corner of the images!

I will have to find a different grip when using this lens on the Fuji X-Pro 1. Shooting and aligning a fisheye lens correctly is challenging enough that I don't have time to check the corners of the frame all the time and it might mess up my carefully composed framing...

Sprinkenhof Fisheye view 8mm Samyang f2.8 - Fuji X-Pro 1

Perfect framing is essential for these kind of photos - better activate the "grid view" in the EVF

This brings me to my last and one of my favorite Samyang 8mm f2.8 image for this post - the new U4 Überseequartier subway station in the Hamburg HafenCity:

U4 Station Überseequartier -  8mm Samyang Fisheye - Fuji X-Pro 1

An 8mm fisheye lens is made for this location - U4 Überseequartier Hamburg

My conclusion:

Positive:

+ It's sharp at f2.8 and gets better up to f5.6 (especially corners)

+ It produces good color and contrast

+ It's solid build and small

+ Chromatic aberrations and flare are very controllable for a fisheye lens

+ Very reasonable price for what you get

Neutral:

o The aperture and focus ring are a bit stiff

o The lens is quite heavy for its size

o The amount of Vignetting appears to be normal for a fisheye lens

o Aperture is changed in 1/2 f-stops instead of 1/3 f-stops

Negative:

- There are no depth of field markings on the lens! Why not???

-  No lens information (lens type, f-stop) is passed on to the camera (custom set it to 8mm in camera!)

- Attached to the X-Pro 1 the lens is very short and it is hard to hold (support) the lens without capturing part of your fingers in the corner of the frame.

- The minimum focus distance starts at 0.3m (1ft). At that distance a 8mm lens closeup shots doesn't look very close at all and it can't produce this special funny perspective that is unique to some UWA lenses.

At first I was a bit sceptical about buying a "new" third party lens for my Fuji X-Pro 1. But the fairly low price, lack of a Fuji equivalent focal length and the fact that this is not an every day lens made the risk of ordering it a bit more manageable.

After a week of intensive testing I am nothing short of impressed with the value that this lens offers and if you have been wanting a fisheye lens for your Fuji X-Mount camera, the Samyang 8mm f2.8 is certainly worth a closer look.

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 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 :-)

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 :-) 

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

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