Wowed | X-Pro1 sensor delivers. Seriously.


“I hate looking at my 35mm based images at 100% when editing. I can nail the shot but at 100% they just fall short in the details.”

Zack Arias wrote that in his Why I Moved to Phase One post. Personally it’s something I always felt as well but eventually came to accept as a given, as one of the realities of the digital 35mm medium.

Nikon’s marketing push for the D800 — and especially the D800e — boasts of new levels of quality and detail, claims of storming the medium format gates at less than a third of the price point. As I recently wrote I expected to be floored, to be totally and unequivocally wowed by those D800 series files. I wasn’t.

This isn’t to say the D800 won’t be an amazing camera. Like any other tool it will bend to its master’s will and produce outstanding results in the right hands/eyes. It’s obviously a top notch piece of gear.

But I’m now 98% certain it’s not for me. I simply can’t rationalize the tradeoff in overhead, both in CPU cycles and file storage, from the files I’ve seen. I don’t see it. Period.

And the following happened yesterday: I downloaded new full-size samples from the X-Pro1 off Fujifilm’s official site… And I opened them in Aperture 3.

This time, I was floored. Wowed? Yup.

Phase wowed? Get real.

But as opposed to Nikon, I believe Fuji have achieved the right balance with this new X-Trans sensor and their approach to resolving the low-pass filter conundrum. And I’m convinced this is also the best megapixel count for an APS-C sensor. 36MP is pushing it — sorry.

Bottom line: I want to work with this system. Not just play. Work. There’s no way around it.

UPDATE Darren Eagles rightfully pointed out the following on the Real Photographers Forum FB page:

“The D800 is a Full Frame sensor, not APS-C!! This is apples and oranges. Get your facts straight before spouting online!”

Ahem… Well, not sure I “spout” per say… But this was certainly a huge mind freeze on my part. Of course the D800 is a full frame sensor not APS-C. What I was mentally comparing it too was the D4’s similar 16MP count which feels like a better fit in my entirely subjective humble opinion. But then I didn’t write that at all, so my bad. /UPDATE

Here’s one of the new pictures and an approximate 100% crop:

That’s a lot of frizzy hair holding its own. It’s from the 35mm 1.8, shot at f5.6. Here’s the same lens at f2, same deal:

The 60mm 2.4 yields equally impressive results. For some reason I’m not quite as taken with the 18mm but perhaps it’s just due to the available samples.

You’ll find these and more on the X-Pro1 special site.

Beyond the detail, I’m again finding something in the images that I can’t quite explain. But it’s exactly what I find in the X100 files as well.


Maybe I’m coming home…

Completely unrelated: I’m struggling with incorporating banners on this site. I always feel a little cheap when I try to place ads, even if they’re on topic. But I am a B&H affiliate and referrals would certainly be welcome. So I’m going to place the simplest banner I can find at the bottom of each post. Hopefully this won’t feel too intrusive.