Great Pretender | using my X100 like I would an X-Pro1

Fujifilm is in overdrive mode these days, putting the X-Pro1 into the hands of a lot of pro photographers out there. Obviously I’ve been following closely. Here’s two that caught my eye:

- Flixelpix (beautiful long exposure shots).

- Holy F Stop (amazingly detailed review)

And of course: Zack Arias, shooting from GPP in Dubai. Whoa. If anything is going to convince the naysayers this is it. Not just because the images are stunning - which they are - but mainly because he’s using the camera as he usually does, using flashes the way he usually does, lighting his subjects the way he usually does. Apparently, he hasn’t taken his Canon gear out of the bag once so far. This goes to show how, beyond the quality of the files, the X-Pro1 seems to be performing as a plausible working tool. In fact, that’s the concensus we find when reading the accounts listed above: the photographers are all considering the X-Pro1 pretty much on par with the usual DSLR suspects.

Obviously, this won’t apply for all shooting situations. Not now anyway. If you’re shooting sports the camera isn’t an option. But for a lot of us it could very well be a contender. Zack has promised a full review sometime next week after a short detour to… India. Now I’m sure THOSE images will suck, right?


All these X-Pro1 posts have made me antsy. So I started playing with my X100 in the studio, in a more deliberate manner, beyond mere tests. Not checking for image quality (which is a given), but rather trying to come to grips with operating it in such a context, as opposed to a DSLR. Since the X-Pro1 is similar in manipulation, I figured this would be the next best thing.

When I first got the X100 in April of last year I was taken aback by the OVF/EVF. Yes, the hybrid viewfinder was a breakthrough. But coming from years of shooting through the lens on DSLR systems made it a wee bit… let’s say distressing. The world suddenly felt quite different.

So while I fell in love with the X100 and eventually got used to its viewpoint, I never considered using it as a serious work tool. Honestly, out of insecurity, out of a very basic fear of missing important shots on a job. Or just messing up. I mean, there are enough variables already on a shoot… Why add to the drama. Second camera? Sure. Main? Not so much.

But a few things have been happening: my interest in the X-Pro1 system. My love of the Fuji files and the quality I get from the X100. My growing comfort level with the OVF/EVF and the X100’s overall focusing methods.

The bottom line is: yes, it’s different. But yes, it does work. And while you can’t do 51 point 3D tracking, the truth is I rarely do. The EVF gives an accurate DOF preview, which isn’t essential but is still nice. The lag can be annoying but then you can just switch to the OVF and shoot away. The LCD feels much less clunky than Nikon’s Live View, at least on my camera. So, strengths and weaknesses like any other system — but no dealbreakers.

The only real negative I can find in this case is the fixed 35mm equivalent lens, something obviously adressed by the X-Pro1. Right now, the lack of a long telephoto lens is a bit of a limiting factor. It’s also the one thing that makes me a tiny bit restless when I look at the roadmap: we’re talking 72-200mm f/4.0. That’s a little slow to my taste, being used to f/2.8 in that range.

Still, the possibilities are tempting.

Anyhoo… A couple of shots from those tests below. And a few more from the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts earlier this week — what the hell.

Have a great weekend everyone!