Classics | more X-Pro1 in the studio and thoughts on the X200.

If we’re to believe the latest rumours, the X100 has now been discontinued and the much awaited X200 is looming on the Photokina horizon. I guess the little camera is now officially a classic. Get yours while you can.

I’m not privy to any information on the X200 but if I were to speculate I’d go with: 1. Same form factor. 2. X-Trans sensor (same as X-Pro1). 3. Q Menu. 4. Minor ergonomics changes to bring it closer to the X-Pro1 and make shooting both bodies more consistent.

Actually, you can take this as a wish list. Perhaps they’ll go with black to blend the two cameras a little more as well, although I love the silver finish of the current X100 and would be sad to see it go. That said, unless the gods of photography sprinkle gold dust on my head, I won’t be an early X200 owner. I’ve made quite an investment in Fuji gear these past two years and if anything I’m looking to add a few lenses to the X-Pro1 before jumping on a new body - ok that sounded weird but… you know what I mean.

I have to admit that X-Trans performance in an X100 body would be droolworthy. Especially if they can keep the camera’s current speed, stealth and leaf shutter design. We’ll know more in a few week I guess.

Speaking of classics: I got a new camera this weekend. Well, sort of. My wife’s uncle found an old Polaroid J66 and asked if I wanted it. I wasn’t sure I could shoot WITH it but I immediately knew I wanted to shoot IT. Turns out this is the older yellow dot model which has a fixed aperture of… f/19! It used ASA 3000 black and white film that’s been discontinued for decades. It can be modified but I won’t be bothering. Way too much trouble for the results this camera could provide.

But I have to say: I’m a sucker for vintage 60s gear. The camera is huge and unwieldy and it looks like a frickin’ spaceship. Really cool. I shot the following pics in the studio with the X-Pro1 at f/1.4 (Fujinon 35mm lens). I didn’t use flash this time around. The reason? I can’t shoot wide open with the Elinchrom kit (way too powerful) and shooting with speedlights means going SU–4 with an SB–800 set at 1/128 power as a trigger, sitting on top of the X-Pro1. It works but the weight of the X-Pro1 makes it a totally unbalanced setup. Even on a tripod it just doesn’t feel natural and I’ll be adding a new Skyport kit pretty soon to fix that problem.

Long story short: I used a single BX500ri’s modeling light in a Portalite softbox. Total WYSIWYG. Move the light around, look at the LCD, zoom in to adjust manual focus, shoot - done. Worked like a charm. Only downside is the fan that kicks in when you leave the light on for more than a few minutes.

At f/1.4 the modeling light is plenty strong. These are all shot at ISO 200, against a white studio wall about 4.5 feet away and the “floor” in the pics is a piece of brown cardboard mostly blown out by the overhead box. I took out some of its remaining yellow tinge in post.

While on the subject of the X-Pro1 and studio work: I’ve shot quite a few sessions with it now and it works quite well. It does however require some adjustments, especially when shooting kids or other… let’s say less cooperating subjects. I’ve found I can’t rely on the AF keeping up the way it would on a DSLR. By the time you’ve achieved focus, the shot is most certainly lost. The most effective method I’ve found is to use manual focus and rely on similar distances to the subject at smaller apertures. I use the EVF to set everything up and switch to the OVF when I start shooting, to avoid lag. It works, although I’m still not yet as comfortable with the camera in that setting as I am with the DSLR. I’m used to reacting very quickly in a portrait session and the X-Pro1 doesn’t always follow. This slowing down is something I’ve come to love for most of what I do but in certain specific contexts it’s requiring me to rethink how I shoot. It’s an adaptation.

Unfortunately I can’t show any of these pictures for now. But here are a few of my daughter, posing for the camera. I had about four minutes before she got terribly bored. Dad, camera, lights… Been there, done that -  you know what I mean?

Shot in the studio with a single Elinchrom BX500ri in a grid. Added a bare SB–900 directly behind her as a backlight for pictures two and three.