X-Pro1 - the full circle
So I may as well come out and admit it right away. I have just come full circle in regards to the X-Pro1. From the initial anticipation before the camera arrived, the concerns I had before buying it, the excitement of first trying it out to getting frustrated with it, trying to take it back to the dealer, having to keep it and finally coming to terms with what kind of camera it is and fully appreciating the picture quality. So why write about it here? Well, after my initial X-Pro1 post I had quite a few site visits and comments. Another Vernon photographer, Jay Page found my review via scoop.it and we have since met over a coffee and had a great talk about everything from slide scans to landscape travel photography, the upcoming Leica M10, D800 etc. I have also had extensive correspondence with Patrick LaRoque about the camera, it's short comings and also it's strengths. I have to thank Patrick for his enduring patience listening to my trials and tribulations. I have also shared my observation with a friend and fellow Vancouver photographer, Klaus Boedker. Derek Clark has been kind and sent me few hints as well. From a photographer's standpoint this truly is and interesting cycle, which at times can throw you for a loop. Planning a purchase, requiring the camera, putting it through a thorough test and then finding out if its a keeper. These tools are not inexpensive so you want to make sure you have required the right gear.
Let me get back to the point where I was struggling with the camera. To anyone out there looking to purchase an X-Pro1, do not expect a small SLR. I did not expect an SLR but after a couple of weeks of shooting with it, I had a case of "cold feet", and was missing the responsiveness of an SLR. I wanted to see my photo on the LCD right after taking the shot, I wanted to be able to frame my shot properly. I didn't want lens chatter, poor battery life and the somewhat quirky feel of the camera compared to an SLR. I wear +2 readers, so checking the photo in the EVF after you shoot is okay but not great.
So what made me change my mind. Well first of all my camera store did not want to take the camera back so I had to. I already had a few wear marks on the LCD so they could not take it back as a new camera. I fully understand and I am not blaming them. I could put the camera up for sale but have chosen not to. I think it would be relatively easy to sell but I wanted to investigate the camera further and give it better run.
Secondly it all boils down to the images you can capture with this camera and the X-Pro1 continues to impress me. I take the X-Pro1 everywhere, which also means I get images I otherwise wouldn't have captured. Are they Pulitzer prize winning shots?, no, (still working on that one) but I have family snap shots, shots of friends, landscape shots I probably wouldn't have shot otherwise. I took the X-Pro1 to a portrait session, shot it with strobes and outside. I found I used it as much as I did my 5D Mark II. The X-Pro1 is slower to use especially if you chimp. I did a bit of that since it was my first studio shoot but was quite pleased to see the results. The X-Pro1 gave me softer looking images while still sharp and the lack of banding in the shadow areas was a nice surprise. I also took the camera along for a real estate shoot. I shot the wide stuff with the 5D Mark II but shot a few hand held with the X-Pro1. Again the camera did not disappoint. I had not really anticipated this to be a landscape camera but I would have to say I am very pleased with the colour and sharpness of the sensor. Mind you, I am still shooting JPEG and have only done a few frames via the in camera RAW converter. Cool that you can convert RAW in camera but it is not practical in the long run. Please hurry up Fujifilm/Adobe and get us RAW support.
Last but not least Fujifilm came through with a firmware update this week. Mainly the lens chatter was fixed but I also feel improved responsiveness in the camera. Via twitter Derek Clark confirmed the same thing.
I will leave you with a series of photos captured over the last couple of weeks.
For more X-Pro1 photos and exif info please link to this X-Pro1 Gallery.