Fuji X Series Update

Just a quick update on my experience with my Fujifilm X-PRO-1 and X100 while I am still getting used to them. I know I have had the X100 for a while now and the X-PRO-1 for almost a month but the fact is that I do not shoot daily any more. Maybe I will again but not now. The other factor is that there is some learning curve to both of these beasts. People have said that before - smart people. I will reinforce it again. I read that learning curve bit myself and chose to ignore it because I completely misinterpreted what other competent photographers actually meant.

I took it to mean bullshit about where controls were and the intellectual meaning of what those controls did and the fact that the menus were different than their other digital cameras and stupid shit like that. I know that some struggle with such things but to tell the truth I just cannot empathize at all - if you have been around one camera you've been around them all. Sure they do slightly different things and those things are in slightly different places - no big deal - right? Well what was being referred to had nothing to do with that - the learning curve is figuring out how to work with the camera depending on what you are shooting. Way different than a manual camera and way different than your typical DSLR.

It's more akin to figuring out how to work with an M camera in terms of rhythm and technique. I don't mean that the Fuji cameras are in any way like working with an M camera in the slightest but the kind of things that present this learning curve are the same kind of things. You have to re-think what controls and functions you use when and it takes practice and trial and error. Things you thought you would never use or never do upon the first glance at what the cameras technically do work that way for a reason and as you use the X Series cameras it becomes more apparent that your intellectualized strategies for shooting it don't match up with reality.

This is not a bad thing - it's just that these cameras are different beasts and it really does take some serious shooting time to get to know them. If you pick it up - start shooting - and are disappointed with it's operation and the results you have to be capable of re-thinking the way you are using the camera rather than trying to bend the way they work to your habits. Make no mistake you will not be "in the zone" where you just flow and great results follow your first time out with these buggers - probably not your second eithe.

I myself am not anywhere near the point where I feel I am in the zone and free flowing with either of these cameras yet. I cannot do either of them justice so I will not even attempt to give any kind of recipe for success - even with my typical subjects. Instead I will let you know a few developments that seem to be themes that I did not expect when I started using both cameras as well as some thoughts on future X-series cameras.

  • I expected never to use the EVF's - I hate EVF's, still do with a caveat. I hate living with only an EVF but I am sure glad it's there. I find my self flipping back and forth frequently entirely based on the situation at the moment. I also decided unless there are 9 orders of magnitude difference in EVF technology - as in I cannot tell the difference between OVF/EVF - I will NOT buy an X camera with only an EVF - no way. I still live in the OVF for what I shoot and from every perspective it's more appropriate when dealing with fleeting facial expressions, gestures, motion, everything let alone my own viewing comfort.
  • I flip back and forth between MF and AF a lot but rarely use the focus rings. They work better now but the only time I use them is occasionally to set a particular distance and DOF zone - even then I usually just point the camera at something and nail the AF button. I would love a refinement to be a way to flip back and forth that is a little less fiddly than the tiny switch other both the X-PRO-1 and the X100.
  • I never imagined moving the focus point - too much trouble I thought. In reality I move it all the time depending again on the shooting situation at hand.
  • The big stumbling block for me in switching back and forth between the X-PRO-1 and X100 in the same session is that the button press - change setting behavior is so different. X100 press the button hold it in and change the corresponding setting. X-PRO-1 press the button without holding it change the setting. I can get used to the same function being in slightly different places - heck I had to do that with Nikon - the behavior is what I have an issue with. I would love to see the X100 operate a bit more like the X-PRO-1 in this regard.
  • I really really love the size and the feel of the X100 - I wish the X-PRO-1 was somewhere in between the two as they exist at the moment. I might be happy with two cameras an X100v2 with modified button behavior and button size and an X200 with a fixed 35mm f1.4 like the wonderful R lens. Both would have to have the X-PRO-1 sensor the imaging quality is quite addictive. More so than you would think.
  • WTF is with the software companies - I want a decent RAW processor for the X-PRO-1 WTF? ACR is not great and the rest are non-existent. Huge issue in work-flow but at the moment the cameras are worth it.

Am I happy with the cameras - yes. In fact I am ecstatic with both of them. I will probably gobble up every iteration as they come out. Not during the crazy over list price period but immediately after, just like I did with these. I could probably be happy with just the 35mmR lens and be done but I am feeling the need for a short tele. I don't use them much and 90mm is my limit in terms of regular use to produce the look I like - I know this from decades of shooting. No giant desire for anything crazy wide. Now all I have to do is decide to grab the 60mm Macro now or wait for the large aperture short tele due in 2013. If the 60 is as good as the 35mm it's a bargain. I hope the large aperture short tele is not unreasonable priced - so far none of the lenses are. Maybe I will grab the 60 just to cover the interim. Holy crap I am actually planning on dumping more money into Fujiā€¦

Is anyone that has used these cameras for more than five minutes not super excited about them?

RB

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