XPro-1 vs. D600

I wanted to throw up a quick post to answer an email question regarding a comment I made repeatedly on my Nikon D600 posts over the last week. Specifically the comment was regarding my intent to use the D600 for 50mm+ and flash. I certainly did not go into detail about this so let me clarify a little bit.

Without going into a giant dissertation or trying to prove one thing or another to anyone with absolute certainty I will just give you a couple of thoughts real quick. Most of those thoughts don't have much to do with the Fuji X-Pro-1 specifically but more to do with rangefinder optical type viewfinders in general. The specific part does have to do with the Fuji EVF.

By far the D600 for focal lengths longer than 50mm is the apparent image size you see when looking through the OVF when using the 90mm equivalent lens. It's just too small for me when working for any length of time or when I need critical framing. When do you need more critical framing? Ummm mostly with longer focal lengths. I am not comfortable looking at facial expression, tiny lighting differences, etc soooooo small when the frame is a tiny square in the middle of the "50mm" OVF mode. This is especially true when doing full length or 3/4 length or even larger frames of people with lenses greater than 50mm on rangefinder type cameras. SLR cameras happen to be good at exactly this. Rangefinders not so much. I found the same thing with my Leica cameras and my Contax G2. I owned a 90mm for each of them and carried it with me all the time. I only used it occasionally and would never choose to use that combo as a primary tool.

I know what you are thinking. Just use the EVF. Yep fantastic option in bright light but not so great in low light. If that sounds counter intuitive to you it wouldn't surprise me due to how many people spout off that the EVF is great when you cannot see your subject because it's too dark. Yea - one caveat, the EVF is lagg-y and slow and seasick inducing at lower light levels. It's best in good light. It's not perfect and I am still not a big fan for fluid shooting or long sessions with any EVF produced yet. I like it as a fallback option and will certainly use it when the opportunity presents itself but will not choose to go shoot someone knowing that my primary MO will be the 90mm in the lower light with the EVF. It's just not going to happen.

Combine that with on camera flash control convenience of the Nikon and the conditions I use short tele lenses flash or no flash and there is a critical mass that makes the EVF/X-Pro 90mm a no go as a primary image making device. This doesn't mean that somehow I have fallen out of love with the Fuji's. I haven't and love them to death. I really don't want to carry a big DSLR with big lenses around with me everywhere and now I don't have to. The fact that the X-Pro images compare very favorably with the D600 in ultimate IQ is a giant bonus. The D600 edges out the Fuji in dynamic range but not in a night and day sort of way. I also like the color of the Fuji a bit better which means less work in post for serious stuff.

In my opinion the Fuji is the best thing to come along in a long time from any manufacturer. The D600 happens to be one of the best things to come out of Nikon in a while. When I say that I am speaking in terms of over all value and real-world image making performance. They both represent some significant and in my mind very important things whether it be price performance, size, IQ, responsiveness, etc - let's call it sweet spots in camera tech/features/price that I have been waiting for. You may not agree - there are a lot of people that think the X-Pro is "too expensive" for what it is. I disagree - it may be a tad overpriced as a body alone and some of it's performance like ultimate AF speed may not be up to other "cheaper" cameras but if you look at the camera as a system and include the lenses there really is nothing to complain about. All of the lenses are absolutely fantastic in terms of IQ for about 500 bucks. Where else can you get that? Nowhere! If you think thats not true then you are again looking at isolated things like… "But it doesn't zoom" That's the whole point - small, light, fantastic performance optically.

In many many situations I much rather have an X-Pro, a 35mm 1.4 and an 18mm f2. Total price with the recent reduction al little over $2k and you are done. Compare that to even a D600 and the go-to lens to cover that which would be either the 24-70 AFS with slower glass that is at best equivalent in IQ or the 50mm 1.4G and the 28mm 1.8G. Either way you are looking at a far far bigger investment. A much larger and heavier package. Etc. You get my point - yea you may get a few benefits as well but the point is completely what and how you shoot. Me I'll take both instead of trying to force fit one where the other will do a better job.

Have a great weekend…

RB

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