Update On My Fuji X-Series Venture

Okay - starting to wake up now that it's past noon. Stayed up really really late getting to my selects for images shot Monday and Tuesday. I blame it on VSCO film 03 - it's so freaking fun that I just couldn't stop playing around every few images that I got through. I only used it on four or five of what I consider my selects and even then I keep a non-funky version as a deliverable.

On to my Fuji update. I promised someone via twitter I would do it this week so here it is. The good the bad and the ugly. To catch you up I have had those cameras for quite a few months and have used them quite a bit. The X100 I still have not shot in any serious way but I am going to change that. I swear. Next real shoot I will shoot it - end of story. The X-Pro-1 on the other hand is getting sold.

Before I start on why the X-Pro-1 is a goner in my camera bag I want to articulate what I like about both cameras. Both have fantastic imaging performance - truly leaving not a whole lot to want. If I was a total jerk I could ask for better this or that IQ wise but honestly they are nits and just being ridiculous. The edge goes to the X-Pro-1 in both lens performance as well as sensor performance but both are fine. I also like that they are compact and have simple strait forward operation without a lot of messing about. I like dials for controlling things. The price is a bit high for what you get but not astronomical and I think the lenses are a bargain in the grand scheme of things. Both of these are great travel cameras with the edge going to the X100 by a good margin. That size difference is critical for me in certain ways.

Now for what I absolutely cannot stand about either camera and is unforgivable in my book for the X-Pro-1 but tolerable for the X100 - at least for now. All cameras and systems have their ups and downs it't the bottom line that counts and all of us will measure that differently based on what we shoot, how we shoot it, our working habits, and our own little hang ups and show-stoppers. I won't critique yours - here are mine and ultimately caused my decision process.

I cannot stand the laggy-ness of either Fuji. I am not talking about ultimate speed. They are not mind-numbingly slow as to be unusable or even particularly annoying. There is just a disconnectedness in all of the controls all the time. Same goes for the EVF, and sin of all sins in my deal-killer book the shutter button unless you do all kind of stupid pet tricks to eliminate it and really really focus on not having it happen. Even when you do there is a slight delay introduced just stopping the lens down to taking aperture. You can feel it everywhere.

It's more a feeling of disconnectedness than some ultimate performance statistic. It's strange. Dial the aperture or shutter knob and it takes it a bit before the new setting shows up in the viewfinder. Even in manual focus you have this strange re-frame type thing going on as the lens does shit if you take your finger off the shutter - if not this shot then the very next one, etc, etc, etc. Annoying and distracting. I cannot and will not do annoying and distracting with a camera - I just will not it makes me feel there is something wrong even subliminally takes my head out of the game when I am shooting.

I am sure lots of folks will tell me I am nuts - or it doesn't matter - or it's not really slowing me down - or how to optimize it better than I have. I am not a dummy I have screwed with it. Bottom line for me is I cannot live with it. I am sort of okay with slow like when I shoot medium format film in my Hasselblads - I am not okay with disconnected and laggy fly-by-wire it affects me in not a good way.

Take everything I just said about the controls and the shutter and that kind of thing - multiply it by 100 and that's how the EVF feels to me. Not a fuji critique it's a critique of EVF's and liveview in general. I cannot use them for any duration at all. They are distracting and don't feel right to me. I don't like cameras that feel like what I am looking at has to catch up with what is actually going on. Yea yea yea it is refreshing at x number of frames a second and that's fast enough for blah blah blah and doesn't really matter. It does to me - it makes me seasick and causes me to not feel good about using it as a tool when I am shooting so it's a no-go. At least both of the cameras I have have alternate OVF finders. I can't possibly understand why anybody would want just the EVF on the XE-1 for a couple of bucks less - stupid product.

Okay - done with that. Now if all that is true and probably more true of the X100 then you may ask why that camera is staying and the X-Pro-1 is leaving right. Well… take all that stuff and I can live with it for occasional use in a really really small camera that takes great images. That's the X100. The X-Pro-1 is too big for that nonsense. If the X-Pro-1 was the same size as the X100 and the lenses were of similar size I may feel differently. They are not.

The X-Pro-1 and lenses are bigger than my "full frame" M6, my OM cameras, my Nikon FM cameras, etc. WTF? it's not like it has to be. Pick up the X-Pro-1 and X100 you can tell the X-Pro is mostly hollow and it has a half-frame sensor. It crosses that threshold for me of if I am going to bother then I may as well just grab the D600. and two primes - it blows the X-Pro-1 so far into the weeds it's not funny. Guess what - that's what happens every time I go to use the X-Pro-1. Hmmmmm… small bag and laggy-ass disconnected X-Pro or small bag and blazing drives like it's on rails D600? I choose the D600 and two lenses without fail. They really are not that much different. A little different? Yes. Decision different - no.

So there you have it. Your tipping points and personal desires may be a lot different than mine and in no way am I saying that the X-Pro-1 or the X100 are "bad" cameras. I am glad Fuji makes them. Let's see how they evolve.


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