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Apr 302012
 
Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Portraits with the Fuji X-Pro1

I’ve been shooting with the Fuji X-Pro1 now for a couple of weeks and I wanted to give my impressions on the camera, the handling, and how it performs when shooting portraits. I used the Fuji X-Pro1 with the Fujinon XF 35mm F1.4 R Lens. My goals were to show how easy it was to get the camera, attach a lens, and with minimal setup, start shooting. With this in mind, not special film simulations were used. Camera setting were all in default mode, ISO set to Auto, And aperture set to Auto. I shot these “real world” test shots in various lighting conditions, indoor, outdoor, outdoor with diffusion.

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Handling

This camera is light and fits well in my large hands. On the job I normally use a Digital SLR which is rather heavy, so being able to use a camera system that is light weight is very important to me. Even carrying the Fuji X-Pro1 with three lenses is not as heavy as a Canon 5d Mark II with Battery Grip and Lens. I use the Fuji X-Pro1 with just a wrist strap and it feels very comfortable and stable in my hand and I can carry it all day long without fatigue. One of the reason that I like the Fuji X-Pro1 so much is because I come from shooting rangefinder cameras and this camera brings me back to that feeling of shooting a rangefinder camera. Bonus, it’s not as heavy as a rangefinder camera either. Except maybe the Minolta CLE. The button layout is decent and I like the integration of the Q menu and the programmable Fn button. My vision is good but for those of you that need diopter correction, this may be an issue, as there is not a diopter adjustment. My friend wears glasses and doesn’t like to put his glasses up to the viewfinder so he’s pretty annoyed about it. I could see how this is a problem. One of the features I like the most is the exposure compensation dial. When I shoot I like to have quick access to this dial and Fuji has put it in the perfect place for me right at my thumb. I also love the fact that the lenses a somewhat old school with the apertures on the lens with an auto setting and the shutter speeds are on the top of the camera, also with an auto setting. Making it easy to switch from aperture priority to shutter speed priority. Also with the theme of old school rangefinder cameras, the shutter button has a thread for a cable release, or in my case a large yellow soft release button. These help the feel of the shutter button and allow you to half-press to full press with ultimate control.

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

View Finder: OVF/EVF

One of the reasons I loved shooting with a rangefinder camera system is that you could always see your subject and there was not “mirror black out”. This is when the mirror has to fold up to allow the light to pass though to your film in a SLR camera. When shooting the Fuji X-Pro1 the OVF (optical view finder) works very well. I like that it compensates for parallax, like the Contax G2 film camera. Parallax is an effect where the viewing angle and the taking angle are different and the subsequent images from each angle are different. When the camera corrects for this it adjust the frame in the viewing angle lens to represent what the taking lens is seeing. This is very important for accurate framing and composition. For portraits its important for capturing a moment or a certain expression.

The EVF (electronic view finder) is helpful, but I prefer the OVF. In default mode the camera gives you a review of the image you just took and I found this very annoying. When you are taking multiple images in sequence you don’t want to have the view finder black out and distract you from capturing the perfect moment. After you turn this feature off it makes the shooting experience much better. Be sure to review your images after a sequence of pictures though, sometime when you are too close to the subject you may get a miss focus to it pays to double-check.  I like the idea of both OVF and EVF because there are times when it’s very useful to have the EVF, such as in low light. In low light its helpful to use the EVF to see the subject exactly the way the sensor does and get the exact framing. The EVF is not perfect as this is a slight delay but for the most part it works. In very tough situations I use the double eye technique. I use my right eye to look through the EVF and frame the scene, my left eye to look at my subject. When I see the moment I want to capture I release the shutter. This technique feels awkward in the beginning, especially getting the framing right with your right eye, but after a little bit of practice you’ll be a lot better at it. Very helpful for portrait shoots. As you are holding your camera in the right hand and looking in the viewfinder with right eye, you can direct your model with left hand and look for that special moment with your left eye.

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Image Quality

Many site out there are raving about the quality of the sensor and then lenses and this site is no different. I’m not in the business of digging for faults in a camera, I just tell it like it is. I’ll give you an honest assessment of the camera based on my opinion. This sensor has great quality and its performance at high ISO’s and in low light is very high. I’m a huge fan of the Fuji colors and the auto white balance of the Fuji, is one of the best out there on any camera, in any class. It’s very nice for portraits and people because it does such a great job with skin tone. With the great performance indoors with high ISO this is a great camera for weddings, and environmental portraits.

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits Fujinon 35mm F1.4

Conclusion

Overall this camera is a great image making tool. The lens selection at the moment at 3 lenses is sufficient for most applications. The retro look, along with retro use of OVF and EVF is pretty well done, except maybe a little lag on the EVF. The focus with the 18mm and 60mm is slower than the 35mm but not by much. It fast enough for diligent image making, meaning for snap shots of fast-moving subjects such as children or sports not so good. It can be over come, somewhat with pre-focusing or range focusing but it’s still a “hit and miss” venture.  I feel this camera is best for the street shooters, environmental portraits, landscapes, travel, documentary, design, lifestyle, and “Decisive moment” shooters. It’s a serious tool with a serious price tag. One should make sure you are really into photography before considering a purchase. For portrait photography one of the main advantages is the optical view finder. You can capture special moments and expressions without the worry of “mirror black-out”. Also if you use the technique I wrote about you can direct the subjects with your free hand and you can still have a conversation with your model and a connection without being stuck behind the camera. The Fujinon 35mm F1.4 is a great lens for portraits and the bokeh at F1.4 is absolutely beautiful to me. Great fall off and milky smooth for the skin. If can afford one of these cameras with the Fujinon 35mm camera and you are serious about photography, or you are a pro that wants a lighter system for weddings, environmental portraits, or a “street” image making tool. This camera is for you! Many “pros” have been waiting for a camera like this to replace their analog film rangefinders. Thanks to Fuji it’s here! So place your orders accordingly. Happy Shooting!!

Great Deals on Fuji X-Pro1 Here and lenses: Fujinon 18mm F2.0, Fujinon 35mm F1.4, and Fujinon 60mm F2.4

What do you think of the Fuji X-Pro1? Holy grail or over priced paper weight?  Let me know in the comments below.

  One Response to “Fuji X-Pro1: Portraits”

  1.  

    i like mine.

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