Weeks of shooting lead me to more understanding on this beautiful camera, the more I struggle with it, the more I am attached to it. And I am particularly please on the black and white rendering on the Fuji X. All pictures OOC jpegs (aka "out of camera") , with monotone mode of the camera, I have already set some custom sharpness, contrast, highlight and shadow tone adjustment from the camera.
Black and white images shot with my X-Pro 1 “Monochrome” account for much of my photographic output. That includes my work photography.
Somehow, in a world where smartphone photos of dubious quality are uploaded minutes after an event ends, my black and white photos have become a welcome addition to the record of government activity. While I might be shooting an event with a DSLR, often with flash, I also carry my XP1 “Monochrome” with the 35mm or 18mm lens attached. This allows me to capture shots with available light and to work unobtrusively in crowds. Shooting wide open (or close to it) and at high ISO, the XP1 M produces fabulous monochrome images. Of course, unlike shooting with film or with that other, expensive Monochrome camera, I have the colour information available to me, since I shoot RAW. Typically, I set the XP1 M to shoot in “Monochrome” film simulation, whether or not I am also shooting small JPEGs along side of the RAW photos. This provides me with a monochrome image preview, so I get to see the photo in black and white. Once imported into Lightroom, I have multiple options for converting the photos into black and white. Having happily used Silver Effects Pro for a couple of years, I have migrated to VSCO Film because of their great support for X-trans files created with the XP1 M. This method also saves me disc space, as I don’t create another file as one does with SEP. Although this might be old news to some, it seems worthwhile to once again demonstrate the superior image quality of the XP1 files, be they “M”onochrome or not.
We’ve been working on the Fujifilm X100s review for almost a month now, and we have to say that the camera is really quite the awesome piece of hardware. At first, I wasn’t so smitten for it but it has started to warm up to me after sticking around as a constant companion image taker. The company has truly made this an extremely capable camera and has indeed improved on some of the biggest problems that they faced with the X100–the camera’s predecessor.
I’ve been testing it in the streets of New York City–the perfect proving grounds for the audience that this camera is targeted towards. And despite some admirable performance and improvements from its first incarnation, the camera will still face some issues.
When I hold the X100s, it reminds me a bit of a large point and shoot. It didn’t really make me think about a Hexar AF or even a Leica CL–let alone my Voigtlander Bessa R. And with that fact, the camera perhaps already started an awkward relationship with me. When I first started using it, my mind was already so accustomed to using the X Pro 1 and my Voigtlander Bessa R that this thing felt very toyish. Seriously, how could something of this build quality think that it could steal my away from my metal rangefinder and my professional backup camera of choice?
And then I gave it a chance. One of the biggest things that I needed to remember is that this camera isn’t meant to take on those other cameras that I’m so much more used to using for my documentary and street work. Instead, it is meant to complement them. To that end though, it became a fun camera for me to use–but that was really it. And when my brain accepted this, I started to appreciate the X100s’ build quality for what it is–a fixed lens camera meant to be small for the silent street photog.....
I spend the evening, night and next morning with the camera (I was up at 6 to keep trying it!) and tried it in all the sort of situations that I’d normally use my X100. I had already decided I wasn’t going to upgrade (at least not yet) as my X100 is now pretty much just a personal camera and I have other commitments to buying some more professional work kit before I can go and drop £1099 on a new camera just for fun! I was none-the-less excited about the latest Fujifilm camera as I’m a huge fan of their X-Series cameras. I know I might not have had it to test for a long time, but I know how I use my cameras and I know what sort of shots I take and put it through the same sort of routine I would on a daily basis with my X100 and can spot any issues pretty quickly.
I first ran around the house chasing my little girl and trying to get photos of her (any camera that can get in-focus shots of her has got to be good!) The X100S was certainly getting a lot more hits than my X100 would normally do. I started to believe the hype surrounding this camera, and some of the things I’ve read online. I was already thinking of how I could explain to my wife that I wanted yet another camera after telling her previously that I didn’t need it! +1 for the X100S! My wife and I were due to go out to a restaurant that evening. The X100S came along (as my X100 would normally). To start with it was performing well, then it got dark. I couldn’t get it to focus on my wife’s face. I gave up and switched to MF, and using the brilliant split-screen focusing I could continue shooting without any more frustration. Wow, that split-screen focus-assist mode is fantastic – whoever thought of putting that on the X100S should get a large pay rise! Twist the focus ring, it zooms in automatically, line up the split rectangles and boom! You’ve got your shot. I do remember saying something about not using MF on my X100 and wondering why anyone would bother, well with the split-screen assist mode I can absolutely see why someone would use it! +1 for the X100S! Sadly though the love affair with this new camera was starting to fade – it was still missing in auto-focus and frustrating me. Again, it was faces that it had a problem with – I don’t know what it is with Fujifilm and faces, all their X-Series cameras seem to suffer from this issue! After we got back, I took a wander around the streets in the dark on my own (I do love night time scenes in a deserted town). This time I took both the X100S and the X100. I carefully set both cameras to identical settings beforehand. I started testing out the high ISO to compare the two cameras. The X100S really does out-perform the X100 here, anything over ISO 1600 and you can really notice the difference, get to ISO 6400 and it’s seriously ahead, another +1 for the X100S. Then things started to go wrong again. I found a bench lit by a streetlight from above. The X100S resolutely refused to focus no matter what I did. I switched to split-screen, but because the bench had only horizontal slats I couldn’t see the splits in the focus panel! Now I understand why they put focus-peeking in as well! I got it focused and took a few shots, then switched to my X100 – bang, AF locked first time!! I repeated this over and over, checked the settings on both cameras – the X100S totally refused to focus where the X100 got it every time. I couldn’t really believe it – after everything I had read about how wonderful the new AF system on the X100S was and that it was slaughtering the poor old X100, but here I was with the X100 locking AF where the X100S just wouldn’t! Several other incidents that night proved to show the same thing. I got up early the next morning and sat the X100S and X100 up side-by-side to do a video comparing the two, running through the differences and the new X100S menu system, followed by some AF tests. Initially the X100S was outperforming the X100, as I fully expected that it would do, then I turned the lights out – the X100 started focus quicker than the X100S. I closed the blinds and they both ended up pretty much identical! There is one case where the X100S is very clearly way ahead of the X100 and that’s close range shooting – you no longer have to switch to macro mode for things that are at close-ish range (30-50cm) to get it to autofocus reliably – and that’s where the X100S was beating my X100 the previous evening shooting my little girl. The X100S is so much faster than the X100 at that, you can hardly tell that they are related. The problem comes when you get into low light, where phase-detection doesn’t work all that well. For some reason it looks like Fujifilm have installed an older AF firmware routine in the X100S than the X100! As I say in the video (below) I think a lot of people, particularly ones that only ever used the X100 at launch don’t realise just how much better the X100 became after Fujifilm started releasing firmware updates for it. If you don’t believe me then have a look in the video below. I’m not trying to put the X100S down, I’m a massive Fujifilm X-Series fan and I’d much rather tell you that it’s better and harp on about how wonderful it is and you should buy it, but I’m not going to lie just because I love Fujifilm! ....
I have had two M42 screw mount Super-Takumars (55mm F1.8 and 135mm F3.5) for a few weeks now. I almost immediately felt home with 55mm Super-Takumar but my initial feels with 135mm one were quite mixed ones. It felt too long for manual focusing with X-Pro1 which do not have any kind of focus peaking to help focusing. I usually use 3x focus magnification to check the proper focus (10x magnification is way too wobbly). Fortunately, i am usually able to get nice focus straight in without using any focus magnification. Now that I have little bit more experience with the 135mm I think it is usable with X-Pro1 but you have to accept increased amount of non-keepers as compared shorter focal length manual focus lenses. I can use it even wide open (f/3.5) indoors in quite dim light and get at least some good and reasonably sharp shots. Not bad. Outdoors it works very nicely with apertures 8-11 or so (of course wide open is nice for bokeh and blur too).
I can still remember the first time I saw the original Fujifilm X100, it was sitting in a glass box at the 2010 Photokina. From the first second I loved the concept of the camera. It was different and seemed to be made as a real photographer’s camera. But I always found it didn’t get past the stage of being a promising prototype or an expensive fashion accessory for retro hipsters. But now Fujifilm added an “S” to the camera and with that “S” came solutions for pretty much every quirk or flaw the original X100 had. Raving reviews from people like David Hobby and Zack Arias, made me want to try the X100s out for myself. Fujifilm Belgium made one available to us and we decided to hit the streets of Brussels with a video camera in tow for a short shoot with Sofie and Saartje, the ladies behind lifestyle blog www.biensucre.com
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