Nikon, Canon now Fuji

cameras, Fujichrome, fujifilm, Lenses, Travel

I have been a Nikon and Canon user for the last 30+ years and have used there successive generations of cameras dusing that time, I still use both but much less since I found Fujifilm cameras and lenses. Both Nikon and Canon cameras are capable of superb results and I cannot fault there quality and design. I am still using my Canon 1D Mk IV for fast moving sports and the like and my Nikon D2HS comes out when I photograph demonstrations and potentially dangerous situations (good for hitting back with. LOL) and still gives great pictures.

So why the change to Fujifilm you may ask. This is a question I will attempt to answer from my perspective. The major thing that first attracted me to both Nikon and Canon was how robust and reliable they were in everyday professional use, but this also made them heavy and a stress on my shoulder when carrying them and there associated lenses (which were just as heavy). Like the D2H, the D2Hs is an extremely tough, ridiculously fast professional digital camera which, despite having been obsolesced by four generations of cameras as I write this, is still capable of getting fantastic results if you know how to use it.

Fujifilm have developed equally reliable cameras but with less weight and lenses that are capable of doing the same job as there Nikon or Canon counterparts but are much smaller and easier to carry with me. Weight is a big thing as you become more mature in years take it from me.

The Second thing that really attracted me to Fujifilm was the excellent, out of camera, JPEG quality using Fuji’s film simulations which meant I no longer needed to shoot RAW is the job did not require it as I knew the JPEGS were first class.

Fujiflim XT2 + 55-200 XF OIS JPEG straight from the camera

This has certainly cut the time I needed to spend in from of my computer postprocessing images from RAW, it is in my honest opinion not longer required for me to to shoot everything in RAW as I like the out of camera images in JPEG. I have found that it is more than possible to adjust the JPEGS in PS by up to 2 stops if required but if you get it right in camera this should not be neccessary.

The simple retrograde styling is another thing that attracted me to the Cameras, simple but effective with all the controls where they are needed and not tucked away inside in a menu system that you have to access.

Rear view of the XE2. Controls ver simple and easy to use

My first venture into the world of Fuji cameras was with a used Fuji X100 bought from a friend. Sadly the lens unit failed and had to be replaced with a new unit after which it worked fine and is still going strong today. A wonderful, lightweight, picture maker.

Fuji X100 with a fixed 23mm f2 lens

This little camera turned me on to the possibilities of quality in a mirrorless camera. Its sensor produced great colours and its lens was sharp and contrasty and gave images that were hard to distinguish between the Nikon and Canon greats that I was using

Fujifilm X Pro 1 + XF 35mm f1.4

Having experienced and enjoyed the X100, and having read about the new camera the X Pro 1, which would give me a choice of lenses, off I went and bought one. Loved the look and feel of the camera but it did have a few problems, slow focus being the main one. This was much improved in latter updates of the firmware. It gave wonderful images but you had to ”think” a little and work with the camera and around the minor issues it had. Despite its initial problems I personally found it a joy to use and carrying it around all day did not give me any problems.

The first lens I picked up with the X Pro 1 was the ”kit les” XF 18-55 IS, what a lens, not like some of the plasticky kit lenses from other manufacturers but an extremely well put together and very capable image maker. I still shoot with it today. It worked well with the X Pro 1 and gave sharp and contrasty images throughout its entire range with the added benifit of image stabalisation (IS).

Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS. You may argue that it is just another kit lens but unlike its remote cousins it is obviously one stop faster. If you buy it as part of a camera kit it is pretty affordable but its naked price tag of more than 650EUR/US$ makes it obvious that Fuji still doesn’t want to play in the low end market. Interestingly the lens features an image stabilizer which was the first time Fuji has implemented this in a XF lens.

The lens has a reworked internal micro-motor which is basically noiseless during AF operations – that is apart from aperture “clicking” because the camera is stopping down the lens. The AF speed is pretty good whereas the AF accuracy wasn’t impressive with the initial firmware version – it improved significantly with the latest version though. Manual focusing works “by wire” thus by triggering the AF motor. A focus distance guidance is provided in the camera viewfinder/on the LCD – this works quite nicely. Regarding the new OIS (optical image stabilizer) Fuji claims an efficiency of up to 4 f-stops. This may be true for lab conditions but better be conservative here – an efficiency of 2-3 f-stops seems more realistic to us (as usual). It is usable on ther cameras in the range for video.

These days image distortion is usually taken care of by the camera or by RAW converters so from a user perspective there isn’t much to worry about there. However, it is still interesting to check the original distortion characteristic – after all the auto-correction is a lossy procedure.

The Fujinon shows a rather massive amount of barrel distortion at the short end (4.6%) so it is a bit under-designed here, but I have nevr found it to be a major problem and easily fixed in post. Zooming in, the distortion decreases to a slight barrel distortion level at 23mm and a slight pincushion distortion at longer focal lengths.

The second lens I decided upon was the XF 35mm f1.4. A high-performance standard lens with incredible definition, even when shooting wide open. This lens delivers images with amazing clarity, even with the aperture wide open at F1.4. All the lens groups are shifted together during focusing to minimize aberration changes whether working close-up or at infinity. This unique design delivers images in which the focus is blended with smooth bokeh in out of focus areas. Offering a focal length equivalent to 53mm in the 35mm film format.

Although a little slow in the realm of AF, the images it can produce are pretty darned good. Sadly my copy was stolen, with one of my X Pro 1’s and I replaced it with the newer 35mm f2.

Then came the realease of the X Pro 2, something many had be waiting for. Same design but with many improvements over the 1.

  1. Newly-developed 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor reduces moiré and false colors to dramatically improve image quality and X-Processor Pro engine increases response times, achieves faster AF, lower noise and better color reproduction
  2. Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder featuring a Multi-Magnification function that automatically switches view-finder magnification according to the lens and simultaneous EVF over OVF display
  3. Electronic shutter maximum speed of 1/32000 sec and a focal plane shutter with a top speed of 1/8000 sec. with flash synchronization of up to 1/250 sec.
  4. Intelligent Hybrid Phase detection AF with 273 selectable AF points, Dual SD Slots. Operating temperature is minus 10 degree Celsius to plus 40 degree Celsius
  5. 16 Film simulation modes including the new ACROS monochrome mode and Grainy effect

Boy what a difference these changes made to the workings of the camera as a whole, it was a dream come true for many X Pro 1 users, including myself.

New X-Trans CMOS III
The newly-developed 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor boasts the highest ever pixel count for an X-Series camera. Combined with an XF lens, it delivers images with a perceived resolution far greater than the number of pixels used. In addition, the phase detection pixels have been positioned over a larger area for a faster, more precise phase detection AF performance. High ISO sensitivity performance has also been improved to the point that the whole sensitivity range — up to the maximum ISO 12,800 (Extended output sensitivity up to 51,200) — can now be used with confidence.The sensor readout speed is now approximately twice as fast, delivering high-speed continuous shooting, precise AF tracking, playback and higher quality movies.
New X Processor Pro
Thanks to the newly-developed X-Processor Pro engine, processing speeds are now approximately four times faster than a conventional model. This maximizes the capabilities of the X-Trans CMOS III sensor to ensure it delivers the highest image quality with super-fast response times. In addition, thanks to the high-speed reading technology of the sensor, the conventional EVF’s display speed of 54fps has been increased to a maximum of 85fps. This substantially reduces the image delay phenomenon when tracking a moving subject. Blackout time after release has also been reduced by approximately half and compressed Raw is supported, improving the ease-of-handling of Raw data.The Fujifilm X-Pro2 features a new CPU for high-speed processing. The Buffer memory has also been increased for an even faster response.
Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder
Photographers love looking through a viewfinder to take photos, which is why X-Series models have used finders from the very start. Combining the advantages of both an OVF and an EVF, Fujifilm has perfected the Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder with three viewing options. Now you can return to the roots of photography with the only viewfinder of its kind in the world.
Electronic Rangefinder
The EVF is simultaneously displayed as a small window in the optical viewfinder. It can be displayed in three different ways: 100% field of view, 2.5x magnification and 6x magnification. This allows the user to check focus, the angle-of-view, exposure and white balance in real-time, even when taking photos through the OVF. As it can also be used with MF assist, precise MF is possible in the OVF mode.
Advanced optical viewfinder system
The optical design of the viewfinder has been improved, moving the eye point from 14mm on the previous model to 16mm. A diopter correction dial is also included, which makes the viewfinder even more comfortable to use.
Dual-Function ISO Dial
The shutter speed and ISO dials have now been combined into one dial, which is reminiscent of those found on old film cameras. Changing the ISO is done by lifting the outer portion of the dial. Now all exposure settings can be performed with dials.
Film Simulation – New ACROS
Using the knowledge gained from accurately reproducing color in film manufacturing, Film Simulation allows the user to change color and tone settings to match the subject, scene and creative intent, just as if shooting with a roll of film. There are a total of 15 modes including PROVIA / Standard, Velvia / Vivid and ASTIA / Soft.The Fujifilm X-Pro2 features the new ACROS Film Simulation mode. Its features include smoother gradation, deep blacks and beautiful textures. Ultra high-quality monochrome images are possible, adding extra creativity to the general monochrome mode.
Grain Effect
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 has the ability to reproduce graininess typically unique to film-based images. There are two strengths: Strong or Weak, which can be combined with each of the different Film Simulation modes. The effects are also possible through in-camera Raw development.
Focus Lever allows you to instantly change the focus area
The new Focus Lever on the back of the camera can be moved like a joystick in eight directions to instantly move the focus area. Now, rapid focus area changes can be made, even when composing an image. Not only is this available to move the AF point during AF mode, but it can also be used during MF mode to quickly move the enlarged display area when using MF assist.
Phase Detection AF area expanded to 7×7
The number of selectable focusing points has been expanded from 49 on previous models to 77. Approximately 40% of the imaging area is now covered by fast, precise phase detection AF pixels, which means focusing speeds when photographing moving subjects have improved dramatically.
Advanced MF Mode
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 comes equipped with different types of MF assist including Digital Split Image, which is reminiscent of old rangefinders, and Focus Peaking where color is used to show the parts of the image that are in focus.
Durable magnesium body
Tough conditions are no longer to be feared. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 can be relied upon to take a picture at any time in any conditions.Reliability is one of the most important considerations when choosing a camera, so the Fujifilm X-Pro2 needs to work at any moment, regardless of where you are and what type of scene you want to photograph. That’s why the camera body is made from magnesium and features a dust-proof, splash-proof and freezeproof structure, along with a highly durable focal plane shutter and dual card slot.
Dual SD Card Slots
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the first mirrorless camera to offer dual SD card slots for highly reliable data storage. Slot 1 is compatible with UHS-II standards for excellent write speeds. One of three recording methods can be selected: sequential, backup and Raw / JPEG sorting.Images can be copied between SD cards within the camera, making image data backup possible without a PC.
1/8000 sec. Shutter Speed
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 comes equipped with a focal plane shutter boasting a durability of 150,000 shots, a maximum speed of 1/8000 sec and a flash sync speed of 1/250sec. Furthermore, the camera also includes an electronic shutter with completely silent operation and a maximum speed of 1/32,000 sec, allowing users to select maximum apertures even in bright conditions.
Exposure Compensation
As it’s used so frequently, exposure compensation has been made into a dual-purpose dial. Compensation up ±3 stops in 1/3 steps is possible even with the camera to your eye thanks to the dial’s knurled shape. But if the C position is selected, exposure compensation of up to ±5 stops is possible using the front command dial.
Fujifilm Camera Remote
With the new dedicated ‘Fujifilm Camera Remote’ application, you can focus and trigger the camera release from your smartphone or tablet. The app not only lets you adjust focus, but also control settings like shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation and ISO sensitivity. You can even apply other settings like Film Simulation, self-timer, and flash while ‘Touch AF’ lets you focus from your phone or tablet, too. Imagine all the situations where this smart assistant will come in handy! Take commemorative group photos with yourself in the shot, capture wildlife photos, or remotely release the shutter for night shots free from camera shake.The photographic possibilities are endless.

A photographer’s camera, and the most fully realized camera in Fuji’s X series. Great for my kind of street/reportage photography. Phase-detection autofocus system has improved speed and AF-point resolution. New 24-megapixel sensor is on par with many full-frame chips. Customizable controls are in a smarter layout; the new joystick makes for faster focus changes (Or whatever! Customize it). Hybrid viewfinder adds a tiny EVF to the optical viewfinder, a nice touch. New Acros film simulation mode is gorgeous, and the other simulations are first class.

As I rarely shoot in RAW the film simulation bracketing has become my favourite ”gadget” as it save me so much time in post processing.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s