First impressions

July 01, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Fuji X-Pro1, Fuji 14mm f2.8, Hoya IR72 Filter

After a week or so with the Fuji X-Pro1 it's time for an update with a few first impressions. While waiting for the lens adaptor arrived I occupied myself with gathering all the essential new camera accessories… all those useful things that I already own for every camera I have but need to buy again every time I acquire a new one.

I do a lot of low light and long exposure photography for which a shutter release cable is essential. Unusually in the digital era, Fuji haven't produced an electronic version, presumably to fit with the feel of the camera they've used a mechanical one. Fuji don't actually make one of these either but it's a standard fitment so you can use one of the many third party versions on the market, I went for a NIkon AR-3 which seems to be very good quality and looks rather handsome in black and chrome. Next up was a couple of spare batteries to combat the poor battery life problem of the X-Pro1 but I'll spare you the photos, they're just batteries. 

Straps seem to provide hours of internet conversation for Fuji X aficionados. The camera does come complete with a perfectly good black leather neck strap but with a camera of this size I prefer a wrist strap which also has the added bonus of not getting in the way when the camera is on a tripod. This one was hand made in Italy from wonderfully soft, aged leather and although the jury is still out on the colour, it is a thing of beauty.

Finally the lens adaptor arrived, there are many cheap generic ones on the internet that all look very similar and a few very expensive ones. As it is basically just a physical adapter to change a Canon FD mount to a Fuji X mount with no electrical contacts, I went for one of the cheap options. Time alone will tell if it was money well spent or false economy but I will be going into using the adapter in more detail in another post so for now suffice to say that it works.

As you have probably noticed from the photo, as well as the adapter I also acquired a used Fuji 14mm f2.8 lens. Again I'm sure I'll talk more about this when I have more room but in keeping with the camera, it is made how lenses used to be made, reassuringly solid metal construction with a  smooth focus ring that pulls back to switch from auto to manual focus revealing a depth of field scale. My only slight gripe is that I would have preferred the aperture ring to be more 'notchy' so it clicks into place, as it is it turns far too easily and I found myself checking the aperture constantly (luckily it is visible in the viewfinder) as it is so easy to accidentaly move it.

While I have tested the camera out with a couple of sunrise trips I haven't really put it through its paces or found time to have a good look at the resulting images so I've posted a quick photo at the top but we'll just look at first impressions for now...

Being a small camera it's, well, small. I found it difficult to handle without leaving fingermarks all over the screen but that's probably because I'm used to manhandling a chunky DSLR. There are however some strange design decisions. The tripod mount is positioned so close to the battery/memory card compartment that you have to remove the tripod QR plate to access memory card or battery. On the subject of the battery compartment, there is a catch to open it but it doesn't click shut again, you have to push the catch back into place. I know it sounds like a small thing but on a freezing winter morning I could do without having to remove cold metal tripod plates and fiddle around with things like that!

Niggles aside, it's a peach of a camera to use for landscapes. I like to compose my images using the viewfinder and then use the rear screen to focus , position filters and fine tune. It was a joy to be able to switch between the two without having to press any buttons and overlaying information such as histogram or electronic level is quick and easy on either. Manual focus is simple as well thanks to focus peaking which clearly highlights areas in focus and when you're ready even the shutter has a nice satisfying sound.

It's a very tactile experience which makes you slow down and think about what you are doing but at the same time there is so much lovely technology packed into that little camera that it's all very simple to use... I'm looking forward to seeing whether it can give my Canon 5D mkII a run for it's money.

Leather strap from www.angelo-pelle.com 
Lens adaptors available from www.srb-photographic.co.uk 


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Justin Minns is a part time photographer whose award winning landscapes have been widely published.

 

 

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