Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Pimp my Fuji X-Pro 1

Don't worry! By pimping I don't mean that you need to add neon or a subwoofer to the X-Pro 1 ;)
When I say pimping I'm talking about what I did to increase speed and usability of my X-Pro 1.

1. Strap
The day I preordered my X-Pro 1 was also the day that I ordered a thin leather strap from Gordy's Camera Straps. I have used Gordy's straps on all of my old analog cameras for years. A beautiful camera like the X10, X100 or the X-Pro 1 deserves a beautiful strap. The strap is perfect for the weight of the camera and you can customized the length, color of leather and color of the wrapping cord to individulize your strap.

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Gordy's strap and soft release



2. Thumbs Up grip
Compared to an entry level camera body the X-Pro 1 is not that much smaller in width and height. But it's much thinner. That's great for portability but not ideal for ergonomics.

I have rather large hands and the X-Pro 1 is too thin to sit perfectly in my hand. Fuji was aware of this potential issue and offers a X-Pro 1 hand grip. The Fuji hand grip is screwed into the tripod mount of the X-Pro 1. It offers a centered tripod mount on the bottom (the X-Pro 1 comes with an off center tripod mount). I almost ordered the hand grip, but unfortunately it lacks the hole to access the battery and SD card compartment when attached. So you'll have to detach the hand grip every time you need to access the SD card or battery...

Then I read somewhere that a Thumbs Up grip for the Leica X1 fits the Fuji X-Pro 1 (Thumbs Up CSEP-2) and the X100. It was about 50% more expensive than the Fuji Hand Grip, but you still have easy access to the battery/SD door.

My black Thumbs Up grip arrived and has stayed on the X-Pro 1 since then. It is well made (as one can expect for this price) and fits ergonomically perfect for me. The camera is well balanced even when holding it in one hand. They now even make another Thumbs Up (EP-7S) grip especially for the X-Pro 1 that is a bit cheaper, but I have not tried that one.

If you opt for a Thumbs Up grip you should be aware of the following issues:
You loose the flash ability via hot shoe (I have not used a flash on the X-Pro 1 so far). And the paint of the grip will wear off quite easily and expose the brass underneath (see photo).

Fuji X-Pro 1 with Thumbs Up Grip CSEP-2 and soft release button
Fuji X-Pro 1 with Thumbs Up Grip CSEP-2 and soft release button



3. Soft release:
I found the X-Pro 1 trigger to be a bit small for my liking and I ordered a soft release online. There are cheap soft releases on ebay so give it a try. And maybe order a few extra ones as I have managed to loose one already. (I did not dare to add LocTite)


4. Extra battery:
 I ordered two original spare batteries for my X-Pro 1. I get around 300-400 images on one charge under my normal use conditions. So the extra juice can come in handy...


5. SD-Card
If you want to speed up the operations on your X-Pro 1 invest in fast UHS-I SDHC cards! Fortunately Fuji supports the new UHS-I standard and the X10, X100 and X-Pro 1 make use of it. I am using 16GB SanDisk Extreme Pro cards rated at 95 MB/s and have never felt that the cameras operate slowly. The speed will most likely improve noticably even compared to a normal Class 10 card.

SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I
SanDisk Extreme Pro SDHC UHS-I


6. SD-Card maintanance
No matter what SD card you use there is some precaution that you should take with the cards used on Fuji X-Cameras!

First of all always format the card inside the camera.
Secondly, SD cards come with a little "Lock" slider on the side. Do make it a habbit to switch the slider to "Lock" as soon as you take the card out of the camera and unlock it only right before you put it back into the camera! (unless you want to load a firmware update onto the card).
If you don't lock the card and stick it into a Mac or iPad (I don't know about Windows), the OS will add a little file onto the card that gives your Fuji camera the hiccups. The camera will feel totally unrespondsive and takes forever to start. Only cure is to format the card in camera and remeber to lock it next time you take it out.


7. Lens adapter:
If you still have some old lenses from a different camera system why not check out if they have an adapter for the XF mount? I recently wrote about my experience with the Canon EOS EF to Fuji XF adapter on my X-Pro 1 and will soon post about my experience with the Olympus OM Zuiko to XF adapter.
Give your lens a second life and your X-Pro 1 some extra focal lenght to play with :)

Fuji X-Pro 1 with EF 135mm f2 L
Fuji X-Pro 1 with Kipon EOS-XF adapter and Canon EF 135mm f/2 L lens attached


If you have any further questions leave a comment below or Twitter me @HamburgCam

And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-) 

23 comments:

  1. Cool stuff, especially about locking the SD card. My X Pro 1 slowed down and I couldn't figure out why. Thanks!

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    1. I found this out over a year ago when my X100 started to behave funny. Since then I am using the "Lock" slider and have not had a single issue :)

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    2. Thanks for that tip. I was backing up my photos to my iPad on a trip once, but the X100 would slow down after. I then had to format the card, which kind of defeats the purpose of backing up photos in the first place. This should fix that!

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  2. I use the Nikon AN1 leather strap with my XPro1. Also have the handgrip and the EFX20 flash. I keep the metal hoods on the 18 and 35mm lens as they are small and offer protection. I don't trust the loose lens caps that Fuji provide, so welcome any 3rd party suggestions. I have a 3rd party spare battery as a backup.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the lens caps seem to come off rather easy. I have not found a better 3rd party lens cap yet, but maybe the audience can help?

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  3. I'm considering a Gordy neck strap for my X-Pro 1, myself. Do you ever wish you had gotten the version with the neck pad instead of the plain version?

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    Replies
    1. No, I have not missed the neck pad, yet. But I don't wear my camera around the neck the traditional way. I sling it arcoss from my left shoulder to my right hip.

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  4. I've got both the grip and the thumbs up but I use a wrist strap. I've never shot like this before, but I like it.

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    1. Interesting that you got both. I use a wrist strap on the Fuji X10 but like a longer neck strap on the X-Pro 1. But I sometimes wrap the long strap around my wrist when I'm planing to take more pictures at a time.

      I am curiouse which one you would choose if you could only have one grip? The Fuji grip or the Thumbs Up?

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    2. Thumbs Up. Only issue is that there's some difficulty with the shutter speed dial, especially when taking it out of Auto.

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  5. I like the neck strap. For Gordy's strap, are you using the standard size 45 inch or longer?

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    1. Yes, I got the 45 inches long one. But I wear my strap diagonal from one shoulder to my hip. For the summer time (when I don't wear a thick jacket) 2 inches shorter would be ok, too. But that would be too short for my taste in the winter with a thick jacket on. So 45 inches is the best compromise for me.

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  6. Thank you for the tips. All of them are great. Now I am using the Extreme Pro card and the post-lag has gone down noticeably. I bought the Thumbs Up CSEP-2 at The Rangefinder Store in Burlington, Ontario Canada http://rangefinderstore.com/ and I'll never turn back. The stability on portrait mode is phenomenally good.

    One problem is the soft release. Everyone who I know who owns an X-Pro 1 is onto their third release as the damned things fall off the camera easier than with any other camera. Small rubbery plastic ones would be great as they would be cheap. Oh well...

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  7. It's great to have something like the Thumbsup but they are rather pricey. An alternative - and a much cheaper one - is the Thumbrest from Lensmate (http://www.lensmateonline.com/): they're $50 plus postage, which I think is pretty good. The version for the X-E1 isn't available yet, but they say it should be available from around the end of November.

    BTW, I have no commercial connection with Lensmate except as a satisfied customer.

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  8. Hello, how do you control the aperture on a canon lens without ap-ring?

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    Replies
    1. You either have to use the lenses with open aperture or do it with a "hack" that I described in the EOS-XF adapter post:
      http://fujixfiles.blogspot.de/2012/07/fuji-x-pro-1-and-canon-ef-lenses.html

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  9. The Thumbsup looks interesting and everybody seems to love it. But doesn't it make it harder to use the exposure compensation dial? Thanks, Monika

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    1. It's no problem to reach the exposure compensation dial with your thumb when the Thumbsup is attached. The grip is not that long that it blocks the dial.

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  10. are you shooting RAW or JPEG? I currently have an X-100 and shoot RAW. I want to upgrade to XPro-1 but keep hearing bad things about the RAW conversion. Would love to hear your experience.

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    1. I used to shoot 100% in JPG but started to shoot RAW about one month ago. RAW is now very usable for me with the new LightRoom 4.4 Release Candidate. The new Adobe Raw engine works better with the Fuji X_trans sensor files. Give it a try but use a bit more clarity and sharpness on the sliders than what you may be used to. Adobe was conservative with the sharpening and contrast :)

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  11. Damien Lovegrove is into pimping Fuji cameras as you can see here on a blog post of his.
    http://www.prophotonut.com/2014/01/15/whats-in-my-bag-damien-lovegrove/

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  12. The SD Lock advice is gold - thank you very much for this invaluable info!

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