Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 and Olympus OM Zuiko lenses

After my review on the Kipon Canon EOS to Fuji XF adapter, I am going to write about how the Kipon Olympus OM-XF adapter performs on the Fuji X-Pro 1.

Fuji offers their own intelligent adapter for Leica M lenses. And if I were fortunate enough to own Leica M glass, I would buy the Fuji adapter in a heartbeat.

But I still own some Olympus OM Zuiko lenses from my old analog OM-4 Ti. Therefore another Kipon adapter was ordered and I had it connected to the X-Pro 1 quite often in the past month.

Unfortunately, my OM lens collection on the wide side overlaps with my current Fujinon XF lenses in terms of effective focal length. This leaves me with the Olympus OM Zuiko 50mm f/1.8 Auto-S and OM Zuiko 100mm f/2.8 Auto-T as useful additions to my current X-Pro 1 lens lineup. Great thing about those two lenses is that they are rather compact (compaed to the Olympus 50mm f/1.4 and 100mm f/2). And with the additional lengt of the Kipon OM-XF adapter, you'll want as short of a lens as you can get - unless you want to end up with an odd looking drainpipe sticking out from your slim X-Pro 1 body ;)

The biggest advantage of the OM lenses vs. the Canon EOS EF lenses is that you can select the aperture right on the lens itself. No aperture "hack" required :)

And how do they perform? The image quality is great! I mainly use the 100mm as this effective field of view equals 150mm on a full frame body. Somehow I did not find much use for the 50mm (75mm equivalent FOV), yet.

Both performe really well wide open. But in order to use them wide open your focus has to be spot on. And that is quite difficult to manage with the current stage of the EVF refresh and magnification rate offered by the X-Pro 1. Did I mention before that I wish for a second MF magnification level of 5X in addition to the 10X we already got? And focus peaking would make focusing long MF lenses so much easier...

But the way it is right now (X-Pro 1 with FW 1.10) I usually stop down on moving subjects to f/5.6 in order to get enough depth of field to compensate for focus inaccuracy. It works but it takes a bit potential away from this great combo.

So if you want to use your OM (or any other manual focus) lens wide open on the X-Pro 1 make sure you aim at static objects - possibly even with the camera set on a tripod.

Here are some sample images - as always click on the image to see a larger version:

Last one standing - Fuji X-Pro 1
"Last one standing" - X-Pro 1 with Olympus OM 100mm f/2.8 Zuiko at f/8


Happy Bokeh Friday 08.06.2012 - Fuji X-Pro 1
As they were posing for their own photo I was able to nail focus with the OM 100mm wide open at f/2.8 - nice bokeh, too


First contact - Fuji X-Pro 1
Architecture works also well with the OM 100mm at f/5.6 as there is virtually no distortion!


Analogman @ work in Paris! Fuji X-Pro 1
Another lucky shot with the 100mm at f/2.8 - I wished focusing this long lens would be more reliable with the EVF in scenes with moving subjects


Hiding - Shrouded in a scarf - Fuji X-Pro 1
This was shot in a crowded place but I was able to single out this undercover lady with the 100mm lens at f/5.6


Olympus OM 50mm f/1.8 auf Fuji X-Pro 1
This is an example of how well the OM 50mm f/1.8 looks on the X-Pro 1


Getting close - Fuji X-Pro 1 with OM 100mm
And just in case if you are interested in how the OM 100mm handles color images... Looks very natural to me :)


DSCF5813
The OM 100mm f/2.8 isn't a dedicated macro lens - but look at the details on the focus point on the "C" from Cycle in the full size image at f/2.8!!! (click the image)


Fuji X-Pro 1 with Kipon OM-XF adapter and Olympus OM 100mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens
And now you probably want to see how the adapter and lens combo looks like when attached to the X-Pro 1. Notice that the Kipon OM-XF adapter itself is about half as long as the 100mm lens.


To sum it up:
The Olympus OM lenses were good lenses back in the analog days. And the once I tested perform really well on the X-Pro 1, too. So if you still have some OM lenses in the drawer, think about getting an OM-XF adapter for your X-Pro 1. And if you don't have any old lenses, check for used OM lenses on the web or at you used camera store.

Against my usual believe to go for the "faster, bigger and more expensive lenses" I would suggest to go for the smaller, lighter, cheaper ones when it comes to OM 50mm f/1.4 vs. f/1.8 and OM 100mm f/2 vs. f/2.8. The "slower" lenses perform really good and due to the challenging EVF focusing on the X-Pro 1 you might end up stopping the lenses down anyway.

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 :-)

Friday, July 20, 2012

How Bokehlicious is the Fuji X-Pro 1?

Tests have shown that the Fuji X-Pro 1 is able to challenge full frame sensor cameras in resolution, dynamic range and ISO performance.

But there is one physical limitation where even the best APS-C size sensor can't challenge a full frame camera - and that is shallow depth of field control.

Any sensor smaller than full frame will have a greater depth of field at comparable lens and f-stop settings. Now that does not automatically imply that this is a bad thing. Many wildlife, sports and macro photographers actually appreciate this characteristic for their work.

But I am a shallow depth of field and bokeh lover! I have used full frame DSLR's for 6 years and really make use of shallow depth of field to separate my subject from the background. So how can I create this effect with the X-Pro 1?

Well, the underlying physics of the X-Pro 1 APS-C sensor can't be changed. You have to a) shoot as wide open as possible and b) get as close as possible to your subject and c) use the longest focal length possible in order to increase the shallow depth of field.

The bokeh quality is a matter of the lens used. So how do the XF 18mm and XF 35mm that I own do in the bokeh department? See and decide for yourself:


Small but at the Top - Fuji X-Pro 1 macro
The Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 is capable of producing a nice bokeh and lots of details even at f/2.8!


Happy Bokeh Friday 11.05.2012 - Fuji X-Pro 1
The Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 does produce a very pleasing bokeh, too.


Happy Bokeh Friday 30.03.2012
XF 35mm @ f/1.4 with sunlight coming in through the window behind the chair.


And let our grammar better get always ;) - Fuji X-Pro 1
This was a high contrast scene facing towards the sun with the XF 18mm lens. Blown highlights but nice bokeh.


Happy Bokeh Friday 20.04.2012
Detail of a classic Citroen DS taken with the XF 35mm f/1.4


Happy Bokeh Friday 13.04.2012
The wide angle XF 18mm f/2 allows for a good angle of view even if you want to get close to the subject in order to create background blurr


Happy Bokeh Friday 22.06.2012 - Fuji X-Pro 1
XF 35mm at f/1.4 - I use shallow depth of field to focus the viewers attention to the part of the picture that I want to highlight. The Lytro camera shown in this image lets the viewer decide where to focus on after the picture was taken...


The right one is somewhere out there... - Happy Bokeh Friday!
XF 35mm at f/1.4 - If everything would have been in focus, the background would have distracted from the subject and the story this picture was supposed to tell would have been less intense


Portrait in the rain - Fuji X-Pro 1
I am always amazed about how well the XF 35mm on the X-Pro 1 resolves details. Even wide open at f/1.4 you can clearly see individual hairs (click on the image to go to a bigger version)


Both the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 and 35mm f/1.4 are great compact lenses that can be used with wide open aperture and still resolve lots of detail.

Remember, the smaller the sensor gets, the tougher it is to separate your subject from the background! Therefore a smaller m4/3 sensor needs an even faster lens to create a similar shallow depth of field at a comparable field of view that you get from an APS-C sensor camera.

Looking at Fujis XF lens roadmap, the XF 23mm f/1.4 and XF 56mm f/1.4 (both in 2013) are two lenses that look interesting for the shallow depth of field style photographer :)

And as the Fuji X-E1 hast the same mount and sensor as the X-Pro 1, the results will be the same.

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 :-) 

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 :-) 

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 and Architecture photography

Any camera is capable of taking photos of architecture! But some do it better than others...

The field of view of the lens/camera combination and distance/point of view to the subject have to match in order to get the photo you want. Most of the time I end up shooting architecture from the ground-level up and a Tilt-Shift lens is most useful in those situations.

But Fuji does not make a Tilt-Shift lens for the XF camera mount so I have to work with what I've got. The XF 18mm and 35mm lenses do make decent architecture lenses on the X-Pro 1, though.

First of all they have a lot of resolving power and the X-Trans sensor delivers a lot of detail and sharpness thanks to the lack of a AA filter.

Secondly, the X-Pro 1 corrects the distortion for the lenses. THis way you get straight lines from your "out of camera" jpg image. This helps a lot in making the image look good even if you have to apply a bit of perspective correction in post processin.

Here are a few architecture shots I have taken with the X-Pro 1 recently:

Spaceship Egg Pano -Fuji X-Pro 1 @ Europapassage
No surprized that I start with an "in camera Pano" from the X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens - This Fuji X-Camera function has served me very well in Paris, too :)


Eye puzzler - Fuji X-Pro 1
Quite an eye puzzler due to the perspective and reflection of the XF 35mm shot - no HDR!


Decision Time - Architecture - Fuji X-Pro 1
Left or right? X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens


Hafen City View Point - Fuji X-Pro 1
Plenty of negative space in this X-Pro 1 "in camera 180° panorama" taken with the XF 35mm lens


Fuji X-Pro 1 - Architecture
X-Pro 1 with XF 35mm lens and pretty much no distortion!


HafenCity Architektur Hamburg - Fuji X-Pro 1
I did not apply perspective correction to this XF 18mm photo - I liked it this way


HafenCity View Point - Fuji X-Pro 1
View Point - Taken with X-Pro 1 and XF 35mm lens


Disconnect - Fuji X-Pro 1
Visualization of the word "Disconnect" - Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 35mm lens

Urban Oasis - Fuji X-Pro 1
Urban Oasis taken with the XF 18mm lens


III down II up III - Fuji X-Pro 1
Down & Up - Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens


25% Stone vs. 75% Air - Fuji X-Pro 1
25% stone vs. 75% air - Fuji X-Pro 1 with XF 18mm lens


For me the X-Pro 1 with the XF 18mm and XF 35mm work well for the kind of architecture photography that I mostly do. And the build in Panorama mode allows for some extra cool images. What are your experiences?

Leave a comment below or tweet me @hamburgcam

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

Monday, July 9, 2012

Is the Fuji X100 enough camera for traveling? My Copenhagen experiment

I have used the Fujifilm X100 for well over a year now. It was my first serious mirrorless camera as I mainly relied on fullframe DSLR before.

There have been loads and loads of technical reviews posted about the X100 and the fantastic image quality, so let me focus on the question that I read so often in blogposts: Can I travel with only the X100 on my side? Here is my real life travel experience:

 I planned a photo trip to Copemhagen last year and wanted to start an experiment by only bringing the Fuji X100 as my digital camera. As reported in a previous post about my recent trip to Paris with the X-Pro 1 (Traveling light to Paris with Fuji X-Pro 1 and X10) I used to carry way too much heavy gear with me when I travelled. The fear of missing a shot because I did not have the right lens or flash with me was always present when packing the gear. But this time it was different.
Only the X100 - and I did not even have a spare battery at that time. And there was actually some room left in the smallest photobag that I owned! In a last second decision I grabbed my 1953 Rolleiflex analog medium format camera and a few rolls of film to fill that gap - something that I never had space for on previous trips :)

It was a funny feeling when I boarded the train early that Friday morning - kind of scared and reliefed at the same time with the light gear on my shoulder...

Rolleiflex Automat 1953 - on the morning train
The X100 taking a photo of this friendly Rolleiflex Alien on the train to Copenhagen ;)

The trip was planned to mainly visit the Copenhagen Jazz festival and to stroll around the city. But visiting a city without a wider lens than a 35mm field of view? What if I want to photograph architecture? 24mm or 17mm was usually my widest focal length for those trips. Sometimes I even brought the 15mm fisheye...

I arrived in Copenhagen central station and my friends picked me up and took me to the first photographic "must see" location: The famous "Vor Frue Kirke" - the Copenhagen Cathedral. This is one of those locations that screams for a wide angle lens to capture its full beauty. The gear remorse kicked in right away! Great, this isn't going to work with 35mm! Why didn't I bring a different camera and more lenses?

But then I remebered that the X100 has a build in pano stiching program. This is something that I had not really used as it seemed to be more of a point & shoot gimmick to me. But maybe it could get me a decent shot here? The best way to capture the cathederal hallway and ceiling would be in vertical orientation but I had not seen this "vertical panorama" option documented in the owners manual. So here goes the first try:

Vor Frue Kirke - Copenhagen Cathedral - Fuji X100 Pano
Vor Frue Kirke - Copenhagen Cathedral taken with Fuji X100 in pano stiching mode

It did work surprisingly well! This was the moment that would introduce a new style of photography to me :)
Take a look at this post to see really cool panos from Paris taken with a Fuji X-Camera: Cool Panos from Paris

Off to the next challenge - capturing the spirit of the Jazz musicians. I knew that I had to get close to the action in order to get strong images. A 35mm field of view is a first row shooting lens and 12 MPix sensor resolution won't let you crop forever. But the Copenhagen Jazz Festival is a really open and easy going event that allowed me to get almost as close as I wanted:

Passion for Guitar
The facial expression tells it all :)

The outdoor venues were a breeze with the X100. But focusing did get a lot tougher inside the dimly lit Jazz clubs. At the time of this trip the X100 was still in its early stages of Firmware updates. And the contrast auto focus and manual focus was not really up to speed in low light back then. So I did have to do a lot of trial and error, but ended up getting some nice shots:

Happy Bokeh Friday 08.07.2011
Play louder, I can't hear you! ISO 3200

Passion for Saxophone
Lost in music

If James Bond would drive a Volvo it would be the P1800
While moving from club to club I came across this cool looking vintage Volvo.
If James Bond would drive a Volvo it would be the P1800


Nyhavn Copenhagen - Fuji X100 Pano
When I reached the famous Nyhavn canal it was time to try if the pano mode also worked in "traditional" horizontal panorama orientation

Vertical Pano Tower - Fuji X100
Another opportunity to use the pano function in vertical orientation was close by, though :)


And just in case you care to see one of my Rolleiflex photos, this is what I made out of 2 photos (6x6) from my Rolleiflex at the Axelborg staircase:

Copenhagen Eyes
Copenhagen Eyes at Axelborg building - 1953 Rolleiflex with Kodak Portra 160 VC



My resume about the X100 as main travel camera on trips:

I would not hesitate to only take the X100 along when going on a trip - as long as I can live without more zoom than the 35mm field of view that the X100 offers. Croping a 12 MPix image on a good resolving lens gives you some room to enlarge a subject but it is not an endless option.

On the wide side I think that the panorama function on the X100 can easily minimize the need for a wider angle lens.

If you feel that you do need more zoom or a wider angle at times, I would opt for an additional small camera companion like the Fujifilm X10 or a Canon S95/S100 instead of taking a big DSLR with lens(es). This way I have the option to leave one of the two "smaller" cameras (X100 or the compact camera) in the hotel room - but you can't really reduce the basic size of your DSLR camera body.

The X100 is today a much better camera than it was when I traveled to Copenhagen. Fuji has constantly listened to us photographers and implemented improvements in each firmware upgrade. Kudos to Fuji for constantly improving the X100 :-)

Leave a comment below or tweet me @hamburgcam if you have questions

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

Friday, July 6, 2012

Fuji X-Pro 1 and Canon EF lenses

I was very excited when I found out that there will be an adapter to connect Canon EOS EF lenses to the Fujifim X-Pro 1 mount, and ordered it right away. I currently own the Fujinon XF 18mm and 35mm lenses that cover my mainly used focal length. But I have some nice Canon EOS EF lenses that I want to use when I need a bit more focal reach.

Obviously there are two caveat when using Canon EOS EF lenses on a X-Pro 1

1. You loose the AF and IS on the Canon lens and some of the EF lenses are not that comfortable to manual focus as these lenses are mainly built for auto focus use.

2. This is the big bummer! Let me put it in a Henry Ford style sentence: You have full control over the aperture setting on EF lenses as long as it is "wide open" ;)
The lens will only work at its open aperture - i.e. the 50mm f/1.4 will be at 1.4 when attached to the X-Pro 1 via the adapter.
But there is a hack for that! I have been using it and it has been working for me. You can set the aperture on an EF lens to stay/rest at your desired apperture when you follow these steps (at your own risk):

- I attach the desired lens (i.e. 50mm f/1.4) to my Canon DSLR camera and turn it on
- Then I choose the aperture that I would like the lens to stay at (i.e. f/4)
- Next I rest the camera on a steady safe surface such as a table
- Now I push the DOF preview button on the Canon DSLR (the aperture blades close to f/4)
- And while the DOF preview button is pushed I disconnect the lens from the DSLR
- Finally I switch off the DSLR and put the camera mount cap on it

If you now look into the front of the lens you can see that the aperture blades are still in the f/4 position - or whatever aperture you chose.

That's quite a finger acrobatics hack, isn't it?

Carrying a DSLR around with you and performing this hack every time you want to switch the aperture on your EF lens is not very practical in the field. Therefore you should choose the best "compromise" aperture for your DOF liking and use ND filters to allow you to still work at wide open apertures even in bright light situations.

I mainly shoot with the Fujinon XF lenses, but occasionaly I attach the Kipon EOS-XF adapter and a Canon EF tele lens for those situations that would not work well with my current Fuji lenses:


Fuji X-Pro 1 with EF 70-200m f4 L + 1.4x TC
The Canon EF 70-200 f/4 IS L plus 1.4x TC was the crazyest combo I came up with. The FOV 35mm equivalent is 420mm and the optical quality is pretty good!

Pink in the Rain - Fuji X-Pro 1
Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @f/2.2

Bicycle chained to fence No. 6 / Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm lens
Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @f/2.2 creates a nice creamy bokeh

Nautical bitt - Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm
Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 @f/2.2

EF 135mm L test @ f/2 - Lost Toy
Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 135mm f/2 L @f/2 this creates an even better bokeh

Tonights Moon over Hamburg - Fuji X-Pro 1
And finally the mother of all tele test: The Moon! Fuji X-Pro 1 with Canon EF 70-200 f/4 IS L plus 1.4x TC @f/7.1 ISO 400 and 1/500s on a tripod in standard JPG mode


The three Canon lenses I tested worked well with the Fuji X-Pro 1 and the Kipon EOS-XF adapter. Here are the settings that I prefer and thoughts about the lens combination with the X-Pro 1:

- Canon EF 85mm f/1.8 makes the most sense in terms of focal length (around 130mm FOV on the X-Pro 1), size and weight for me. The optical quality is great but there is some color fringing wide open (just like on the Canon 5D MK II). Stopped down to f/2.8 I think this is a great combo!

- Canon EF 135 f/2 L is one of the sharpest Canon lenses with a beautiful creamy bokeh. It performs very well on the X-Pro 1 shows lots of detail resolution and has a nice size focus ring to work with. But it is heavy and difficult to focus on moving subjects. The equivalent FOV of 200mm on the X-Pro 1 is more than the EVF refresh rate and 10x zoom function can cope with. It is best used with a tripod on still objects.

- Canon EF 70-200 f/4 IS L with and without 1.4x TC. I was pleasently surprised how good the optical quality was on the X-Pro 1. Especially with the 1.4x TC I get quite a bit of color fringing on my Canon 5D MK II, but I hardly got any on the X-Pro 1. I also got a much better moon shot with the lens attached to the X-Pro 1 in jpg than I ever got on my 5D MK II in RAW. The X-Pro 1 does have a 1.5 crop advantage, but the Canon also has 5 MPix more resolution...
This combo is almost a telescope at 420mm equivalent FOV and not very practical to focus. You need lots of light, a still subject and shutter time of 1/1000s or a tripod to get a usable shot.

My resume:
The three Canon EF lenses that I tried so far did resolve details very well and gave pleasing and consistent color results. In terms of size, weight and focal length the EF 85mm f/1.8 works best for me. I got very good results with the longer focal length, too. But in order to focus these lenses correctly you need to switch to EVF, use the 10x magnifier and try not to get dizzy with all the motion blurr you get at those zoom focal length. Fuji did improve the EVF refreshrate in their last FW update 1.10 and that really helped. But an even bigger improvement woul be a second, reduced zoom factor option of 5x, an even faster refresh rate or (even better) focus peaking.

But even then the hack to change the aperture on EF lenses is less than perfect. The old Canon FD mount lenses did still have an aperture ring and might be your better alternative if you still own some of them or find one cheap on ebay. Although the optical quality might not be as good as on the majority of the newer EF lenses it might be worth looking at the FD-XF adapter, too.

Let me know what you think of alternative lenses on the XF Mount in the comments or tweet me @hamburgcam

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

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Fuji X10 goes to Paris, too - and does cool panos

When deciding what gear to take to Paris this year my prime mission was to go light without sacrificing the image quality that I am used to from my DSLR cameras. My second companion camera to the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 was the compact Fujifilm X10!

A compact? Why? After owning the X100 for 6 month I eagerly awaited the X10 to hit the stores towards the end of last year. Just like I did with the X100, I ordered the X10 without ever phisically holding it in my hand. Buying without trying is a very untypical thing for me to do, but I was pretty certain that the X10 would be the compact camera that I would feel least limited with - compared to a bigger camera.

My main reasons for choosing the X10 were the fast high quality lens with f/2-2.8 at 28-112mm (35mm equivalent field of view), relatively large sensor, Fuji color JPG engine, in camera pano mode and an optical view finder for extreme bright situations.
The great lens comes with the draw back that it sticks out quite a bit compared to other compact cameras. But photography and image quality are about compromises and the size of the lens was the compromise I was willing to take.

I took the X10 along to Paris as a safety net for those situations where I wanted more zoom than the X-Pro 1 XF lens lineup currently offers. But the primary reason was the in camera panorama stiching program.

To me, this is one of the most overlooked quality features of this camera! At first it seemed like a consumer gimmick to me. But after using it for many month it gives me capabilities of a Hasselblad X-Pan panorama camera, just digital, smaller, cheaper and more versatile (BTW, the Hasselblad X-Pan was a rebranded Fuji TX-1 build by Fuji)

The X10 is capable of 120°, 180°, 360° sweep panoramas that are stiched in camera and saved as jpg. You will need some practice to max this feature out, but this is what it is capable of:


Not your typical l'Arc de Triomphe postcard photo - Fuji X10 vertical pano
Since I found out that vertical panos also work, this has been my main style I use this feature for. Not your typical Arc de Triomphe postcard photo, eh? ;)

The lone photographer above Paris - Fuji X10 panorama
And this is a traditional 120° horizontal pano sweep from to of the Arc de Triomphe

Not your typical Eiffel Tower postcard photo - Fuji X10 vertical pano
Still, the vertical panos are so much more fun and give a new perspective of the Eiffel Tower :)

Spaceship launch pad Paris - Fuji X10 panorama
I would have needed a wide fishe eye lens to get this 180° field of view without the pano mode

Rue Chappe stairs - Paris panorama - Fuji X10
The 180° vertical pano worked pretty well on the famous "Rue Chappe stairs", too

Bibliothèque nationale de France - Fuji X10 Pano
Without the pano mode I could not have captured the impression I got when standing in front of the huge Bibliothèque nationale de France


If you already own a Fuji X10 / X100 / X-Pro 1 take this post as an inspiration to play around with the pano functions, too. Don't get frustrated if your results aren't perfect on the first few tries. It'll take some trial and error to understand what works and what doesn't.
Post a comment below or tweet me @hamburgcam if you want me to write more on my experiences with the pano mode of the three Fuji X-Cameras that I use...
 
And if you liked my post I am always happy if you spread the word and retweet, like or google +1 it :-)