Previously I talked about things like image quality, low light performance and AF but here I’ll reminisce about how it felt to handle the camera and a few experiments I attempted with it.
The camera does feel ‘good’ in your hand but lighter than you expect, I know that ‘good’ is a vague expression but you know it when you feel it. There’s lots of buttons, levers and a couple of scroll wheels so I’ll talk about them first:
- The rear scroll wheel by the thumb, I never figured out what that was for as it never seemed to do much when I was using the camera in either mode; capture or playback.
- I kept bumping the exposure-comp wheel, which is on the top-end of the camera, so I missed a few photos with that.
- The ‘Q’ menu button kept getting pressed instead of the AF lock button by the right-hand thumb on the rear.
- I liked the simple OVF/EVF switch lever on the front but I spent most of my time in EVF. Buttons seemed to have a noticeable delay before doing anything which was a shame.
Optical Viewfider/Elecronic Viewfinder
EVFs aren’t really a substitute for the real thing, I love my Zorki’s RF and 35mm optical VF on top, the VF for my Nikon’s are pretty good and the K1000’s is OK.
When using the XPro1 I gave up using the optical VF pretty quickly, not because the EVF was so good but I felt such a disconnect with the optical VF I almost never used it. It’s hard to explain but I loved the extra stuff an EVF gave me like realtime exposure info like live-view, I could easily see when I’d bumped the exposure-comp wheel plus I could now almost see in the dark.
Experimenting of Sorts
I didn’t experiment that much really but I brought out an R72 filter to experiment shooting wide open with the 35mm ƒ1.4 lens during the day and played with the in-built B&W colour filter modes along side it.
Shooting around the ISO 6400/ISO 25600 mark made using an R72 filter hand held very possible but in order to use RAW files, which makes the editing easier with my software, I was stuck with an ISO 6400 ceiling so using ISO 25600 I was then stuck with JPEGs only which I found harder to control (I’m sure photoshop could’ve made things easier).
I experimented with flash as well by beefing up the ƒ-stop and slowing down the shutter speed during the day to allow me to fire the flash manually (off-body).
Using an R72 filter on a ‘normal’ digital camera can’t really replace a camera that’s been converted, I wasn’t in love with these test shots.
As I noted in the previous post I started using the Fuji camera on FW version 2.04 so upgrading from 2.04 to 3.40 was quite a dramatic change to everything this camera was. It now had focus peaking, excellent AF tracking (in comparison) and it generally felt quicker all round.
I really was impressed by the cameras ability to lock on in such low low light, it really did feel like a different camera.
When I handed it back to Martin I said you might want to reconsider selling this camera after you play around with it post 3.40 update.
I found I used the 35mm as much as I did the 18mm which I didn’t expect since I always prefer a wide lens. Saying that though, when I had an NEX6 for about 2-3 weeks I found I really didn’t like the look of the 18mm kit lens on that APSC sensor and I started to quickly dislike it on the Fuji. There’s something about the distortion you get with the 18mm that doesn’t agree with me.
The Fuji cameras are OK. I’ve briefly played with the X100 that’s used by both Gareth Bragdon and Paul Cruickshank from GreySkies and they’ve never felt right in my hand.
I’ve been trying to save up for a new digital camera ever since I found my GF1 had started to drop frames and the Fuji XE-1 has been high on my replacement camera lists mostly due to it’s affordability compared to most other cameras.
The XE-1 apparently has the same sensor/engine as the XPro1, or something along those lines, and has similar controls around the back which I’ve not entirely enjoyed. Using this camera has actually managed to cure my interest in the XE-1 and I’m now looking to see if the Olympus EM-5 will come down in price since the EM-5 MkII has been released.
The Optical VF wasn’t the selling point I thought it might be plus it didn’t have a ‘profile’ for the 18mm focal length as far as I could see and with my 18mm history on APS-C sensors I wasn’t as sure.
I’m sure this camera has a large appreciative audience but I’ve found that I’m not one of them, at least not within the time constraint I was dealt. I found a sort of ‘live view’ approach to exposure very late in the game in the EVF so perhaps if I found something like that sooner I might’ve changed my mind.
I found the camera to be a little sluggish or un-responsive when metering or doing any task performed by its engine especially when previewing what I’d shot in the EVF (it seemed to drop the EVF then pop it back out to preview, it’s likely that wasn’t the case but the operation of the camera seemed sluggish even post firmware update).
Not for me but it might be for you(?), if I had a month I might have a different review.