X Pro2 High ISO

WOW....Impressive to say the least.  All these shots were at 10,000 ISO on the Fujifilm XPRO2 with the Fuji 35mm f/2.  I only had a second to grab the camera as Santa was already down one side of our street and I didn't want to miss him.  I will be going in to depth later on but I wanted to post these for anyone looking for examples.

My New Black & White

I've been going back and forth for sometime now constantly changing up my black and white editing style.  If you look around on the various forums black and white editing styles are just as diverse as color edits.  Each one has its own style and there really isn't a right or wrong way to do it.  Its subjective right?  You should edit the way your style dictates because in the end thats what will set you apart and hopefully drive business your way.

When I started my photography I had no idea what my look was or where it was going to go.  Thats ok and to be honest I'm not sure if I'll ever completely know where its going to end up.  I just know at the present time I'm happy with my results and my clients seem to be as well.  Back when I started I did what most do once they learn photoshop.  Layer upon layer of ridiculous filters and fake flares.  Anyone with any knowledge can spot it a mile away.  Clients go OHHH and AHHH but thats not the point.  I wasn't content with my look.  I'm not sure a style like that can pass the test of time.  What has seemed to pass the test of time is FILM.  While I'm not shooting as much film as I used to in the past we can still try to mimic it as much as possible with the like of presets such as Mastin Labs as well as VSCO just to name a few.  I use both for a base but I definitely change it up a little to create my own style.  I think this is important to do as to not look like everyone else.

 I was using a lot of Ilford Pan F to start my black and whites.  I also tend to gravitate towards a warm rendering.  I love the the lford Pan F but it is very contrasty and often times renders out a harder image.  That works for a lot of subjects but when I capturing people especially brides I want to portray a softer romantic image.  For this I lean towards the KodakBW400CN preset through VSCO.  After I add my adjustments Im left with a beautiful black and white that is inviting and warm.  For me its the perfect fit for a romantic soft look.  The image retains details but with a nice fade which takes some of the crunch out of a contrasty film stock.  If you want more of a film look add some grain to the images.  The images below are taken with various systems which include the Fuji GFX50s, Nikon D5, Fuji XT-2 and Xpro1.  Enjoy and if you have questions drop me a line.

Sibling Rivalry

I have been lucky enough to own the Fuji GFX for quite some time now and I find it to be an amazing camera.  I have spoke about it in depth on my Video Vlog post which can be found on my blog.  I have used it for personal work, a travel camera and weddings.  I enjoyed the GFX so much and the simplistic nature of such an outstanding professional camera I've decided to add it's little brother, the Fuji XT-2 to the family.  I can say this, I don't regret that decision one bit.  

The XT-2 constantly amazes me with what it can pull off.  We are talking about a crop sensor camera here folks.  All be it an X-Trans crop sensor but a crop sensor none the less.  I stacked it up against its largerr sibling the medium format Fuji GFX. A 52 megapixel beast.  We skipped right over full frame and I'm impressed.  I plan on doing a full blog right up of the XT-2 in the future but for this post I just wanted to throw up a few images.  Let me lay out the scene for you here.  A wedding a few nights ago under serious failing light.  We were getting dark fast and a lot of the images were over under exposed towards the end of our session.  We lucked out earlier with nice lighting and you will see those as well.  One thing I noticed right off was how well both camera rendered colors pretty much in sync with each other.  This made editing a breeze without any color shift from image to image.  Even black and white rendered beautifully.  I also added a few images from last months wedding were I shot both systems as well.

On the XT-2 I shot with the Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 & Fujinon 35mm f/2

The GFX50s was used with a Kipon Baveyes Adapted Pentax 105mm f/2.4

Take a look at how well the XT-2 did against its larger and much more expensive sibling.  Can you spot which is medium format and which is crop sensor?  Don't worry there will NOT be a test at the end.

Street shooting the Fujifilm X Pro1

A few weeks ago my wife and I took a short ride to Asbury Park, NJ to hit one of our favorite spots The Asbury Park Festhalle & Biergarten to check out the October festivities.  Perfect opportunity to bring out the light and vintage feeling Fujifim X Pro 1.  I mounted the seldom praised and often criticized Fujinon 18mm f/2 lens for a day of street photography.  My X Pro1 secured around my neck using a beautiful Hyperion Strap I was ready to roll.

XPro1 with the Hyperion Strap and 35mm f/2

XPro1 with the Hyperion Strap and 35mm f/2

 People have asked in the year 2017 is this camera still relevant?   With most of the photography world obsessed with high megapixel count and dynamic range results is the XPRO 1 still worth it?  While I don’t think it is fair to compare all cameras in this case I feel the closest competition to this camera would be a Leica M9 series. The Fujifilm XPRO1 being an APSC Crop sensor and the Leica M9 being a full frame sensor both come in at a relativity close megapixel count. My Leica M9P was amazing but it also hit me in the wallet for $3200 for a used one plus $900 for a 50mm Summicron F2.  My XPRO 1 set me back $375  for a used unit and another $225 for the 18 mm F2. There has been a lot of negativity in regards to the 18mm F2 however I found it to be a stellar lens.  The 23mm, 35mm, and 56mm Fujinons are incredible and sharp.  Far superior in build quality but the 18mm is a cheap way to get into an amazing focal length for street photography.  The Leica M9 is a beautiful piece of gear that goes without saying.  A solid camera with amazing detail in its construction. The Fujifilm has a wonderful feel to it however it does not feel as solid as it’s Leica competitor.  It has a hollow and light feeling to it but this is not to say that it isn’t a very sturdy camera.  It has a wonderful shutter sound too.  It truly sings vintage.

 

The similarities between the Leica in the Fuji become apparent when glancing at the rear LCD screen.  In my opinion you don’t really get what you see on the screens.  They are both lower in resolution and I have found that darks are very dark and highlights tend to look blown out even when exposure is nailed.  Once you get the images back to your method of editing its a whole different story.  The magic of the first generation Fuji X Trans sensor shows why its still well regarded within the community.  The images from the first generation look much different from my XT-2.

  

Shooting the XPRO1 certain gave me a feeling of shooting a film camera.   Adjustable aperture via the aperture ring on the lens.  Shutter speed dial on the top.  I set my top function button as an ISO selector.  Exposure comp dial.  If I’m feeling lazy or want to move fast I configure an Auto ISO up to 6400 and a shutter speed of my choosing.  I’m not concerned with noise.  The older X Trans sensor along with the way it renders color mimics film and black and whites are amazing.  Speaking of film you can choose a film emulation in camera which is applied to jpegs but not RAW files.  You can add the emulations to your RAW files in post.  You are missing the highly popular Classic Chrome emulation however not to worry as it can be found using a google search for Classic Chrome for XPRO1 and you will see a preset named Homebrew.  

 

The autofocus on the XPRO1 while not fast by any means is a lot better then the original firmware when released just make sure your updated.  I shoot mine on single AF or Manual regardless.  You have the choice of an optical viewfinder or an electronic viewfinder.  I stick with the latter as the optical seemed to suffer in strong sunlight whereas my frame lines were all but lost.

 

To get back to the original posed question.  Is the XPRO 1 worth it in 2017 I would give an astounding yes.  What do you have to lose?  For $300 to $400 on the used market for a system when released in 2012 for $1699.00 it’s a bargain.  If your like me a certain camera can place you in a certain mindset then it’s definitely worth it.  When I wield the XPRO1 I’m thinking like a film shooter.  I’m more deliberate in my use of light and shadow.  I’m more in the street photographer mindset, looking for a story to tell.  You can’t put a price on that and if you do then $350 is a steal.