Working with the Fuji X-Pro “Monochrome”

Black and white images shot with my X-Pro 1 “Monochrome” account for much of my photographic output.

That includes my work photography.

Fallen Firefighters honoured

Somehow, in a world where smartphone photos of dubious quality are uploaded minutes after an event ends, my black and white photos have become a welcome addition to the record of government activity.

BC-India Global Business Forum 2013 BC-India Global Business Forum 2013

While I might be shooting an event with a DSLR, often with flash, I also carry my XP1 “Monochrome” with the 35mm or 18mm lens attached. This allows me to capture shots with available light and to work unobtrusively in crowds. Shooting wide open (or close to it) and at high ISO, the XP1 M produces fabulous monochrome images.

Tahltan Nation treaty signing event

Of course, unlike shooting with film or with that other, expensive Monochrome camera, I have the colour information available to me, since I shoot RAW.

FrancophonieDay

Typically, I set the XP1 M to shoot in “Monochrome” film simulation, whether or not I am also shooting small JPEGs along side of the RAW photos. This provides me with a monochrome image preview, so I get to see the photo in black and white.

FrancophonieDay

Once imported into Lightroom, I have multiple options for converting the photos into black and white. Having happily used Silver Effects Pro for a couple of years, I have migrated to VSCO Film because of their great support for X-trans files created with the XP1 M. This method also saves me disc space, as I don’t create another file as one does with SEP.

FrancophonieDay

Although this might be old news to some, it seems worthwhile to once again demonstrate the superior image quality of the XP1 files, be they “M”onochrome or not.

Notes
All photos shot with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 with the 18mm f/2 or 35mm f/1.4 XF lenses, except for the firefighter photo, which was shot with the 18-55mm lens. Photos were processed in Lightroom 4.4 with VSCO Film 1 or 3. Events photographed were dedication of memorial to fallen firefighters, BC-India Global Business Forum, Tahltan Nation treaty signing event and BC Francophonie Day celebration.

7 Comments

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  1. Hmm, Im probably one of only a few these days that are not so completely sold on neither the X-Pro1/X-E1’s monochrome output nor the use of VSCO filters and their extensive almost overkillish selection of presets…. Perhaps as a starting point the VSCO-stuff is fine/convenient but not much more than this. And perhaps Im even a little hardcore puristic of mindset when dealing with b/w… The Fuji X’s clearly excells though when it comes to their wonderfull display of colors and in-camera film-simulation… Just my opinion offcourse;o)

    Nice shots in and between though! Who’s the Sikh-guys in the 2nd shot btw?

    best
    klehmann

    • Klehmann, thanks for the comments.

      I see any conversion preset or external editor, such as SEP, as a starting point. Because these shots are for work, I opt for the subtlest version of any of the VSCO Film 1 presets (the ones with a minus). Then I tweak the highlights and shadows to my liking.

      However, the larger reason for writing this post was to point out the exceptional output, black and white or colour, from the X-Trans sensor and Fujinon lenses. Which, I believe, rival that other, really expensive, monochrome-only camera from Solms. Perhaps I was too subtle in my essay, but no matter. As long as I am happy with the results and I can achieve them easily (speed is important in producing my work photography), then I feel doubly fortunate.

      As for any of the subjects of these photos, I only know very few. In many cases, there are hundreds of people at the event and I have no idea who they are. Mostly I am looking for people engaged with each other. So, I don’t know the man in question.

      -Don

      • Hi Don,

        Well, then we actually agree for the most parts:o))

        My only ‘quibble’ would be regarding Your comment about the X’es rivaling the M’s (MM i assume You mean and not M240?) for the b/w-part… I’m rather biased here offcourse since I’m fortunate enough to own such one mentioned vaguely/discretely by Yourself, as well, and my own findings in this matter is obviously highly subjective albeit clear as day… There’s simply no comparison whatsoever and I would be the 1st to simply ‘unload’ the MM if I felt such a thing was the case. Theyre all great cameras with their own strengths within their own more or less limited scope…. I ‘admire’ the Fuji’s for many things but their operation of speed (I’m not talking about peoples minor/major grievances with the implemented AF here!) like most other cameras that are a combo of AF/and some limited MF (which often seems like an afterthought btw:o) is NOT one of them… But one learns to work-around them or even make them work for ya…

        Actually when talkin’ the Solms-gang vs the X-‘club’ I’m not a fanboy in neither of the groups. In fact I much prefer the Fuji’s over the new M240 for the colors… Sorry to be so model/brand-specific here. I realize You went to at least some length not to mention any names to start of a lot of irrelevant brand-war gibberish.

        Thanks for Your clear and fast response though and I most of all agree with: If it works for You (and me & everyone else) one can consider oneself fortunate.

        Best
        klehmann

      • Well said. If it works for any of us, we are fortunate.

        Cheers,
        Don

  2. Very nice conversions. What “film-type” do you use in VSCO?

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