Firmware updates, third-party lenses and shooting in JPEG with the Fujifilm X-Pro1
It has been a while since I have written a technical post, but with the release of firmware version 3.0 for the X-Pro1 and the X-mount lenses, this seemed like a good time to do so.
First, let’s look at what Fujifilm has been doing to adapt their products. Since the release of their X-cameras, they have updated their firmware to meet the needs of photographers. Their most recent firmware update included further improvements to AF speed for all of their lenses and the addition of Focus Peaking, per the X100s, to MF. Since I prefer to shoot using MF, with the assistance of the magnified view and the AF-lock button, Focus Peaking is a very, very welcome addition.
I have only had a day with one event and three work portrait sessions to try out the new features, but so far so great! An inherent difference with FP on the XP1 and the X100s is that with longer focal lengths, the shallower depth of field results in less area in focus and therefore highlighted by FP. So, instead of getting a very large area of the frame highlighted as one does with the X100s, the FP, at least with longer lenses, such as the 60mm, produces a smaller highlighted portion. FP still works, you just have to pay more attention to see it.
Thanks Fujifilm for continuing to make your cameras better and better. Now, we can anticipate the next firmware update that is rumoured to include a fix for Auto ISO, i.e., setting minimum shutter speed independently of focal length.
Another area for adaption with the X-Pro1 is third-party lens use. When I purchased the XP1, I had a number of Leica M-mount lenses. I kept most of them until I had an Rayqual M-mount adapter for the camera. I shot with these lenses on the XP1, but eventually sold them all because they effectively duplicated the focal lengths of the Fujinon XF lenses that I now owned. And, I never felt like I was missing anything because the Fujinon lenses are all great, even the 18mm. In fact, the quality of the XF lenses rivals the quality of any lens that I have had the opportunity to use.
Recently, I picked up two other adapters for the XP1. A Metabones Nikon F-mount and a Kipon Contax/Yashica mount adapter. I already own a Tamron 90mm f/2.8 macro lens and recently picked up a Zeiss C/Y 135mm Sonnar (f/2.8) lens for very little money. My strategy with these lenses and adapters is to give me longer focal lengths than I currently have with the Fujinon lenses that would be faster than the recently released 55-200mm zoom. I value the faster aperture over the zoom for the type of shooting I do for work, poorly lit events.
The results of this area of adaption has been promising. I have had the opportunity to shoot personal and work projects with both lenses with good results. I particularly like the Zeiss Sonnar, which is solidly built and gives me the equivalent of a 200mm lens. The Tamron is fine, but not up to the standards of the Fujinon XF or Zeiss lenses.
At last, I adapt
The final form of adaptation has been in the way I shoot with both of my X-cameras. I have shot RAW since I started to use high-end cameras. I always felt that I was getting a better result if I did that and it was worth the little bit of additional time needed to process the larger RAW files in order to have the greater dynamic range of a RAW v. JPEG file. This certainly has been my experience with the files produced by the Canon and Nikon cameras that I have used.
I continued to shoot RAW with the X-cameras, even though there was plenty of evidence that their JPEGs were stellar. However, I recently did some experimenting with just shooting JPEGs and that has been a very smart move. Now, I comfortably shoot all manner of jobs and personal work as JPEGs, with the exception of portraits.
For most jobs, the reduced file size makes in-camera processing so much faster that shooting in burst mode is a viable option. This is something that I need to do for certain types of events, where capturing an attractive facial expression can be difficult while people speak or sing. Post-processing is also accelerated due to smaller files. And, as the files are so great out-of-camera, there isn’t much to do in post. I do normally shoot with -2/3 EV to ensure I save highlights. Since I don’t shoot a lot of frames in a portrait session and I want as much latitude in post as possible, I still shoot RAW for these photos.
Adaptation. It has been a major part of the evolution of the Fujifilm X-cameras and my use of them. The experience, and I hope the results, just keeps getting better.
Notes: “Sunset on the breakwater” shot with a CV 28mm Ultron. Black and white Public Accounts photos, “Boy Statue,” “Blue Bottle” and “Thorny” shot with the Zeiss 135mm Sonnar. All with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1.