In my previous post, I highlighted some of my thoughts about how I got on spending a week with the X Pro-1.
I want to continue now with the rest of my findings, this is not meant to be an in depth technical review, there are loads of great ones already out there, but a more real world "what it's like" to use the camera and what the images are like type review...if you get me....??
OVF and EVF.
There is lots of discussion about the merits of the optical viewfinder and how useful it is and how its omission on the XE-1 is somewhat of a disaster. I am old enough to remember nothing but an OVF...!
It did take a bit of getting re-used to as you can see the lens body through it and also your fingers, depending on how you hold the camera.
The quality of the EVF is stunning, as has been well documented. In my opinion, it had little effect on my shooting and I did probably use the OVF more, not becaue it was better, just because it was there and I didn't really think about it. There is some motion blur with the EVF but nothing that should be too much of an issue. I also shot a lot using the display on the back as the 'finder and that was good too.
I'm pretty much neutral about this issue and it certainly wouldn't be deal maker or breaker for me either way. To be honest, It didn't restrict or inhibit my shooting, whichever way I chose to use it.
ISO 800, 18mm lens, f2.0, 1/30 sec.
Have I mentioned, the image quality is superb?!! I wasn't disappointed with any of the shots I made, apart from ones that were down to me, not the camera! When everything comes together, you will be delighted with the results. But, if you are sloppy with your technique or exposure, then it can be quite unforgiving. But I like this, I have to slow down and make sure I'm making a good image and not just being careless.
ISO 3200, 18mm lens, f2.0, 1/30 sec.
The above image highlights the cameras ISO performance and colour rendition under very low and artificial lighting. The ISO performance really is outstanding.
I really couldn't see a great deal of difference between ISO 200 and 1600, even at 3200 and 6400, images were perfectly useable. The high ISO images really looked great and authentic, if you see what I mean. The noise that is there is handled well and doesn't detract from the image at all, in my opinion, it adds to the "feel" and atmosphere of the images.
ISO 2500, 18mm lens, f2.0, 1/30 sec. -1 ev
The image above is a great example of how good it is at handling low and mixed lighting. This was shot in a restaurant...there were overhead lights, candles and a big heating lamp just outside the window camera right. This is straight out of the camera and given the conditions it was made in, I think the image is great. Noise is well controlled, metering is good and detail is well preserved...couldn't really ask for more.
ISO 800, 18mm lens, f2.0, 1/30. This was processed with my simple B+W preset in LR4.
Off camera flash
Next, let's talk about using it with off camera flash. I used the Elinchrom Skyport triggers for the test and a Nikon SB900. I shot on manual which is what I normally do with off camera flash...once you have your exposure down, you can shoot without worrying about the exposure and concentrate on composition...the following shots were made at ISO 200, 60mm lens, f 5.6 and 1/125 sec.
Thanks to my models, they were cool, and look cool too!!
So, finally, to LR work flow. Surprisingly, the images do take a few seconds to load up into the develop module and when you zoom in...but really, it's only a couple of seconds and it's no big deal. I know there may be some development needed from the guys at Adobe, but it's perfectly useable and all my presets that I used worked well. Again, like the OVF/ EVF issue, the Lightroom issue wouldn't be a deal breaker for me.
So the ultimate question is, not is this a great camera, or even a good camera...because it is an excellent camera with fantastic lenses, brilliant handling, stunning image quality and amazing low light performance.
It is, like everything else, not without weaknesses, but the biggest limitation will be the person using it, not the instrument. A poor paint brush wouldn't make Da Vinci a poor painter any more than the best paint brushes in the world would make me a modern day Da Vinci!
My photography is not defined by my cameras, but by my vision and creativity. The question I am interested in is...will this camera allow me to achieve my vision with more efficiency, will it add value to my images and therefore my business and will it allow me to expand my vision and shooting style.
My answer, after this week is yes, I think it will. I will be ordering one with a couple of lenses to get going. Some photographers are talking about replacing their DSLR set ups and moving completely to X Pro-1 systems. I'm not sure I feel confident enough to do this at the moment, however, I would have no concern using this on a commercial shoot or at a wedding. I would feel completely confident using it and in the results that can be achieved.
I am sure some clients will raise an eyebrow or two when you pull out an X Pro-1 on a shoot rather than a pro DSLR set up. However, when they see the images, the frowns will change to smiles, hopefully!!!
I realise I was fortunate to get a week to use it and make my decision, big thanks to Fuji and Calumet. Not all of you reading this will be able to do so....to you I would say, in my opinion, as long as you are careful and confident with your technique, you will be rewarded with great images you, and your clients, will love.
After all, when we get commissioned for jobs, whether commercial or weddings, we get hired because of our style, vision or creativity and NOT because of the camera systems we use.......
more on this topic from me coming soon.... don't miss the next tthrilling installment!!