#401. Going a bit more Fuji; stopping the Leica itch (a quickie)

By Paul Perton | Opinion

Sep 12

I don’t know what made me do it. Really. Perhaps it was the e-mail exchange when I tried to get her to write for us at DearSusan. Maybe it was the disappointment when she turned me down.


Whatever; I read Charlene Winfred’s blog often. I like her quirky style and a couple of mornings ago, found myself reading her early exploits with the Fuji X-Pro1, it’s almost indestructible build quality and outstanding 35mm f1.4 lens.


Idly, I mooched over to Amazon to see how much this photographic workhorse actually cost. That piqued my interest; it must be EoL-d as it’s being sold for less than a third of what I’d anticipated.


On that basis, how wrong could buying one be?


Yeah, I know it’s only 16 mpixels, but then moved on to the Fuji Web site to read some more and quickly discovered an adaptor for Leica M mount lenses and a useful chart showing which adapted lenses work on the X-Pro1, including my much loved Zeiss 25mm Biogon and the Voigtlander 15mm. Add a tick for offering focus peaking and I’m wondering whether I could stretch to the stellar autofocus 35mm f1.4 as well.


I did and rather than ask that nice Mr Amazon to send all this kit to me in Cape Town, I had it delivered to family in London. We’ll be celebrating my upcoming milestone (millstone?) birthday with them shortly and I’ll be able to get to grips with it then.


To quote one Donald Fagen, I’m sizzling like an isotope at the prospect.

  • Mdemeyer says:

    Unfortunately, while I love the X-Pro1, it’s a poor match for the 25mm Biogon. Very smeared corners until stopped way down. The Leica 24mm Elmar 3.8 is quite good on it.


    • paulperton says:

      I use the Biogon strictly for street shooting and usually set it at f5.6 or even f8, depending on the light. Based on the aperture, I use the DoF scale to zone-focus – and when the stars align, the results are really, really good.

  • Philberphoto says:

    Congrats on your new camera, Paul! I am sure it will give you much pleasure. And with the ZM 25, too! Way to go!

  • Artuk says:

    Good luck with the X-Pro 1. I owned one at launch and cannot say I was a good camera in my experience.

    The focus peaking was only added about 2 years after release, but unfortunately only highlight in white – a quite bad design decision for highlighting edges of contrast which are often light against dark edges. The peaking was also very subtle making it difficult to see

    The EVF is quite low resolution by modern standards and had quite bad grain in lower light (making MF near impossible) and also a great deal of lag and low frame rate – again getting worse in poor light.

    Worryingly, there could be shutter lag with native lenses due to some strange quirks with the cameras programme – the aperture blades opening and closing before the shutter was released. This was true even in MF mode, but highly dependant on selected aperture, scene brightness and most concerningly whether you have moved the MF ring since the shutter was last released. One owner did very careful testing and found the delay could he up to 600ms. Its not clear if this is fixed (his test was with an XT1) as many Fuji owners don’t understand how to recreate the issue, or simply refuse to accept it exists.

    There are still a number of bugs in Fuji’s firmware – try using exposure lock and then attempting to move the AF point around the frame, even in the latest cameras – and still no histogram when using auto review.

    ISO values are inflated by up to 1ev, which together with the way the raw files have to demosaiced which introduces noise smoothing without user control, contributes to the opinion of the sensor being low noise (its not – it’s a Sony sensor and therefore the per pixel noise is exactly the same as the now defunct Sony APS-C 16Mp unit)

    Perhaps when using legacy MF lenses these issues are less of a concern. For me, after 2 frustrating years of ownership, I moved on and regretted a very expensive purchase.

    • paulperton says:

      At its end-of-life price the X-Pro was an experiment. I knew pretty much what I was getting technologically and understood most of the limitations therein.

      From that perspective, it hasn’t disappointed.

      My previous haul-around NEX-7 wasn’t exactly free from imaging hassles – see the upcoming “You’re going on a long journey” – but that’s OK. I was never expecting to get the kind of images I’d shoot in the landscape with my D800e, just a workable workhorse for street and travel. So far, so good.

      • Artuk says:

        I can see how paying £300 (convert to your local currency) is rather more palatable than the £1500+ price in the first year. That put it squarely in the same territory as the then new Canon EOS 6D and Nikon D600 – of course very different types of camera, but also rather better at almost everything and mature products that worked correctly. For about the first 2 years Fuji thought that an pro-am enthusiast camera should always auto gain the EVF even in manual exposure mode – meaning the live view and resultant histogram were useless. Once the look-a-Leica styling and retro looks were stripped away what was left was a digital camera full of issues that prevented it from being useful tool in a wide range of situations. I replaced it with a Sony A6000, which has better raw files, does things Fujis still cannot, and cost about a third of the price. The X Trans raw files are supposed to cure moire because the camera has no AA filter, but since many Bayer sensor cameras also have no AA filter and have no major issues, you are left with all the problems of X Trans – notably very poor renditions of random fine detail that are full of artefacts. I would have assumed the now very cheap original Sony A7 would be a better platform for full frame legacy lenses, though its not something I’ve ever looked into, so may be wrong in my assumptions about how it’s sensor may perform with non native lenses.

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