Quick take: The Fujifilm X-Pro

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As I mentioned in last night’s post, I’m currently in the midst of trying out a new every day camera system. The truth is that a lot of my paid photography work will continue to be done on the Samsung NX cameras, I am starting to try out some new cameras in hopes that I find one that fits my style of shooting and personal style as well. Enter the FujiFilm X-Pro (the original).

The Fujifilm X-Pro was originally released in 2012 and has since been updated by the X-Pro 2 but with a $1700 body-only price tag, I decided on spending far less for the older version before making such a large commitment. So here’s what I bought (specs):

Fujifilm X-Pro 1

  • 16-megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor
  • 3-inch fixed LCD display
  • Native ISO range from 200-6400
  • EXR Pro Image Processor
  • 1/4000 second maximum shutter speed
  • hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder
  • rangefinder style mirrorless body
  • Fujifilm film simulation mode for JPEGs

The gallery above is a small compilation of images taken over the past couple of days with the Fujifilm X-Pro 1. I’ve mostly spent the couple of days getting a feel for the camera, learning where everything is and where all the menu commands/settings can be found. Although I don’t recommend anyone rely too heavily on filters (Instagram or VSCO) they definitely have a place and Fujifilm’s film simulation mode allows you to create processed-in-camera JPEGs that look very close to some of Fujifilm’s iconic 35mm films.

So far my favorite aspect of the X-Pro 1 is the overall construction of the camera and its rangefinder style. In my heart of hearts I want a Leica M but the way my bank account is set up, the Fujifilm X-Pro makes for more than a capable alternative. The camera is solidly built without being too heavy or bulky despite it’s dimensions. Though it’s not fully pocketable, it’s nowhere near as obtrusive as a full-sized DSLR making it a great performer out in real-world use.

I haven’t gotten around to working with the RAW files yet though I do intend on working on those this week. I’m confident that a modern 16-megapixel camera can handle a little bit of pushing in Lightroom; look for my full break down in a future post.

Everyone is making great cameras… What now?

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The Whole Family is here


At this very moment if you walked into the nearest camera specialty store and walked around the latest gear for you to try, chances are you couldn’t walk a few feet without running into a really good camera. Whether it’s a Samsung NX3000, Olympus’s E-PL7, Canon’s T3i, or various other interchangeable lens camera systems, chances are that you’ll be able to produce quality images at a relatively inexpensive price-points.

So where does this leave us? Well, the old arguments about which camera system makes the best photographs are now by and large just a matter of personal preference and/or justification of spending lots, and lots, and lots of money in the gear you’ve chosen to buy into. Make no mistake, photography remains an expensive profession and even more expensive hobby once you get to a certain point but when you’re starting out there’s almost no wrong choice.

Getting started – Why there’s nothing wrong with the “kit lens”

You’ve done your homework and now you’re ready to make a big purchase – your first interchangeable lens camera. Whether you go DSLR (I’ll be explaining in another post why you shouldn’t) or one of the mirror-less cameras, if you base your purchasing decision solely on the opinions of Internet forums and your “almost pro” friends you’ll often hear that you shouldn’t buy the camera bundled with a cheap lens. They’ll often point you to a camera body and make a suggestion as to which “prime” lens to buy, but the truth is that even the kit lenses that many manufacturers have greatly improved the quality of their kit offerings.

Carnival in Brooklyn

and Q Standard Zoom 02 Lens (kit lens for Q system cameras)

Make no mistake, a prime lens will give you better image quality than you’re typical kit lens, but if you’re just getting started the average kit lens on the market will be able to handle most situations. The kit will provide you with the flexibility of a zoom and the added benefit of knowing that you didn’t spend the additional money on a “good lens” in the event you have second thoughts.

Breaking the bank: buying the best body or splurging on a lens

Online debates often revolve around the latest and greatest camera bodies manufacturers can offer. Whether it’s the flagship Canon 5D Mark II, Samsung NX30, or Olympus OM-D E-M1, a flagship camera is almost certain to cost you a pretty penny. Often times a flagship camera body is usually sold as a body-only meaning you’ll be dropping even more coin on  picking up a necessary lens. It’s a costly endeavor for sure but does it have to be? Not really. 

Circle of Fire

If you’re gonna splurge; I definitely recommend you do so on a great lens.

Unless you’re a high-level enthusiasts or working professional, chances are that you will not be using all the features of a flagship camera. If you’re just getting started in the world of photography, consider picking up an entry-to-mid-level camera body and use the balance of your flagship budget on picking up an additional lens or two. If you choose to go this route you can easily pick up a great, fast prime lens that will serve you for a variety of uses. Best of all, learning to shoot with a prime lens will help you make the most out of an included kit lens or other zoom lens should you choose to pick one up at a later time. So before you’re swayed by all the bells and whistles of a flagship camera, find capable middle of the road camera body and consider getting the best lens your budget affords. 

Finding your a camera that fits your style

  
Now that the secret is out and there’s no such thing as a bad camera these days, where does that leave you? Well if this generation of gear is indicative of what the future of photography may bring, then we’re all in for a great time. For seasoned pros or experienced hobbyists, great cameras will make it easier for them to create the images that they see in their mind’s eye. They’ll be able to capture the decisive moment with even more accuracy, capture landscapes with an even higher level of sharpness and clarity. For those who have recently caught the bug or may be just starting out, the improved processes in camera manufacturing and wide availability means that it’s even easier to get started. Though the learning curve may still be there, there’s never been a better time to find a camera that offers plenty of control to the photographer while still being technologically advanced enough to guide them as needed. 

It’s a truly great time for photographers of all stripes; who knows maybe some day soon we’ll no longer be as concerned with what we’re shooting with and what we shoot. 

Samsung NX1 – First Impressions

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It's here and here are my first impressions.

It’s here and here are my first impressions.

The Samsung NX1 is the latest flagship NX-mount interchangeable lens camera from the Korean electronics manufacturer. It promises to be high-level piece of kit with 15fps of continuous shooting and more AF points than any other camera, the NX1 is looking to dominate the mirrorless market and make some converts out of the tied and true DSLR pros and high-end enthusiasts; but can it deliver?

Disclosure notice: I am a participant in Samsung’s Imagelogger program and will periodically get gear sent to me. No monetary compensation has been provided for this post or any other post on this site. The following hands-on impressions are my own.

The Specs

  • 28.2MP BSI APS-C CMOS Sensor
  • DRIMe V Image Signal Processor
  • 4K Video Recording at 24 fps
  • UHD Video Recording at 30 fps
  • 3.0″ 1036k-Dot Tilt-Touchscreen Monitor
  • 2360k-Dot XGA OLED Electronic Viewfinder
  • Advanced Hybrid Autofocus System
  • 205 Phase-Detection AF Points
  • 15 fps Burst with AF
  • Includes Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5

Hitting the streets

NX1 with the NX 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 6400

NX1 with the NX 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 6400

On a rainy and cold November afternoon I took the NX1 to the Union Square area in New York City. One of the features that caught my eye on the NX1 was the weather-sealed magnesium body. Make no mistake this feels like a metal bodied camera and I love it. This isn’t like one of those cameras that’s weather-sealed but feels a bit too plasticky in your hands. There’s a heft to the camera – significantly heavier than my NX30 but still nowhere near as bulky as a traditional DSLR.

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

Having been familiarized with the NX system of cameras the menu system is familiar and settings can be accessed through a variety of ways from physical dials on the camera and i-Function button on the lens to a few screen taps on the gorgeously large Super AMOLED display. Seriously it’s an amazingly bright and sharp display. Probably one of the best I’ve seen on a camera.

As mentioned above the NX1 has a plethora of physical controls to help you get the shot you’re looking for without taking your eyes off your subject. The addition of a mode lock button on the top right and a separate dial for drive selection on the top left are new and welcomed additions to the camera body. The rear buttons are in familiar places with a few notable exceptions – having been shooting with the NX30 I’ve grown accustomed to being able to toggle between video and stills with a dedicated button where my right thumb would rest and adjust certain settings like AF and ISO with a tap on the jog dial found to the right of the display. These have been moved out of the box but can be designated through the settings menu. I’ll be exploring this in more detail at a later date.

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO 800

During my first outing I found that the NX1 delivers the goods – quick autofocusing (though admittedly Continuous AF seemed a step quicker than Single AF) and even after a day of shooting out in the rain (no protection) the NX1 never missed a step. I was only able to spend a couple of hours and managed to get around 125-150 images and still have around 90% of the battery. The flip up screen was helpful in getting low shots and shooting from the hip (zone focusing folks. Zone focusing) though I admit that I prefer the swivel screen from the NX30; after seeing both side by side though I’ll take the sharper display over the swivel screen.

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO6400

NX1 with 16-50mm S Lens at ISO6400

The Wrap Up

Keeping in mind that this is an APS-C “crop sensor,” in all honesty the NX1 can deliver some seriously sharp images in low light that have only been seen in full-frame cameras. The weight savings, even with the heavier combo of NX1 body and NX 16-50mm S Lens, makes this a serious consideration for the pros in the audience that may be a bit skittish about carrying around a “crop sensor” body instead of a full-frame. From my first few shots I’m hooked on this beast of a camera; definitely looking forward to bringing you a more thorough once over.

Like what you’ve read so far? Help keep the lights on and consider purchasing via the affiliate link below:

Samsung NX1 28.2 MP Wireless SMART Compact System Camera with 16-50mm f/2.0-2.8 “S” Lens

Gear Watch: Olympus E-PL7

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While you were sleeping, Olympus announced their latest addition to the Pen Lite lineup – the Olympus E-PL7. Beating the Photokina madness and hoping to win over consumer mindshare early, Olympus pulled the veil off their mid-range micro four-thirds camera that boasts three-axis in-body image stabilization, a 16-megapixel sensor powered by the TruePic VII processor, in-camera WiFi, and an all new 180-degree flip down selfie touchscreen. All in a small package then the previous version of Pen-Lite cameras.  Continue reading