The Fujifilm X-Pro1!
Beloved by many, overlooked by a few and reviled by some.
Why? Well basically it’s the AF (auto focus), it’s pretty pants when compared to many other cameras on the market.
It’s not that substandard really, it’s just that for those that arrived to the inaugural Fujifilm mirrorless camera, from the world of DSLRs found that it just wasn’t as dependable in the AF department; also when the press (and users) compared it to more mature systems from Sony, or the M4/3 platform, the X-Pro1 showed its age, which was in comparison, embryonic.
So a very great many people have simply stated that it’s impossible to capture moving objects with the X-Pro1
Of course lightening fast AF is a relatively new must have specification, you don’t have to go back so many years to find that the vast majority of cameras were manual focus, that camera original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) were quite happy to entrust the end user to focus the shot.
My how things change! Now in the 21st century, if a OEM can shave a couple of hundredths of a second off a AF run, then they have a sure fire sales success on their hands.
As they say across the pond “Gee” – it kinda makes you wonder how images of moving subjects even existed before about 2004!
I mean what a bizarre and antiquated concept right? Like the lunch time drinking and incessant cigarettes in Mad Men, or the notion that when cooking, sugar should be added as frequently as possible. Yup, the crazy notion that we should chose for ourselves what our cameras focus on…
…Wait that’s not quite right is it? That actually rings true, no? I -the photographer- should chose what part of MY image is in focus.
Why is that so crazy?
So that leads me nicely into my post.
I use the X-Pro1 EXCLUSIVELY in Manual Focus (MF) mode.
Now I don’t wont to be too verbose… After all, I’m serialising my lust/hate/love affair with the X-Pro1 here, and there’s going to be a whole section there dealing with how I set up the camera to focus.
So instead, lets see a shot!
This is a shot of a family friend and his daughter, I’m not claiming that it’s the sharpest image you’ll ever see, but it’s in focus!
I shot this with (the X-Pro1 obviously, and) the XF35 F1.4 with the aperture set to F2.0
How did I do this?
Well, as mentioned above; the X-Pro1 is no AF demon and I use it only in MF mode.
The trick for me; is to get focus as close as possible, as easily as possible, then tweak as necessary… Sometimes it’s easier to move yourself back and forth, than to keep turning the AF ring!
For this shot, I first focused on the beam of the swing, it’s static and only a meter or so away (behind in this case) from where I wanted to place critical focus.
Then I moved myself about one step back, so that the point of focus moved to about the desired place.
Then I watched the girl on the swing through the EVF (with focus peaking turned on), and tweaked the focus ring to ensure I had her in focus where I wanted during the pendulum of her swing.
Then, because EVFs do tend to lag a bit, and (again) the X-Pro1 is not exactly cutting edge tech in the EVF department, I switched to the OVF; primed the exposure (by half pressing the shutter button) and fired the shutter at the correct moment to get her face in focus.
Now of course, with certain cameras, you could just point and shoot, or turn on AF tracking and it would do the job for you.
That’s even easier than the process I’ve described above, no argument from me about that at all
But remember, some have said that it’s impossible to capture a moving object with a X-Pro1.
I also think that (and seriously – this is just my personal view point) there’ really no shame in being able to acquire focus in a way whereby you’re the boss of the camera, not the other way round.
Well DLSRs can back focus, AF in general is not infallible, so it’s good to know how to do it yourself – to take some pride in selecting which part of your shot is in focus…
…Besides, using MF has been the backbone of photography since year dot…
…Why would you not want to keep that tradition going?