X-Pro1: The “X-Pro1 Look”

Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro1 lust/hate/love story:

Part Four: The “X-Pro1 Look”…

Other than 2 ‘new’ primes, and another OEM battery + Charger, what was it that I truly liked about the X-Pro1? What made me want to repeat the experience of owning it? An experience that I had found somewhat lacklustre the first time around.

I was archiving old shots to my back up drive, and it was time to clear away the X-Pro1 shots. I don’t know about you, but when I archive, I usually end up going down some long winding, image fuelled memory lane! As I looked at those X-Pro1 shots I noticed that they were different from the X-T1 ones. Not necessarily better, not necessarily worse, but different.

Mariner: X-Pro1 & XF35. F1.4 1/3800 ISO200 PP from RAW in Capture One Pro. Click for Flickr version with full EXIF

I find it quite hard to describe… I want to say ‘less digital’ but of course they’re completely digital. If you want to have filmic look to your shots, shoot film. Digital cameras make digital images. Digital images with VSCO film presets applied, look like digital images with VSCO film presets applied.

The Bus Ride
The Bus Ride: X-Pro1 & XF27. F2.8 1/800 ISO200 PP from RAW in Capture One Pro. Click for Flickr version with full EXIF

So how to define ‘less digital’? OK you got me… Let’s try this… a record sounds analogue, wild scratchy wonderful vinyl. A CD is digital. MP3 is digital. But a CD sounds less digital than MP3. Does that make any sense? I sort of think of it that a CD is like a first generation digital product, where MP3 is further refined, smaller, better for DAM, but because of this MP3 is more digital.

Landfill: X-Pro1 & XF18. F2.8 1/2400 ISO800 PP from RAW in Capture One Pro. Click for Flickr version with full EXIF

But this analogy doesn’t really work… it’s more of a simile I guess… because first generation digital cameras had CCD sensors, which being first generation digital products they were PERHAPS a little closure to the analogue film which they replaced. Sure, like CD Vs Vinyl, CCD is resoundingly digital, but the noise patterns and ISO performance are closer to film than the CMOS sensors found in so many cameras today.

The X-Pro1 has a CMOS sensor. It has good ISO performance; it doesn’t produce random noise patterns that are similar to film. There’s no way that I can realistically describe the X-Pro1 as a first generation digital product.

Side Street
Side Street: X-Pro1 & Xf35. F1.4 1/120 ISO200 PP from RAW in Capture One Pro. Click for Flickr version with full EXIF

The CD Vs MP3 analogy is the best I have…. Sorry. Of course it is Fuji’s first generation digital X Mount camera (but not their first CMOS), Fuji also make claims about the composition of their X-Trans sensor, and that it’s designed to incorporate elements of a film look to it. Could it be that, which I’m seeing? Well no, because the same elements exist in X-Trans II, as used in the later X mount cameras.

So I can’t really explain what drew me back to those X-Pro1 shots, nor describe what drew me in about them…

But I can tell you this, what ever it was; it was enough to draw me in to forgive the camera its quirks and foibles and want to get the best from it.

FOOTNOTE: The images shown here are actually from my second X-Pro1… I’m not sure they show what I’m failing to describe! But to my eye, my tastes these shots all have a little quality that’s very “X-Pro1 Look” about them, and that’s what, in my humble opinion, the X-Pro1 is all about.

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