Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro1 lust/hate/love story:
Part Five: Comparing the Fuji Look to the Fuji Look…
Continuing our look at what the X-Pro1 images have to offer.
Last time (see part 4 of this series Click Here) I spoke of archiving old images and re-discovering the “X-Pro1 Look”, leading me to decide to re-acquire the camera to use alongside my X-T1.
I want to keep that theme going this week! People have so many questions about cameras, about the AF, or the DR, the start up time etcetc. My first question about a camera is; ‘so how do the images look’ I don’t mean at 100% view, I don’t mean after lengthy post process or with filters applied to the files. I simply mean; ‘what’s the look to the files?’
This to me is the big thing. Not that the other stuff isn’t important, of course it is! But to me, the look of the file is the gateway to the feeling of the image, and that can’t be underestimated. (Your opinion may vary!)
So, having convinced myself that the X-Pro1 files had a signature that I liked, I wondered about what the actual differences were, and did some research to try and understand more.
On the excellent site, fujivsfuji (http://www.fujivsfuji.com/film-simulation-modes-compared/?rq=jpeg) this difference between X-Trans I and II is noted, and explained. In short it appears to be largely driven by white balance differences and tone curve changes between the jpeg renderings of each generation of X Mount camera.
But I shoot raw, and I can control the tone curves and WB quite happily, and I’m still seeing a grittiness to the images from the X-Pro1, that I don’t see in my shots from the X-T1, or X100S or (to a lesser extent) the X-E1.
Perhaps to find an answer we can look to the in-depth reviews found over on dpreview.com (http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilm-x-pro1/20), they test cameras in very specific and repeatable conditions. Personally, I’m not one for graphs and studio comparison charts… They have their place for sure, but –for me- the proof of the pudding is in the eating, not in micro analysing each constitute ingredient. But DPR has an excellent comparison tool; you can basically compare their measured values of a great many cameras side by side.
And what do we see if we compare the X-Pro1 against the newer Fuji X Mount cameras? (In fact what do we see if we compare the X-Pro1 against a great many cameras period?) We see that the maximum amount of shadow data capturable (before the digital image recorder –sensor- cannot cope and cuts to black) beats that of the other Fuji cameras, yes even the X-E1, which shares the same sensor as the X-Pro1!
Does this account for what we see, when we compare X-Pro1 images with other X-Trans products?
Truly – I’ve no clue.
But this difference in the files exists. As you might imagine, there has been much discussion about this on the various internet forums. Some people despise the newer rendering; others much prefer the cleaner look of the later files.
But the difference is there.
This would be a good point to share some shots from each camera that were carefully orchestrated to demonstrate the differences, right? Well I don’t have that! [I could do this if there was enough interest? Hit me up in the comments!]
But what I do have is 4 shots, 2 from each camera, that I think show the subtle differences. Your mileage may vary!
Like I say, it’s a subtle difference… Do you want to know my own personal opinion, as an owner of both X-Trans I and II products? If you make a direct comparison it’s win some/lose some, how can it be any other way? Some scenes look better with a bit of grittiness and grain; others look better as clean as can be.
But I’ll say this much. IN MY OPINION and TOO MY EYE the X-Pro1 has a signature to its images, a look that I love very much.
So I was cleaning out the old X-Pro1 images from my HDD, making room for all those X-T1 and X100S shots that I had been taking. That’s when I truly noticed the difference between the old and new files, and that’s when I started to miss the X-Pro1.
That’s when I understood… as much as I loved the shape of the X-Pro1, the fact finally became apparent to me – the beauty was more than skin deep. It was actually inherent within the camera’s very algorithm.
So the deal was made, the trade was done… always a bit scary… sending goods or money to strangers you’ve encountered on the internet… I’ve done this a lot… sometimes with quite expensive items, like wristwatches… not had that many problems… but… still…
The deal went smoothly; the X-Pro1 was indeed mint. The lenses were as described. Perfect.
Now, how was I actually going to get any decent in-focus pictures out of my X-Pro1, when before I had so woefully struggled?
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