The X-Pro 1 and 2 Images Compared: Part One

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

Part 106: The X-Pro 1 and 2 Images Compared: Part One

Having spent the past few instalments of my site speculating wildly about a possible X-Pro3 and what I’d love for it to have, and not have… It’s time now to take a look at what we have already!

If there’s one thing I’ve consistently mentioned in these last few articles it’s the desire to have any X-Pro3 camera charm my pants off with its image rendering, I then mention how much I love the IQ of the original X-Pro1 and although the X-Pro2 is better in every measurable way, there’s just “something” about the X-Pro1 images that are delightful.

I’ve wanted to write about this for a while, this slightly strange phenomenon where a camera arrives that has better IQ, but a die hard bunch claim to prefer the older camera’s images.

This is a hard thing, a very hard thing in fact, to write about because we need to step outside of the safely padded room of variable data and instead gaze into the mists that are attribute data. 🙂

Variable data is great, because it’s measurable. You couldn’t really have an argument about which camera (say) weighed more – scales would soon settle the debate.

Likewise, a discussion about ISO or megapixels or number of drive modes – very easy to arrive at the correct answer, as the points in question are measurable and the answers fixed.

Once we start talking about attribute data, and attribute data is opinion based, questions such as ‘which is the nicer shade of red’ or ‘which camera feels best in your hand’ then things get tricky to nail down as opinions are brought into play.

So the actual question in hand “although camera B has technically better IQ, you prefer the output of camera A. Why is that?” is hard to answer.

I’ve asked around online about the magic of the X-Trans i Images and not surprisingly there hasn’t been a unified response.

Some say that the X-Trans i sensor is more ‘organic’ and looks ‘less processed’ other’s that the tone curve is different and the noise pattern has less chromo noise and more luminance noise instead.

As I own both X-Pro cameras, I decided the best thing to do was shoot some suitably dull test shots with each camera and see how the shots looked!

All of the shots below were taken with the (same copy of the) XF23F1.4, with the camera in aperture priority mode these were shot in raw and every image was given the film sim ‘Astia’.


Above is the X-Pro1 shot


Above is the X-Pro2 shot

When I look at the two shots above, PERSONALLY I think it’s win some/lose some when I compare them


Above is the X-Pro1 shot


Above is the X-Pro2 shot

In the shots above, I can see variance in the colours and contrast (tone curve) of each image

At this stage I was finding that under the hard light of side-by-side scrutiny, the X-Pro1 images weren’t automatically more magical or whatever, just a bit different… but the X-Pro1 images did look at little softer and more muted.

This makes writing a comparison tricky as there’s not a clear quantifiable element that we can use to categorically state that “camera A makes prettier pictures than camera B”

There’s enough people saying enough things about “The X-Trans i” look that there has to be something tangible about it.

But at this stage I didn’t see any obvious set of characteristics about the X-Pro1 images that made them head and shoulders better than the X-Pro2 ones.

If you recall last week (….) I hacked some X-Pro2 RAFs so that my raw software thought they had come from a X-H1 so that I could get a look at the new sim Eterna?

Well I wondered what would happen if I hacked some X-Pro2 files so that the raw software thought they were from the X-Pro1?


Fake X-Pro1! The above file is exactly the same as the X-Pro2 RAF, and the file has had the same edits, but this file thinks it was shot with an X-Pro1 (even though it was really an X-Pro2)

Want to see the fake X-Pro1 and real X-Pro2 files side by side?



(Fake X-Pro1 is the bottom image)

This was an interesting experiment as it showed some of the ways that the image output is different between the older and newer cameras

I hope you’ll join me next week, where I’ll show you what some of these differences are and show you some other ‘fake X-Pro1’ images 🙂

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The X-Pro Series Content: Referenced and All In One Place

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8 Replies to “The X-Pro 1 and 2 Images Compared: Part One”

  1. Good morning from the hazy, hot and muggy place called Virginia USA. Yesterday, while out walking the family buddy named Ginger, the heat was so penetrating through my shirt, I felt as if I was being attacked by some new weapon. The Jack Russel who is pretty tough laid down on the grass and insisted on being carried home.

    Of course this has nothing to do with your article which I liked very much.

    In the end, when hacking the Xpro2 to look like the Xpro1, what if anything did you ultimately learn. To my eyes, on my 27 inch Mac monitor, it looked brighter, softer, and perhaps a tiny bit more textured. When comparing the actual xpro1 vs the xpro2 of the same image crop the the Xpro1 again looked lighter by perhaps 2/3 of a stop with a slightly more muted appearance. The appearance of the X pro 1 crop looked almost more like the Pro Neg standard simulation at least to my eyes.

    So at this point where are we?

    Elliot Stern Photographer, blogger, teacher of the art of photography http://www.elliotpaulstern.me elliotpaulstern@gmail.com

    >

    Like

    1. Hi Elliot

      The weather here in Porto has been unseasonably cold and wet this summer, we had some nice days at the start of the week, but back to grey and damp now 😦

      It’s actually nicer in England 🙂 (seriously)

      But changing what the RAW SW thinks it’s demosaicing we get to see a hint of what the metadata Fuji burn into the RAFs directs the SW to do.

      Specifically in this case to warm the WB and elongate the tonal curve

      This can guide our hand when make our edits using the SW we enjoy using

      Like

  2. Lord, it took me all of 5 seconds to see the difference between XTrans I and II raw files. This is more like something you’d see the children on DPR fighting about.

    Like

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