Collected here are portraits I have taken with my beloved Fuji X-Pro1, not loads but enough to have a look at what I have created with my X-Series camera.
I say reflections in my title as I have been looking back on almost 2 years of Fuji X-Pro1 ownership and have been analysing where I stand with it now. When I first got the camera I was overwhelmed, it was amazing, the design, the old school external controls that made picture taking intuitive and reminiscent of my days with film. I was urging everyone to get one, (I really would urge everyone to get one)…
Recently however something has changed, I still love the X-Pro1, its design and its ease of use. Nothing has changed with the camera, the change has happened in me, the way I view the Fuji and the quality of work I produce with it. The X-Pro1 has become the camera I take when I feel lazy, or when I feel a job is a quick job, a job that requires less effort. We all know there are no jobs like this, that all jobs are equal in terms of effort and skill. Psychologically for me the Fuji has become a tool to be a bit lazy, it started off as the saviour of my inspiration, a tool that got me back to shooting a lot but these days it represents something less and the quality of my output has stuttered. I have built a psychological association with the the X-Pro1 as somehow being the light option,the lesser option. Its perceived benefits have become its weaknesses in my strange mind. I find it so weird how this has happened, I still love the design and the function but I have reinforced my own thoughts with my actions and have suffered the consequences.
This has nothing at all to do with the Fuji X-Pro1 but everything to do with me and where I am with what I am doing.
I have the opportunity now to exchange my whole kit for an old Phase One Digital back, I will pair it with my old Mamyia RZ and get back to heavy and slow and see where that takes me. A shift in the process of creation is maybe what keeps things fresh. The Fuji X-Pro1 is an amazing camera as I am sure the X-T1 is, but I must move on for now I feel…
Enjoy my Portraits:
EDIT – for more portraits with the Fuji X-Pro1 head over to my new blog http://www.justhumansbeing.com
Here I go on another comparison test… I’ll say straight up its not very scientific in its methods considering the cameras had slight a difference in settings, plus the idea of doing a blog post like this was an after though. I was actually just taking pictures not testing cameras… But all the same I hope it’s of use to one or two people who want some more info on the differences/quality of these two camera systems.
So I wanted to shoot a couple of beauty portraits so I had my friend Samantha Englelbrecht come over, she is a model and actress so that was a big help. I wanted to stay away from the standard “BOOM’ flash with beauty dish, I wanted to get something a little softer, so I tested in daylight/available light.
I was using the Fuji X-Pro1 with the fujinon 35mm f1.4 lens and the Canon 5D mk2 with a Canon 50mm f1.2 Lens. These lens’ are a fairly good match up for comparisons.
I have been using the Fuji X-Pro1 almost all the time recently, on head shot jobs and even a whole fashion story, keep checking back as I will post those up soon… For this though I went straight to the Canon, I find it more of a go to camera for structured shoots like this. But I had the Fuji there next to me the whole time and snapped away a little more freely. I find I am more considered in composition with the Canon. Maybe that is due to its larger size and more professional feel, saying that it is probably just some little psychological nuance on my part. Although I find I am even more considered again when using a medium format system such as a Hassleblad with a PhaseOne back…
So enough talking lets see some pictures… Below are two shots, one from the Fuji X-Pro1 and one from the Canon 5Dmk2.
Beautiful… I would say at a quick glance you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference, preference would come down to composition more than anything! So lets have a look at the process and some crops to see the differences.
Lets start with the shots as they are Straight out of camera (SOOC), so here I am opening up the process and letting you in on secrets as obviously the above images have been retouched, your about to see the difference before and after.
So as you can see the way the cameras handled the colour was fairly similar, I personally preferred the canon, but adjusted them both anyway to let a bit more light in and make them slightly cooler.
So now you have seen the before images you can play a bit of spot the difference. Yes I have cleaned up her skin, standard practice…. What I have done in the Fuji image is simplify the background, this brings more attention to her, and by enlarging up the light source behind it makes for a nicer composition. I am guessing that a few people will be scorning me now…”Oh my God!” “this is an outrage” they’ll say, offended that I didn’t get it all in camera. You know what though, I’d love to live in a massive flat with huge windows that flood in light, but I don’t and if I can change a few things to make it feel more that way then why not, use the tools available I say… The Canon image is a bit more honest, all I did was rotate and crop to get the final composition.
So now for some crops, I am impressed with the Fuji X-Pro1, when you get it sharp, man is it sharp. However I like to shoot wide open so sharpness is not always there for me…. Got lucky with these though hey!
Looking at this I would say the canon is sharper, but there really is nothing in it, in all reality its probably just my ability to focus, (as I said its not scientific). So take from this what you will The Fuji X-Pro1 is such an amazing camera and can stand toe to toe in a lot of areas with the Canon 5D mk2, there is a coupe of things it cant do quite as well, auto focus being one, have a look at my wedding photography with the Fuji X-Pro1 blog post where I talk about my frustrations with the Fuji System, https://roughly365.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-fuji-x-pro1-photographs-a-wedding-on-its-own-day-183/
Lets have a quick look at another image comparison, for this image I wanted to make it feel like there was early morning light breaking through the curtains. I basically removed all the light from the room and let a soft stream come through the window.
So here with these it comes down to composition again, the more considered Canon shot wins there… A great test for lo-light photography though. I think both cameras handled it very well.. But we already know they can do that!
Here are the SOOC and capture one adjusted files.
So as you can see there is not to much crazy retouch going on here, just some colour work to add the mood, once again here my preference was the canon file for colour SOOC, this preference made me adjust the Fuji file toward the feel of the Canon in Capture One. So that’s the before and after, again just a little skin clean up was made…
Onto the zooms, Lo-light zooms…
For me the winner here is the Canon, but as before that could be my approach, as you can see in the 100% Fuji crop I have missed my focus on the front eye, the focus is just catching the rear eye. Poor technique yes, it could explain the lack of detail in the skin compared to the Canon too. But hey I think they are both beautiful images, the Fuji for a small camera has stood up to the canon…
The more I use the Fuji, especially with the 35mm f1.4 lens, the more impressed I am with it, I love it. But, as I have stated in previous posts, I personally wouldn’t have it as my main camera, but its the best second camera I can think of. I haven’t taken my Canon 7D out of my Pelicase since I bought the Fuji… If your on the fence about buying one I say do it, I was back and forth, yes and no, before I got mine, best decision I made!
If you or anyone you know is in Brazil check out my site for wedding/lifestyle photography based out of Belo Horizonte MG
Had my parents in town, had some coffee, took some photos. Simple..
I found myself in quite a lucky position the other day, I was shooting some shots for a personal art project I am putting together when I realised that, not only was I in the presence of a bit of a guitar hero, Peredur Ap Gwynedd, (I think everyone would have heard him play at some point, he has his own wiki page!! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peredur_ap_Gwynedd ) I had both the Fuji X-Pro1 with a 35mm f1.4 lens and the Canon 5D2 with me. What a perfect opportunity to test out the cameras side by side I thought… Lets not hang around here though, lets have a look at the images.
So that is Peredur Ap Gwynedd with his 1968 Les Paul Deluxe Gold Top, a prized axe if you know your guitars. So beautiful in the flesh… (the Guitar not him)
It was all a little impromptu and I was reliant on available light, that’s not much by the way as the British winter thinks it will miss us to much if it leaves now. I had a 5ft silver reflector with me to help but that was it. The lens’ I had were the fujinon 35mm f1.4 for the X-Pro1 and the Canon 50mm F1.2 for the 5D2. I love shooting really shallow so both lens’ are perfect for me. The lens’ are almost the same focal length due to the crop factor on the X-Pro1 so its a pretty fair comparison.
There really isn’t much to choose between the images, they are so similar, I haven’t spent loads of time colour balancing and retouching but I have brought them both round to be in the same sort of world and made a little crop to lose some unwanted items on the edge.
The processed file size of each is 46mb for the Fuji X-Pro1 and 62mb for the Canon 5D2. For me personally the extra file size is important and is why I would choose the canon for a job or magazine work. I always shoot more than I need around the edge of the frame and then crop in, this is due to being asked for extensions to images to fit different formats and if you have it under the crop you wont have to spend hours/days building extra image out of spare plates. Obviously a Phase One P45+ or P65+ are the most perfect camera for this but often budgets will dictate what sort of equipment you will use. Lets have a look at a crop…
Looking at the crops ( I am sure Peredur will not thank me for a face close up) we can see that although the X-Pro1 is sharper on the eye the overall quality of the file is less. The file seems to become smudgey where it is not in focus. The canon holds in quality into the fall off.
Again here on the Guitar (oh what a beautiful guitar) we see the X-Pro1 has become smudged. Most likely this could be a process issue, I am sure in a few updates we will see a lot better handling of the Fuji X-Trans files not just from Phase One but from Adobe too. A contributing factor to this though is the high ISO that was used. To be a fair test I would need to have identical settings at the lowest ISO in perfect even daylight. But that bores the hell out of me so I can safely say it wont happen, I am not that much of a tech geek. So we have a few excuses for the X-Pro1. Its still a great camera and there is nothing wrong with the image, Peredur was happy and I am sure he didn’t spot what I have just highlighted. That’s a good point, there are few people who would look at an image in this way, so it shouldn’t be a big deal, the X-Pro1 is a stunning camera and will give you great results, just take photos with it.
As I said I find the X-Pro1 shot the sharper of the two, now this could be for several reasons, the first is that I messed up the focus on the Canon shot, Shooting at f1.8 on manual focus I am not surprised I missed it, its always a risk (I almost always shoot tethered into capture one so I can check focus as I go). Another reason could be that even at f1.6 the X-Pro1 has a less shallow depth of field due to the smaller sensor and therefore a bigger sweet spot. The 35mm Fujinon lens is superb, its incredibly sharp (when you get it right) and is still small and light. I would recommend anyone with the X-Pro1 to add this to their kit. I have nothing but praise for it.
I had the cameras on very different settings so maybe its not a fair test. The reason for this lies in how the 2 cameras felt and behaved in my hands, I didn’t have a light meter so I was going by what I saw. I was shooting tethered on the Canon and to card on the Fuji. The difference in operation was amazing, maybe its because I am not used to the Fuji but I really struggled with it, I couldn’t see if I was focused in manual focus and had no idea if it was hitting the focus in auto, I tried all view modes and ended up really frustrated, in the end i just fired off a load of shots in auto focus with the OVF and hoped for the best. Not a good idea if that was a commissioned portrait! The Canon was, as always, a delight I could see everything clearly in the viewfinder and I just had to frame my subject and snap.
I hate to say it due to my love for the camera, but the Fuji X-Pro1 made me want to scream in this situation. I wanted it to be amazing for this so badly, I am left disappointed.
So now lets look at the images exactly how the cameras captured them.
As you can see here the Fuji tends to go towards the cold and the Canon towards the warm, I will say I like the Fuji colours straight as they are most of the time whereas the Canon I like to change. In the image below you can see the white balance difference in capture one, both were set for cloudy daylight and I didn’t grey card either of them.
I didn’t really adjust the shots in Capture One as you can see below, I just wanted to put them in the same world.
I find the X-Pro1 files can take a lot of pushing and pulling as i have said in previous blog posts, This image was no different and I can’t detect any difference between the files whilst working them in Photoshop, I was half expecting the Fuji file to breakup sooner than the Canon one but it held no problems.
The kits are pretty different in terms of size, The 5D2 with a battery grip being massive in comparison to the X-Pro1. I love the feel of both cameras but I would hate to carry the Canon around with me all day in the street, but I would still not feel confident with just the X-Pro1 on a shoot. As a team though…. Wow!
So in conclusion what do I think. Well the X-Pro1 frustrated the hell out of me, only because I am used to working really fast with the Canon I think. It actually got a slightly sharper (operator error for the canon) result. There really isn’t a great deal to chose between them but the Canon is still the superior camera in my opinion, I would never turn up with just a Fuji X-Pro1 kit. As I have said before the Fuji X-Pro1 is a stunning camera, great for having with you everyday and the most perfect 2nd or 3rd camera.
I wont be rushing to use it for a full on portrait session, I may utilise it during the session for some more candid shots but it would never make the grade as my main camera.
There are times when the X-Pro1 comes into its own, I recently shot a wedding on it and I am currently writing up my thoughts on that, so look out for that post!
Thanks to Peredur for his time on this one!
If your interested you can check out my work here http://www.paularcher-uk.com
A bit of a cheat today but I thought I would share these images on the blog. My wife left me a little surprise on the camera that i didn’t notice until i downloaded the memory card! It made me smile a lot.
I thought it was really cute and it has saved me as i was out on a stag yesterday and didn’t have any photos to use!
Back to the usual tomorrow…