Ever since I switched from Canon to Nikon in 2009 (due to annoying focus issues with my Canon gear) I was happily shooting my D700 with the Nikkor 50mm ƒ/1.4 G. The 50mm became second nature over the years. I think I used this combo for about 90% of all my pictures.
One thing that always annoyed me about Nikon were the SOOC colors. For me everything looks too yellow and skin tones with the default settings are a disaster. Yes, I know – if you want accurate colors you can use the ColorChecker Passport and calibrate. But I don’t want accurate colors, I want aesthetic colors that look natural.
I never felt home with that and my Nikon. But the build quality and the fact that everything about the Nikon always just works outweigh the frustration I had with the SOOC colors. It took months, countless work, experiments and a lot of trial and error in post work to finally get a result that I like without tweaking every picture endlessly.
I wrote about my experiments with emulating Porta 400 NC a while back. I finally ended up with special self made color presets and camera profiles for my Nikon to be able to emulate certain colors of specific films.
Here is an example:
From left to right: Nikon SOOC, JP Fuji 400H, JP Portra 400 NC
Even these results look close to me and I am happily working with them, I always wanted a digital camera that could reproduce authentic film colors and, even more importantly, the dynamic range of film without having to tweak anything major in my post processing. Shooting film professionally doesn’t work for me – even though I like it a lot for my personal work (I wrote an article about this topic for Kwerfeldein if you are interested).
After loving Fuji 400H, having read about Fuji’s new sensor design and being thrilled about my little Fuji X10 point-and-shoot camera, I was very tempted to purchase the Fuji X-Pro1. Just like Zack Arias, I expected this to be the DSLR-Killer. Not for everyone, but at least for myself.
I started reading more reviews and the bottom line really threw me off. Too many people were complaining about the obvious downs of the X-Pro1: Slow speed, no responsiveness, unusable autofocus and manual focus. That wasn’t enough to make up for the expected build and image quality. I thought I would rather wait a little until Fuji would hopefully fix the firmware for the X-Pro1 which was obviously still beta when they first released the camera.
With the release of the new firmware (version 2.0) all my concerns were addressed and I went ahead and ordered the camera. I got my X-Pro1 about a week ago and the camera grows on me quickly. If you switch over from a DSLR I suggest you give it time. Don’t expect this to be some sort of DSLR replacement, it’s not. It’s not a rangefinder either and not a point-and-shoot. Try to approach the X-Pro1 with a clean mindset and you will be amazed. Especially if you like to shoot film or with a slower pace and more awareness.
The image quality of the Fuji X-Pro1 is seriously mind blowing and outperforms most cameras I have used so far, including my D700. The dynamic range is better than film, highlights roll off beautifully and smooth and the colors are stunning straight out of camera. I love the compact size, the build quality, the quiet shutter that sounds like a shutter and not like a machine gun. It’s discreet and not show-off-y which I love as well. The quality of the Fujinon 35mm 1.4 lens (which is the equivalent of 50mm ƒ/2.0 on a full frame) is stunning. It’s tack sharp wide open.
This camera is a gem and I cannot remember being so excited about anything new I have tried, seen or read about for years. The only thing that I don’t like is the fact that I have to take it out of the OEM leather case every single time I want to either download the images from the memory card or replace the battery. But I have the same problem with the X10 and got used to it by now.
Here are a couple of images shot with the X-Pro1 and the 35mm 1.4 (more to follow soon):