camera

FUJIFILM X-PRO2 INITIAL SETTINGS

Fuji Xpro2 with XF 35 f2.0 lens, two SD cards, extra batteries and a soft shutter release button. Details and links appear at the end of this post*.

Fuji Xpro2 with XF 35 f2.0 lens, two SD cards, extra batteries and a soft shutter release button. Details and links appear at the end of this post*.

I finally got my hands on the new Fujifilm X-Pro2. And like with every new or loaner camera I receive, I downloaded the manual and read it (I highly recommend this). In this case, I read it several times even before the camera arrived.

Then once the camera was in front of me I went through all the menus and adjusted the settings in a way that makes sense to me and will best compliment my shooting style.

Below are the changes to the factory settings I made:

IMAGE QUALITYFINE+RAW: I prefer to shoot with this set up so that I can take advantage of Fuji's film simulation options with the jpegs while always having the raw file to process anyway I want. Taking advantage of the X-Pro2s two SD card slots means I have the jpegs on one and raw on the other. 

FILM SIMULATIONACROS-Ye FILTER: ACROS is a new monochrome film simulation option on the X-Pro2, so I'm giving it a try. Additionally, I've added the yellow filter (you can also add a red or green filter) which slightly enhances contrast and darkens the sky.

LONG EXPOSURE NROFF: Will activate if needed, but see no reason to leave on until then.

AF ILLUMINATOROFF: One of the advantages of mirrorless cameras is the ability to blend in, so the last thing I want when shooting at night or in dark situations is to draw attention myself with light.

AF+MFON: This setting allows me to manually adjust focus while the shutter button is pressed halfway. The camera must be in focus mode S for this work.

INSTANT AF SETTINGAF-C: This tells the camera what autofocus setting I want to use when I press the AF-L button while the camera is in manual focus mode.

CORRECTED AF FRAME ON: This adds a second focus frame to the display in the optical viewfinder for distances of about 1.6. Corrects for parallax inherent in rangefinders. 

SHUTTER TYPEES ELECTRONIC SHUTTER: Eliminates shutter noise and used for the same reason I turn off the AF illuminator and turn all other sounds off. The less attention I draw to myself when shooting, the better.

ISO AUTO SETTINGMAX SENSITIVITY 3200 and MIN. SHUTTER SPEED 1/30: I started using auto ISO on my X100S about a year ago and really like not having to worry about making changes when moving from inside to out or in and out of the shadows. Besides, if I change my mind it is easy and quick to change the ISO using the dial located on top of the camera.

SOUND SETTINGALL OFF: It should be obvious by now.

IMAGE DISPLAY1.5 SEC: One of the coolest things about this camera, like others in Fuji lineup is that a preview of the photo you just took appears in the viewfinder of the camera. It gives you instant feedback, especially when using the optical viewfinder.

FOCUS SCALE UNITSFEET: What, am I in Europe?

FOCUS LEVER SETTINGON: One of the new features on the Xpro2 is a joystick located on the back of the camera that enables you to move the focus-point around the viewfinder. This setting makes the joystick active.

EDIT FILE NAME - Changed the SRGB name to JFWP and the AdobeRGB name to JFW. No reason other than I can and after all, how boring is DCS.

CARD SLOT SETTING (STILL IMAGE)RAW/JPG: I really like having two card slots in this camera. The second card slot can be used as overflow or as backup, but as mentioned previously, since I'm shooting both raw and jpegs, this setting allows me to separate them on two different SD cards.

WIRELESS SETTINGS - GENERAL SETTINGS: Changed the wireless name to FUJIFILM-JFWPHOTO.

Once I've had a chance to spend some time shooting with this camera, I'll give you my thoughts and also update you on any changes I've made to the list above.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Body (Black)

Fujinon Xf35mm F2 R WR - Black

Wasabi Power Batter (2-Pack) and Charger

SanDisk Extreme PRO 32GB SDHC memory card

Neewer 10mm Diameter Red Plan Metal Soft Shutter Release Button

EARLY DIGITAL CAMERA AND PUBLISHING FIRSTS

Tear sheet showing stand-along photo taken with the Kodak DCS 460 as it appeared in the May 11, 1996 Philadelphia Daily News. Was this a first?
Tear sheet showing a stand-alone photo taken with the Kodak DCS 460 as it appeared in the May 11, 1996, edition of the Philadelphia Daily News. Was this a first?
Last year I read an article on Popphoto.com titled "The 30 Most Important Digital Cameras of all Time," and the first thing that struck me was how many of these cameras I had the opportunity to use or at least get my hands on and the second thing was how far we've come in both quality and price.

It also got me thinking about the first image I had published that was taken with a digital camera. Actually it was published twice.
The Kodak Professional DCS 460 Digital Camera was introduced in 1995.
The Kodak Professional DCS 460 Digital Camera was introduced in 1995.
The camera was a Kodak Professional DCS 460 which had a list price of $35,600, a 1.3x crop factor and at 6.2 megapixels was the highest resolution digital camera available at the time.

In May of 1996 I was a photo editor and producer for Philadelphia Online (now Philly.com) and was working on an interactive seating map of the Blockbuster Sony Music Entertainment Center in Camden, N.J., and since I had access to the DCS 460, I decided to use it as I photographed the stage from various sections of the arena. A great time saver over shooting on film and scanning the negatives.

On the way to the venue, I came across an accident on Spring Garden Street where a car had smashed into the front window of Panichelle's barber shop. As I drove by I thought I caught a glimpse of the barber inside continuing to cut hair, so I parked, grabbed the camera and walked back to the barber shop and started shooting photos.
Stand-alone photo as it appeared on the May 10, 1996 homepage of Philadelphia Online.
Stand-alone photo as it appeared on the May 10, 1996, homepage of Philadelphia Online. View full homepage from that day.
After I returned from the original assignment in Camden I downloaded the images from the camera and was showing a few editors the shot when one of them suggested we post it to the Philadelphia Online home page as a stand-alone photo, something we hadn't done previously. This was a first.

The other suggestion was to show it to the photo editors at the Philadelphia Daily News, where it was published as a stand-alone photo the next day.

So was this the first digital camera photo, not from a wire service, published in the Philadelphia Daily News? Hardly a case for the History Detectives, but I know if I had shot this with film, I probably wouldn't have processed it until the next day and by that time it would not have been news.

TEN DAYS WITH THE FUJI X100S

A CF-104 Starfighter on display at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario, shot at 1/1200, f8 at ISO 200 with 3-stop ND filter.

A CF-104 Starfighter on display at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario, shot at 1/1200, f8 at ISO 200 with 3-stop ND filter.

My first impression of the Fujifilm X100S was similar to when I first put my hands on the Fujifilm X10, it just felt right. While slightly larger and a tad heavier than the X10, the X100S has a very solid, almost bullet proof feel to it. The old school look and feel that first grabbed my attention when I saw the X10, is present here as well, only more so. In fact twice during the time I spent with this camera I was asked why I was still shooting film.

This blog post is about my impressions after spending 10 days with an X100S I rented from Borrow Lenses, and while ten days is barely enough time to learn all the ins and outs of any camera, already owning the X10 meant that many of the controls and settings were familiar to me. I did my best to shoot  a variety of photographs in different lighting conditions and try as many of the camera's features as possible. The photographs here did pass through Lightroom 4, but very little correction or cropping was done. If a photograph is black and white, it was shot that way.

Toronto, Ontario, skyline shot at 1/220, f16 at ISO 200.

Toronto, Ontario, skyline shot at 1/220, f16 at ISO 200.

Right up front the feature that really set this camera apart for me was the viewfinder. One thing that I always insisted on when purchasing compact or point and shoot style cameras was a viewfinder, or at least what passed as a viewfinder. It was comforting to know that I could hold the camera to my eye when shooting, but truth be told, most of the time I just ended up using the LCD screen to frame the shot. I also believe using the LCD and holding the camera at arms length doesn't give you the same perspective or provide you the same intimacy with the subject.

The "Bill Burton Fishing Pier" at Fort Smallwood Park in Maryland shot at 1/600, f8 at ISO 400.

The "Bill Burton Fishing Pier" at Fort Smallwood Park in Maryland shot at 1/600, f8 at ISO 400.

All this has changed with the hybrid viewfinder on the X100S. In fact, this is one reason I think many photographers are calling this camera a DSLR replacement. You have two choices, an optical viewfinder or an electronic viewfinder. The optical viewfinder displays all the camera information along with a framing guide that is slightly smaller than your field of view allowing to see what is going on just outside the frame. The electronic viewfinder provides you with a through-the-lens view, that's right, I said a through-the-lens view, including white balance, depth of field and focus. There can be a slight lag in this mode and it will tax your battery, but to see what you are about to capture is an incredible feature.

Storm approaching small marina in Toronto shot at 1/1250, f2.8 at ISO 200.

Storm approaching small marina in Toronto shot at 1/1250, f2.8 at ISO 200.

What is really cool however is after clicking the shutter in either mode you will see the result right in the viewfinder without ever having to remove your eye. No more "chimping" using the LCD screen.

TIP: When using the optical viewfinder set the Corrected AF Frame feature to ON. This setting places a second focus frame in green within the display allowing you to correct for parallax inherent in rangefinders especially when shooting objects near to you.  

Entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum shot at 1/10, f5.6 at ISO 800.

Entrance to the Royal Ontario Museum shot at 1/10, f5.6 at ISO 800.

All the dials and switches are minimal and have a solid feel. Aperture is controlled using a ring on the lens and shutter speed is controlled using a dial on top of the camera. Not a whole lot to it, you can set f-stop and shutter speed manually or by selecting "A" on either dial will place you in aperture or shutter priority mode quickly. Set them both to "A" and you are in program mode. Simple.

Gerrard Street East in Toronto, Ontario, shot at 1/40, f4 at ISO 1600.

Gerrard Street East in Toronto, Ontario, shot at 1/40, f4 at ISO 1600.

Three focus options or modes are available using a slider located on the side of the camera. This placement makes it hard to inadvertently change settings, something that has happened to me several times on the X10. AF-S and AF-C are available, nothing new here, but the real upgrade is the manual focus and the fact that it is usable in a way that is very familiar. Imagine using a focus ring on the lens and imagine several ways to assist with focusing while never taking you eye away from the viewfinder. You have it with this camera. I didn't spend a lot of time in manual focus during the 10 days, but I did give a try and found it to be incredible fast and very intuitive. I used the digital split image mode which was familiar, but a new mode called focus peak highlight really allowed me to quickly lock in on focus.

TIP: If Focus Check is set to ON within the setup menu, rotating the focus ring on the lens causes the image in the viewfinder to magnify allowing for precise focus. 

Annapolis wedding party on the Maryland State Capitol steps shot at 1/2500, f5.6 at ISO 400, -1.33 EV.

Annapolis wedding party on the Maryland State Capitol steps shot at 1/2500, f5.6 at ISO 400, -1.33 EV.

This camera wants to shoot black and white photographs and the results are absolutely outstanding. I imagine this is what it is like shooting the Leica M Monochrome camera only at $6,500 (minus lens) less. There are actually 10 film simulation modes for both color and monochrome. For color, I stuck with the standard setting which mimics Fuji's Provia film, but for my black and white setting, I chose monochrome plus a yellow filter which I found to give me great results right out of the camera. Very little post production or color correction was needed regardless.

TIP: You have the option to set three custom configurations on this camera, so take one and set it to monochrome, then you can switch from color to B&W in seconds.

1/1250, f2.8 at ISO 800, -1.67 EV.

1/1250, f2.8 at ISO 800, -1.67 EV.

It's been said in other reviews, but this camera just screams for a lens hood as an included accessory. I found myself frustrated several times unable to take a photograph only to discover the lens cap was still on. I don't know why this seemed to be a problem more so with this camera, but adding a filter and lens hood would eliminate the need for a lens cap altogether and still provide protection.

TIP: Forget about purchasing the expensive lens hood from Fuji and go with the EzFoto 49mm black filter adapter ring and metal lens hood from Amazon for the best deal.

Quick portrait taken in a stairwell of the Marriott shot at 1/70, f5.6 at ISO 200.

Quick portrait taken in a stairwell of the Marriott shot at 1/70, f5.6 at ISO 200.

I was able to get a full day of moderate shooting on one battery, but you will definitely need a second battery with this camera if you are doing some heavy shooting. After forgetting to charge overnight, my battery died early the next morning and like with my X10, there was little warning provided. I was spending lots of time in the menus and reviewing images which I'm sure contributed to battery drain, plus you can pick up a second NP-95 replacement battery for $10.00.

TIP: The battery will go in both the right way and wrong way with no noticeable resistance, so check that the camera turns on after inserting so that you are ready to shoot. BONUS TIP: Using the electronic viewfinder will cause the battery to drain faster.

My late Grandfather's Snap-on socket set shot at 1/25, f4.5 at ISO 200, macro setting.

My late Grandfather's Snap-on socket set shot at 1/25, f4.5 at ISO 200, macro setting.

You could set this camera up once and almost never need to dig into the menus again. But if you do, then Fuji provides an easy way to do that via a Q button which allows quick access to the most-used menu features. This is something that has been available on the X10 via a firmware update and it remains a great feature to reach the most used features. Plus you can also see this feature in the viewfinder. I'll say it again, you really don't have to remove your eye from the cameras viewfinder.

Charles W. Roesch, better known as Charlie the Butcher, at his restaurant in Williamsville, N.Y., shot at 1/50, f2.8 at ISO 800.

Charles W. Roesch, better known as Charlie the Butcher, at his restaurant in Williamsville, N.Y., shot at 1/50, f2.8 at ISO 800.

Don't make the mistake and think of this camera as a "point and shoot" or just a camera to throw in your bag in order to get slightly better photos than your phone. This is a serious camera fully capable of taking on most professional jobs. Zack Arias makes this point wonderfully in his Fuji X100S follow up review: life without DSLRs post.

It may take a little getting used to if you want to use the X100S as a street camera in order to quickly grab shots as you go and a couple of times it did take a few seconds too long to lock focus and exposure before I could shoot. Most of this was due to me not being ready along with some operator error. Otherwise, I don't really have any complaints. Spending more time shooting with this camera and less time fiddling with all the features, I'm confident that this would be the only camera I would need to carry 75% of the time. It would definitely be my second camera 100% of the time.

TIP: I think the best way to work with this camera would be to choose an ISO, film type and lock in a few of your other favorite settings, then forget about the camera and just shoot. If that sounds like the film days, you would be right.

It was hard to send this camera back. To say that I enjoyed shooting it would be an understatement so If you are still with me and wondering if the X100S will indeed replace my X10... More to come.

Link to my Flickr set of X100S photographs.

Link to the Fuji X100S manual.

UPDATE: 6/11/2013 - I ordered the Fujifilm X100SEzFoto metal lens hoodB+W 49mm Clear UV Haze filter and a NP-95 replacement battery from Amazon.

UPDATE: 10/13/2013 - I've been shooting with this camera for two months and still loving it. Check out most recent posts to see how I've been using and incorporating the X100S into my photography.

TIME FOR AN UPGRADE? FUJI X10 OR X100S

I purchased my Fujifilm X10, above at right, in November 2012, and wrote about it in what has become my most viewed blog post, INTRODUCING MY X10. Since then I've carried this camera almost daily and six months later I have no regrets. It has been a wonderful little camera and I still like how it looks and feels and continue to be impressed with the quality of the images.

So why have I been thinking about upgrading to the Fujifilm X100S camera? While I am not looking to replace my DSLR and lenses for work assignments, upgrading to this camera could render a second DSLR on assignment useless.

Fuji X100S.  Photo provided by Fujifilm.com

Fuji X100S. Photo provided by Fujifilm.com

Announced in January, the X100S began shipping in March and so far the hands-on reviews have been very positive. If you just read the blog reviews by Zack Arias and David Hobby, you'll want the camera immediately, however, at the time of this post, there is a one or two-month wait list.

Having such fun and success with my X10, which Fuji recently replaced with the Fujifilm X20, I immediately thought about upgrading. In my original blog post about the X10, I laid out the reasons why I purchased that camera instead of the X100 and cost and focus issues were two of them. Well, it seems focus is no longer a concern, but there is still the question of cost. At around $1,300, that clearly puts the X100S in the realm of a pro camera and not a simple point and shoot. Even though many of today's point and shoots, or sub $600 cameras, are capable of taking incredible images, just look at the X20 or what I paid for my X10, as examples.

So should I upgrade or not? To help answer that question, or maybe just convince myself one way or another, I decided to take my X10 and visit the National Air and Space Museum Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center located in Chantilly, Va., in order to take some photos and see if I would be happier if I were carrying the X100S instead.

Fuji X10 at 1/80, f3.6, ISO 400, 40mm equivalent, film simulation set to Velvia.

Fuji X10 at 1/80, f3.6, ISO 400, 40mm equivalent, film simulation set to Velvia.

The lighting in parts of the museum is very dim requiring higher ISOs. Advantage X100S. By all accounts, the X100S does remarkably well at high ISOs, even 3200. I rarely push the X10 past 800. The built-in flash on the X10 is not really usable so being able to get usable photos at ISO 3200 is a real bonus. I shot mostly at ISO 400 at the museum which meant I was shooting at very slow shutter speeds, but since I was photographing static objects it was not an issue.

Fuji X10 at 1/13, f2.8, ISO 400, 112mm equivalent, film simulation set to black and white.

Fuji X10 at 1/13, f2.8, ISO 400, 112mm equivalent, film simulation set to black and white.

While most of the photos I take with the X10 are at 7.1mm or 28mm equivalent on a 35mm lens, I do sometimes find myself using the zoom, as I did often during this shoot. Advantage X10. Would I have been able to get away with just a 35mm point of view? I suppose I should not have used the zoom in order to really test that theory. Zoom with your feet, isn't that what's said.

Did you notice what I did in the previous paragraphs? I both stated one of the big reasons I am considering the X100S and one of the reasons why I am questioning if it really is the camera for me. But honestly, there is more than just ISO and zoom.

Fuji X10 at 1/25, f2.8, ISO 400, 60mm equivalent, film simulation set to standard.

Fuji X10 at 1/25, f2.8, ISO 400, 60mm equivalent, film simulation set to standard.

Ever since I purchased my first digital P&S camera I've always insisted on some sort of a viewfinder. The X10 does have a viewfinder, but the X100S with both an electronic or optical viewfinder takes it to the next level making the viewfinder incredibly usable. Advantage X100S.

Many of the other features are very similar or the same, although the X100S is a 16MP camera versus 12MP and has a nine blade aperture shutter instead of seven, the X10 does shoot 10 fps continuous versus 6 fps. Advantage on these features favors neither X10 nor the X100S. That is to say, they are not part of my decision process.

Finally, after shooting the X10 for seven months, I really don't need to be sold on the look, feel and form of this camera. While I didn't fully appreciate it at the time, I did use a Leica M3 as a second camera for several years in my early Navy career and this does have that same feel. Some of the photos I shot at the museum were taken with the camera set to black and white which made me think I really was transported back 25 years holding that M3 loaded with Tri-X film. Holding these Fuji X cameras does elicit certain emotions. Is it because I'm a little older? Maybe, but I  believe part of making good images is attitude and how you feel about your gear does play a role in that.

Fuji X10 at 1/10, f2.8, ISO 400, 100mm equivalent, film simulation set to black and white.

Fuji X10 at 1/10, f2.8, ISO 400, 100mm equivalent, film simulation set to black and white.

I could go on and on about the advantages and disadvantages, but I'm clearly not going to answer my question during this blog post and even now as I look forward to a vacation in Toronto and an upcoming assignment, a video shoot in Hawaii, I'm thinking long and hard if I want to take the DSLR with various lenses or just the X10. Or possibly even theX100S?

One question I will answer is that I do think this would make a perfect second body on any assignment.

The rest of the details and more links below:

Specifications X100S:

Number of effective pixels: 16.3 million

Image sensor: 23.6mm x 15.mm (APS-C)

Lens: 35mm equivalent at f2.0

Dimensions: 5.0 (W) x 2.9 (H) x 2.1 (D) in.

Weight:  Approx. 15.7 oz. (including battery and memory card)

Sample images from the Fuji website.

Specifications X10:

Number of effective pixels: 12 million

Image sensor: 2 / 3 inch EXR CMOS

Lens: 28mm to 112mm equivalent at f2.0 and f2.8 respectfully

Dimensions: 4.6(W) x 2.7(H) x 2.2(D) in.

Weight: 12.3 oz. (including battery and memory card)

Sample images from my Flickr X10 set.

David Hobby provides a thorough overview of all the X100S features in a YouTube video. And I even learned something new about my X10 as well by watching this.

And just in case, the leap from X10 to X100S is too much, then check out Dan Bailey's full review on the X20.

Get the full X100S specifications available on Fuji's website.