There’s been a lapse. Every so often, I need to take a break from writing, to recharge my batteries, and renew my muse.
I’m finding that this tends to occur over the summer months, perhaps because it’s natural for us to “take a break” in July and August. Some of it has to do with a dark green monotony of the late summer landscape. At any rate we are moving rapidly into the colors of autumn, when, shooting very naturally resumes.
Also, It has been a busy 6 weeks. We’ve had a birthday and graduation party for my kids, followed by seeing the children off to college. We then took a fairly long vacation to the Adirondacks. Guilt has overtaken me however; I wish to put some thoughts together.
This was the first vacation, probably in a decade, where I have not taken an SLR as part of my kit. Instead on his trip, I brought instead 3 “X series” Fujifilm cameras: my X 100s, my X Pro 1, and a brand new E Bay acquisition, a silver XE 1. I definitely had some concern over this. After all, I have some wonderful Nikon bodies and lenses. Would the Fuji’s suffice?
Prior to departure, I upgraded the firmware on both of the interchangeable lens cameras to their newest versions. This article will serve as a report on the new firmware, and of my new XE 1.
It’s very handy to have a second XF mount body. I love the XF prime lenses, but have always thought it would be helpful to have the very capable 18-55mm zoom lens at hand alongside. The second body makes this possible. I’ve taken to mounting the zoom lens on the XE 1 with an XF prime lens, either the 14 mm, or the 60 mm, on the X Pro 1. Compared to carrying two pro-level digital SLRs, the combination provides me a light, relatively unobtrusive photographic package, with equivalent image quality. I also packed my Panasonic GH1 as a lower value (but still excellent quality) camera for use in places where there was a risk of loss.
There is nothing really dramatic to say about the XE 1. It’s almost like the two earlier X cameras were mated and produced an heir. The camera has most of the best features of both, such as the enlarged Q button from the X Pro 1, and the diopter adjustment from the X100s. I like that it is smaller, which with the zoom mounted makes it a natural “grab camera” to have in hand if I’m going out for a walk.
I don’t really miss the optical view finder from the other 2 cameras, as I tend to use the electronic version most of the time. The optical viewer of the X Pro and X 100s is occasionally useful for action-oriented shots allowing one to anticipate out-of-frame events. Real action shooting however, falls to the Nikons
But I digress: in short the XE 1 is a very natural offshoot of its “parents” and it was very easy to transition between the 3 instruments.
A word on the recent firmware upgrade: I was pretty happy with the X Pro 1’s focus performance provided by the previous upgrade, and I cannot honestly say I don’t notice much difference with the newest version. The focus peaking of the interchangeable lens cameras is welcome, but in my mind less well implemented than in the X100s, where the highlighting of the in-focus areas is much more prominent. I was gratified to see, that the reconfigured auto focus button location on my recent purchase was the same as in the X Pro 1.
Needless to say ,the image quality of the XE 1 is for all intents and purposes, indistinguishable from that of the earlier cameras. Now that I have developed a comfort level with raw file conversion of the X-Trans sensor, my newest camera is already like an old friend.
I still rely on the X100s for street and event, and low light shooting, but the availability of the XF 23 mm f1.4 lens may change that (although the soft “click“ of leaf shutter of the X100 series is still more discrete). I used that camera to photograph a wonderful acoustic duo in a lovely bistro in Old Forge, New York. Though I was sitting directly in front of the 2 musicians, the cameras small size and quiet shutter allowed me to shoot unobtrusively without distracting them from their performance.
It’s really a wonderful time in photography. We have wonderful new instruments, and may even be reaching a point, where aside from video; image quality is now more than adequate and may have plateaued.
I had a great deal of fun on vacation with the Fuji’s
I felt absolutely no regret about leaving my Nikons at home.