The torture test of any hand sized camera is in the field of conflict. We saw how the Leica covered the Depression, the Spanish Civil War, World War Two and the Korean Conflict. We saw how Vietnam was covered with the Leica, Nikon F and the Pentax Spotmatic. The new Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a great camera. How does it handle a demonstration where opposing factions come face to face?
It handles well. It is a strong metal bodied camera that can take its share of jostling. I was downtown in Ottawa on May 10th, 2012, and I was witness to a demonstration of anti-abortion activists. Along the path that the marchers were assigned was a gauntlet of pro-choice supporters. At this point of the path, there was a perfect opportunity to observe an exchange of ideas...or conflict if you wish.
For this demonstration, I used the black and white application. I also used my Voigtlander 25mm f4 M mount Color Skopar lens. With this lens I was compelled to focus manually. Nothing auto. It was a fantastic, albeit scary, experience.
Old abandoned restaurant sign taken with the Fujifilm X-Pro1, Voigtlander 25mm f4 Color Skopar, and a Leica polarizer. Alfred Ontario. 6th May, 2012.
Below are shots using the X-Pro1 and its 35mm 1.4 Fuji lens, all in Alfred.
Again, the X-Pro1 shows its worth. The sharpness and contrast of the pictures are sensational from such a small camera. And for the first time on any camera, the in-camera black and white applications are filmlike. After using LAB conversion and the Gorman B&W conversion systems, it is a real treat to see images that look like real black and white film. At high ISOs during daytime the results are like soft grain 125 or 400 ISO black and white film. Again, the focusing and the post-shot lag is a real concern, but try to find a camera that gives images this clean. Period!
The Voigtlander lenses are probably the most underrated lenses on the market. Anyone who has used them agrees that they are professional level and they never disappoint. I fixed my 25mm Color Skopar onto my Fujifilm X-Pro1 and I took to the street.
First, I have to tell you that this lens works beautifully on the X-Pro1. Being a 25mm, or a 38mm equivalent, it has tremendous depth of field. Manual focus is smooth and easy. It is unobtrusive and looks cute, sexy and businesslike all at the same time. I shot using the X-Pro1's black and white application. The results were fantastic.
Next week Leica will announce a black and white digital camera. For the life of me, I can't see how they will improve over the X-Pro1. With this Voigtlander lens, and the Fuji 35mm f1.4 lens, the black and white looks like it was shot on film. I am almost tempted to just shoot in black and white with the X-Pro1. Almost, that is. The colour rendition on this camera is far too good to be neglected.
At 1,000 ISO there is very little noise in any picture shot with the X-Pro1. I found that shooting at 3,200 or 6,400 ISO rears a slight noise that resembles film grain. This gives the black and white pictures a look of the thirties, forties or fifties through a Leica. Composing is easy on this camera due to its low profile. Once the auto focus is fixed, you have the perfect camera. it's probably the first digital camera with a soul.