Fuji X Pro1

Fuji XT-1, is it as good as the D800?

In order to fill the void between wedding shoots I offer actor head shots and am learning the art of food photography.  While learning the latter I noticed something interesting.  I notice there are glaring differences between the Fuji XT-1 and Nikon D800.  The first difference that jumps out at you are the colors.  One is not better than the other but the differences are eye-popping and very noticeable.  The second and equally as noticeable difference is the sharpness and resolution with the clear winner being the…

When it comes to gear I hear all the time that: “the camera is just a tool”.  While that much is true I would like to point out that you would not use a roll of paper towels to hammer a nail now would you?  A ridiculous example I know but back to my point.  Yes, the camera is just a tool and each tool serves its purpose and the Fuji XT-1 is no different.  I am a huge Fuji X fan, I mean HUGE fan of these cameras.  I use the X-Pro1, XE-2 and the XT-1 and by use I mean this is what I carry to shoot 100% of my weddings!  The reasons why I shoot the Fuji X series for wedding are many, and I’ll list some (but not all) of them for you:

  1.  Light weight
  2.  Amazing low light shooters
  3.  Great skin tones
  4.  Stunning B&W images
  5.  Amazing fast lenses with my favorite being the; 56mm 1.2, 23mm 1.4 and 35mm 1.4

When it comes to flash photography the Fuji’s do just OK, but wireless manual flash using my Pocket Wizard in tandem with my Quantum T5-dr’s are as good as anything else compared to any other camera.  Because the Fuji X system cameras are such amazing low light shooters I find myself using less and less flash.  With that said there are some limitations to these cameras the caused me to pick up a Nikon D800 and I’ll get into these reasons now.

Back to my opening statement.  The D800 is not only a great camera but it nicely fills the void left by the Fuji’s.  What void you ask?  Well, I’ll tell you.  First off the D800’s auto focus is, well, better.  As in, no comparison, even with the newest firmware update on the XT-1.  Yea, yea, yea, I know that XT-1 is not designed to compete directly with the pro end DSLR’s, but I am a pro and I am going to talk about this anyway because using the right tool for the job matters!  The other area of difference is the resolution.  At 36 megapixels the D800 captured more detail, period!  Where I noticed this was when I was shooting food and this is where detail is critical and the D800 did not disappoint.  When severe cropping is needed he D800 retains all of the detail, even at a 100% crop which makes the Nikon D800 is the clear winner.  The sharpness, colors and full frame-ness of the D800 really shines in this and other areas of photography.

Where Fuji has the advantage is in the area of mobility and stunning black and white photography.  For all of my street photography the only thing I will use is my Fuji X-Pro1 and 35mm 1.4 & 23 1.4.  I adore the Fuji as a travel camera.  In fact that’s all I ever take with me when traveling.  I am headed back home to New Orleans in August and my XE-2 and X-Pro 1 will be with me for sure.  They are do wedding dresses better than anything else I’ve used.  They are almost noiseless up to 3200 ISO.  They are silent, discreet and most of all my back is not killing me at the end of a 12 hour wedding.  The auto focus is much improved and the lenses, well those lenses are simply put, YUMMY!

So, is the camera “just a tool”? In short, yes. The right tool for the right job in the hands of the right person matters more in my humble opinion.  When you need the most in the way of detail, sharpness, resolution and cropping the clear winner is the Nikon D800. But when you want B&W photos and for shooting brides the Fuji wins.  So is there room for both a DSLR and a Fuji X camera in you bag?  Yes, there is plenty of room for both and the amazing thing about living in “Merica is that you can have both!

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Above D800 100% crop

JamBalls2-W

Above XT-1 10% crop with 18-55 2.8-4.0 R

PastryXT1-W

Above Fuji XT-1 with 56mm 1.2

PastryD800-W

Above D800 no crop

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Fuji X Series Cameras, I’m In Love!

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I am a huge fan of the Fuji X series cameras!  Ok that is the end of my blog post!  Kidding, of course.  Let me explain why it is I love these cameras.

I dipped my toe into the Fuji X pool a little over a year ago when I bought my X-Pro 1.  I was just like everyone else who used this camera, I couldn’t wait for the next firmware update!  The X-Pro was beautiful and maddening at the same time.  It missed focus a ton, was slow and unsure of itself.  But as time went on and as Fuji listened to their customers, through diligent firmware upgrades that camera started to soar!  Now I can gladly say that not only do I love my X-Pro1 but I also love my X100s and X-E2!

I love that these cameras excel where a camera should, image quality.  Fuji did it right with their sensor and mojo thingy that is inside the wonderful little jewels of image producing perfectness!  The colors are bold, different but no so different that they are not believable.  As close to film as I have come with digital.  The auto focusing is much better on the newer versions but at the end of the day I never thought they that bad after the first few firmware upgrades.  Are they DSLR fast, no, but then again they are not supposed to be a DSLR.  They work exactly the way they should.  As a tool to help you achieve the best possible image quality, period!

If you are a B&W lover, like I am, then you will not find anything out there that does B&W better than the Fuji X system cameras.  I know this may sound like a bold, dare I say dangerous statement to make but I will stand buy it until I am proven wrong.  I am not sure what it is about the B&W’s that come out of these cameras but when I pair a B&W image from my X-Pro with my Epson 7880 which is loaded with Peizography ink sets, well it is as close to wet darkroom as you can get.  I print on Canson fiber based baryta papers and I will say the prints are stunning.  And the Fuji’s have a lot to do with that.  The detail, sharpness and dynamic range in RAW is exceptional and most of all I can shoot RAW and keep all of the lush goodness the Fuji files give me.

Let’s be real here.  The Fuji’s are not a magic box that will make you a better photographer, but I will say, when I hold one of these wonderfully built instruments I do “feel” like a photographer.  it is a hard thing to explain and I freely admit it makes no sense but it is a feeling that is real and genuine.

What do I want to see next from Fuji?  Full frame!  I shudder at what can be accomplished as a photographer if Fuji put out a $2,500.00 18-24mp, full frame work of art!  I will be the first in line to buy one!