Fujifilm’s Hot New Retro Styled X-Pro1

Fujifilms hot new X-Pro1 features a new image sensor combined with sexy retro styling

Fujifilms retro-style XPro-1 with interchangeable lenses looks to be one camera that’s going to live up to the hype which has been swirling since 2010. In a stylistic coup, Fujifilm managed to beat Leica at their own rangefinder game.

Inside the XPro-1 starts with a 16-megapixel APS-CX-Trans CMOS sensor, a brand new sensor type Fujifilm claims will offer better resolution than a Canon 5D MK II. While that remains to be seen, what it does do is eliminate the old Bayer pattern of color filters over the pixel layer and replaces them by 6×6 arrays of RGB filters in a quasi-random pattern that is supposed to mimic film grain. The non-regular pattern eliminates moire and the need for a low pass filter to manage it.

Coupled to the new sensor is the EXR Pro Image Processor behind a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Keeping with the rangefinder styling, Fujifilm put the emphasis on knobs and dials for controls over soft menus and touch screens.

The series will launch with three XF prime lenses: The XF 18mm f/2, a 35mm f/1.4 and the XF 60mm f/2.4. The lenses feature traditional aperture rings and a long manual focus ring.

The only plain feature on the XPro-1 is the shutter, which clicks in at a max 1/4000th of a second and relatively slow flash sync.

On the back the Fujifilm XPro-1 has a 3 inch 1.23 million dot LCD, featuring the on-screen Q control panel.

Definitely reflected in the build and styling is Fujifilm’s commitment to listening to users and reviewers alike and sports a somewhat larger body style, pushing the boundaries of the word “compact”.

Still, you have to dig deep to find a negative with the Fujifilm XPro-1 and you can expect sales to be brisk with appeal to the admirers of the old Leica M9’s. The only thing that could limit sales is the $1,700 price tag, which seems a little steep compared with other cameras in the same class.

Compare to:

Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Finepix X10

Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Leica M9

Fujifilm X-Pro1 vs Sony NEX-7

Fixed Lens or Interchangeable?

Point shoot cameras with built-in superzooms offer an alternative to long lenses

At this point in the development of digital photography, there is a camera for every buyer . In selecting which camera is right for you, one of the basic considerations will be whether to get a fixed lens or camera that lets you change lenses.

These days the question is not as clear cut as it was a few years ago. In the old days, you wouldn’t think of taking portraits with a zoom lens. You would have had a case of prime lenses and probably picked one in the 85mm-135mm range. Today zoom lenses are much better. Computer controlled milling machines, advanced optical coatings, and robot assembly means zoom lens quality is no longer an issue.

Now there are “superzooms”, also sometimes called “travel lenses” with incredible zoom ranges that make changing camera lenses a rare event. A few years ago you might have been carrying a small case full of lenses, today, even for a commercial shoot, you’ll likely only be packing two or three.

Modern consumer cameras with fixed lenses are still able to offer an impressive zoom range and most will work for 90 percent of the shots you will probably ever want to take. It’s that last 10 percent that separates photographers. Specialties that positively need to change lenses are serious bird watchers, sports, and wildlife photographers.

If you’re taking pictures for a living, or think you will, interchangeable lenses will be a capability you want. You may not have a lot of lenses at first, but you’ll pick them up over time.

Even if photography is just a serious hobby, I’d still get interchangeable lens capability if it’s in your budget.

But if you’re getting a camera to take pictures of the kids, for a family vacation, or occasional get together then the zoom range in most point and shoot cameras are just fine.

If you’re thinking about your kid’s soccer game, cameras like the Canon SX30 IS, the Nikon CoolPix 500, and Fujifilm Finepix HS20 with a built-in long zooms can put you right in the action, even from the sidelines at a price less than you’d pay for a decent long lens.

Fujifilm X-S1 Long Range Superzoom

sx1 photo
The Fujifilm S-X1 Superzoom can put you right in the middle of the action - by Fujifilm

Fujifilm has fielded the Fujifilm X-S1 superzoom, what some are calling a “bridge” camera that falls in between point-and-shoot and full size DSLRs.

While the Fujifilm X-S1 is a fixed-lens camera, it sports an impressive 26x zoom range with a lens that has a 35mm equivalent of 24mm to an impressive 624mm. With a range like that how often would you really miss having interchangeable lenses? On top of that Fujifilm has layered Intelligent Digital Zoom which takes the telephoto end out to an eye-popping 1248mm (35mm equivalent).

If the long range doesn’t lure you in, you can get in as close as 1cm by selecting Super Macro Mode for monster close up images.

Inside the X-S1 packs a 2/3 in 12-megapixel EXR CMOS sensor, the same one in the X10, which yields much better low light performance. The EXR CMOS technology allows the user to switch between automatic modes such as High Resolution, Wide Dynamic Range, and High Sensitivity with the flick of a button and Fujifilm claims a shutter lag of just 0.01 sec in high speed continuous shooting mode.

For video the X-S1 offers full 1920×1080 video, with stereo sound, at 30 fps.

On the back the X-S1 has a tiltable 3 inch LCD screen with a special daylight mode to make it easier to see during the day, a feature I wish Canon would emulate.

The Fujifilm X-S1 offers an impressive array of automatic shooting modes along with a full range of manual controls.

Priced at just under $1,200, the Fujifilm X-S1 is an ambitious offering, giving consumers the option of paying a little more for full DSLR functionality without the DSLR weight and need to carry separate lens.

It’s for sure, with the zoom capability, that parents on the sidelines of their kid’s soccer game will find this camera can put them right in the action all the way from the bleachers. It should also appeal to weekend nature photographers and bird watchers.

Compare to:

Fujifilm X-S1 vs Canon SX20 IS

Fujifilm X-S1 vs Pentax X90

Fujifilm X-S1 vs Nikon Coolpix P100


Fujifilm Has A Small But Powerful Camera With FinePix AV200

Fujifilm finepix AV200
Fujifilm Finepix AV200 is a hot seller this year

Fujifilm fielded a budget camera with an impressive set of features in the FinePix AV200. Released back in January, the compact pocket camera hit the market at a sub-$80 price point.

The FinePix AV200 may be small but it sports a 14-megapixel 1/2.3 in CCD sensor behind a 3x optical zoom Fujinon f/2.9 lens. Although the camera does have autofocus, including multi, area and tracking AF, there is some confusion in the published specs on whether it has any kind of image stabilization. Some sources say it has digital image stabilization, some say it has none, some say yes and no on the same page. Okay, you have to sacrifice somewhere for the price point, even without image stabilization it’s still a pretty good deal.

The CCD chip type also means the camera performs relatively poorly in low light with an ISO rating of 100 to 3200 and not even that at all resolutions. You also don’t get much in the way of continuous shooting speeds, with the camera topping out at a stately 1.2 fps pace.

You will get video, however. 720 at 30 fps, but that it has video capability at all is pretty amazing.

On the back it has a 2.7 in TFT LCD screen and accepts either SD or SDHC storage cards.

The internal software provides some nifty features like Motion Panorama Mode, Scene Recognition, and Face Detection with Red Eye Removal. It also has the ability to search for a particular face on the pictures in your camera.

When you consider you’re getting a 14-megapixel camera for $80 that fits in your pocket, runs on AA batteries and weighs in at a thrifty 196 grams, the FinePix AV200 is a great camera to toss in the tackle box or glove compartment of your car. It’s definitely a step up from most cell phone cameras and offers a lot of features for the price.

See how the Fujifilm Finepix AV200 stacks up to some of its competitors:



Will Film Follow Kodak To The Grave?

Is filmed doomed to the same fate as Kodak?

It’s been a rough month for film. Kodak had to shush rumors about a possible bankruptcy and offer a red-faced explanation about why they’re hiring a law firm specializing in helping big corporations going out of business.

Added to that was CreativeCow pointing out that ARRI, Panavision and Aaton have all ceased production of film movie cameras, shifting their design and production focus to digital. Those companies will still produce special orders for film cameras, but will no longer manufacture production film cameras.

Following the trend away from film in Hollywood, FilmCraft, a commercial film photo lab in Detroit, closed their doors, leaving Astro in Chicago as the sole film lab in the entire midwest. With theaters switching over to digital projection as fast as the screens can be converted, even the market for distributing film prints to theaters is on death watch.

The moves in the film world could have a roll up effect on photography, as movie production and distribution are the last big corporate markets for film. What’s left in the photography film market? Disposable plastic film cameras at the drug store, an ever decreasing handful of hobbyists still shooting film, and certain specialty markets like x-ray film. You even have to hunt at big box retail stores like Walmart to find a display of roll film.

We’re now in the long trailing tail of film. How long Fuji and AgfaPhoto will continue to make photographic film is anyone’s guess. Every year that ticks by sees their market diminish.  Economics will win out in the end.

It may still be a hobby for a handful of photographers, but it may not be a hobby you’ll be able to indulge in much longer.