As soon as I read about the Fuji X-Pro3 I thought, “Yeah, shut up and take my money.” I bought the original X100 the day it hit my town, and I’ve been using an X-E2 for a couple of years. I like the Xtrans sensor and Fuji glass is great. I had no intention though, of getting an X-Pro3 straight away. I thought I’d wait for a year or so – till prices and supply had settled. I had no need of it. The X-E2 was just fine as a travel digital, and was all I needed for the small amount of commercial work I still do. (I shoot a bit of editorial for a travel/conservation magazine.)
But I ordered one, never expecting to see it, because Ted’s Camera over here in Oz was taking pre-orders at $A400 under list price before any were even in the country. (why?)
Anyway – it turned up two weeks later.
So – first quick thoughts on the X-Pro3 user experience:
If you’re at all interested in the X-Pro3 you’ve read all the reviews already. So what’s it like from the perspective of a film shooter?
1: It is very nice in the hand – it’s solid and has a good weight to it; just right. But it also feels like what it is – a digital camera. There’s no escaping that and no way you can kid yourself any differently. It’s got buttons and control wheels coming out its arse. You don’t have to use them, but they’re there.
2: It’s great that the rear screen folds against the body. Absolute winner.
3: The sub menu on the back is hard to read and pretty useless. It actually looks much clearer in all the online photos than in real life. But who cares.
4: It is brilliant for legacy glass. Manual focus lenses (my Nikkors with an adapter) are totally usable on this camera with the EVF; the EVF is so good. Peaking just – works. The EVF blows the X-E2 out of the water to the extend I don’t know if I can go back to it. If I had a bunch of lenses I wanted to use maybe I’d get a speedbooster for it, but I can’t really see myself using this with adapted lenses that much as they’re kinda bulky. That could change for a specific project of course.
1: OVF with the 27mm and 35mm Fuji lenses I have is just really nice. I hardly ever used OVF on the x100 but now I think I prefer it. I don’t know if it’s the clarity, the speed of the AF, the extra info, or seeing outside the frame, or all that stuff together, but it’s a blast.
2: OVF with MF glass is genius. (OK – genius with my one MF X mount lens – the 7Artisans 35mm f1.2 that I just had to buy as soon as I got the X-Pro3.) It works like a rangefinder. You tell it what focal length you’ve put on it and it will adjust the framelines in the OVF to match that focal length. You can then bring up the little patch in the corner of the OVF and focus that with peaking or just by eye. So it does work like a digital rangefinder with an optical viewfinder. You lose the parallax correction you get with a Fuji lens, but hey, if you want correct everything, use the EVF.
3: Another nice thing is you can name six lenses in the lens profiles and they will show up in the exif with the focal length. It won’t record the aperture though, of course.
SO – wrapping up, These are all first thoughts, but when it first turned up I was a bit underwhelmed by the X-Pro3. The X-E2 had been doing is just fine for the editorial work that I do, and for travel. I love the X-E2 sensor and Fuji glass, and in terms of IQ for my client, the X-Pro3 does not deliver significantly more.
Then I started looking more closely at the files, and playing a bit with the settings.
Three to four weeks in now, and I’m intrigued. It really comes down to the sensor; there’s no point in a gorgeous camera that makes shit shots, but this thing has got me interested in digital again. There is something nice about the textures in the jpegs that I want to explore. I doubt you’ll get anything out of a 1500px file, but I’ll post a couple anyway.
At first the jpegs (I don’t shoot my Fujis raw if I can avoid it) just pushed me out of my comfort zone and I didn’t like them. Now I’ve got it set up way better. I’ve worked out how to get something nice and flat, but with colour I like. Then I just need to tweak curves in LR. It’s a bit like what I want from a nice neg scan – all the info is there and most of the work is already done. Play with the curves for a few secs and you’re done.
So yeah – early days but can really see possibilities opening up. It might be just fun and nothing more, but even if that’s the case I’m pretty happy with this thing so far. I shall be back with more thoughts in due course!