Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Is The Grass Greener On The Fuji Side?

I know the camera brand that neither me nor Ming Thein touched is Fujifilm. Although Fuji has been making splashes with their X-T series and X-Pro series of mirrorless cameras, somehow none of them made it into my grasp, or available for me to review. Buying cameras just to review is out of the question, as that is not the way to sustain a long term solution for a blogger. However, I do have friends who own Fuji and have spoken highly on Fuji imaging products. I even have a friend who is willing to loan me his Fuji X-Pro 2 for review purposes. The question is, after about 2 years since the X-Pro 2's release in early 2016, will there be still enough interest from my readers to see me review it?


I have heard of the wondrous colors of Fuji JPEG files, but I must acknowledge that color preference is highly subjective, and may not be the same for everyone. From the general online photography discussion, I can summarize that the X-Trans sensor for Fuji has gained much attention, having respectable high ISO performance, better resolution resolving power, yet at the same time suffering from being able to be fully optimized when the RAW files are being processed with commercially available post-processing software. I have to be honest to say that I am not a fan of rangefinder style design for a body, and I am leaning toward a traditional DSLR look, mainly for better handling and also many other practical shooting considerations (viewfinder being on the same axis as the lens).

I do have my own curiosity, are Fuji lenses really as good as what everyone says? Has the AF improved since the days of X-Pro 1/X-T1 (which were lagging behind most cameras in terms of speed and reliability)? What is the fuss with all those film simulations? Do they make an impact on the image colors, or do I get better color processing the images myself?

My only brief flirtation with Fuji was with the first and original classic X100. It was a good camera, but it failed to deliver when I want something practical to work with. The lens was soft, the AF was terribly slow and the image quality was nothing to shout about, even during its time. I do admit the design was super sexy, the camera feels good on hand and I have had some beautiful images taken with X100 that made it into my Kuching exhibitions last year. Of course the X100 was many years apart and I am sure Fuji has come a long way since.

So Fuji people, if you have somehow stumbled upon this, do share your thoughts and your experience using the X-series. And is there anyone interested in reading my review of the X-Pro 2?

18 comments :

  1. Hi Robin,

    It would be interesting to write a few comments or a short comparison between m43 vs Fuji from a m43 user perspective. Many people with m43 gear think of Fuji as an alternative choice for mirrorless cameras. Do not focus on colors as it is subjective issue as you said.

    I am used to lightning fast S-AF of Olympus and Panasonic cameras and every time I hold a Fuji camera I am disappointed with AF. I like Fuji's noise reduction in images, although sometimes it looks like there is some loss in detail (especially in skin tones that look waxy).

    So, I would find interesting a comparison xpro2 vs em1.2 - g9.

    PS. Yes the grass is greener on the Fuji side as they have a known issue with greens (There are many links in web such us https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/52682516)

    Thank you,
    Yannis

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    1. I will not do any comparison, that will never end well no matter how I approach the comparison methods.

      Like yourself, I love the super fast AF on Olympus/Panasonic system. I don't think that will be something that I can give up easily. Thanks for pointing out about the green issue. I never knew about that until now.

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  2. The Fuji lenses are really good. No doubt about that.

    I have had the pleasure of working with all kinds of cameras and in the Fujifilm lineup, I've worked with the X100, X100S, X100T, X-E1, XT10, XT1, and XT2.

    My biggest issues with Fuji is system speed, AF speed. They just feel clunky and cumbersome. For street shooting, I need something that wakes up and runs fast like my DSLRs do. I've missed way too many street opportunities with Fuji. If I worked a more deliberate, staged way of shooting, Fuji would be fine...but as I work now DSLRs and m43 work way better for me.

    Fuji makes strides with every new major camera in system and AF performance, but it never seems to catch up or overtake enough to make an impression on me.

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    1. Fuji lenses, I need to try to believe if they are good enough. I was very disappointed with the X100's 35mm equivalent fixed lens.

      I hear you, I also felt the same during the X-T1 and X-Pro 1 time. I have not tried their latest cameras extensively and seriously hoped they have upped their game.

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  3. I have gone through many systems over the years (Nikon, Canon, Olympus, Panasonic, Sony, Fuji) and now Fuji is the one I am sticking to. I had a small period of fuji with the x-t1 but it wasn't up to the task for me at the time. Now I have an X-T2 and it can handle anything I shoot with it. Running kids, flying birds etc. The fact that Fuji has made these improvements in less than 10 years is amazing and makes me secure in my choice. I now have a good range of lenses and yes they are very good. The early lenses suffer from slow and noisy AF but the latest ones are great and easily on par with other mirrorless systems.
    What I love is the x-trans sensor. Very good resolution and a different look compared to bayer sensors. I admit Lightroom is not the best for fuji files which is why I switched to capture one. Capture One does a great job with the files!
    I also bought a really cheap used X-pro1 just to get that experience once in a while. It really shows how much they improved their cameras and makes me appreciate the x-t2 even more.

    All the "known issues" with the x-trans sensor is down to poor software. I have NO issues whatsoever with capture one so please don't blame Fuji for this. Adobe is the one to blame...

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    1. I am glad to hear that the X-T2 has improved a lot in terms of AF. I am also happy that Capture One works well with Fuji, considering that is what I mainly use now to post-process my images.

      However, Fuji is to be blamed for not collaborating or sharing closely with Adobe to optimize the output from their RAW files. It is a two way relationship. You cannot just expect Adobe to be able to magically handle Fuji files without enough input and data.

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  4. Hello Robin.
    I would definitely read your review of a X-t2 or x-pro2 camera. I've been using x-t1 for a few year and Fuji kept it up to date with firmware update. The X-t2 seems to be really quick at focusing. I'm sure you would produce as nice images with the x-t2 as any m43 body. But as you say it's just a matter of taste and how you like the camera's ergonomy at last. Cheers.

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    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence. Maybe a Fuji review will happen. We shall see.

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  5. Yes I am curious to see what you think about Fuji!

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    1. I am curious on what I will think after I use the Fuji too.

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  6. Yes . Do a review but not side by side comparison as some are religiously loyal to their chosen brand. The current Fuji offering are not for me bec prices are relative higher in MY and need a steady hands to shoot. I always have a spot for Fuji as my first camera was a Fujica film SLR.

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    1. hah, how we all wish they have the 5-Axis IS in Fuji cameras.

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  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  8. Of course we would be interested in reading your review!

    I followed the Fujifilm forums on DPReview for some time after I got my F31fd, and I thought that one day I might upgrade to a system camera from Fuji. However, Fuji failed to follow up on the S5 Pro, which people did rather seem to like, and over time it seemed that people were gradually deserting Fuji for other systems, fed up that nothing was happening. (Oddly, Fuji only really went "halfway" in with their DSLRs, using Nikon bodies if I recall correctly, but at least they outlived Kodak.)

    A few years on, after abandoning their users, we saw the X100 which seemed like fun and obviously delivered better image quality than a "compact", but a fixed focal length camera for over $1000 seems like a luxury product or something for the real enthusiast. When the X-Pro 1 came out, I guess Fuji decided that they were ready to show off their own system, but this was at an even higher price point. Since then, they have admittedly released competitive products and, according to other commentators, have raised their game around their perceived weaknesses like autofocus and video.

    Gordon Laing (of Cameralabs) has claimed that the X-series will never get in-body image stabilisation. I remember people claiming that it wasn't a big deal that the X100 had no stabilisation, that the focal length was short enough for it not to be an issue, that you can crank up the ISO, and so on, the latter being what Fuji's compacts did rather aggressively until they caught up with the market. But when they did introduce it, it made a world of difference.

    Anyway, reading your subjective experiences of life on the other side of the fence would be interesting. I upgraded from the F31fd to the E-M5 and thus jumped the fence, but at this point I probably wouldn't jump back!

    (And on the subject of colours, I remember that the SuperCCD in the F31fd couldn't handle vibrant reds effectively, making them look rather flat and relatively washed out. That's something to test, surely!)

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    1. Hi Robin,
      I really enjoy reading your blog and love your photos. Regarding the X-Pro2, make sure the firmware is the latest version, both camera and lens. The lens used will also affect focus speed...a lot. The newer 23mm f2, 35mm f2 and 50mm f2 all focus very fast. the newest lens, the 80mm macro is also said to be fast focusing but I haven't tried one yet. The new Fuji X-H1 camera (to be announced on Feb 14th or 15th) has 5 axis IBIS.
      I look forward to your photos taken with the X-Pro2.
      Richard

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  9. Hi Robin,
    I do have used a few Fujifilm cameras (X-E2, X-E2S, X-T10) which were beautifully crafted models with a very competent JPEG output. The exposure metering was accurate and the interface very friendly user. The X-E and X-T were not really compact cameras especially when combine with the kit zoom lenses such as 18-55mm or 16-50mm. For myself the autofocus system was not as much reactive that I have hope to be and the absence of in-body stabilization just prevent to get the same advantage with the focal fixed lenses versus the kit zooms. At the end the Fujifilm package was too much a departure from the MFT offer. At the end it is a matter of taste and confort which it is a very subjective matter.
    Salutations, Daniel M

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