Sunday, September 23, 2012

Fujifilm Showdown : X10 vs X100 vs X-Pro1

This is no in-depth review of the three cameras, just a quick image quality comparison. The pics speak for themselves, actually. What it basically shows is the X10 is a great entry-level compact camera, which provides nice results if you don't crop too much. The X100 actually holds up pretty well against the X-Pro1.

All shots were done with the same settings, in JPEG mode, no filters, no post-processing. Please note that I had a hard time getting as bright a shot from the X10 than with its bigger brothers, I can't say that I understand why.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fujifilm X-Pro1 Firmware 2.0

The new firmware is out.

If you're new to the X series, please note that you can't copy&paste the .DAT firmware file directly to your camera's SD card. You either have to use an internal or external card reader or to use the FPVUpdater software to transfer the file to the SD card (you can find this program via Google). The first solution is the better one, because the updater software will only be able to transfer the body firmware, not the lens firmware, and you have to update BOTH of them in order to benefit from the improvements.

When you've installed both body and lens 2.0 firmwares, the X-Pro1 performances will improve on three counts.

1 - Better AF

Fujifilm X cameras aren't quick shooters. It took a big firmware upgrade to get the X100 up and running properly. Now it's the X-Pro1's turn, and not a second too late, because the AF was really lacking precision and speed, more so than the X100 in my opinion.

The 2.0 improves the speed of auto-focusing. Granted, you still won't be able to cover Indy 500 with your X-Pro1, but it's not that type of camera anyway. In bright sun light, you can now expect almost instantaneous focusing, and improved speed in the shade or indoors.

The precision has also been substantially improved. Like the X100 in its infancy, the early-firmware X-Pro1 was prone to focus on the wrong element of the frame, even when you used the center point. My first impressions of the 2.0 firmware is that the AF was dead on 95% of the time.

Obviously, these changes are immediately apparent in the electronic viewfinder, but they're also important when using the hybrid optical viewfinder, because you can hear and feel that the focusing is quicker, and you know that it's more precise. Hence, because you don't have to worry that much anymore that the AF will spoil the shot, taking pictures with the optical viewfinder is a more intuitive and fun experience, moving one step closer to shooting with a film rangefinder.

2 - Better MF

Manual focusing on the X100 and X-Pro1 was a big let down. Actually, when you properly update, set up and know how to operate the X100, the only serious issue that remains is the frustrating manual focusing. Why is that so? Because it takes endless turns of the focusing wheel to get from distant to near focusing, making it far too tedious.

The 2.0 firmware has greatly shorten the number of turns necessary. At last, manual focusing the 35mm lens feels like manual focusing any other DSLR lens. Hurray for that.

Also, the 2.0 firmware adds another level of digital zooming to help with the focusing. That's neat, if like me, you're a bit obsessed with clinical focusing.

3 - Better write-to-card times

The write times were ok if you shoot JPEG, but when you shoot RAW, and especially when you're stupid enough to shoot RAW in continuous burst mode like I did for my carnival pics, the buffering delays were bound to be frustrating.

It's quicker now, but if you shoot RAW, I would still advise to get a Sandisk Extreme Pro card, in order to get the best from the X-Pro1.


All in all, a beefy upgrade and a vast improvement of an already excellent camera. Like for the X100, don't judge the X-Pro1 on the experience you or other people might have had using the early-straight-from-factory firmwares. Just like the X100 is now a totally different camera from the one that's featured in the early reviews, the X-Pro1 almost feels like a new product, and an amazing one at that.

Monday, September 17, 2012

At the Zoo

More shots with the Canon 70-200mm mounted on the X-Pro1.
Some pics using the Samyang 500mm.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

"The Crack-Up" EP : Finished

Yup, finally got to finalize this one, leaving behind many mixing attempts and several discarded songs.
It's in the process of being released on iTunes.

This is an electronic pop EP, in the same vein of "Broken Sails", only, well, more pop.

1 - The Crack-Up
2 - Nowhere Near
3 - Hotel at the End of the River
4 - Hollow Man Kurtz
5 - Black River Song

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

My NAMM Tempest Video

During the NAMM 2011 show, the Tempest stand featured musical videos from various international users.
The demo is now online.
My own snippet is at 13.15.
The Tempest is an outstanding analog drum machine!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fujifilm X-Pro1 + Samyang 8mm Fisheye

Test shots with the nice Samyang fisheye lens mounted on the X-Pro1 via the Pixco ring.
It works absolutely fantastic, since the Samyang has manual aperture control and focus.

Coming Soon : X-Pro1 vs X100 vs X10

Stay tuned if you're interested in the Fujifilm X cameras, I'll post some comparison shots this week!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fujifilm X-Pro1 : Obsolete?

The Fujifilm X-Pro1 is a high end mirrorless camera, featuring an amazing hybrid optical viewfinder (OVF) and a sensor that does wonders to capture details and colours. It's also pretty expensive, when you don't get one on ebay for a fraction of the price like I did!

Now Fuji is releasing its small brother, the XE-1. It's basically the same camera, without the hybrid optical viewfinder (thus smaller and lighter) and with a built-in flash. It looks like both cameras share the same sensor, so we should expect the same image quality as well.

My two cents about it is that it all boils down to the OVF, which is one of the raison d'être of the X series. While the electronic viewfinder (EVF) is ok (and apparently the XE-1 sports a refined version of it), I only use it when I'm too close to the subject or to manually focus on my 3rd-party lenses. It's only a temporary solution. The real Fuji X experience is when using the optical viewfinder. Granted, I haven't had the chance to see the XE-1 for myself, so I'll reserve my final judgement until I can test the new EVF. But I seriously doubt that the XE-1's EVF can match the X100/X-Pro1's comfort.

About the built-in flash, well, I don't see that it means anything. I know that some people use the built-in flash of their cameras, but I never was one of them.

That said, if you don't already own a X-Pro1, I can understand why you might hesitate to shell out the extra cash when all you get for your 600 bucks is the optical viewfinder (and better LCD). The XE-1 is clearly a high-end Fuji for the budget conscious and it's no chance that it's released along a definitely entry user lens like the 18-55mm. In other words, you've got the XE-1 + 18-55mm for the budget users and the X-Pro1 + prime lenses for the more serious users who don't mind paying the extra. I'm totally fine with that. I think it's great from Fuji to expand the product line that way. As for myself, the optical viewfinder is an inherent part of the experience and I wouldn't part with it. Actually, the mere idea of selling the X-Pro1 to buy a XE-1 is pretty ludicrous to me, but hey, different strokes...

Saturday, September 8, 2012


More pics from the X-Pro1 + Canon L 70-200mm 4.0 combo.
Needless to say, manual focusing with the electronic viewfinder AND a zoom lens, well, it's friggin' hard.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Bye Bye JX3P

Now here's a lovely analog from the 80's.
I just sold it back to make some room and because whatever it does, well, let's face, the Prophet 08 can probably do, so it was getting a bit redundant.
I'll post some updated reviews and a new video.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Rendez-Vous de l'Erdre 2012

Jazz festival in Nantes, France.
Bands : Frasques Orchestra, Journal Intime, Rêve d'Elephant Orchestra.