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You think Fuji X-Pro1 has slow or bad Autofocus, No it hasn’t, you just have to learn how to shoot with it properly!

Bold statement? I don’t think so.

Ok, first off, I know that the Fuji X-Pro1 and the rest of the X-serie cameras don’t behave like a Nikon D4 with top of the line Nikkor lenses! How do I know? Because I shoot Nikon D4 with top of the line Nikkor lenses daily.

I love my Nikon cameras, truly love them. They are, without a doubt, the best cameras on the market today for what I shoot. There are of course photographers that may require higher resolution from their cameras but I don’t have the need for more megapixels. On my Epson printer I print large images, 44 inches (111 cm) on the short side from my Nikon D3 and D4 files. No problem at all.

The only thing that bothers me with my Nikon gear is the weight and bulk of the system, don’t get me wrong, I still love shooting with the Nikon gear but after a 12 hour day I’m not so much in love with carrying it around. So this summer I started to look for something with a smaller footprint and Fuji Sweden kindly lent me the Fuji X-Pro1 and a set of lenses.

For a month I shot with the Fuji gear and starting out I had to learn how to shoot with it as the shooting experience of the X-pro1 is nothing like the D4. Not bad just different.

Actually I had the X-pro on loan twice, first a week or two in the beginning of the summer. This was before the most recent firmware update was released, and during that time I didn’t really have time to shoot much with it. I mostly fiddled around with it at home shooting the family, so I sent it back to Fuji and was promised to get it back in the start of August. The second time I received the camera and lenses I had already planned lot’s of cool stuff to shoot with it. So for about 4-5 weeks I shot pretty much everything I usually shoot whit my Nikon gear. This time the most recent firmware was installed in both the X-Pro1 and lenses. I tested the lenses: XF 14 f2,8, XF18mm f/2, XF 35mm f/1,4, XF 60mm f/2,4 and the XF 55-200mm f3,5-4,8

That the Fuji X-serie cameras are quite competent and have great IQ suitable for portraits,weddings and more have been documented thoroughly by great, and more importantly, hard working photographers such as: Bert Stephanie, Kevin Mullins, David “strobist” Hobby, Zack Arias.

Ok, enough with the name dropping.

I found the Fuji X-Pro1 to be a great camera for everything I shoot, also action shots. It’s different though, and you can’t expect to shoot 10 frames/sec and have all frames tack sharp like with the Nikon D4, honestly, not many cameras can! Maybe the Canon D1X is up for the task, I don’t know, haven’t shot with it. But I have not run into a situation where I couldn’t use the X-Pro1 due to slow or bad auto focus. As with all tools, you must learn how to use them properly.

Among other jobs I shot VOLVO-Polestar race car driver Thed Björk who won the prestigious STCC-Swedish Touring Car Championship for 2013.

 

All Images are shot with the Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji XF 55-200mm except the first one which is shot with the XF 14mm f2,8 Look at the EXIF info. Most of the images are shot wide open or close to it, except for the panning shots where I had to shoot at smaller apertures due to the base ISO of 200, longer shutterspeeds and bright sunlight.

The cars are shot during a race and reaches top speeds at approximately 167,7 mph (270 km/h) They accelerate from 0-62,14 mph (0-100 km/h) in 3 seconds, so they are pretty fast.

I don’t have the specs for the Porsches but they are pretty fast also…

 

Volvo Polestar racing

Fuji X-Pro1, XF14mm f/2,8

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Porsche carrera cup

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Porsche carrera cup

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Porsche carrera cup

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm. The car is in the beginning of the start/finish straight and  the speed is appr. 200-250 km/h. Frozen with a fast shutterspeed.

Volvo Polestar racing-STCC-2013

Fuji X-Pro1, XF55-200mm The car is near the end of the start/finish straight just before the first brake sign. Speed appr. 250-270 km/h.

 

The trick to shooting action sports with the X-Pro1 is to learn how the camera operates in different situations. Some times you have to prefocus and wait for the subject to reach the focus area but I found that when shooting in daylight it’s possible to focus and shoot in one motion even when shooting fast moving subjects like the racing cars above. The AF is actually both accurate and fast enough to shoot like that in good light. The difference from the D4 is that you will only have one shot so timing is of the essence! With the D4 you can easily shoot 10 fps and most if not all of them are sharp. Also the X-Pro1 isn’t fast enough to shoot more than one car at the time. With the D4 you have no problem shooting 10 or 20 cars (with spot on focus) coming towards you after each other like  race cars mostly do during a tight race.

All images are shot with single shot focus NOT AF-C. I tried many different settings on the camera and found that the best (for me when shooting action) was when I had the AF activated by the shutter button. For portraits and slower paced work it’s ok to have the AF activated by the AFL/AEL button on the back.

 

I’ll wrap this post up with some action shots of dogs. Dogs running at full speed towards you is some of the most difficult subjects to shoot for any camera, even the D4, due to them often running in a way that makes it hard to put the AF-point in the right place to continuously follow focus. They are not predictable like a car. But even with the Fuji X-Pro1 it can be done.

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm- This dog is hard to focus on even with a Nikon D4 because he is so dark in the face and upper body, I know because it’s my dog. This image is dodged quite a bit in his face in pp. The fact that it’s shot against the sun doesn’t make it any easier for the camera to focus.

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm-This dog is very small and therefore very hard to follow with the focus point but still I got some tack sharp shots of him running.

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm-This dog is very small and therefore very hard to follow with the focus point but still I got some tack sharp shots of him running.

 

Oh, forgot to mention that I bought the X100s and have the XE2 on order. I believe the faster refresh rate in the EVF on the XE2 will be nice when shooting the 55-200mm, since the X-Pro1 EVF is lagging a bit. But Fuji is continuously improving their cameras both the old ones as well as the new ones. Exciting times to be a photographer.

So, there are some quirks to learn with a new system but I can tell you after lugging the Fuji system round a 18-hole golf course for five hours or working a 12+ hour day at the racing circuit, that I still love shooting with it as well as carrying the Fuji cameras with me.

I’m not selling my Nikon gear, but they will get much less use from now on, thats for sure!

 

Cheers/

 

Ps.

Allmost forgot I had some shots of motorcycles too, many of them are looking similar, just to show anyone still sceptic to the X-Pro1’s AF capabilities that it’s not luck involved, just learn how to and then practice and you can use your own Fuji X-series camera for action shots too!

These shots are “pre focused” in the sense that I don’t have the lens focused at infinity or at the closest point possible. I have prefocused on the racetrack but the AF has been working at all images to make each biker in focus. That’s how fast the AF speed is on the Fuji X-Pro1. They are coming at me very fast in these shots. They are coming out of the fastest corner of the circuit, full throttle, on to the start/finish straight. So no more excuses or ranting about the AF speed of the Fuji cameras. Just learn how to use it and enjoy your camera. :o)

 

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

Fuji X-Pro1 with XF 55-200mm

 

 

October 10, 2014 - 17:01 OSCARSSON - Hi Finbarr, glad to have been of help!

January 24, 2014 - 18:46 Michael - I shoot with Nikon and have Leica "M" lenses as well as the x100. I love the x cameras and was thinking about getting the xe2 or the x1p, any thoughts. I love the OVF and I am nervous about the EVF on the xp1.

January 1, 2014 - 22:52 finbarr - Hi Jan I have just found and read your post on the X Pro1 and auto focus.I would like to thank you for your observations as most were telling us on the web that you could not photograph fast moving objects with the X Pro1.While I love my X Pro1 I thought I was confined to photographing static or near static objects which I was happy enough to do because of the image quality of the X Pro1. You have opened up a whole new world for me now.I can't wait to buy a XF 55-200mm.Thanks again. Regards Finbarr

November 27, 2013 - 13:55 OSCARSSON - Hi Visorvet, I'm not sure what it's called and it could very well be named as you say. I did prefocus where I wanted the shot and then followed my subject up to that point without pressing the shutter halfway, when the subject reached the point I had in mind I pressed the shutter button fully in one motion and the AF did it's thing even if it didn't have to work a long distance since the lens was prefocused at that spot. But still, the AF was working, remember these cars where moving very fast and I'm sure I couldn't have gotten the shots by just timing the shot without AF engaged. As to avoiding camera movement I can only think of one thing to do and I'm sorry for it not being a hot or fabulous trick. But it is pro though, practice, practice, practice. You don't have to "smash" your finger down on the shutter button to make the shot, but rather squeeze it gently in a firm motion from top to bottom. Hope this helps.

November 27, 2013 - 03:56 visorvet - Great post, and very encouraging for me as I have just gotten a couple of Fuji cameras (x100s and X-E2) and have been wondering if I'll be able to shoot horse races next summer. Am I interpreting correctly that you are using what has been termed elsewhere as the "shutter mash" method? As in, not half-pressing to focus then full-pressing to release the shutter, but pressing the shutter to do both with one motion? I tried this several times but seem to have difficulty with shaking the camera when I do it. Any fabulous pro tips on how to shutter mash while avoiding too much camera movement?

November 12, 2013 - 20:46 OSCARSSON - Hi Sebastian, Thank you! All images are run through Lightroom and I have made som presets that fit my style and taste to start with, then every image is tweaked to look like I want them. They are pretty straightforward BW conversions with a little warmth added to them. The color is also straightforward. Just WB, black and white point, an S-curve to get the mid tones to pop a bit and a little clarity and sharpening for web. A bit of warmth are added to the light tones and a touch of blue/purple to the darker tones. Dodging and burning where needed to fit my taste. They are not heavily post processed in my opinion but more tweaked to fit my taste. I'm glad you like it!

November 12, 2013 - 20:26 OSCARSSON - Hi Steve, Thanks! Everyone must use the tools that feels best to them and the work they do. I'm in no way advocating for all Nikon or Canon sports shooters to switch to Fuji, or to any other brand either. The reason for me posting this is more to show Fuji owners (or those looking to buy Fuji cameras) that it is totally doable to shoot action and sports with their Fuji gear, so they don't feel they have to invest in or switch to another system just to shoot action or sports. And I understand your unwillingness to switching gear when you already are invested in a brand. I usually keep my eyes open at what is available on the market even when I'm happy with what I use, just to keep up to date. But wouldn't switch unless there is a significant advantage for me to switch. For me Fuji can do very much, if not all, of that what I shoot and they keep evolving. For me the weight of my Nikon system is something I really look forward to get rid of. The Fuji's are soo light that its a joy to carry them all day. Cheers/

November 12, 2013 - 19:56 OSCARSSON - Hi Mike, Thanks! Yes, it's takes some getting used to but it's rewarding when you do. Happy shooting!

November 12, 2013 - 16:03 Sebastian - Hi Oscar, these are wonderful pictures, you explained already very well how you shoot these photos, but how about your post processing, I really like the look of your pictures? Kind regards, Sebastian

November 11, 2013 - 14:28 Steve Ransome - You certainly have gotten the hang of that camera. I have bought quite a few Fuji cameras (7) and never had much joy with the type of photography I wanted so I moved to DSLR (canon). I do wish the shutter-lag had been sorted a few years back. I'd love to have a go with this new one but have already spent too much on kit to move back to Fuji again. Shame. Very nice work here. Cheers for now

November 11, 2013 - 14:22 mike - Wow! Great looking images. I bought a XE1 about 2 months ago and coming from a dslr it has taken some getting used to but I love it. I use it everyday on my job at the newspaper.

November 11, 2013 - 05:12 OSCARSSON - Hi Alan, I don't have any shots at high ISO's that I'm allowed to share right now (only client images), sorry. But I can tell you that in my opinion the Fuji X-trans sensor is pretty much on par with the D3/D700 in the high ISO department and about a stop after the D4, meaning that where I would shoot at ISO 6400 with the D3/D700 I would not hesitate to shoot with the Fuji X100s, x-E1/X-E2 or XPro-1 at ISO 6400. Remember, this is just my opinion and not a fact or anything that I have measured. Happy shooting!

November 11, 2013 - 04:56 OSCARSSON - Hi Peter, Thanks for your kind words! Feel free to post a link to my blog or to give the link to your students if you think it will help them in any way. I'm glad if it helps someone. I'll make a note of adding f and t values in coming posts, it's a good idea. All shots in the post are handheld. Cheers/

November 11, 2013 - 04:48 OSCARSSON - Thanks Topsy!

November 11, 2013 - 04:47 OSCARSSON - Hi Dirk, I don't switch between AF modes, I use the AF-s mode. Please look at my answer to Andy above for a more thorough walk thru of my technique regarding the AF. Regarding the EVF I know what you mean and the best advice I can give is to try to anticipate where the action is going to take place and keep the camera as still as possible and very smoothly follow your subject. Even if I really like the XPro-1 the EVF is the main reason I'm going for the E-X2. I have the X100s and the EVF in that camera is much more snappy and doesn't have the lag. From what I've read the X-E2 is at par with or better than the X100s. I gladly use the OVF in the x100s but that's a fixed lens camera. The OVF of the XPro-1 isn't a good match when shooting the 55-200 mm. Both cameras have excellent IQ and even though I haven't pixel peeped the IQ of the two my opinion is that the IQ of the D4 is a bit better than the Fuji in high ISO's. But the Fuji is NOT bad it's just that the D4 is very good! I have no problem shooting my X100s at ISO 6400 but I also don't hesitate to shoot the D4 at ISO 12800. Hope this answers your questions.

November 11, 2013 - 04:25 OSCARSSON - Thanks Steinar! I think you will love the weight of the Fuji system, I know I do. Compared to a fullsize DSLR system, it's like not carrying anything at all!

November 11, 2013 - 04:21 OSCARSSON - Hi Rich, I'm a former newspaper shooter to. I didn't find the shutter lag bothersome at all. Of course it's not as responsive as the D4. I shot mostly with the AF activated by the shutter button and focused and shot in one motion. Read my reply to Andy here in the comments for more info on the technique I used. The EVF lag was more of a hurdle though. But it can be worked around by keeping the camera as still as possible and doing the panning as smooth as possible.

November 11, 2013 - 04:11 OSCARSSON - Thanks Sue! Have a great trip!

November 11, 2013 - 04:10 OSCARSSON - Thanks Andy! Well, I shoot with a "slowish" shutter speed of 1/60-1/250 of a second for fast moving objects. The aperture and ISO are handled by the camera as I shoot in shutter priority and auto ISO for these kinds of shots. I "pre focus" at the spot where I think that the bike will be when it passes me (to not have the camera hunt for focus more than absolutely necessary), then I follow the bike with the viewfinder until it is right in front of that spot and then I focus and shoot in one motion. It's very much a game of timing but try it a few times and you'll soon get the hang of it. I have done this both in one shot mode and at 6fps with the XPro-1. This is the way I pann with the XPro-1. With the Nikon D4 I would just follow the bike for a while keeping the focus on it (using the focus button on the back) and press the shutter and blast away at 6-10fps when it passes me. In both cases just try to do as smooth a pan as possible. Happy shooting!

November 11, 2013 - 03:41 OSCARSSON - Hi Stephen, you're absolutely right about the BW. I usually like BW much better than color, unless the color brings something extra to the image. Thanks for commenting!

November 11, 2013 - 03:34 OSCARSSON - Thanks Calking!

November 11, 2013 - 03:32 OSCARSSON - Thanks Mark!

November 11, 2013 - 03:31 OSCARSSON - Thanks Mike! Yes the 55-200 is a gem. Great reach in a very light package. I wasn't sure I would like it due to not having a set maximum aperture. Sure it would be even better without the variable aperture but I really didn't mind much when shooting it. But let's hope Fuji comes up with a similar lens with f/2,8!

November 11, 2013 - 03:25 OSCARSSON - Hi Marc, All shot's are handheld. There are many great cameras out there. I'm sure the Olympus is a great camera too. Haven't tried it but the specs look good though. Another aspect that makes me like the Fuji x's is the silence. You can hardly hear them and that's great for many purposes in my opinion. Actually I don't think there are any "bad" cameras among today's biggest brands. You simply have to choose a system that fits your needs and that you like. As you say, what to do with the choices? Best regards/ Jan

November 11, 2013 - 03:12 OSCARSSON - Thanks Mike, I appreciate it!

November 11, 2013 - 00:26 Mike H - The last dog shot is really nice - the focus is amazing! (I own the X-Pro1 and 4 lenses, including the 55-200) Mike

November 10, 2013 - 22:22 Marc Weinberg - Like your explanation of the XPro 1 and focus issue. You panned some of your motorcycle shots. Were you on a tripod or hand held? One friend is helping me understand the Fuji X series, waiting for the XE2 also. Another is hot on the Olympus M1. I'm a Nikon shooter too and starting to sell some gear and will select one or the other of the two above. I love the feel of the Fuji and the CMOS, but I also like the 5 axis stability and weather proofing of the Olympus. I travel lots and light weight is my goal too at age 75 in April '14. I don't want to compromise quality and a longer lens is essential for me shooting birds and some wildlife. Oh what to do with the choices. Thanks so much for you thoughts. If Fuji had more choices in lenses that would help. Regards, Marc

November 10, 2013 - 20:15 Mike - Perfect. Thank you for posting this. I'm so tired of people saying this camera system is so limited. I just added the 55-200 to my X-E1 kit and it's wonderful. Yes I'm excited about the updates to the X-E2 but as it stands, I don't NEED them. Great shots and thanks again! Mike

November 10, 2013 - 18:53 Mark - What a great post, thank you for sharing!

November 10, 2013 - 18:45 Calking - Awesome. Thanks for posting this. I've had similar success with my xe-1. Hopefully this will quell some of the whining --- oh who am I kidding....

November 10, 2013 - 17:59 Stephen - Hi Thanks for sharing. I don't shoot much action, but the information is very useful. I really enjoy the motorcycle shots, and especially the BW conversions. Sometimes the colour distracts my eye from the essence of the power and speed.

November 10, 2013 - 15:14 Andy Clad - Love the comments and the pics. Any chance you can describe your panning technique. Yours are stunning. Cheers :)

November 10, 2013 - 14:17 Sue - Having just bought the 55-200 for my XPro-1, I found this post very interesting especially as I'm taking it to SA and Mozambique in 10 days. Thanks for doing it.

November 10, 2013 - 13:34 Rich Owen - How have you dealt with the shutter lag as compared to the D4? I am coming from a decade with the D2H (former newspaper shooter) and am trying several ways to see what works best. Would appreciate your thoughts....Rich

November 10, 2013 - 13:12 Steinar Knai - Nice pictures Jan and maybe the best article I have seen on using the XPro-1 as a pro. I am myself a Nikon shooter and consider the Fuji gear for shooting when I don't want to lug the weight around and for landscape shots where I think the Fuji at this time is top dog.

November 10, 2013 - 11:52 Dirk - Interesting. I'm a first wave X-Pro1 user, and have to state that Fujifilm improved the AF very significantly. In such way, that I think that your workflow makes even better benefit of it. But I'm not fully understanding your technique. When I do a manual focus and switch back to AF-S, it doesn't work. You cannot prefocus using the manual lens scale in AF-S... can you explain this workflow a bit better? Do you have any workaround for the shutter lag under these conditions? When I push on the shutter button in very dynamic circumstances, it's just very good luck that the picture I had in mind is being nailed by the camera... most of the time, it isn't! Another question, looking at IQ, how does the D4 IQ behave versus the X-Pro1. Both sensors have an equal resolution, one being FF, the other APS/C. I'm just curious because sometimes, I have been thinking going the opposite way you did.

November 10, 2013 - 10:50 Topsy - Jan, what an excellent set of pictures to compliment a great article. You are so correct with regard to the Fuji's AF, there can be no further argument as your proof belays any naysaying. Thanks for sharing.

November 10, 2013 - 09:34 Peter Fauland - Dear Jan, Your Posting is BRILLIANT (A word I use not very often). I am coaching Photographers of all levels and give workshops. The Number One question I get asked when talking about "mirror less cameras" like the Fuji X-cams is if the AF is fast (or why it is "so slow" as one could read everywhere). With your permission, I would love to simply give the link to your post here in order to give a "satisfactory" response to those questions. Personally, I would add f and t values underneath each image and add a comment like hand-held or with tripod etc. An image says more than 1000 words. If your images don't give justice to this pro-verb ... To summarize "Knowing what you are doing and your gear will eventually lead to the result you were looking for" - nothing has changes here ... Thanks for sharing your knowledge and your stunning images with us. Cheers, Peter PS.: My Pro-DSLR Canon gear was touched exactly once this year ;-)

November 10, 2013 - 09:22 Alan - Hey, fast, faster, Fuji x-pro... Great and fast! I think your autofocus is faster then these racing ;-) It seems, that you really know, how to use the x-pro - compliments. Can tell me or send also photos in low light situation with high ISO beginning at 3200 ? I work with also with nikon, D700 & D3 and will never miss them. But I'm looking for something small and light, like the x-pro or x.e2? Greetings form Berlin Alan

November 10, 2013 - 07:55 X-shooter zone: “I’m offcially selling my Nikon. The size and quality of the X system can’t be beaten!” | Fuji Rumors - […] I have been following FR for a couple of months, not posting much in the comments. But when I saw the comments on your latest post, the one where Bert Stephanie has shot some soccer with the X-E2, I just had to post something. Bert does a great job sharing his knowledge and his images and people just rants on about the AF and high f-stops. I felt I had to share my own findings about the AF-speed and accuracy of the X-serie cameras, and as Bert says you can clearly shoot soccer as well as other action with the Fuji. I didn’t want to hijack the thread and link to my own blog, but If you want to, you are welcome to post my blog post thru Fuji rumors. Keep up the good work. Here is the link: http://www.oscarsson.dk/blog/?p=1205 […]

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