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.
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…
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.
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!
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)