Fuji 18mm and 60mm lenses - More X-Pro 1 musings

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens 60mm f/2.4 lens
Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens 60mm f/2.4 lens

Yesterday I went and picked up the 18mm and 60mm lenses for the Fuji X-Pro 1 and went off to shoot some pictures at an organic gardening centre. 

Fujinon XF 18mm f2.0 Lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens

The rumours of this lenses reduced quality are greatly exaggerated. There's some purple fringing here and there and at wide apertures the edges seem softer than the centre, but overall it seems a very sharp lens, with minimal distortion. No tests to back this up as yet, but I was pleased with the pictures it produced. 

It focused fine, I didn't give it anything particularly difficult to cope with and it performed well.

Silly lens hood though, which as you can see I changed for one of my own. Small and light.

Fuji X-Pro 1 18mm f/2 lens


Fujinon XF 60mm f2.4 Macro Lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 60mm f/2.4 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 60mm f/2.4 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 60mm f/2.4 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 60mm f/2.4 lens

Fuji X-Pro 1 60mm f/2.4 lens

VERY sharp lens. Good wide open. Early days yet, but this may be the best of the Fuji lenses. Focuses fine in normal use, somewhat more difficult when used for macro use.

Huge lens hood, as big as the lens. Why?

Fuji X-Pro 1 60mm f/2.4 lens

I can't really go into great detail regarding these two lenses because I literally unpacked them, put them on the camera and went off to shoot. However the pictures I shot looked wonderful and very much on a par with the 35mm. I will do some comparisons later in the week, but for now I'm very pleased with the results.

The decision to buy these and go with the X-Pro 1 seriously has sorted out what I want I want to do for the immediate future. My current eight cameras are going down to three. This, one NEX-7 and the Olympus OM-D. I will be rationalising lenses as well.

I tend to do this quite often. Have a lot of gear around, try it all out, and decide what I want to keep. Which is why you get the dubious benefit of my writing about so many different bits of gear.

The X-Pro 1 is likely to be my first choice stock shooting camera for a while. Great quality files, with the ability to be upsized, good accurate colour, wonderful at high ISO settings, thus allowing me to widen what I shoot and despite a sluggish AF system, handling and performance that I can live with.

Well slightly more than something I can live with. For the vast majority of what I shoot, the camera is great to use. This wonderful sensor with these very high quality lenses is perfect for photographing general location, architecture and landscape stock photography, which is how I make my living. For the most part the AF problems just won't  crop up. Though I thought it important to let you know how the camera performed when pushed into difficult situations, thats not how I will be using it. For my "pretty pictures in good light" its actually a joy to use. More so since after I got home yesterday I upgraded the firmware in both these lenses to eliminate the clicking aperture blades.

Above all, its this superb image quality. Even without Adobe Camera Raw support, I'm still convinced this is the best I've ever seen. Not quite as sharp as a Leica M9 (Though Photoshop support may change that), but with more accurate colour, cleaner images, and far superior high ISO performance. This combination of all three makes it unbeatable in my book. I've seen some great raw files from the Nikon D800E, but there does seem to be a lot of moire that needs removing, which is of course the case with Leica M9 files. There is also the facts that the D800E weighs a kilogram, body only, and costs just under £3000, and the M9 costs £5000 plus if you want a couple of Leica lenses, look at spending the same again, at least, that have to be taken into account.

The whole X-Pro 1 outfit has cost me around £2500, and thats pretty expensive, but compared with the alternatives at what is after all, the higher end of the market, its reasonable. Yes the camera has some flaws, though presumably firmware could help eliminate the worst of the problems, but balancing these up against this peerless image quality, I believe its a camera system that will suit me just fine. If your primary use for a system is street photography, action or even shooting your boisterous children, then this probably isn't the camera for you. However if you have the time to work and / or you have experience working with slower, more complicated cameras then it could well be for you.

Its far from a point and shoot camera, and for me thats a good thing. Yes I had problems shooting on the streets, but then I pretty much knew what to expect and when I do it again, I'll use something more appropriate.

Fuji have produced a flawed masterpiece and with some software improvement (if its possible) the camera could still be simply a masterpiece, full stop. They have come up with three superb lenses and a sensor that finally shows us what digital photography is capable of. I'm not sure what the combination of its ISO performance at ISO 6400 and the speed and quality of the 35mm f/1.4 lens WON'T let you shoot, assuming you can get it to AF of course!

I had some reservations about the X-Pro 1 when it was announced and I've certainly had some reservations about using it, but it has won me over eventually. I actually had a really good time using it yesterday and the pleasure I get viewing the images it takes on my screen, makes all the previous frustrations and "issues" worthwhile. To a large extent, they aren't that much of an handicap for me anyway. Whether they are for you is a question that you need to answer for yourself. Virtually all the (unbiased) reviews are saying the same things anyway. Its pretty easy to pick out the honest ones from the fanboy love poems and as long as you are not under any illusions about the cameras performance in situations that need a fast, accurate and reliable response, it could be just what you want. If you prioritise overall image quality at all settings above all else, then I believe you will find it difficult (impossible?) to find anything that tops this.

All I need now is for Fuji to come up with a firmware update to improve the AF and for Adobe and / or Fuji to sort out this raw file support and I may well have a camera that is my answer to life, the universe and everything. Well for the moment at least!

N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) below.
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