Fuji X-E1 18-55mm and Depth of field

When I wrote about what the X-E1 could offer me, one of the things I saw as an advantage over other cameras was the ability to shoot hand held with a lot of depth-of-field. Since the sensor produces results at ISO 400 that look like ISO 200 and even ISO 100 on other cameras, plus the fact that the 18-55mm zoom has image stabilisation built in, I figured that I should be able to create images that had front to back sharpness with great image quality.

So this morning, I woke up to more of the UK's endless winter. Sub-zero temperatures and snow on the ground in the middle of March. However, the sun was shining, so I thought I would take advantage of that and test out what I described above.

As you can see from the above examples, this works really well. There's lots of depth-of-field in the images, the OIS makes sure the images are nice and sharp and the sensor gives nice clean images at ISO 400, unlike any of my m4/3 or NEX cameras, which while they were OK, would show some luminance noise at that setting, which is completely absent in these Fuji files. 

The camera also worked very well. With cold fingers I was able to change whatever settings I needed too without any problems. So again, a successful outcome. Its a personal thing obviously, but the camera is very well thought out in terms of how I use it, it works ergonomically for me and I was working in gloves because of the cold and encountered no problems. I was also wearing my polarised sunglasses which caused no blackout with the viewfinder. Now these are probably the most extreme conditions in which I work, and the camera and lens passed the test with flying colours. It is very much what I'd hoped for and allows me to do the things that I want. 

This final example above shows just how good the files from this combination are. As you can see the sky is nice and 'clean' and there is no CA or fringing on the aerial, something I would very much expect from a lot of other camera / lens combinations. And this is I think the great advantage of this sensor. Its becoming clear that, processing in Adobe Camera Raw certainly, even without an AA filter, the results are not the sharpest I've seen, but they are excellent in terms of low noise and the absence of lens problems. I would mention that this image was processed in ACR with the CA and fringing removal switched off. 

The 18-55mm continues to demonstrate to me how well it is matched to this camera and sensor. We've come to expect this from fixed lens compact cameras such as the Sony RX1 and Sigma DP Merills, but this is a zoom lens on an interchangeable lens camera, and that is much more useful, and I would suggest more difficult to achieve. 

I wrote in a previous post about how I looked at my files from my Sigma DP Merrills at ISO 100 and wondered 'Why don't all digital camera files look like this?" I could of course ask a similar question about the Fuji X-Trans sensor. 'Why don't all digital camera files look as clean as this.' Now the Sigma Foveon sensor with its shortcomings in terms of high sensor will never be a competitor to the Bayer sensor. But what Fuji have come up with is very much a serious alternative. Will they ever be inclined to make a larger 35mm sized sensor? If so then I would suggest it might be something really special. At APS-C size its already pretty good and produces files that are superior to many other cameras. It is a technology that I think has great possibilities. Certainly I'm going to be taking full advantage of it over the coming months.

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