Fuji X-Trans sensor - finally the 'Real Deal'.

Looking at some rumour sites yesterday there are predictions that some of the (possibly) new 'lookaleicas' maybe somewhat expensive. The Panasonic GX7 at $1000 / €1000 and Sony NEX interchangeable lens camera (if it ever appears) with a 35mm sensor at $3000 / €3000. This is making the Fuji X cameras and lenses look like bargains, particularly with some of the deals that are currently being offered. 

Now I'm not saying that it hasn't taken a (long) while, but the Fuji X-E1 is now one of my favourite cameras. I've always liked using it, the look, the layout and the whole retro styling and feel. I've hung on to it despite at times becoming so frustrated with its raw processing problems and battery life. However with my purchase of Iridient Developer (and to answer a post on a Fuji site, no I don't have shares in the company) and my discovery yesterday that if I shoot raw only I get much longer battery life, I'm happy I've stuck with it. 10 days time should see the release of the much awaited firmware update with focus peaking, so excursions like yesterdays with Nikon 28mm and 85mm primes should become much easier. So as far as I'm concerned, all that potential is finally realised. 

Through thick and thin I've stuck with this comment I made when I first got an X Pro 1.

'The best image quality I have seen in any digital camera I have owned or used. EVER!'

There are times when I've regretted that cryptic post and wondered what on earth possessed me to write it. However over time Raw Photo Processor and Aperture together with the updated Adobe conversions convinced me that my initial instincts were on the right track at least, even though my experiences with the X Pro 1 in particular became somewhat frustrating. Certainly nobody can accuse me of being a blinkered fanboy about Fuji cameras and I think certain members of various Fuji forums were making voodoo dolls of me and sticking pins in them. Certainly some of the comments were less than complimentary, to say the least. Lets just conclude that I've had my 'ups and downs' with Fuji X cameras.

However, despite all that and my less than positive comments about some of Fuji's marketing 'strategies' I can once again repeat, this time with some confidence that the results I'm getting from the X Trans sensor are indeed 'The best image quality I have seen in any digital camera I have owned or used. EVER!'

I am finally able to repeat that statement after spending yesterday afternoon using my Nikon 28mm and 85mm f/1.8 G primes on the X-E1. Despite the 30+ degree selsius heat, and its apparently hotter than Miami or Nice here in the UK currently, I went for a (very slow) walk along a local canal to check out the lenses that have given me the best image quality so far on the X-E1. The images I got when I returned home and processed them via Iridient Developer were simply stunning. The sharpness and colour rendition were just great. Really a pleasure to view them on the screen. In practice, using my Kipon adapter, taking the pictures was a slow and fiddly process, but it was worth the effort. Another of my 'mantras' apart from the one about the Fuji sensor is that Nikon make the best lenses. Yesterdays results gave me further evidence of that. The Fuji sensor, now that I can get the best out of it, gave the 28mm and 85mm a real chance to show what they can do and boy did they perform. The images they produced are things of beauty.

So. all in all this is a very pleasureable post to write. Its quite rare as regular readers will know, for me to stick this long with what I regard as a 'flawed' product. However there was always the thought in my mind, mostly as a result of my early Raw Photo Processor conversions, that this sensor COULD be something special and as far as I'm concerned that thought has become a reality. I've been meaning to get round to writing a post I've had in mind about 'personal' cameras. i.e. cameras that are for me and not just to earn a living with. All of my Leicas have been just that and the X Vario is very much MY camera, rather than a tool. I suspect however that it may be about to gain a step-brother with the X-E1 and who knows, I might even make it up with the X Pro 1 if I finally get seduced by the current body + 35mm lens + 'free' 18mm deal. 

So I may be finally moving off the Fuji fanboys hitlist and into their good books, as I can probably be relied on to give the Fuji X cameras a consistent good press. Now lets have another look at those Touit raw samples.