Fuji X-Pro1 and the search for photographic zen

I've never been one to follow the pack. When I decide to join the military years ago I joined the Marines rather than the more popular Army and Air Force. When the opportunity came to go overseas, I chose Japan without hesitation while my fellow Marines wanted Hawaii. In the late 80's and early 90's when almost everyone else was using PC's running Microsoft Windows, I traveled down the Apple rabbit hole. So it should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that while pretty much everyone else is on or jumping on the DSLR bandwagon, I'm looking for the exit. Don't get me wrong I'm not bad mouthing DSLR's. I've been on that wagon with the other 35mm SLR and then DSLR shooters now for decades. I still believe the DSLR format or larger is the appropriate tool of choice for most professional photography projects. However, I can't seem to shake this feeling that there's something better out there, Something, well, closer to Photographic Zen.

Photo of Fuji X-Pro1

[caption id="attachment_310" align="alignnone" width="700"] Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera w/ option hand grip and the Fujinon 35mm f1.4 Lens[/caption]

"Photographic Zen" What's that? Photographic Zen is the moment when the photographer, the gear and the place or timing all come together in that perfect harmony enabling the photographer to create their most memorable and best photographs. I know what some of you are saying, "the gear doesn't make the photographer" and I completely agree with you. However, there are times when the gear can have an emotional effect on you, and this effect can make you want to go out and take more photographs, spend more time taking the photo and not rush the process, and actually enjoy creating photos, which ultimately makes you a better photographer. The new xSeries cameras from Fujifilm have this effect on me. Starting with the x100 I purchased last year (below with X-Pro1) and now with the recent addition to the x-family the X-Pro1 (above image).

Photo of The Fujifilm x100 and X-Pro1

[caption id="attachment_326" align="alignnone" width="700"] The Fujifilm x100 and X-Pro1[/caption]

Like many creatives I tend to be a very moody individual and for me photography is 80% inspiration, 20% perspiration. Consequently I am always looking for anything that inspires me to not just shoot, but get excited about shooting. New camera, lenses, lighting equipment, post production equipment, books, tutorials whatever, it really doesn't matter. If it inspires me I usually want it. I use many Apple products like the iPhone, iPad and Mac mostly because I think they are great products that make me more productive, but also to great degree because they inspire me.

The X-Pro1 inspires me. Simple. There is something about this camera that makes me want to pick it up and shoot with it. I even want to read the manual to take in every detail I can about the camera. :) Just kidding, I usually do read the manuals. :) Maybe it's the retro styling and feel. Maybe it's the fact that it's half the weight of my D700 DSLR. Maybe it's the very cool new high tech Hybrid Viewfinder that allows you to switch from an optical to a digital viewfinder on the fly. Whatever it is, it makes me want to go out and shoot. Shoot just for the pure pleasure of it, like it used to be way back in the day when I picked up my first 35mm SLR.

This post is part one of an ongoing review of the X-Pro1 along with the lenses and accessories I purchased so far to use with it. There are many unboxing videos available on the net so I won't bore you with another one of those. I'm also not going to go into detail about the specs on the camera or the brand new sensor Fuji has developed for it as there's plenty of that available already too. I'm only going to talk about what it's like to shoot and own this camera from the perspective of a Fuji x100 / Nikon D700 owner and longtime Nikon shooter. I'm going to post many sample images especially ones from each camera's take on the same scene. Hopefully my post will help any current owners of the x100 or D700 who are considering the X-Pro1.

I purchased the 35mm f1.4 and the 60mm f2.4 Macro lenses along with the EF-X20 Flash and the optional HG-XPro1 Hand Grip to go with my X-Pro1. I wanted the black leather case also but learned that the optional hand grip (which I love by-the-way) prevents the case from fitting.

XPro1 Boxes
XPro1 Set

[caption id="attachment_336" align="alignnone" width="700"] Fuji XPro1 Set - Left to right - EF-X20 Flash, HG-XPRO1 Handgrip, XPro1, 35mm f1.4 and 60mm f2.4 Macro[/caption]

So far I haven't really shot much other than the usual around the house or office stuff we all shoot when we first get a new camera. I'm working on an essay for the magazine at work (Okinawa Living) about Lanterns at night so I should be able to have a real shoot out with each camera's low light capabilities. Part two of the review I'll start posting sample images so stay tune. TA :)