Wedding, Portrait and Documentary Photography - Fujifilm

Comparing the Fujifilm X-Pro1 to Canon Full Frame cameras

Having been an avid user of Canon Full Frame DSLRs for some time, I have nevertheless also become a huge fan of the Fujifilm X-series cameras, most notably the X-Pro 1. Sure, you are never going to replace the sheer vast acreage of sensor over the Full Frame DSLR, but in my mind the Fujifilm is still such a thing of beauty.

When shooting a main wedding day for example, inevitably you end up carrying many, many kilos of kit, from multiple bodies to whopping 70-200mm f2.8 II lenses (a masterpiece also by the way). It’s what you need in most circumstances to get the job done and they do it phenomenally well. But in other circumstances, what is needed is a subtle, small, well-engineered piece of kit like the X-Pro 1. To a fellow enthusiast, it has the lines and form of classic Leicas but a casual glance from someone less familiar with the kit gives them the impression it’s a maybe just a standard point and shoot compact. That ability to be unobtrusive lends a certain something to a shoot. I love the feel and look of the X-Pro 1, the real knobs and dials on the metal frame and the feeling that it’s been crafted by someone who loves photography. It has its irritations too – even with recent firmware updates I still find the autofocus slow and ponderous, although I am my own worst enemy by often setting a ridiculously small single point of focus. And, is it just me, or is the exposure dial on the top plate either just in the wrong place or at least needing a lock function? The number of times I have inadvertently knocked the dial and changed the setting without noticing is frustrating.  And yes, the eyepiece has dropped out a number of times because I didn’t make sure it was screwed in properly!

Fujifilm X-Pro1

I also still need to spend time with more of the lenses – the standard kit XF18-55mm kit lens is a great all-rounder and certainly streets ahead of many competitors’ kit lenses, but far from perfect. The XF 35mm f1.4 is lovely and its form factor complements the style and shape of the body – small and subtle. I am as yet undecided about how I feel it compares to teh trust Canon EF 50mm f1.4 which is a great (and inexpensive) lens when paired with a Full Frame DSLR. I have aspirations to play with the XF 56mm f1.2 as it appears to be a wonderful portrait lens and the wedding photographer in me would also love to own the XF 55-140mm f2.8 but I feel that both remain overly expensive in the company of illustrious competitors, e.g. Canon L lenses.  The 55-140mm f2.8, regardless of its optical brilliance, is still a ridiculous £1200+, which is simply eye watering.

I’m aware that there are a number of photographers who now shoot weddings exclusively with the X-Pro 1 and its siblings. That’s where the justification for the cost of some of the better lenses comes into play and you would need as a minimum, the 56mm f1.2, 55-140 f2.8, 35mm f1.4 and possibly one of the wide zooms along with a spare body (maybe an X-T1?).  For me it’s a bit of a balancing act, the X-Pro1 is a great choice for the low light, informal evening shots and therefore a perfect partner to the big Canon guys but I’m not sure I would be brave enough to use it exclusively just yet. I’m told many of the X-Pro 1’s foibles may be addressed with the X-T1 (and I guess an X-Pro2?) but either way, it makes me think more about my photography, maybe work a bit harder but you always get there in the end – and what a pleasurable journey it is.