Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fuji X-Pro1 and the M mount


One of the most compelling reasons to have gotten the Fuji X-Pro1 camera was the announced intention of Fuji to make an m-mount adapter so that old Leicaphiles such as myself (the Leica part, not the old) would be able to make use of their wonderful Leica m-mount lenses on this yummie new type of camera. I was hot to get the adapter but resisted the temptation to get a cheaply produced third party adapter ring with no electronic/digital functionality. 

When I got the Fuji adapter I checked all my Leica lenses to see which lenses would or wouldn't be functional.  There is a problem with some lenses because when focused to infinity the rear element housing protrudes from the back of the lens and hits an internal baffle in the adapter. I really wanted the adapter so that I could use my 50mm f2 lens and my 90mm f2.8 lens (on the DX sensor that translates into 75mm and 135mm respectively). I did all the setup stuff that Fuji recommended: adjustments for barrel/pincushion distortion, peripheral illumination, and color shading, and did some quick tests around town. Everything seemed fine.

I had yet to really use the adapter and Leica glass in a field test on the streets of New York. I made it a 
mission for my street walk yesterday. Those focal lengths are not what I would customarily use for my street work, as I like to be in close, so I found a chair on the plaza in front of the Apple Store on the corner of 59th Street and Fifth Avenue and watched as people walked by. My standard configuration now is to set the camera on Auto ISO 3200, shutter to 1/250th second, and aperture to f8. That's what I used here.

To manually focus I tried spot focus, hyper focal distance focus, and zone focus. Since I was sitting in one spot and taking my time to shoot manually, the best result was using spot focusing. It's essential to use the electronic viewfinder in this configuration. With the camera set to M (manual focus)  and with a gentle pressure on the function wheel the viewfinder zooms into the focus point at a magnification of 1.5X. The zoom functionality is very good to have for critical fine focusing, but with aging hands like mine the zoomed image was very jittery. No matter, the focusing in regular mode worked well, and for whatever flak Fuji has taken over the speed of its auto focus mechanism, auto focus is much faster than manual focus - at least for now until I get my manual chops back up to speed. 

I got this using the 90mm f2.8 lens at 1/400th second, f8, at ISO 1600. I was far enough from the young woman so that she was totally unaware of my presence until one of her friends mentioned to her that I was taking photos. I got several shots off before she turned to look at me. But this was the best of them.