Friday, 13 January 2012

Fuji X-1-Pro, Please, Please, Please let the auto focus be up to the job

Rumors abounded last week that Kodak was seeking bankruptcy protection.

The Yellow box seems to be destined for the pine box in the long run.

Fuji also seemed to be wracked by inertia over the past decade, with the occasional glimmer of decent product raising the companies prospects from time to time.

That was until they came up with the X100.

A clever and beautiful camera.

Arguably, for the first time since the advent of digital photography they were leading the game and not playing catch up.

Anyone who has read my blog or indeed many of the others comments on the web that this camera has more than its fair share of quirks.

Hit and miss AF being the big one for me.

I often joke that on occasion, it can take a certain kind of out of focus image.

Like this.


Fly by wire manual focus is not the best, add to that a labyrinthine menu, slow write speed to card and a need to format the card every time you download photos, if you want the camera to start up in less than a minute and it can be deeply frustrating.

As Fuji themselves said in their promo material

'The Professionals choice'

Oh dear.

A year later we are hearing the 'P' word again from Fuji, only this time it is the name of their new X series camera, the X-Pro-1.

It looks quite lovely, with a very promising looking range of lenses too.

On the face of it a winner.

Tempting, very tempting.

But what about the autofocus?

I was going to write this piece without sniffing around on the net (I don't normally do this before I blog, but I made an exception on this occasion)

My initial finding gave me cause for optimism.

With the respected British Journal of Photography saying 'Fujifilm goes back to its professional roots'

Then I read a posting by Gizmodo Australia

'Fuji X-Pro-1 Hands-On:Intoxicatingly Simple'

Sounds good but upon further reading Fuji seem to have taken the whole keeping it simple a little too far by having a similar focusing system to the X-100.

'the autofocus isn’t going to be as snappy as it is on other cameras. Fuji says thats because that’s not what this camera is about. Fine, but it’s going to annoy the hell out of you if you’re used to a good point-and-shoot camera or DSLR'

Now I have not held let alone seen this camera and we cannot take Gizmodo Australia's word as gospel but it might be worth bearing in mind that these words are attributed to Fuji, not Gizmodo.

You can have all the jewel like interchangeable lenses, fantastic build quality in a pretty camera body but if the bloody thing won't focus as it should then it will alway be handicapped.

Fuji in all probability were locked into a research and development cycle which meant they had to retain the X100 like focusing system.

But I cannot help but think that they would have been better off postponing the launch and getting the AF right.

I cannot say they have got it wrong until I have tried the camera myself however.

I suspect when the photography history books are written that the X100 will be known as a beautiful camera with daft focusing which did quite well until another manufacturer came along and did something very similar aesthetically and the focusing worked.

Fuji have a great opportunity with this family, lets hope they do not squander it, I for one want them to have a bright future.

If they wonder what the consequences of getting it wrong are, all they need to do is to look at where Kodak is right now.

1 comment:

Drew Gardner said...

Oh dear...

Just Had my Friend Zeke Kamm who is at CES post this comment on THE X-1-Pro on my Facebook page and it does not bode well.

'Hi Drew I tried it today at CES. The focus makes it unusable for me. What a shame'


Drew