Fujifilm X-Pro1 kicking some serious ass even at ISO12800 (source)
OK, I know you guys are expecting me to talk about the stuff we launched yesterday, the new EOS T5i Rebel and that small EOS SL1 of which I wonder who the fuck is gonna buy that piece of crap. But I’ll have to save that for another post. Man, I gotta tell ya, Tokyo appears to have fucking lost it again. The price difference between the T5i and SL1 is a hundred bucks. Who the fuck is gonna buy the crippled SL1 when they can get the T5i for just $100 more? Notice how the T5i comes with 9 all crosstype AF points when the $2000 costing 6D got only one fucking crosstype point in the center. Just thinking about this gets me all worked up. But let me not get ahead of myself here, I’ll be discussing this crap in the near future in another post.
What I want to dedicate this post to is a very lengthy email I got from a reader who in my opinion makes some really good points. And I asked for his permission to share this with all of you, because I think everyone should be aware of this. And I think Tokyo needs to pay attention to this because otherwise Fujifilm are gonna give us a lot of problems in the near future. And this guy isn’t the only one saying this; I know the S3 and S5, and the recent Fuji cameras are kicking ass certainly as far as image quality is concerned. Fuji has had some excellent sensor tech for years.
You guys know that I’ve been here hammering on this stuff for over 4 years now; I keep telling those morons in Japan that we don’t need more senseless megapixels. What we need is better pixels, not more. We need smoother, better image quality, less noise, and kickass color reproduction and usable dynamic range EVEN AT THE HIGHEST ISOs. And we need that coupled with a fucking lightning fast and sharply accurate AF system that covers the whole fucking frame and could autofocus on the dark side of the moon.
This guy asked to remain anonymous, cuz he’s a wedding photographer and doesn’t want clients googling his name to find my blog with all the fucks and goddamns and stuff like that. Might be a turn-off for the brides. I mean, we all know how this world is full of fucking hypocrites, right? Can’t say “fuck” online cuz it’s rude but meanwhile you wouldn’t wanna hear the stuff they scream out loud in the bedroom at night when they’re busy fitting 12 inches of cock inside their vaginas.
Anyway, I highly recommend you read this guy’s letter below and check out the material he sent along with it. Also let me take this opportunity to let you all know that if there’s something you’re fed up with as well, and would like me to share it on here with everyone, just send it along to me. If it makes sense and if it will make the fuckwads in this industry pay attention, I’ll definitely post it.
Letter to Fake Chuck
Just wanted to drop a line and say thanks for saving me from a Nikon D800 (and possibly even the D4!) Yes, I went to the Nikon website and looked at that shadow banding file you showed your readers (the library shot) when I realized that is where the crop was from. I was shocked.
I have been shooting weddings for eight years. Only 50+ to date, but competition is stiff as you can turn over a rock and find more photographers than lawyers these days. Passing 50 as the sole shooter facing a tsunami of competition is nothing to sneeze at under those conditions (and all strangers, not the Facebook-friends-family network that most rely on!!!)
I have used a digital SLR on all my weddings starting back in 2005… and a Nikon… body and glass.
It was a Fuji sensor that captured everything you see on my website. First an S3 Pro in a frankenstein Nikon F80 body (that felt amazing in the hand surprisingly enough), then an S5 Pro in that venerable Nikon D200 body with only an 11 point AF system! (F#@k me, what the hell do you need 51, or 61 in the Canon, focus points for other than to please the measurebators and marketing dept.) The S5 I bought at the end of its retail life, literally one of the last bodies remaining in Canada.
I love Nikon bodies.
I love Nikon glass.
I love the Nikon flash system (which I believe Canon users have also taken note of).
But I hated the colour and image quality.
Well, maybe hate is too strong a word. Let’s say I did not LOVE the colour as that is what is most important to me, and every photographer I would imagine.
It was not so much the Sony sensor itself as it does produce some amazing files, to be completely honest. But for me, it was
- the quality of those files compared to FUJI plus
- the WORK you had to do in order to get those amazing images.
It was the 2) part that kept me from buying a full blown Nikon digital system, camera AND sensor, when I started my wedding photography business.
As a wedding photographer, skin tones are everything and the Fuji just nails it, in JPEG, every time under almost any lighting conditions.
When I finally decided on the Fuji S3 Pro back in 2005, it was because I kept reading on DPREVIEW forums just one repeating question about Nikon digital SLR cameras:
“How do you tweak your skin tones?”
“What do you do to get good skin colour?”
“What are your camera settings / photoshop tricks to get good skin tones?”
Over and over and over again… tweaking a Nikon to get what you want from it.
I even had a chance to test out a D300s at one point. Not bad. A very good camera. But… I looked at my Fuji colour… then the Nikon… Fuji… Nikon. I realized I still was not getting what I WANTED from the camera as it was. Tweaking… always the tweaking. And I am not talking expected adjustments an corrections. I am talking about getting an overall tone and feel, not just correct colour, straight out of camera.
Granted, in the early days of digital, I think everyone was working those first pixels to get what they wanted compared to film, but I wanted nothing to do with that. I wanted to shoot and get in the can what I was able to do with film and the FUJI S3 came the closest in my opinion and I went with it. (I almost… almost… bought an F100 system if you can imagine.) Pick your body, pick your film. The machine, and the image, were separate (So to speak, glass is important but if the camera is not loaded with film or the sensor dies, there is no photo!) I was not about to compromise on my workflow (Nikon and Fuji film) just because digital came along to up-end the apple cart on the whole photographic industry.
The D3 was a game changer. This is just plain fact… but now also history.
It was just too much $$$ for me at that stage of my business and there was still just something… off about the colour (as far as skin tones go, landscapes are stunning). Even after all the development since the S3, and the S5 being an older system, I just did not trust the D3, for the cost, to get the image quality I wanted… EASILY. I knew WORKING a D3 file to get what I wanted was way easier than before when I was looking at a D2/D200. The colour, the dynamic range, all greatly improved. Nikon truly nailed a product launch with the D3 (especially in low light / high ISO performance). So much so that I believe many Canon shooters switched to the dark side (there is no light for fan-boys). If I could have afforded it, I would have bought a D3 instead of the S5 (2009). I was even close to doing so again in 2011 when I realized there was no FUJI S6 Pro coming down the pipe no matter how much I dreamed about it or what rumors you could find on DPREVIEW. I think Nikon saw the writing on the wall – lots of glass sales, but a lot of Nikon DSLR camera bodies sitting on retail shelves if they gave Fuji even an old D2 body, or even a D300 body, which they still could do and I would buy it in a heartbeat.
So, I have hung onto my S5 well past it’s prime and it has kept up, but the low light/high ISO performance is just not cutting it anymore. And at 6 MP, the resolution is just not there to compete with the other professionals that I am now in camp with. (12 mp would be perfect, 36 is just stupid and Nikon knows better as it championed “it is not the megapixels” with the D2H.)
So here I am again… looking, reviewing… and wanting to find nothing more than those good days in the FUJI S3 forum on dpreview – a ton of posts with nothing but, gasp, PHOTOS on display! No gear talk, no “what is your camera settings” or “what photoshop action did you use.” Just plenty of stunning images with amazing colour and skin tones, straight out of camera jpegs. My first wedding with my S3 Pro? Out of the box, a weekend test to confirm it worked, shot the wedding straight to JPEG. No camera adjustments, no photoshop tweaking other than density, colour cast and saturation, if it needed it. If you go to my website you can still find S3 images in my portfolio!!! I have printed one 4ft by 6 feet and it looks stunning.
I found your killer blog on one of the last links I had googled for Canon 1DX promotional videos (having just watched the Nikon D4 WHY video… and how SOFT… oh hell… out of focus, let’s be honest if that is what “sharp” is with D4 video)… and I am glad I clicked that last link.
The fact Canon tried to sue and shut you down three years ago cemented my already gut feeling about the new lineup of Nikon, full-frame, pro DSLRs and all the criticism you have written about them.
Not gunna do it.
I LOVE NIKON!!!! I love their ergonomics and handling, the glass… the flash system… everything… still do.
But that S5 has got to go and the 1DX is going to be my future system if Nikon does not get their act together. I have not invested in full frame body and glass (well, not a lot anyway) as the S5 is APS-C so this is not a small amount of $$$ we are talking about.
That said… I was wondering if you would do a blog post for me. If Nikon has any sense at all, or just plain fear of bankruptcy as I think these issues are THAT BAD for a company that is PRIMARILY imaging (unlike Canon and its wide R&D and products in other fields)…
If you want to send a message to Nikon as you did to Canon to prove you are no fan boy of anyone… just great cameras and great photos…
Then tell Nikon this.
TOSS THAT $HIT SONY SENSOR AND GET THAT FUJI X-TRANS IN FULL FRAME FROM THE X-Pro1… NOW!!!!
Seriously. With all due respect to Sony, can I be more clear about what I want from Nikon?
And I don’t think I am alone.
Have you seen the shots from the Fuji X-Pro1?
Here are just a few links:
Google search for sample photos.
Fuji X-Pro1 vs Sony NEX-7 vs Olympus OM-D E-M5 – Low Light Test
Check out the low light A$$ DESTRUCTION of the X-Pro 1 in that clip above at the 7:30 mark. Stunning.. just @#$% “Jizz in your pants brilliant.”
Ummm. Maybe. Ummm. Yes. :: Fuji X-Pro 1 Review
And a video on Zack Arias using it.
Here’s one link to a professional D4 wedding shooter who is looking at incorporating the X-Pro 1: (Provisional) Review: Fuji X-Pro 1. As you can see from Ryan’s work here, the D4 does create AMAZING photos. http://www.ryanbrenizer.com/2012/05/review-nikon-d4/
But, why bring along an X-Pro 1 to a friend’s wedding shoot? Is not the D4 enough? And LOOK AT THE COLOUR compared to the X-Pro 1. Can you see what I am talking about? The tone? The feel? There is just… something… about FUJI colour that makes my heart want to hold it forever. Nikon… is just a little… yellow/green. And I know those images from the D4 are not straight-out-of-camera JPEGS. The X-PRO1 images very likely are.
Note the D3 in the camera size comparison shot (Where is his D4? Is the X-Pro 1 BEFORE his D4 purchase?). Note the death of all Sony attempts at setting industry standards (BETAMAX, memory stick, XQD?). Note the smaller, mirrorless system creep-up on all DSLRs for pros. Note that Canon, Sony, and Fuji are all competing in those spaces with their own sensors that they have 100% access to the full image quality from because they design the sensor in-house.
Note to Nikon: You DON’T have a lot of wiggle room here to rest on your reputation and skate over this storm. What happened to the D2H sensor? A 4mp beast that resolved incredibly higher than its MP rating if I am not mistaken. That was Nikon’s in-house sensor… and its development just died. I read a wildlife photographer that picked up a D2H and the files were very good for the time it was developed. With everyone focused on the megapixel race, Nikon focused on quality. Maybe I am a loner again, but I liked the D2H files that I saw from the Nikon website.
I love Nikon. I would even take a D4 if given one (actually, I would prefer a D3s if I am being 100% honest), but I am not alone in wanting more from Nikon than it has delivered. This review also swayed my move to Canon and away from the D4.
CANON 1DX VS NIKON D4
For a 16mp, APS-C size sensor in the X-Pro 1, that FUJI X-TRANS would wipe out BOTH Canon and Nikon if they ever… ever… put out even a half respected DSLR body. If you look at their pro-sumer line, they are getting there.
Even Canon shooters are using the X-Pro 1 professionally.
Fuji X-PRO ! REVIEW PART 2
I really like the Canon colour (and may soon love it in the 1Dx) as it has been getting my attention over the years… but still… to date, even with the 1Dx… this is how I dumb-it-down between Nikon and Canon in terms of colour quality.
Nikon… skin tones are chalky, no life, no zest.
Canon… skin tones are milky, like a good white chocolate.
Fuji… skin tones are PERFECT!!!
With my FUJI S5… either I got faster and better at colour correction… or the sensor just NAILS COLOUR/EXPOSURE no matter what light you are in EVERY TIME! I swear, I could shoot a wedding and if I had to, just hand the cards over at the end of the night. The jpegs are THAT good. My assistant was stunned that I shoot straight to JPEG. Or, scared to death if she had to do it to be more accurate. When I went to the S5, I was colour correcting my own work in 1/3 of the time because the files were that much of an improvement over my S3. I am impressed to hear (and see) that some of the 1Dx out-of-camera jpegs are also that good.
But still… that FUJI colour. The Fuji sensor was not perfect. It was softer to be sure, much like the D4, but the X-Pro1 seems to have resolved that issue. I still believe many are saying not for landscapes or true sharp and deep depth of field images. The APS-C size, while amazing, does not compare to full-frame pixel well depth in that regard.
But man… can you just imagine what a full-frame X-TRANS sensor in a Nikon body would create?
I still might go with a 5D Mark III and an X-PRO 1 for weddings. I just don’t know. But that larger pixel well on the 1Dx is what I want. The greater dynamic range and lower noise is not just marketing jargon.
Canon EOS 1Dx Hands-on Review
Scrub to 11:30 in that video if it does not work as the pixel depth and ISO is compared between the 1Dx and the Mark III.
I have done a lot or research on these two cameras. I still want to get a D4 and a 1Dx in my hands for a week to play with if I can. But I suspect… the 1Dx is going to win and sadly, the D4 will confirm all I have so far learned about it from you and others linked above.
As a Nikon shooter, I am seriously concerned this D4/D800 gaff could put Nikon into bankruptcy. Especially with the simultaneous release by Canon of the 1D C cinema camera… and 1D X in one body. This is NOT a normal time in digital photography… the stills+motion movement is coming, and Nikon just might get left behind.
As you noted Nikon finding out via the accounting department – “stiff market competition” and declining sales. And as I pointed out above, Nikon just does NOT have the wiggle room to NOT respond to customers and loyal users. They simply do not have the deep R&D pockets nor capital/corporate base of Canon. I would not be surprised to see FUJI outright purchase Nikon if it gets that bad and if they really want a piece of the pro DSLR market. Being smaller has worked in Nikon’s favour in the past as they have always found a way to do more with less and catapult far in front of other competitors (The D1) by using that smaller company magic of creating outstanding cameras for professionals.
But something has gone wrong. Horrifically wrong by the looks of things. It looks like Nikon decided to relax with the D4 thinking the D3 put them ahead of Canon for good.
I mean come on… in camera HDR is all Joe McNally is asking for… and Canon is the one to do it just for him in the Mark III?
Change… is the only constant.
Kodak thought they had deep enough history and loyalty to survive the digital revolution.
I think Nikon might be at risk of facing the same fate as Kodak if they don’t respond to professional complaints and customer needs.
Thanks again for saving me $10,000+ on Nikon gear I would regret the moment I looked at my first out-of-camera jpeg.
UPDATE 22/3/2013: The Lord of the Speedlights just published his full review of the Fuji X100s. It just confirms everything the letter above already discussed, and then some. Looks like I’ll have to get the finance department here at Canon USA to allocate some budget to get a couple of those babies so I can uh… use them for R&D and uh… competitive analysis. *clears throat*