Yesterday, I met with a friend for lunch at Kaye’s Kitchen on Main Street. A narrow two lane street in the heart of the city of Garden Grove that most people would miss it if they’re not familiar with the area. The whole street was too small to attract the tourists. But it’s the place where local classic car lovers hung out every Friday. Sometime, this little community went wild with Elvis impersonator concerts.
I decided to put my Fujifilm X-Pro 1 in BW Film mode and tested it with the built in red filter. It was a sunny afternoon so I was forced to use ISO 200 and an aperture that’s not wider than f/4.0. “I need to get a polarizer filter,” I said to myself. This made me appreciate the convenient built in ND filters on the Fujifilm FinePix X100 and the little brother X10. I also wished that the folks at Fujifilm would allow us to shoot at a slower ISO, like ISO 25. Crazy, you think? Sorry, I just couldn’t control my thoughts sometime.
So, I took a stroll on Main Street with the X-Pro 1 powered up in hands, the Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R was set on AF-S mode. I was ready and eager to learn about the BW Film mode from this poor man’s Leica. Since people were not shiny enough to fool the in camera exposure meter, the thought induced me to train the lens on metal, chrome, and rubber parts. I chose the distance from 3 to 5 feet, camera to subjects to seize as much detail as I could with the XF 35mm lens. Oops! The AF sensor didn’t like up-close shiny objects under bright sunlight. Switching on the Macro mode seemed to calm down the AF sensor and the lens began to lock onto whatever I aimed it on. I absolutely needed a polarizer filter for this.
At f/4.0, the XF 35mm produced very nice depth of field. The lens had the capability to capture detail, render sharpness as well as given decent contrast for both BW and color photographs. If this wasn’t for testing purpose, I’d crank up the contrast and override the Exposure Compensation to get BW to fit my liking.
The molded diaphragm blades helped to reduce lens flare and ghosting. It also played a big part in creating lovely bokeh; even when the lens was stopped down to f/4.0. How did you like results you saw in these images?
The Fujinon XF 35mm f/1.4 R was actually a 53mm in 35mm equivalent; the same focal length and viewing angle that’s similar to human eye. With the glass-molded aspherical lens to minimize spherical aberration, quality build and sharpness, it’s indeed a fantastic lens for its price. Of course, the focus-by-wire was a turn-off for many of us but it’s not that bad comparing to the X100’s 23mm. My trick to beat out the slowness in Manual Focus mode was the old school zone focus, then fine tuning for best result. It took a while to practice but it worked every time.
Going back to the BW Film mode, I think Fujifilm had done a good job on the filter. But would it be more fun if they allowed us to add some film grain to the BW Film mode? This would bring the BW film effects even nearer to their Neopan 400 or the lovely Natura 1600.
Crazy idea, I know. But think about it. For street ‘togs like us, a bit of film grain would make a huge difference to the moods of our photos. Our creations would be much closer to the work of HCB, Robert Doisneau and Daidō Moriyama.
C’mon, Fuji. Give us the Add Noise button.
How joyful I was to see no white orb infesting my shiny spots! My love for the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 grew a bit more as I was bringing to close this post.