Sony A99 and Fuji X-Pro1

Out with some friends last night in Wanchai, one of whom had just bought Sony’s latest full frame SLT camera, the Sony A99.

I had the chance to hold it and shoot a few shots and it seems like an extremely impressive camera.  That EVF is so bright and clear, so fast and detailed, that it felt as if it was an optical viewfinder and not an electronic one.  The control layout was intriguing, the high ISO performance (based on just looking at results on the LCD) also looks as if it could be outstanding.  I had a few moments of sitting there in the bar thinking to myself, “Hmmm, Nikon D800, focus issues, dust and oil on the sensor, sell off D800, sell off 9 lenses, sell off speedlight, battery pack, gps, start all over again with Sony …. ai ya!”   I know, totally insane.  But it was really sweet.

Fuji released another firmware update for their X-series lenses yesterday.  I didn’t have a chance to read what’s supposed to be improved because I downloaded from the Fuji Japan site.  I updated all 3 of the lenses and then went out with the X-Pro1 and 35mm 1.4 lens last night.  It was an exercise in pure frustration.  In a relatively dark space (a bar), in both S and C focus modes, shooting stationary objects, it still seemed like it took forever to find focus and take the picture.  Even if I just tried to go on faith, to just hit the shutter button all the way, I’d push the button, remove my finger and it seemed like it was 1 or 2 seconds after that until it actually took the picture.

The problem seemed even larger to me because I’d just done a few quick shots with the Sony, where focus and shooting even in that dark environment was practically instantaneous.  The only way for me to speed things up with the Fuji was to go to manual focus mode, but without focus peaking or any other sort of visual indicator, without my glasses on I could only do some best guesses, which ended up being wrong more often than they were right.

My friend, the one who’d just bought the Sony, asked me if I’d put my X-Pro1 up for sale on DCFever yet.  “If you didn’t, I’ll bet you do by tomorrow.”   Well, so far I haven’t.  But that’s more because I don’t know what I’d replace it with.  I hear that auto focus is the same with the Fuji X-E1.  I’m not interested in the Sony RX100.  The Olympus OM-D seems pretty amazing but the good lenses for it are too expensive for me.   Leica is far beyond my budget.

And then there’s this – the shots that I did get with the Fuji:

(All of the above are from JPG, not RAW, shooting in black & white mode.)

So despite all my frustrations, I think I should just stick with what I’ve got and wait for an X-Pro2 and hope for some major improvements.  Opinion subject to change, based on if I ever find a full time job again …

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