I will start by saying that I have never owned a Fujifilm camera. I should also mention that for the past 10 years I have always used a combination of Adobe Lightroom, Photoshop and the Silver Efex Pro Plug-in specifically for black and white processing.
Regular readers will probably know that during the past 6 to 9 months I lost my enthusiasm for photography and making new images. After this break my desire to be creative again is returning. It doesn’t do any harm to spend time recharging the batteries. It is also said that ‘a change is as good as a rest’ so I have decided to invest in the new Fujifilm X100V. The fifth model since 2010 in the X100 range and by all accounts a big step up from its predecessor the X100F.
I have pre-ordered the camera, a black version, and with luck I will pick it up later this month. I like the rangefinder form with its fixed 23mm f2 lens. For the first time this camera is weather sealed providing you attach the filter adapter ring and 49mm protection or UV filter. But one aspect that really appeals are the in camera Fujifilm film simulations. I won’t go into any detail here but they do provide excellent creative opportunities without having to spend time in front of a computer screen. I particular like the menu option which allows you to shoot RAW and at the same time create up to 3 different JPEG versions of the same image. You simply pre-select the film simulations of your choice and the camera does the rest. Brilliant.
The Monochrome or Acros film simulations can be generated with a simulated Yellow, Green or Red filter. In addition a warm or cool tone can also be applied in camera. As a black and white photographer this versatility at the time of taking the image is fantastic.
The form factor of the X100 is excellent as well. A 26mp APSC sensor in a relatively lightweight and well constructed body. The controls are all readily to hand and I shall enjoy customising the camera to suit my shooting style. The choice of using either an EVF or the optical viewfinder appeals as well.
Yes, I have high expectations of the camera and it should be great fun to use, but the title of this post also refers to Capture One; an alternative by Phase One to the Adobe pair of Lightroom and Photoshop. “What’s wrong with Lightroom?” I hear you ask.
After a little online research it soon became clear to me that LR is not the preferred choice for converting and editing Fuji RAW files. It has something to do with the sensor but I don’t want to get technical here. Suffice it to say that Capture One and Fujifilm have a close working collaboration, to make the most of the Fuji RAW files. Apparently the Lightroom algorithms can generate some unwelcome artifacts when processing certain images – I gather this problem doesn’t exist in Capture One.
This collaboration has been taken one step further in Capture One. They provide a completely free download of Capture One ’20’ just for Fuji cameras. They call it the ‘Express’ version. (They do a version for Sony as well). It doesn’t offer all the functionality of the full or ‘Pro’ version but it is free, not just a 30 day trial. The ‘Pro’ version for Fuji is £129 and I shall decide whether or not to go down this route in the future.
I downloaded the free version yesterday and so far I am very impressed with the ‘Express’ version. The download process was very straightforward and the interface soon made complete sense. The ‘learning hub’ on their website is great, providing an excellent range of videos to help find your way around the software. In addition the online Capture One User Guide, is easy to search and find the answer to most, if not all the questions you might want to ask. There are also links direct from the Capture One software to relevant articles in the user guide. Very helpful and much easier to access, learn and problem solve than Adobe (in my opinion).
You may now be wondering how I managed to lay my hands on some Fuji RAW files when I don’t yet have the X100V. A very simple answer. On Monday my local camera shop, London Camera Exchange in Chichester, (great service by the way) had a Fuji representative in the store with pre-production examples of the X100V, the newly released XT4 and a demonstration XPRO3 which was launched at the end of last year.
Given the sensor and processor are to all intents and purposes the same in all three cameras I had taken a memory card with me in the hope I could take some shots and bring them home to download and play.
So this is how I ended up with the ‘lady on the bike’ who just happened to look towards me as I stood outside the shop door trying the XPRO3 with the 56mm f1.2 lens. I am no street photographer but as a test shot for use in Capture One it did the job very nicely.
I am very much looking forward to the call from LCE to say the Fujifilm X100V is ready for collection………more news on this and on Capture One in the coming weeks and months. Exciting and fun times ahead.