I found myself with an unexpected day in London at the weekend – a perfect opportunity for some travel photography to fill in the time I had spare between travels. I took the X-Pro 1 with all 3 lenses and my newly acquired X100 with me. What a joy to be able to carry around two cameras and three lenses (effectively four if you include the X100′s 24mm) without being weighed down. The last time I did a whole day’s city walk photography was in Paris with my Nikon D300s and a backpack fully of gear, and by the end of the day I was sorely (literally) wishing I had something lighter – but at the time I couldn’t find anything that produced as good quality photos in a lighter package. I had some M43 gear, but at that time the IQ was way off that of the dSLRs. The Fuji X-series cameras have certainly fulfilled my wishes, and then some!
Anyway, onto London.. as I’d just bought the 60mm lens for the X-Pro 1, I decided to try to use it as much as possible, which gave me the idea to create a slightly different take on London than the usual cityscape tourist photos that would normally require a much wider angle lens. As it’s a macro lens I thought I’d try to concentrate on some of the details of the city, but hopefully still leave you with the impression that you’re definitely in London. Anyone who can tell me where they are all taken wins no prizes other than being a clever so-and-so!
You’ll notice, if you look at the EXIF info, that many of the photos are taken wide open at f/2.4, yet they still display great sharpness in the details. All photos are taken in JPEG, Astia simulation, some with a little post processing in LR4.
Just some random thoughts on the 60mm macro lens for the X-Pro 1.
I wasn’t wildly enthusiastic about it to start with, but then I’d only done the usual thing of photographed things in the house, and the old macro cliché of the flowers in the garden! It was sharp no doubt about it, but there were definitely focus issues in macro mode at close range, especially in darker situations. However, after spending the day in London with it pretty much permanently attached to the X-Pro 1 I’ve come to appreciate it much more. This is exactly why I don’t like to rush to conclusions, my opinion often changes as I get used to how various bit of kit works, and more importantly how it works when taking ‘real’ photos.
The level of detail it can resolve along with the X-Pro 1 body is astonishing, and the focus issues I was having at home just aren’t a problem in general day-to-day use – in any case, macro photographers normally manual-focus at close range anyway, so if you’re wanting to use it for that I’m not sure the close-in AF issue is all that big of a deal. Do I wish it was better at AF? of course I do, but it is something you can live with. The other great thing about the X-Pro 1 is that the high ISO IQ is so good that you don’t have to worry too much about closing down the aperture and bumping up the ISO to get the larger depth of field you need at close range for macro photography – something that’s often achieved with [very] expensive macro lighting flash kits.
The lens is definitely the heftier of the three currently available for the X-Pro 1. The focus ring feels about the same, but the aperture ring feels much tighter than the other two lenses. This isn’t just my copy as I’ve previously tried a display copy and it was the same. Personally I prefer the slightly ‘clickier’ feel of the aperture rings on the 18 and 35mm, but it isn’t anything to overly concern me, and some people prefer it being tighter as they feel it is less prone to being knocked accidentally.
The lens hood is big, much bigger than the other two lenses and to be honest I haven’t even unpacked it, though it wasn’t all that sunny when I was taking photos. Some photographers eschew hoods completely, but in my experience they can help greatly in certain bright light situations, and I’d probably get it out to use if I know I’ll be shooting towards bright sunlight. On the 18 and 35mm lenses I like to have the hoods attached at all times as they do provide some protection to the front element. On the 60mm, the front element is set well back into the lens body so it’s unlikely to get knocked or scratched in normal use anyway.
The 60mm filter thread is a bit of an oddity and pretty hard to find filters for. Personally I don’t go in for the UV filter on every lens, but I do like to use an ND filter from time to time, though perhaps I’m not as likely to use one on the 60mm as the others.
Would I recommend the 60mm lens – most certainly yes. I thought the 35mm would be the lens that I’d almost never take off, but now I’m torn! The 60mm is another exceptional lens for the X-Pro 1 series. I had initially bought the 35mm and then the 18mm a week later. If I was to choose two lenses again it would be the 35mm and the 60mm, at least for my style of photography. I suspect now I have the slightly wider 24mm on the X100 too, the 18mm isn’t likely to come out very often other than on special occasions, having said that though, it’s so light that I don’t think I’d have a problem taking it along “just in case”!