Mastering the Fujifilm X-E1 and X-Pro1 – Are you ready for some RAW+JPEG? – #photography #bookreview

Mastering the Fujifilm X-E1 and X-Pro1

Rico Pfirstinger
(Rocky Nook – paperback, Kindle)

As a photographer, I enjoy reading other photographers’ first-person books–even when their books that happen to be how-to texts created to supplement and expand upon the lackluster user manuals typically shipped with new cameras.

Rico Pfirstinger’s latest book is a well-composed guide to learning how to use a new Fujifilm X-E1 or the similar X-Pro1. What are their key hardware differences? The X-Pro1 has a hybrid viewfinder that can show either an optical or electronic image, depending on your preference, and, also unlike the X-E1, the X-Pro1 does not have a built-in flash (which many pro photographers disdain anyway).

The two cameras’ “buttons, dials, menus, and connections” are given big labels and adequate illustrations and explanations, particularly if you are an intermediate, or better, photographer.

Once you get past the initial familiarization tour, Pfirstinger takes you into the process of using the features, picking settings, and dealing with many of the finer points, including how to shoot panoramas and double exposures.

There is one surprise you may not have encountered with some other digital SLR cameras: the ability to do firmware updates. “The X-Pro1 and X-E1 are novel cameras in many ways, and they also exhibit a few quirks,” the author notes. He describes how to determine which firmware version is installed in your camera. Then he outlines how to download newer firmware from a Fujifilm website to your personal computer. From there, you move the newer firmware onto an SD card that first has been formatted in your camera. Then you must carefully follow some steps after the SD card is re-installed in your camera. Once the firmware has been updated, you may also need to follow Pfirstinger’s steps for resetting the frame counter.

The book contains numerous photos by Pfirstinger and some fellow professional photographers, along with information regarding camera and ISO settings, lenses used, and other details relevant to how the images were obtained and processed.

Pfirstinger is a strong advocate for the Fujifilm cameras’ RAW features. “If you spend time in online photography forums,” he explains, “you’ll discover that there’s hardly a debate that generates more controversy and discussion than the question of whether it’s better to shoot in RAW or JPEG format. Since this back-and-forth has been raging for years already, you can assume that there’s no right answer.”

But what the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and X-E1 cameras (and some other camera brands) offer are settings that enable you to shoot and save in RAW and JPEG at the same time. “Today the RAW file is the digital equivalent of the negative, and a JPEG file is the digital counterpart of a photographic print. This means there are many different possibilities for interpreting a RAW file and ‘developing’ a JPEG from it.”

If you choose to not save RAW files, he contends, you are choosing to “reduce your X-E1 or X-Pro1 to a sort of instant camera….” In other words, you get one JPEG from a shot, and that’s it.  Of course, you can make many copies of that JPEG and edit them in many different ways. But his point is that RAW format lets you focus on composition, focus and exposure and gives you numerous digital post-processing capabilities that you can work with later, “when  you have time to sit in front of a larger monitor to evaluate your images….”

Rico Pfirstinger has a very diverse background as a writer and photographer. According to his website “Fuji Rumors”:

“Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems.”

Pfirstinger’s new book includes a chapter on how to connect and use third-party lenses that have appropriate X-mount adapters. It’s not simply a matter of attaching the lenses and firing away. You have to change several menu settings to ensure that a lens is recognized and that the exposure,  focus and certain other features work properly.

Si Dunn

Mastering the Fujifilm X-Pro1 – Practical tips & tricks for better use of the camera’s features – #photography #bookreview

Mastering the Fujifilm X-Pro1
Rico Pfirstinger
(Rocky Nook – paperback, Kindle)

The X-Pro1, Fujifilm’s first mirrorless camera with an APS-C sensor, is popular with many photographers who like its smooth blending of retro, minimalist exterior and top-notch digital technology inside.

Also, if the available Fujinon interchangeable lenses are not enough for you, the X-Pro1 also can be used with adapter rings that accept lenses made by Canon, Nikon, Contax, Leica, and others.

The camera comes with a user manual that includes brief descriptions of every feature. But, notes Rico Pfirstinger in his new book, Mastering the Fujifilm X-Pro1, “What’s missing are background information and practical tips based on experience. What’s the best way to activate a function? Which settings should you use in different circumstances? Why is the camera exhibiting a certain behavior? And, most important, which functions don’t work the way you would expect them to and how should you handle them?”

His well-written, 266-page book answers these questions and more. And it provides numerous photographs and illustrations to emphasize his points and how-to tips.

The X-Pro1 is not intended to be a beginner’s camera. It does not, for example, include a built-in flash unit. So Pfirstinger’s book likewise is not intended to be a beginner’s how-to manual.

He assumes that this is not your first digital camera, and you possess a reasonably good understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and other matters associated with photography and lighting. Still, his explanations of  features, capabilities, and quirks are clear and concise enough that technically proficient beginners can learn from them.

Bottom line: Yes, keep and refer to the X-Pro1’s standard user guide. But definitely have Mastering the Fujifilm X-Pro1 in your camera bag, as well. Rico Pfirstinger provides the tips, tricks, in-depth information, and lessons from experience you will  need to really get the best photos with your Fujifilm X-Pro1.

Si Dunn