Comment: Newer Doesn't Necessarily Mean Better

UPDATE 22 January 2016: When I wrote this blog I had been testing the new X-Pro2 since the end of November 2015.  I stand by my arguments in this article that newer doesn't always mean better.  Yes the X-Pro2 is a step up from the X-Pro1 in almost every department but this doesn't make the X-Pro1 obsolete or second best, it remains a great photographic tool and one well worth having.

I have been watching with interest the internet photography forums all talking about the rumours surrounding the specifications of the new camera and lenses that Fujifilm are going to be announcing. 

As an X-Photographer any new piece of kit from Fujifilm is of immense interest to me.  It is actually quite entertaining reading some of the wishes and wants and some of the responses, with the chatter on the forums usually about AF speeds, sensors megapixels and weather proofing - i.e. what's bigger and better than the previous incarnation or what the rivals are doing.  

There is nothing wrong with wanting the latest camera or lens, I'm a sucker for a shiny new piece of camera gear, but don't write off the older kit just because something sexier has just appeared on the horizon.  

I still have and regularly use my original X100 despite having tested the X100S and X100T.   The newer cameras are superb but there is something about that original X100 and it's 12MP Bayer sensor that I love shooting images with.

This got me thinking about my X-Pro1 and 18mm f2 lens.  The X-Pro1 is the granddaddy of the X-Series interchangeable compact system cameras and its success in 2012, along with the 18mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses it was launched with, has given rise to the current line up of X-Series cameras and XF lenses.

There are plenty of people purporting to be a 'photographic expert' on the internet.  A lot give good advice but some just spout complete BS.  Some are saying the X-Pro1 is old, slow and well past its sell by date.  The same goes for the Fujinon 18mm f2, something along the lines of "the worst Fuji lens" or "it softer than butter that has been left in the sun" and other such cliched lines.  I sometimes wonder if these armchair warriors have actually got from behind the computer and actually taken an image with these cameras and lenses?

Sure there are going to be rogue examples of lens that don't pass the QA test but it seems that there are a lot of people out there willing to write off a lens or camera based on a few bad examples.  With regards to the 18mm f2, I am on my second.  The first took a dip in the North Sea last summer along with the X-Pro1 that it was attached to and we all know that electronics and salt water do not mix.  Both were replaced under my excellent Towergate insurance policy in quick time.  Both 18mm lenses I have owned are rated highly and my current lens still produces the goods time after time.

I was emailed by a reader of this blog asking for advice on buying an 18mm f2 lens because he wanted a lightweight wide angle prime lens and had read some horror stories about the quality of this lens.  I gave him my opinion based on my work and experience with the 18mm, pointing him to some examples on this blog and on FLICKR.  I can give my opinion but at the end of the day this is going to be down to the individual photographer whether a lens / camera suits their workflow.  

The same 'internet mud' seems to be thrown quite a lot at the XF55-200mm since the 50-140mm f2.8 was launched.  The XF55-200mm is lighter and more compact than the much larger 50-140mm but you can still take some great images with that Fujinon glass.  It is a great lens for the money - in fact it is a bit of a bargain especially if your budget won't stretch to the 50-140mm and 1.4x converter to give you the same pulling power as the cheaper zoom.

I have always said that a camera is a tool and not everyone likes the same tools to work with.  I don't have a problem with someone not wanting to use Fujifilm but what really hacks me off is someone writing off a brand based on their own experience or, more worryingly, say a camera brand is rubbish when they haven't even shot  single frame, it is just what they have read on the internet.

Anyway I only make judgements after using photographic equipment and not by what I read on the internet.  I do read the respected review websites, such as DPReview, before I decide to try a lens or camera as the review gives me a baseline to work with.

Back to my original point of this blog and that was newer isn't always better.  The X-Pro1 and 18mm lenses might not be the latest 'hot thing' and yes they do have their little foibles to contend with, but the results they can produce in the right hands are top draw.  Remember it is the Magician and not the wand that creates the magic - the photographer takes the image not the camera / lens. Like the Bayer sensor in the X100, the first generation X-Trans sensor can produce some unique images in the right light. 

My advice is to take what you read on the internet with a large pinch of salt.  Ask questions - I am only too happy to give advice based on my experience with Fujifilm - and find out if these 'experts'  have actually used said lens or camera in anger.  However once you have all the information the choice whether to buy or not comes down to you. 

Here are some examples of some images from the X-Pro1 and 18mm f2 or 55-200mm lenses.  You can find more examples in the X-Pro1 album on the MacLean Photographic Flickr pages HERE

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In June 2015 Jeff Carter was named as a Fujifilm brand ambassador and you can view his profile and gallery on the Fujifilm website HERE

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  1. I agree with you, Jeff, but I remember when it took ten years for Nikon to replace their professional F cameras, times when film improvements meant better photos with the same camera.... Nowadays, when almost anyone can pretend to be a photographer, when cameras models last a couple of years before being replaced on the market, frustration is a strong lever to sell new stuff. There is a lot of technical talk on forums, very few original images and little artistic concern... Welcome in 2016

  2. Well said. I purchased the XP1 back when it first came out, along with the 18, 35, and 60mms. I loved it, but returned it because I thought I could find a camera that could do more of what I needed. I tried a new Canon, which I have shot my whole life, and even switched to Nikon, which I had never tried. While I still have the Nikon, I have taken the price drop opportunity to buy the XP1 again. There is something about certain cameras that you don't hear much, the feel of the sensor, its soul. Fuji sensors just have a certain depth to them, a warmth, they are alive. The X100 certainly has it, and so does the XP1. Canon's 5D2 has it. I bought the 5D3, and while its a great camera, the sensor has no soul like the 5D2 does. So, I agree, newer is not always better, but I do expect the XP2 will not disappoint.

  3. My ancient XP1/XE1 are doing quite well thank you very much. From rain in a Savannah graveyard, snow flurries up on the slopes Heavenly Valley to the swirling gypsum dust of Black Rock City they are still willin' to be movin'.

  4. Great article! I have an original Xpro that has been my faithful companion since buying it. It is a lovely camera that is still lovely after all these years. I lust after the Xpro2 for the rumours re extra speed, and dual slots, but don't think it is affordable for me right now in Australia!

  5. its not the arrow its the indian


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