Manual Lenses on Fujifilm

If you’re a mirrorless shooter, you have a variety of lenses to choose from. The official camera brand lenses (in my case all Fujfilm lenses) but also the huge collection of vintage lenses that you can easily adapt to your camera with a cheap 10-20€ adapter. Some vintage lenses currently go up in price, but compared to new, first party lenses, they are very affordable.

My first adapted and fully manual focus lens i bought was an old Canon FD zoom that i picked up at a flea market for 5 euros. It’s a shitty lens, with lots of fungus inside and poor image quality. But it was enough to wake my interest for manual focus lenses.

I originally bought the Fujfilm X-T2 for its fast autofocus, but somehow I found that I really like the slowed down style of shooting that manual focus lenses require from you. Manually focusing is really easy with modern mirrorless cameras. Focus Peaking in the X-T2 helps a lot and even the not so great focus peaking in my X-Pro1 is good enough with adapted glass.

With my old Canon camera, i never took photography very serious. I took pictures, but didn’t really think about it. Sure, i was looking for the right composition and so on, but never really thought about the craft. I choose the X-T2 because the dials on top gave me a feeling of “manual work”. It was nice that i didn’t just set some mode on one dial and that was it. I like that i have to setup different dials to achieve a certain style of image. The same goes for the aperture rings on Fujifilm lenses. I love that!

Manual lenses for me go even a step further. The fact that i have to manually focus gives me a lot of joy.

To finish this post up, i added a few images i shot with adapted lenses on my Fujifilm X-T2. Enjoy! (Don’t be confused by the exif data in the image data description – it sometimes says „50mm“ when there is an 28mm lens. I just forgot to set the right focal length in my settings on that day)

Buying a Fujifilm X-Pro1 in 2019

Since i came up with the idea to buy a Fujifilm camera as my next camera, i looked at the camera line-up of Fujifilm and was quite interested in the X-Pro rangefinder-style cameras. Somehow this old and retro looking camera looked really awesome, but since i was looking for a replacement for my 10 year old Canon DSLR, the obvious choice was to go with the X-T2 (it was pretty new at the time).

X-Pro1 with XF 16mm F2.8

The X-T2 was my first Fujifilm camera and the first camera that reignited my joy for photography. As i said, my Canon was about 10 years old and i only had a few cheap lenses (the 40mm pancake, the nifty fifty (50mm 1.8) and a Sigma 10-20mm wide-angle zoom). I loved all those lenses and had a lot of fun with them, but i would never have called myself a photographer. I had the camera, i took pictures with it, but i never really dug deep into the whole photography topic or community. Usually i took my iPhone to take pictures, since i always had it in my pocket.

That all changed when i got the X-T2. Finally there was an easy way to understand (and play with) the different mechanisms that you use to take pictures (aperture, exposure and ISO). The dials on the X-T2 were perfect for me. I learned a lot while using that camera and photography became a real hobby for me.

Now i read a lot of photography blogs (mostly fujifilm related) and watch a ton of YouTube channels. I don’t know about you, but once some topic sparks my interest, i have to know everything about it. Same with Fujifilm and photography in general.

Once you dig deeper in to the whole Fujifilm topic, you start to see the pros and cons of each camera body and can imagine yourself with a second or third camera body. That happened to me…

At first i thought of getting a X100F, but since it’s still quite expensive and its successor is rumored to come out in 2020 i thought getting a older X100-series camera would be a wiser choice. Maybe a X100S or X100T.

After looking at different listings on eBay i postponed the idea and decided to wait and buy the new model in 2020. The older X100S/T cameras were still too expensive for me taste and what I wanted to do with the camera.

I liked the X100 because of the rangefinder-style hybrid Viewfinder. So the obvious choice was to look for a cheap intermediate camera that i can use until i buy the new X100 camera. So i started looking at different camera models and found a used X-Pro1 on eBay. I got it really cheap for 199€. It is usually sold for about 300-350€ (at least here in Germany). I contacted the seller, payed via paypal and was pretty nervous for a few days, if it will actually arrive.

Long story short, the camera arrived and in the box was also the official X-Pro1 grip and a leather case (the official LC-XPro1). The case i will sell, but keep the grip (for now).

I have to be honest, the X-Pro1 is an old camera, it has quirks and it’s kinda-slow, but not even close to how slow i imagined it to be. Sure, it’s not an X-T2, but it’s still really usable. I paired it with a few different lenses (XF 23/2, XF 35/2 and my latest addition, the XF 16/2.8), all work flawlessly and deliver good results, even on this old camera (it’s 7 years old by now).

My copy has a few scratches and the thumb-wheel is a little quirky, but i can live with that. For me this is a „backup camera“ that i use to throw in my backpack when I’m not really going out to shoot, but still want to bring a camera that is light and still is a joy to use.

I ordered a 7artisans 35mm f1.2 for the X-Pro1 and a vented lens hood and a red soft-shutter button to increase my Hipster level to 1000, it will look awesome! The lens hasn’t arrived yet, but I’m pretty sure i will write about it on this blog.

Here are a few sample shots from the X-Pro1 i took on the first day. Nothing special, i just took a few snapshots. Better pictures will follow once i took it out to shoot.

So why buy a X-Pro1 in 2019?

After only a few days i think the X-Pro1 is still a great camera for 2019. It is fairly light and compact but still feels super solid (it better should be, it was quite expensive when it came out).

If you’re looking for an inexpensive camera to get in to the Fujifilm system, a old and slightly scratched up X-Pro1 is a great choice. Even at 300€ it’s a good deal. The X-Trans sensor in the X-Pro1 is still great (if you can live with the 16MP) and when you add a nice Fujinon lens there is not much difference to newer Fujifilm cameras.

You wont get a camera to capture images in super low light and you wont be able to take pictures of fast-paced action, but you will get a lovely camera to take pictures of everything that does not fall into those two categories, and i think that’s great!

If you decide to buy an X-Pro1 in 2019, make sure to upgrade the Firmware to the latest version (3.80). Fujifilm adds a lot of features with firmware updates and does it even for older cameras. I believe there wont be any new updates for the X-Pro1, but the previous updates enhanced a lot of things (added focus peaking, improved the AF speed an so on).

This is the first post on this site and should definitely not be the last, so stay tuned for more Fujifilm and photography related posts! 🙂