Category Archives: Cameras

Do we have enough megapixels?

I am sure everyone has noticed the race to higher megapixel specifications. While the high resolution is not wrong by itself, it comes with multiple tradeoffs. These tradeoffs are not often talked about since publishing better cameras with better specifications is more in the interests of manufacturers rather than consumers. I should have used quotes around the word better since it is not always the case that the newer camera or lens is significantly better, or any better, than the previous one. Also, where does the mindless consumer mentality that the perfect camera and lens setup you had is somehow outdated just because there is always new releases in the pipeline? In fact, the moment you buy something new, the next model is already on drawing board.

If you have a camera and a lens you are happy with, how does a new model affect your photography? Your existing gear will continue producing the same results and unless you have made a terrible mistake at some point and bought something you really don’t like at all, I don’t see any problems using old cameras and lenses, except in strictly professional situations. These are just tools and the times when digital cameras were not up to par with expectations are far away in history. Almost any camera produced in the last ten years if perfectly capable of capturing what you need. Lenses have even longer lifetime than cameras and at least fixed focal length prime lenses have been good enough for quite some time. Unless you’re a serious professional, the curve of increasing gains tends to be very non-linear, meaning that buying the best you can get is often on a different scale than the price you are paying for the privilege of owning high-end gear.


All photos here are randomly chosen for this article and do not represent artistic quality, but optical and technical differences between cameras and lenses. None of the photos are sharpened, nor have gone through noise reduction. They are also original exposures, meaning that the performance is not artificially changed by underexposing when taking the photo and changing the exposure afterwards in Adobe Lightroom (which does help Leica M9). They are either using Adobe Standard colour profile or embedded profile from camera, i.e. no additional colour profiles or film emulations from 3rd parties are used.

How many megapixels do you really need?

If you take a look at top models from most manufacturers, you’ll notice that they are lower in resolution than the models aimed at regular consumers. That is often because of demands of higher burst rates, but also because of image quality. Regular consumers could not care less about quality it seems, all they care is having the latest and greatest, needed or not. At the moment most cameras have at least 24-megapixel sensor, while the top models have anything between 36 and 50 megapixels. I have been using Nikon Df and Nikon D700 lately, cameras that have 16 and 12-megapixel sensors. What I have noticed that I will get better results than with cameras that have higher resolution (such as the Sony a7R, which supposedly has the same sensor as in Nikon D810). Having higher resolution has more caveats than actual benefits, which I’ll get into in the next chapter. I have also three Fujifilm cameras with 16-megapixel resolution and I have never felt that they’re missing something in resolution aspect. The 24-megapixel sensor in my Fujifilm X-Pro2 is not better because of resolution, it’s better because of high-ISO performance, to which I also get into in the next chapter. If I compare my Leica M9 and Leica M240 photos (18 and 24 megapixels), I do not see any actual difference in resolution. If there was a Leica M240-CCD with the responsiveness of the M240 and resolution and colours of the M9, I’d have bought that instead of either camera I now have.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 105 mm F2.0 DC @ F2.8, ISO800, 1/125 s (a lens from 1993 still going strong)

A regular 10×15 cm printed photo at 300 dpi requires only 2 megapixels. How many of you print your photos larger than that, or at all? That same 2-megapixel image is often just fine for web pages as well. Unless the photo must fill the whole screen, the longer side of a 2-megapixel photo has 1772 pixels which is fine for modern monitors. Even if users have HiDPI monitor such as Apple’s Retina displays, it is hard to justify using a higher resolution than this. Even 4K monitors and televisions are capable of showing just 8 megapixels at 1:1, so in resolution terms only, any camera and any smartphone will do.

What people do not often realise is that doubling the resolution means four times the megapixels. In order to have two times better resolution than a 16-megapixel sensor, one would need a 64-megapixel monster – something that does not exist yet in 35 mm format. Those with an actual need and the money can buy medium format cameras that have higher resolutions than this, but you’ll have to have top-notch optics, lighting and other variables as well.

The caveats of higher resolution

When using a higher resolution, you have multiple things that have an adverse effect on the quality of the end results. Let’s study some of these.

Pixel density

Higher resolution means smaller pixels, meaning lower signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) if gains in sensor technology are left out of the equation. Two cameras with the latest sensor technology and digital signal processing (remember, the sensor is only a part of the equation) where one has lower resolution than the other can demonstrate the difference in practice. For example, Sony has three different resolutions in their a7 series of cameras and the camera having the lowest resolution in each generation of these cameras has the highest perceived image quality. Nikon D4 (and Df) is lower resolution than D810 and with D5 the situation is exactly the same compared to the new D850. With Canon, the same thing, although I lost track of Canon model numbering a long ago – do they really need that many models or should they produce just two or three? I have worked for Nokia in the past and they had the same problem with models: tens of new models per year and Apple took their lollipop just by releasing one phone that had everything Apple had. But, I digress.

Shutter speeds

Higher resolution means a higher chance of blurred image due to either the suspect of the camera itself moving. Some cameras have in-body image stabilisation and image stabilisation in lenses is not a new invention either. But, one can’t freeze the suspect movements with image stabilisation on the sensor or the lens. Whether it is leaves on a tree or people on the street moving, capturing a tack sharp image (if that is what you’re after) requires higher shutter speed.

Leica M240, Noctilux-M 50 mm F0.95 @ F0.95, ISO200, 1/4000 s (wide open daylight test)

Higher ISO values

Higher shutter speeds due to increased demand for resolution often mean higher ISO settings. Cameras are getting better year by year, but if you care about colours as well, higher ISO is not getting you there. After using the Nikon Df with good lenses and the Leica M9 and M240 with 50 mm Noctilux or Summilux, I can see what I miss in using the Sony a7R, for example. Nikon Df should have a better sensor than the one in Leica M240, and if compared to noise performance alone, it is. However, while the flagship D4 sensor put in Df has excellent colours as well, the Leica looks better most of the time. Depending on the subject, the older Leica M9 CCD sensor has even better rendering than Leica M240, although the highest practical ISO value is only 640 (or 1250 if you’re not concerned about the loss of quality). The Sony a7S has poorer colours than Nikon Df although it has lower resolution, which is probably due to it been optimised for better noise performance by tuning the colour filter array (CFA) in front of the sensor. In general, what you lose in colour performance you gain in noise performance. Unfortunately one can’t get back colours or details that are lost before capturing the RAW image and the same goes for noise reduction algorithms. I prefer my photos without noise reduction as long as the noise is luminance noise, meaning that the colours are still accurate. For example, the Sony a7R I have has a horrible high-ISO performance where the noise is high in colour, as well as in luminance. The Sony also has problems with colours themselves, meaning that a part of white balance is never right, even after setting it manually. A grey cat or grey concrete is different shades of brown with red, green and blue pixels thrown in. Tuning just white balance does not fix this because the problem affects only certain parts of the photo. The fact that Sony did not fix the compressed DNG problem in a7R at all (even while my camera is still under 5-year warranty) but to their latest models only made me not buy nor recommend Sony products.

Nikon Df, Nikkor 35 mm F1.4 AI-s @ F2.8, ISO 2500, 1/125 s (still having vibrant colours at high ISO and good rendering for a 1969 lens, this version being from 1982)

Leica M240, Noctilux-M 50 mm F0.95 @ F0.95, ISO250, 1/45 s (different day than on comparison above)


Optics always have flaws and the higher resolution you have, the higher the probability of you noticing this is. Lenses stay while cameras come and go, so having to buy new lenses because of unrealistic expectations gets expensive quickly. It’s also known that newer lenses with higher resolution and better correction of chromatic aberrations, coma etc. can be a bit clinical in their rendering. Nothing bad in that if that is what you expect and all manufacturers do this because people read reviews by skipping the photos and focusing on the specifications and MTF charts. One should do the exact opposite. Why should you care about numbers if the photos are the only thing that matter?

Leica M9, Canon 50 mm F1.2 LTM, ISO640, 1/60 s (very good results considering this lens is from 1956 and camera from 2009)


Focusing a lens, whether manually or automatically, gets harder with higher resolutions. The eyebrows you had focused perfectly on a 16-megapixel sensor would probably be slightly off-focus on a 50-megapixel sensor. You can mitigate this problem by choosing a smaller aperture, but then again you will have to use higher ISO value or lower shutter speed, which both had their impact on the end result as described above. If you are in a studio, then this is not a problem since you are in control of the lighting and the subject and also more probably are already a seasoned professional who can acquire whatever tools are needed. Studio photography is different from street photos, children, pets or weddings.

File sizes

Higher resolution files are larger, meaning that transferring them to a computer is slower and editing even more so. One can always buy a faster computer is money grows on trees, but with super-high resolutions, even the fastest computers can choke. You will also need larger and faster memory cards which are not surprisingly more expensive. On your computer, you’ll have to have faster and larger disks and backing up the collection locally and off-site (which you should do if you have any respect of your own work and time) is slower and, you guessed it, more expensive.


Unless you are printing large or cropping heavily, the practicality of very high resolutions is questionable. You probably have to downsample the photos because of the media you are using, whether that is prints or web pages. If you have to downsample, where exactly was the point in upgrading your gear if all you got was the long list of troubles I have mentioned? You could have used your old camera that was probably just fine, or even better yet, use film – not megapixels. I do not crop my photos because it feels a bit like cheating. I like to have the framing as close to the actual photo as possible – to maximise quality and boost my ego demanding flawless straight out of the camera (SooC) photos. I need some leeway in resolution for adjusting the photos horizontally since I tend to take candid photos and do not have time (nor patience) to look straighten by photos when taking them. It is also surprisingly hard even with the electronic virtual horizon in the optical viewfinder my Nikon Df has. Luckily Leica has no such distractions.

Nikon D200 and cheap zoom in daylight (2006 CCD technology, 10 Mpix)

For my uses, the 10-megapixel CCD sensor on my Nikon D200 is fine even after some straightening and cropping, after which the photos are still over the resolution of modern 4K monitors and televisions. The camera and sensor are from 2006 so in 2018 nobody expects performance equalling modern gear, but the resolution is good enough. It is also a crop sensor, not full frame, so it is using the sweet spot of full frame lenses, with less vignetting etc.

Field of view

If you rely heavily on cropping or zooming instead of you know, walking closer, you might have noticed something is flat in your images. That is because of longer focal lengths used affect the perspective. There are subjects you have to zoom in, crop and even use a smaller sensor to get higher pixel pitch, but unless you’re a wildlife photographer, you can get closer and get better results by using the full field of view and more natural focal length – depending on the subject of course. Even then, it is likely that you will get better results with lower resolution sensor having larger pixels because you see more what you need and fewer artefacts (related to everything I wrote above).

Nikon Df, Nikkor 135 mm F2.0 DC @ F2.0, ISO 6400, 1/200 s (a 1990 lens meets 2013 camera)

Saving money

Instead of constantly upgrading your gear, you can settle for old classics that are proven to be trustworthy and with good output. This also means that you can acquire your gear 2nd hand, which can save you a lot of money. I bought a Nikon D700, a 10-year old camera, just because I like the colours I get from it, it’s indestructible and the price is right – it can’t go much lower than this unless you find a desperate or nonchalant owner. I could have bought the D800, but I don’t need the resolution and the D700 photos look better to my eye. The money you save on camera can be used to buy lenses, which can be used with multiple cameras and much longer than the cameras themselves. If you care more about rendering, colours, micro-contrast and dimensionality, you can get lenses for cheap which might be a little soft on a latest high-megapixel monster, but more than fine on an adequate resolution.

Nikon D700, Nikkor 50 mm F1.4 AF-D, ISO400, 1/500 s (a camera from 2008 meets 1986 lens)


Alternatives to the megapixel race

If you are not counting minutes with your photography, film is a fine choice for experimenting with something else. With Leica and Nikon you can use the same lenses with film cameras as well, so you have an excellent arsenal of lenses for your film camera if you go with either brand.

Nikon has a backwards compatibility issue with AF-S lenses (no aperture ring), but since for most purposes you can buy multiple AF-D and AI lenses for the prices of a single AF-S lens and do not see any difference at all unless you’re using a digital sensor with a high megapixel count. Nikon F100, F5 and F6 can use AF-S lenses as well, but I don’t see the point. Modern AF-S lenses may be sharper, but since film camera can’t make corrections to geometry, the new AF-S version of the lens might look worse than film era AI and transition era AF-D lenses. Also, vibration reduction is not supported, so instead of VR, go for fast primes. Don’t forget that you are not shooting Leica, so the maximum apertures are always somewhat soft (makes no difference whatsoever with 35 mm film). Personally, I have the F100 as my only modern film SLR. I have also Nikon’s titanium F3/T HP and the “technocamera” Nikon FA, both of which are excellent for manual focusing and pre-AF-S lenses. The FA is full of features and very light, get one while you still can. The F3 is a professional tool which had a very long production run, so there are plenty of F3’s to buy. It’s also a camera that is trouble free, even though it’s not fully mechanical (it needs a battery for the light meter and shutter speeds other than 1/60).

If you happen to have a closet full of Leica lenses, as all self-respecting G.A.S. members have, you’re in for a treat. All Leica lenses work with film Leica cameras, even the LTM lenses released before M-mount. With film, the lenses behave differently and some look much better on film than on digital. A film does not have problems with extreme angles of light, so colour casts, extreme vignetting and digital sensor blur are things of no concern. My first Leica was a film Leica M5, the so-called ugly duckling. Nowadays I use my Leica M7 more and it’s maybe my favourite among all my cameras. The Leica M7 with a Summicron 35 mm IV pre-ASPH is small, a good-looking package which handles well and provides excellent results.

With film, you are no longer chasing the latest and greatest and if you need a new look, pop in a different film roll. Having to wait for your photos to be developed, whether you do it yourself or in a store or photo lab somewhere, adds to the excitement of finally seeing the photos. It’s like Christmas every time!

Black & White sensors, anti-aliasing filters and colour filter arrays

Some cameras include an anti-aliasing filter in front of the sensor, which is put there to minimise moiré effect. In recent years camera manufacturers have notes that sometimes people need the resolution more than the blurring effect of the anti-aliasing filter. Moiré is something you may have seen in the cathode ray tube era televisions when a person had striped shirt on. Same happens with digital cameras that do not have an anti-aliasing filter and are using the Bayer-type sensor. Most cameras use the Bayer-type colour filter, but there are exceptions such as Fujifilm’s X-Trans, Sigma’s Foveon and also all cameras that have no colour filter at all, such as Leica M Monochrom.

Fujifilm’s X-trans sensors lack anti-aliasing filter because of non-Bayer colour filter array, which with more randomised photosites, is said to avoid moiré effect. Fujifilm’s solution does not come without compromises though, biggest of which is transforming the RAW images. Even though the situation is better now than a few years ago, it is still there.

Fujifilm X-Trans photo developed with the latest version of Adobe Lightroom (note the awful rendering of green leaves)

After one starts seeing the problem, it is sometimes difficult to unsee. What must be said is that this is nitpicking since it is impossible to see this in actual prints or scaled down images for the web. You must either crop heavily and/or use 100% magnification to see this. The photo above is cropped from 6000 × 4000 resolution image (24 megapixels) to 738 × 492.

Bayer colour filter array (used by almost every camera)

X-Trans sensor colour filter array (Fujifilm)

Fujifilm’s choice of order and amount of sensor photosites has one additional benefit compared to the regular Bayer sensor. It has more green photosites than blue and red, and because green sits in between blue and red in the visible colour spectrum, it allows more vibrant colours. Because of the extra green light sensitivity (which extends to blue end), Fujifilm can design lenses that have more elements than they could otherwise have, meaning they can be more corrected thus having fewer problems without the loss of colour saturation. The difference is not huge, but it is there. If you wonder why Leica lenses look so good, it’s because of fewer elements that are of very high quality. All glass elements attenuate light and it is the blue and green side of the spectrum that suffers more (or so I’m told). Erwin Puts’ book Leica Lens Compendium is a good reading related to lens designs, glass types and optics – highly recommended if you’re a Leica shooter. I can recommend YouTube videos by The Angry Photographer, aka Theoria Apophasis, related to Fujifilm sensors and lenses (or lenses in general).

Black & white sensors are not common, although, in reality, all sensors see only luminance. What makes the sensor see colour is the colour filter array (CFA), the main variation being Bayer and the other two I know, X-Trans and Foveon. There is a company modifying Fujifilm X-Pro1 cameras to B&W by removing the CFA. Leica Monochrom cameras are more expensive than their colour variants. The camera having one part less does not make it cheaper, in fact, it makes it more expensive, and in the case of Leica, a lot more expensive – mainly due to being a niche product inside a niche sector of cameras (rangefinders) leading to smaller production. Somebody has to pay for the R&D that has gone to this variant.

If you are fine with only black & white images, the black & white sensor comes with a benefit you might not have realised. It has essentially up to 100% more resolution even when compared to a colour photo of the same resolution. Compared to Bayer sensor above, a B&W sensor would see every 2 × 2 photosites as one pixel, seeing only luminance. Because there is no colour filter, the sensor sees also one stop more light, meaning it is more sensitive this being able to use higher ISO values with less noise. I have not purchased a Leica Monochrom even though the thought is very tempting. The simple reasons are cost and my habit of using film for black and white. I fear I would get even lazier with Leica Monochrom and stop shooting B&W film with Leica M7.


I guess I have proven my viewpoint and while I can’t deny that there are multiple legitimate uses for higher resolution cameras and lenses required for such cameras, I have chosen not to play the planned obsolescence game. If I had a reason to, I could buy the latest Leica, Sony and Nikon and in some cases get better results, but it’s often the limitations that drive inspiration. That is why I still shoot film in 35 mm and medium format. It’s not better than digital, nor is digital better than film – they’re different. Saying that certain latest and greatest camera makes wonderful photos is like saying to a chef that the new oven is making tastier food.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs. older siblings

Fujifilm X-Pro2 and XF 18-55 mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

Having used the excellent Fujifilm X-Pro2 for a less than a year I have noticed that while the camera is unmatched in many aspects by technical terms, I still awe at the photos I have taken with older Fujifilm cameras I have. Especially the X-Pro1, X100T and sometimes also the X-T1 produce something that the X-Pro2 lacks in my hands (meaning it’s not a technical fault, more likely just my stupidity). I don’t know why but when I been on location and we have taken photos with multiple cameras, the results from older cameras are often somehow better. There’s certain film-like quality to the older Fujifilm sensors, and even after using the film profiles the cameras provide (or the profiles Adobe Lightroom allows on Fujifilm cameras), the older ones still shine. In daylight, the high ISO capabilities and lightning fast focusing of the X-Pro2 still do not always win the older siblings when comparing the end results at base ISO. There isn’t a huge difference but it’s there.

Fujifilm X-T1 and XF 18-135 mm F3.5-5.6 LM OIS WR

Fujifilm X-Pro2 and XF 55-200 mm F3.5-4.8 R LM OIS

In the (awful) comparison above the difference can come from lens or thousand other things, but since I compared tens of photos taken on the same day using both cameras, I can’t help noticing a small diffecence. The colours on photos taken with the XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM are better, but colours can be adjusted in Adobe Lightroom. But there’s just more pleasure in getting the results you want without adjusting a thing in Lightroom. This is where so many other cameras fail. I see a trend where cameras getting better high ISO capabilities and dynamic range somehow lose their colours. Comparing old and new gear in base ISO is enlightening.

Did I just say that the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is worse than the older Fujifilm cameras? No, at least I did not mean that. The X-Pro2 has its moments, and it’s still my most often used camera even though I have several Leica’s and excellent lenses for them. For anyone using Fujifilm X-Pro2 I’d suggest trying the older X-Pro1 as well since they’re dirt cheap (I paid 295€ for mine a year ago). I haven’t used the X-T2, but I know that my X-T1 is accomplished camera that has the best viewfinder I’ve seen in this price category. There’s nothing that the camera lacks which would make it somehow obsolete. The newer models are supposed to have faster autofocusing and better high ISO capabilities among many other things (and they have), but since Fujifilm is very generously following the Kaizen philosophy and updating their old cameras as long as it’s practically possible, the old ones are getting better and better as well. It’s fun to have multiple cameras with the same lens mount since one can share lenses and compare results, often seeing different photos using older cameras. The limitations are sometimes what drives the imagination and choices I make with cameras, and that is what I admire among Fujifilm and Leica which are both excellent and getting better all the time.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF 18 mm F2 R

I don’t sell my older cameras or lenses since it’s a hobby I love, and I’d miss the items later. I buy everything used, and there isn’t a lot of money to be made by selling gear. A fear days ago Fujifilm updated the X-Pro2 firmware, and it now has the automatic shutter speed depending on focal length I suggested them to implement. It’s not as good as on Leica since I can’t select focal length multiplier, but for most purposes, it’s excellent as it is. I wish they’d add the same thing to all their cameras since it’s completely doable (please…) While updating it, Fujifilm could add the focal length multiplier (1*f, 1,5*f, 2*f) as well.

Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF 18-55 mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS

While my Leica M9 feels like made for street photography and it’s so awesome to use, X-Pro2 is from another decade in technical terms. They both are capable of excellent photos and if anything is missing, it’s user fault. Both cameras feel like they’re made to last and Fujifilm is the one getting new features all the time – for free! Not to mention you’ll still have both of your kidneys after staying in Fujifilm camp. If I wasn’t very fortunate in my business endeavours and money was an issue, I’d probably stay out of Leica path. First you buy the M9 and you end up with having the Noctilux costing more than a new car, among many other Leica necessities. It’s nice to be somewhat invisible with a small camera, allowing taking photographs in public easier. It’s not a myth that people are scared of huge DSLR combos.

To sum things up, I’d stay that I’m very happy with just about everything from Fujifilm I have. The lenses and cameras, all of which have been very inexpensive when bought 2nd hand, are all so much better than similarly priced gear from other manufacturers. I’m not a fanboy, but I’m very pleased with manufacturers that do not abandon their product once the new model is released. It makes sense to keep everything since it’s being constantly updated (even lenses get new firmware). I still use the old X-Pro1 and the first lens made, the XF 35 mm F1.4 R, since they’re magical.

Fujifilm X100T review and why it is still relevant after X100F release

Fujifilm X100T with 23 mm F2 fixed lens (35 mm equivalent)

I have owned a Fujifilm X100T for a couple of years now. I haven’t written a review about it just because there are plenty of those already on the web, many of them better I would ever write. What started me with this article was the release of the new version X100F, which was said to be improved in almost every way. The X100F is technically a better camera than X100T, I don’t deny that, but let’s dig deeper. A short disclaimer about the photos I’ll post with this article: I’m writing this on flu, and it’s winter outside anyway, so it’s better to delve into old photos of my X100T. The pictures I picked are as is, without processing in Adobe Lightroom, because I’m having network trouble with my photos collection and can use only the unmodified photos taken at the time. Maybe that’s for the better as you’ll see how the X100T looks like, not what Adobe Lightroom is capable of. I have been using Classic Chrome film emulation for some of the photos and to me it sometimes really looks like the real thing, but without the grain.

Fujifilm has implemented a kind of Kaizen philosophy to their products. Kaizen means continuous improvement, but improving also includes the products they have sold, even the very old ones. Fujifilm has released firmware updates for timeworn cameras whereas some other manufacturers do not support their product after the next best thing is released. They’ll do the best they can to improve the old cameras to the point the hardware allows. I understand that they have business interests not to introduce every new invention to all old cameras also, but everything that you felt wrong about any Fujifilm camera when it was released has been more or less fixed later, only limited by the hardware (e.g. lack of phase detection points for autofocus). The best example is the X-Pro1 which is now entirely different camera compared to what it was when first released. I have not checked the current price for 2nd hand Fujifilm X100T, but I’m sure there are good deals around now that people are upgrading to the latest model. What many do not understand that releasing a new model does not render the old model obsolete, it is as good camera as it was before the new version was released, now only significantly less expensive.

The X100T has internal ND filter and both leaf and electronic shutter so you can shoot in bright conditions at full aperture if you want. I’m not a fan of ND filters you screw on your lens since these seem to cause trouble, more or less depending on focal length. Switching on the internal ND filter can be assigned to a button, so it’s very easy to use. One other as useful feature is the macro capability meaning that you get good closeups as well. Although the lens is fixed and the focal length is 23 mm, these additional features widen the capacity of the camera.

For Fujifilm X100T this means that it does not feel like an old camera, although having been released on September 10, 2014. Compared to how other manufacturers use planned obsolescence to get you to upgrade, the X100T does not feel as old as it is. When comparing technical specifications with X100T and X100F, the most important new features of X100F come from X-Pro2 or X-T2, and to be honest; you’ll do just fine without them. The megapixel race is still continuing, and unless there is image stabilisation involved, I would not put more than 16 megapixels on an APS-C sized sensor. For full frame, the sweet spot seems to be 24 megapixels like on my Leica M240. On X100T the 16-megapixel image is 4896 x 3264 pixels in size, while the newer camera has the 24-megapixel sensor. I don’t know how large your prints need to be, but for my purposes this is fine.

I am always using my X100T with a single centre focus point. Since it does not have joystick nor touch screen, I do what I’m used to with my Leica’s – focus and recompose. Autofocus speed is very fast when used in this manner, and since you have a fixed 23 mm lens, you’re probably not going to shoot sports or wildlife with it anyway. The new X100F has the same lens from what I’ve heard, and since the 23 mm F2.0 is already a bit soft at certain distances (but not too soft to be any real problem), I don’t see anything gained by adding more megapixels to the image. It’ll only mean you’ll have to use higher shutter speeds to get sharp pictures. I haven’t shot with X100F, but X100T is good enough with high-ISO and for photos that matter, base ISO is what counts to me. I don’t need 50 million grainy pixels at ISO 4 million or whatever the trend is now, and I am having a hard time thinking why should you either.

Fujifilm has always been quite good at higher ISO because the noise and grain it has tends to be monochromatic involving only luminance, which is easier to remove if you want to do so. Colour noise, however, is much harder to get rid of and usually causes the photo to be blotchy, wax-like or like watercolour. My Sony cameras are terrible in this department because every time there is noise, there is also some additional colour that wasn’t there.

Is there something you miss by purchasing the older model? Faster focusing is maybe the biggest issue, but if you’re like me and like to zone focus or use even manual focusing, that slight increase in speed might not be a problem at all. To be honest, if you’re looking for speed, why not buy the X-Pro2 or similar and have the incredible Fujifilm lenses in your arsenal as well. The X100T and the new X100F is about having a fixed focal length masterpiece with optical hybrid viewfinder making the camera unique. It’s fun to use, tiny and the battery lasts well for its size. The X100F has few interface changes and new menu, but who uses menus anyway? The ISO dial and one assignable dial are nice, but so far I haven’t missed them. Fujifilm X100T weighs only 440 grammes with battery and memory card, meaning that it’s the best thing when you’re stepping up from smartphones. I have iPhone 6S Plus and Huawei P9 with Leica dual cameras (one of which is B&W only) and while they are good and can take RAW images, there’s still so much you’ll gain by using a real camera like the X100T. There is only one thing that I miss in X100T, and that is weather resistance, or even better, weather sealing. I don’t swim with it, but the weather in Finland can sometimes be intolerant to digital cameras.

My Fujifilm X-Pro2 experience so far

Initially, I wasn’t as impressed with my Fujifilm X-Pro2
I got in August 2016. I have several native lenses for it as well as too many to count vintage lenses in different mounts. However, this article about X-Pro2 is with its native lenses, not with old lenses in any other mount. I’m primarily a Leica shooter, but since my Leica M TYP 240 and Leica 50 mm Noctilux-M F0.95 ASPH. have been in Solms, Germany for calibration since the beginning of December, I’ve been photographing mostly with the X-Pro2 due to claimed weather resistance my only Leica at home currently, the M9, does not have.

I started using the X-Pro2 in September when it was already autumn, leaves started falling, and the temperature was steadily going towards freezing point. The weather during autumn was many times not survivable by a camera that does not have any weather resistance and of those that do, like my Sony a7R, I think I’d have totalled it again. I’m so glad it has a 5-year warranty as it does need it (it claims to have weather resistance when in reality it has none, although they fix it under warranty). The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is even better in weather resistance department compared to Fujifilm X-T1 before it. It was supposed to be okay, but after some time the door hiding HDMI and Micro-USB connectors started protruding from the body and it was impossible to seal it properly. It’s a known manufacturing flaw in X-T1, and I haven’t contacted Fujifilm about it, because I fixed it by taping over the connectors behind the door, making it making as weather resistant as it was. Optical viewfinder sometimes comes handy when you simply don’t see anything in the dark with the EVF, unless of course you disable the preview picture functionality and have good EVF again. I needed to read a book to learn that. The optical viewfinder also hides the fact that since it’s been raining horizontally, none of your pictures shows anything but blur or flare. So when raining, I always change to EVF to see the result better.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 has been splendid in winter also. One thing my Sony a7R does not handle at all is low temperature. It can deplete two full batteries in a battery grip in 12 minutes (recording 1080p video). I haven’t seen any measurable drop in battery performance when using the camera in freezing temperatures, and that’s way below the Fujifilm’s promised -10 celsius. I have used mostly WR lenses, but since there isn’t a WR lens for every purpose, I’ve used the 18-55 mm kit lens, etc. as well. I don’t know what paradise island Fujifilm engineers spend their days on, but I’m living in a place that gets less sunlight than 99,7% of the world’s population (not a joke!). I’d be euphoric to see WR versions of the 18-55 mm F2.8-4.0 and the 35 mm F1.4 (maybe the t23 mm F1.4 also). Of all the zooms available for Fujifilm, only the 18-55 mm is of some use during winter. Others run out of light so quickly. The 16-55 mm F2.8 is large, and while weather resistant, it lacks the image stabilisation, so it’s unusable during winter (F2.8 means at least ISO 6400) An F1.4 lens is usually ISO 1600, depending on focal length and therefore shutter speed of course). In the city centre there is enough light to survive with “lesser” lenses, but anywhere else you’re out of luck with an F2.0 and APS-C.

Lenses are where my biggest problem lies with the Fujifilm system. I’m mainly a Leica shooter and have several lenses between F0.95 and F1.4. The full frame Leica is also very easy to use handheld, and it does not shake, producing pin-sharp photos almost always. When I was using the 16-megapixel versions of the Fujifilm cameras, I did not notice the problem of blurred photos, although different season helped there a bit also. I have noticed that the 1/f rule for selecting your minimum shutter speed is not even nearly enough to make sharp 24-megapixel photographs with the Fujifilm X-Pro2. And since the weather resistant lenses are F2.0, my photos are often at very high ISO and look awful when compared to even the old Leica M9, which somehow manages to take ISO 160 photographs in the dark. From my experience the real minimum shutter speed using Fujifilm X-Pro2 is 1/2f, and even then the focal length must be converted to full frame first. For 35 mm lens, the minimum is 1/100, any less than that and not one of your photos will be sharp. For Leica M9, the similar minimum is 1/30, or 1/45 if you have light to spare (or use M240 with the 24-megapixel sensor instead of “just” 18). Now you probably catch my point about the one stop difference in lens speed, which isn’t as irrelevant as YouTube reviews usually say. The sun rises after 10 and sets 4 hours later, and all that time it stays behind mountains and clouds, so even the brightest moment of the day isn’t that bright. Not to mention that it’s time of day when I usually have other things to do such as work.

Maybe I’m spoiled with my Leica lenses, but I’ve also noticed that the new WR F2.0 lenses (35 mm and especially the 23 mm) are softer than they should be. Even the 18-55 mm kit lens seems to get sharper results, although there’s the issue with shutter speed and lack of image stabilisation again. The kit lens is also an unfound gem since I just compared it to what Sony has to offer and it’s mindblowing how much better Fujifilm is. It’s the zoom lenses, in fact, that surprise me with their image quality more than the prime lenses. When photographing city streets, I’m using my camera always handheld, so monopods or similar are of no help. What helps is either a fast lens or image stabilisation, preferably former. I have to use the lenses wide open most of the time since there isn’t enough light. When using the prime lenses for Fujifilm, I have to crank up the shutter speed, and since it’s always dark, the ISO values go to smartphone quality territory. I’m sorry to say that I don’t see a point in increasing high-ISO values if the highest good values still hover around the same level, slightly depending on the camera. For most modern cameras it’s ISO 800-1600. Fujifilm is one of the best in this department because the image noise is monochromatic in nature, but it still does not look like the “film grain” on my M9, which should be abysmal camera by technical specifications in 2017. When photographing in low light, Fujifilm seems to miss a lot of detail in the shadows for some reason. It’s mainly the colour detail that is wrong or missing, but that may be just my RAW converter’s fault (Adobe Lightroom).

At daylight Fujifilm is excellent, and none of the native lenses for the X-mount is bad or even below overall average among manufacturers. I don’t know where you’re own quality level lies, but with Fujifilm, I have to take into account the fact that all lenses are available 2nd hand for only a few hundred euros. I know a 2500 € zoom lens for Sony full frame might be better (apart from the gigantic size) or know for a fact that the Leica 50 mm Summilux-M F1.4 ASPH. or the Leica 35 mm Summilux-M F1.4 ASPH. is a lens none of the Fujifilm lenses can hold a candle to, not to mention the Leica 50 mm Noctilux-M F0.95 ASPH. which is mindblowing at night.

Why this article if I did not have any photos to show you nor tell you anything useful? Well, I did. If you are not blessed with the sunshine like most of the planet and struggle with image sharpness on an APS-C sensor sized camera, please try using 1/2f as your minimum shutter speed. For a 23 mm lens on 1,5 crop sensor that turns out to be 1/23*1,5*2, which means on Fujifilm X-Pro2 you’ll use either 1/60 or 1/80 at the minimum. When I was using my X-Pro2 like my Leica, saying 1/40 or so as minimum shutter speed for a 23 mm lens, none of my photos was sharp, not even when standing still when taking the picture.

It takes about one year to master a new camera or a unique lens to a degree, so I’d say I’m still in the learning phase with the X-Pro2. I can’t do the same things with it I’m used to with my Leica cameras, but the same can be said about Leicas that do not have zoom lenses, for instance. Walking around with my Leica and the same lens day in day out makes photographing with it very natural, and the same cannot be yet said about the X-Pro2 just because I’m not entirely satisfied with the quality I get. It’s not the camera’s fault, it’s mine, just to clear things up. I like manual focusing a lot more than automatic since only then I have full control of what should be in focus. Photographing with wide open aperture in dark using automatic focusing makes things difficult because often you’d like the camera to focus to infinity or use hyperfocal focusing, but that’s not easy with digital lenses that have a fly-by-wire focus ring. With a manual Leica lens all that is walk in a park.

An Hour of Street Photography with Fujifilm X-Pro2

First things first

This is not a review of Fujifilm X-Pro2, because there are enough of those already. I did not shoot brick walls or measure anything, but took the camera with me to the streets. It’s no surprise to my friends and followers that I own a lot of different cameras and lenses. It’s a hobby, so I tend to take out different cameras and lenses out on a different day, depending on mood, weather and destination. My normal day consists of walking my way to work and back in the city center of Jyväskylä. My apartment is in the walking district, so all events and people are very, very close and going shooting doesn’t require a car nor bus. I walk 4 to 10 km every day (sans weekends), the average being around 5,8 km.

I carry a camera with me always. If I don’t have a real camera with interchangeable lenses, at least I have my iPhone 6S Plus. Not exactly ideal, but two rules:

  • The best camera is the one you have with you
  • A camera in the bag stays in the bag

I know it’s easy to take out a camera from your bag (or at least from mine), but you know you won’t unless there is something really special and chances are the moment went by while you were digging out the camera. This happens all the time to me unless I am holding the camera I have or have it at least on a neck or shoulder strap. Even the iPhone in my pocket won’t get used that much and when it does, it’s probably too late. I don’t “spray and pray” with my camera and most days I don’t take any photos just because there isn’t anything catching my eye or I’m too busy doing something else.

Early September day in Finland

Yesterday I had my Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujifilm 35 mm F1.4 lens with me. Nothing else, so no zooming, no huge resolution for cropping images and all the possibilities and limitations of the X-Trans sensor, which does not use the Bayer filter normally used in digital cameras today. X-Pro2 does not have an antialiasing filter either, meaning that Fujifilm is expecting the X-Trans sensor layout to handle Moiré effects. More on that later.


The old 35 mm F1.4 lens for Fujifilm is in my opinion better than the new weather resistant (not sealed), smaller and less expensive F2 version. It does not need software correction and has a lot more pleasing quality to it (software correction does not equal good optics). It’s the first Fujifilm X mount lens ever released and its autofocus is slower than on new Fujifilm lenses, although it’s now a lot better thanks to firmware updates Fujifilm has provided. It’s not exactly first choice when people think of portrait lenses, but I’ve found it very good in that respect. I have several full frame cameras, but I don’t feel like I absolutely need a 85 mm F1.2 on a full frame to be able to shoot portraits. On Fujifilm the closest lens to that is the 56 mm F1.2, which is effectively a 85 mm F1.8 on the Fujifilm crop sensor. I haven’t bought the lens as I have several 50 to 58 mm manual lenses that are enough for the job, if needed. Anyway, yesterday I had the 35 mm F1.4, which has a field of view like a 50 mm F2.0 on a full frame camera (or whatever, looks good to me). I haven’t used the X-Pro2 a lot yet, since I had (and still have) the X-Pro1 until last week. X-Pro2 is very much like the X-Pro1, meaning that it’s easy to get good white balance and better colors. Although it’s supposed to have 14 bit RAW images, I get too many blown highlights than I’m used to with for example my Leica M9 or Leica M240. 

How to get models for portrait shooting if you’re into it? Just ask people on the street. It’s a good way to make new friends, have more social contact outside your workplace and step outside your comfort zone. Asking doesn’t hurt and it gets easier the more you do it. It’s surprising how many like a photo taken and see it how it looks like with a good camera and lens instead of a smartphone. No, I don’t ask people for portraits when I have only my iPhone with me.


Although it’s early days of September in Finland and therefore early autumn, the days are still bright enough to be a bit troublesome for the X-Pro2 in the hands of a person who has used it only for a week. Whenever there’s sky somewhere and I don’t expose the image to highlights, the sky gets easily blown out. The photo above isn’t the best example, since it’s what is left after editing the blown out sky. I will have to practise more with this camera to get more consistent results, since I know it’s a better camera than I see now. I’m too used to my Leica M9 and M240, the first of which is very much film like and even though it does not have even near the dynamic range of the new X-Pro2, it’s still a very capable camera I absolutely love. Thankfully I don’t skimp on the back screen and look at the photos only if I have asked someone to have a picture taken and then show it. Deleting photos based on the 3″ screen is a very bad habit and it slows you down. Editing and deleting are best done on a computer, so I expect the camera act like a film camera, I see the results later.


It’s not unusual to see events in the walking district in the center of Jyväskylä. At least during summer there is something happening almost every week and even when there isn’t, it’s still more or less full of people, being a beautiful place without cars. Yesterday it was beginning of a fashion weekend, so that gathered people even more than Pokemon Go does.


REAGL Capoeira Jyväskylä (with Leandro Silva) was performing yesterday on Kompassi (or Compass) in the centre of walking district. I did not spend enough time there to see what other there was yesterday (or today, since the event is still continuing). Nice to see something else than below average street players or “beggars” (organized crime if you ask me) for a change.

Seeing X-Trans sensor’s ugly side


The image above is an example of a subject very difficult for Fujifilm X-Trans sensor. If you zoom the image to 100%, you can see that the background screen is rendered in an absolutely horrible way. I used latest Adobe Lightroom to process the RAW image, so I don’t know if there is a software that could salvage an image like that. But to be honest, this wouldn’t be an easy task for any camera with enough resolution. For comparison, I took an iPhone shot of the same stage. The lights were blown out on a Bayer sensor as well and the background screen looks bad, although not as bad due to lack of resolution and sharpness.

More thoughts on X-Pro2

Maybe I should post a more thorough article about the Fujifilm X-Pro2 when I’m done training with it. I still feel like an amateur with it and do not always get the result I expect. It’s not the camera’s fault, I just am more used to my old Leica’s and manual focusing. I get even focusing and depth of field wrong more often on the X-Pro2 than I do on the Leica M240, just because it handles differently and I’m not using the X-Pro2 on fully manual mode, which I maybe should. I might update this article later with more photos, since I took plenty during the one hour shooting. I’m now just too tired to edit more photos for the web.

Update: There is a follow-up to this article released in January 2016. I will write more about my experiences with this camera now and then after I’ve got a feeling I’ve learned something new about it. After only a few months the only major thing apart from the X-Trans sensor challenges is the vulnerability to optical shake. In my opinion, this was introduced with the 24-megapixel sensor, meaning that the pixel density is causing the trouble. The way to avoid this is to use higher shutter speed, or optical image stabilisation provided your lens has it. I love my Leica’s, but when it comes to autofocus, Fujifilm is the next best thing.