As has become customary on this site of mine, I always end up writing a little about using vintage lenses on the newly released Fujifilm gear. With the release of the X-Pro3, this is no different! – In fact with the X-Pro3 I feel that it’s more relevant than ever since Fujifilm put some nice little features in the camera to aid in using our manual focus glass. Be they vintage or modern.
I love to shoot vintage glass. In fact it’s the reason why I started this blog in the first place back in 2012. I wanted to spread my joy of photographing with the old lenses to as many people as possible. So whenever I get to blog a little bit about this it’s really enjoyable for me.
You can read my full rundown of the X-Pro3 here, if you haven’t already. and you can also read about the X-Pro2 vintage’d or about the X-T1 vintage’d to get the mood going. The X-T series offer a great vintage lens shooting experience because of the big EVF, and the X-Pro2 let’s you use the small EVF pop-up window to focus for the first time. But that was many years ago by now, and Fujifilm has once again stepped up the game, so let’s have a look at what’s new with the X-Pro3 for those of you who have the same urge as me – That is, to shoot vintage lenses on modern digital cameras.
Fujifilm only makes one adapter themselves. It’s the Leica M to Fujifilm X mount adapter. It is by far the nicest one on the market, and it has a button on it that takes you straight to the “lens registration menu” which is where Fujifilm did most of the work on the X-Pro3. This also means that the best experience you can get with the vintage lenses is using Leica M mount lenses. I use some old Canon LTM and some Voigtländers as well as some Leica lenses. Obviously these lenses look right at home on the X-Pro3s rangefinder styled body shape.
All the shots in the gallery above are shot on The X-Pro3 with Classic Neg. film simulation and the Zeiss 45mm f/2 for Contax G. Make sure to click the gallery to see them big.
Focusing help – The nice yellow peak!
Not too many cameras ago, Fujifilm expanded the focus aid menu by adding the yellow color to the colours which you can choose in the “Focus Peak” menu. The yellow color is to me the best color for peaking by far! So when I saw it show up in the X-H1 (and subsequently XT3 and XT30) I was really pleased. Compared to the X-Pro2, you now also the yellow color available as a color option. I addition to the red, blue, white and yellow “Focus peak” you also have the “digital split” and “digital prism” as well as “standard” modes. Standard is basically nothing…so.. yeah… I don’t use that. The prism and split are nice but also a little gimmicky, and they serve no serious use if you ask me.
The Hybrid viewfinder
There are so many great things to say about the hybrid viewfinder of the X-Pro line. The fact that it is not a true rangefinder, but only a viewfinder with electronic overlay, may be a hindrance to using “true manual focus” using a rangefinder coupled lens system, such as the Leica M system, but that is about the only downside. If you have ever tried to adapt any non M-mount lenses to a Leica M system, you will find yourself confined to the rear screen or, even worse, an external EVF that is slow and cumbersome!
With the X-Pro2 Fujifilm made a small micro EVF panel that slides into the bottom right hand corner when using the OVF function of the HVF. This little window will show you the centre square where you can then see the focus peaking aid and adjust focus all while framing using the OVF framelines. This makes it possible to adapt any imaginable lens to the system and still be able to use the OVF portion of the finder.
In the video below I tried to show you how this works.
If the OVF isn’t your thing then you can switch the viewfinder into pure EVF mode with the flick of a switch. And THAT is the genius thing about the Hybrid viewfinder. You have a choice. You decide. You have so much flexibility at your fingertips. Why Leica hasn’t copied this way of thinking yet, is beyond me.
The new EVF panel in the X-Pro3 is gorgeous. You now have 0.66x magnification, unmatched 5000:1 contrast ratio as well as super brightness. The digital focusing aids have never looked better or worked more precise. It’s seriously a joy to use.
The NEW lens registration menu.
When using vintage lenses or manual focus lenses on the Fujifilm X series, the central menu point has always been the “Lens Registration” menu. In this menu you can choose the focal length of your lenses and even adjust for vignetting and distortion. It’s really neat. As I wrote further up, you can access this quickly from Fujifilms own Leica M to Fujifilm X adapter by pressing the button on the adapter itself, but if you’re using other 3rd party adapters you can just assign the menu to a function button.
The focal length that you set in this menu will determine the framelines in the OVF, so it’s pretty important to set it right if you want to use that function.
The very cool and NEW thing with the lens registration menu in the X-Pro3 is that you can now FINALLY name your lenses. You can store up to 6 lenses at a time. And the info you put into this menu will actually get written into the metadata. So now you finally have this info without having to remember or write down the lens used, using an exif editor before importing etc etc. This little thing is just such a welcome feature! I’m already completely in love with it. It’s just what I wished for.
Since there is no digital connection between these lenses and the camera, you will still not get info in your metadata about what aperture you used, which is something that will never happen.
The vintage lenses look crazy cool on the X-Pro3. It’s not important to image quality and image output, but I just love it if my gear looks nice! It makes me want to carry it with me everywhere, in term giving me more picture opportunities and better images. So to me it matters!
The Titanium color of the DuraSilver X-Pro3 looks really great with old chrome lenses, and especially the old Zeiss lenses for the Contax G system. This is obviously because that system had the same titanium color. It looks really nice, and the lenses are beyond sharp too. So it’s really a win/win.
The old 45mm f/4 from the Fujifilm TX1/XPan (which I wrote about here) also looks right at home on the X-Pro3. I have the black Hasselblad branded version, but I suspect that the champagne/Titanium coloured Fujinon version will fit the X-Pro3 just as beautifully as the Zeiss lenses for Contax.
The lens that I think looks the best on the X-Pro3 is the Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.4. That lens with its silver front ring just looks like it was made for the X-Pro3 in DuraSilver. It’s oh so gorgeous!
Classic Neg. film simulation
Obviously this new film simulation has been the talk of the town surrounding the X-Pro3 launch. The film simulation mimic old negative film and is modelled after the Fujifilm Superia 100 film stock. It is by far the best film simulation that Fujifilm has yet created. It gives off a real old school film vibe when you want it to. It is sensitive to exposure levels, and completely alters its appearance according to under-/overexposure – JUST like old negative film!
The combination of the old film look with the characteristics of the old vintage lenses is a match made in heaven, and will get you even closer to achieving a really unique look in the digital photography realm. I LOVE shooting vintage glass on this new simulation.
We still have Acros for when you want to emulate a really cool black and white film stock. Again, combined with the vintage lenses, your black and whites will have that little something-something to them that you cannot achieve with the perfected image quality of the modern Fujinon XF lenses.
Samples and final words
So if you’re like me, and you love shooting with old lenses to get that unique look as well as shooting with the X-Pro line of cameras, the X-Pro3 just stepped up the game. Especially when you compare it to its predecessor, the X-Pro2.
The addition of yellow focus peaking, the new film Classic Neg. simulation, the much improved EVF and the awesome new function of naming your lenses for metadata directly in camera makes the X-Pro3 a truly enjoyable camera to use for your collection of lenses. I, for one, think it’s close to perfect.
The samples below are all jpegs made in camera, shot using either Classic Neg. or Acros. I used various vintage lenses. (Only a fraction of the ones I own, but still..) They have not been altered in postproduction apart from some spot removals and some cropping.
I have included all metadata in the files, and you can download them individually by clicking the link under each image in the gallery.
Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f/1.4
Leica 50mm f/2 Summicron
Mitakon 35mm f/0.95 mk2 (not exactly vintage, but still manual)
Misc. lenses (Name in the caption)
Hey Jonas. Beautiful pictures, as always, and I love the image quality from the vintage glass/X-Pro3 combo, as well as the aesthetic of the camera when these are paired together. Just beautiful!
Keep up the great work, I’m really enjoying it.
Thank you so much Tim. Glad you liked it. There is a definite charm to using the old lenses. I love it, and I know that I’m not alone in this.
Where can we find/buy Leica M to Fujifilm X mount adapter?
B&H, or basically your typical photography store. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/867543-REG/Fujifilm_16267038_M_Mount_Adapter_for.html
smukt arbejde som altid min danske kompadre!
Hahaha. Thank you so much buddy. our danish is fluent 😉
I find your photos very attractive. It’s very calming. Are you using the darkroom app in ios?
Hey Allan. Thank you so much. Whenever I post stuff to Instgram I run the images through the Darkroom.app to get the white borders around my images. Sometimes I will also edit the images in the app.
Yay – thanks always for sharing, Jonas. One question – when you originally posted the Minolta/GFX50 images and commentary, there was the answered question regarding the Minoltas ability to cover medium format territory. Have you taken them out for a test run with the GFX100? Loved the Midsummer Vibes with the Minolta 58 1.2. Would love to see what happens if you relive your Minolta post with the GFX100. Kind regards.
Hey Scott. Not yet. I don’t have a GFX100 readily available, and I don’t plan on purchasing one. So, maybe sometime in the future if I get to borrow one from Fujifilm Nordic.
Thanks for dedicating a whole section to this topic! I actually use manual lenses more these days, so this article was highly relevant.
One quick question about using the magnified EVF for checking focus in OVF mode: is there still a bit of lag from when you press the shutter to when it takes the photo? On the X-Pro2, the small magnified view would freeze a tiny bit (on half press), and only when it unfreezes would the camera take the actual shot. This made manual focus and the OVF combo very frustrating to use, so I’ve sold the X-Pro2 for the X-T3, as I might as well use a larger EVF for when I use manual lenses.
You’re very welcome Bobo. There is a small lag when you half press the shutter button, yes, But the image is shot instantaneously when full pressing. I experience no lag on the streets with this.
Looks great indeed! Have you tried the Nokton 35mm with a focal reducer or only with a regular converter? (You’re just mentioning the focal reducer with the Helios, which must be for a reason, I guess. Which reducer did you use, btw?)
Hey Pascal. Unfortunately you cannot have a focal reducer for the M lenses. That is because the flange-back distance of those lenses is only about 1 cm longer than the FujiX system, where as the M42 flange back distance of the Helios is 2,5cm longer. – For the focal reducer you need to put lens elements inside the adapter (it’s just like an inverted teleconverter) so the manufacturers need the space to fit the lens elements. – And sadly that is why we can never have Focal reducers for the M mount lenses.
What a wonderful article! You just gave me another reason to justify the purchase of the X-Pro3! Heck not that I needed a big nudge 😉 I’m going to start hunting for lenses. I miss my old Pentax 135mm.
Wow I almost can’t believe that these are SOOC jpegs! I have this insecurity where I feel I need to process my images in some way to make them look good. I hope to fight my insecurity with the X-Pro3 when I eventually upgrade to it.
I can’t wait for my XPro3 to arrive. Of course most of us can only aspire to the kind of results that seem to come almost too easily to you! But at least we’ll know the tool is not the limiting factor on our results.
Fantastic photography and writing,simply inspiring, as always!
Jonas, the photos of your children are always fantastic, they are beautiful and you capture and transmit that beauty (and I am not talking about mere aesthetics) so lovingly in your pictures.
I also shoot almost exclusively vintage lenses and even though I can’t afford an X-Pro3 I still love Fujifilm for the fantastic symbiosis with old glass which it creates.
Fantastic work, Jonas, as always. Those portraits! Beautiful.
I have a question: when you adapt Leica lenses with the Fuji m adapter, you get the usual crop, right? I mean, if a wanted a 35mm field of view I should look for a 24mm Leica lens because of the 2x crop, am I right?
It is a 1.5x crop. So a 35mm lens becomes a 50mm. Not a 70mm.
I enjoyed reading the article very much and yes one thing I found out a very Long time ago when it comes to digital cameras that I would never learn all they can do and I basically use them as if I am still shooting films.I can’t even recall ever shooting a 100 Digital images in a day where as there were time when I would shoot five or six rolled a film all day. More than likely I will purchase the X-Pro3 before the year is out I just have not decided on which color I want. I have the X-Pro2 and I must tell when I saw it I Fell in love with it looks.
However, I don’t see you mention the (dreaded?) crop factor too much.
Do you normally use focal reducers for vintage lenses or do you tend to use them with crop?
And have you tried different focal reducers?
I would suspect they are of different quality as lenses tend to be.
I never comment on blogs but your work is fantastic. Would love to see a live edit one day. Maybe stream on YouTube. Heck you could probably make a tin using patreon just from that !
It is a 1.5x crop. So a 35mm lens becomes a 50mm. Not a 70mm.
Nice article Jonas. I’m considering the X-Pro3 along with the XF 18mm f2 (as my main street/documentary lens) along with one other 35mm (50mm equiv.) for a standard and portrait lens. I’m really drawn to the Voigtlander Nokton 35/1.4 you feature above but the Voigtlander 35/1.2 is lingering in the back of my mind. This leads me to ask 2 questions:
1) Would you find the 1.2 to be worth the value over the 1.4 as a standard/portrait lens taking into consideration the size, weight and price ($650 vs $950). I wasn’t sure if there was a noticeable bokeh or 3D pop difference. 1.2 vs 1.4 is not a consideration for me for low light.
2) Do you find any other adapters to be a good replacement over the X-M adapter? I don’t think it’s a bad adapter but seeing as some adapters have a helicoid adapter to allow close focusing, it might be a good option to have.
Hello Jonas, I am planning to buy a Voigtländer 50mm 1:3.5 Heliar for the x-pro3. Do you happen to have any experience with this lens?
Glad to hear your feedback! Thank you.
Thanks for this article! I primarily use manual focus lenses, so this is incredibly helpful. I have a couple remaining questions:
1. Is it now possible to apply distortion correction for all lenses, or still only when using Fujifilm’s LM-FX adapter?
2. Is it still necessary to manually adjust the frame line brightness depending on the ambient light, or does the X-Pro3 adjust that automatically?
Hello Jonas and thank you very much for your wonderful articles.
I’ve had an X-Pro2 for 3 years, with the usual high-end prime Fujifilm lenses but these have been transferred to a new X-H1. However, I’ve got a Yashinon 50mm f2 and a Takumar SMC 135mm f3.5 – both work wonderfully with the X-Pro2, particularly the Yashinon in B&W.
But I’m still a bit confused regarding the Lens Registration section. With crop sensor, the 50mm becomes 75mm and 135mm = 202mm. Can you, or anyone reading this, please tell me which focal length to register – the lens-specific FL or the 35FF equivalent?
BTW, like a number of your readers, I’ve now taken the plunge and will shortly trade in the X-Pro2 for an X-Pro3. Also, a Voigtlander 40mm f1.4 Classic is on its way to me from Japan. Can’t wait!!
Think I’ve discovered my new favorite photographer! Inspiring work Jonas. Thank You
Jonas, a question about the lens registration menu and the focal lenght: if you’re using a 50mm lens with a regular adaptor the answer is obvious, but if you’re using a 50mm with a focal reducer, what value would you enter in the focal lenght settings of the menu?
What’s a Focal Reducer, Jonas?
Something like this:
What’s your thought on Metabone Contax G adapter ?
Hi Jonas. Thanks for your articles and images.
I have a TX-1 with 45 mm lens. Can you tell me the specific brand of adapter you use for xpan to fuji-x? There is one by kipon and a brand from China called amopofo, but that’s all I can find.