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)