Fuji The X100-S

Joey Wilson

Regular
Mar 19, 2012
WHAT IF . . . . . you could gang the manual focus to a ring on the lens (as we're all used to), it worked as fast as you turned that ring, instead of the manual focus Fuji runs at present where you have to turn the control ring on the back (which seems as slow as turning the combination dial on a safe !). This would be a lot easier re-do for Fuji, could easily be assigned on a future cam with software command. I would not think a new manual focus camera is on their short list, but what the hey, who ever figured they would launch the XCams?

As you turn this ring, you put the cross indicator on the target, and it turns green when you've got it. Would not be the traditional 'combining images' of a mechanical rangefinder, but it would work as well. 'Match-needle' focus, if you will. I would think this could also be made to work in both modes of the visual / EVF window of the 100 and XP1 type cameras.

One thing Fuji could do to help me AF-wise in a future software update? I usually run my X10 at Auto800 ISO, and invariably the camera wants to default to the understandable combinations of higher shutter / bigger apertures. Of course on the X10 this gets me lots of f2's and f2.8's, where the DOF is pretty thin. I'll get the hang of aiming more precisely and jiggling the ISO's to favor smaller f-stops, but that's not always do-able. So if they could shift the bias to smaller f's and slower shutters (not a real problem with short focal lengths in a stabilized, lightweight camera), I wouldn't complain.

All the Best,

Joey Wilson
 

Boid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
Bangalore, India
Rajiv
As you turn this ring, you put the cross indicator on the target, and it turns green when you've got it. Would not be the traditional 'combining images' of a mechanical rangefinder, but it would work as well. 'Match-needle' focus, if you will. I would think this could also be made to work in both modes of the visual / EVF window of the 100 and XP1 type cameras.
Holy smokes Batman, ths is an exciting line of thought! But wouldn't you still be relying on Fuji's contrast detection AF system for it to work?
 

Boid

All-Pro
Dec 15, 2011
Bangalore, India
Rajiv
I think more often than not, the problem with AF especially with the OVF in the Fuji's is one is not sure if it locked on properly until you look at the image, the rangefinder spot on the other hand gives you the idea that it was right on, still can miss but the miss could be closer. I have very little problems getting either my XPro1 or X100 to hook up when I am using the corrected AF setting. Also are you using the latest firmware AF speed especially up close has improved.
Try picking up a vintage Leica M 2,3 or 4 and see how quick and accurate your results are, there is certainly no better rangefinders than them. I think you will be surprised. I grew up using manual focus SLRs and even at my advanced years they feel more natural to use to me. Every time I use a true rangefinder it takes awhile to get the hang of focus, recompose shoot. Two avoid one of those steps, is why most rangefinder street shooters focus by zone, if you set the X100 to manual you can do that too

Secondly like I said before talk on these forums does not make for a large market to sell cameras to. Many manufactures have made modern film rangefinders like your example of the Fuji 670, or the Fuji 690s, some even with interchangeable lenses like the Mamiya 6 and 7, they just did not sell. Most love them until they forget about the parallax issues or become frustrated with the viewfinder with longer lenses or having to use an external viewfinder for wide lenses. They are niche cameras, with a small audience, compare the number of Mamiya RZs sold to the Mamiya 6s. Versatility usually wins out in the end even if people do use all that the system slrs provide. They might not do bird photos, but they like now they can.
The Fuji rangefinders were made to be modern cameras that bring up some hints of the past, I like the body form but yes they are not true rangefinders.

Lastly I am driving a manual shifting performance car again, for many it makes them feel more connected to the driving experience, but in all honesty my last car had a DSG transmission and I miss it and my next will have DSG again. The DSG is faster, one still has to shift but with an auto clutch you can be smoother and concentrate on the rest of the car's controls, I bring this up because for me, AF accomplishes the same thing, the manual art of focusing does not help me to slow down or think more or be more creative or even shoot less to make a better image, all manual focus is for me is an extra step in the way of shooting. To each his own.
Bob, I agree with Luke. Your analogy about stick shifts is spot on. I get your point completely. There is a whole generation of photographers (much like me) who haven't shot with rangefinders and who haven't really shot film either. Fujifilm's rather elegant OVF projects reworked frame-lines to show the final frame of the shot, so parallax is not as big an issue while framing a shot. And I imagine a camera like that wouldn't really be meant for macro work. To a new bunch of photographers like me, who are eager to explore rangefinder cameras, Leicas seem quite a daunting proposition. It's a 'system' that needs too much study to get into on limited resources. The only options are the RD1s and the M8. Film is not really an option for me, that would be a version of stick shift which would involve changing gears by sticking my hand outside the window of the car!

A camera in the price range and performance of the X100 would make a perfect rangefinder. Unless Fuji can miraculously implement Joey's fantastic solution.
 

Joey Wilson

Regular
Mar 19, 2012
Yes, Boid, you would be using whatever AF is in the camera, but with this distinction: YOU'd be selecting the point of aim, just as if you were using a mechanical rangefinder. If this is a do-able thing, the idea was that

a) it could be incorporated into an X100-like cam, where you would now have four choices: AF or MF with the OVF, and then flip the selector and you'd have AF or MF with the EVF, at eye level (or on the LCD on the back), and . . .

b) the manual focusing is ganged to the ring on the lens, and it works in 'real time', as if this were a mechanical linkage, and you get to skip the admittedly 'limp home' speed of the manual focus as it now stands. I think this would alleviate the AF problem that no matter how good the IQ is, it never thinks through a scene the way I do, or you do: It's not that it's out of focus mechanically, it just picked the wrong spot in the scene to lock onto, and the good stuff wound up just out of the depth of field, etc.

I'm no engineer, and for all I know, I'm proposing a moon shot. But the pieces are all there: Focus ring, focus indicators in the screens, a different mode of manual focus. Now if those could be staged in such a manner as to feedback to the AF circuits, voila.
With this in place on a future XPro, Leica would surely ship all their new cameras with blank fronts . . . .

I just felt like manual rangefinders will stay specialist, low volume pieces, ala View Cameras. Leica, Zeiss, and Voitlander probably aren't staying up nights worrying about Nikon or Canon or Fuji introducing one. With a system like this, you really could have it both ways, if it's possible. And if it is, it could be applied in lots of cameras without the gamble to the makers of whether or not the market needs a new mechanical rangefinder camera, even if I would buy a reissue Electro 35 or Canonet QL17 first thing in the morning if I could.

Joey Wilson
 

Landshark

PhotoDog
Jul 15, 2010
SoCal
Bob
WHAT IF . . . . . you could gang the manual focus to a ring on the lens (as we're all used to), it worked as fast as you turned that ring, instead of the manual focus Fuji runs at present where you have to turn the control ring on the back (which seems as slow as turning the combination dial on a safe !).
This is only true on the X10 both the X100 and the XPro manual focus is done on the lens it self, with the XPro being faster focus by wire than the X100.

Boid try a vintage film Leica or Nikon S2, they are more reasonable than the M8 or M9, shoot some film and see what it is like, dbl stroke Leica M3 and M2s are easy to find.

My first 35mm was a Minolta HiMatic 7s sort of like an X100 of its day, every camera maker had one. The market just disappeared for them; people either went with a real simple P&S or more advanced SLRs. My eyes are not what they used to be but I loved shooting with a matte ground glass screen in a Nikon, no focusing aids of any kind, just focus on the part of the frame you wanted, I did this for over twenty years, one of the reasons I never got into rangefinders, I never liked the focus and recompose style of shooting that focusing aids, rangefinders and early centered AF made you do. The movable/settable target AF has been the most liberating tool of the modern camera, cutting edge technology that lets me shoot like I did when I first started, where composition and timing are the most important controls one exercises while shooting
 

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