The Anti Gear Guy's Gear Guide. #000000000001
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 could overcome all others as my all-time favorite. The Contax G2, a 35mm film camera, currently holds that position. It's a rangefinder style, auto-focus, auto-advance, continuous shooting class act, with stunning Carl Zeiss optics. (people often mistake the images as medium format) It's small, holds only the essential controls, and was built like a cashbox.
Contax went out of business, because of the digital age, and I have been waiting ten years for a digital version of the G2. It's here. Fujifilm made the camera Contax should have.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1. Understand, we are not including top-tear gear ($5K+). If you spend 5 to 50 grand on a system, you're in another league. I am referring to anything I would categorize as an 'everyday camera', a 'walking around camera', or a 'travel camera' or, in other words, a camera that would suit 90% of the shooting world.
I love the benefits of a rangefinder, that's for another post, (it has to do with being left-eyed, and liking the advantage you have of seeing what is just outside the shooting frame...helps to anticipate precise moments, etc, etc, and the physical size is advantageous as well, etc. etc.).
Lag time, the time it takes between pushing the button, and having the scene captured. There has ALWAYS been a painfully slow delay with digital, that's why it took me so long to come around to the format in the first place (that and 90 other reasons). And in the category of cameras below the $5K market, this X-Pro is the first I find to be acceptable. I have tried them all, for the last ten years, and they all failed the lag test for me. All failed. All. I make a big deal about that, because in my mind, if you can't capture the very instant you want to capture, then you are compromising the moment. No discussion.
This camera actually takes the picture when you push the button. Doesn't seem like a lot to ask with a camera, but a computer has to analyze many elements of the scene before it can commit.
[While we're on speed, I would still like to see a faster auto focus, but to be fair, this guy is fast.]
Viewfinders are everything to me. I will go as far to say, if you are shooting with a pixel generated view, you're not taking as good of pictures as you could. How can you see the nuances of light and motion with a computer generated image? I don't care what the resolution. Debate over. The X-Pro has an optical viewfinder--Hallelujah, and it's big, (always an issue with rangefinders), and bright (also, always an issue with rangefinders), and it has good looking, vital info, illuminated within it. 'A' Grade.
File size can also be a deal breaker in my mind. Do you really want to shoot a pulitzer prize photograph and be forced to stretch a blow-up software to it's limits, to meet the printers' acceptable standard? No. Once you get to around the 20mb-ish size, you don't have to sweat it out. This Pro1 has 16M.
The picure quality is there, and I will say that the sensor deals with extreme highlights better than my Canon horse ($$$$). The newest digital cameras have the auto setting to deal with highlight blowouts. FINALY digital has solved that embarrassing shortcoming.
Lastly, it's a good looking camera, and feels good in my hands. It's aluminum case meets the pro equipment standards. It may even be 'soup proof' (the term derives from a time I was spilled a delicious tomato bisque on my G2) All of those assets are huge in my mind.
The overall design is a bit of a paradox, the top of the camera is simple (just the way I like it) and has engraved numbers (just the way I like it. LCD readouts--"peh." ), It has almost a Holga look to it, I think that's because the numbers are big, (borderline horsey), but the back of the camera, has the busyness of any digital camera. Happily, there aren't too many buttons on the thing. Too few, and you'd be scrolling your life away through the menus, so it's a good balance in my mind. One gripe, it's a little crowded with buttons around my right thumb. (Fuji, call me.)
There are three interchangeable lenses for it, and they are fast and they are sharp. 18mm F2, 35mm F1.4, 60mm F2,4. The 18mm is pictured above.
If you need more details and photos, Google it. I could hunt around for it and post it here, but remember, I'm the Anti Gear Guy's Gear Guide-r, and there are plenty of gear pushers out there who spend the time dissecting the equipment.
DISCLAIMER: I can not spell. I have accepted it and I hope you the reader will as well. I feel really bad about it, so I am remorseful.