Awards & Reviews
Born in Aichi in 1956. He worked as a medical social worker before becoming an all-time nature photographer. His wide range of subjects covers from nature you see everyday to landscapes and auroras, and his delicate but strong photographs have a creative touch. His series of the aurora-landscape combination are highly acclaimed from abroad, and have been featured in many media such as camera magazines, outdoor activity magazines and calendars. A member of Japan Professional Photographers Society and the Society of Scientific Photography.
I have used many cameras to take photographs of natural scenery. They were mainly single-lens reflex cameras but I have also used X100. When I heard about X-Pro1, I simply thought it was an extension of X100.
When I actually took hold of X-Pro1, I felt its weight on my hands. The atmosphere it created and the way it felt when I held it told me X-Pro1 was completely different from X100. If X100 was a “young man”, X-Pro1 would be a dandyish “elder man”. It presented itself as an “ultra-premium” compact digital camera.
However, my first impressions of it proved to be wrong during my first shooting. “It was impolite of me to refer to it as a ‘compact digital camera’. X-Pro1 didn't just compare favorably with single-lens reflex cameras, but it far exceeded its quality. You shouldn't underestimate it!”
My first shooting with X-Pro1 was in Nagano in December. I went to my own special place where I could gaze at stars scattered across the sky in the opening between 1,300m high mountains. You can see Betelgeuse of Orion, Sirius of Canis Major and Procyon of Canis Minor shaping the “Winter Triangle” in the tense atmosphere of -10°C. Thousands of stars, the winter Milky Way and the diffuse nebula shine brightly in the clear sky.
I started out by taking photographs of the Winter Triangle with some trees in the background. I was simply amazed at the shots taken in a short amount of time at a shutter speed of 30 seconds. “Look at how natural the stars appear.” Stars that were difficult to be captured with compact cameras were reproduced beautifully. The glowing clouds reflecting town lights also appeared in soft colors.
Since it is difficult to bring the camera into focus when shooting celestial objects, usually, computers or equatorial telescopes are used, but all X-Pro1 had to do in this shooting was to adjust the focal length to ∞. It is no different to shooting any other landscape. It even reproduced the orange color of Betelgeuse, the blue color of Rigel and the white color of Sirius.
Each stellar image drawing fine dots shows how good the quality of the lenses is. Sometimes stars could appear as a glowing blur on your computer at home, even though it looked like it showed many stars on the LCD monitor. With X-Pro1, you can see genuine “stars”. It also has a superb total balance of colors.
“It could match up with high-quality single-lens reflex cameras.”—I took X-Pro1 differently after only 30 seconds of taking photographs of stars.
One shooting was not enough for me, and I soon went on to my second one. I set the shutter speed to 3-4 minutes for long-time exposure for my next photo session with the winter Milky Way and the diffuse nebula.
The red stars of the Rosette Nebula shaped like a rose are difficult for cameras with low-pass filters to capture because the red wavelength gets cut off. I was excited about how those stars would appear with X-Pro1, a camera without low-pass filters installed.—X-Pro1 reproduced them well!
It easily captured objects that the human eye could not see in the short exposure time of 3 minutes. It reproduces a world that could not be made possible with compact digital cameras. These are what make X-Pro1, a camera with descriptive details that exceeds that of single-lens reflex cameras, appealing.
What's more, the optical viewfinder does its job.
Hardly any of the stars, other than the 3 bright ones, are visible with the LCD monitor or the electronic viewfinder. I took my position looking directly through the optical viewfinder and pressed on the shutter. After checking the images that I took, I slightly adjusted the position of my camera and the direction of the lenses. These small actions reminded me of old cameras and the pleasure of photography.
Even when taking photographs with ISO1000 or 1600, you wouldn't recognize from the fine details that it was set at such high sensitivity. High sensitivity has become normal. The 18mm lens would work well when shooting landscapes and the 35mm lens when you want to capture a certain constellation. You could set the aperture to maximum or 1 to 2 stop down. Slightly stopped down aperture creates a sharp image of the stars.
Tones that could be reproduced with films were difficult to do so digitally, but the photograph on the right shows that X-Pro1 could reproduce tones in a wide dynamic range from bright to dark areas. The photograph below was an unexpected outcome. When I pressed the shutter without switching off the red LED headlight, it created this cosmic image.
Awards & Reviews