Esure Building, Glasgow Scotland. Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF18mm f/2

Esure Building, Glasgow Scotland. Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF18mm f/2@ 25secs.

The Armadillo, Glasgow Scotland. Fujifilm X-pro1

The Armadillo, Glasgow Scotland. Fujifilm X-pro1 and XF18mm f/2R @ 30secs.

The Hydro, Glasgow Scotland. Fujifilm X-Pro1

The Hydro, Glasgow Scotland. Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF18mm f/2R: 30sec Shutter.

Glasgow Architecture, Scotland. Fujifilm X-Pro1

Glasgow Architecture, Scotland. Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF35mm 1.4R 30sec Shutter.

Jessie-Cat Twins and Door Light

Jessie-Cat Twins and Door Light.

Okay! Not a street shot this time or a model. This is a wedding image of a bridesmaid waiting in the hallway of the house for the bride to leave for the ceremony. Comforted by her two identical cats. The only light is coming from the doorway into the hall. The image is totally natural and not in anyway prompted. Shot with X-Pro1 and XF18mm f/2R.

Shutter Cables for the Fuji X-Pro1

Top: Photo Plus 40cm Cable. Bottom: The Nikon AR-3.

This short review (rant) is by way of frustration in that there is very little on the net about the X-Pro1 and the use of cables for long exposure (Bulb) shooting let alone what to buy; what fits and what doesn't; what's good and what's bad; so this is my experience of the hunt for a decent cable for the X-Pro.

The Gods at Fujifilm didn't see fit to endow the incredible X-Pro1 with the guts to accept an electronic shutter release cable and I'm hoping the replacement for the camera will be fully ensconced in the 21st century with the ability to fire the shutter electronically but in the mean time.....

If you type "shutter cable for X-Pro1" into Dr Google invariably you will be met with a couple of brief lines picked up from dPreview and fujiseries which really don't answer much if you really are in the dark and are looking for an operational bit of kit to simply hold the shutter of your camera open for a determinate time. 

Under the search term "shutter cable for X-Pro1" you will then be met with the Amazoniebay selling a veritable plethora of cables which seem to fit just about anything with a threaded shutter button. Not really a big surprise because the thread of said shutter buttons of the past where in the main, a standard size, so just about anything would have done the trick. In the case of the "retro" designed X-Pro1 this "one size fits all" philosophy of the past has been authentically maintained therefore theoretically any analog wire would work right? Wrong!

The generic cables with the "fits anything" label are for the most part (and I'm speaking from experience) made of inferior materials and there's a good chance you will end up "threading" your shutters cable input threads. Some of them are actually so bad that after two uses the cable sticks so badly you might be forgiven for thinking somebody with a grudge had superglued the inside of your cable. They are that bad.

To cut to the chase (since you probably don't have time to get to my conclusions on the subject) my advise is to stay completely and absolutely away from any of the $7.00 or  £5.00 offerings from the likes of  Amazoniebay; they are simply a waste of time and money.

Do however invest in the beautifully made and completely fit for purpose Nikon (that's right: Nikon) AR-3. Which will not only fit like a glove to your beloved Fuji X-Pro1 but will not strip it's threads on the way back out after usage.
It will also work even when the cable is curved and will not need to be held spirit level straight to operate. It's more expensive at about $15.00 or  £20 but that's the price of things that work.

I know: the picture above makes the cheapo (with it's impressive syringe finger grip) look like it's the real deal right? Nope: it's complete rubbish. So there you have it. Go order your Nikon AR-3. I'm in the UK so I got mine from WexPhotography  If your in the USA you may consider  it more convenient to purchase from B&H

Lensmate Thumbrest for Fujifilm X-Pro1

So I ordered the Thumbrest from Lensmate on the Monday sitting at my Mac from the USA 18.00 GMT. I ordered two items from Amazon at the same time: both items coming apparently from Germany to me in Scotland. The Lensmate thumbrest was in my door and on my camera on Thursday. Pretty impressive service. I'm still waiting ten days later for the Amazon items from Germany.

So that rant out of the way: let's get down to the nuts and bolts of this little third party add-on for the X-Pro1.
The lensmate Thumbrest on the Fuji X-Pro1.
I've coloured the Lensmate in the above picture slightly so that it can be clearly viewed against the black body of the X-Pro1. In the flesh it's an almost perfect match in both colour and finish of the camera body.

I had looked at the possibility of purchasing the Thumbs Up EP-75 from match technical; it looks good but is nearly double the price and to be completely honest I wanted to see what the newer version of the Lensmate (earlier versions had a screw in allen bolt) would look like before I committed to buying.

When it arrived it came in a small magnetic lid box reminiscent of the type of box the Fujinon lenses and the X-Pro itself come in: so a nice little packaging touch there.
The attention to detail given to the packaging box is really a clue to the exacting attitude to the design of the Lensmate itself. It fits every contour of the camera and still allows the use of all the buttons and dials. The only real exception is the pushing of the release button and dial turn to get the camera out of "A" priority. Once however it's out of "A" mode the dial turns easily without the need to push the lock button so I don't really find it a big deal.

This is a really well engineered item and it fits like a glove to the hot-shoe of the camera and stays in place by way of a tiny silicon insert at the base of the plate, creating a friction which keeps it in place. The first thing I noticed when I held the camera with the thumb-rest fitted is that my muscle memory kept falling to it's usual place next to the raised ridge which houses the AF/AL lock. So; time to go out in the world and shoot to really see how this gadget feels and if it will make life with the X-Pro any different than without it fitted.

It's great they included a clever silicon insert into the body of the rest just where the thumb sits: it really makes it non-slip especially when holding the camera with one hand and after an hour or so of shooting in the street my whole grip seemed to appreciate a convenient place for my thumb to get out of the way.

The silicon insert is met at the other side of the thumbrest and prevents any metal to metal contact between the thumbrest and the X-Pro body.

I did notice sometimes that if your thumb leaned too heavily on the rest there was the tinniest bit of play from the plate on the hotshoe but not enough that it goes anywhere. In it's defence though it takes a good bit of pressure to move it and I'm aware that this is a "rest" and not a "lever" so I have no real issues about that but would prefer there to be non at all. It is held by friction though and I guess the only real solution to any kind of movement at all would necessitate going back to the "allen bolt" which is aesthetically less pleasing than this much sleeker design.

It really does make the camera nicer somehow to hold and it took no time at all for my thumb to get used to its new resting place. My second X-Pro is "Lensmateless" and feels really weird when I pick it up with my thumb having a veritable meltdown as it tries in vain to find it's comforter.

 My conclusion therefore is that this is for me at least: a must have for the X-Pro1, it adds a tiny bit of weight which makes the whole X-Pro feel more substantial without turning it into something else. Ergonomic enhancement is a pretty fair description and one which is engineered to a very high standard. Just need to buy another for my second body.

Marks:  5/5

Skye. Cross Processed

Skye. Cross Processed.

Soft Pool. Rouken Glen Scotland

Soft Pool. Rouken Glen Scotland.
Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XF35mm f/1.4 @ f/8 @ 25sec NDX64 Filter.

Slow Shutter Waterfall. Rouken Glen Scotland

Slow Shutter Waterfall. Rouken Glen Scotland.
FujiFilm X-Pro1 and XF35mm f/1.4 @ F16 @ 30secs.