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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

So Retro!

The proliferation of high-end, back-to-the-future, retro-design cameras has style as well as substance


This Article Features Photo Zoom
Leica's fast Maestro image processor optimizes image quality and speeds operation. Startup time is about one second, and maximum burst rate is 3 fps. Images are stored on SD/SDHC/SDXC cards, and can be saved as uncompressed or lossless compressed DNG (RAW) or JPEGs. Shutter speeds range from 60 to 1⁄4000 sec., with flash sync up to 1⁄180 sec. TTL flash is possible via the SCA-3502-compatible hot-shoe.

Video capabilities include 1080p and 720p at 25 and 24 fps, and VGA at 30 fps, with mono sound via built-in microphone or stereo via external mic.

As you'd expect of a Leica, the M Typ 240 is ruggedly constructed, with top and base plates machined from solid brass and the body manufactured in one piece from high-strength magnesium alloy, covered in synthetic leather. The body is splash- and dustproof (but the M lenses aren't). Dimensions are 5.5x3.1x1.7 inches and 23.9 ounces.

Estimated Street Price: $6,950. us.leica-camera.com

Fujifilm X-Pro1
The X-Pro1 was the interchangeable-lens follow-up to the company's popular retro-style APS-C fixed-lens X100 (see sidebar), introduced a year later in 2009. Featuring something of a classic Leica-style look, the X-series cameras feature a unique Hybrid Multi Viewfinder that lets you switch instantly between an optical eye-level finder and an electronic one. The finder automatically adjusts magnification and frame lines to suit the lens in use.

The X-Pro1 has a clean, retro-style body incorporating a magnesium-alloy chassis and die-cast aluminum top and base plates, and a leather-like covering. The precision-milled control dials allow you to directly set shutter speeds and exposure compensation. Aperture rings on each lens let you set apertures in 1⁄3-EV increments, while focusing rings permit manual focusing (albeit electronic "by-wire" focusing, not mechanical focusing).

The X-Pro1 employs a 16.2-megapixel, APS-C Fujifilm X-Trans image sensor, which has a unique RGB filter array that differs from the conventional Bayer grid by featuring a more random pattern that minimizes moiré and false colors, which, in turn, allows Fujifilm to do away with the sharpness-reducing optical low-pass filter employed by most Bayer-sensor cameras.

The X-Pro1's mirrorless design permits a flange-back distance (the distance between the lens mount and image sensor) of just 17.7mm, allowing for lens designs that locate the rear element much closer to the sensor than with DSLRs. The new X mount also features a wide opening, allowing for wider-diameter rear elements. The result is light more evenly delivered to the sensor for higher resolution across the image frame. Currently, Fujifilm offers 11 lenses for the X-series cameras, from 10-24mm to 50-230mm for 35mm-camera-equivalent focal lengths of 15mm to 345mm.

The X-Pro1 is primarily a still camera, but can do 1920x1080 full HD and 1280x720 HD video at 24 fps, with stereo sound via built-in microphone (but no external mic jack). Clips can run up to 29 minutes in length. Dimensions are 5.5x3.2x1.7 inches and 14.1 ounces.

Estimated Street Price: $1,099. www.fujifilmusa.com

 

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