Pimping my Fuji X-Pro1!

Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm F4.5 II

Voigtlander Super Wide Heliar 15mm F4.5 II

Okay, I’m not really flamboyant enough to pimp things to the extreme. However, like most other shutter bugs, a “vanilla” camera is just never enough for me. Even though I’m pretty conservative in my taste for accessories, I still value style equally as much as function. So, here are the first three accessories I purchased for my Fuji X-Pro1:

The first and most obvious thing is a strap. I am one of those people that never bother to open the OEM shoulder strap that comes with each camera I’ve ever purchased. Sure, some of you don’t mind using those straps; but I’ve never found them comfortable on my shoulder or neck. I’ve used the Crumpler Industry disgrace for my DSLRs – but that’s just too wide and cumbersome for a rangefinder style camera. So I went in search of a thinner strap. I looked at a few different brands and eventually bought the Domke Gripper (with swivel, because I couldn’t find the non-swivel version).

The Gripper is reasonably priced and is a swell strap. It has rubber tracks woven within the cotton underside for grip on my shoulder (extra helpful when I am wearing a jacket), detachable swivelling clips to remove the strap with ease from the camera, and has a nice understated look that fits with the look of the X-Pro1.

It sits on my shoulder comfortably and has plenty of adjustable length. It doesn’t slide around without my permission. The edges of the strap are smooth and soft enough not to chafe or irritate my neck or skin (which some of the more expensive leather straps tend to do to me).

The only downside to the strap is that the clips are made out of metal; so they could feasibly scratch up your gear if you’re not careful. To avoid this, I’ve covered them with pieces of shrink tube (I tried to find other things to use – neoprene finger supports, pen/pencil cushions but to no avail). They seem to be working so far in that they haven’t slipped down or off the clips.

If you’re lucky to find the non-swivel version of the Gripper, get one. Otherwise the swivel version is still a good option.

My second addition to the Fuji X-Pro1 is the not so obvious screen protector. Yes, I am a very careful handler of all my gear; but I still don’t like taking chances. I’ve tried quite a few varieties of low cost protectors in the past on my other cameras and electronics with many different results. Some were decent, some were not so good. This time, I decided to splurge a bit and get something a little more high-end.

I ended up purchasing the GGS 3.0 inch LCD protector. It’s made with ultra-thin optical glass that offers anti-scratch, anti-aging and high transparency amongst other features. During my online research for screen protectors, GGS had come up quite a few times with some decent reviews. It was also one of the easier premium products I could find at one of my local dealers.

I have to say that this GGS does a good job. It was simple to apply and did so without any bubbling! The anti-scratch feature is holding true so far. It hasn’t started to peel off on its own, nor has it collected dust like a black suit in a sandstorm. It’s also easy enough to clean when my nose smears get on it (unlike some other cheaper brands that seem to enjoy skin oils being smeared on them like peanut butter on toast).

One single knock against the GGS protector, which is shared by practically all other protectors I’ve used, is glare in bright sunlight. Yes, some are a bit better than others; but none of them have what I would consider excellent anti-glare properties. In any case, I usually review all my photos on my computer before I choose to delete them; unless they look absolutely horrible on the LCD screen, in which case they probably deserve to be trashed.

I would highly recommend getting the GGS LCD Protector if it falls within your budget. Let’s face it, if you’ve shelled out for a mid-level to pro camera, don’t you think it deserves a good quality screen protector as well?

My third and final add-on is a soft release. What the heck is it and why would you need one of these things?

Well, a soft release is a button that gets screwed (at least on the X-Pro1 and other rangefinders or cameras with a thread in the shutter button for cable releases) into the shutter release button. You can also find self adhesive soft releases that just stick onto flat shutter buttons. Basically, the idea is that by adding height to the button, you can depress the shutter faster and if done right, very smoothly therefore minimizing camera shake.

On the X-Pro1, the shutter button is also surrounded by the power on/off collar. This causes me to “finger search” a bit for the button. So, the ability to feel the shutter release immediately while I look into the viewfinder is a big bonus.

I purchased the Match Technical Opera Act 2 and Red Dragon Black Beep (I hope I got that right) from a local reseller. They are very well made and beautiful to look at. My initial feeling was that I’d like the Opera more because of it’s slightly smaller size. Turns out that I prefer the larger Red Dragon because it feels more natural. Perhaps that’s because my fingers are on the longer side.

After using this soft release for a couple of weeks, I do feel I’m getting a faster response and smoother motion during my shutter press. It certainly isn’t a day and night difference; but it’s enough to make me feel it.

If shutter response is something you’re after, then I would definitely recommend you try a soft release like I did.

Whatever accessories you decide to buy for your camera, just be sure they serve their purpose, feel comfortable for you and make you feel good about taking photographs.