3 years ago, I picked up an Fuji X100s to have a walk around camera so I won’t need to lug around my Nikon full frame camera and bunch of lenses in my casual walks around my current city, NYC. It took a while before I got used to the rangefinder style of shooting, but needless to say, I fell in love with it. At first, I underestimated the camera and didn’t think it would pass as a professional camera, but to my surprise, most of my favorite images was shot from it and in fact, I sold prints from it and it’s now hanging to a client’s home. Then Fuji released the Fuji XT1, which is a interchangeable lens system, and from there, I sold all my Nikon gears and switched to Fuji and shot weddings with it and used it as my travel camera. I would say, my back thanked me a lot. I love my XT1 especially the tilt-screen(Which I REALLY MISS,) but I still keep going back to my X100s most of the time. So I’ve been eagerly waiting for the XPRO2 to come out, and once it was available here in the US, I picked it up and sold my XT1…..
It all started in the summer of 2011 when I saw the new Fujifilm x100 in the window of a camera shop in Reims (France) .. my heart skipped a beat. What a beautiful camera! The French salesman was very exciting about the x100 as well but couldn’t sell it to me. The camera was sold out because of the high demand. I wasn’t the only one who wanted this camera.. After a few months, and after spending a lot of time reading blogs about (and watching photos made with) this camera I learned that the camera wasn’t just beautiful on the outside, it created some beautiful photos as well. So .. I decided to sell my Nikon DSLR with all the gear I had and I got myself a Fujifilm X100……..
This is the first of a series of articles about this new camera. You discover new things every time you go shooting and not on one weekend so there are new things to write about from time to time. It is more a kind of a long term real life review I am doing, because I bought the camera for my personal enjoyment and I am not a (sponsored) reviewer who makes money from creating such content. So there is no marketing buzz behind this article. All photos in this article are in raw format developed in Lightroom. I think that the final results are more important than looking at untouched photographs in comparison. We all know what modern cameras can do, but this series of articles is more focused on the process of taking photos surrounded by the final images. You will agree with me when I say that Olympus, Sony, Panasonic, Leica and all the other major brands are doing excellent cameras. There is no need to talk about sensors and dynamic range for me…..
Thanks to Fujifilm Europe and Fujifilm Switzerland I was lucky that I already could get my hands on an early production sample back in November 2015. During this meeting it was already clear that Fujifilm had something great in their pipeline, but we still had to wait another two months until the product launch… On January 15th 2016 Fujifilm finally unveiled the X-Pro2, but I had to be wait for another month until I really could spend some more time with the new Fujifilm flagship. During three concerts and one backstage reportage I could put the X-Pro2 through its paces and here are now some thoughts about using it. This “review” is really more reflecting on the practical aspects and the fit into my workflow than being scientific or technical. In addition there is some comparison to the X-T1 which is my current camera of choice. As I never owned or used an X-Pro1, I really cannot compare the X-Pro2 to its predecessor…….
I was lucky to get hold of an XPro2 slightly ahead of the general UK release date. I was really keen to get one as I’d been holding out for one as my main camera and I have a wedding to shoot this weekend. I’ve read all the reviews, but I took most of them with a pinch of salt, as the people who wrote them are mostly X-Photographers. While I respect and admire a lot of them, at the end of the day, they get free gear from Fuji so of course they will be positive. However, I’m really happy with the camera, here are my first impressions based on a day of heavy shooting. This was a shoot for a mature model, who needed some shots for an agency. I used a combination of lenses, the 50-140, the 56mm 1.2, the 35mm f2 and the 90mm f2. All worked flawlessly. 1.It’s FAST, seriously fast. Everything feels quicker, from just navigating the menus to autofocus, taking shots, even with flash, just felt quicker. I used off camera flash for some of the shots on my shoot and it worked beautifully ( only for the indoor ones, the outdoor ones were natural light and a reflector ). This is the first X Series camera that has felt close to a DSLR in terms of general responsiveness. I’ve used my X-T1 heavily for 2 years, so I really noticed the difference. The speed I was able to fire off shots, even with the flash, but especially without it, was awesome. You can tell the processor has had a serious speed hike…….
Recently, the internet has been awash with rumours that Fuji was about to announce a new camera, the Fuji XPro2. As a Fuji user I was amongst those who were really anticipated the announcement. I was one of the first people in the UK to purchase the original XPro1, a camera I always loved using for commercial photography, and alongside my two Fuji X-E2s and X100s cameras has been a solid tool in my arsenal ever since. Now, the sensor on the XPro1 is starting to show its age. The original XTrans sensor, used by the XPro1 and the X-E1, is a little basic, but it does perform extremely well in good light; resolving good gradation in the tones through the entire range, from extreme highlights and the darkest shadows……
For quite a few years now, many X shooters (myself included) have been waiting for Fuji to produce a telephoto lens that would go beyond 200mm. From the beginning, Fuji seemed to concentrate all to much on producing primes. When the X-Pro1 was introduced, the only three lenses that you were able to buy, were three prime lenses: 18, 35 & 60mm. From there, they somewhat broadened their horizons with some zooms, but there still seemed to be a focus on primes. After a few years, people were scratching their heads and asking, “Fuji, what about the long telephotos?”. If you know anything about Fuji, they tend to put a lot of work into their lenses and they don’t produce any duds. They put a lot of thought into the entire line of XF lenses, as well as the two XC lenses that are out there. In short, Fuji makes awesome lenses…….
End of last year our son was born which meant that December holidays were cancelled for us and we stayed at home. 2 months on however we felt it’s time to test if he can handle our active on the go lifestyle and so we planned a week long holiday in one of South Africa’s most beautiful regions. The well known Garden Route. When planning our trip we had decided to make use of accommodation within the Garden Route National Park, which proved to be a great choice as it allowed us to really enjoy the peace and tranquility of this area. We took a flight to the coastal town of George from where we continued via rental car to the nearby village of Wilderness and the Ebb and Flow Rest-camp. The perfect place to take in both the beach and the cool forests of Wilderness. The following day after an early morning walk to one of the over 800 year old yellowwood trees we travelled via the Outeniqua pass and the Karoo town of Oudshoorn to the world renowned Cango caves. For us it was one of the highlights of our trip. I am however doubtful if it had been as nice during school holidays when the groups that walk through the caves are large and photo opportunities diminish…….
Last time we had a good time (and a laugh) having a conversation with the X-Pro2. We received great feedback for which we are both very grateful. Today we will continue to cover this new camera but we’ll approach the subject in a slightly different way. Each time a new camera hits the market the Internet goes berserk. There’s a plethora of reviews, technical comparisons and samples being shared and discussed (we share in the blame). Interested buyers visit technically oriented websites where cameras are being compared. It is common to show two cameras side by side where all the possible technical details are compared. Resolution? Check! Video? Check! Panorama? Check! And so on. There is no question that many people like it this way. Not only do we find such comparisons misleading but we believe that they do more harm than good for buyers. For many photographers, a camera is much more than just a physical object. As the facilitator of the creative process, a camera should not only complement but support the photographer in this difficult but highly rewarding endeavour. Therefore, a well-designed camera will make the interaction between photographer and camera intuitive and fluid……..
Once in a while I abandon all sense and do a gear post. This is one of them. I hope it’s helpful to you and that you find the question of why I use the gear I do more interesting than which gear, specifically, I use. It’s the one question that seems to get left out of these discussions; everyone talking about which gear is best without first defining their needs. As so many of you are making similar switches in the way you approach your work, I thought I’d walk you through mine. Last month Fuji announced 2 pieces of gear that pushed me over the edge. As many of you know I’ve been using Fuji cameras more and more, but still hanging on to Pelican cases full of Nikon gear. I’ve held out on switching completely (almost completely, but I’ll explain that) because the Fuji system lacked any optical options at the long end – specifically something more than a 300mm equivalent- and I need those more and more for the work I’m doing……….