It feels like the Fujifilm enthusiast community has perhaps moved on. On brand oriented websites, the interest has shifted from the X Pro 2 introduced earlier this year to the XT-2, the freshly announced replacement for the weather sealed, SLR-styled XT-1. This is hardly shocking, given that a lot of photographers who use Fujifilm equipment, particularly working pros, have come to rely on the less expensive yet equally featured XT series for their livelihood.
I myself have generally preferred the “rangefinder” body form of the original Fujifilm X Series. I do own an XT-10 which I bought in large measure for its movable rear screen, and its excellent autofocus.
I am using and enjoying, the X Pro 2. It is proving to be an extremely capable tool, for both event and landscape photography. It does have some quirks however which have surfaced as I again more experience with the body.
As pleasant and beguiling as the Fujifilm products are ergonomically, they are in many ways inferior for instance to the Nikon equipment I also use. In an article I wrote some months ago on hoped-for features for the as yet unreleased X Pro 2,
Unfortunately the format function in some ways is actually buried deeper in the menus, in a fashion that can make it hard to find. I would also say that choosing which memory card to utilize or format, requires some non-intuitive commands that are difficult frankly to remember ( I have too many cameras). All this would be easier if the buttons were marked (as Nikon does). Eventually how to do this (pressing the trash can button and the thumb wheel simultaneously) will sink in to my aging brain.
I shot my first wedding since obtaining the camera. There was much to be happy about. First the X Pro 2 is truly wonderful in low light. I tend to shoot photojournalist style weddings, hoping to avoid the use of flash, in favor of a natural, “in-person” style look to the images. The ceremony in this case was held in a rather dim but lovely, historic chapel, that I am extremely familiar with over the years.
I used both my X100T, and my X Pro 2, the latter with the 56 mm f1.2 lens mounted. I shot most of the festivities in raw plus jpeg using the Acros+ green filter films simulation, with either neutral or a little negative exposure compensation, and +1 shadow and highlight tones. Reviewed later on the monitor, the jpegs were a tiny bit dark, but extremely tolerant of raising the mid tones and shadows and in the curves section of Photoshop. Images from the X100T were shot in monochrome+ green filter, and were similar, but not quite as dramatic as the Acros files.
Also noteworthy is the dynamic range of the sensor. I try hard not to be the choreographer for the wedding. This forces me to deal with weird lighting situations that arise when the couple is allowed to move freely about. I do try to sometimes help the couple choose well lit locations, for instance, for their table in the reception hall.
We shot this wedding on a brightly sunny late afternoon, and large windows facing west provided light that was very directional, but deep shadows were quite recoverable, even on the JPEG’s.
One issue was the autofocus. I’ve generally had good luck with face/eye detection in the right setting, but in the dim church it became somewhat unreliable, and I went to a regular movable focus point.
In better light, particularly with more posed shots in the brighter reception hall, it was more useful. It would generally ignore the face when shooting the person from beside or behind, but would grab focus appropriately when the subject faced the camera. It continues to amuse me that, the face detection seems to prefer a female visage; conveniently choosing the bride for focus when posing with her new husband.
I did have an issue with the camera I still don’t understand. I’m not one to often use bracketing, but somehow during the afternoon the X Pro 2 ended up set to film simulation bracketing , and suddenly was not shooting raw files, or for that matter, my preferred film simulation. I ended up with some images shot in classic chrome, which are actually somewhat interesting, but not what I was intending to shoot. Just how this happened is unclear to me and it took me a few minutes to figure out what was the problem and set the camera correctly.
At the end of the day, you just can’t argue with the quality of the images. I set the camera to auto-iso allowing it to drift up to 6400 iso when necessary to keep the shutter speed greater than 1/80 of a second. Even at that sensitivity sensor noise is quite low, and the 56 mm lens is so sharp that the images are crisp and detailed. I have been shooting in that chapel for years, and even with for instance, a camera as competent as a Nikon D700, I was more comfortable with using flash and a diffuser at those light levels. Now at least to me, it is definitely possible to shoot in natural light and still obtain images that please the bride and groom.
I really don’t think that there is any issue above that cannot be rectified by either gaining more experience with the camera, and/or in a firmware update.
We are lucky as photographers in these times. to have the availability of such capable equipment, particularly gear that is as unobtrusive and discrete as these wonderful Fujifilm cameras.
Now let’s see what the new XT-2 can do.
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