Category : The Learning Center

1 month ago 8

 

 

 

 

I got my production X PRO 2 just before leaving for two trips down Route 66 and to Arches/Canyonlands National Parks in early March.  I was on assignment for Fuji to shoot early stuff with the “2″.  Before you can appreciate my thoughts on this camera you need to know that I have been a life long SLR guy, and of course then a DSLR shooter when digital stormed in,  in the late 80′s.

 

My first DSLR was a Nikon D1 and at the same time the Nikon D100.  The D1 was not my cup of tea, but the D100 was a much better and easier to use camera, (for me), and it was where I cut my teeth for the digital revolution.  I worked for Nikon as their Nikon Professional Services Tech Rep for the Southern U.S. for 11 years, retiring in 2013.  Shoulder surgery for a torn rotator cuff, ended my big DSLR days!  While recovering I picked up a Fuji X10 as a “maybe I can shoot with this until I recover” alternative.  A funny thing happened, it made me slow down and think again, and my images got much better, and more importantly I started to really love shooting again, more than ever before!!!!

 

So I ended up with a X-E1 which I loved but my real love affair started when the X-T1 came along, now I was back in my element, even though it was not really a DSLR, it felt and worked like one and the much improved viewfinder was fantastic!

 

Now over the years I’ve “flirted” with rangefinder type camera and it never lasted, I had a couple of Leicas, and a few other rangefinder type camera but I was just too  much of a SLR person for it to stick.

 

When I learned that the X PRO 2 was coming ( full disclosure – I had a X PRO 1 and never shot it, never really liked it much,  and sold it cheap), I thought it would be a great way to see what improvements will be in the X-T series camera, so I agreed, actually I suggested it, to do the Fuji project!

 

This time it was different, the Fuji X PRO 2 is a much more fluid experience.  Everything is in the right place the speed of operation and the new focusing system plus the even better sensor, it was a winner and I found myself really loving the advantages of having both kinds of viewfinders, both Optical and Electronic!

 

Here is a short list of what I really Love:

 

ONE:  Image Quality.  The X PRO 2 with it’s 24.3 mega pixel X Trans Sensor is a big improvement over the 16 mega pixel X-T1.  Somehow the engineers have given us a much tighter resolution package without loosing the great high ISO low noise performance.  This camera actually is usable ad 112,800 ISO!!!!!  It is phenomenal at ISO 200 – 400 and 800, but the higher settings are remarkable in how clean they look!  Film simulations have also gotten another improvement.  Fuji “evolves” the simulations with each new sensor and this set is the most accurate and true to the films they represent,  The new ACROS monochrome setting is simply stunning!

 

 

TWO: Handling & Speed.  The Pro Processor has stepped up the speed of all operations and the camera now has a real feeling of fluidity, much as the Nikon D4 did.  Everything just works as it should and almost instantly and the X PRO 2 doesn’t feel like a cinder block in your hands, no offense Nikon, I know you built the D4 for other customers, doing different things!

 

 

THREE: Focusing.    The new focusing system not only is much much faster, it is very accurate and hits dead on focus more than any other camera I’ve ever used, though they have always been pretty accurate in locking on.  Even my first X10 was a good focusing camera.

 

 

FOUR: Ergonomics.  The X PRO 2 is bigger than any of the other Fuji cameras, and it feels wonderful  in my hands, it is not too large, but it is not too small either, if is obviously very well built and it feels just right it in your hands. I bought a second X-PRO 2 and one has the Really Right Stuff L Bracket the other Fuji’s MHG-XPRO2 Arca Swiss plate with a grip, sadly it is not an L bracket but the front grip makes it the best solution for hand held shooting, which I now do a lot, this X PRO begs you to shoot it off the tripod!

 

 

So if I bought a second X PRO 2 does that mean I’m walking away from the XT series?  No, I plan to buy a couple of the next XT series cameras too.  I find that each style of camera lends itself to a certain style and kind of shooting, they both can do anything you might want to do, but each has it’s own unique qualities that work best for certain kinds of work.  I will team the X PRO 2 up with the fabulous single focal length lenses much of the time, the 14 – 16 – 23 – 35 – 56 & 90!  each are fast and great to work with on this camera.   The XT series will be mated with the zooms most of the time!  I do still have an X-T1 which I will keep for it’s own special qualities!

 

One thing is for sure, Fuji, you knocked it out of the park with the X PRO 2, a three run homer, a Grand Slam!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

OK full disclosure again…. Anything I hate?  No, but I do wish it had the following:

 

A tilting rear LCD like the X-T1

 

A different way to set the ISO, while I commend the effort the ISO  inside the Shutter Speed Dial is fidgety and hard to use, thankfully Auto ISO works great.

 

One more  level of Optical viewfinder magnification for the 90mm f 2.

 

 

 

 

 

1 month, 4 weeks ago 21

 

 

For a couple of weeks I have been inundated with emails about the rumor that Fuji has decided not to make the 120mm f 2.8 Macro lens that goes 1:1!  First I do not know whether that is true or not.  I’m sure Fuji will produce some kind of longer focal length Macro lens, until they do I have a my Macro System; the 90mm f 2!!

 

Below is a series of images made with the 90mm lens, each are labeled.  The 90mm f 2 is one of the very sharpest lenses I’ve ever shot, maybe “the most”!  If you have the two Fuji automatic extension tubes ( the MCEX-16 and the MCEX-11), and if you can pick up a high quality two element diopters like the old Nikon 5T and 6T you can do a lot of close-up work to beyond life size or 1:1.

 

 

My example is a cigar box art, the image below is for your perspective.

 

 

Bottom Line:  Macro lenses are convenient and I’m sure at some point Fuji will offer us an upgrade in terms of focal length to the current 60mm Macro, which is an excellent lens, but does not offer a ton of working distance, until then, the Fuji 90mm f2, automatic extension tubes and diopters are a great solution!  If you happen to own the Fuji 1.4 converter you can put that behind the two extension tubes stacked and get even closer!  Fun stuff!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

4 months, 2 weeks ago 13

 

 

Summation:  The X-PRO 2 really shines and shows it’s 33% more resolution in  these examples!!  I love my X-T1s, I have three but they will get little less use now that I have this incredible instrument to shoot.  The bitingly rich resolution is just stunning. Micro fine detail and contrast is right up there with the D810, quite amazing.  I will walk you through the examples I shot, but the summation won’t change, this is one hell of a camera!!! (excuse my French!  ;-)

 

All examples were shot with the subject cross/side lit with a LED light panel as the light source to create side lighting to show the most texture. The tripod mounted X-T1 and X-PRO 2 were  mated with the sharpest lens I’ve ever owned, the 90mm f 2   All images shot at f 11  The rezed up images were taken to 6 foot by 6 foot at 100 dpi and a small section was cropped out of these blown up files.

 

In each sequence the first or top image is the X-T1 the bottom the X-PRO 2

 

Here we go:

 

Now the blow ups of these files:

 

 

Keep in mind these are 72 dpi images for the web, in  the full res files the difference as much more apparent.

 

Round Two:

 

Now lets get big and close!

 

 

Once against the X-PRO 2 files are about a 1/3 stop darker and sometimes the detail is hard to seebut it’s there.

 

 

Where it really matters is unreal world application, the X-PRO 2 and the 100-400 do their job well!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4 months, 2 weeks ago 29

 

 

In order to compare the new 24.3 mega pixel sensor in the X-PRO 2 with the 16 mega pixel sensor of the X-T1 .  I photographed the same scene with the 35mm f 2 set to f 11 on a sturdy tripod and with the self timer on a solid floor.  I then rezed up the files to 300 dpi – 36″ X 24″ size and cropped out the yellow section below for comparison at large print size.

 

Let’s start at ISO 6400:

 

Now 12,800:

 

Finally ISO 25,600:

 

O.K. no more suspense, the top image in each category is the X-T1 the second the X-PRO 2.  My evaluation is that the X-PRO 2  shows significantly more detail in the fine detail areas, no surprise with a 33%  increase in mega pixels.  I would have thought that noise would remain stable, but it has improved dramatically.  the X-PRO 2 is at the very least 1 stop  better than the X-T1, maybe stretching to almost 1.5 stops.  Look at the black scissors, the X-PRO 2 not only has deeper black within noise to speak of, but much better texture detail as well.  I can’t believe I’m saying this but I think I might actually rely on 25,600 if I had to, it looks remarkably good!  How do you like those apples!!!!

 

None of this is rocket science, Fuji has found a way to process the noise even more effectively than before and sharpness and details have increased handsomely!  Win – Win!

 

Now, you may have noticed that the X-PRO 2 images are darker than the X-T1s .  Yet both were in the exact same lighting, both were shot at -1 exposure compensation same lens and f stop, f 11 and aperture priority.  I think the multi pattern metering in the X-PRo 2 has been improved, as they are more perfectly exposured than the X-T1, if you have another explanation I would love to hear it, but for now I will love the exposures I’m getting out of this camera!!!!

 

Blessings,

 

the pilgrim