Fuji XPro-2 Field Report No. 3

Wow time flies. Seems like yesterday I cobbled together a quick post on how the XPro-2 was working out in my own real-world. Well at least in relation to this group of personal projects. I was and still am enamored with the hybrid OVF now that my own pet peeve of the dancing frame lines is gone. I also have come to really love the little mini EVF down in the corner with lenses where it counts the most, 35mm and longer used really close with the OVF. Highly recommended once you get used to it.

Turns out that last field report was two months ago. The interesting thing with most Fuji X cameras is that a couple of months of use tends to endear the cameras even more instead of the reverse. That was the case with all my X100 cameras as well as my XT-1. The exception was the XPro1 but that was probably due to my usage circumstances and not giving it enough time. Actually not giving Fuji enough time to put out the slew of firmware enhancements that from various reports would have probably changed my mind about that camera.

Just like my experience with the X100 cameras in the past the more I use my XPro-2 the more I love it. It gets better over time and I get better at using it. More specifically it's a camera that begs you to explore it's features and controls in ways other cameras don't seem to. If you are setting up the XPro-2 just one way and forgetting about the rest of it you're probably missing out. Hey do whatever works for you. In my three months of hard use the big thing is my increasing fluidity at using the unique to Fuji hybrid viewfinder. I find myself flipping back and forth between OVF, EVF, and OVF with electronic rangefinder without even thinking about it.

Case in point, the photo above. The very first shot I made during my little Richmond VA get-away in October. Yes, I know it has nothing to do with the group of projects here, I really wasn't in the mood to work on any of that during my trip even though I had planned on it. This spot is 100 feet away from Alice's front door at the edge of your typical bland low-rise apartment complexes and parking lots. This kind of setup is a nightmare for EVF use. Why? Well I am standing in bright sunlight and I positioned alice right at the very edge being lit only by the sky. EVF's are moronically hard to see in this kind of situation. OVF to the rescue.

Took this shot, hit the playback button just to do a quick exposure evaluation. Saw that bit of flare (probably from my UV filter) decided I liked it. Hit the shutter button and went to town using the OVF for the rest of the frames I shot here. I only made a few.

The OVF is a joy in 80%+ situations for photographers that work with normal-ish lenses (not super-wide, not super-long). I still love that preview feature where one can bring up the frame lines for alternate focal lengths, I use it constantly. It's amazing I didn't realize how much I used that on my Leica M cameras until it was available on the XPro-2.

This setup was a simple concept for a difficult problem. What problem? Shooting black on black. Specifically black lace against a black background. The crappy $12 dress we grabbed was two layered, solid black under black lace. Looks pretty cool in person but not easy to make pictures of with any old lighting. It needs to be massively side-lit to see that it's textured as there's no internal contrast at all, and ummmm, it's black.

I noticed the woods at the edge of Alice's apartment complex and the first thing I thought of was that the pattern of the lace reminded me of leaves so we headed out the front door to see if we could make that work. The big change with the XPro-2 and my preference for the OVF, especially in bright conditions, is that I've not once grabbed my 18-55 zoom. My usual M.O. for this kind of thing if I would have been using the XT-1 would be to grab the 18-55 instead of a prime. What happens now is I grab the 18mm and the 35mm f/2 lenses. The OVF just begs for those smaller primes. What happens when you're habits change, you make different pictures due to different constraints. Even minor differences in constraints.

Simple enough, position Alice at the edge of the sunlight so that she and the dress are lit mostly by open sky to camera left with the sky blocked overhead and camera right. Position the black dress and hat in the bright hole in the trees and frame so her brighter legs are mostly against the dark ground. Kind works I think. You may not think about this as much as I do but the combination of X-Trans sensor with the gorgeous rendering of all the X-system lenses I've ever used make what typically looks kinda bad due to bokeh and various digital artifacts look kinda great. Various high-frequency leaves against sky.

More later. I'm still playing around with various AF modes, especially since the new Firmware came out. I can say that for OVF users the electronic rangefinder is no toy. It's extremely useful and the closer you work the more useful it is. In 50% of cases I use manual/back-button focus with the electronic rangefinder as focus confirmation. After a bit of practice there are many situations where this is the fastest way to work only re-focusing when the electronic rangefinder indicates a need.

End Notes

All pictures made with the Fuji XPro-1 and 18mm f/2 R @ f/4. Processing via Lightroom CC with my own B+W concoction.