I attended my first WPPI in Las Vegas this year, a week-long event dedicated to the wedding and portrait photography industry. I like to travel when I can in early spring before wedding season kicks in to high gear so I decided to drive from the Bay Area and make a road trip out of it.
In addition to all of the learning and networking opportunities WPPI provides, I was as equally excited to check out the latest and greatest gear at the trade expo. I was on the lookout for one item in particular, the newly released Fujifilm X-Pro2. Being a happy owner of the X100S and the XT1 but feeling they had some room for improvement, I was pleased to see that early reviews of the X-Pro 2 were very positive and thrilled when the fellas at the B & C Camera booth told me they had one left in stock. I snagged it.
These are a few of my first impressions. In the first week, I put this little camera through the works: one day in the Valley of Fire State Park, two days of wind, sand, and rain in Death Valley National Park, a quick visit to Convict and Mono Lakes along HWY 395, and five portrait sessions in between. In a nutshell, this camera has been everything I hoped for and then some. The X-Pro2 inspires me to pick it up and shoot like no other digital camera has done for me in a while outside of a Leica. It's fast, light, and fun. The auto-focus is improved, the EVF rangefinder viewing experience is crazy clear and vivid, and being able to preview the exposure setting before taking the photo has never been more easy and enjoyable for me. I'm usually an Aperture -Priority shooter with DSLR's but the X-Pro 2 has me shooting in full manual mode as it is so quick and simple to do.
I love Fuji's colors, but the Acros black and white Film Simulation is one of my favorite new features. So much so, even the colorful super bloom of wildflowers in Death Valley couldn't get me to turn it off for long. I decided to go with an all monochrome blog post here (a first for me). I love the ability to fine tune the highlights and shadows in camera, though I hope a firmware update will allow for these custom settings to be saved differently for different film simulations, as I don't want the same settings for black and white applied to my color JPEGS. I keep having to manually adjust it back and forth or do a RAW conversion later . If there's a better way to do this, I haven't figured it out yet. The back button AF situation, as many have said, could be better. The battery life could be better. I also wish you could have the option to deactivate certain buttons, like the Q button, which I never use, and keep hitting inadvertently.
Overall, though, I love this camera and is something I see myself using a ton moving forward for my business this year. I'm not looking to ditch RAW files and DSLR's on a wedding day anytime soon, but the X-Pro 2 has me thinking I could do both if I wanted to. It will definitely be seeing plenty of action this wedding season.
Update: July 2016
The Fuji X-Pro 2 has become my main camera for all of my weddings and portrait sessions for the past couple months. I use three of them on a wedding day and I am very happy with them.
I have since figured out how to set custom presets for different JPEG film simulations (highlight and shadow levels) and arrange them to be easily accessed in the Q button Menu, which I have trained myself not to keep hitting inadvertently.
I now shoot in Auto-ISO mode 90% of the time, turning the Exposure Compensation Dial to "C" which activates the front wheel command dial to act as your exposure comp dial, with an expanded 5 stops available in both directions. I use EVF so I can see what I am getting and my right index finger to adjust the front wheel command dial to adjust brightness and darkness. This makes the shooting experience so simple and effective for me.
I had issues knocking the main exposure comp dial and the diopter adjustment repeatedly as the cameras hung at my sides with the HoldFast MoneyMaker straps so I have secured those two things with black gaffer tape on all of my cameras and the problem is not an issue anymore.
Overall, the X-Pro2 is a joy to shoot with and every bit capable of doing what I need it to do.
Here are a few personal travel shots from my visit to Death Valley and my drive north up the 395 in March, 2016.
Gear used: Fujifilm X-Pro 2 camera, Fujifilm XF 16mm f/1.4 WR Lens, Fujifilm 55-200 f/3.5-4.8 LM OIS Lens, Fujifilm XF 35mm f/2 WR Lens
All photos here were JPEGS shot with the Acros (Red Filter) Film Simulation (+4 Highlights, +4 Shadows) with some minor additional contrast adjustments in Lightroom.
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