Based on past timelines, it may be quite a while until the local arrival of Fujifilm’s X-Pro2, the X70, the X-E2S, the Fujinon XF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR and the other accessories announced at Fujifilm’s live-streamed X Series 5th Anniversary event at the Fujifilm headquarters in Tokyo at 11:30pm, January 14 New York time.
I was unable to watch the live stream, due to living in one of Australia’s many big broadband deadzones, so can only go by what has been shared elsewhere online. The Fujifilm Blog tells us that the event was recorded and that “we’re just working on compressing and uploading now and hope to have it online for you to watch for yourself very soon”. That can’t come soon enough.
Right now I am playing catch up on the many cameras, lenses and firmware updates Fujifilm has released since I was lucky enough to have been loaned an XT-1, Fujinon XF 10-24mm f/4 OIS zoom and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 prime lens then wrote about them in one of my first articles for planet5D.com.
The only other digital Fujifilm camera I have used in my work is my X100, purchased in 2011. I broke my usual rule of never buying version 1.0 hardware or software products for the X100 and have not regretted it, especially given the welcome series of firmware updates Fujifilm released during the months after I bought it.
As much as I appreciate the X100's rangefinder-style form factor and interface, as grateful as I am for Fujifilm's firmware updates, the lag between hitting the shutter button and taking the photograph remains and that shapes the type of images I can make with it.
I still use my X100 though not for the sort of immersive high-speed, close-up, wide-angle street photography I love so much. Then, not long after my X100 arrived, rumors began circulating about the imminent release of an interchangeable lens version. Would that finally be the camera I had been looking for since getting into digital photography?
When the X-Pro1 turned up at my favorite local professional camera store, now sadly no more, I made some documentary and portrait shots using the Fujinon XF 18mm f/2 R and XF 60mm f/2.4 R Macro lenses. I have become a pretty good and fast judge of cameras and lenses over the years, based on first impressions, so this short session with the X-Pro1 told me enough.
As promising as the X-Pro1 was, the cons outweighed the pros for me back then. No fast 23mm lens equivalent to a 35mm in full frame, my standard focal length of choice. The longest lens a 60mm macro equivalent to 90mm in full frame, when my preferred full-face portrait lens is 75mm though I will use an 85mm equivalent lens if I must. A great little 28mm equivalent lens but nothing wider for being really close while surrounded by the action. Today’s 18-strong XF prime and zoom lens collection was but a dream.
And two other counts against purchase – the lack of built-in viewfinder diopter correction and a user interface clearly still a work in progress. My work at the time involved hardware and software user interfaces and it taught me a thing or two.
From everything I have read about the X-Pro2 so far, it is the camera I was hoping for in the X-Pro1, in its hardware, its firmware and its user interface. The proof will be in the pudding when the X-Pro 2 hits these shores and finds its way here.
Meanwhile, I’d like to share with you some of the more useful articles, videos and websites I have come across so far:
- Fujifilm X website
- British Journal of Photography – Fuji’s second coming
- Bokeh by Digital Rev – What You Need To Know About Fujifilm X-Pro2, X-E2s, X70
- Fujifilm Australia, Digital Photography Blog – A Conversation About the New X-Pro2
- The Fujifilm Blog – Welcome to “Fujikina” – Fujifilm X Series’ 5th Anniversary celebration
- The Verge – How Fujifilm's cameras and lenses are Made in Japan
- Mirrorless Curation – 10 Fujifilm X-Pro2 reviews that are absolutely worth reading
The article by the BJP above, titled ‘Fuji's second coming', is based on an interview with Fujifilm senior product manager Takashi Ueno, a Hasselblad master and thus medium format camera user. Interviewer Damien Demolder rightly states that the Fujifilm “GX680 was an astonishing piece of work”, adding that so were “the GA645 bodies with their non-interchangeable lenses – and then there were GW, GS and GF models.”
The late great German-Australian fashion and portrait photographer Helmut Newton was often seen using Fujifilm 120 format cameras, most commonly the GS645 with folding body and 75mm lens, on location while portrait photographer Greg Gorman was a fan of the GX680 for studio photography.
I was planning on replacing my Mamiya RZ67 with a Fuji GX680 for tripod-based studio and location magazine portrait photography, before succumbing to photochemical dermatitis. The biggest reason? The GX680's camera movements, not unlike those on the 4″x5″ sheet film cameras that formed my most popular magazine portrait style.
Fujifilm's 645 120-format cameras were impressive too and I was planning on adding one or two of those to my on-location kitbag, to accompany the GX680 while offering a handheld alternative. If Fujifilm were to branch out into medium format digital, I would love to have camera movements again. Tilt, swing and shift permit shaping the camera's plane of focus in ways not available in non-movement cameras, not even those equipped with tilt/shift lenses.The amazing Fujifilm X-Pro 2 camera: some post-announcement reading & watching recommendations. Click To Tweet
Taking performance to new heights, the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 offers the world’s only Hybrid Multi Viewfinder and features a brand new 24MP X-Trans III sensor.
The FUJIFILM X-Pro2 boasts a Hybrid Viewfinder capable of instantly switching between optical and electronic finders, plus an updated image sensor and processor, which dramatically improve image quality. By combining these features with the ultra-high image quality of FUJINON X-Mount lenses and the color reproduction technology accumulated through more than 80 years as a photographic film manufacturer, the FUJIFILM X-Pro2 delivers the best ever results from an X-series camera.
FUJIFILM X-Pro2 x Tomasz Lazar / FUJIFILM
(cover photo credit: snap from Fujifilm)