Clas­sic Styling With Con­tem­po­rary Tech­nolo­gies

Camera - - ON TRIAL -

If you love cam­eras for sim­ply be­ing cam­eras, you can’t help but fall in love with the Fu­ji­film X-Pro2. It’s re­fresh­ingly in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic – an ad­ven­tur­ous com­bi­na­tion of tra­di­tional de­sign with thor­oughly con­tem­po­rary tech­nolo­gies. There’s also a pu­rity of pur­pose which makes for an un­com­pli­cated ap­peal. The clas­sic styling is hugely ef­fec­tive er­gonom­i­cally, in­clud­ing a re­turn to the ‘old-fash­ioned’ way of set­ting the ISO by lift­ing and turn­ing the outer rim of the shut­ter speed dial. Op­er­a­tional ef­fi­ciency is en­hanced with a new front in­put wheel (to com­ple­ment the rear con­trol) and, on the rear panel, a jog-type con­troller for se­lect­ing aut­o­fo­cus points. The ad­di­tional in­put wheel has both ro­ta­tional and press-in to change func­tions, sig­nif­i­cantly en­hanc­ing ex­po­sure con­trol es­pe­cially when shoot­ing in man­ual. Beau­ti­fully milled di­als are re­tained for set­ting shut­ter speeds and ex­po­sure com­pen­sa­tion.

The mag­ne­sium al­loy bodyshell is both weather-sealed and in­su­lated, plus there are dual slots for SD for­mat mem­ory cards, while the jewel in the crown is still Fu­ji­film’s unique hy­brid op­ti­cal/ elec­tronic viewfinder. Now that EVFs are so good, it could be ar­gued there’s less imperative for the op­ti­cal op­tion, but Fu­ji­film’s ar­range­ment delivers the best of both worlds and the X-Pro2 in­te­grates the dif­fer­ent el­e­ments – in­clud­ing the nifty ‘Elec­tronic Range Fin­der’ (ERF) dis­play – to op­ti­mise the use­ful­ness. ERF ap­pears as a small panel in­set at the lower right cor­ner of the frame, and is a TTL feed di­rect from the sen­sor so it pro­vides a mag­ni­fied view from the ac­tive fo­cus point – with­out any par­al­lax er­ror. With man­ual fo­cus­ing, the ERF panel shows the fo­cus peak­ing dis­play as an ad­di­tional means of as­sis­tance.

Bet­ter B&W

Fu­ji­film’s lat­est-gen­er­a­tion ‘X-Trans CMOS III’ sen­sor con­tin­ues as one of the best in the ‘APS-C’ for­mat world and also al­lows for hy­brid con­trast/phase de­tec­tion aut­o­fo­cus­ing with its at­ten­dant im­prove­ments in speed and re­li­a­bil­ity. The fo­cal plane shut­ter runs to 1/8000 sec­ond and a sen­sor-based shut­ter up to 1/32,000 sec­ond with, of course, silent op­er­a­tion. Con­tin­u­ous shoot­ing is pos­si­ble up to 8.0 fps.

While ev­ery cam­era maker of­fers ad­justable pic­ture pre­sets, Fu­ji­film puts a lot of ef­fort into de­sign­ing its pro­files to repli­cate the look of its best-loved colour films. Now it’s do­ing the same with mono­chrome with an ACROS ‘Film Sim­u­la­tion’ pre­set – named af­ter the pop­u­lar fine-grained B&W film. This of­fers ad­just­ments for sharp­ness, con­trast and tonal­ity to give – along with a ‘Grain Ef­fect’ func­tion – much more pho­to­graphic-look­ing re­sults.

Fu­ji­film’s film her­itage is also be­hind func­tions such as the ‘Lens Mod­u­la­tion Op­ti­miser’ (LMO) for deal­ing with dif­frac­tion, and the cam­era’s par­tic­u­larly ef­fec­tive dy­namic range ex­pan­sion pro­cess­ing. There are cur­rently 23 X Mount lenses, in­clud­ing the re­cently re­leased Fu­ji­non XF 100400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR tele­photo zoom which is equiv­a­lent to 150-600mm but ob­vi­ously a lot more com­pact and lighter than a 35mm for­mat lens would be.

Ap­pro­pri­ately, the X-Pro2’s fea­ture set is un­com­pro­mis­ingly work­man­like, with ev­ery­thing needed to get the job done in­cam­era with the em­pha­sis on a smooth and ef­fi­cient work­flow. This is a cam­era that works with you rather than against you. It makes busi­ness a plea­sure and, if you aren’t shoot­ing for profit, the whole ex­pe­ri­ence is a sheer de­light.

It’s backed up by ex­cel­lent per­for­mance, es­pe­cially from the 24 megapix­els ‘X-Trans CMOS III’ sen­sor and Fu­ji­film’s ex­per­tise with pro­cess­ing imag­ing data. The X-Pro2 may be a very dif­fer­ent cam­era to its pro-level D-SLR ri­vals – or its pro-level mir­ror­less ri­vals – but as a highly ef­fec­tive means to an end, it’s with­out peer.

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