The X-Pro2 and the Passenger Terminal

Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro Series lust/hate/love story:

Part 41: The X-Pro2 Review: The X-Pro2 and the Passenger Terminal

After the month long series of articles about RFC, that turned out to be a long slog of writing and screen shots… I think it’s high time that I returned to what goes into the front of the camera, rather than what comes out from behind 🙂

So for this week’s instalment, it’s time to share a day out that I’ve had on the back burner to write about for a while, but never got around too, until now. I got the X-Pro2 towards the end of July (2016 in case you’re reading this in 3 years time or something), I then proceeded to have a very busy and non-photographic August, then September rolled around and the X-Pro2 and I finally got some quality time together 🙂

Long time readers will know, that I’m predominantly a reportage/documentary photographer… sure I’d like to think that my best work can proudly wear more than one badge, but the core of what I do, is to capture and present what I see, usually in context of where I see it!

This was how I shot the X-Pro1 and (not surprisingly) how I shoot the X-Pro2..

In fact this is one of my favourite things about the X-Pro series of bodies, they make a great travel system and when it comes to street/reportage the ‘non-DSLR’ shape can open up occasional opportunities that otherwise might pass by…

Of course the X-Pro bodies are not the smallest, or lightest cameras – in fact I’ve had a XF56 APD on loan for the past week or so, and I have to say that the X-Pro2 + 56APD + OEM grip, is not a lightweight combination 🙂 But it still manages to be relatively under the radar.

Of course many things about the X-Pro2 are as they were on the X-Pro1. The spec sheet might be a whole lot longer and the images tangibly bigger. But it’s not a re-invention.

That said, a new camera is a new camera – any similarity to it’s predecessor shouldn’t mean that we can assume it will be the same.. It’s not a case of the adage familiarity breeds contempt but I think it’s fair to say that familiarity can breed expectation.

But expectations can be wrong and more tellingly can only be proved/disproved by what military arms manufacturers like to call Combat Proven

Or put more succinctly… getting a new camera and shooting stuff around the home etc is a great way to get familiar with it, but will you be as happy and comfortable with it out in the field.

For me, with the X-Pro2 – the short answer was yes 🙂

But it was only when it had it’s first true field test that I understood that I was happy with it.

The Portuguese beach town of Matosinhos, has a passenger terminal and a large commercial dock.

This area is an all year round working area – not open to the public.

The passenger terminal (which is called Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões) is “open” to the public in much the same way that Heathrow or LAX airports are… ie it’s not, but you can pass through it (under rules and scrutiny) if you have a ticket to travel.

However, Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões and the docks have an occasional open day. Completely free of charge to enter, with bus tours around the docks and open access to the building. There’s no way to say no to an offer like that 🙂

So let’s see how the X-Pro2 performed for me, on a day of one-off photo opportunities…

(All images taken with the X-Pro2 and XF35 F1.4)

Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões
A large, modern and imposing building, often seen on the horizon in my beach shots! I’ve wanted to get inside the Terminal de Cruzeiros do Porto de Leixões for quite a while 🙂

Spiral Terminal
The inside features a colossal spiral staircase that winds to the very top. As always with places like this on days like that… you quickly wish you were the only one there!!

Don't Wait for Your Ship to Come in
The inside of the terminal is thoroughly modern, with large windows looking out over the harbour

Loading
Not surprisingly… the roof offers an amazing view of the docks

A Quiet Spot
The view from the top over the Matosinhos coastline is strangely at odds with the busy harbour scene – to swap views, simply walk to the other end of the viewing platform!

Rush
When a place is heaving with people, it can be tricky to grab an isolated scene…. but this can also elevate the feeling of accomplishment when finding such a shot

A Fishy Costume
Sometimes, even though a scene is too busy, with too many distractions, in my opinion, it’s still worth it; take a moment to think about this girl; a day at work – the whole time on your feet, harassed by kids, being incessantly photographed, whilst dressed as a fish… and still a smile for my camera. Godspeed in your life’s journey young lady.

After the terminal building, next up was tour bus trip around a vast, functional dock.. Aka, having to shoot handheld with very little notice of what’s coming up, while being bounced around in one’s seat!!

Loaded
I have some fear of the sea and water, and big boats and ships… When you get close to these large workhorses you can see that they are engaged in a constant battle with the sea, to stay uncorroded and functional. The former they appear to lose, the latter not so much.

Scrap Export
When you’re looking out of moving bus, not really able to see what’s coming up, you are not presented with much time for camera settings, and your framing choices can be limiting….

Work Horses
….which is why when something works out moderately well, you can be moderately pleased!

All in all I took a LOT of shots that day. I was happy with how the X-Pro2 performed, could I have done this with the X-Pro1? I have to say, of course yes – but that’s not the point, my point is that do I now know that I can trust the X-Pro2 to deliver for me, having taken it into an environment full of one-off opportunities, and that answer is a resounding yes.

You might be thinking, “well… Of course Adam, the Pro2 is better than the Pro1, the clue’s in the name” but better is only valid if that improvement is readily accessible… for example better IQ, is quickly negated by poor camera settings, more features are wasted if one spends so much time choosing them, that the shot passes by without capture.

I can’t say I’m surprised that I was happy with the X-Pro2’s performance, nor even relived…

But I’m delighted that it works for me, and that I’ve used it in a uncontrolled environment.

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