Continuing the blog serialisation of my popular X-Pro Series lust/hate/love story:
Part 121: What I love about the X-Pro2
In recent weeks I’ve written a lot about the look of the images from the X-Pro2, and how I’ve been trying to tweak it, bend it, shape it into something resembling the image output from the X-Pro1
If you’re inclined to do so, you can read those articles
It’s quite difficult to explain what it is exactly that makes us favour one camera’s look over another, things like colour palette and tone curves come into play
For my opinion it all comes down to a willing suspension of disbelief. A photograph is not real, and it’s the viewer’s emotional response to what we’re seeing that generally denotes whether of not it’s a successful image.
I’ve only ever compared the colour images between both X-Pro cameras and I realise that it’s the look of the colour output from the X-Pro1 that I crave from the X-Pro2. (Both X-Pros make nice black and white images)
Why should this be? Well fundamentally, colour is our emotional response to light, different colours have a different effect on our mood and the look of our photos, the differences between hue and luminosity between images (and camera outputs) can very much decide for us, on a personal level, whether or not we like the shot.
That’s why I’ve devoted a lot of time to this, and why not everyone will see it as I do!
I was recently asked to say something positive about the X-Pro2. Perhaps almost like a challenge.. that because I’d dared to suggest the fact that I personally found the default colour palette of other cameras more pleasing meant that I despised the whole X-Pro2 experience.
I can assure you that nothing is further from the truth.
For starters my X-Pro2 is about to have it’s 2nd anniversary with me, it would never have made it that far if I didn’t like!
I like very much the concept of the X-Pro range. I love a corner mounted OVF with framelines.
I own five digital cameras. Three of which I shoot with a high degree of regularity.
The Leica M9
Without getting into all the usual tittle-tattle about what’s a true rangefinder or which camera has the best OVF or the most useful info display, the most accurate framelines yada yada, what do you notice about those three cameras?
They all offer a very similar view of the world when you look through the OVF.
I like this view very, very much.
And of the three, there’s many occasions when only the X-Pro2 will suffice.
When I’m shooting commercially for example, in inclement weather, when I need AF, when I need an EVF, when I need to shoot and back up the SD card on the fly
The X-Pro2 is also the camera that most ‘gets out of my way’ and let’s me shoot.
And let me just quantify that, before an angry mob of Leica enthusiasts brandishing burning torches and pitchforks bang down my door, chanting burn the witch
The X-Pro2 is a high tech camera. It’s full of stuff that I doubt many of us need all the time.
I don’t need a great many of the things that the X-Pro2 has to offer.
And do you know how I circumnavigate this colossal affront to the time honoured tradition of simplistic cameras?
I just don’t use these features 🙂
The features I do need and/or use on a regular basis are familiar and easily locatable to me.
Between the Fn buttons, the Q menu and the ‘My Menu’ I have everything where I need it.
I can do everything (bar the fiddly ISO dial) with the camera to my eye, using the joystick and the external buttons with muscle memory.
This is not a feature to be sniffed at.
I spoke above about the emotional reaction to images, but let’s be real – just because one might personally not enjoy a particular song it doesn’t mean it’s a bad record.
And likewise, just because the X-Pro1 (and the M9 truth be told) can deliver an image straight out of the box that I personally find agreeable, it doesn’t dilute the fact that in clear definable performance metrics, the X-Pro2 has the best IQ of the three.
The X-Pro2 can shoot in more places, faster and with less light than any of my other cameras.
The build quality of the X-Pro2 is very good. Better than the X-Pro1, less hollow feeling.
Compared to the brass body of the Leica the X-Pro2 feels a bit flimsy sure… but of the three cameras the software/operating system/call it what you will, of the M9 feels the most flimsy. When it comes to the software the X-Pro2 is the star performer, effortlessly and speedily responding to button presses and the request to review an image on the LCD.
Don’t get me wrong, the Leica has a beautiful heft to it that feels special in the hand. It pleases me to pick it up. What pleases me about the X-Pro2 is that it doesn’t say please wait if I want to look at an image too soon after switching it on.
I’m not down on the X-Pro2, not in the slightest, it offers what I need, combines that with what I want and sprinkles many things that I don’t (need, but can ignore) on top.
The X-Pro2 is fast, competent, enjoyable to use and well enough made for everyday use.
To think for a moment that I don’t like or want all of those things would be disingenuous
Sure the look of the images from some other cameras might sing my song a little more tunefully, sure I may write and share with you all some of things I’ve tried to get the X-Pro1 and 2 to sing in harmony.
But that doesn’t mean the X-Pro2 is a bad singer. Not in the slightest.
So on that note.
Here’s three X-Pro2 images. They have not been hacked to fool the software that they’ve come from an X-Pro2. The don’t have a special preset or non-Fuji film sim applied.
They’re just three X-Pro2 shots that hopefully show that the colour certainly isn’t terrible.
See more of my work on Instagram and Flickr
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