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The ACROS film simulation

A little over 2 years ago, I wrote a post in which I compared all the film simulations available at the time for the Fujifilm X-Series cameras. Since then, Fujifilm has come up with the classic chrome film simulation, and more recently with the ACROS film simulation. For whatever reason, the latter is only available for the cameras from the X-Pro2 and onwards, but it is quickly becoming one of my favorite film simulations.

If I want to shoot in black and white, I now just set my camera to ACROS instead of converting the picture to black and white later during post-processing. Here are a few examples:

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Final thoughts along the road on the Fuji X-Pro2

I have now had many oppportunities to test the Fuji X-Pro2 in various situations, from quick hands-on experiences organized by Fujifilm between the official announcement of the camera and its official launch, to testing in real life situation in the field with a rented model.

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The X-Pro2 will quickly feel familiar to X-Series users. In many aspects, the X-Pro2 is an evolution of the X-Pro1, technologically and ergonomically.

Technologically, while there is nothing groundbreaking compared to the competition, the update is welcome:

  • The X-Pro2 is the first camera of the X-Series to boast the new 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor, along with boosted processing power thanks to the new  X-Processor Pro engine. A logical and welcome improvement, though we can all thank the 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor for many years of loyal service😉 Despite of the additional megapixels, the X-Pro2 performs equally, to slightly better given the added resolution, than the Fuji X-T1 for example
  • The autofocus system has also benefitted from a (well needed) upgrade, with 273 autofocus points (169 of which are phase-detect). Important improvement, the phase detect AF pixels now cover around 40% of the screen rather than a small rectangle in the middle
  • The mechanical shutter was also improved, with a max shutter speed of 1/8,000s. More importantly for flash users, the maximum flash sync-speed is now set at 1/250s. This will give a bit more leeway to shoot wide open with a fast prime while using a flash, before requiring a ND filter. We are still due a proper comprehensive Fuji flash system with high-sync speed though
  • The hybrid viewfinder (OVF/EVF) has also been upgraded, with the addition of a X100T-like small EVF screen “within the frame”, that can be brought up in the bottom-right while using the OVF

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Ergonomically, the X-Pro2 is bringing many changes over the original X-Pro1:

  • The addition of a focus lever to select the focus point is my favourite new feature. Those who had been using the X-Series since the beginning will remember the days when we had to first press the AF button and then the D-Pad buttons to move the focus point selector. The focus lever works like a charm, and means that you can keep the 4 D-Pad directions as real custom buttons
  • All the buttons on the back of the camera have been moved to the right of the screen, for easier “one-hand” operability
  • The ISO selection has been moved out of the camera menu and replaced by a dial (100 times yeah!!! 👍👍👍), which is “embedded” within the shutter speed dial (not so yeah 🙁). You need to pull up the dial before you turn it so that it will a adjust the ISO, and you can see the currently selected ISO level through a small window pierced within the shutter speed dial. It is still a better option in my opinion than setting the ISO within the menu of the camera, but this is borderline gimmicky compared to an independent dedicated dial
  • The X-Pro2 is the first camera from the X-Series that comes with a dual slot, that you can use in 3 different modes: a slot that gets used when the memory card in the first slot is full, a simple back-up of the first slot, or a slot that gets the JPEGs when shooting in the RAW+JPEG. The latter is my favourite, because having a memory card with only your JPEG files is very handy to quickly share them on social networks. Note that only the first slot will take advantage of the faster speed of UHS-II SD cards, the second slot is a regular SD slot

What about the video mode? Video has always been a weak point of the X-Series cameras, with poor quality in many situations. The video quality is much better with the X-Pro2, in the sense that most of the time you actually get usable footages. If you are deep into video and don’t bring up Google when people talk about S-Log, the X-Pro2 is still not going to be a camera for you. However, if you are taking pictures, but sometimes need some video clips, at least now you can do that without fearing having only video clips full of moire. In the example below, the first video clip setting the stage (between 00:14 and 00:18) was shot wit the X-T1 (and does not look so great), while all the other video clips were shot with the X-Pro2:

One thing I noticed, you can only shoot video on the memory card in the first memory card slot. Once this card is full, you don’t seem to be able to shoot videos on the memory card in the second memory card slot.

 

The one compartment in which the X-Pro2 does not improve over its predecessor is battery life. Fujifilm has chosen to keep the same batteries as for the other X-Series cameras, which will delight the Fuji users who have invested in piles of spare batteries. However, from my experience, a fully-charged battery will give you only ~250 shots.

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Overall, the X-Pro2 delivers on a lot of promises, and if you are already into the X-Series you will not be disappointed by the leap forward with the new sensor. As seen above, there is a lot of good things to say about this camera. I only regret the design of the ISO dial and the too short battery life. The hybrid viewfinder remains the main feature that differentiates the X-Pro2 from other cameras. Personally, while I enjoy using it, I can live without as I have become accustomed to the big electronic viewfinder of the X-T1, and therefore for my own kit i am rather waiting for the X-T2 that should be announced in the now very-near future, as I prefer the dedicated mode dial (rather than a Drive menu) and the simple ISO dial.

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Field test: X-Pro2 + XF 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 – Birdwatching in Tokyo

For my second visit to the bird sanctuary of the Kasai Rinkai park in Eastern Tokyo, I brought with me an X-Pro2with the XF 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 “super telephoto zoom lens” to put them to the test. Below is a summary of my thoughts on the newest and most expensive lens for X-mount cameras. All the sample images used in this post are straight-out-of-the-camera JPEGs (Velvia film simulation), without any additional processing. You can click on them for full size images.

The FUJINON XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR is the long awaited super telephoto zoom lens for X-Series cameras. One of the reason behind the delay of the release of this lens, compared to its first appareance on the official Fuji roadmap, seems to have been a complete redesign of the lens somewhere along the development cycle. As a reminder, the first time I saw a prototype of the “super telephoto zoom lens”, as it was dubbed on the roadmap, it was supposed to be a XF140-400mm f4-5.6 lens, with a shorter size but a wider diameter (86mm). It looked like that (the lens on the right side):

The final design is slimmer but longer, and covers a longer focal range but is slightly slower when zoomed out. I cannot know for sure, but I would bet that the final design is probably lighter than the initial version too.

While the lens got longer, the tripod foot that comes with it became shorter, which seems like a odd decision to me, although arguably I am no lens engineer, as one would think that  a bigger tripod foot would offer a better stabilization once attached to a tripod head. If you don’t have any, Fujifilm sells a lens plate (MLP-75XF) that you can attach to the tripod foot to make it compatible with ARCA SWISS tripods. Personally, I also don’t see the point of having included the 100-140mm focal range compared to the initial design, as this part of the focal range is already covered by so many XF lenses.

Beyond those small reservations, there are mostly positive things to say in terms of design and handling. The smaller filter thread of the final version (77mm) will enable you to use common filters you might already own (I personally buy all my filters in the 77mm size, with a set of cheap step-up rings to use them on smaller lenses). The built quality feels good, with attention to details. There is a lock button to avoid any zoom creep, but the small feature that makes a big difference to me is the lens hood that clips on the lens. The last thing you want when you are on the side of a race track or a football field is for your lens hood to fall over every time you knock something or someone runs into you.

Coupled with the XF 1.4x teleconverter, the lens become a 140-560mm f8 equivalent lens. I shot the sample pictures in this post using an X-Pro2, with the XF 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 mounted on the 1.4x teleconverter, as I was trying to get as tight and as far as possible. All these shots were taken in very good lighting conditions (although between 6-9AM, so still in somewhat soft light), and in these ideal conditions the combo camera + teleconverter + lens was very responsive. The autofocus in particular did a perfect job on relatively still or slow moving subjects, despite of the addition of the teleconverter theoretically making it harder for the autofocus to work (it was much slower and hunted back and forth when I tested it indoor in poor lighting conditions, which is a totally normal thing). The autofocus struggled much more on flying birds, which was mainly due to my sheer inability to keep flying birds for an extended period of time in a tight composition when using such a long lens.

Here is what both extremes of the focal range look like when using the X-Pro2 + XF 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 + XF1.4x teleconverter:

Zoomed out:


Zoomed-in:

When shooting at 560mm with f8 maximum aperture, it can be difficult to obtain a shutter speed fast enough for handholding without raising the ISO setting higher than one might want to. This is when the image stabilisation of the lens kicks in. The image stabilisation of the XF 100-400mmF4.5-5.6 is to be commended for its effiency, in effect improving the quality of the images by allowing to use lower ISOs while still taking sharp pictures. The quality of the image stabilisation can also be seen in action in the video clips included in the video at the top of this post, inbetween still samples.

Additional samples gallery:

In conclusion, I really enjoyed my time with this lens. I usually don’t go birdwatching, so it gave me a good excuse to do so. With the addition of the XF100-400mmF4.5-5.6, X-mount lenses can now cover a huge focal length, and even more when you add the 1.4x teleconverter. It’s a great lens to handle with efficient image stabilisation for handholding and nice finishing touches such as the clipping hood with a small trap to adjust your filter if you are using a polariser. I personally don’t need to own such a long lens for 99% of what I shoot, but for the few times I would need it I will be absolutely confident to rent it – apart for indoor sports for which the faster XF50-140mmF2.8 will be a better option if you don’t want to focus manually.

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Fujifilm X-Pro2 high ISO comparison

Fan favorite Chopper comes back as our model to test the ISO performance of the Fujifilm X-Pro2.

Click here to compare these results with similar tests done on the X-T1 and X-E2.

The following images are straight out of the camera JPEGs, shot on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 + XF90mmF2 @ f2, and varying ISO/shutter speed couples. Click on the images to see them in full size.

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X-Pro2 – ISO 200
X-Pro2 - ISO 400
X-Pro2 – ISO 400
X-Pro2 - ISO 800
X-Pro2 – ISO 800
X-Pro2 - ISO 1600
X-Pro2 – ISO 1600
X-Pro2 - ISO 2000
X-Pro2 – ISO 2000
X-Pro2 - ISO 2500
X-Pro2 – ISO 2500
X-Pro2 - ISO 3200
X-Pro2 – ISO 3200
X-Pro2 - ISO 4000
X-Pro2 – ISO 4000
X-Pro2 - ISO 5000
X-Pro2 – ISO 5000
X-Pro2 - ISO 6400
X-Pro2 – ISO 6400
X-Pro2 - ISO 8000
X-Pro2 – ISO 8000
X-Pro2 - ISO 10000
X-Pro2 – ISO 10000
X-Pro2 - ISO 12800
X-Pro2 – ISO 12800
X-Pro2 - ISO 25600 (H1)
X-Pro2 – ISO 25600 (H1)
X-Pro2 - ISO 51200 (H2)
X-Pro2 – ISO 51200 (H2)

Stay tune for more on the X-Pro2…

If you found this article interesting, there is a good chance your friends will like it too, so share it with them on Twitter and Facebook!

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Celebrating 300 followers on Instagram!

 

300 might not sound like an important milestone for those who have thousands, but never forget 300 Spartans only (allegedly) achieved during the battle of the Thermopylae😉

  
A huge thank you to the 300 people (hopefully not too many robots there, though Instagram is flooded with spams) who are following me 🙇

Now looking forward to the next 300😉

  
By the way, if you wonder how I did the simple graphic at the top of this post, it’s very easy. There clearly should be no need to launch something as heavy and complicated as inDesign or Photoshop for something as simple as adding a text on an image with a circle around it… I actually did it in 1min on my phone, using the Adobe Post app (if you have an iPhone  it’s free on the AppStore). It comes with several basic designs. You only need to choose your image, select one preset and a color palette, and that’s it! Find out more about this app on Scott Kelby’s blog