With the introduction of the X-Pro2, Fuji added yet another film simulation to the several fantastic ones already at place. This time it's again one of their own films, the Neopan ACROS.
I have shot with ACROS several times in the past (I regret I don't currently have a roll around to photograph next to the X-Pro2!). Here are three examples shot some years back. I apologize for the, less than great, scanning, with dust and all... But I believe one can have an idea of what this film is capable of.
Neopan is a contrasty, high res B&W film, with rich blacks, vibrant whites and very nice tonal range. Contrary to what some other companies call "film simulations", Fuji takes great care to replicate the particular characteristics of each film they reproduce, going much further than a simple saturation/contrast curve, but keep something in mind: the film simulations are digital analogs, which means they are customized for a digital's camera response (X-Trans, in particular). You can read more about ACROS in this post.
I believe present and future X-Pro2 users will be super excited with this simulation. At the very least, even if you use RAW, it offers a fantastic starting point on which to base your B&W creations. I intent on using it much more and in varied shooting scenarios in the future.
I took these following photos using the X-Pro2 in ACROS with red filter on (because I wanted dark skies), using the 14mm f/2.8 and 56mm f/1.2. Enjoy!
The ongoing X-Pro2 review
This is the introduction to the, inevitable, X-Pro2 review, which will be ongoing and quite meticulous. Because I'll have to justify to myself how easily I fell in love with it (including, trying to find possible shortcomings). We are still in a honeymoon phase (little more than a week), so please be understanding.
You know how you meet that girl in a bar, which you definitely think it's not your type, and, the next thing you know, you think about her from waking up to going to sleep?
Because first impressions count (particularly in love), first of all, the X-Pro2 is a beautifully made camera. It has a solid, dependable feel. The second thing you realize, is how well Fuji has managed to isolate the photographic experience from the computer that lives inside the body. Let me explain.
All controls dedicated to actually taking pictures are readily available and visible. Aperture, shutter speed, ISO, AF-lock, AE-lock, Exp. Comp., focusing control (the fantastic joystick) and metering (what Fuji calls "Photometry"... c'mon now Fuji, "Photometry"? :-P ) are all where they are needed. All Fujis follow this philosophy but the X-Pro2 has taken it to a different level. You can basically operate everything by moving your fingers a couple of centimeters (this is, less than an inch, for you metrically challenged readers). You also have one button for the "drive" modes, in practice getting you to a simple menu to choose burst mode, bracketing, etc. You can assign the other buttons in the "OK" cross, for commonly used tasks. And you always have the Q-menu for quick settings access.
That's all. With these only, one can rip through a complete day of shooting needing practically nothing else. The total experience is one where the camera "disappears" while you shoot, which is saying a lot. At this point let me say that I love the combined shutter/ISO dial, and can't figure all the fuss about it. It may be the way I use ISO, but I certainly like it much more than in the X-T1 (dial) or X-E2 (through a menu).
The camera is also very responsive, in all aspects of operation. The AF is, I think, one notch up from the X-T1 (and other X-cameras after the latest upgrades). The AF-selection joystick is, well, a joy to use. Perfect for OCD photographers, who always want to place the focus point with pin-point precision (guilty as charged...).
Thus, not only a great body, but brains too. It also has character, in spades. I was not an X-Pro user originally, and this is the first time I use the OVF. I have to say that, within its limitations, I love it. Being able to see outside the frame, is not a quality reserved for street photographers alone, as I hope to discuss in future articles.
Picture results are exciting. The X-Pro2 offers a slight boost in DR and S/N over the entire ISO range, but particularly above ISO800. And the improved resolution is evident in image detail; I believe this is the camera where Fujinon lenses start to come to their own.
Is everything rosy then? Obviously no; for starters there are some options I wish Fuji would give us. For example, the EVF is smaller than the one in the X-T1; it has higher refresh rate though. I wish Fuji would offer a X-T1 sized EVF at least. Also the LCD is bright and clear, but the screen is fixed. Again, I wish Fuji would go against the will of their luddite customer base, and give the X-Pro2 a fully swiveling screen. That way the screen could also be completely hidden/protected (how is that for a total vintage experience? see, no screen!). Battery life is also not great, to put it politely; keeping the batteries shared with all other X-system cameras is a mixed blessing.
I will continue with the X-Pro2 review, through various works, in the following several weeks. Keep watching this space.
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