The Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and the return to photographic zen
We, at Barcelona Photography Tours tend not to encourage our guests to buy the latest camera gear, but instead try to emphasise the importance of the photographer knowing his current camera inside-out. While it is all too easy to think that the next evolution of your camera model will turn you into a better photographer, unless you are proficient enough with your current camera, this rarely turns out to be the case.
While there are countless reviews, discussions and forums on what camera has the best features, specifications, handling and image quality, what is not discussed often is how a particular camera feels in the hands of a particular photographer. Personally, I feel that it’s the most important factor when purchasing a new camera. Likewise, a camera is just a tool. You need the right one for the job. If you plan to shoot wildlife or sports then a DSLR with long telephoto lenses should be more relevant. If you are mainly into street photography, a small lens on an inconspicuous mirrorless camera will probably be a better choice.
I myself used Nikon D3 & D300 cameras for years, until in 2011 I was presented with a pre-production copy of the FujiFilm X-Pro 1 mirrorless camera with it’s trio of prime lenses. For some reason that camera just spoke to me. It was if it was literally designed for me. It was not yet in production, but I knew I had to have one. It still needed the right firmware, and it was not without it’s quirks, but I just knew it was going to make me into a better photographer – and it did.
So what was it about this camera that I loved so much? It brought me back to a time even before digital cameras were produced. Having dials and levers on the camera body instead of constantly scrolling through menus, the simplicity of attaching a prime lens and melting into a crowd, the weight and the discreet size allowed me to walk for hours without cursing it’s effect on my back, and the images.. Wow!
As my main interest lies in street photography, fine art and environmental portraits, this little camera and the accompanying lenses with their stunning optics made me sell my entire Nikon kit without hesitation. A couple of years later and the X100s also found a way into my bag without even noticing a difference in weight. Both models share the unique optical viewfinder with digital overlay – perfect for viewing scenes outside of the frame and unfold before shooting.
Roll on 2016 and the Fujifilm X-Pro 2 finally arrives. 4 years later have a produced a camera that shares the design philosophy of the original X-Pro 1, but in a modern, upgraded and turbocharged version of it’s older brother. While I still carry the X-Pro 1, the higher resolution sensor, more powerful processor, advanced hybrid display, wifi and new focus joystick are all excellent features, all the X-series cameras I use have the same type of mojo that one can’t really explain in words. A lot has to do with it’s optical viewfinder and how you perceive the world through it – there really is nothing else like it.
Reviews of the X-Pro 2 can be found all over the internet, but that’s not something I will go into. What I would like to convey is the sheer enjoyment this camera instills in me as a working photographer. And in turn, I find this makes me a better photographer. And isn’t that what it’s all about?