Fuji Cameras

RESETTING MY FUJIFILM X-PRO2 TO ZERO

 Select USER SETTING > RESET in setup menu.

Select USER SETTING > RESET in setup menu.

I think it is important to hit the reset button once in a while. Start over. Take a step back. Evaluate. Creatively or technically. In photography, it's popular to say that it isn't about the technology or the camera, it's about the creativity. Sometimes, however, the technology can affect the creative.

I've been shooting with my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for nearly two years. Shortly after receiving the camera I wrote a blog post titled: "Fujifilm X-Pro2 Initial Settings," and that was also the last time I took a deep dive into the entirety of the camera's menu system.

During the past few months there have been several occasions where I was seeing the photograph, but struggling with capturing what I was seeing. It seemed to be a case of technology getting in the way of the creative. Something that I never experienced before with the X-Pro2.

Over time a camera setting or two get changed, new features are added via firmware updates (4.01 as of this blog), and before you know it, it's possible the technology no longer matches the creative. Or matches how you're used to capturing the creative.

So did I change or did the camera? I felt myself falling out of love with the camera, but I wasn't ready to get divorced. The X-Pro2 is still a top of the line camera and I see no reason to leave, so maybe I just need a little marriage counseling. A reset button.

So with that in mind, I reset the camera to its factory defaults. A fresh start. Next, I opened the manual and went through every setting as if I had just purchased the camera. Lastly, I revisited that blog post from 2016 and compared those settings to what I had just done. Surprisingly, they matched up, with only one exception. I now use both Electronic Shutter (ES) and Mechanical Shutter (MS) depending on the situation. Most notably when using an electronic remote cable release, the camera must be set to MS.

There is no need to run through the initial settings again, you can go back and read them, however, I do want to talk about some choices I made that weren't available in 2016 when I wrote that initial blog post.

1. Copyright info in EXIF data. This allows you to register the photographer's name and the copyright holder's name in advance so that the camera automatically adds the information to EXIF data for each image. 

 I take the opportunity to add my email address instead of using my name twice.

I take the opportunity to add my email address instead of using my name twice.

2. Addition of "Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display" in the View Mode. This isn't an option I use all the time, but it does have some advantages, especially when shooting landscapes or if you need to compose a photograph while holding the camera away from your eye.

3. Voice Memo function. While not available during shooting, this function allows you to record a 30-second voice memo while in the playback mode. This is useful if you need to record a name or something special about a photograph without having to write it down.

Maybe, in the end, this is really more of a creative reset and I'm using the camera as an excuse. Nothing wrong with that. 

Finally, another new feature now available is support for backup/restore of camera settings via FUJIFILM X Aquire. In the future, if I want to reset, I will no longer have to return to zero, just to my proven settings that match my shooting style.

DOES THE FUJINON XF50 LENS COMPLETE MY KIT?

 Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., taken with the Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/80 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

Cherry blossoms in Washington, D.C., taken with the Fuji X-Pro2 and a Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/80 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

I recently purchased the Fujinon XF50 F2 R WR lens, my fourth Fuji lens since I purchased the Fujifilm X-Pro2 mirrorless camera in March of 2016. Why should you care?

First a little history of my Fuji lens purchases. I initially purchased the Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR lens at the same time as I purchased the X-Pro2. That lens decision was mostly based on using the 35mm f/1.4 for seven days with an X-Pro1 in New York City which I wrote about here. I liked the 53mm equivalent focal length and on this f/2 version, I was drawn to the smaller form factor and weather resistant features. 

Well, it didn't take long for me to realize that I wanted something a little wider. I was leaning towards the Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 R WR lens but at the price, it wasn't going to be an impulse buy. However, when I received an offer for $300.00 off, I couldn't resist. I wrote about the 16mm (24mm equivalent) here, and while this a super lens, it is just too big for everyday carry. It does get used as my primary landscape lens, however.

 Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/500 @ f3.6, ISO 400.

Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/500 @ f3.6, ISO 400.

You may see where this is going. After a year shooting with these two lenses, something was still missing and I couldn't put my finger on it. I really liked the X-Pro2 but just didn't seem as satisfied with my photos as I when I was using the Fujifilm X100s. Could it be as simple as the focal length of the lens? The X100s has a fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) lens and I just never missed having another focal length when carrying that camera.

In August of 2016, Fuji released the Fujinon XF23mm F2 R WR lens and I thought that would finally be the answer. In fact in my previous blog post, 'Did I Finally Find the Perfect Fuji X Lens?', I attempted to answer that very question. And I think I did a pretty good job of justifying that purchase. And if that lens had been available when I initially purchased the X-Pro2, I probably wouldn't be writing this blog post now.

In January Fuji released the aforementioned 50mm (70mm equivalent). This is a focal length I didn't think I would need or want. However, after several outings with it, I'm convinced that it will get used second only to the 23mm.

 Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/17 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

Fujinon XF50mm F2 R WR lens at 1/17 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

It also completes what I'm calling the trifecta of lenses, the 23, 35 and 50mm. Others refer to these lenses as the 'Fujicron' line-up, a play on Summicron, a term Leica uses to designate lenses that have a maximum aperture of f/2. Whether you refer to them as the trifecta or 'Fujicron', they are all f/2; lightweight, but solidly built; small and compact; weather resistant; sharp and all match perfectly with the X-Pro2.

Another real bonus is you can own this trifecta for around $1200.00 total and that makes a real nice set of glass to couple with whichever Fuji camera system you shoot with.   

My only complaint is the lens shades that Fuji ships with the 23 and 35. The 50mm lens hood is acceptable, but I did break down and buy the Fujifilm Lens Hood for XF35 from B&H. At $59.99 it is a little pricey, but the good news is that it also fits the XF 35.

So, why should you care? Don't make the mistake and impulse buy lenses. Take the time to think about the type of photography you do and what a new lens will add. I would be perfectly happy with just the 23mm and the 50mm if I could do it over again.

DID I FINALLY FIND THE PERFECT FUJI X LENS?

 This was the first scene I came across as I found a position near 6th St. on the Mall. The Naked Cowboy is cliché, but that's in Times Square, not D.C. Plus who could pass up the word Trump emblazoned across his Fruit of the Loom underwear.  Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/90 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

This was the first scene I came across as I found a position near 6th St. on the Mall. The Naked Cowboy is cliché, but that's in Times Square, not D.C. Plus who could pass up the word Trump emblazoned across his Fruit of the Loom underwear. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/90 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

It has been a little more than a year since I've been shooting with the Fujifilm X-Pro2. It has also been a year since I've been searching for the just the right lens to pair with this exceptional camera.

I originally purchased the Fujinon XF35mm F2 R WR lens and soon realized that I wanted something a little wider. Welcome to my next lens, the Fujinon XF16mm F1.4 R WR. The 16mm is a great lens, very sharp and I've used it many times, mostly while photographing landscapes. But, as I noted when I wrote about this lens, it is just too large and heavy to be my everyday lens.

 When I went to the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama I was about a block farther away, so I knew that I would never get a photograph of the actual swearing in. So I positioned myself close to a screen in order to capture the moment.  Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/320 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

When I went to the 2009 inauguration of Barack Obama I was about a block farther away, so I knew that I would never get a photograph of the actual swearing in. So I positioned myself close to a screen in order to capture the moment. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/320 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

Same thing for the Fujinon 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens. Again a great lens, but also large and heavy. While I only borrowed this lens, I noted the good and bad when I wrote about it following a visit to Grand Central Terminal. The search continued for that perfect everyday carry-around lens.

Maybe you have guessed by now which lens I've finally chosen. In fact, it was a lens that I shot with for almost two years and loved, I just didn't realize it, or maybe I was in denial. Or maybe I'm just slow to catch on.

 The 23mm allowed me to capture this moment between two first time inauguration attendees while moving in the crowds.  Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/300 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

The 23mm allowed me to capture this moment between two first time inauguration attendees while moving in the crowds. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/300 @ f2.8, ISO 200.

Whatever the case, the lens, of course, is the Fujinon XF23 F2 R WR. For two years, I used that focal length on my Fujifilm X100S. Street photography, landscapes and everything in between, that was my go to lens. Of course, it was the only lens, since it is fixed on the X100S.

The point is that not given a choice, I found that the 23mm (35 equivalent) was the perfect lens. So for the past three weeks, starting with the inauguration, I've only used that lens and I've fallen in love all over again. It's small, light and seems to be the perfect focal length to capture both wide overall establishing shots and the up close and intimate shots.

The only negative, and it's the same negative that I had with the 16mm lens. Why can't Fuji just provide the right lens hood when I make the purchase? In both cases, I've purchased the upgraded lens hoods; the LH FX16 and the LH FX35-2.

 The final photograph I made that day was of Barack and Michelle Obama leaving D.C. aboard Marine One. Once again I was looking for crowd reaction to the scene happening on the big screen. Although there is some disagreement, my opinion is the crowds weren't as big as in 2009, but this is the kind of situation, crowds, fast-moving and with plenty of action, that I like, and the 23mm was the perfect one lens for me that day.  Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/200 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

The final photograph I made that day was of Barack and Michelle Obama leaving D.C. aboard Marine One. Once again I was looking for crowd reaction to the scene happening on the big screen. Although there is some disagreement, my opinion is the crowds weren't as big as in 2009, but this is the kind of situation, crowds, fast-moving and with plenty of action, that I like, and the 23mm was the perfect one lens for me that day. Fujifilm X-Pro2 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f2 R WR, 1/200 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

These are pricey upgrades and cheaper options are available but don't be fooled. In the past, I've recommended some of the less expensive lens hoods, but for the 23mm, like the 16mm, these hoods are very different and while overpriced, are worth it. As a bonus, the LH FX35-2 will fit both the 35mm and 23mm lens. 

Lens hood issue aside, the 23mm is very sharp and in my opinion the best all around lens to pair with my X-Pro2 for a wide range of photography. The 16mm and 35mm are by no means obsolete but are no longer carried with me every day.

TOO BOLDLY GO... NOT A REVIEW OF THE FUJI 16MM LENS

 Best Western Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend, Arizona. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm 1.4. 1/70 @ f2.0, ISO 200.

Best Western Space Age Lodge in Gila Bend, Arizona. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm 1.4. 1/70 @ f2.0, ISO 200.

Two photos, two locations, one theme, and one lens. I had originally thought this post was going to be a review of the Fujinon XF 16mm f1.4 lens, but I'm not quite ready to write that yet.

It's not that I'm disappointed with this lens. In fact, it is tack-sharp, solidly built and deserves its place in the Fuji premiere lens lineup, but I just haven't used it enough to really write a proper review. Perhaps I will never use it enough to write that review. And that's the issue.

Typically, before making a lens or camera purchase, I borrow the piece of equipment and try it out. If I had done that before aquiring this lens, I would have realized that the Fujinon XF 23mm 1.4 would have been a better choice for me. 

Too big. That was my first impression when attaching the 16mm lens to my X-Pro2. I'm so used to carrying this camera around all the time while not drawing attention to myself, that this lens with its 67mm front element and even larger lens hood made the camera front heavy and made me feel very conspicuous.

Too wide. Is that really possible? I had become so accustomed to shooting with the Fuji X100S and its fixed 23mm (35mm equivalent) and the Fujinon XF 35mm F2 (53mm equivalent) on my X-Pro2 that I found myself lost in the frame.

 Restored USS Enterprise model on display at the Smithsonian Sea Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm 1.4. 1/60 @ f2.0, ISO 1000.

Restored USS Enterprise model on display at the Smithsonian Sea Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm 1.4. 1/60 @ f2.0, ISO 1000.

Too much. Not cost, in fact, I was able to purchase the lens for $699 during a promotion. Perhaps the real issue I need to work through is how many lenses do I really need? The joy of shooting with Fuji for me has been the simplicity, one camera, one lens, in a form factor that does not draw attention and allowed me to be very creative.

For me, the reality is that the 16mm (24mm equivalent) borders on a specialty lens, whereas the Fuji 23mm (35mm equivalent) or the 35mm (53mm equivalent), can be a one-lens solution. Or, maybe having to change lenses just feels like I'm at work shooting with DLSRs.

Perhaps this has turned out to be somewhat of a mini review after all.

HAWAII WITH THE FUJIFILM X-PRO2

 On the first day as I wandered around Waikiki Beach trying to overcome some jet lag, I came across these kids being kids. I watched for a little bit before taking any photos and while they were aware I was there, they soon just went back to timing the surf and leaping from the pier. I liked this photo best because while most of these kids jumped feet first, this girl just went for it.  1/680 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

On the first day as I wandered around Waikiki Beach trying to overcome some jet lag, I came across these kids being kids. I watched for a little bit before taking any photos and while they were aware I was there, they soon just went back to timing the surf and leaping from the pier. I liked this photo best because while most of these kids jumped feet first, this girl just went for it.  1/680 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

During a recent trip to Honolulu, Hawaii, I had my first chance to spend some time walking around with my new Fujifilm X-Pro2. In the previous post, I explained my initial camera setup and my thoughts behind those choices. In this post, I'll discuss whether I stuck with those choices and share a few things I learned.

The camera handled great, felt good to carry and performed up to my expectations. That really isn't a surprise, however, I was surprised by how much I liked it more than the X-Pro1. Granted, I only spent a week with the X-Pro1, but Fuji really did take the time to improve this camera versus the original. Little things, but well thought out.

 As the sun dipped below the horizon, it didn't take long for it to get dark. I was photographing surfers and paddle boarders coming ashore when I noticed a hotel's flood light illuminating a patch of sand, so I positioned myself hoping that some action would take place in or near the light. I like the warm yellow light contrasting with the blue ocean and sky and that last hint of pink. I think that just enough light reaches the subjects and ensures that they weren't in silhouette. 1/35 @ f2.0, ISO 3200. 

As the sun dipped below the horizon, it didn't take long for it to get dark. I was photographing surfers and paddle boarders coming ashore when I noticed a hotel's flood light illuminating a patch of sand, so I positioned myself hoping that some action would take place in or near the light. I like the warm yellow light contrasting with the blue ocean and sky and that last hint of pink. I think that just enough light reaches the subjects and ensures that they weren't in silhouette. 1/35 @ f2.0, ISO 3200. 

I stuck to shooting Auto ISO with my max ISO set to 3200. I was happy with the results, but I may up that to 6400. During this trip, I was working during the day (video project) so most of my personal shooting with the Fuji was during the evening hours where 3200 was fine, however on one occasion, I was shooting after the sun had set and in that case I could have used the faster shutter speed provided by setting the upper limit to 6400. 

 I was around the fifth person to reach the top of Diamond Head just as the sun was coming up. In this photo, several visitors defied the off-limits signs and ventured about 50 yards to another peak. I didn't pay much attention until this gentleman climbed atop the metal frame. I like the contrast between the grass, concrete and the performance of this man balancing atop some old metal. With Honolulu in the background, he's on top of the world. 1/75 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

I was around the fifth person to reach the top of Diamond Head just as the sun was coming up. In this photo, several visitors defied the off-limits signs and ventured about 50 yards to another peak. I didn't pay much attention until this gentleman climbed atop the metal frame. I like the contrast between the grass, concrete and the performance of this man balancing atop some old metal. With Honolulu in the background, he's on top of the world. 1/75 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

I'm really glad I choose the 35mm f2.0 R WR lens. Unlike the 35mm f1.4, which I previously used with the X-Pro1, It is smaller, quieter and weather resistant, all things that came into play during this trip. Another thing that I appreciated about this lens is the focal length. At a 50mm equivalent, it has a nice reach, yet still works in close situations. I will probably still purchase something wider, but I'm not in any hurry.

 Something else I realized was that within a half hour of me reaching the summit of Diamond Head, I was joined by the entire country of Japan. Seriously, it did get really crowded and most of the visitors continued to take photos of the rising sun, probably long after it made sense. But as I made my way back down, I wanted to take a photo that would give a sense of the crowd, when I spotted this woman taking a picture of the sunrise. I turned, made three frames and keep moving. 1/120 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

Something else I realized was that within a half hour of me reaching the summit of Diamond Head, I was joined by the entire country of Japan. Seriously, it did get really crowded and most of the visitors continued to take photos of the rising sun, probably long after it made sense. But as I made my way back down, I wanted to take a photo that would give a sense of the crowd, when I spotted this woman taking a picture of the sunrise. I turned, made three frames and keep moving. 1/120 @ f6.4, ISO 200.

The autofocus was really quick and the added ability to move the focus area around quickly using the joystick was a welcome addition. In a few instances when shooting on the street, I reacted quickly and the focus was locked on without me having to think about it. Like all the previous mirrorless cameras I've used, you do have to make sure the camera "awake" or you could experience an initial delay.

 On Oahu's North Shore, there are hundreds of spots to pull over and explore the coast with your camera. The weather was not great and most of the morning I was dealing with volcanic fog, or VOG, as the locals call it. Eventually, as I continued to drive along the coast, this tidal pool caught my attention and I focused on the lone snorkeler and the range of subtle color changes throughout the scene. 1/680 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

On Oahu's North Shore, there are hundreds of spots to pull over and explore the coast with your camera. The weather was not great and most of the morning I was dealing with volcanic fog, or VOG, as the locals call it. Eventually, as I continued to drive along the coast, this tidal pool caught my attention and I focused on the lone snorkeler and the range of subtle color changes throughout the scene. 1/680 @ f5.6, ISO 200.

I loaded the dual card slots with San Disk 32mb SDHC cards, capturing monochrome jpegs to one and raw files to the other. Not sold on this. I still really like seeing the results in monochrome as I shoot, but I also utilized the built-in WiFi a lot with this camera. It's how I transferred my photos to my phone and iPad then shared on social media during the trip. However, since I was caputing in monochrome, if I wanted to use a color version, I had to first do an in-camera raw conversion. Again, this is something I'm going to have to work on.

 On my last night in Hawaii, I was walking back from dinner along Waikiki Beach watching all the tourists line up to photograph the sunset. It was a nice sunset, however with nothing spectacular to put in the foreground, I was drawn to the color reflected in the receding waves. A different view of the setting sun. 1/40 @ f3.2, ISO 200.

On my last night in Hawaii, I was walking back from dinner along Waikiki Beach watching all the tourists line up to photograph the sunset. It was a nice sunset, however with nothing spectacular to put in the foreground, I was drawn to the color reflected in the receding waves. A different view of the setting sun. 1/40 @ f3.2, ISO 200.

There is no doubt the X-Pro2 is now my everyday carry-around camera. It handled well in all the shooting situations I found myself in and the 24 megapixels images are just beautiful. Off to Portland, Oregon, next week, so more to follow.