So, the holidays are over and we welcome 2014.
New start, new year, new opportunities and new projects.
The camera as a tool, in it's purest form, should indeed be an extension of our imagination. It should enable our vision and NOT get in the way. It has a simple task to perform (no matter how complicated the technology may be).
Sadly many manufacturers forget this, the ergonomics, simplicity of setup and use and combine that with the quality of output.
Getting ready for more major projects (some overseas) I stumbled. I always shoot with two bodies. Old habit perhaps but I like to be ready for any possible issues. I had been shooting with my favourite X Pro1 with the excellent X100s as the secondary/backup. But I had become nervous, I needed two interchangeable lens bodies like I was used to.
So, with CES bringing no new options I bought the XE2 to accompany the X Pro1. I will not give an indepth review as many others revel in this and do a much better job than I, but I will offer my impression.
I was a touch concerned with size. The X Pro1 fits perfectly in my hand, it's form and weight make it a joy to use. I have the Fuji grip on the X Pro, as before this I really didn't enjoy the feel so much. But the XE2 is smaller, lighter, oh dear. But NO, I ordered the XE2 with it's grip and can safely say the feel is excellent. Yes it's smaller than the X Pro but the ergonomics and weight are still spot on. It feels as premium a tool as it surely is and inspires just the same confidence.
It feels, well, tighter is the best way I can describe it really. All the controls just feel that bit more clinically adjusted, more refined in a way. I will say the the adjustment wheel is more of an effort to depress for say magnification of the image upon playback, but nothing I won't become used to.
First order of the day was to mimic the Q settings of my X Pro1, now we have a mirrored settings style no matter the body used.
The focus speed is most definitely improved. Good light, well all the range focusses amazingly after the multiple firmware upgrades Fuji continues to implement (are you listening Canon, Nikon et all? shame), but the focus in less than ideal light, wow!
Of course, paired with a magnificent lens as the 35mm f/1.4 the images are stunning as always (and depth of field/bokeh as dreamy as you wish).
As you may have deduced, I have not had the XE2 long at all but decided to try some trickier scenes in the workshop. All these images are jpeg with NegH or B&Wr , as amazing as all the presets are.
So, what else does the newest generation of current X camera offer us? Of course it has the inner heart and soul of the amazing X100s but it has been to techno school and picked up a few more tricks.
I honestly doubt I will use face recognition but never say never. It does work very well as, well y'know, had to test it ;) It's great to have a dedicated flash sync speed setting on the top dial! The EVF is as smooth as butter and detailed as irish lace, the write speed is very fast and all controls are tighter and harder to accidentally knock.
The camera is indeed a large step up and feels more "grown up" and "matured" honestly. Don't get me wrong, I adore my X Pro1 (and X100s) but the XE2 just feels more finished in a way. Indeed it may be tousling with the X Pro1 for first attention.
Recently I wrote and academic paper on Professional Documentary Photography and the Citizen Journalist. I will not bore you with the 1000's of words here, but suffice to say the XE2 also brings tools to the pro that the citizen takes for granted. Much citizen journalism is produced on a smart phone. Nothing wrong with that and indeed phones get better daily. Yet the control and quality still lack. What phones do enable is speed of publication. The audience is now a voracious consumer of information (much of it on the go with their phone or tablet). The ability to upload images and quickly have them distributed to online publications and social media sites should not be sniffed at, the public demands speed of consumption and at times uploading to a computer to process and then upload can be too slow and lose us work. It may be rudimentary but the built in WIFI of the XE2 should not be overlooked! The ability to link to a phone/tablet and immediately send into cyberspace (as is or after some processing) is priceless. My XE2 connected to my Android phone seamlessly, I was surprised just how quickly and easily. I honestly think more and more cameras (esp. the ones for professional users) need this ability.
Now if only Fuji would give me more video control in the X range I would be a totally happy camper.
Of course, the low light ability and dynamic range of the XE2 continues and is quite frankly astounding!
So, as the new year continues to unfold I now go forward and work on more projects with a slightly more easy mind. I now have the two bodies to make me more relaxed in professional work (and purely use Fuji as my equipment of choice!), happy days.