First a little background, especially if you haven’t read my last article. I have owned and used professionally Fujifilm cameras since the X100 was launched in 2011. Since then I have also owned as well as the X100, the X-Pro1, X-T1 and now as well as the X70 have both a X-Pro2 and the X-T2. With each new offering Fujifilm have managed to ‘up their game’ and I was finally able to ditch the last of my Canon gear with the recent purchase of the X-T2.
Last weekend was to be a real test for both me and the Fujis as I was booked to cover a large party of nearly 200 people and it would be the first time photographing this type of event without a Canon 5D in my bag. So in this article I am going to describe how I got on and also compare shooting this type of event with the two Fuji flagship cameras.
I started my current photography business back in early 2009 using just Canon 5D’s, first the Mk1 and then the Mk2. I found on the whole that the results from using these to photograph Weddings, Barmitzvahs and events were great. The camera was always fast enough and the ISO results on the Mk2 at up to 3200 were acceptable. However I never enjoyed using them, to me they were just a tool, a means to an end.
However when I got the Fujifilm X-T1 originally just for street photography, I loved the way I could have a preview of the image just taken displayed in the viewfinder. Perfect for checking whether my subjects had blinked without having to bring the camera down from my eye and ‘chimping’. In addition I loved and welcomed being able to preview exposure etc before even pressing the shutter. Finally the weight or lack of it was such a boost for my back after a long day of shooting a wedding.
Unfortunately for me I found the autofocus proved to be too slow in low light conditions, something I frequently have to cope with, as events are often lit just for the mood whilst dancing and not for the cameras benefit. Other photographers I know have managed to work with it, but for me I found when the light got low I reached for my 5D.
Then earlier this year the X-Pro2 was launched and I bought one. This I found to be a big improvement on the X-T1 (and of course the X-Pro1), but for me still not quite fast enough for me to ditch my last Canon. Then when the X-T2 was announced I managed to try one out at a demo day. To test it at my local dealer I locked myself in their storeroom and dimed the lights and the result blew me away. At last it seemed this camera could be the answer. I also tested the video, as up until now again unless in good light, the resulting video quality was far behind the Canon. This time however I could see that the quality was up there with the Canon and finally would be useable.
So I pre-ordered mine on the spot and received it in time to put it through its paces at a small party before last weekend’s big shoot (see my last article). Happy with the results I took both the X-Pro2 and X-T2 with me together with the following lenses: 12mm Samyang, 16mm f1.4 Fuji, 18-55mm Fuji and the 56mm f1.2 Fuji.
When shooting events I use a Black Rapid double harness, so that I have both cameras on me all the time, with different lenses on each body. I also wear a lens bag around my waist that holds the remaining lenses and spare batteries. I do like the fact that both cameras can still use the same batteries.
The party went on from 4.00pm until 11.00pm, so both were used extensively. So what were my findings and which did I prefer?
The short answer for me was the X-T2 and here’s why:
Larger viewfinder: This was really noticeable when swapping frequently from one to the other during the evening.
ISO dial: Easier to change and more importantly ‘see’ in low light. A real problem on the X-Pro2, whose ISO dial is more in my mind style over function.
Articulated LCD screen: Great for unusual viewpoints and holding high above people on the dance floor
Position of the viewfinder: Despite being a dominant right eye shooter, being in the centre unlike the X-Pro2 made it easier rotating the body from landscape to portrait shots.
Both card slots being able to use the faster UHS-2 cards. Why on earth did they release the X-Pro2 with only one slot being able to use the faster card?
The video quality: Whilst an improvement on the X-Pro2 is not up to the 4k X-T2. Admittedly Fuji says the X-Pro2 is aimed at a different market of users (street shooters) that may not even use video.
So after having got home and the next day thinking about the shoot, how it went and viewing the results, these are my final thoughts:
Did I miss the Canon? Absolutely not! Did I enjoy just using the Fujis? Absolutely yes!
Literally the only reservation was that I got through four batteries and could have done with another two as they were all down to the red warning by the end of the evening. The Canon would have only just been on the second battery. But batteries are cheap enough for me to get a few more and a small price to pay for all the advantages that using the Fuji system brings.
I also now regret not getting the power booster grip for the X-T2 when purchasing the camera, but it’s on my wish list now. As having three batteries loaded would save time and stop potentially losing shots when changing them. It extends video filming time from 10 to 30 minutes. Also it helps provide a better grip when using larger lenses and apparently boosts performance of the camera generally.
Will I keep the X-Pro2? Probably not as for me it makes more sense now to have two X-T2’s. Apart from all the above, it’s easier on the brain switching from one to the other constantly, as the button and dial layout differ so much on the two flagships.
Of course the answer for you could be the opposite, it just depends on your shooting style and what you tend to shoot the majority of the time.