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So last week I bit the bullet and purchased a Fujifilm X-Pro2. It was always a toss-up between that and the X-T2 but the ergonomics of the XP2 won me over in the end.

As I have said on this blog before, I am left eye dominant and wear glasses and as a result, I find some of the buttons and controls on the X-t1, which I own, difficult to reach and operate, without sticking stubby thumbs over glasses and smearing them.

I already have the X-E2, which is also a rangefinder format Fuji and I love it, so I was relatively comfortable in making the decision in favour of the XP2. Now that does not so say I don’t like the XT1 – I love it. It is a magnificent camera and the new XT2 even more so. I have had a go with the latter and it is a great upgrade to the former. But, I want to be able to use the joystick on the XP2 to move the focal point around, and I couldn’t reach it on the XT2 with my fat face held up against it. With the XP2 I can reach all the controls I need to.

After a couple of days of owning the XP2 and after setting up back button shooting, I did what I have done to my other two Fuji cameras, I added sugru to the AE-L button so I can feel it properly with my thumb with the camera held up to my eye.

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Sugru AE-L button

 

I also received a free leather half case with the camera, as a deal that Wex currently have on. I wasn’t sure that I would need a grip on the XP2, but if I did I thought that the case may alleviate the need for it. To a certain extent it did, but I just don’t like the case on the camera. So I looked at grips for the XP2 and obviously, there is the MHG-XPRO2 by Fujifilm at £99 but I thought I would look around to see what third party versions there are. I have a Fuji grip on my X-T1 which cost £99 and a third party grip on my X-E2 which cost £17 and which is excellent.

I trawled through various style and grips until I happened to spot this one made by Mcoplus available through Amazon, looking very similar to the Fuji grip and only costing £39. So I ordered it and it is excellent. It actually feels of the same quality as the official Fuji X-T1 grip and it fits the x-Pro2 perfectly.

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Mcoplus Grip

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Fuji Grip

 

I have also attached a soft release button to the X-Pro2. I started using these on my X-E2 and found that it really helped when hand-holding the camera at slow shutter speeds.

I can’t wait to get out and about with the X-Pro2, as soon as this appalling, freezing cold, grey, dismal and damp weather we are having in the UK breaks I shall be out there.

 

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This image was taken on a glorious November day in Exmouth, Devon. The temperature was unbelievably warm at 18 degrees. I was walking along the beach in a tee-shirt and I was still very warm.

Being November, the area did not have the summer quota of holiday-makers and the beach was virtually empty apart from a few people walking their dogs and enjoying the bizarre weather.

As you can see from the image the sun was quite low in the sky even though the time was eleven o’clock in the morning and it reflected gloriously off the sea. The clouds were fabulous and added extra depth to the scene. All I needed to get was a bit of foreground interest and that eventually came along in the form of two individuals walking towards me along the sea edge.

There were some buildings on the far left which unbalanced the composition and so I went for a square crop and excluded them. This left the scene centred on the two people on the beach. It was lucky that the people were easily discernible as male and female as this helped start a dialogue in my mind and the static appearance of the woman at the back and the walking attitude of the man gave me the title ‘Leaving’.

 

The photograph was taken on a Fujifilm X-T1 and an XF 18-135mm, f/3.5 – 5.6 LM OIS WR lens. ISO was 320 at 1/800sec and the aperture was set at f/18.0. I used this very small aperture despite the risks of diffraction as I wanted the sun to split into a start shape.

 

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A trip to Cosford RAF museum bought the opportunity not only to look at the fantastic collection of aircraft they have from the First World War to the Cold War but also to get some great close up and abstract images.

The image below is one I took of a safety ribbon which was attached to a Harrier jump jet. These ribbons are usually attached to pins on various part of weaponry etc  that have to be removed just before the plane takes off for combat.

I really liked the way that it looked like a snake waiting to strike. The top part of the ribbon – the chain – was lost in the deep shadow of the wing whilst the ribbon itself was illuminated in a shaft of light. the shadow of the ribbon I think is really excellent and adds to the feeling of depth.

I used my Fujifim X-T1 with the XF 18-135mm, f/3.5 – 5.6 LM OIS WR. Taken at 6400 ISO, 1/200sec at f/5.6.

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I’m in the middle of a monthly project for my photography club at the moment and although I think I have one image which I believe would fulfill the criteria, I wanted to see if I could get any more. Any image submitted to the club for the monthly assignments has to be taken in that month and shown to be so in the Exif so although I had taken an image earlier in the year which would have been perfect I needed to go out to the site again to get another.

The location was in some fields not far from the town of Kenilworth, so fighting my way through the hordes of dog-walkers I went out there again. At the time I went in February there was only corn stubble across the field and the pattern of the planting really helped with the image. This time, only half the field had been harvested and I couldn’t quite get the angle that I required, but nevertheless I did get some images of which some are worth processing.

I went out with the Fujifilm X-E2 and the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 zoom lens. I was more interested in the 18mm side of the zoom for this shoot as I wanted to get a broad view of the field and the background. Once I got to the location I realised (duh) that I should have brought the X-T1 with its flip screen at the back as part of my plan was to shoot at a low level. However, I managed to get some shots using the X-E2 on the floor and the following image was one of them.

 

Fujifilm X-E2, XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4. 1/80sec at f/13.0. ISO 400

Fujifilm X-E2, XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4.                   1/80sec at f/13.0. ISO 400

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Mrs M and I have just come back from a week in the lovely town of Cefalu in Sicily which we enjoyed immensely. The sun, the food, and the wine were all excellent and although we did have a couple of thunderstorms they didn’t dent the enjoyment, they served to relieve the heat for an hour or so.

I took a camera of course, the X-E2, and two lenses, the XF18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 and the XF27mm F/2.8 pancake. I was there for my first holiday abroad in two years and it wasn’t going to be a photography trip. First and foremost it was going to be a relaxing holiday for Mrs M and I.

Of course I took photographs. But I have to say I didn’t feel the urge to get out there and take lots. I always  (or almost always – more later) had the brilliant Fuji with me, but inspiration was avoiding me I think by hiding up narrow Sicilian alleyways for most of the holiday. Perhaps I had “chilled-out” too much after I arrived. I don’t know. I have got some images and a few of them may be worth working up, we’ll have to wait and see.

A catastrophe was also narrowly avoided whilst I was carrying the X-E2 in my Domke F-5XB bag in Cefalu. I failed to notice the strap of the camera was hanging out and unnoticed by me, it managed to hook itself over the top of an iron bollard as I walked passed and as I turned the X-E2 and attached XF18-55mm lens were pulled straight out of the bag. A heart-stopping clang and a crash occurred and I turned slowly to view the damage. The X-E2 was on the cobbles with the strap still over the bollard. After a rather shaky examination it appeared that the initial impact of the body against the ironwork had only chipped a bit of paint on a corner of the body. It also appeared that the lens was saved by the lens hood on which the camera was resting on the floor. The hood was broken, the lens wasn’t touched. The camera also worked perfectly. So there’s a cautionary tale for you – always use a lens hood. But flipping heck these Fuji cameras can take a lot of punishment (and clumsiness).

The bollard was bent over by its collision with the X-E2. (Joke)

It also says a lot about my “photo block” that Mrs M and I booked a  trip into the Madonie mountains for an evening meal in a village whilst first going high into the mountains to the little town of San Mauro Castelverde and that I didn’t take the Fuji. I know, I know, I should have my photographer’s membership revoked and my cameras confiscated. Castelverde turned out to be a glorious little medieval town with a population of 2000, alleys, old houses, steps, signs and much more. I had to commandeer Mrs M’s fabulous little Nikon P300 to take photos. We didn’t have long there, but I could have spent hours wandering around. I was kicking myself all evening that I didn’t have the X-E2.

It wasn’t until the very last day of our stay, when as I lay on the sunbed thinking about a club project I had yet to fulfil that I peered through the heat haze and suddenly found some inspiration in the architecture of the hotel. Out came the Fuji, and I was away. Perhaps realising it was the end of my holiday photographic inspiration also decided to get back to work.

Here’s a couple of images from the trip, the first the ubiquitous holiday sunset shot from the harbour in Cefalu, the second a photograph taken on Mount Etna.

 

Tyrrhenian Sunset Fujifilm X-E2. XF27mm F/2.8 lens

Tyrrhenian Sunset
Fujifilm X-E2. XF27mm F/2.8 lens

 

Lava Reach Fujifilm X-E2, XF18-55mm F/2.8-4.0 lens

Lava Reach
Fujifilm X-E2, XF18-55mm F/2.8-4.0 lens

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