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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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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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For once the sun is shining and its nice and warm. Time to catch those rays and get rid of the ubiquitous British pallor.  So, it’s the sunbed out in the garden. Hold on, I’ve forgot the cold drink. Back inside and then cold coke poured, its back into the garden.

The problem is Lily the cat has decided in my short absence that the sunbed looks nice and comfortable and she is going to make the most of it. Annoyed I approach her and and as usual she she takes no notice of my imposing presence, in fact she doesn’t even deign to open her eyes, So I go back inside to grab a camera. I’ll need proof for Mrs M of the sheer audacity of the undisputed boss of the family.

Camera in hand, I once again quietly approach Lily and once again she doesn’t open her eyes – but her claws extend. Of course she knows I’m there and she’s sending me a quiet yet firm message.

“Back off mate, this bed’s mine”.

I retreat to the garden chairs, once again strangely content in knowing my place in the Marshall household pecking order.

 

Taken with my Fujifilm X-E2 and 35, F2.0 lens.

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At the end of next week I’m off on a photo-trip to Northumberland and it will be the first major outing for all my new Fuji equipment. When I go on these trips, I tend to put all my equipment into a rucksack, currently the excellent Lowepro Flipside 400 AW, and then if neccessary deport cameras and lenses to a smaller Domke bag,  currently either the F6 – A Little Bit Smaller Bag, or the F-5XB, as and when I need.

However after trying my Fuji gear in the 400 AW it was pretty obvious that the bag is far too large now for the smaller format cameras. In the past, I only just managed to fit all my old Olympus and Nikon gear into the bag but putting the Fuji stuff in it, there was masses of room to spare. There was also the fact that I moved to Fuji to get away from the sheer size of carrying a DSLR and lenses around so it probably now makes sense to get a new backpack. Something more suited to the smaller Fuji cameras and lenses.

So, after scouring the internet and trying to figure out from litre capacities and dimensions of many makes of camera bags which ones would enable my Fuji cameras and lenses to fit, I decided to get the Lowepro Tahoe BP 150 in black from Wex.

 

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Lowepro Tahoe BP 150

The bag features Lowepro’s customisable interior with padded divider system, plus what looks like a separate zipped space in the top of the main compartment.

There is a large front pocket in which a 10” tablet can be carried as well as pens, keys and other bits and pieces. There is a further smaller front pocket for guides and maps etc. On each side of the bag are mesh pockets for drink bottles and such.

 

Lowepro Tahoe and Flipside 400 AW backpacks

Lowepro Tahoe and Flipside 400 AW backpacks

The Tahoe is a lot a smaller than the Flipside 400 as you can see. It also does not have the waterproof cover as designated by the letters ‘AW’ in the Flipside bags name. Lowepro, does say that the Tahoe is weather-resistant, so hopefully that and a couple of plastic bags kept in one of the pockets of the Tahoe for emergencies may fend off any wet-weather disasters.

Once the Tahoe arrived the familiar sounds of Velcro ripping over and over again echoed around the Marshall household as I rearranged the compartments in the bag. I was pleased with the overall size of the bag to the extent that I thought that I could leave the Domke F6 at home and if I wanted to carry the two cameras I could just take the backpack. With the Flipside 400 AW on previous trips, it was so full and so flipping heavy, I frequently emptied out the gear I wanted for the day into the F6 and carried that instead.

 

Tahoe and gear

Tahoe and gear

After a little bit of pulling, tearing and re-velcroing (is that even a word?) I re-arranged the compartments to fit the Fuji equipment. The zippered pocket at the top of the main compartment took up a little more space than I actually wanted, but I eventually got everything in the bag to my satisfaction.

  1. Into the small container at the top of the bag, what Lowepro call an ‘ultraflex’ panel I placed battery chargers, batteries, cables, cleaning cloths and a rocket blower (also not a bad place for sandwiches).
  2. Fujifilm X-E2 and Fujinon 35mm f/2
  3. Fujinon 27mm f/2.8
  4. Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0
  5. Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 AI-S and X mount convertor
  6. Fujifilm X-T1 and Fujinon 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6
  7. Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8

The large pocket on the front of the bag now contains filters and filter holders and the small front pocket a couple of maps and a notebook journal.

The full Tahoe obviously doesn’t feel nowhere near as heavy as the Flipside with all my Nikon gear used to be and being smaller it is a lot easier to carry and get on and off the shoulders. With this backpack, I can leave the F6 at home and just take the F-5XB for carrying one camera and lens when I need to.

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