#465. X-rated photography – and the X-Pro2 wrap-up

#465. X-rated photography – and the X-Pro2 wrap-up

23 March. Home.

 

To recap; a few days in Singapore – our favourite city in the world – followed by a quick trip up to George Town (Penang), to remind ourselves how much we enjoy being there, too.

 

Haji Lane - lilac and sunflowers. -2 with 35mm f1.4 @ f2.8. ISO 200. Note that the shadow at the top is cast by the roof eave and not a vignette. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Haji Lane – lilac and sunflowers. -2 with 35mm f1.4 @ f2.8. ISO 200. Note that the shadow at the top is cast by the roof eave and not a vignette.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Haji Lane. -2 with 35mm f1.4 @ f4. ISO 200. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Haji Lane. -2 with 35mm f1.4 @ f4. ISO 200. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Shall we? Shan't we? Escalator to (yet another) shopping mall. X-100T with 23mm f2 @ f4. ISO 400. A classic Fuji image, showing the subtle colours in the glass, reflections in the escalator treads and the distinct colour of brass. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Shall we? Shan’t we? Escalator to (yet another) shopping mall. X-100T with 23mm f2 @ f4. ISO 400.
A classic Fuji image, showing the subtle colours in the glass, reflections in the escalator treads and the distinct colour of brass. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

In part 1, the X-Pro2 was brand new and the post was taken up with black and white images, made using the very impressive Acros simulation. If Fuji achieve nothing else with this piece of software mastery, they’ll inevitably attract the attentions of Nikon, Canon and Sony users, wanting similar, easy-on-the-eye tones and rich blacks.

 

A big thumbs up on that one.

 

Solo drinker, Brewerkz, Clarke Quay. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f2, ISO 800. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Solo drinker, Brewerkz, Clarke Quay. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f2, ISO 800.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Tea and a text. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f2.5, ISO 800. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Tea and a text. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f2.5, ISO 800.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Building site at 07:03. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f2, ISO 1250. Another view of the draped building site, full of tonal values. I think a large print of this might soon be on a wall at home. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Building site at 07:03. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f2, ISO 1250.
Another view of the draped building site, full of tonal values. I think a large print of this might soon be on a wall at home.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

To colour then. A significant strength for Fuji, with the X-Trans sensor – no I don’t claim to understand how it works – especially the softer tones. Soft colour isn’t so easy in a city, where brash is a byword.

 

So, instead of trekking the city looking for specific photo opportunities, I decided to shoot what I saw, with both X-Pros (and my trusty X100T) and add some images from George Town. Now I’m home, I’ll go look for the more subtle colours in the late summer sunrises, sunsets and landscapes.

 

Building site at 07:03. X-100T with 23mm f2 @ f2.8. ISO3200. One of my favourite shots from this trip - it was barely first light - illumination is by high pressure sodium street lighting only. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Building site at 07:03. X-100T with 23mm f2 @ f2.8. ISO3200.
One of my favourite shots from this trip – it was barely first light – illumination is by high pressure sodium street lighting only.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Tai chi, Robertson Quay. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f5.6, ISO 400. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Tai chi, Robertson Quay. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f5.6, ISO 400.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Waiting for the water bus - Robertson Quay. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f5.6, ISO 800. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Waiting for the water bus – Robertson Quay. X-Pro1 with 90mm f2 @ f5.6, ISO 800.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Fabric sculpture intended to mimic Singapore's Super Trees - Fullerton Hotel. X-Pro1 with 35mm f1.4 @ f1.4, ISO 400. These fantastical sculptures are on display in the hotel's foyer - a must photograph if you are in town. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Fabric sculpture intended to mimic Singapore’s Super Trees – Fullerton Hotel. X-Pro1 with 35mm f1.4 @ f1.4, ISO 400.
These fantastical sculptures are on display in the hotel’s foyer – a must photograph if you are in town.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

I’m going to keep the narrative to a minimum; doubtless hundreds of blogs are posting similar opinions of the -2, so I’ll stick to what we used to call caption stories in the good old ink on paper publishing days. ‘kay with you?

 

Two small points I do need to cover, however.

 

The -2’s set-up dumping issue might have happened to me. On one early morning foray into the city, I did notice that I was shooting only JPGs and not RAW+JPG. The irritating focus chirping had also re-started – I turn all sounds off as a matter of course. Two minutes and I’d sorted the problem and had cause to wonder whether my larger than usual hands had lagged my enthusiasm and failed to develop the necessary muscle memory, hitting a button or two without me noticing. No matter, it wasn’t serious and in Fuji’s usual kaizen style response, a firmware update to prevent recurrences, is promised within days.

 

Penang blinds. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f4, ISO 1000. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Penang blinds. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f4, ISO 1000.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Street scene, Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2.8, ISO 1000. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Street scene, Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2.8, ISO 1000.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Rising sun, recycling collector - Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2.8, ISO 200. The city is full of people making a tiny income from collecting paper, plastic and glass for recycling - this chap was clearly up and out long before the sun. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Rising sun, recycling collector – Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2.8, ISO 200.
The city is full of people making a tiny income from collecting paper, plastic and glass for recycling – this chap was clearly up and out long before the sun.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Bike sculpture - Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f5.6, ISO 320. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Bike sculpture – Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f5.6, ISO 320.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

The second might be a non-event. But just in case you might be venturing into southeast Asia, be aware that the -2 works very hard, especially in Acros mode, where the sensor and X-Trans processor do all the digital doodads to make fabulous black and whites. The daily ambient temperatures were close to 40C most days and I wasn’t surprised to discover that the body of the camera around the command dial grew perceptibly warm. In it’s defence, the -2 never missed a beat and battery life wasn’t impacted, but you might still want to bear the situation in mind.

 

In closing, the -2 easily lives up to the pre-launch hype. As a convinced -1 user, the transition has been almost painless, it’s too soon to say much about it, but the increased resolution not yet apparent as the printing cycle will only now start. Lens choices are easy; the 35mm f1.4 is a no brainer for street work. The 90mm f2 likewise, but it is heavy and quite obvious, especially with the photo-nerd style (read massive) lens hood in use.

 

My recently purchased 16mm f1.4 got used once (briefly) and is probably best left at home if you’re planning anything other than extreme street shooting.

 

Of course, the fantastic X100T also fills in gaps, so I will almost certainly opt for that and leave the 16mm lens out of my kit when I pack for the DearSusan workshop in Paris in a few days time.

Window shutter - Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2, ISO 2000. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Window shutter – Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2, ISO 2000.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Apothecary's drawers - Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f4, ISO 3200. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Apothecary’s drawers – Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f4, ISO 3200.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Street scene - Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2.8, ISO 640. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Street scene – Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f2.8, ISO 640.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 

Street scene - Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f1.4, ISO 200. Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald's Velvia plug in.

Street scene – Penang. X-Pro2 with 35mm f2 @ f1.4, ISO 200.
Processed using Thomas Fitzgerald’s Velvia plug in.

 


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14 Comments

  1. Avatar
    Philberphoto March 23, 2016

    Paul, if gear is to be judged by what it inspires its owner/user to perform, then the Fuji is a super piece of kit, because your pics are gorgeous. I am beginning to worry about the forthcoming DS workshop, where Pascal and I will only have our gazillion pixels and boat anchors to see if they measure up…:-)

    • Avatar
      paulperton March 24, 2016

      Philippe,

      You’re in no danger – I had one of those Damascene revelations (when it was still safe to mention the S country) many years ago. I’ll tell you the story in Paris, over a glass of something tasty.

  2. Avatar
    jean pierre (pete) guaron March 24, 2016

    LOL – not that anyone needs to care what I think – but since it’s open for comment, here are a couple, Paul.

    Because I love natural lighting, I love your shot of the solo drinker and the one under it of the tea drinker – also the silhouette shots.

    I am mightily impressed by the natural colors coming through in one photo after another. I used to dislike Kodacolor slide film, because they punched up some colors to give it more appeal in their mass (amateur) market, and I recently saw several articles from a pro with colors I can only describe as “garish”. It’s a sharp & refreshing contrast, seeing colors like the ones in your shots, and – frankly – practically all the material on DearSusan.

    Since you love your X100T, you might like to look at this article (if you haven’t already) – some interesting comments, but more to the point, some practical suggestions for kitting it out to make a real workhorse of it:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/fuji/x100t.htm

    And while I’m spruiking for Ken, everyone might care to read this article of his:
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/fixed-lenses-take-better-pictures.htm

    As always, it’s the photographer who takes the picture, not the lens – but he’s making some very valid points and the article’s a good read. For “true” photographers, anyway.

    I am drawing a great deal of comfort from his suggestion that a w/angle, a standard and a tele are (a) better than a zoom, (b) likely to be cheaper overall, if the quality is there, and (c) MORE than enough – so I can probably skip the tele (which I almost have – although the macro’s a 100mm lens, if I need a tele). That’s exactly what I did last year, when I re-equipped.

    The only think I’m unhappy with is my little compact – nice, but not quite nice enough. Maybe the X100T . . .

    • Avatar
      paulperton March 24, 2016

      Pete,

      Comments are here for just what you think. I’d welcome more feedback from DS’ readers.

      I’ve been a visitor to Ken Rockwell’s site for many years. His bizarre parsimony makes me smile a lot.

      And, he has similarly odd ideas when it comes to colour saturation. I’d be the first to admit that Web servers and browsers do tend to over compress and destroy colour data in posts, but even so, I don’t think Ken has bright orange children. Nor are his images of various critical palms, far away street lights and neon signs quite as saturated as he might like you to think.

      Still, I visit because he is something of a lone voice, often diametrically opposed to the collective bellow of enthusiasm that issues from other Web opinionistas. And, I often find myself agreeing with him.

      I didn’t buy my X100T because of his ideas, but they certainly played a part. Mainly I bought it because it is an extraordinary camera that promised to deliver images which would show whatever skills I may have, in the best possible light (if you’ll forgive a poor pun).

      Oh yes, Ken also seems to have a pretty good technical handle on what he is talking about. That’s an essential in my book.

      • Avatar
        Wolfgang Lonien March 24, 2016

        Hehe, those orange children made me smile – how often have I thought that? Maybe his site should contain a warning sticker, like: “Too much Velvia might change your colour perception into mine!” 😉

        Nice photos here, and a good report about the Fujis. Love that Acros look from part 1.

      • Avatar
        jean pierre (pete) guaron March 26, 2016

        I looked up his comments because they’re often “interesting” and stimulate further thought or research. I found another comment of his, on the X100T, which ran quite contrary to his comments in his review of the cam – suggesting that comparatives he’d shot with various cams showed the X100T didn’t stack up against a Canon he compared it with. As you would know, when you go onto his site you can blow those photos up – and I did. And I was damned if I could see any justification for that comment – in fact, I found it almost impossible to detect any difference whatsoever between the shots he took with the Canon in question (a full frame pro model) and the X100T, although I had an instant distaste for the other comparisons – not as sharp, Kodacolor slide film vivid colors, whatever.

        I’ve come across odd comments sledging Ken, which I found quite distasteful. He goes to a lot of trouble to share a vast amount of information – hopes we’ll send him money occasionally, which any of us who use his site a lot should probably do – and as far as I’m concerned, it’s extremely rude and quite uncalled for to make unpleasant comments about anyone on the net. I use the info I find on the net for what I can get out of it – I never assume anyone is “right” OR “wrong” – they are sharing, and we should appreciate that. And mind our [web] manners!

        That said – the pair of you have sparked my interest. I’ve made no secret of the fact I want something better than my present compact – I am attracted to a bigger sensor, a mirror cam, a cam with an EVF – I am also attracted by the appearance of it, even if that’s pure nostalgia. Currently I’d say it’s ticking more items on my hit list than anything else I’ve been able to find to replace the compact. So I’ll take a keen interest in the photos from your X100T, Paul.

  3. Avatar
    Darrell Craig March 25, 2016

    Truly beautiful pics, thanks for sharing.

  4. Avatar
    Mikael April 08, 2016

    When i see the colors in your shots and i compare them to the colors i get in mine, i feel like a toddler with a bunch of stabilo :'( It extends to every entry on DS ^^
    Great review, a pleasure to watch (and to read of course 🙂 ) and equally inspiring !

  5. Avatar
    artuk May 11, 2016

    I didn’t like the X-Pro 1 – it simply had too many issues and constantly got in the way of my photographic process, so it wasn’t a good “tool” for me. I also disliked the Velvia “film simulation” – I use the term lightly as I agree with Ken Rockwell that it looked like something the office junior had been asked to create, and didn’t seem much like Velvia film to me. I don’t know whether the Adobe plug-in used resembles the Fuji in-camera “look”, but most other cameras have “saturated” settings that produce similarly unrealistic results, in my opinion.

    I liked the X100 (original, sans X-Trans sensor) more than the X-Pro, but it took about 2-3 years of firmware updates to make it the tool it should have been when released. A camera that stimulates the creative juices is a good one, but so is a tool that doesn’t get in the way of the photo-taking process in whatever range of situations you use it.

    By coincidence, I made a similar trip to Singapore and Georgetown recently, but took rather different pictures. It would be interesting to share and compare, if comments allowed it.

    • Avatar
      pascaljappy May 11, 2016

      Artuk, feel free to send a few photos to me (or links) and I can add them to your comment. Also, if you feel like writing a post, lots of readers have become occasional guest writers. You are most welcome.

      • Avatar
        artuk June 04, 2016

        Hi Pascal
        Thanks for your reply, and apologies for my delayed response, as I am only intermittently looking at Dear Susan. I would be very interested to write a post about some of my experiences, I will email you privately to discuss further. Regards.

        • Avatar
          pascaljappy June 04, 2016

          Great! I look forward to it.

          All the best,
          Pascal

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