Fujifilm released its long-awaited firmware version 4.00 for the X-Pro2 digital rangefinder camera late December 2017, bringing six significant new features to this still revolutionary APS-C/Super 35 interchangeable lens hybrid camera.
Foremost of the new features is the long-promised 4K video mode (minus HDMI out for recording onto external recorders like this made by Atomos), a new autofocus algorithm for tracking subjects in motion, improved radio flash control usability, tethered shooting via USB or Wi-Fi connections, the ability to use the free Fujifilm X Raw Studio application, and back-up and restoration of camera settings through the free Fujifilm X Acquire application via USB connection to your computer.
I have briefly tried out Fujifilm X Raw Studio and Fujifilm X Acquire and it is particularly good to now be able to save and restore camera settings that often take some time to make in-camera.
Fujifilm X Raw Studio is interesting in that it processes on-computer raw files via the X-Pro2’s raw conversion engine, permitting them to be exported as JPEGs, a feature I would find much more useful if the X-Pro2 had an option to export as TIFF files as does the Fujifilm GFX 50S medium format mirrorless camera.
I do not currently use electronic flash or radio controllers for flash units so usability improvements are lost on me for the time being.
I use my X-Pro2 in a way not unlike non-digital manually-focussing rangefinder cameras so autofocus and especially AF-C continuous autofocus mode is not something I have used much so far, but I will investigate it when the right subject matter arises.
Tethered shooting is something I have planned on investigating when I have updated my production gear collection later this year with the addition of one of the coming 2018 Apple 15.4″ MacBook Pro portable computers maxed out for on-location editing and production work, with the addition of some Tether Tools hardware and a stable though portable tripod, perhaps 3 Legged Thing’s Winston.
The brand new feature I am most excited about is the X-Pro2’s ability to shoot 4K video using Fujifilm’s justly famous film simulations modes, coupled with the ability to input audio from a camera-mounted microphone or a below-camera audio recorder like the Tascam DR-70D or DR-701D field recorders.
Seven X-Pro2 film simulations customized by cinematographers and photographers
A while back I decided to explore customized JPEG settings on my X-Pro2 to see what all the fuss was about. I prefer to shoot raw files and process them in a range of raw processors but it is always good to explore the alternatives.
Slight differences in exposure aside, all three Acros clips look the same as do both Provia clips.
ProNeg S is the softest and best for grading while Classic Chrome looks good if one needs ungraded but publication-ready footage straight out of camera.
As Fujifilm’s other 4K video-capable cameras like the X-T2 and X-E3 permit customizing their film simulations for video as well as in-camera JPEG creation, I had expected the X-Pro2’s new 4K video feature to work the same way.
It does not.
Instead one can only select a particular film simulation from the X-Pro2’s current fifteen modes and shoot without benefit of tailoring its sharpness, noise reduction, highlight tone, shadow tone or colour to suit.
The camera’s video can often be too sharp, especially when shooting with some of Fujifilm’s excellent top-end prime or zoom lenses and one’s only recourse is to apply plenty of neutral density filtration to the longer focal lengths while opening up the aperture as far as one can go.
Shadow tone, highlight tone and color can be controlled to some degree when grading footage in your non-linear editor or colour grading software, but as with sharpness, noise reduction cannot be controlled in-camera either.
This limits the X-Pro’s video usability and this is deeply disappointing after waiting such a long time for 4K to finally appear after it was promised by Fujifilm staff members who believed it would appear on the X-Pro2 after the release of the X-T2.
A video lens set for prime lens lovers
The best video lenses, in my opinion, have manual clutch focus, a reasonable filter diameter to allow attaching 77mm or 82mm neutral density filters via step-up rings, and are long enough to permit easy access to focussing and aperture rings.
Another disappointment is Fujifilm’s seeming ongoing inability, or unwillingness, to add the industry-standard exposure zebras functionality to its cameras including the X-Pro2.
Instead we are given highlight overexposure blinkies, an annoying feature whereby areas of the image that may be overexposed at current settings flash black and white on and off.
If you have selected focus peaking as your focussing aid, the focus peaking lines also flash, an irritating behaviour that started to drive me crazy after a few minutes of use.
I found that resorting to the standard manual focussing aid whereby the point of focus is magnified eliminates the annoying flashing focus peaking but an often crucial fast focussing aid is thereby lost.
Some LookLabs Digital Film Stock (DFS) LUTs applied to X-Pro2 ProNeg S 4K footage
Having been disappointed by the 4K film simulation footage straight out of the camera, I wondered whether applying a creative aka looks LUT might be useful.
LookLabs released its excellent Digital Film Stock (DFS) bundle of nineteen LUTs based on some of the most popular Fuji and Kodak film stocks, many long discontinued, a while back so I applied all of them to a still frame extracted from my ProNeg S footage, with a small selection above.
I will be testing a range of creative aka looks LUTs over the coming weeks in conjunction with colour grading’s standard controls in my current non-linear editor of choice, Final Cut Pro X, as well as CoreMelt’s excellent Chromatic pro-quality colour grading plug-in.
Just in, Leeming LUT One for Fujifilm 402 beta
While writing this article, Paul Leeming of Leeming LUT One and Visceral Psyche Films sent over his version 402 beta of Leeming LUT One camera LUT for Fujifilm cameras, so I applied it and some creative LUTs to some new X-Pro2 4K ProNeg S footage shot in local café.
Mr Leeming plans on updating his Leeming LUT One for Fujifilm to version 502 with his new methodology to bring it into alignment with Leeming LUT One 502 for Panasonic cameras, sometime later this year.
I will be trying out this current beta on more X-Pro2 4K footage soon and look forward to version 502 in due course.
A while after the X-Pro2’s release, Canadian Fuji Guy Billy Luong went on record about 4K support on the camera saying that “I’m fighting with Japan for that”.
The year before, Mr Luong stated that the “X-Pro2 is over-engineered” and that “a lot of potential [is] not harnessed yet” with “firmware improvements coming”.
Some of those firmware improvements are here now but some remain missing in action.
A stabilized video lens set for zoom lens lovers
It is hard to believe that the X-Pro2 is not over-engineered enough or not powerful to accept the necessary ability to customize noise reduction, highlight tone, shadow tone, colour and sharpness for shooting video.
Mr Billy Luong, over to you!
- B&H Explora – An Introduction to Fujifilm’s Film Simulation Modes
- DELUTS by James Miller – DELUTS FujiFilm X-Pro2 – looks LUTs for use with the Astia/Soft X-Pro2 picture profile.
- EOSHD – The Fuji X-Pro2 IS getting 4K! – Andrew Reid shares his Classic Chrome custom settings for the X-T20.
- EOSHD – X-Pro2 Ver.4.00 4K video firmware released
- f16.click – 4K Recording with the X-Pro2
- f16.click – Shooting Weddings with Fuji – “I get asked a lot about my film simulation and camera configuration settings so I thought it would be useful to list them here.”
- Fuji Rumors – Fuji X-Photographer Bert Stephani Shares His Fujifilm Film Simulation Settings + Vote Your Favorite Film Simulation
- Fuji Rumors – Fujifilm Kaizen Update Will Bring Fujifilm X-H1 Film Simulation ETERNA to X-T2 & Co
- Fuji Rumors – This Guy Fine Tuned his Fujifilm Film Simulation Settings Inspired by the Work of Great Film Photographers. See “Chrome Eggleston” & More
- Fujifilm – Digital Camera Firmware : Interchangeable Camera Body / Lens – download firmware updates for the X-Pro2 and other cameras and lenses here.
- Fujifilm Global – X Series, Fujifilm X-Pro2, Firmware Ver. 4.00 …
- Fujix Forum – ‘Poor man’s FLOG’ setting in X-T2
- Noam Kroll – My Review Of The Fuji X-T2: The Ultimate 4K Mirrorless For Narrative Filmmakers
- Noam Kroll – Why I Just Picked Up The Fuji X-T2 For Filmmaking + My First Impressions
- Pete Takes Pictures – Film and Vision – Making Fuji-X Simulations Work for You – “… one of the big reasons why people are drawn towards the Fujifilm X series is all down to the wonderful variety of film simulations embodied in the camera.”
- Simple Camera Straps – Fujifilm X-Pro2 4K Video Sample plus Film Simulations – Firmware 4.0 – video
- thomas fitzgerald – Fuji X-Pro2 4k Ungraded Test Footage – video
- thomas fitzgerald – Fujifilm X-Pro 2 4K Test Footage – video
- thomas fitzgerald – O’Connell Street Blues – graded version of ‘Fuji X-Pro2 4K Ungraded Test Footage’ above.
- thomas fitzgerald – Tranquility – “Some footage from Glendalough, in Wicklow, Ireland. Shot on a Fuji-Xpro 2…”
- Thomas Fitzgerald Photography – Firmware 4.0 – Fuji X-Pro 2 4K Test Footage
- Thomas Fitzgerald Photography – Some more Fuji X-Pro 2 4K Tests
- Zed ProMedia – Whoa! X-Pro2 Firmware 4.00 brings 4K video and Tethering! – video
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