Lily, in the studio, with the Fuji X-Pro2

It was 7.45pm and I was setting up  equipment for the following day’s shoot when I received a text message from Beth to say that  she wouldn’t be able to make it due to unforeseen circumstances. It was Beth that I was supposed to be photographing so this news posed something of a problem as I had already arranged for Fiona, the make up artist, to be here early the next morning.

My first instinct was to cancel Fiona but as  I was wondering what to tell her I continued reading the text from Beth.

“Don’t worry I have managed to find you another model, she is beautiful and her name is Lily” Now, over the years I have come to learn that every girl thinks their friend is beautiful but sadly this is not always an opinion universally shared and so it was with some trepidation that I agreed to photograph Lily.

I needn’t have worried because when Lily arrived the next morning I knew, with Fiona’s make up skills, that we were going to get some great images.

We shot a variety of looks with most of the images being taken with the new Fuji X-Pro2 along with the XF 50-140mm F2.8, the XF 23mm F1.4 and the XF35mm F1.4. Everything was shot in raw and processed in LR6. 

Lighting was with Profoto B1’s and B2’s using a beauty dish or OCF 1’ * 3’ strip softbox. Hair lighting was controlled either with the Profoto Magnum or the OCF barn doors and I also used the new OCF coloured gels kit. The beauty dish and strip soft box were gridded to control the spill of the light.

I started with the XF50-140 F2.8 lens for some tight head shots. The lens balances remarkably well when using it with the X-Pro2 and mounted on a monopod (using the lens collar so as not to put strain on the camera’s lens mount). It also balances really well handheld despite it’s size and weight and produces outstanding image quality throughout the zoom and aperture range. 30 * 20 inch prints from this combination look amazing.

I then swapped to the XF23mm F1.4 lens which is one of my favourites in the Fuji range. This is a great choice for full length figure work without any of the distortion issues that can affect wider lenses. If you’re old fashioned, like me, the 23mm equates to about 35mm on 135

Swapping over to the 35mm F1.4 is always a joy because it is so small and light and it makes a wonderful pairing with the X-Pro2.

And finally…. I was fortunate to be able to try out the Phase One XF camera with 100mp back and the Schneider Kreuznach 120mm LS F4 Macro. This is some set up and requires the utmost care and attention to detail to get the best out of it. And although it’s a heavy combination and I mean very heavy, once you have got used to the handling it is remarkably easy to use. 

What did surprise me though was how well the Fuji X-Pro2 held up to the Phase One in terms of image quality. Admittedly the Phase One produces ‘smoother tonality’ files and if you are printing at and above 30 * 20 inches it is quite a step up from the Fuji but you need to compare the prints side by side to see the difference. The Phase One is probably the best digital camera on the market at the moment and so to even compare it to the Fuji in the same breath is some compliment.

The Fuji X-Pro 2 is quite a big improvement over my X-T1  not only in terms of responsiveness and improved auto focus (speed & accuracy) but also in terms of sheer image quality. Not only is there more detail in the files but I find the colour to be better (some achievement) along with improved high ISO.

If you are considering the X-Pro2 just do it. Every once in a while a new digital camera comes along that sets a new benchmark and in my opinion this is one such camera

A big thank you to Lily for stepping in at short notice and Fiona Neal for her amazing make up skills

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