My top 5 features of the Fujifilm X-Pro2!

The Fujfilm X-Pro2 has been so much fun to use over the course of these past 5 months and it has never let me down (so far). Learning all the new features, including some I've been very familiar with with my X100S, has been so nice to use. Therefore, I've compiled a list of my top 5 features of the X-Pro2.

5. Dual SD Card Slots

I've been accustomed to having dual card slots when I used to shoot with the Nikon D600 and while its not absolutely necessary, it has come in handy on more than one occasion. By allowing me to use a second SD card for overflow, I haven't had to worry about popping in another card on some of my lengthy shoots. This is a first for any Fuji X series camera up until now. 

4: Film Simulation Modes

95% of the time I'm always using one of the built in film simulation modes, classic chrome being my absolute favorite and most used. The color rendition of these modes are second to none in my opinion. I like how I can shoot and emulate film types all while shooting digital. I've always loved using them in my past Fuji cameras and there edition of classic chrome is been very nice to have.

3. Wifi

While I don't use wifi all the time, I've been in a situation where I wanted to do some self portraits and the wifi was so handy to have to shoot right from my iPhone. The app had some small issues with connectivity, but besides that it worked great and once you get to the shooting interface, its super easy to navigate and use.

2. Accessories 

Its hard to count accessories as features of this camera but the fact that their camera offers options to added customization is great. I use the Fujifilm hand grip on my x-pro2 which has made shooting with some of my heavier lenses a lot easier to shoot with and now it never leaves my camera. Unlike some grips, I love how its cutout on the bottom for taking the battery out. Small thing but its nice to not have to take the grip off every time to change the battery. The build quality is build just like the camera, so its top notch quality. I also use a third party shutter release button which to be honest, just looks plain cool on the camera. I opted for a red button to contrast the all black body. It does make pressing the shutter button a little more easier and more comfortable.

1. Multi Point AF system

The AF system is where this camera shines for me. I use the 77-point AF which can be boosted to 273! Just the idea that I could have 273 points at my disposal is mind blowing. Besides the amount of focus points, what you can do with the focus points is also great. The camera allows you to not only allows you select how big of a zone you want the camera to use, but also the exact point by letting you change the size of a single point, from very precise to large. So whether you're shooting something macro or something larger, it can do it. The AF system is very quick and accurate. Very rarely do I ever misfocus a shot and if I do, its usually human error. I've tested the zone tracking mode and while this is no sports camera by any means, it still worked pretty well.

So there you have it, my top 5 features of the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I've found that these five features of this camera are some, but not all, of my favorites and makes this camera so great to use. 

Final Thoughts on the Fujifilm X-Pro2

I've been living with the X-Pro2 for a while now, put it through its paces and have enjoyed every second of it. This is my final thoughts on the camera now that Ive been using it full time.

A mo nth ago I sold my Canon 6D and almost all of my lenses and I don't regret it for second. In fact, I don't miss it one bit. If theres one thing that switching to the X-Pro2 and X Series line has taught me, is that I don't need the best of the best or even full frame for that matter. are its nice to have and does have it benefits but the Fuji X Series is what I found works best for me. Since purchasing this camera, I've picked up the 35mm f/2, 56mm f/1.2, and 50-140mm f/2.8 lenses and love each and every one of them. They are fantastic.

What I love most is being able to have a small system to shoot with without having to deal with super heavy and large lenses to carry around. All of my prime lenses are very compact. The 50-140mm f/2.8 is rather large and heavy however but not nearly as heavy as my old Tamron was. But its not something I'm going to worry about. The system as a whole is exactly what I need, nothing more, nothing less. It gets the job done and has made me want to shoot more. Sure I still have my issues with certain things but I can look past all that and its not a deal breaker for me. I feel as if I can tackle any type of task without fear that its not going to work as well as I need it to.

Yes I've been asked about why I switched and received many puzzled looks when I tell someone that I went from a full frame Canon to Fujifilm. Many times being asked why not Sony? Im not a fan of the Sony system daily because of functionality, price, and lens selection. I get more feeling from Fujifilm cameras and more joy from it. Its something you just have to experience. They really do make some phenomenal cameras and lenses. 

At the end of the day, I love this system. My styles have changed of the years and my needs have as well and this is what fits me the best and I'm sticking with it. Gone are the days where I feel like I need the best gear ever to create stunning work. I urge anyone who has once considered trying this camera system out to jump in and enjoy it. You won't regret it. 

Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 R Review

I've owned a ton of lenses in my lifetime, everything from a 70-200mm f/2.8 to tamrons new 35mm f/1.8 VC lens and been blown away by a lot of them. But when I heard Fujifilm offered a 56mm f/1.2 lens (85mm equivalent on an FF sensor), I had to pick this up. I've used the Canon 50mm f/1.2 and 85mm f/1.2 lenses and they were brilliant 

Without a doubt, this lens is sharp. Even shooting wide open at f/1.2, its consistent (as long as you nail the focus with that shallow DOF). My experience with a few lenses in this range is that wide open theyre often times soft. This is not the case here. 

Build Quality

The build quality of this is very premium and is made up of an all metal chassis. Its built like a tank. Unlike some of Fujis newer lenses, this is not weather sealed so it lacks the rubber gasket on the camera mount unlike my 23mm lens. The focusing, it is noticeable clunky sounding but really not a huge issue. Fuji has always made excellent lenses and this is no exception. A dedicated aperture ring is on this lens like all Fuji lenses. I wish the aperture ring had a little more weight to it, as its easy to switch without realizing it.

AF Performance

This lens is going to be a perfect lens for portraiture or other still subjects so I wouldn't recommend it for shooting moving subjects. Since this is an f/1.2 lens, the glass element is rather large and not the fastest at focusing but thats to be expected with a lens like this. Still, this is not a huge issue for what most people are going to be using it for. From my tests, I noticed that it does like to hunt for focus at wider apertures but stopped down to f/2.8+ its doesn't quite as much.

Image Quality

Like all Fuji lenses, the image quality is outstanding, very crisp, and accurate. Colors are very nice and the bokeh is creamy and smooth and very pleasing to look at. Like I stated before, its a very sharp lens even at f/1.2. I certainly have no complaints with sharpness or overall image quality.

Conclusion

For the price you pay for this lens ($999 USD), its definitely one of the best bang for your buck lenses when you compare it to the prices of the Canon f/1.2 lenses. This is one of my favorite lenses of all time right now and I do not regret my purchase. If you're a portrait photographer, definitely pick this up. Its nice to see Fuji offer a lens like this in their lineup. The 56mm f/1.2 lens definitely sold me even more on the Fuji X system over my Canon.

Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the rest of my sample images.

The Switch to Fujifilm: Initial thoughts on the X-Pro2

A few weeks ago I threw around the idea of putting my Canon 6D and lenses off to the side in favor of the Fuji X series. A few of my friends questioned why I would want to go from a full frame DSLR to a APS-C mirrorless camera. The answer was not so simple even though I knew why because its hard to explain if you haven't used a Fujifilm system before. In this blog post I will explain to you the reason why I made the switch to Fuji and my initial thoughts on the X-Pro2.

I am certainly no stranger to Fujifilm, as in the past I've owned the X100, X100s, and X-E1 and a few X series lenses. I swear by this system and the quality of images you can achieve with it. One of my biggest regrets was getting rid of my past Fuji cameras because simply, they were amazing to use but at the time I sold them to fund other purchases for my Canon system. Since then I looked at purchasing another one and the X-Pro1 caught my eye but I knew it has some downfalls that would ultimately limit me. When I heard the X-Pro2 was rumored to be released, I knew it was going to be something special and definitely had my attention. 

To me the Fuji series is something special. I swear the team at Fujifilm put some sort of magic in their cameras (but you can't put that on the spec sheet) because the colors that it produces are simply amazing and very pleasing. Image quality is always top notch and the functionality of these cameras are a breath of fresh air. The retro characteristics are very pleasing and simple to use and like some cameras, you can pick it up and know exactly how to use it in minutes. These are by the far the best cameras I've ever used and you won't hear that just from me.

 

Classic Chrome film simulation

Classic Chrome film simulation

Acros B&W film simluation

Acros B&W film simluation

Fast forward to right now. I decided to go ahead and order the X-Pro2 with the 23mm f/2 WR lens. I've been using it for the last week so don't expect this to be my full review, thats coming later. This is my initial thoughts and experiences with the camera.

AF System

The specs are an impressive improvement over the previous X-Pro1. One negative people were saying about the X-Pro1 was a lackluster AF system and its performance. This simply is not an issue with the X-Pro2. The AF system with its 77 point (expandable to 273) system, its more than enough for most people and its quite snappy and accurate. Focusing with the 23mm lens is very quick and accurate. Faster than my 6D actually which is very nice because my 6D AF system is just ok. On my 6D, I'm used to taking multiple shots of a subject just in case it didn't accurately focus. Not an issue with the Fuji. Its always spot on every time and the focus itself is very sharp.

ISO

In my ISO test, it performs very well even at 3200 and on most cameras, you would typically get an ugly grainy look but Fuji, its reminiscent of film type grain which looks very pleasing and often times I actually purposely shoot at high ISO to get that unique film like look. 

Film Simulation

One of my favorite things about the Fuji system is that they incorporate a film simulation mode which is basically digitally reproduced film types developed by Fuji such as Provia, Velvia, Astia and the newly added Classic Chrome and Acros B&W. These are woindeful to shoot in and the color rendition is wonderful. 

Classic Chrome film simulation

Classic Chrome film simulation

Controls

The controls on the Fujifilm are placed in perfect locations. With the X-Pro2, all the buttons are on the right side of the camera for easy one handed use. The ISO dial is uniquely placed inside the Shutter Speed dial allowing you pull up on the SS dial to change ISO. It is quite weird to use at first but you do get used to it and is very minor. The Exposure comp dial is also placed at the top of the camera right where your thumb rests for easy access. A new addition to the X-Pro2 and the first on a Fuji camera in general is the joystick nub which allows easy access to moving AF points and adjusting AF coverage. On the back of the camera you have your AE/AL buttons, as well as a plethora of other buttons with customizable functions. Not once did I have to go into the menu to change any setting while I was shooting. Standard of Fuji lenses is the adjustable aperture ring on the lens itself.

Viewfinder

Exclusively on the X-Pro2 and its little brother, the X100 series, the cameras sports a hybrid viewfinder allowing you to shoot through the built in rangefinder or switch the an EVF, which is a high resolution and the best EVF I have ever used. A conveniently placed lever on the front allows you to easily switch between the two. A new addition to the cameras allows you flick the lever while using the OVF and a small digital screen pops up that shows what your are focusing on. Great for manually focusing.

Wifi

have not used the wifi yet but on the X-Pro2, you can remote shoot from your iPhone or android device and also view images. From what I've heard from other people is that its very easy to use and it works well.

Build Quality

This camera is built like a tank. Seriously. Its one rugged camera that could take a beating in the field. Did I mention its weather resistant? Well it is. Meaning you can take this into the rain and not fear that it will break. Pair it with a WR (weather resistant) lens and you can have yourself a durable camera that can withstand the elements. The camera body is made of an magnesium alloy chassis with rubber gaskets inside the ports and card slots. Oh yea, new for this camera is dual SD card slots. Great for overflow onto a second card or shooting RAW and JPEG separately. I love having the option unlike my 6D.

The bad

No camera is perfect. Im sure we can all agree on that. My biggest issues with the camera were:

-Finicky ISO dial (i got used to it but it is something new to get used to)

-Menu system could be better. There are a lot of menus and some things were hard to find.

-Battery life. Its not great. I shot over 300 photos at the Philadelphia Auto Show for a few hours and when I left, I had about 20% battery life from a fully charged battery. Definitely will need to have a few spares if you're shooting something like a wedding or anything that requires a lot of time.

Conclusion

I love this camera so far. Im very confident that I could leave my Canon and not look back. I have no doubt that this can handle something like a wedding. Its been such a joy to use and I can't wait to use it more. Its broken me out of a weird funk and made me interested in shooting again. If you have every considering giving Fujifilm a try, I encourage you to jump right in and try it because you won't understand what makes these such wonderful cameras until you actually use one. Its truly something special.

This is part 1 of my review of the X-Pro2. I'll be writing another part after I use the camera more and put it through its paces. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the photos.

 

 

The 2015 Dodge Challenger Hurst Hellcat GSS

Its not common to come across a 1 of 1 car, nonetheless owning one. Which is why I present to you the truly 1 of 1 Dodge Challenger Hurst Hellcat GSS, built by Hurst & Mr Norm. When I say 1 of 1, I mean this will be the only Hellcat built in this configuration, color, etc. It's actually the first and only (as of right now) Hellcat with this conversion. Inside lies the serial number specific to this car and even the signature from Mr Norm himself under the hood and trunk lid. 

My dad is the owner of this car and how we found it, was by accident. Last winter, we traveled to Chicago to show one of our 1970 Chevelles. It was at the Muscle Car and Corvette Nationals show, where people from all over show their top dollar muscle cars. It is quite the prestigious event to say the least. In one of the rooms were a group of modern muscle cars but this car in particular caught my fathers eye. He said the regular Hellcats with their black wheels and solid color options were too plain and common, this car stood out and was rather unique. With the blue, white, and red color scheme and chrome Hurst wheels, it certainly stood out. My father told me, that was the kind of Hellcat he wanted. Not soon after we got back home, the car was up for sale. My father jumped on it immediately.

 What makes this car rather unique compared to the average Hellcat is the all of the Hurst appearance options. The car sits on a set 20" chrome Hurst 5-spoke wheels wrapped in Pirelli P Zero Nero tires and larger Brembo brakes. You won't miss the fact that its a Hurst car with the Hurst and Hellcat GSS decals on the front fenders and the Hurst Speedway spoiler.

Inside they did away with the standard black leather seats and put in a set of White/Black Katzkin leather interior which contrasts nicely with the red seat belts. The Hurst floor mats are also a nice touch. Classic hood pins were also added to the factory hood. The first thing you'll notice is the large solid white stripe with red pin striping to break up the all the blue. Mr Norm himself actually signed under the hood and under the trunk lid.

Aside from the appearance package, the car is a completely stock hellcat performance wise, with the 8-speed automatic and factory exhaust outfitted with Hurst tips. The car still puts down the normal 707HP. This car is a blast to drive and really goes when you want it to. It will break loose easily however, and will scare you sometimes. Dodge did an excellent job with the on board tuning software and monitoring system allowing you fine tune the car on the fly. Really makes for a more personable experience. We've only had a year of memorable moments with this car but there are many more to come. At the end of the day, it really is a one of a kind car and a joy to say that we have the opportunity to have the keys to this monster they call, the Hellcat.

Cars and Coffee

At the heart of Bethlehem, PA, lies the second largest steel manufacturer in the nation. What was once a place where industrial workers worked most of their lives, is now home to a thriving entertainment venue. For the car enthusiasts alike, its the biggest gathering on the east coast we know as Cars & Coffee. 

Every month from Spring until Fall, Cars & Coffee serves one purpose: bringing car enthusiasts from all walks of life together. I've had the opportunity to make the trip out a few times in the past few years and every time it never disappoints. There is literally something for everyone, from classic muscles cars, to tuner cars and exotics. And thats why I love this event. My father loves his classics and I love my tuners and exotics and there is plenty for both of us to enjoy. 

The venue itself is beautiful. Rustic, abandoned factory buildings make for a nice background with a bit of history everywhere you look. Its is definitely one of the coolest places I can imagine to host a car meet. Tours are available too if you want to learn more about the history of the SteelStacks. I'll leave you with some photos from the most recent event. I promise you its worth the drive. See you at the next Cars & Coffee!