Note: This is part four of a five part review series on the soon to be released Fuji X-Pro2:
- Part One: Unboxing and First Impressions
- Part Two: Low light autofocus and high ISO
- Part Three: Cityscapes, long exposures and street photography
- Part Four: Portraiture
- Part Five: Final thoughts
Part four of this series will focus on shooting portraits in studio with the Fuji X-Pro2. The truth is that I don’t shoot in studio very often, I much prefer environmental portraiture such as this:
I wanted to test the X-Pro2 under as many different situations as I possibly could though, so I contacted a close friend (and beautiful model) who I shoot with often and we spent a few hours making some portraits.
A few quick notes about shooting in studio with Fuji cameras:
- The sync speed on the Fuji X-Pro2 is now 1/250th, up from the X-T1’s 1/180th. This small increase doesn’t make a huge difference in studio when you are using 100% studio lighting, but it is a helpful addition when balancing flash against ambient light. The king of the X series in terms of sync speed definitely remains the X100t and its leaf shutter though. I love that camera.
- I commonly see people asking why everything is black in the viewfinder when shooting in studio with Fuji cameras and studio lighting. This is almost always because the camera has exposure preview turned on, and the low ambient light and typical studio settings make for a very dark scene when the lights aren’t firing. When shooting in studio it is often necessary to disable this option.
We started our day by shooting a few portraits in natural light, using diffused light coming in from a north facing window. Here are two shots from that part of our session, taken in the new Acros film simulation:
I am really falling for the new black and white Acros film simulation. It has a beautiful look to it, and works very well for portraits in my opinion.
When we were done the natural light shots we started working with studio lighting. The following setup was used for each of the images below:
- The camera was set to ISO 200, the shutter speed was set to the max sync speed of 1/250th, and the aperture ranged between f/8 to f/11 depending on the light to subject distance.
- All colour images were shot in Provia / Standard. The final black and white image was shot in Acros.
- The light is coming from camera right, using an Alien Bee 1600 in a 50″ Westcott Apollo softbox. For some images a reflector was used on camera left for a little fill.
- For these images I used the 35mm f/1.4, 56mm f/1.2, and the 90mm f/2 lenses.
- We did not use a make up artist, and these images have had very little done to them in post other than the usual RAW conversions.
Here are a few of the images we shot under studio lighting, starting with the one from the top of the post:
thoughts from the day:
The X-Pro2 was a pleasure to use in studio: The new max sync speed of 1/250th is a welcome addition, and there were no autofocus issues shooting in a dim studio. It was nice to have the option of the optical viewfinder, the new sensor renders beautiful images, and of course the new Acros film simulation is ideally suited for black and white portraiture.
I did have to make an adjustment to the way I hold the camera in portrait orientation. My standard grip, with my left hand on the bottom supporting the lens and body, obscured the viewfinder on a few occasions until I learned to change it up slightly. Once I did it was not an issue.
This shoot reaffirmed for me how much I enjoy working with small rangefinder style cameras. Many respected photographers have spoken about the position of the viewfinder in a rangefinder camera, and how your face isn’t completely covered by the camera when you look through it. There is a truth to this: The whole time we were shooting, my model and I were able to see each other as there was no barrier between us. It is a small thing, but I think it made for a more personal and relaxing shoot. It was a good day.
In part five of this series I will sum up my experiences shooting the Fuji X-Pro2 throughout February, and of course there will be a few more photos to share!