About Thomas Fitzgerald

Thomas is a professional fine art photographer and writer specialising in photography related instructional books as well as travel writing and street photography. 

X-Pro 2 Diary: Some thoughts on Shooting Video

X-Pro 2 Diary: Some thoughts on Shooting Video

I was doing some more shooting with the X-Pro 2 over the weekend, and It was a lovely sunny summers day. I spent a bit of time by one of my favourite places in Dublin City, the Grand canal, taking pictures and generally giving the camera a good workout. While I was mostly shooting stills, I did shoot some video with the camera too, and I have some thoughts about the process and the results.

If you're new to this X-Pro 2 diary series, it's a sort of roughly drafted, rolling review of theFuji X-Pro 2. It's basically like a behind the scenes of what will become my final full review of the camera, after I've spent a bit of time with it. So this is by no means comprehensive or a full review. You can see the other entries in this series on the X-Pro 2 diary page.

I started shooting clips while I was taking pictures by the canal. I didn't really set out with shooting video in mind, and so I wasn't as prepared as I would have otherwise been. For example I didn't have a tripod, so it was all hand held. While that may not be a great way to shoot for professional videos, I realise that many people will shoot this way too, and so it's just as important to consider how the camera will perform in these conditions. I will shoot some video properly at some point too. For now though, I was using the camera in what I like to call "handycam" mode. In other words, point and shoot.

For this kind of shooting, it's actually pretty good. With a stabilised lens, and shooting through the viewfinder for some extra stability, you can get perfectly useable shots. In the video above, I have added some additional stabilisation in Premiere for a couple of shots, but nothing over the top. Shooting video is pretty idiot proof too. You press the top fn button and it starts shooting. Press it again to stop. There's no dedicated video mode.

Video will use the film simulation mode that you currently have selected, however it ignores pretty much everything else. It doesn't use the Highlight or Shadow tone options, and it ignores your sharpening and noise reduction settings. Because of this, there's no way to really get a flat picture out of the camera in video mode, and there's no way to optimise the camera for shooting video. There's also no video assist tools, such as zebra pattern and so on.

You also can't change modes after shooting. If you start shooting in single shot autofocus mode for example, there's no way to change to continuous while you're shooting. You have to stop first. This may sound like something that's not a big deal, but if you're mostly taking stills and something happens in front of you that you want to start taking video of, it's easy to forget to switch modes. You can't switch to manual either.

Picture quality is surprisingly good. I say surprising, because video quality on some of the older fuji cameras is terrible. It likes images where there is a subject in focus and a lot of the picture out of focus. Images with a lot of moving detail can start to look a bit compressed. However, for straight out of the camera the picture quality is pretty good. There is some aliasing and this can be noticeable, especially when you shoot handheld. But it's not as bad as some other cameras out there. There's also the very useful fact that it shoots .mov making it very easy to view and edit the video files.

I'm not sure I would recommend buying this camera for professional style video shooting, simply because of the fact that there are much better options out there. It takes descent pictures, but it lacks many of the tools that professionals require, such as the ability to flatten the picture, the ability to see clipping while shooting, zebra modes, the ability to change settings while shooting and so on. Having said that, for someone looking for a camera to shoot videos for you-tube, or for vlogging, or if you're primarily a stills shooter and you want to occasionally shoot video, then this is certainly a step in the right direction.

I'll have more thoughts when I manage to shoot a proper video, with a proper video plan and setup. Until then, I hope this provides a little insight.

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