Some more Fuji X-Pro 2 4K Tests
Since my initial testing of the X-Pro2 in 4K the other day, I’ve had a chance to do a little bit more shooting, and to do a comparison of the various film simulation modes. I’ve put together a compilation of clips of the same scene, using the various film simulation modes, and these are all ungraded and straight from the camera.
I shot most of these on a tripod on a sunny, clear but cold day here in Dublin. In terms of exposure, I exposed to protect the sky from overexposure. I was using full manual, and iso 200. I used the new highlight warning options as a guide, and basically when the sky was showing a warning, I rolled the exposure back till it disappeared. I also used the exposure meter to make sure it wasn’t too far off. I also tested out the various picture controls, just to double check that they don’t actually work, and they don’t. (not included in the video, because there was no difference so there was no point) this should really have been at a slower shutter speed for the optimal “film” look, but I didn’t have an ND filter, and you can’t use the “L” option on the ISO dial (ISO 100) when shooting video. I set it as low as I could without having to open the aperture too far.
Of all the film simulation modes, as previously reported, ProNeg standard is the flattest. Even at that, the contrast is a bit too much for the situation. I really wish they would enable the options to modify the picture profile when shooting video. This seems like a really odd omission. I haven’t seen this on any other camera that I’ve ever used that shoots video, all the way back to the Nikon D90 and the Canon 5d Mark II. It’s an essential feature, and I would have preferred that Fuji add this rather than give us 4k. The same goes for adjusting sharpness.
Having said that the picture does grade up reasonably nicely, and you can extract some details from the shadow areas without too much noise. I took the clips above and put them into a little short film (that is for my Streets of Dublin project). I graded this in FCPX using the new colour controls, a custom LUT that I made myself, and a little bit of Film Convert for added grain.
Incidentally, I tried editing and grading this on Premiere Pro, but on my ageing Mac Pro (2012), this was borderline unusable. FCPX on the other hand handled it without any problem, even playing back the 4k without having to generate proxies. The new version is really fast, and the new colour controls really make a huge difference. It’s so much faster than Premiere for 4k work, it’s not even in the same ball park. I was pretty negative about FCPX when it first came out, but I have to say, it’s really grown on me now, and I use it all the time. It takes a bit of getting used to, but once you get over that initial hurdle, it’s pretty good. If you’re having performance issues with Premiere Pro on a Mac, you should seriously try FCPx. You’ll be really surprised at how fast it is.
Anyway, I’l continue to do some more testing, but to be honest, I’m not sure I would use the X-Pro 2 for video. There are just too many limitations in my opinion. Apart form not being able to adjust the picture profile, there’s also the really frustrating issue of not being able to switch between the EVF and the screen when recording. The sharpness is too high for my tastes too. If you’re shooting in controlled conditions the dynamic range is probably not going to be an issue, but outside, it limits what you can do, to an extent. It’s all well and good having all the different picture profiles, but in any situation with any kind of scene with a dynamic environment, most will be too contrasty to be useable without sacrificing highlights or shadows. At the end of the day though, much of this is subjective, and I’m sure there will be people who vigiriously disagree with me, but that’s ok. If it works for you, that’s great.
If you’re on the fence about buying a new X-Pro 2 and are considering it for video, don’t. If you want to stick with Fuji, the X-T2 will still be a better option as you can adjust the picture profiles and sharpness. Otherwise, the Panasonic GH5 or Sony a6500 are much better options at the moment if you want 4k.
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