Fuji X-Pro 2 vs. Canon 5D3? (Part 1)

First, I would like to preface this with the fact that I am NOT a technical reviewer, and this will not be a technical comparison per se.

This is about the photographic experience.

I have been actively shooting with the 5D3 for several years, and am very happy with it overall. It is a top-notch piece of gear, and I have no complaints.

Except that it’s bulky. And heavy. As are most of the lenses I shoot with (all L-series glass). The images are amazing, but the experience leaves something to be desired. Shooting for an hour or so isn’t a big deal, but after hiking & shooting for most of a day, it becomes a tiresome burden. I would really love to streamline my photography to be less. Less bulky, less weighty, and generally less obtrusive in my life and surroundings, but without sacrificing quality & the joy of the photographic experience.

Enter the Fuji X-Pro 2.

front

I’ll admit, I am not an old-school film shooter. I’ve shot maybe 3 rolls of actual film in my life. My entire photographic career has been purely digital. So for me, the attraction to the Fuji X system has nothing to do with nostalgia or retro-hipsterism, and everything to do with the compactness & convenience of the system.

Of course, all the convenience & compactness in the world means nothing if the images & performance suck.

The Canon 5D Mark III and Fujifilm X-Pro 2 have similar resolution and performance, but the form factors are markedly different. While the Canon is a full-size, full-frame professional (semi-pro?) DSLR, the Fuji is a nicely compact mirrorless camera with a (physically) smaller APS-C sensor. Sitting next to each other, the juxtaposition is reminiscent of David & Goliath.

above shot

Both cameras have approximately the same resolution, with the Fuji leading the Canon by an insignificant 2 megapixels. At this resolution, 2 megapixels is virtually meaningless, regardless of what the marketing companies will have you believe.

And that’s enough tech talk, on to the experience.

box pic

The packaging of the Fuji X-Pro 2 is beautiful, if you care about such things. Having designed products & packaging for my own company, I do. A little bit. I appreciate nice packaging and attention to detail. But I’m not overly obsessed about it. That being said, Fuji put a good deal of effort into the packaging, inside & out. It’s lovely.

unboxing pic

Everything is well packed & neatly organized. Everything in its place. It seems they may have taken some cues from Apple with the internal packaging design. Kudos, Fuji.

Pulling out the camera body, the first thing you notice is the quality feel. The metal body & textured cladding feels classy. It’s compact and solid, and the design feels quite comfortable in the hand, despite the predominantly angular style. My only qualm is how small the grip feels. I have large hands, and the larger 5D3 has always felt perfect in my paws. Fuji does have an optional grip extension that seems promising, so I may give that a go. My wife has the exact opposite opinion – it’s the perfect size camera for her hands. For what it’s worth, she’s always complained about the Canon being uncomfortably bulky. YMMV.

rear

Moving deeper into the box, I find the battery charger. Which is my first big complaint. The charger is a standard battery dock with detachable power cable. Which is fine. But the power cable is the only way to plug into a wall, whereas the Canon charger can plug right into the wall, sans cable. Which means one less thing to pack on a trip, one less thing to lose, and one less thing cluttering up my space. My Canon charger lives on a socket in my kitchen. Nice & neat, out of the way, attached to a wall with no cables dangling all over the place. I realize this won’t be a universal gripe, but my entire lifestyle is about having less. Less wires, less size, less clutter, less things. This charger is the opposite of less. It’s not a deal breaker, but it IS annoying. Canon had this figured out years ago. I’m sure someone makes an aftermarket charger that fits my needs. Hopefully.

One great thing that Fuji did is include this nifty little device. I have no idea if other camera manufacturers include this in their packages, but it’s a great little addition that shows Fuji is thinking about the actual use of their product, not just the sale of equipment. If you keep your fingernails short, this thing is a godsend for opening split rings. Even though it will only be used once to set the camera up, Fuji still included it. Good job, Fuji. And I will be keeping this in my junk drawer for all of my future split-ring needs.

ring splitter

Aside from the general sense of quality that the packaging gives, the camera itself just feels great in the hand. Very solid, like the cameras of yore. There’s no mistaking this camera means business.

In my following blog posts, I’ll see if it lives up to the initial impressions of quality, and if can really replace my trusty old Canon DSLR…

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