How the Fujifilm X-Pro2 Was Designed for ‘Decisive Usability’

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Aug 032016


Digital cameras are notoriously difficult to design and get right. Where do you start? Who is the customer? What features do you include on the camera? There are uncountable ways to approach a camera development and design program.

For example, you can create a spreadsheet listing current and near-future ‘must-have’ specifications and cross them out one-by-one to please the techno-consumer. Or you can specialize and excel in specific areas—a more difficult proposition altogether. For the X-Pro2, Fujifilm chose the latter simply because of their heritage of crafting cameras for particular needs.

If you take a look at Fujifilm’s history of cameras, you get a sense of a company that sees photography not only as a technological endeavor but also an artistic one. For example, I have in the past used two remarkable Fujifilm cameras — the GX680 III and the GA645. The GX680 III is the largest SLR ever made. It’s a very specialized camera catering to product, interior and architectural photography. The superb Fujinon EBC lenses were attached to a front standard that in turn connected to the camera body with bellows. This enabled not only close-up shots with any lens but also enabled the front standard to have view camera movements — rise/fall, tilt, shift and swing. With this combination, you could shoot a small product that was completely in focus, as well as photograph interior and exterior architecture while correcting for converging parallels. It shot a rare 6 x 8 cm image on medium format film, which is close to magazine page proportions in order to minimize cropping.

Photo of the Fuji GX680III by Viaissimo. CC BY-SA 3.0.

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