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23.10.2019 Patrick La Roque

Different Breed: Patrick La Roque x X-Pro3

Patrick La Roque

Je m’appelle Patrick La Roque et je suis photographe indépendant basé à Montréal, au Canada. Je photographie les gens, les espaces, la rue, les produits ; je photographie pour écrire un récit, peu importe le sujet.
Je suis membre fondateur de KAGE COLLECTIVE, groupe international de photographes indépendants axés sur des essais visuels et des projets documentaires. Je dirige un studio spécialisé dans le portrait et les travaux commerciaux.
Mais finalement, je suis juste quelqu’un qui cherche à raconter une histoire.

These Quiet Trajectories

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

I sit there uninspired—another anonymous room in a strange city. But then a breeze hits the curtains and life begins…

When I opened the box and picked up the X-Pro3 I have to admit I didn’t immediately understand what I was looking at. Where was the LCD? What in the world was this small, square, blip of a screen on that mostly empty back all about? I felt a wave of uncertainty wash over me…cold sweats even…until I noticed a notch and pulled, revealing a tilting touchscreen, hidden away but perfectly usable.
I grabbed a lens, turned the camera on. I knew we had a new film simulation to play with so that’s what I selected right out of the box—and a couple of shots later, my mind began to reel.
Then a light went on.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

The X-Pro1 was my first Fujifilm “work camera”, in the sense that I bought it specifically to replace a system I’d been using professionally for years. Then when the X-Pro2 was released, I lived a very real love affair: everything about that camera felt exactly right—the handling, the specs, the look. I paired it with the weather-resistant 35mmF2 the company had recently released, spent an evening completely drenched on the rainy streets of Tokyo and never looked back. This kit would handle anything.
So how could the company follow-up what I considered an almost perfect machine? I heard rumblings here and there over the years, never anything specific. My only wish was that its identity would remain intact, for my loyal companion to remain a companion. Well I can tell you, without the faintest hint of a doubt, that the X-Pro3 isn’t leaving my hands anytime soon.

First of all, I’ve fallen head over heels for CLASSIC Neg. This film simulation (based on the venerable Superia 100) results in very distinct-looking files, offering a processing starting point that—for me—happens to tick all the right boxes. It’s like getting a brand new set of crayons. But this is the tip of the iceberg in terms of software: exploring the menus reveals a serious overhaul of customization capabilities and basic functionalities. You want less items in the Q Menu? Go for it. You don’t need the Q Menu at all? Assign the button to another function and live happily ever after. There’s an AF range limiter, a new tone curve UI, positive and negative clarity, unlimited multiple exposures, a new Color Chrome FX Blue feature (in addition to Red)…and every single setting is saved when creating a custom preset. Yes, every setting.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

More importantly: despite physical and ergonomic changes, the camera feels right—this is an X-Pro, through and through. The Hybrid Viewfinder is untouched, the form factor evolved but wholly familiar. In practice, I never found myself missing anything. I’m not a fan of minimalism at all costs: a camera is a tool and as far as I’m concerned, function needs to remain at the core of the experience. This design, in my opinion, has managed to perfectly strike a very delicate balance. Removing direct access to the LCD may seem like a gimmick to some but it isn’t: for one, I find myself appreciating the sub-monitor—just as I do on the GFX cameras—but I also enjoy the…removal of noise? It’s surprisingly effective in today’s context, where everything around us seems to constantly battle for our attention through more and more pixels, blasting into our eyeballs. The technology is there when we need it, hidden when we don’t. Superior to what we had before, but never in the way. It’s an unexpected but welcome oasis. And the overall result is actually deceivingly simple: the X-Pro3 disappears—while being more powerful than it’s ever been.

Sometimes a road takes us on a much more peaceful path than the one we expected.

Hard rain overtakes a blistering sun. Some run for shelter, others accept their day in silence. Later we’ll embrace the glare, the gloom; headlights colliding in the sodium night. We’ll look and we’ll listen, trusting in our simple, quiet trajectory. 
Undisturbed.

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

FUJIFILM X-Pro3 & XF35mmF1.4 R

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