THE UNSEEN FRONTIER
“Do you feel like it?
Of course! More than ever!!!!!”
After hanging up, I realize that I have just agreed to produce a report for Fujifilm France with in my hands the future and promising successor of the X-Pro 2, while I have neither subject nor destination in mind…
My eyes are lingering on the article I was reading earlier: “HBO reveals the locations of its “Chernobyl” series. To recreate the atmosphere of Prypiat, Moscow or Chernobyl in 1986, most of the scenes were shot in…Lithuania. The enthusiastic journalist adds: “You want to feel the atmosphere of the old regime; the Baltic countries are THE destination!”
The idea is there. After a week of research on the first years of the three countries return to independence, I see the program for the next 12 days: identifying the footsteps of symbols of the Soviet era and trying to capture what I still define as clumsy way in which the inhabitants seem to remain trapped. Somewhere between the Soviet past and a constantly evolving present.
A coarse circle itinerary composed of about twenty places centered around Vilnius, skirting the west coast to Tallinn in Estonia and then through the countryside.
Holding the X-pro3 in my hands revives an impression of freedom, and the desire to travel light, nomadic. So I decided to leave with less than 8 kilos, the maximum weight of cabin luggage.
In my bag, the camera, 2 FUJINON lenses (XF18mmF2, XF23mmF1.4, an iPad Pro, a wireless SSD disc, some batteries, a charger, a sensor cleaning kit and some spare clothes.
The X-Pro3 seems more robust and it is still as light as ever.
Its handling is perfect, the ergonomics had been taken care of and I find back my habits.
This camera gives off a new impression, something more refined, almost minimalist. This is certainly related to this original idea of the retractable rear LCD display which, when closed, just indicates the film simulation used.
My expectations in terms of AF velocity and reactivity, fluidity of the EVF are more than met. It goes faster, is more accurate, and the assistance tools are extremely effective. It hangs without problem even in low light offering immersive experiences of rare intensity.
I usually work by continuously switching between two configurations.
A manual hyperfocal shooting configuration for street photography (aperture value between F11 and F16, speed and high ISO) and a configuration with autofocus and aperture values between F1.4 and F2.8 for intimate photography.
On the X-Pro3, this switchover is always quickly done. During this report, realizing that the autofocus was much more accurate and fast, I made more images with the AF activated and often in C mode. I am not missing anything!
I was apprehensive about the bunker experience that is supposed to be darkly lit. But the ISO rise was low. At 3200 there is almost no noise. And at 6400, JPEG remains widely usable.
The new X-Trans CMOS 4 with 26.1 million pixels sees its dynamics boosted. It saves most of my images (even JPEG) blocked or surex.
New film simulations have appeared but I remain faithful to the PROVIA profile. Its neutrality allows me to keep my mobile workflow in which I post-process my JPEG on the iPad Pro with some VSCO Cam filters.
12 days, 2400 Km, 2500 images later, I am happy to present you this work that I have named “Entre deux eaux” (“straddling between two worlds”), a reduced selection of 25 images extracted from a final series composed of 45 images.