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New Thumbs Up for X-Pro - First Impressions


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#1 nat3970

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 08:42 PM

I recently contacted Tim Isaac from Match Technical just to reconfirm that a new Thumbs up model was coming for the X-Pro. One thing led to another and since weare both in the Seattle area Tim offered to get together over coffee so he could show me the final production prototype and get my feedback/impressions.

I spent a delightful hour with Tim and his wife talking about a variety of topics, sharing photos and of course trying out the new Thumbs-up, which model designation will be EP-7S. At my request and for comparison purposes Tim was also kind enough to bring along the CSEP-2 which was originally designed for theLeica X1 (and Fuji X-100) but which also works well on Fuji X-Pro. Photos onX-Pro can be seen at Match Technical’s website:

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Just as a quick overview of differences between the two models the CSEP-2 has a coldshoe and sticks up above the camera, whereas the new soon to be released EP-7S has no cold shoe and sits totally flush with the camera.

Before I share my impressions let me state my bias/priorities going in. In order to beeffective & useful I believe the Thumbs up needs to “feel” right in terms of balancing/holding the camera, but it must also allow easy access to the camera buttons that surround it and lastly because X-Pro has a design flaw (in my opinion) with regard to the location of the Q button, ideally the Thumbs up should help with the problem of mistakenly pressing this button (which happens far more often for my taste….)

After spending an hour trying out the new Thumbs up and comparing it back and forth with the CSEP-2, I’m pleased to report that both models meet my above-mentioned criteria.

Here are some additional impressions:

· Both Thumbs up work equally well on the X-Pro.

· While the CSEP-2 looks perfectly fine on X-Pro, the EP-7S is far more elegant and integrates better visually with the camera.That said, if one needs a cold shoe the CSEP-2 is a perfectly fine way to go.

· Both models have a progressive “relaxed” holding angle, which I find particularly important. Both provide good support without creating any finger strain.

· I found both models virtually solve the problem of accidentally pressing the Q button. I would go so far as to say that thisfact alone might prompt some users to buy the Thumbs up.

· Both models allow access to the command dial / thumb wheel. This is the one area that requires more time with the setup, but as best as I could tell the Thumbs up strikes a good balance between inadvertent button pressing while allowing easy access to buttons when needed.

· As expected the CSEP-2 sits higher on the camera than the new EP-7S. I didn’t feel that much difference between the two on this point. However, I have fairly large hands. I believe that anyone with smaller hands would be more comfortable with the new model (EP-7S)

· The EP-7S slides in and out of hot shoe beautifully. I was amazed by how smooth it felt. Tim must have done a lot of fine-tuning to get it to be this seamless. CSEP-2 is not quire as seamless andit lacks that perfect machined fit of the EP-7S

· Lastly the EP-7S has some built in bumpers on the back/side/bottom that are custom designed for this camera and they reallyhelp to create a very tight fit and also protect the camera finish. Tim was justifiably proud of some of the attention and work that went into getting those elements to work just right.

Personally I've decided to wait for the EP-7S. I don’t need the cold shoe and the new model is such a perfect fit for this camera that it’s worth the short wait. Tim indicated that the EP-7S is already in production and should become available in early June.

As a final comment I’d like to give a plug to Tim and his business. I was meeting him for the first time but I was very impressed with his commitment to building a quality product and how he goes out of his way to solicit feedback from his customers and dealers.

#2 Ario Arioldi

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:05 PM

Thanks, good news.
Ario



#3 mikeci

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Posted 11 May 2012 - 09:51 PM

I also contacted Tim yesterday about the new thumbs up for the X-Pro1. He got right back to me with my answers.Its also good to know that someone did a positive review on the preproduction EP-7s.
Thanks Much
Mike



#4 Mookie

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 07:26 AM

Great news,

I was concerned that the CSEP2 seemed to sit above where my thumb pad actually falls. I am very interested to see how he accommodates the View/Mode button, the indicator lamp and the command dial.

Thanks for the good news,

Alex



#5 nat3970

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:33 AM

Great news,

I was concerned that the CSEP2 seemed to sit above where my thumb pad actually falls. I am very interested to see how he accommodates the View/Mode button, the indicator lamp and the command dial.

Thanks for the good news,

Alex


You bring up some excellent points. Those were precisely some of the issues I was wondering about myself...

1)The view/mode button is not an issue at all as it sits to the left of the thumb position well clear and yet should be readily accessible when needed.
2)The light also is to the left but I suppose depending on how one holds the camera & the size of one's thumb it could be partially obscured. Not quite as sure about this one as I wasn't that focused on the light.
3) The command dial is the one that I thought had the greatest potential for being an issue. This one may ultimately come down to personal preference between CSEP2 and EP-7S. Just based on the lower position of the new model the EP-7S does fall very close and almost above the command dial. I did not find it to be a problem with accidental pressing and yet was able to access the dial when I wanted. Some users may find its too close... If that becomes a big issue for anyone the CSEP2 has considerably more spacing between the thumb position and the dial so that would be the alternative. I do believe that most users will be ok with the position of the new EP-7S relative to the command dial.

Hope this helps.

#6 Mookie

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 08:39 AM

You bring up some excellent points. Those were precisely some of the issues I was wondering about myself...

1)The view/mode button is not an issue at all as it sits to the left of the thumb position well clear and yet should be readily accessible when needed.
2)The light also is to the left but I suppose depending on how one holds the camera & the size of one's thumb it could be partially obscured. Not quite as sure about this one as I wasn't that focused on the light.
3) The command dial is the one that I thought had the greatest potential for being an issue. This one may ultimately come down to personal preference between CSEP2 and EP-7S. Just based on the lower position of the new model the EP-7S does fall very close and almost above the command dial. I did not find it to be a problem with accidental pressing and yet was able to access the dial when I wanted. Some users may find its too close... If that becomes a big issue for anyone the CSEP2 has considerably more spacing between the thumb position and the dial so that would be the alternative. I do believe that most users will be ok with the position of the new EP-7S relative to the command dial.

Hope this helps.


Many thanks for the update. I have been a repeated customer of Match Technical for some number of years. Multiple Thumbs Up, E-Clypse, Boop, Lens Coder Kit, etc.

Every item I have purchased has been meticulously designed and crafted. I have never been less than delighted and their customer service is stellar. I had expected no less with their efforts on behalf of the X-Pro1.

Alex

#7 SausalitoDog

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 04:20 PM

Nat-

A Thumbs Up designed just for X-Pro1 is interesting - did it slide in like the x100 specific TU? Must have since you cite that it is more flat.

I've been using the cold shoe in mine to hold a level bubble - it's come in handy a number of times. Sounds like they are both going to get a lot of sales :-)

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cheers,

tom

#8 Chris Werner

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Posted 12 May 2012 - 09:01 PM

A question - my CSEP-2 wiggles ever so slightly horizontally, like it's maybe 0.25-0.5mm too narrow for the shoe. Did you notice anything like that?



#9 nat3970

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 12:29 AM

Nat-

A Thumbs Up designed just for X-Pro1 is interesting - did it slide in like the x100 specific TU? Must have since you cite that it is more flat.

I've been using the cold shoe in mine to hold a level bubble - it's come in handy a number of times. Sounds like they are both going to get a lot of sales :-)

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Yes the EP-7S slides in as smoothly as you can possibly imagine. I was quite amazed by how tight the fit was and yet it was also very easy to take off and put back on. Its a very well machined part...

Nice idea of using the level bubble on the cold shoe....

#10 nat3970

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 12:33 AM

A question - my CSEP-2 wiggles ever so slightly horizontally, like it's maybe 0.25-0.5mm too narrow for the shoe. Did you notice anything like that?




When Tim was putting on the CSEP-2 he tightened it down with some kind of allen wrench (no such tightening was required with the EP-7S).

That seemed to eliminate the play/wiggle that you mention. Have you tightened yours?

#11 SausalitoDog

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 12:45 PM

A question - my CSEP-2 wiggles ever so slightly horizontally, like it's maybe 0.25-0.5mm too narrow for the shoe. Did you notice anything like that?


You can stop the wiggle by tightening it in the hot shoe. This makes it impossible to remove without a tool (an tool comes with it) but that is the price of having it solid.

I've tightened mine down and store the tool with the fuji flash (in case I ever use it :-)... who needs it with 6400 ISO and 1.4 lenses :-) :-)

tom

#12 Chris Werner

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 04:12 PM

When Tim was putting on the CSEP-2 he tightened it down with some kind of allen wrench (no such tightening was required with the EP-7S).

That seemed to eliminate the play/wiggle that you mention. Have you tightened yours?



You can stop the wiggle by tightening it in the hot shoe. This makes it impossible to remove without a tool (an tool comes with it) but that is the price of having it solid.

I've tightened mine down and store the tool with the fuji flash (in case I ever use it :-)... who needs it with 6400 ISO and 1.4 lenses :-) :-)

tom


Yeah, I actually did it a couple of times. Maybe I need to apply more torque.

#13 T. Storm Halvorsen

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 04:34 PM

A question - my CSEP-2 wiggles ever so slightly horizontally, like it's maybe 0.25-0.5mm too narrow for the shoe. Did you notice anything like that?


I had to tighten mine with more force than I was really comfortable using for it to stay still. Also I found that counter pressing it inwards on the thumb grip side while tightening the screw helped. If not the tightening turned the ThumbsUp askew to the other side so that it loosened again when pressing on it with the thumb when in use.

Anxious to see actual photos of the new one on an X-Pro1! I do like the cold shoe but the grip itself does ride a bit high. If the new one can be removed without bringing a toolbox it would be great even if it doesn't have the shoe on its back.

#14 Chris Werner

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 05:40 PM

I had to tighten mine with more force than I was really comfortable using for it to stay still. Also I found that counter pressing it inwards on the thumb grip side while tightening the screw helped. If not the tightening turned the ThumbsUp askew to the other side so that it loosened again when pressing on it with the thumb when in use.

Anxious to see actual photos of the new one on an X-Pro1! I do like the cold shoe but the grip itself does ride a bit high. If the new one can be removed without bringing a toolbox it would be great even if it doesn't have the shoe on its back.


Yep - applying more torque worked. I was afraid of over tightening the first couple of times, but once I examined the mechanism more closely I realized what was going on. Thanks guys. :)

#15 mikeci

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Posted 13 May 2012 - 07:07 PM

Nat-

A Thumbs Up designed just for X-Pro1 is interesting - did it slide in like the x100 specific TU? Must have since you cite that it is more flat.

I've been using the cold shoe in mine to hold a level bubble - it's come in handy a number of times. Sounds like they are both going to get a lot of sales :-)

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cheers,

tom
what is the name of that bubble level ? it looks great the one
I have is big and bulky