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:
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.