Thumbs Up Bop for X-T2 (Soft Shutter) Review
Soft shutters are weird for me in the sense that I don't get them. When I say I don't get them, I don't get why they're are required in the first place because it's the sort of thing I think Fuji, Leica and the rest of the companies should provide with the camera. Maybe I missed something on the retro train, but when you spend $1000, $2000 or $5000 on a camera and they want you to provide your own shutter, there is something wrong with that picture.
The X-T2 is pretty dismal standard. I've gone through a couple of soft shutters to date. I went cheap to start and bought something from eBay for $5. The shutter lasted all of about 24 hours. I bought another with a bottle of Loctite and when I looked at the soft shutter mounted on the camera (before I applied the loctite), I realise why it was never going to last long term. The thread wasn't correct, it was too high. It's my fault, I just assumed all soft shutters had the same thread. It was at that point that I looked for a more reputable brand that made shutters I could validate fitted the Fuji and I came across Thumbs Up. They offer multiple designs, big small, concave, convex, colours etc. The Bop is their small concave shutter design to fit the X-T2 amongst others cameras.
The picture below shows my cheap eBay shutter thread next to a Thumbs Up Bop.
I purchased the shutter online from a company called Mainline Photo in Australia. Thumbs up seems to be fairly broadly available globally so you should be able to find a local distributor wherever you are. Compared to the international pricing the Australian pricing was fairly reasonable (we often get screwed on pricing but it's not the case here). Mainline are Sydney based so I have no idea what they are like from a brick and mortar store perspective. Online order was pretty simply and user friendly, the express shipping option was ludicrous (same price as the shutter which is well beyond what express shipping would cost in Aus) so I chose standard shipping. The shutter was AUD$29 with AUD$9.90 standard shipping. I ordered on the 20th December and was originally given a delivery date of the 27th December but this was updated to the 23rd in the Auspost delivery note so I would only have saved myself a day if I had used express.
The second order was placed in the evening of the 13th January (for my X-E2S) and that arrived on the 17th January. Again, no real reason to use express post. I purchased the first Bop in black because I've never been a fan of the silver (to bling for me) or red (too leica like) on a camera, but a couple of weeks later I purchased an X-E2S and decided to try a red one so I could compare the look and feel on both cameras, hence both colours in this review. They also offer some cute designs like ladybugs on the shutter, but not my thing personally.
Packaging and Quality
The packaging is a basic plastic box which is not unreasonable or unexpected for something of this nature, enough to protect the shutter and ensure it arrives in tact. No installation instructions because if you aren't smart enough to know where to screw it, you probably shouldn't be The shutter itself seems to be fairly good quality and although it's difficult to tell whether the finishing will peal or flake long term. I haven't seen any complaints about this with Thumb's Up so I would assume I'm fairly safe.From a fit perspective, it was perfect with the rubber o-ring.
There is no gap which is the problem I previously experienced on the eBay versions. I could have opted to leave it as is and I would be fairly comfortable it would stay in place, but I decided to use some mild Loctite just to make sure it wasn't shaken loose by vibration. The milder versions of Loctite can be broken with very little force so they are really designed to ensure that it doesn't unscrew on it's own or through vibration.
Warning - There is a post from someone on Dpreview about damaging their shutter mechanism by screwing in a soft shutter too hard. Be weary of this. This may or may not be more of a problem with the cheap versions but I've linked the post if you want to ask questions.
Size and usability
Thumbs up offer multiple sizes, but the size of the Bop is perfect from my perspective with the X-T2 and the XE-2S. Apart from the camera aesthetics, I think functionality the smaller switch is better because it doesn't impede your access to dials and switches below.
The shutter seems to have some form of rubberised coating on it, or at least it feels like it.
The soft shutter works very well. The overall feel of the camera is a lot more solid and I find it easier to keep AFC running for extended periods over the default shutter.
From a security perspective, I don't feel like the Bop is going to go missing, but given the amount of bad publicity about losing expensive shutters, I'm still going to add some Loctite to them to be on the safe side. I'm busy researching but from what I understand, Loctite blue is the right way to go.
I think in this case it's a little like tripods, it's a case of go cheap and you'll end up doing it over and over again, but buy the right product and you'll only do it once. Whilst it works for tripods, tripods don't unscrew and fall off your camera so I can understand people's hesitancy to do it.
In this case, I'm hoping the Loctite will solve that problem and I'll continue to update the review if they fall off. So far I've gone a month without losing my first without Loctite.
I do however have a major dilemma now. I'm not sure which combination I like more. I like both the black on X-T2 and the red on the X-T2, and I also like the black on the X-E2S and the red on the X-E2S. So for now, I haven't added any Loctite because I'm not sure which way to go. As soon as I decided I'll Loctite but it's a frustrating dilemma...first world problems I guess.