Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review

April 10, 2016  •  3 Comments

http://leighmiller.zenfolio.com

The 1st generation X-Pro1 Camera W/XF35mm F1.4 R Lens


I first shot with the Fujifilm X-Pro1 camera in the Spring of 2012. Our association didn't last long though. After a few months I decided it wasn't for me though I liked it well enough. The Canon EOS 5D MKII was still my main squeeze and it had all the lenses you could possibly want, not to mention the RAW files worked with just about every post-production software on the market. I gave it another go in late 2013 and still...no love. It wasn't so much the image quality though the continued lack of RAW support was annoying. Now that I look back, it was the very things that make the camera stand apart from the usual DSLR's that frustrated me. The "rangefinder" shape/styling and the viewfinder being off to the left of the body felt strange. The slow auto-focus and ergonomics conspired to throw me off entirely. I moved on to the Fuji X-E1 & 2 shortly after they were introduced.


4 Years on...

Fujifilm X-Pro2Fujifilm X-Pro2

The X-Pro2 W/XF90mm F2 R LM WR Lens

When camera manufacturers announce "new" cameras these days, you can be forgiven for doubting them. Most of the time what they offer are slightly warmed over, re-skinned older models at higher than last year prices. Not so with the X-Pro2.

It felt very different in my hands from the start, more solid and definitely more sure of itself...starting with my favourite subject, the Auto-Focus.

The Auto-Focus

For me, if a camera doesn't focus quickly and accurately what's the point in owning it. Life is way too short to operate in manual because the thing can't be trusted otherwise. I certainly felt that way about the X-Pro1 until it received significant improvement via FIRMWARE during the intervening years from launch. To Fujifilm's credit, they met that issue head on and sorted it out for the legions of X-Pro1 users.

The X-Pro2 sports an AF system that exceeds even the X-T1/X-T10 cameras by adding 273 focusing points, 77 of those are "Phase Detect" covering nearly half of the frame.  That enables a burst mode of 8 frames per second "with tracking" in that area. For those who don't know...Phase Detection points are for speed while Contrast Detection handles accuracy. 

The Hybrid Viewfinder

I confess, when I received the X-Pro2 I set it to the Electronic Viewfinder configuration right away. Once you get used to a high quality EVF it's hard to go back to a bog standard optical viewfinder. I've been using the X-T1 camera for so long that I forgot that the original X-Pro1's EVF left lot's to be desired. Looking through the X-Pro2's eyecup felt very familiar. The old 1.44 million dot technology was replaced with a 2.36 million dot upgrade and the image lag is far less noticeable. The Optical Viewfinder seems about the same to me, though I'm told it's a bit more accurate vs the older model.

P.S. There is a very nice Diopter adjustment dial right beside the eyecup for those with less than perfect vision. 

The Engine

Personally I've never seen 16 megapixels as a negative. The X-Pro2 boasts a new processor in the form of an X-TRANS III for an effective 24 megapixels. It seems that the newest APSc and Micro Four Thirds cameras have settled into that range.  So...a 20% or so increase in overall resolution. The advancements driving all of that also brings a higher continuous frame rate with a larger buffer to handle the files. I've noticed that the RAW data writes to the memory cards just as fast...if not a bit faster than my X-T1 which is no slouch.

The new sensor cranks out RAW files weighing in somewhere around 47MP (in Adobe Lightroom) and you now have the option of them being uncompressed. Fujifilm has also improved over previous models by allowing you to shoot RAW in the L and H settings (ISO 100 or ISO 51,200). Previously only JPEG was an option. Yes the overall sensitivity has been raised (yet again...sigh) to ISO 51,200. A setting I can pretty much promise will never be used by me but change is good and I'm sure that will be well received. I prefer to add light from a flash...and to that end the Flash Sync speed has been increased to 1/250 seconds. There is still a sync port which is located just above the accessory port on the left side.

Fuji X-Pro2 SD CARD SlotsFuji X-Pro2 SD CARD Slots All those wonderful images now find a home on 1 or 2 memory slots which can be configured in backup, overflow or RAW/JPEG mode. I used to think that was useless but I'm reformed now. Having two memory slots doesn't appeal to me for backup/security but being able to write images as JPEGS to one card is immensely useful. We are firmly in a Social Media age and clients/models/subjects alike love to post images during photoshoots. I have a high quality RAW file to process, and the client has a nice JPEG on demand.

The X-Pro2 like the latest Fujifilm cameras has built in WiFi (802.11 variants) allowing fast file transfers to tablets and Smartphones along with the typical Remote Control functions.

Video

Fujifim X-Pro2 W/ST-1 MICFujifim X-Pro2 W/ST-1 MIC Fujifilm X-Pro2 W/ST-1 microphone attached

...has been improved but it's still a "STILLS" focused camera so 4K is not part of the package. However the options have expanded to handle fast 60p all the way down to a smooth cinematic 24p. There is a micro HDMI port though I'm unsure if it's "clean" out...I'll have to check that with an Atomos Ninja at some point. Added also is an external MIC jack which does double duty as the REMOTE connector.

Build Quality & Ergonomics

Fuji X-Pro2 RearFuji X-Pro2 Rear

X-Pro1 owners will notice right away how differently the X-Pro2 feels in hand. The LCD screen, dial and button layout has been revamp extensively and arrayed on a weather resistant magnesium skeleton. Notable is the new "joystick" which allows fast selection of the many auto-focus points. I got used to this when I was shooting Canon cameras and always found it highly effective.

A complaint I've heard repeatedly is how mushy the Fujifilm buttons are but I haven't had the same impression. I prefer the recessed  ones on the X-T1. When you are as active as I am...hiking, climbing etc. the last thing I need are accidental depressing of buttons when I'm on the go.

Someone at head office  was paying attention though because the buttons have a curiously new tactile feel with positive feedback when they are depressed. Everything is now slightly raised and even the knobs have a different "knurled" design.

The LCD has also received an upgrade...a 1.62 million dot upgrade and it's positioned off to the left making room for the new button/dial layout. The biggest shocker though was the new menu system which was a bit too "technical" for most people. In fact I dedicated an entire BLOG post awhile back to help users configure their cameras. I like the direction the company is going with the X-Pro2's menus, much more straight forward and I was setup and out the door to shoot in under 15 minutes.

Fuji X-Pro2 Control DialsFuji X-Pro2 Control Dials Here is a cool thing...the SHUTTER and ISO dials are combined.

Fuji X-Pro2 Top ViewFuji X-Pro2 Top View The EXPOSURE COMPENSATION dial sits alone and offers 3 to -3 adjustment. The new "C" setting expands that to 5EV adjustment for you HDR/Bracketing lovers. You will note that the shutter finally goes to 1/8000 seconds. If your gonna make fast (F1.2-2) lenses 1/4000 seconds just doesn't cut it. This is further expandable via the Electronic Shutter to 1/32,000 seconds. By the way...the SHUTTER sound is very, very nice. It has that "K'Chik" I haven't heard since I gave up DSLR cameras. Very satisfying.

So how does this all come together...

Megapixels

With very few exceptions an increase in megapixels is usually manufacturer window dressing. In the case of the X-TRANS II and III the improvement when comparing side by side is so minor I wouldn't let that be the determining factor. The practical advantage is that you have more information to work with in Post-Processing, especially if you tend to crop for composition. I don't really do that anymore since it's so easy to move around my focus points to frame a shot exactly as I want it. For those who don't have long lenses in their bags but need tighter compositions the extra real estate of the new sensor is helpful.

I didn't include a lot of sample images in this post on purpose. Read until your eyes glaze over...I've got many examples of what Fuji cameras are capable of on this website. The X-Pro2 neither disappointed or blew me away. I found it exactly the way I expected..sharp with wonderful colour.

I am loving the new Acros Film Simulation

Your Viewing Pleasure

The hybrid viewfinder will appeal to those who prefer the Optical shooting experience or want the option to switch back and forth. The X-Pro2 has a few very cool configurations in that regard to satisfy those folks. I assume as well that it's those users who dictated the "eye-level" photography focus of the camera. I say that because the camera lacks a "flip" LCD and for that matter and the touch feature of the new X70 camera which I love.

Stills or Video?

As mentioned, the X-Pro2 is very much a "stills" focused camera and although the video options have been expanded, some will decry the lack of 4K modes. I have mixed feelings there...the world is still very much in the 1080p HD infancy. Not many people have 4K TV's or computer monitors and those that do definitely are still paying a premium price. So with content creation still largely based on current resolutions, why include 4K on the X-Pro2. Then of course, the editor in me kicks in..I use 4K video modes the way some photographers will use the 24MP X-TRANS sensor, for extra information when post-processing. In my case I shoot at 4K and down sample to 1080p. The 4K source file gives me the ability to crop, zoom in etc... Fuji says that the X-TRANS III has the horsepower to handle 4K so maybe down the road it might be added. If you can get over that, the addition of an external MIC jack and HDMI port makes video on this camera interesting.

The real question is..why buy it.

If you are an X-Pro1 user/owner, the X-Pro2 is a no brainer. Every single area of the camera has been improved extensively. You can only push old hardware so far with FIRMWARE updates. The Viewfinder, LCD, Auto-Focus and mainstream Video is now top notch.

For DSLR converts it's also a no-brainer. It takes the best features of the mirrorless revolution and places them squarely in a form that will be very comfortable for you. In my opinion every single lens Fujifilm makes rivals that of the top tier stuff from Canon/Nikon/Sony. Matched to the X-TRANS III sensor you will have very little if anything to complain about. The X-Pro2 now boasts a 1/250 flash sync speed and Adobe (I hope) continues to improve support for X-TRANS RAW files.

Owners of the X-T1/X-T10 and X-E2 to a lesser extent have a bit more hand wringing to do though...for me 16 megapixels is just right and the flip LCD works for me. The only reason I would ever want to upgrade is maybe for the new RAW ability in L (ISO 100) mode, expanded EV adjustment and rear AF joystick. However these are minor things if you are satisfied overall with the X-TRANS II sensor.

The X-Pro2 is a solid update to the original model that started the Fujifilm reinvention of itself. Whether you are a long-time user, new convert or on the fence this camera ticks most of the boxes as a "pro" camera should. It addresses a healthy number of real/imagined deficiencies people have with mirrorless cameras. I'll wait 4 years for the X-T2 camera if I can expect this level of improvements to that already very good product.

 


Comments

3.Josh(non-registered)
Thanks for the great review.

I am very interested in this camera--would you consider doing some tests with an external recorder? Alot of us want to know if this camera has clean HDMI out.

Thanks!
2.Leigh Miller 2017
@Maciek: Yes, I notice the difference when witching between the two cameras. However it's easily adjusted to after regular usage. This is one case where bigger isn't always better...the camera has a bunch of other refinements that takes your mind off the smaller EVF.
1.Maciek(non-registered)
Is the difference in size of EVF (between X-PRO and XT-1) rather easy, or hard to accept? Don't you miss the bigger EVF of XT-1?
No comments posted.
Loading...