The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a 24MP high-end X-mount camera whose appeal is inextricably linked to its innovative optical/electronic hybrid viewfinder. It offers excellent image quality and some of the best out-of-camera JPEGs on the market and comes in a well built, elegant body with plenty of direct control.
It is hard to believe that it has been five years since Fujifilm first announced its mirrorless X system with the start of the Fujifilm X-Pro1, together with the first three lenses. It was a pretty rough ride for Fujifilm since the system looked very appealing. Yet, the initial feedback and testimonials indicated that the camera was full of bugs and autofocus issues. But despite the negative reactions, Fujifilm did not give up since it wanted to make the X program successful at all costs. Within a yr, the X-Pro1 was transformed into a whole different camera – major firmware issues were taken care of, and the AF system became much more polished and reliable.
Fujifilm decided not to leave its original customers behind, letting them get the latest and greatest through “Kaizen” firmware upgrades. And although Fujifilm released many new Fujifilm cameras, the X-Pro1 continued to receive firmware feature upgrades for another 4 years, something no other manufacturer has done during the past. That level of commitment did not proceed unnoticed by the picture taking community, creating a large and loyal Fujifilm fan base. After a long wait, Fujifilm finally uncovered the much-anticipated X-Pro2 that many photo enthusiasts and specialists have been waiting for. Last Christmas, an amazing gift from Fujifilm Italia provided me the opportunity to experience the Fujifilm X-Pro2. Since Nasim also got some thoughts to share with PL readers after using the camera for a couple of months, we decided to combine our efforts right into a single review.
Check Out: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-Pro2
Fujifilm X-Pro2 Price
Before moving to the X-Pro2… Can you take great images with mirrorless digital cameras? Yes! Can you use an APS-C mirrorless camera as a professional tool? Yes, definitely! Is it worth switching your whole DSLR program to a mirrorless one? It all depends on what you are planning to use the camera for. For shooting everything but fast action, there is little reason to move with a DSLR currently, especially given the fact that major DSLR manufacturers like Canon and Nikon have got long given up on making small and lightweight lenses because of their APS-C cameras.
However, if you shoot fast action such as sports and wildlife, DSLRs still reign supreme due to faster and more dependable autofocus, fewer blackouts/lags, and a wide selection of super-telephoto lenses – items mirrorless systems still have to catch up with. But we are getting off-topic, and the mirrorless vs. DSLR debate is certainly something we can leave for another day – let’s jump right back to the X-Pro2.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Camera Settings
My initial move was setting the camera to shoot RAW+JPEG and establishing JPEG processing based on the film simulation PRO Neg Hello there (which has very punchy blacks and high contrast). It’s the setting that I almost always use on the Fujifilm X100S. I love this film simulation because what I discover in the JPEG is normally always much less than what I can get from the Natural file, and having a pessimistic forecast helps me establish a sort of safety net for what I will have to work with once I’m home and have downloaded the documents. I also like the look and feel it gives. The Basic Chrome simulation really tempted me, but I knew I could get it afterward in Lightroom while tinkering with the RAW file.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Menu
Navigating the menu is absolutely simple and intuitive. Options are easy to understand and set. The only two minimal notes in this section are fonts with different spacing, size, and kerning (extremely annoying for my taste), along with some amusing translations in the Italian localization (I guess this isn’t a big deal for English speakers).
Fujifilm completely changed the menu system on the X-Pro2 when compared to the X-Pro1, and it is so much better in comparison. I love the way Fujifilm arranged the menu into main sections and sub-sections, similar to what we are used to seeing on DSLR cameras from Nikon, Canon, and Pentax.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Controls
The handles are well laid out, although I much prefer the layout of the Fujifilm X-T2. Controls are easy to reach and close at hand: perfect to avoid missing any opportunities. The ISO selector is aesthetically wonderful! A great retro-style addition. In fact, it is very convenient to get a real dedicated ring: definitely outstanding. The just drawback, in my opinion, is the way you should operate it: it is necessary to select the ISO by pulling the ring and turning it at the same time. This can often lead to unintentional modifications of the shutter swiftness (ISO and shutter rate are on the same dial).
Fujifilm X-Pro2: The EVF (Electronic ViewFinder)
I really appreciate the “hybrid” approach which has always characterized both the “Pro” and the “100” people of the X family, mostly because of the general look: thanks to the OVF (Optical ViewFinder), you can remove any electronic mediation at will and see directly what is framed, almost like in an old rangefinder camera. In fact, one of the things that may be hard to get used to on mirrorless cameras is the Digital Viewfinder (EVF) – on many cameras.
You have no immediate visual feed of actuality because everything is usually mediated by electronics and display capacity (color, contrast, definition), sometimes offering a far from the ideal perception of what’s in the body. This definitely bothers some people, including me. However, I must say that the EVF on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is definitely exceptional inefficiency, exhibiting virtually zero perceived lag, displaying exactly what will be recorded in the image, including set white balance and film simulation.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Size and Weight
Compared to the products I am used to dealing with, using the Fujifilm X-Pro2 coupled with the XF 56mm f/1.2 is like having nothing on me. The camera is very lightweight and compact. Comparing the same type of lens (same equivalent focal length) and weight of the equipment in my usual bag of gear (without giving up anything), a mirrorless kit would be approximately half the excess weight and size of a DSLR comparative. So if you travel a lot, there is simply no comparison. Working with more than one camera body covering an event, I am sure the difference will end up being huge and clearly in favor of such compact cameras.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Battery Life
As with all cameras used constantly in live view mode (yes, even a DSLR!), battery lifestyle affects big time. In mirrorless cameras, the problem can be accentuated because there are practically no various other ways to use them: in 4-5 days of actual usage of the X-Pro2, I took approximately seventy shots (yes, 70, seven-zero), and the battery pack was drained to about half, but this is the price to pay for the always-on sensor and EVF or LCD screens always showing everything you are framing. If you take your time to frame images and make use of EVF and LCD a whole lot, the electric battery will drain quite quickly – and that’s something you should expect.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Performance
ISO sensitivity…there is too much ISO sensitivity! I know it is never enough! Seriously… I utilized the camera generally at ISO 800. When I use Fujifilm cameras, it is somehow “my base ISO” because it allows me to recover highlights fantastic. The Fujifilm X-Trans sensor and the one present in the X-Pro2 is certainly no exception. It is practically ISO-invariant, so pushing ISO is normally something you might want to do during the RAW file’s post-processing without losing an excessive amount of quality.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Movie Shooting
Clearly, Fujifilm didn’t aim the X-Pro2 to be a video-friendly camera because it is limited to shooting full HD video at 60 fps, which is significantly worse in quality and resolution than the Fujifilm X-T2 can do. Although, on the one hand, I can understand that the X-Pro2 is aimed at photographers rather than videographers, it does not make much sense that the lower-end X-T2 has more superior video recording features than the top-of-the-line X-Pro2. I am not sure if it was a timing issue on Fujifilm’s end, or perhaps the X-T2 was drastically changed to compete with other 4K video cameras out there before its launch.
Nonetheless, it is definitely confusing why the two cameras are so far apart in video shooting. It is also important to note that the X-Pro2 does not even have an option for a vertical battery pack grip. In contrast, the X-T2 has a compelling grasp that hosts two batteries and speeds up the camera’s continuous shooting speed all the way to 14 fps.
Fujifilm X-Pro2: Summary
When it comes to ergonomics (ISO selector aside!), compactness, autofocus quickness and accuracy, choice of lenses, and overall picture quality, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 proved to be outstanding. Like with the original X-Pro1, I am certain Fujifilm will continue its Kaizen strategy of continuous firmware development to make the Fujifilm X-Pro2 even better than it is today. Still, I would like to see such problems as tethering support tackled as quickly as possible. Also, Fujifilm should really work closer with post-processing software teams from Adobe, Capture One, and others to improve compatibility with its RAW images.
We know that it takes more post-processing power to process X-trans pictures, but there has to be a solution to improve this. And let’s not forget that Adobe ACR is still pretty bad when it comes to the sharpening of Fujifilm Natural data files. Iridient and PhotoNinja figured it out, so why can’t Adobe and other companies address it? Lastly, it will be wonderful if Fujifilm required flash photography a bit more seriously and spent a little more R&D on bringing a better and more full Speedlight system.