Fuji X-Pro 2 Review

Fujifilm X-Pro was the first interchangeable lens camera that put Fujifilm on the map as a strong force in the APS-C sensor based camera market. Four years later, Fujifilm came back with the highly anticipated followup Fujifilm X-Pro2 featuring an updated 24 megapixel X-Trans with Phase Detect auto focus, weather sealed body, dual card slots (a first for mirrorless cameras), AF joystick (to quickly select AF points) and hybrid OVF/EVF.

Handling:
Fujifilm X-Pro2 looks very similar to its predecessor and the first time I picked it up I was surprised by the weight of the camera. X-Pro2 is a slim camera but has a very dense feeling when you pick it up. Also, it is taller in person than i thought it would be.

X-Pro2 has a small grip which is comfortable with small primes and zoom but if you plan on using it with zooms like 16-55 f2.8 or 50-140 f2.8, I would highly recommend that you get the optional Fujifilm MHG-XPRO2. With the grip it is easier to hold the camera with heavy lenses but it is still not optimal because due to the slim profile of the camera there is still a lot of strain on fingers and thumb when holding camera for extended periods of time.

AF joystick on the back of the camera is as excellent addition as it allows quick selection of the AF points. The joystick can be configured to stay active all the time or to be become active only when pressed. During my use I found it very useful with a small gripe. I would have liked if the joystick was pressure sensitive so that if you wanted to quickly move from one end of AF grid to another you can press hard in that direction. Similarly to move the AF point for shorter distance a small nudge could work.

Top of the camera features exposure compensation dial and a ISO/shutter speed combination dial. Fuji made the ISO/shutter combination dial as a homage to the cameras for yesteryears but for me it did not work at all. I absolutely HATED it ISO dial because in order to use it, you had to lift it up and the rotate it.

This is a prime example of form over functionality because even though it might look “retro” it just made usage more difficult than it should be.

xpro2-top

Hybrid Viewfiender:
One of the most unique feature of the X-Pro cameras is the built-in hybrid EVF/OVF which Fuji calls Hybrid Multi Viewfinder (HMVF) with 100% coverage. This allows you to switch between an optical viewfinder and electronic viewfinder with a flick of switch. In X-Pro2 Fuji added another option where an EVF is simultaneously displayed as a small window in the optical viewfinder. It can be displayed in three different ways: 100% field of view, 2.5x magnification and 6x magnification. This allows the user to check focus, the angle-of-view, exposure and white balance in real-time, even when taking photos through the OVF.

xpro2_ovf

OVF with EVF on the bottom right

While using the optical view finder, X-Pro2 also display frame lines to make it easier to visualize the shot and determine the area that falls outside of the frame. It also shows the the active AF point. I found that this works well with shorter primes as you can see the frame box is large enough to see the AF point. But if you use a zoom lens at the tele end, the frame will become so small that it will be almost useless.

Fuji’s HMVF is a nice novelty and a lot of people love it. In fact they buy X-Pro cameras just for that but for me it didn’t do much. It’s not that I don’t like OVFs, I loved the one in my D750 but using it with a mirrorless camera just feels weird.  I ended up mostly using the EVF as I prefer WYSIWYG feature of mirrorless cameras.

Speaking of EVF, even though the EVF is large with nice detail I found one major shortcoming that it cannot be used with polarized sunglasses. This caused me to lose pictures a few times because while walking around in the day I brought up the camera to my eye and everything was either just black (when using EVF) or OVF did not show any information as if camera was turned off. At first I though that the camera is dead but after playing around with it for few minutes I figured out the issue. Still, this happened multiple times and I finally learned to always take off the glasses before using the camera 🙂

Auto focus:
Fujifiml X-Pro2 features new 24 megapixel sensor with 77 phase detect AF points which is modest increase from the 49 points of previous camera. Compared to my last Fuji (X-T1), I felt a definitely improvement specially in low light. Single AF was quick and accurate most of the time but I did notice few instances where camera beeped to confirm the AF acquisition but the picture was out of focus.

Continuous AF also felt improved but not as significantly as the single AF. In continuous focusing the camera would acquire the initial focus quickly but would lose the subject after few frames and then would either just hunt back and forth or completely give up and show a red rectangle. With that said, I did try shooting a soccer game and was able to capture some great shots. You can read about it on my other post here.

One thing that really frustrated me regarding AF system was the face/eye detect. It was completely unreliable and after trying it out for few time I just completely turned it off.

Picture Quality:
Similar to previous 16 megapixel X-Trans sensor the new 24 megapixel sensor produces excellent images, specially jpegs. Excellent DR and sharpness can be extracted from RAW files as well but unfortunately the final result depends a lot on the converter being used. Even though Lightroom has made quite a lot of improvements in its handling for RAF (Fuji RAW) files the results are not the best. For best results I suggest using Iridium or Photo Ninja.

High ISO performance has also been improved and I had no issue pushing to ISO 6400 and even beyond without much noise or IQ penalty.

DSCF1680

ISO 3200 (OOC jpeg)

DSCF1679

ISO 6400 (OOC jpeg)

Fuji X-Pro2 also includes a new black and white film simulation called “Acros” and unlike the traditional B&W presets I found it to be more punchy with better sharpness and tonality.  All previous film presets like Provia, Astia, Velvia etc. make a return as well.

Video Quality:
Compared to previous Fuji cameras where video was horrible and looked like an after thought I found the video quality pretty decent. It offer different video options such as 1080p or 720p at 24, 25, 30, 50 or 60p. No 4K or higher frame rate options but without an articulating or tilting screen, I don’t think anybody will be using X-Pro2 for any serious video recording anyway so I did not find it to be a big deal.

I only used X-Pro2 for few videos and found that quality was really good with great colors and details. Best part is that you can use the film simulations in video mode as well. AF in video mode was decent but nothing to write home about. So if you are serious about video, i suggest using manual AF.

One oddity with video recording as that since there is neither a mode dial nor a dedicated video record button, you have to assign a function button to start and stop videos. By default it is assigned to top Fn button. Since I don’t usually make videos, I reassigned this button to a different function.

Connectivity:
Like most cameras released in last couple of years Fuji X-Pro2 also features built-in Wifi connectivity. This not only allows you to instantly share pictures to your smartphone or tablet but you can also use it to control the camera.

The Fuji Camera remote app is available for both Android and iOs devices. In use, I found it to be an OK app with bare minimum functionality. Setup was straight forward but it can sometime require multiple tries to connect. Also, I found that few times while transferring images from camera to my cellphone, the process just stopped responding and I ended up pulling the battery out to stop it.

Also, I found that it is quicker to send one picture at a time from camera instead of browsing the pictures from the smart devices and queuing multiple pictures to to be downloaded at at once.

What I liked:
– Very responsive UI and controls
– Great built quality. Feels like a high end device in hand.
– Dual card slots (every camera should have this)
– Excellent picture and video quality.
– Hybrid EVF/OVF works as intended. A unique feature not available on any other mainstream interchangeable lens mirrorless camera.
– Fast and accurate (most of time) single AF and usable C-AF.
– Nicely laid out menus with ability to create a custom menu with most used options (Sony, should take some pointers from Fuji on how to design menus)

What I did not like:
– ISO dail.
– Small grip which is almost useless with heavy zooms.
– Fixed LCD.
– Wifi app could use some improvement.
– No in camera HDR or Panorama modes.
– Poor battery life

Alternatives:
– 
Fujifilm X-T2
– Sony A6300
– Sony A6500
– Sony A7II
– Olympus OMD-EM1 Mark II
– Panasonic GX8
– Olympus Pen-F

Conclusion:
In the sea of similar looking cameras if you want to try something unique with amazing picture quality, excellent built quality and “hippie” vibe, Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the perfect camera. Pair it with Fujifilm’s excellent small primes (18, 23, 35, 50 and 60mm) and you will have a compact, lightweight kit that is ready for almost any situation.

Sample Pictures:

Advertisements

4 thoughts on “Fuji X-Pro 2 Review

  1. Thanks for listing alternatives. They reminded me why I am so pleased with my X-Pro 2. Over Sony for the usual reasons, over m4/3 because of sensor size. The closest alternative would be the Olympus Pen F.

    Like

    • You are welcome.

      Fuji X-Pro2 and X-T2 are amazing cameras but don’t count Olympus to be too far behind. I’m currently testing X-T2 along with E-M1 Mark II and they are surprisingly close in terms on IQ. Fuji definitely has an advantage due to sensor size but it is not as big as I always thought. In terms of pure technology and features Olympus leaves Fuji in dust.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s