Fuji X-Pro2 Review Part One: Unboxing and First Impressions

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5 days ago I received an email from my friends at Fuji Canada letting me know a review copy of the Fuji X-Pro2 was on its way to me.  3 days ago it arrived.  2 days ago I used it to photograph a concert at a local cabaret.  Today I am writing the first part of my review.

…as you can imagine, it’s been a great few days.

Readers of this blog will know how much I love my Fuji X100 series cameras, and how I use my X-T1 and various lenses for my “work” photography.  The truth is I love and prefer the feel and styling of rangefinder cameras, and I have been looking forward to the X-Pro2 for a long time.

Over the next few weeks I will be writing a five part review of Fuji’s new flagship camera:

So, let’s get right to it.  At the end of this blog post I’m going to focus on what I love the most about the X-Pro2 from my first few days of using it, but I know many people love unboxing photos so let’s start right at the beginning:

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There it is, almost out of the box!

So much has been said online already about the X-Pro2.  Mirrorless technology is evolving quickly, and people have been very excited to see what Fuji’s new camera would bring.  Not to disappoint, the launch of the X-Pro2 brings us the following (not a complete list):

  • Fuji’s new 24.3mp sensor, the X-Trans CMOS III
  • An expanded ISO sensitivity from ISO 100 to 51,200
  • Centre weighted photometry option
  • Expanded exposure compensation (-5 EV to +5 EV)
  • Mechanical shutter speeds up to 1/8,000
  • A flash sync of 1/250th
  • 273 focus points (!) with 77 being phase detection focus points
  • A new film simulation called Acros, based on Neoprene Acros 100 film
  • A new grain simulation
  • The option of full or lossless compressed RAW
  • Pixel mapping

On first glance this new camera appears to be a game changer for Fuji.

Let’s take a look at the front of the camera:

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First off, I have to comment on how solid the X-Pro2 is.  Perhaps a little larger than the X-T1, and a little bit heavier.  The grip on the right hand side of the body is very good, and of course the whole camera is now weather sealed.  Everything about this body feels “pro” to me, and it feels great in the hand.

On the front you can see a scroll wheel, the optical / electronic viewfinder switch lever, and the focus mode  selection switch.

The OVF/EVF switch lever also has a function button cleverly built into it, which provides an overlay in the optical viewfinder that shows framing lines for many of the lenses Fuji offers.  When in use it it will show either:

  • Normal magnification:  35mm, 56mm, 60mm, 90mm
  • Wide angle magnification:  18mm, 23mm, 27mm, 32mm

When in use this mode automatically adjusts based on the lens attached at the time.  Nice!  Here is a really bad photo of my floor, shot with my phone held up against the viewfinder, to give you an idea of what these framing lines look like:

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That’s pretty cool… an optical viewfinder, but with framing lines still present for your various lenses.  Not to be outdone, the electronic viewfinder has also been significantly enhanced and now refreshes at 85fps.  It is fast and seamless.

Looking at the back we see bigger, and even better, changes:

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All buttons are now on the right side.  I shot for four hours at a gig on Saturday night and was amazed at how handy this was.  The handling and ergonomics were superb, with the following jumping out at me:

  • A dedicated photometry button on the top
  • An autofocus point selecting “joystick”.  More on this in a minute
  • A drive button centrally located
  • For the back button focusers out there, the AF-L button is well placed on the grip

Each of these is a small thing, but when you add them all up together it makes for effortless use of the camera once your muscle memory gets going.

On the side we see another game changer for Fuji:

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Dual card slots!  I am fairly obsessive about data backup, so for me this is huge peace of mind when I am shooting weddings or other “no going back” assignments.

On the X-Pro2 slot 1 is UHS-II Compliant, and slot 2 is UHS-I Compliant.  You can configure the camera to use the dual card slots as follows:

  • Sequential, where the camera fills one card then moves on to the second
  • Mirrored backup
  • To write RAW to one card, and jpg to the second

The door that covers the card slots now feels solid and tight.

Here is a look from the top:

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See that little window in the shutter speed dial?  Built in ISO selection!  When you depress the little button on the top of the wheel you unlock the shutter speed dial, and when you lift the outer ring you can rotate to adjust the ISO.

Another thing of note is that “C” on the exposure compensation dial.  The Fuji X-Pro2 now allows for 5 stops of exposure compensation by selecting the “C” and then adjusting via the thumb wheel.

Let’s go back to something I mentioned a minute ago:

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The autofocus point selecting joystick, or whatever its official name is.  Truth be told I didn’t look up the official name in the manual because it doesn’t matter… the thing is pure awesome regardless of what Fuji calls it.  I can’t describe how much I used this on last Saturday’s gig.  On my X-T1 I had to choose between using function buttons to change my AF point, or using them for other functions.  The addition of this joystick frees up those buttons, but more importantly it allowed me to effortlessly navigate through the autofocus points while shooting in a fast moving concert environment.

Something small, something simple, but a great addition.

This view of the camera really sums up the ergonomics and handling for me though:

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Right there, all within easy reach of my right hand thumb, I have:

  • Shutter speed control
  • ISO control
  • Exposure compensation control
  • The autofocus selecting joystick
  • The shutter (of course!)

Add in the aperture ring on the lens controlled with my left hand, and I have virtually everything I need immediately accessible without diving into menus.   I cannot say enough about the brilliance of this design.

What’s next?

I am currently editing the photographs from the cabaret shoot, which will provide a foundation for discussing the X-Pro2’s low light autofocus and high ISO performance.  That part of this review series will be up within the week.

If you have any questions or comments please leave them below.

Cheers,

Ian

 

29 thoughts on “Fuji X-Pro2 Review Part One: Unboxing and First Impressions

  1. Mac Sokulski says:

    Very nice beginning… looking forward to the rest. But I do have a question regarding the ISO control. How difficult is it to change with out affecting the shutter dial? I would imagine that the shutter dial is lock when in A position, but moves freely in others. Does the ISO changing affect the shutter dial at all?

    • Ian says:

      Thanks Mac.

      When you lift and move the ISO dial it moves freely, I haven’t moved the shutter speed dial at all yet.

      Cheers,

      Ian

      • cptpoland says:

        I was worried about this a bit, since I had a similar dial on an old film Pentax camera, and remembered it was a pain adjusting the ISO.
        Now to start saving money… or looking for a dark alley doc to give up my kidney 😀

      • Ian says:

        I’ve probably used the camera actively for about 6 hours so far, and I hadn’t thought about moving the ISO and accidentally bumping the shutter speed until Mac asked about it. For what it’s worth I think that speaks volumes.

        Now, on your second note: Nature has given you two kidneys, but not for the purposes of procuring new camera equipment. 😀

  2. Matt says:

    Nice intro into your 5-part review. I’ve read so much about this camera that you would think it would be like beating a dead horse. Not so much… I can’t get enough. I’m looking forward to seeing the photos you got from this thing.

    I wish I never preordered one… the wait is killing me.

  3. thefujifreak says:

    Thanks for this comprehensive overview of the X-Pro2, Ian. One quick question: you state it’s weather proofed; does this included the sensor housing? I am a tad OCD about fluff on the sensor! Thanks…. looking forward to the next four posts. T

    • Ian says:

      I use the top function button on my X100t the same way. I wouldn’t say the dial feature is easier, I would say it is different and equally accessible. 👍

  4. rogerhyam says:

    I don’t have it to hand to check but I’m sure my X-Pro1 provides an OVF frame for the nifty 14mm f2.8. Does the X-Pro2 not support this? Doesn’t look like it in your shot.

    • Ian says:

      Hey Roger,

      Thanks for commenting. It’s been a long time since I’ve held an X-Pro1, but I am positive it didn’t have frame lines for the 14mm. Perhaps someone with more experience could add more?

      • rogerhyam says:

        Hi Ian,

        Thanks for replying. Well I got home and dug out my X-Pro1 and it does have frame lines for the XF14mm! I’ve written a brief blog post about it here with a similar shot of the floor:

        http://www.hyam.net/blog/archives/3210

        First note the condition of my floor 😉

        As I say in the post the angle of view of the lens is more or less the angle of view of the OVF so the frames are not continuous but they are not the symbols used for when the extent of the lens is greater than the viewfinders.

        I wonder if Fujifilm just reckoned it didn’t match anymore and so dropped them? Do you have a contact at Fujifilm? I guess you must as you have a production camera before launch. Could you ask them if the frame lines are there? Google doesn’t seem to be coming up with the goods on this one.

        Many thanks,

        Roger

        BTW: On the X-Pro1 if you use the XF27mm “pancake” the frame in the OVF is a bit small but if you force the OVF to use the higher magnification (holding the lever for a few seconds) then the OVF is roughly the same coverage as the lens. This was occasionally useful to get another perspective on things.

      • rogerhyam says:

        Hi Ian,

        I wrote to Fujifilm UK and the responded “We can confirm, when the 14mm lens is attached to the X-Pro2 and when using OVF, frame lines are identical to the X-Pro1.” So I’m a happy bunny.

        Thanks,

        Roger

    • Ian says:

      I didn’t do a comprehensive test at last Saturday’s gig, but I know I shot bursts of 10-20 RAW files with no slow down. It was quick enough that I don’t recall finding myself waiting at any time. I’ll do a more comprehensive test this week.

  5. c0ldc0ne says:

    “A new film simulation called Acros, based on Neoprene Acros 100 film”

    Which is great news for wetsuit fetishists. The rest of us probably would have preferred the Neopan variety. 😉

      • c0ldc0ne says:

        Not sure about that blog post but as a serial victim of said technology myself, I sympathize. 🙂

        Thank you for posting your findings in such detail. I tend to accept the neutrality of Official Fuji X Photographers when it comes to reviewing Fuji gear with some reluctance, but considering that I’m leaning towards an X-Pro2 myself, I very much appreciate your efforts nonetheless.

      • Ian says:

        My friend is an Apple employee, and I tend to just blame every mistake on him. 🙂

        If you don’t mind me asking, what is it about X Photographer group that has you reluctant to accept their neutrality?

        …asked out of genuine curiosity.

        Cheers,

        Ian

      • c0ldc0ne says:

        It’s not just the X Photographers. Anytime someone is working in an “official” capacity, I have to ask myself if their judgement can be truly objective. It’s not that I think you are a Fuji employee, but I assume that this partnership is beneficial to you in one way or another.

        I’m equally wary when something seems to good to be true. I may have overlooked something, but I believe that the placement of the AF-L button was your only niggle with the X-Pro 2. Perhaps you are genuinely smitten by this camera, but out of experience I am inclined to believe that there tend to be more things that rub you the wrong way.

        Call me cynical, but there you go. 🙂

        This is why I read lots of reviews from many different perspectives and ultimately make up my own mind.

      • Ian says:

        Hello again!

        I found 3 “niggles” with the X-Pro2, only 2 of which I really care about: The EVF compared to the X-T1’s viewfinder, which is gorgeous (and the new X-T2’s viewfinder is even better). The AF-L button was the second. The third technically would have been the lack of an articulating LCD, but that is neither here nor there for me so I was good either way. Ultimately I described the X-Pro2 as a maturation of the X lineup, which to me is exactly what it is. I can only speak for myself, but when I write my reviews I always keep context in the back of my mind, i.e. I am not going to compare the image quality to a medium format camera, nor am I going to compare the AF to a $5,000 DSLR.

        Your last comment is the important thing though: Read multiple perspectives and most importantly get some real world hands on time to formulate your own opinion. I find cameras, especially the ergonomics, to be such a personal thing and it is rare that I find a reviewer whose perspective is exactly in line with my own, so I also read from a broad spectrum of reviews and then use the equipment myself to see how I like it.

        Cheers,

        Ian

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