Fuji X-Pro2 Review Part Five: A Month With the X-Pro2

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Note:  This is part five of a five part review series on the soon to be now released Fuji X-Pro2:

The Fuji X-Pro2 is now shipping and I am loving the posts from people on social media who are receiving their new cameras and sharing their views and photos.  The anticipation leading up to the January X-Pro2 announcement was significant and having had the pleasure of using one for a month before its launch, I can say that it lives up to expectations in almost every way.

In this post I’ll summarize what I love about this new camera,  a few things some people may perceive to be downsides, and a few thoughts on the current and future direction of the X series cameras.

The Bottom Line, right up front…

I have written before about how the X100 series changed everything about my photography.  It brings me joy and makes me want to go out and take photos in ways that my Nikon cameras never did.  I gigged for years as a professional musician and found the same thing… certain guitars spoke to me and inspired me to play and write more than others.

The X100t is my go to camera, but my work often necessitates different focal lengths so I also use an X-T1 with the usual assortment of lenses.   The X-T1 is a great camera, which I have written about elsewhere on this site.  It is a camera that has benefited from multiple firmware updates, getting better and better with age.  I also reviewed the X-T10 last summer and thought it too was a  great camera…one that I have recommended to many, many people over the last year.  With these cameras I have shot weddings, portrait sessions, travel, landscapes, cityscapes, street photography, live gigs and personal work.  They have performed well and I trust them 100% to deliver.  Having said that, for me they have never had that special “something” that my X100t does.

In this review series I’ve talked a little about the technical aspects of the X-Pro2 , but the reason I am going to be upgrading my X-T1 to the X-Pro2 is not because of technical specifications.  It is because the camera inspires me.  There is something about rangefinder-esque camera bodies that I prefer and there is something about the way the X-Pro2 feels in my hand that I love.  It inspires me like my X100t does and that means so much more to me than talking about the technical specifications of the camera.

here’s What I love…

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The thought that keeps coming to my mind when I think about the X-Pro2 is that it represents a maturation of the X series.  Many of us spend so much time with these cameras that it is easy to forget that 5 years ago they didn’t exist.   The original X-Pro1 was announced in January 2012….only 4 years ago.   Over that time Fuji have made huge strides forward, have had a few stumbles, have listened to their end users and have continually upgraded their product line through firmware releases and new hardware releases.   When you step back and look at the current Fuji line up the growth in such a short period of time is remarkable, and the X-Pro2 represents another milestone for the X series.

So what do I love about the Fuji X-Pro2 the most?

The Ergonomics and Build Quality:

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When I first held the X-Pro2 in my hands it felt so much different than my X-T1.  It has a different shape.  It is a little bit bigger.  It is a little bit heavier.   I wasn’t an X-Pro1 user, so the fact that it felt so amazing in my hands came as a surprise to me.

Ergonomically, I love the layout of all the buttons along the right side and the layout of the dials…especially the new ISO dial:

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From a nostalgic point of view,  I love that the threaded shutter is back too.

The Joystick:

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This is one of those “why didn’t they do this before?” things.  It seems so simple, but it is one of those “day to day use” game changers.  It sits right where my thumb rests.  Holding it down rapidly moves the focus point.  Double tapping it returns the focus point to centre.  So simple, so fast.  It also frees up the other function buttons for other tasks, providing you with more options for customizing your camera.

Fuji’s new 24.3mp sensor, the X-Trans CMOS III:

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When the new 24.3mp sensor was announced, people instantly started talking about what the image quality would be like.  There is always a risk when you pack more pixels onto the same sized chip that  the high ISO performance could take a hit.

In my experience this did not happen.  In fact, I actually think it has improved.  The new sensor resolves beautifully;  I am quite comfortable shooting ISO 3200 to 6400 (I personally have no need to go higher) and I have more options for printing large or cropping.

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The X-Pro2 is also very responsive.  There is no detectable shutter lag and the write speed is very good.

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Dual Card Slots:

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Peace.  Of.  Mind.  That’s about it.

I have never had a memory card fail on me, but when I am shooting gigs like weddings I have always preferred having dual card slots and the peace of mind that I have multiple copies of images that capture once in a lifetime moments.  This is another example of how the X line up is becoming a serious contender in the professional photography world.

Acros Film Simulation:

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Confession time:

I have never shot film.  I entered the photography community in 2004, as digital started taking hold (I believe my first digital camera was a 3mp Fuji if I recall correctly).

With that said, I cannot comment on Acros other than to say it is a beautiful addition to Fuji’s film simulations.  Much like Classic Chrome changed colour photography for many Fuji shooters, Acros has done the same for black and white.  Fuji has written that Acros is only possible on the new sensor and it makes me a little sad that I won’t see it brought to my beloved X100t.

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are there any downsides to the X-Pro2?

There are 3 things that have come up in conversations with other people reviewing the X-Pro2:

Viewfinder Size and Eye Relief:

Let’s put it right on the table, the viewfinder in the X-T1 is gorgeous.  It’s huge and it’s bright.  When you look through it you feel like the image is right there.

On the X-Pro2 the viewfinder feels slightly smaller, and it feels set back a little bit.  It is gorgeous, the refresh rate is fast and of course it has the beautiful optical viewfinder too.  It definitely has a different feel to it than the X-T1 though.  Not worse, just different.

No Articulating Screen:

This one isn’t a “thing” for me, but some people have really come to love this feature.  If it is a deal breaker for you I’d say the X-T2, whenever it arrives, will be the camera for you.

The Position of the AF-L Button:

My friend Take, from Bigheadtaco, just wrote about this on Fujilove and I have to agree with him that the position is not optimal.  I back button focus often with my X100t, but I still haven’t gotten used to the placement of this button on the X-Pro2.

Final Thoughts:

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The most common question I have been asked over the last month is this:

“Should I get the X-Pro2, or wait for the not yet announced or released X-T2?”

I struggle with this question, because it implies that one model will be better than the other and I don’t think this will prove to be the case at all.

It is a safe bet that the new sensor, the Acros film simulation, possibly the joystick, possibly the dual card slots, etc will come to the X-T2 when it is released.  I think at that point it will simply be a matter of personal choice and ergonomic preference.   Do you want a rangefinder like experience?  Go with the X-Pro2.  Do you want a DSLR like experience with an articulating screen?  Go with the X-T2 when it arrives.

Bottom line:  Go with whatever gear inspires you to get out there and shoot.

This is exactly the maturation of the X series lineup that I mentioned earlier in this review.  As Fuji releases one high quality product after another, what we are really getting is choice and that is an awesome thing.

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For me, my bag will now hold the X-Pro2 and the X100t.  I have two camera bodies that inspire me and that is really what it is all about.  This year I have trips booked to Amsterdam, Seattle, and New York so far, and the X-Pro2 will be getting a lot of use.

One final note:  February was a crazy busy month on this site, with 65,000 views and hundreds of comments and emails.  I’d like to thank all of you for visiting the site, for your insightful comments and for your kind thoughts on my work.

Cheers,

Ian

31 thoughts on “Fuji X-Pro2 Review Part Five: A Month With the X-Pro2

  1. Martin Beddall says:

    Had my first play with one today. It frooze several times and for no apparent reason, reset all the menu settings I had altered (who wants AF beep??) It’s a progression but some firmware updates soon are needed I think.

  2. Mike Manzano says:

    I’ve got to say that part of the reason this camera makes me want to shoot with it is the delicious shutter sound. If I sampled it and put it on continuous loop I bet I could go to sleep to it 😉

    Also, for whatever reason, I feel braver pointing the X-Pro2 at strangers, more so than my X-T1. Not quite sure why.

    BTW, mine hasn’t frozen yet, but when I was first configuring it, I shut it off then back on, and it lost all of my settings. I did it again and it stuck, so I’m happy, but it was definitely weird.

  3. ponkrid says:

    Thank you for great review!
    I’m totally agree with the issue of view finder and eye relief(for eye relief,fuji should provide an option for upgrade like xt1).Anyway given the look of xpro2,it inspires me to go out and shoot.

  4. Molly Kate says:

    Excellent!! My favorite review on this camera so far 🙂 Congrats my friend on the busy month, your blog/photography is well-deserved of the attention! BTW I see you are headed to NYC! If you want a photography meetup, let me know when, its only a bus ride away for me 🙂

    • Ian says:

      Hey you!

      Actually, I will have one day totally by myself to shoot. I’ll be hitting Grand Central, training down to Chinatown for some street shooting, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to shoot in dumbo, then shooting a sunset and blue hour skyline along the park. If you’re free you should totally join me for some or all of it!

  5. wing0949 says:

    btw.. Great 5 part review.. made for great reading and insight as I was impatiently waiting for my x-pro2 to finally ship.

    I have to say, although the eye relief with the hybrid viewfinder in the x-pro2 isn’t as good as the x-t1, it’s still a pleasure to use.. they’ve improved it to the point I really wanted it to (save that of miraculously stuffing in the same EVF size as the X-T1). EVF refresh rate is awesome.. that really kept me from going to it more often on the X-Pro1 since it was so laggy (although better and more usable when lighting conditions are optimal).. and I find the EVF isn’t as noisy as previous EVF’s in low light conditions which is great.

    I really welcome the electronic rangefinder mode with the OVF like the X100T has.. it finally made using the OVF much more viable as you finally have a solid real time confirmation to where the AF point is at and don’t have to guess and recheck focus nearly as much as the X-Pro1. That being said, I find using the OVF even easier above having the little EVF overlay.. it just seems to be easier to acquire focus and there seems to be less parallax issues overall.. I know, it’s still not seeing what the lens sees exactly, but somehow it seems more accurate.. I find the frame lines don’t seem to adjust and shift quite as much and for the most part they match up with final image where I expect the image to be cropped off… and there’s something nice to be able to fully manually focus using the OVF in the X-Pro2.. all you could hope to do manually focusing with the OVF on the X-Pro1 is take best guess looking at where the focus point is on your distance scale at the bottom and you won’t really know until after you’ve taken the shot.. or, take the time to switch to EVF to confirm focus.. but, if you had to do that all the time, what’s the point of going to the OVF to even try to focus with it?.. no such issues anymore with the X-Pro2!

    Of course, I’ve only tried with 3 lenses (18mm f/2, 35mm f/2 & 56mm f/1.2), so results may vary with other lenses.. and the accuracy, with any lens, will inevitably gradually become less accurate the closer you get to your subject because of the parallax error.. but, so far, I find even reasonably close range focusing the framing and accuracy was more than I expected.. compared to the X-Pro1… and I really like the fact I don’t have to fiddle with macro mode anymore.. I can shoot far and shoot close and not have to wait to see if focus is hunting too much to decide then to switch on macro mode.. one less step and faster..

    And speaking of faster.. the x-pro2 just is such a fast and smooth operating camera.. it really does not get in your way, you can compose and get the shot you want faster than ever, but not to say you need to run and gun style photo shoot all the time.. it’s just does what you want and you don’t feel slowed down by waiting for the camera to be ready, or focusing, or be able to quickly check the last photo you just took. Overall, for all practical purposes, zero lag time on anything regarding using the x-pro2.

    I have both X-Pro1 & X-Pro2 in hands and the ergonomics are definitely a lot better on the X-Pro2.. pictures showing the new grip don’t do justice.. they don’t seem like much, but once you hold it, it’s like wow, it’s really different and more comfortable.. I don’t think I need a thumb grip anymore.

  6. Kenny Mizzle (@TheKennyMizzle) says:

    Love reading your X-Pro 2 review, great work! Fuji has completely changed my photography! Photography was always about documenting my travels using various Canon DSLRs…

    Two years ago I was planning on moving up to some Canon L lenses. After thinking about the size and weight I would be adding to an already heavy bag I stumbled upon a preview of the Fuji X-T1. I took a leap and put in a pre-order. After one month with the X-T1 all my Canon gear was up for sale.

    I have learned way more in the last 2 years with Fuji than in the previous 8 with canon. I love all the manual controls and the images are great. Creating photos has changed from 3-4 times a year while travelling to almost a daily exercise.

    Anyways… You review has got me excited for what will be coming in the X-T2! Thanks!

  7. Gerry says:

    Thanks Ian. I curse you! Because of you I just ordered the Pro 2!
    Thank you so very much!
    Gerry.
    (Already a longtime convinced Fuji user. Up till now I was convinced that my X E2 was all I was ever going to need……… !)

  8. Adam Allegro says:

    Nice review. It think it was one of your earlier reviews that pushed me to get the X-Pro2. I have since ditched Nikon completely for Fuji. Have the X100T and X-Pro 2 and am in love with both. Happy snapping 🙂

  9. Maz Young says:

    I got my X-Pro2 last weekend. I also own the XT-1. The first (and only) negative is that my XT-1 very soon started to get dead pixels. In fact, it is being returned to Fuji this week to get it fixed. My X-Pro2 also had two dead pixels within just a day of use. However, the difference is that with the X-Pro2 I finally have a pixel mapping option! Yay!

    Aside from that small issue with both cameras, I’m in love with them both. At the moment I still prefer my XT-1 but I think that is just because I have a battery grip for it and a wireless remote shutter release. If and when I can get them for the X-Pro2 then I am sure I will love it just as much.

    There is no doubt that the image quality is far superior in the X-Pro2.

    • Ian says:

      Hey Maz,

      Thanks for commenting! There is definitely a feel difference between the two bodies, but I much prefer the X-Pro2 now that I am used to it.

      So your wireless remote for your X-T1 isn’t compatible with the X-Pro2?

      Cheers,

      Ian

  10. Etienne says:

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks a lot for the great review!
    Just wondering – how would you compare the X-Pro2 and the X100T? If you had to keep only one of these 2, which one would it be?

    Cheers,
    Etienne

    • Ian says:

      It would totally depend on my needs and what I shoot to be honest. If all I shot was street photography it would be just the X100t for sure. A lot of my work necessitates having interchangeable lens cameras though, and for that there is nothing better than the X-Pro2. It really is a personal question for each of us to answer.

      Best wishes,

      Ian

  11. fordroosevelt says:

    Just getting through your X-PRO2 & X100F reviews. Very helpful and thoughtful. I hav3 both and feel the Fujifilm lineup with these 2 cameras in my bag cover about all my needs for street, portraits and about anything I can come up with through a lens.

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