Fuji X-Pro2 Review Part Two: Low light autofocus and high ISO performance

DSCF0526(Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm, Acros film simulation, f/2.2 at 1/200th at ISO 2500)

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

The day after I received my review copy of the Fuji X-Pro2 I was off to photograph one of Vancouver’s best local bands at a country cabaret.  The combination of low light, changing light, and moving subjects always presents a great challenge to photographers, and I knew this would be a perfect opportunity to test the  autofocus and high ISO performance of this new camera.

It should be noted that Fuji has made significant strides in their autofocus system over the last few years.  For comparison purposes, here is a really bad photo of the 49 contrast detection autofocus points in the original X-Pro1, released 4 years ago:

Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 11.44.30 PM

Now, here is a quick iPhone shot of the autofocus points on the new Fuji X-Pro2:


273 autofocus points in total, with 77 being phase detect.  A huge improvement.  I hesitate to type this because it sounds too Pollyanna, but while I was shooting this gig I did not miss focus once due to the autofocus system… despite the low light of the cabaret.   I was impressed with this, as I had not been so successful with previous cameras.

In regard to the ISO performance…

Fuji cameras have been known for their high ISO performance.  When the new 24.3mp X-Trans CMOS III sensor was announced there were some discussions about the increased megapixel count, and whether it would negatively impact the high ISO performance.   This is subjective of course, but I find the image quality very good, even at ISO 6400.

Enough talk, let’s look at some images.  When I am shooting in a venue like this I will often bring a flash with me, but I purposely didn’t for this gig to test the new X-Pro2.  I decided to shoot in Aperture Priority Mode, and used Auto ISO with a minimum shutter speed of 1/200th and an ISO ceiling of 6400.   The images were saved as compressed RAW, and were written to both card slots at the same time.  I brought 4 lenses with me:  The 16mm, the 35mm f/1.4, the 56mm, and the 90mm.

Let’s start by taking another look at the image from the top of this post:

DSCF0526(Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm, Acros film simulation, f/2.2 at 1/200th at ISO 2500)

That is the new Acros film simulation.  I love it.  To my eyes ISO 2500 looks very clean too.

Here are some more, with most shot at ISO 6400:

DSCF0447(Fuji X-Pro2, 35mm, f/2.8 at 1/200th at ISO 6400)

DSCF0543(Fuji X-Pro2, 16mm, f/2.2 at 1/200th at ISO 5000)

DSCF0486(Fuji X-Pro2, 16mm, Acros film simulation, f/2 at 1/140th at ISO 6400)

DSCF0579(Fuji X-Pro2, 16mm, f/2.8 at 1/80th at ISO 6400)

DSCF0641(Fuji X-Pro2, 16mm, f/2.5 at 1/40th at ISO 6400)

DSCF0678(Fuji X-Pro2, 16mm, Acros film simulation, f/2 at 1/200th at ISO 1250)

DSCF0631(Fuji X-Pro2, 56mm, f/2 at 1/110th at ISO 6400)

DSCF0461(Fuji X-Pro2, 35mm, Acros film simulation, f/2.8 at 1/40th at ISO 6400)

I am very pleased with these images, and with the performance of the X-Pro2 in a difficult lighting situation.  I’ve known some of the members of this band for a long time, so I had carte blanche to shoot from anywhere:  The dance floor, behind the stage, above the stage, on the stage, etc.   The camera performed beautifully throughout the night, and I was free to focus on creating images without worrying about the technical side of photography.  It felt great.

For part three of this review series we’ll be changing gears and hitting the streets of Vancouver for some cityscapes, long exposures, and of course some street photography!