It was a long time coming but Fuji is finally shipping the successor to the X-Pro1 – the Fuji X-Pro2 is a stunning update that most Fuji shooters are at least interested in.
There was a lot of hype about this camera from the Fuji ambassadors so I wanted to give the camera a once-over in order to see for myself what all the fuss was about.
Let me start by saying this is NOT a review. I haven’t had nearly enough time with the camera to fully test it. But my first blush reaction concurs with much of what you read. Fuji certainly got a lot right with this new version.
It’s very solid, feels good in the hand and is very responsive. The responsive part is a big deal. The first Fuji X-camera I ever tested was the original X-Pro 1 and it was sluggish. That is not a problem with the new camera.
I had already been studying the manual (which Fuji posted on their website) so I was somewhat familiar with the camera. I quickly set it for HIGH PERFORMANCE mode (which chews through batteries the way my old dog would attack a steak) and I set up Film Simulation Bracketing since I was excited to see the Fuji Acros (B&W) simulation compared with color looks. I dialed in three of my all-time favorite films – Velvia, Classic Chrome and Acros. I was immediately impressed with the straight out of the camera JPEGs. They continue to be the best in the business.
Overall handling is very good. Moving all the main buttons to the right side of the camera body was a great idea and I particularly like the placement of the Q-Button. It makes it much easier to find. And then there’s the little joystick. Don’t underestimate this little addition to the camera. Wow I love that thing. It makes setting the autofocus point a breeze.
Let’s answer one big question. Is the AF fast? The new autofocus is very fast. Not Canon 1DX fast. Not Nikon D4s fast. But it’s plenty fast for most situations. There are more AF points in the new camera and even the contrast-based autofocus points are improved IF you are using one of these Fuji XF lenses – the XF16-55mm, XF50-140mm, XF90mm, XF35mmF2, or the XF100-400mm. These newer lenses contain electronic components that allow them to interact better with the contrast AF. All other lenses will autofocus at the same speed as the X-T1 when relying on contrast-based AF points but will still be faster when using the new expanded phase detect AF points. Now on to the second most often asked question, which is “What is the high ISO performance like?”
The high ISO performance at ISO 3200 is simply amazing. ISO 6400 is actually useable – really! I do believe the X-Pro2 is a full stop better than the X-T1 and I was already impressed with the X-T1. I admit I was worried that the higher resolution (24.3MP) would overload the new APS-C X-Trans CMOS III Sensor. Turns out there was nothing to worry about. Fuji managed to cram more pixels onto an APS-C sized sensor and yet get even better high ISO performance. My hat is off to them. (They must use magic!)
I will note that there is the appearance of “grain” NOT noise in some images depending on ISO, etc. and I do chalk this up to the higher megapixel sensor but I don’t find it remotely disturbing.
The one thing that I was underwhelmed by was the hybrid optical viewfinder. I know, I know – I am very much alone here but I found it distracting most of the time and switched to purely EVF. I loved the WYSIWYG results from the EVF and Fuji makes the best EVF around, but I can see that the hybrid viewfinder as coming in handy when shooting high-speed continuous frame rates. Why? The frame blacks out on the EVF in high-speed continuous shooting but not the hybrid viewfinder. This is a very subjective thing and I wouldn’t make much of it. It’s just not my cup of tea but who knows, maybe it will grow on me.
The Fuji X-T1 (X-T10) batteries work in the X-Pro 2 so that is a good thing since I have several of them in my bag.
The double card slot looks a little tight but it works.
The viewfinder is sharper and faster.
The video is noticeably improved but those of you who are focused on video should probably go with something like the Panasonic GH4 because that camera will give you 4K and the Fuji will not.
The Fuji X-Pro 2 is a unique camera. If you like the rangefinder styling and you want the super sharp, high-quality lenses that Fuji is making for the X-Series, want great high-ISO performance, etc., you may not balk at the $1699 price. (NOTE some stores are selling the camera for more than $1699 due to limited availability – prices should stabilize in a few weeks.)
It’s a premium product and Fuji is pricing it that way. I assume that in a year or so, the price will fall to a more reasonable level, but for now, you have to pay the early adopter tax. Judging things by my initial experience with the camera I would say it’s worth it. That may change after I dig in a little deeper (but I doubt it.)
If you shoot with an X-T1, you will find the form factor on the X-Pro2 a bit different and it may take getting used to. But the new camera is faster, higher-resolution, offers better video and performs even better at high ISO than the X-T1. If you’re not in a hurry, I assume you will see the same performance out of the X-T2, due to be announced later this year.
The image quality remains stupendous. The JPEGs SOOC are top-notch. The autofocus is fast. If the camera continues to deliver like it has in my initial tests, I am sure I will offer my highest recommendation.
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