REVIEW: X-Pro2 - The Next Generation


As an X-Photographer I was invited by Fujifilm to test the brand new X-Pro2 (codename LEO) which is the first of the next generation of CSC X-Series cameras. 

Like most X-Photographers I cut my teeth on the X-Pro1 and fell in love with the retro styled camera that boasted 21st century tech inside.  No one will tell you that the X-Pro1 was 100% perfect but it was, and still is, a great camera to shoot with.  X-Pro2 has the same rangefinder style layout with the top plate having the same dial layout, shutter release and flash hotshoe.

Last November I picked up my prototype copy of the X-Pro2 on my return from the final round of the World Endurance Championship in Bahrain and set about learning the functions on the new camera.  



ERGONOMICS
Now while certain things have changed - button layout is now all to the right for one handed operation and a redesigned menu system - this is a camera that is totally familiar to anyone who has used an X-Series before.  Having said that any photographer could pick this camera up and start shooting with it almost immediately thanks to the dials.



The rear of the camera has a similar layout to the X-Pro1 but has gained a more pronounced thumb grip and a toggle switch to allow easier use of the menus and selecting the AF area of choice.

The shutter dial has been redesigned to incorporate the ISO dial, which is altered by lifting up the dial and twisting.  The setting is displayed in the window.  In low light this can be difficult to see but the ISO setting is also displayed on the LCD and in the OVF/EVF so it is easy to check.

The rear also get an 8 way toggle switch which makes it easier to select the focus point, also for navigating the menus and for reviewing images.

The exposure compensation dial becomes +/- 3 stops and also gets a 'C' position which transfers control to the front command dial which also gives you +/- 5 stops, a good move.  I just wish this dial had a lock on it to keep it on 'C' as it is easily knock when walking.



EVF/OVF
The X-Pro2 sports the same hybrid viewfinder as the X-Pro1 but it has been radically improved.  The EVF is bigger and brighter with more information, while the OVF also has more information and has a selectable electronic viewfinder function to aid focusing and to allow the photographer to see what the camera sees.



DUAL CARD SLOTS
The X-Pro2 is the first X Series camera to have two memory card slots, with slot 1 set to take the faster UHS-II SD cards, which I recommend using as it speeds up the camera function.

Coupled with the new fast memory cards is a bigger buffer that allows the X-Pro2 to shoot 32 RAW files at 8fps or unlimited JPEG files at 8 fps.  This really does work, the X-Pro2 doesn't buffer at all when shooting 8fps in JPEG only to a Sandisk Extreme Pro 280mb/s SD card and 32 RAW + JPEG files. 

The second slot, which isn't set to use the full capacity of the faster UHS-II, can still write files quickly if a fast memory card is used. In my tests the camera recorded 22 RAW files before buffering and unlimited JPEGS using the same Sandisk Extreme Pro card I used in slot 1. 

24MP SENSOR
The new 24MP X-Trans III sensor is fantastic.  Fujifilm have worked hard to make sure that the new sensor keeps the look and quality of the previous generation 16MP X-Trans II and I have to say as a working photographer I am very pleased to report that they have achieved this.  The new sensor outputs 6000 x 4000 pixel size images a significant increase in size on the 4896 x 3264 output from the 16MP sensor.  This allows more ability to crop in post production and to be able to print larger images directly from the image.

Having a sensor with more photo sites usually results in more noise but this is where Fujifilm have come up trumps.  The quality of the images from the X-Trans III sensor are excellent and, dare I say it, better than the X-T1 files.  To be honest I can't a huge difference and that's the point, the excellent quality has been maintained with a big jump forward in performance.

AUTOFOCUS
Now this camera is not being aimed at sport and wildlife photographers but I was in a privileged position of testing the X-Pro2 and the 100-400mm superzoom at the same time so it goes without saying that I had to test the two together.  

Unfortunately the racing season had just finished when I received my copy of the X-Pro2 but I did shoot some wildlife and surfers and the AF is excellent and an improvement on the X-T1.  Now there is a load of technical reasons for this improvement but all I can say is in the field the AF was quick to react and locked on to the subject without hesitation.  I can't wait to try this camera and lens combination trackside.

Here is a quick run through of the positives that I have found when using the camera

  • 24MP sensor that has kept that unique Fujifilm look.  The 6000 x 4000 pixel image files allow more flexibility when cropping in post production. 
  • The ability to shoot 100 ISO RAW files is a huge step forward when shooting landscapes and long exposures.
  • 1/8000s top speed on the mechanical shutter - excellent for sports / action and also when using wide apertures in bright sunlight. Electronic shutter available up to 1/32000s like on the X-T1.
  • ‘C’ setting on the Compensation dial that allows +/- 5 stops using the front wheel rather than +/-3 on the mechanical settings.
  • Battery indicator with five segments that gives a better reading of remaining battery power.
  • Double Memory card slots that both take the fast UHS II SD cards
  • Memory card slots now on the side of the camera rather than underneath with the battery.  The memory cards are now easier to access.
  • Toggle switch to allow easy setting of the AF area and menu navigation
  • 8fps on the drive mode
  • The ability to use flash on continuous drive (8fps) rather than just single shot.
  • More information in the OVF than on X-Pro1 and selectable electronic rangefinder
  • better thumb grip on the back of the camera
  • All of the buttons on the right hand side of the rear of the camera for one handed operation.
  • Threaded shutter release button so that the X-Pro2 can take a mechanical shutter release or a electronic release in the USB port
  • Improved video functionality and quality.
  • External Microphone socket (it is still 2.5mm though)
  • front and rear thumb wheels are push type
  • Weather Resistant body - excellent!
  • New ACROS monochrome film simulation.
  • Dioptre adjustment on viewfinder
  • Native ISO setting extended to 12800 with option to extend this to 51200

THE DOWNSIDE?
So is everything 100% positive?  Well not quite.  Apart from my earlier comment regarding the lock on the Exposure Compensation dial, my only other criticism is the fact that Fujifilm decided not to fit the X-Pro2 with an articulated LCD screen.  I understand the reasoning behind this decision, but in the field I have found the articulated screen on the X-T1 to be a real asset for composing high or low shots.  

In my professional opinion it was a mistake not to include this feature but it is a small discrepancy on an otherwise great camera.

CONCLUSION
The X-Pro2 is a photographers camera and it enhances the already high regard the X-Series is held by professional and enthusiast photographers alike.  The 24MP  sensor takes the headlines but the X-Pro2 is an improvement in every department from the previous generation of X Series and it also gives a good indication where Fujifilm are heading with future X-Series products.   

Fujifilm have come a long way with the X-Series in just 5 years and who knows where we will be in 2021.  I look forward to finding out.

Here are some samples images from the past couple of months and there will be more images from the X-Pro2 posted in the next few days from the trip to Japan.

CLICK HERE for more information on the X-Pro2

Belhaven Bay - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4 1/500 @ f4 ISO200
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6 1/1100 @ f5.6 ISO200
Belhaven Bay - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4 20s @ f20 ISO200
Barns Ness, East Lothian - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4 61s @ f11 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 18mm f2 1/1500 @ f11 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2 1/2200 @ f6.4 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/16000 @ f2  ISO200
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6 1/440 @ f6.4  ISO400
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6 1/290 @ f6.4  ISO200
Hailes Castle, East Lothian - X-Pro2 + 50-140mm f2.8 1/1100 @ f5.6 ISO200
Hailes Castle, East Lothian - X-Pro2 + 50-140mm f2.8 1/300 @ f5.6 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2 1/900 @ f6.4 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 18mm f2 1/4000 @ f2  ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8  1/5300 @ f2.8  ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/10900 @ f2 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/2400 @ f2.8 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/240 @ f10 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/4900 @ f2.8 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/300 @ f8  ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8  1/470 @ f16  ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/4400 @ f2.8  ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/1300 @ f8 ISO200
Paris - X-Pro2 + 16-55mm f2.8 1/580 @ f10 ISO200
Highlands of Scotland- X-Pro2 + 35mm f1.4  1/6 @ f5.6 ISO200
London -  X-Pro2 +  56mm f1.2  1/130 @ f1.4  ISO200

Highlands of Scotland - X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/150 @ f5.6  ISO400
Highlands of Scotland - X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/1300 @ f5.6  ISO400
Highlands of Scotland - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4  1/65 @ f8   ISO200
Highlands of Scotland - X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/1900 @ f8  ISO400
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/230 @ f2.2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/1100 @ f2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/900 @ f2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/750 @ f2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/350 @ f2.5  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/1700 @ f2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/850 @ f2.2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4 1/35 @ f4 ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4 1/100 @ f4 ISO400
London - X-Pro2 + 10-24mm f4  30s @ f11 ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/280 @ f2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 90mm f2  1/190 @ f2.2  ISO200
London - X-Pro2 + 18mm f2 1/290 @ f2  ISO200
Ravensheugh Sands - X-Pro2 + 18mm f2  1/4600 @ f2  ISO800
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/420 @ f5.6  ISO800
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/290 @ f5.6  ISO800
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/1050 @ f5.6  ISO800
Belhaven Bay- X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/1200 @ f5.6  ISO800
Highlands of Scotland - X-Pro2 + 100-400mm f4.5/5.6  1/105 @ f5.6  ISO200
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Comments

  1. Hi Jeff, nice feedback. How do you feel with it using the 50-140 and 100-400 ? How is it compared to using the X-T1 ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Olivier, the 50-140mm and 100-400mm are quite big on the X-Pro2 but it doesn't feel unbalanced with either lens fitted. I will get a grip for the X-Pro2 when they become available for using with the longer lenses.

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  2. great photos, yet I'm sad they didn't have the tilting screen as I use it all the time on XT1 ?

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    Replies
    1. Thank you. To be honet I have only found it to be a problem on a couple of occasions. We never had a tilt screen on the X-Pro1, I think we have just got used to having one on the X-T1. It would be nice to have one on the X-Pro2 but it certainly doesn't detract from the fact the X-Pro2 is a great camera and a big step up.

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  3. also does the Diopter adjuster knob get knocked to another setting ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have knocked it once and I am keeping an eye (sorry for the pun) on the situation. I may put a bit of tape over the knob if I have a problem with this.

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  4. Great set of photos! Thanks for the review.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for your insight! Did you experience any of the "painterly effects" that Adobe used to have with the older sensors (especially in grass and fine detail)?
    Regards from Germany
    Martin

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I've not experienced any problem with my X-Series images.

      Delete
  6. Great writeup and pics - thanks!

    One question I've got: how the hell did you get the Peak anchor links through the strap lugs? I have to use rings with mine.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Ted. I used a paper clip, poked it through the hole and bent it back to form a hook. I put the anchor loop in the hook and with a pair of pliers flattened the paper clip so both ends would go through the hole. I then used the pliers to pull the paperclip hook and the PD anchor through. It is very tight but it does work :) Hope this helps?

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    2. It does - thanks. I wrote them several months back and asked them to make a thinner version of the anchors but they said they haven't been able to do so yet.

      Delete
  7. Thanks for the review and personal insight into the X-Pro2. I have one on pre-order and can't wait till it ships!

    I agree, they really should have tried to put in a tilt screen on the rear, but it's not a deal breaker, just have to get use to the idea of making that extra effort to either get up higher or down lower, or be better at guestimating the angle to aim the camera to get a tricker angled shot.

    I noticed you have the old 18mm f/2 on the x-pro2.. did you notice the 18mm focusing noticeably quicker or more accurate on the x-pro2? For that matter, did you get the chance to test out any other older lenses to see if they also focused noticeably more accurate and faster on the x-pro2?.. just wondering if the new sensor and processor in combination would potentially breath some new life into the older lenses making them perform noticeably better than anything else before.. so they don't feel as old or dated in their performance.

    One thing I'm glad on the latest Fuji X cameras via firmware is the removal of macro mode.. you can now focus down to minimal focus distance without having to push a button to do so (like on the old X-Pro1).

    Does the X-Pro2 still have a macro mode? Or did it do away with the macro mode (like most all recent X cameras via firmware) and automatically can focus down to closest minimal distance?

    With 18mm, I sometimes like to fill the frame with subject more, but the range I work within to do so, I waste a little time trying to focus "normally" and it just keeps missing and then I realize I need to get into macro mode to get it to focus successfully within the range I'm at to subject... or if I analyze the scene and remember to switch to macro mode first, that may save me some frustration... but, still, you have to take moment to think about it and engage macro mode instead of just thinking about composing the shot and taking (letting the camera do what it should do and handle the technical aspects). Do you know what I mean?

    If the x-pro2 has the ability to focus from infinity to closest minimal distance without having to go into macro mode, that would be great.. although, I wonder how does it work when you are working with the OVF first?.. when it starts to focus down to closest minimal, will it automatically engage the EVF to better correct, or rather completely eliminate parallax error when you're focusing so close? or will it now switch to EVF and just focus in closer regardless and adjust frame lines to match the closer distance? Assuming it does switch to EVF automatically when you get focus that is really close, what if you decide to quickly engage a more distant subject and composition, will it automatically flip back to OVF?.. that could get equally annoying flipping POV's like that.. I don't really know how this will work?.. don't have any experience working like that as the X-Pro1 is the only X camera with OVF & EVF and you have to engage macro mode to get closer focusing distance.

    So, to simplify my question, how does the X-Pro2 handle closest minimal autofocus? Do you still need to engage macro mode or can it AF from infinity to closest minimal focus distance automatically (like the X-T1 & X-T10.. & X-E2?)?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wing Yip - thank you for reading the blog. The 18mm is a great lens, in fact a shot taken on the X-Pro2 +18mm I took in Paris was used in the latest X-Series lens catalogue. I can't say I had noticed any difference in AF performance with the older lenses but the AF is definitely improved on the X-Pro2 compared to the X-T1.

      With regards to the macro mode the X-Pro2 is the same as the X-T1, X-T10 etc which there is no macro mode.

      With regards to the OVF it doesn't switch to EVF automatically but you can select the electronic rangefinder function which allows you to see what the lens is seeing.

      Hope this helps?

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