Cameras

Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review

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The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a unique camera unlike almost any other – unless you go the hyper-expensive Leica route. It’s a modern digital camera designed to look, handle and feel like a classic rangefinder camera, right down to its optical direct vision viewfinder – though even this has a modern digital twist.

It deserves its place on our list of the best Fujifilm cameras not necessarily because of its features or its performance, but because of the sheer uniqueness of its design. (The X-Pro3 looks set to steal its place, however.) But is it one of the best mirrorless cameras generally? Not really, because it’s just a little bit too specialized for that.

Check Fujifilm X-Pro2 Price

The X-Pro2 picked up the baton from the ground-breaking X-Pro1, bringing in a new 23.4MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor and an upgraded X Processor Pro, together with a raft of changes across the rest of the spec sheet.

The X-Pro1’s existing autofocus system, which was notable for its shortcomings, has been replaced with a fresh 77-point system in the X-Pro2. This sees 40% of the frame covered by phase-detection pixels and a 273-point-expansion option, as well as Zone and Wide/Tracking options for moving subjects.

The hybrid viewfinder has also had its electronic panel upgraded from 1.44 million to 2.36 million dots, while the optical finder now offers the option of a small electronic rangefinder in its corner to assist with focus, exposure and white balance. A new three-inch LCD screen offers an impressive 1,620k-dot resolution.

Even though the X-Pro2 has been technically superseded by the X-Pro3, its specs and performance still feel fresh and current in today’s market, so it’s by no means out of date.

Specifications

Sensor: 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III
Crop factor: 1.5x
Memory: SDHC/SDXC (UHS-II in slot 1)
Viewfinder: 0.48in Advanced Hybrid Multi Viewfinder, 2.36million dots
Max video resolution: Full HD (1,920 x 1,080) up to 60p
ISO range: 200-12,800; expandable to 100-51,200
Autofocus points: 77 points (expandable to 273 points)
Max burst rate: 8fps
Screen: 3in LCD, 1.62 million dots
Shutter speeds: 30-1/8,000 sec (to 1/32,000 sec in electronic shutter mode), Bulb
Weight: 445g (body only)
Dimensions: 141 x 83 x 46mm
Power supply: Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (NP-W126)

Key Features

The Fujifilm X-Pro series is unique amongst modern mainstream cameras in attempting to recapture the look and feel of classic rangefinder models. The key feature here is its hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. In optical mode it offers brightline frames for key lens focal lengths and, crucially, it shows you what’s happening just outside the frame too, to help you see what’s about to happen and plan for it. In digital mode, it acts as a regular electronic viewfinder, showing you the view through the camera lens – you need this for lenses beyond your relatively narrow focal range handled by the optical viewfinder.

Elsewhere, the X-Pro2 has the traditional exposure controls found on other Fujifilm X-mount cameras, with a shutter speed dial on the top of the camera and aperture rings on many (but not all) of the Fujifilm lenses.

This is quite a big camera for an APS-C model, but that’s part of its character and not necessarily a fault. The X-Pro2 is designed to be comfortable and satisfying to handle, not simply to be as small as possible.

Build and Handling

The magnesium-alloy body is fitted with two SDHC/SDXC card slots on the side, which means the X-Pro2 doesn’t have to be taken off a tripod for these to be accessed, unlike the X-Pro1. The body is sealed against dust and splashes. Other notable features include uncompressed raw recording, Wi-Fi connectivity and a top shutter speed of 1/8,000 sec (expandable to 1/32,000 with the camera’s electronic shutter).

The main design change sees Fujifilm gracing the X-Pro2’s front plate with a new command dial. This joins the previously seen rear dial, while a control for the ISO setting has been integrated into the shutter-velocity dial on the top plate. This is adjusted by pulling the dial upwards; while perfectly usable, it’s somewhat fiddly, and also means that the ISO setting can no longer be changed through the menu system.

The shutter speed dial itself, however, is less obstructed than the X-Pro1’s, and thus easier to turn. The exposure compensation dial is also now larger than before and can apply up to -/+3EV compensation (and up to -/+5EV on its new ‘C’ setting), although it suffers from the common issue of being inadvertently knocked out of position all too easily.

The viewfinder is much improved, with a faster display rate of 85fps (in the camera’s High Performance mode) meaning that details appear smooth and natural when moving around the scene. Its high resolution implies that clarity is excellent. It also does well to keep the feed relatively clean when lighting conditions fall.

While it’s a shame that the LCD screen beneath the viewfinder is neither touch-sensitive nor physically adjustable in any way, it similarly displays information well and has a decent viewing angle when used away from the face (at ground level, for example).

Performance

Focusing speeds are noticeably improved over the X-Pro1, bringing this more into line with rival models. The new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes also mean that the camera can be used to follow moving subjects where its predecessor could not, doing well to stay with the subject in good light and contributing to a high hit rate when combined with the camera’s 8fps burst mode. Now and again, the system is distracted by surrounding topics, but this is true of many similar systems.

Images from the X-Pro2 are usually characterised by accurate white balance in most conditions, with the automatic setting only really showing any serious errors under certain mixed natural/artificial sources. Colours are accurate and pleasing on the default Standard/Provia Film Simulation option.

The metering system does well in unbalanced scenes dominated by highlights or shadows, although highlights can occasionally roll off sooner than expected.

There’s typically a little noise visible in images at the camera’s base sensitivity of ISO 200, although that is generally well-controlled throughout much of the sensitivity range. The camera’s noise-reduction options can successfully process out the worst of this without too many artefacts remaining, although better results can be achieved through manually processing raw images.

While both the X-Pro2’s sensor and many of the lenses ideally partnered with it lack image stabilisation, the OIS system found inside certain lenses does make a difference to the sharpness of pictures at longer focal lengths and slower shutter speeds. This seems to offer an advantage of around 3EV on average with the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR, for example, although this varies with subject distance.

It’s great to see more control over video recording choices than before, not to mention a port for external microphones, as the camera’s built- in microphones can be troubled by wind sound when recording outside. Footage is recorded smoothly and with good detail, and artefacts aren’t as visible as on the X-Pro1.

At 210 frames on the camera’s High Performance environment and 250 on the Standard option, you may need a spare battery. There’s an Economy setting that boosts this to 330 frames, although the drop in electronic viewfinder performance may discourage you from using this.

Check Out: Best Fujifilm X-Pro2 Lenses 

Verdict

The X-Pro2 is a worthy update to the original X-Pro1 and still worth considering today as an alternative to the newer X-Pro3 – especially if you want a traditional rear screen rather than the ‘hidden’ screen on the newer model! Ultimately, though, this camera is all about the experience as opposed to the results. There are cheaper cameras that can match it for image quality and digital cameras the same price with better features – but what none of them have is the X-Pro2’s unique hybrid viewfinder and its classic rangefinder-style handling experience.

Check Fujifilm X-Pro2 Price and Bundles 

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