While traveling through Las Vegas, I got wind of a Fujifilm event at B&C Camera. I decided to drop by in hopes of getting my hands on the new X-Pro2. As you can see, I did just that. I didn’t have much time and there were a lot of hands asking for a go, so here is my quick hit review or rather, initial thoughts of the X-Pro2 in 15 minutes.
Making my way through the shop, I spotted my goal. Laying there on the table parked next to other Fujifilm new releases, the X70 and 100-400mm f/5.6 lens. The new X-E2S was also there, sadly the new flash was missing. Drat. After a few minutes fiddling with the X70 (which I think is going to be a great pocket street camera), I got my chance to grab hold of the X-Pro2.
Size & Weight
As most of you already know, I am on my second X-T1 (the first was stolen). Coming from Canon like many other photographers, it was the closest to DSLR controls and ergonomics with a center mast viewfinder. Although, the X-T1 is not far behind the X-Pro2 in weight (X-T1 0.97 lb versus X-Pro2 1.09 lb), the new camera certainly felt more hefty. After a few minutes I realized it wasn’t the weight that was giving me that “damn this sure feels big” feeling, it was the width. The body feels as if you’re carrying a medium size brick around, and that’s not completely a bad thing.
It took me a few minutes and snaps to get the hang of shooting without a viewfinder hitting the bridge of my nose. 30 seconds in, “I don’t like this” then a minute later, “oh this is fun I want it”. Some things you just need to play with to really enjoy it. Don’t let your mind wander too far with that one gents. The closest camera I can compare to how it feels holding the X-Pro2 would be the Leica M6. Rectangular, solid, serious, could fend off attackers with, combined with handsome looks.
Buttons and Controls
Let me be totally frank with you, I’ve never much cared where buttons are. Like you, I’ve shot with numerous cameras over the years and all it takes is a day of shooting to get used to them all. If you’re one to complain about the placement of a button, you need something more serious to complain about in my book. The X-Pro2 buttons are laid out just fine, with one positive exception. The AF selection joystick should come on every camera Fujifilm makes from today forward. After only a moment, I wished my X-T1 had this. Sad face. Sure, I can assign a custom button to move my AF point around, but that little nub of a thing on the X-Pro2 was really handy.
After reading a number of other reviews from photographers who already have an X-Pro2, it seems the newly added ISO dial is the talk of the town. It’s buried inside the shutter speed dial just like it is on a couple of my old film cameras. Neat. How frustrated did I become with using it after only a few minutes? A lot. But, like I said before, I’d get used to it pretty quick. The X-T1 already has as a dedicated ISO dial so for me it’s nice to see they are adding them to all of their pro level bodies going forward. Menu hunting is tiresome.
Congrats on adding dual SD card slots Fujifilm! Now, go ahead and do this on the next version of the X-T1, please. That’s all I have to say about that. The next time I get my hands on one, I can report back how fast they are recording RAW images.
Exposure Compensation Dial
X-Pro1 and X-T1 users are raving about the new +-5 compensation, up from +-3. I guess I can dig this too, though I don’t use that dial all that often. Seems odd that we can now bracket 5 different exposure levels but in only 3 photographs, don’t you think? Hey Fujifilm, how about you give us 5 levels of exposure in 5 photographs to bracket like it should be next round? Deal? Deal.
Hey, it’s in the center of the camera body, imagine that! Yay. It hasn’t been in the past and that can be frustrating for landscape photographers constantly using tripods. I have an L bracket on my X-T1 that relocates it to the center to cure this.
Okay, okay, okay, let’s get a little more serious here. The X-Pro1 had 49 AF points, the X-T1 has 77 and 15 of them are PDAF (phase detection), and now the X-Pro2 has 273 and 169 of them are PDAF? Am I reading this right? Not to mention every single one of them are selectable. This is great news and what sold me on the nub joystick. Walking the AF point around the frame while shooting at the shop was wonderful. I had so many to choose from I felt like a kid in a candy store.
The AF is quicker than it is on my X-T1 with 4.10 version firmware. I wouldn’t say by a large margin, but it is noticeable. The shutter speed is also up from 1/4000 (X-T1) to 1/8000 (X-Pro2). I didn’t spend much time with the X-Pro1, but from what I remember it would be considered molasses in comparison.
LCD Screen and Optical Hybrid Viewfinder
I rarely ever use the tilt function of the LCD on my X-T1, so the X-Pro2 not having it really doesn’t bother me much. The 3-inch fixed screen is nice and bright with no complaints here.
Looking through the Optical Hybrid Viewfinder was a bit disconcerting at first. The picture-in-picture pop-up in the corner of the screen feels more like a distraction than a benefit. The viewfinder also allows you to see more than what will be captured in frame. Fujifilm touted this as a great way to see what’s coming into frame so you can be ready to snap at the perfect moment (There’s a bracket within the viewfinder that shows you what will actually be captured). This is something I would need to spend more time with because I am used to shooting exactly what I see in the viewfinder. If I want to know what’s coming into frame, I open my non-shooting eye and look. I believe this will eventually be a huge thing for street photography, it may just take some getting used to.
A Few Other Notes
Moving up from 16 to 24MP is a generous bump in image size and print capabilities. This will be welcomed across the board. It’s also a match for the new dual SD slots as you’ll need more space for all those storage hungry RAW files. As a fan of Fujifilm’s film simulation modes, I’m excited to get more time with the new ACROS black and white mode. I assume this will trickle into the next X-T1 update. It better. I hear they’ve also added a “grain effect” option for JPEG images. Interesting.
I’m happy that I was in town while the demo was happening. Just wish I had gotten more hands-on time with the X-Pro2. Sure would be nice having one as I’m traveling around the country. I wish I could say I have one on pending order, but having just picked up a second X-T1 as mentioned earlier, I am tapped at the moment. I’ll be on the lookout for another demo in whatever area I find myself in week by week. Hopefully, I’ll get to snap some images with one of my SD cards so I can have some samples to share with all of you. Until then, cheers and happy snapping.