I have been looking forward to the release of the new Fujifilm X-Pro2 for quite some time and I was extra excited to be part of the UK team of photographers who had access to pre-production copies of Fujifilm’s flagship camera.
My love for the X-Pro rangefinder style camera dates back to January 2012 when Fujifilm sent me a pre-production X-Pro1 camera complete with both the 35mm and 18mm lenses. The X-Pro1 was their first multi-lens X system following on from the massive success of the X100 camera released in 2011. I was tasked to capture some images of the Northern Ireland landscape, the early prototype was a joy to use and on my first trip out I captured this famous long exposure waterfall image, from that moment I was hooked.
Jumping forward a few years and November 2015 brought a very special little parcel that made an unlikely journey from Tokyo, Japan to Belfast, Northern Ireland. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 pre-production prototype had landed and with it a plethora of updates, improvements and refinements, in short I was instantly impressed with this amazing, next-generation X camera.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 Ergonomics
On taking the camera out of the box I was struck by the build quality, the magnesium X-Pro2 oozes ‘professional’, the buttons and dials are responsive and reliable. The ISO control has been moved and incorporated with the shutter speed wheel, this pull up and rotate ISO control is particularly impressive.
Click to enlarge.
I love the feel and ergonomics, the rear of the X-Pro2 now features a little focus lever (or as I would like to call it, a little joystick) that makes moving the focus point considerably easier. Within a few minutes I was finding my way around the camera without having to take it from my eye. The professional level features continue with dual card slots, one slot is UHSII and the other UHSI, these can be written to in one of three ways, sequential, backup and raw / jpg.
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 in the Mournes
I had a very narrow window of time to capture a series of landscape photographs and the Northern Ireland weather most definitely wasn’t on side. On day one the weather was particularly bad as we ventured up Ott Track on our way to Doan Mountain.
The cloud cover was thick and fast moving so there were just short opportunities to capture the Northern Ireland landscape. We decided to navigate further into the Mourne mountains, through the heavy cloud, rain and zero visibility but it was worth it all for a twenty-minute opening of cloud at the top of the mountain as the sun began to set.
Fortunately, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is ideal for the outdoor photographer thanks to the fact it is both weather and dust resistant. The camera shipped with an early pre-production firmware that was actually remarkably stable and the brand new menu system did not fail to impress and brings with it a higher level of user customisation.
There are a whole host of usability improvements, even the small things are appreciated. The X-Pro2 offers three different levels of power management, ‘high performance’, ‘standard’ and ‘economy’ and the battery level indicator has gone from a three bar read out to five giving a much clearer indication of how much ‘charge’ is left in the battery.
Fujifilm X-Pro2 : 24 Megapixel Sensor
The big improvement comes in a megapixel boost to a 24-megapixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor complete with pixel mapping. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 also features a faster process and offers higher frames per second shooting (even with the megapixel increase).
EVF & LCD
I was capturing the Mourne Mountains as I would with any of the other X-range cameras but the X-Pro2 offers some notable improvements. The Electronic Viewfinder and LCD have also been massively improved, the EVF offers a higher resolution and I found I rarely used the OVF which is a bit of a change from how I normally shoot.
The LCD screen on the rear of the camera is also larger and of a higher resolution. I found both the viewfinder and screen a joy to use offering a really stunning preview of the image post capture.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 broke new ground back in 2012 and the next generation digital rangefinder style camera allows you to use manual focus in OVF, offers a 1/8000th shutter speed (1/32000 electronic shutter) combined with increased ISO capabilities.
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a leap in mirrorless photography technology. The new sensor and processor allows for remarkable quick capture, white balance reading is breathtakingly accurate and the colour rendition is stunning. I am using Toshiba Exceria Pro memory card in each slot so the write speed is almost instantaneous. The X-Pro2 is a photographic powerhouse of performance.
It’s this leap in intelligence and performance that I find most exciting and I think anyone sitting on the DSLR/Mirrorless fence has a reason to leap. Under the hood you still have all the advanced features of wifi, interval shooting and image stabilization (when used alongside OIS lenses).
ACROS Film Simulation
Although film simulation has been a feature on a number of previous X cameras I have found that I am employing the option much more on the Fujifilm X-Pro2.
It would be amiss not to explore the new ACROS film simulation options. Rich, high contrast black and white images straight from the camera it would be easy to leave the X-Pro2 on this simulation mode fulltime. The following image is straight from the camera (but reduced in size and resolution for this post) and captured using the 56mm lens.
Although I shot both RAW and JPG for the landscape images I reverted to shooting just JPG until Lightroom offers direct support for the X-Pro2 RAW files. I am genuinely blown away at just how great the jpg files are straight from camera, especially when paired with the film simulation mode.
Wifi and Instax Support
Like the X-T1 the X-Pro2 features wifi connectivity and I was able to easily print to a paired instax printer straight from the camera and the classic chrome jpgs looked great on the instax paper.
X-Pro2 for Long Exposure Photography
Like the X-Pro1 the X-Pro2 offers a threaded shutter button that allows a low cost cable shutter release cable to be used for long exposure photography. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 offers the standard long exposure noise reduction and it will be interesting to see how this works alongside the standard noise reduction options featured in the latest firmware.
The Fujifilm X-Pro2 First Impressions
The X-Pro2 is something special, the performance and capabilities of the X-Pro2 make it my instant go-to camera with my little X100T as a backup in the mountains. The X-Pro2 excels in all areas, the camera is already starting to focus before I even decide to take the shot and with the speed, accuracy and amazing colour rendition I found all I had to do was focus my attention on composition. Put simply the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a joy to use, it is a phenomenal upgrade to an already brilliant little camera, I can’t put it down!