Is it worth all the fuss?
Yeah, it probably is….probably.
Phew! 3 months already…actually, its probably a couple of weeks less than that, but who’s counting. Anyhow, its plenty long enough to see what the long awaited Fujifilm X-Pro 2 is all about. And for the most part, its really good.
BAD STUFF FIRST.
Firstly, this is my second body. The first one gave me hideous noise at low ISO’s, and so I took it back to my mates at CameraWorld. Instant exchange – they’re good lads there.
Secondly, I am still FAR from happy with the Lightroom RAWS from this camera. They’re actually pretty shit, and neither Adobe or Fujifilm UK are willing to tell me why. Adobe advise me to post about the issue on one of their forums – which is next to useless – and Fuji tell me to edit my RAWS in Silkypix. Clearly, no one at Fujifilm has used Silkypix. Silkypix is about as useful as a chocolate teapot. Its slow, complicated, and yeah, REALLY slow..
Now, I KNOW the files I have are beautiful in camera. Gorgeous. In fact, the two points above are not criticisms of the camera per se’… but Adobe and Fuji really should get their relevant s**t together on this – as I’m tired of looking at beautiful files through a (admittedly beautiful) viewfinder rather than on my Mac/PC…
OK, that is about it when it comes to negatives on the X-Pro 2. Which, when you think about it, ain’t bad…
NOW THE GOOD STUFF:
Thankfully, the bods at Fujifilm saw fit to NOT mess around with the form of this new beast. It is still, by some margin, the sauciest little minx on the market right now:
Its a tiny bit bigger and a tiny bit heavier than the X-Pro 1 – but that is no criticism. Quite the opposite – in my review of the X-Pro 1, I suggested build quality as being an area which needed looking at. It has. This camera feels more ‘pro’ now…beautifully so. And its weather-proof too.
Overall, there are so many improvements over the original that its tough to know where to start.I guess focussing, as this was our biggest gripe on the X-Pro 1.
Yes, Auto Focus is good on this camera – its way snappier if you have some of the older XF primes, and positively speedy on the newer ones. For example, the 60mm Macro is totally usable now, the 35mm 1.4 is still noisy, but WAY faster, and my two zooms (18-55/ 55-200) are quiet, efficient in all lighting, and REALLY fast. I’m not a zoom guy, but I really enjoyed using these lenses on the X-Pro 2. All my other primes are much improved – there is not much that out foxes this AF now, and the ‘wide tracking’ feature is good too. I’m still a creature of habit (focus and re-compose) but I did find myself trusting this new feature.
I guess I should mention all the added focussing points (273), more phase detect points (face detect/eye detect – not actually that great. Kinda works when it wants to) etc etc too…but I’m sure you’ve read about all that elsewhere. Simply put, the auto focus should not affect your decision to buy into the X-Series system now. That does not mean the X-Pro 2 is a sports camera. It is not designed for that type of shooter – but the XT-2, when it comes, will DEFINITELY be a sports camera….
Manual Focus? Terrific – focus peaking on X-Pro 2 is near perfect. There is no need for anything else for manually focussing. There is a split image feature, but peaking works WAY more efficiently. This was taken on an old Zeiss 90mm (G) lens. Super quick, even in less than good light:
The View Finder.
I never thought I would say this, but as awesome as the new OVF is, I’m now using the EVF way more than I ever did.
The OVF is a definate upgrade – no question – and the ‘picture in picture’ is great fun, at first, but MAN – that EVF is something else. There is no lag, it is pristine to look through, it is bright, it is big (though not the biggest) and I cant really see a reason to use the OVF now. Quite surprised to hear myself say that – but it is THAT good, amazing detail. In fact, if I wasn’t such a big fan of the X-Pro’s design, I’d probably wait around for the XT-2. Never thought I would say that either…
The ISO dial is a great addition. I’ve read plenty of negative remarks about this, but the truth is, I’m pretty sure this was from users who have always used a menu when it comes to ISO. I haven’t – I’m an old school film shooter, and ‘pull up’ dials like this are a doddle to use. I understand if you don’t like it, but I’m fairly sure this will be one of the first features to have an amend when the second round of firmware shows up (probably when the XT-2 comes out..). But I’ll still be using the dial.
The Focus Point Nipple (lets call it the ‘FPN’ ) is wonderful. It might just be my favourite new feature….it allows me to ‘fine tune’ my focus point, in size and area, and just WORKS. I’m a re-composer, as mentioned before, but even I’m doing this less now as this little marvel is so efficient and easy. I don’t think any other mirrorless has this…I can see that changing soon. People will buy this camera because of the FPN.
My other favourite new feature is the 1/8000 mechanical shutter, and 1/32000 electronic. I’ve yet to go that fast (32’000) as I live in England, but having the freedom to shoot wide open, in ANY conditions is actually very liberating. ND’s are fine – but I would rather avoid using them if I can unless its for a specific subject. Now, I don’t have to…and its one less thing I have to worry about.
The in-built eye correction dioptre (which I thought would be good) is actually a massive pain in the arse. It moves too easily, and I find myself having to reset it before pretty much every shoot. Its actually one area of the camera that is poorly designed. A nice thought, sure, but its turning in to a ballache in practice.
Dual Card Slots rule. Such a bonus to have one for RAW, one for JPEG. Yup. I love that added extra. I can use the speedy UHS II’s too, in slot one. Sweet. Awesome.
OK, there are a ton of other features I’m missing, I know – you can ask me about them below, of course, but ultimately what good are they if the all important image quality isn’t up for the job?
Let me start by showing you a picture:
Shot at 2500ISO:
I think its spot on – better than I could have got on my other cameras, and from what I’ve seen elsewhere, this is probably as good as it gets for APS-C sensors. The quality of glass is a given, of course…(this was from the 35mm 1.4 and shot at 1.4. Terrific) – obviously, we are looking at 24mp now too – a clear step up in resolution, but to my eye, this has not translated into worse low light performance. Quite the opposite. 5000ISO, as you can clearly see, is definitely more than usable….its super clean.
Perhaps, more importantly, I was finding I wasn’t missing ANY shots now. This was a revelation. I am a street shooter, and capturing (mostly) candidly is the only way for me. I need to point, compose, focus and capture in as short space of time as possible, and with this camera, I can. Brilliantly.
(Some of these have had grain added too. Another feature I really like, and yes, JPEGS are as good as ever…its a 50/50 split for me right now)
The X-Pro 2 is undoubtedly a terrific camera. It has kept the spirit of the original, while improving ALL the things we didn’t like about it the first time round. Its fair to say (and I am wildly thankful) that the filmic characteristics we liked about the first generation of X-trans sensors have been largely included in the the third version seen here. I am really glad about that. Image quality is outstanding. Truly, it is breathtaking at times. But then, it NEEDED to be – the X-Pro 1, for all its quirks, set the bar really high.
I’ll finish by saying, in all honesty, the Fuji X-Pro 2 is the best camera I have ever owned. Is it perfect? For me, yes, almost, its damn close. There will always be niggles – battery power (or lack of it) is still one, for example – but I seriously can’t put this beast down. Its my constant companion – nestled against my sandwich box, every day, waiting for action.
Here are a few more images:
If you have any questions about the X-Pro 2 – as I know I’ve missed out so much – do please ask me in the comments section below. Thanks, as ever, for reading.
For more of my work, please head over to my Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/mattjerrams/