Last Thursday morning I had resolved to cancel my D500 order, largely because I’m not a birder and I didn’t really see what it would add other than the need to purchase a whole new set of wide angle lenses (that’s tongue in cheek – I think the D500 looks fantastic, but I don’t really need its qualities). This led me to think about one of the cameras I thought looked interesting but perhaps not for me on first glance, the Fujifilm X-Pro2. It seems funny to say that, because at one point it seemed like every other post here was about Fuji X, but I never really got along with the interchangeable X-Trans II cameras (like the X-E2 and X-T1). Loved the X100S though.
Why in the world would buying one of these make sense if I wasn’t going to get the D500? The main difference is lenses. I have all of the Fuji 14, 23, 35 and 18-55 lenses from my first Fuji adventure along with a stack of batteries. I also had a lot of fond memories of the X-Pro1, which I foolishly sold.
The X-Pro2 arrived on Friday and I took it out a little over the weekend. It addressed a lot of my concerns about the X-Pro1 as well as the X-T1. It’s worth noting that it doesn’t do some of the things the X-T1 does or has less functionality. That said, it has more functionality too. Key improvements over the X-Pro 1 are: the sensor, the layout of the back, weather sealing, the focus point joystick, the shutter, the e-Shutter, the viewfinder, the inclusion of the (amazing) acros film simulation and integrated wifi. It does not have the flip out screen from the X-T1, lacks connections for a battery grip, and nor does it have such a high magnification viewfinder. That said, I wear glasses and I found the X-Pro2 viewfinder easier to use.
So what’s it like to use? Really very, very good. This is a camera that you have fun using. The controls are well positioned and easy to use. The new functionality is brilliant, particularly the joystick, which I much prefer to a touch screen (sorry people who love touch screens, but as a focus tool they are overrated) for selecting a focus point. The results are impressive for an APS-C camera. The colours are the best in the business, saturated without blowing out colour channels. Resolution is much improved and high ISO performance seems better. Dynamic range, reported by some commentators to be worse than the previous sensor, actually seems better, but possibly that was a reference to the ability to pull results from the sensor from darkness to detail rather than its ability to record a wide dynamic range when properly exposed. Regardless, I’m happier with the ability of this sensor to expose skies and landscapes well.
I should qualify slightly: it’s not a DSLR replacement, for me (YMMV), nor do the results outperform 35mm sensor bodies. But I do think it outperforms 35mm sensor mirrorless bodies in the “fun to use” test. The results are aesthetically attractive with little effort (these are all OOC jpegs). It’s also a really portable body, smaller than a Panasonic GX8, with the same kind of attention to detail of manufacture of at least my D810. It feels light, but extremely well screwed together.
I’ll report more on this in due course, but I think this is a real winner for Fujifilm.
How do you feel it compares to the Sony A7R II? This is the first Fuji that I am seriously considering but I ask myself, with the big difference in resolution and the imminent release of Sony’s G-Master lenses (the sample images floating around the net for the 85mm are dire – why the Japanese brands don’t invest in capable photographers for pre-release samples defies comprehension), is it worth investing in a new system and a new set of lenses when I already own the Sony???
I know it’s not what you might want to hear, but I think they are very different cameras.
The A7RII is pitched as a do everything camera, equivalent in the world of Fuji to the X-T1 line. The X-Pro2 is a real purist street shooters camera, which bridges the divide between those who like EVFs and OVFs. The Fuji is the more intuitive camera to use (though I have years of using earlier cameras to fall back on), the Sony is more powerful and potentially gives better results.
To use a metaphor, when I bought a Nikon D600 and loved it I quickly acquired a D800E and found myself fighting with it. You don’t always make the best pictures with the most capable cameras, a lot of photography is about being relaxed, in the zone, in control of yourself and the camera without thinking. It’s rare I feel that way almost immediately with a camera. I felt like that with the X-Pro2. Equally, if you want 14 stops of dynamic range at base ISO and to shoot regularly at ISO 3200 plus, you need a Sony or a Nikon (or, soon, a Pentax).
I think the best advice I could give you is to try before you buy anything. If you are happy with your Sony there’s little reason to switch. If you are looking for something different and you can afford to buy something new, perhaps try a Fuji before you sell your Sony. Switching systems needs to be done carefully.
I am not looking for a replacement for the Sony, but rather an excuse to try the 90mm (equivalent to approx 135mm in full frame, which could potentially make for flattering portraits). If some of the rumors floating around the net about Fuji’s foray into the medium-format segment are true AND if the current lenses may be compatible with this new system, then perhaps I might just consider the X-Pro 2 (at 16MP the X-T1 is out of the question for me).
That makes sense. I confess I’ve not tried the 90mm F2 lens, though it looks excellent optically. The 56mm was very high resolving but occasionally a bit too high resolving. I would get the APD version if I repurchased it.
I think it unlikely any of the current Fuji X lenses will work on a new Fuji medium format system (their image circle isn’t big enough), but lenses for a medium format system may be compatible with Fuji X (if you look at the example of Pentax).
Nice! Will be waiting for your review, I have a Sony A7ii, but not really convinced on the fun factor, Xpro2 seems more fun, and image quality almost as good.
I need to use the X-Pro2 more, but your view seems to be where I’m headed. The joystick on the back of the camera is really, really great for street shooting.
I am really impressed by the colours, colour separation and sharpness….Are they all OOC Jpegs? If RAW what converter did you use?
They are all OOC jpegs, processed from RAW in camera.
Funny bit colours do remind me of your pictures from D8xx nikons.
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Thanks for the small review , ilike the pics you took.
I would just have to say i don’t agree that its not a DSLR replacement as i was a Canon 5d series user and replaced all my Canon stuff with Fuji Xpro 1 and others.
The internet is coming down with people who have replaced all Nikon and Canon stuff with the Fuji x cameras so i think that is not an accurate statement.
I have no regrets whatsoever at the change ,good as Canon and Nikons are they are pretty soulless things to use and lack the sheer joy of using one of these Fujis as you mention in your article.
Thanks and more power to you .
John, thank you. Regarding your point on switching from DSLRs, that’s why I qualifified that statement with “your mileage may vary” as I realise that kind of thing can be subjective. I’ve been through switching from a 35mm DSLR (an A900) to mirrorless once, decided I couldn’t live without a DSLR and now own several. What I would say is that ultimately it has very little to do with mirrorless vs DSLRs (and I could ramble on for hours about their varying abilities to do different things), what it has to do with is good, intuitive cameras, that are fun to use and produce great results vs those that are less so. Personally I find both the Nikon D810 and D750 in that former category (though that’s my subjective view) though I would put the D800E in the latter. I don’t know enough about using a Canon longer term to have a view. Regardless, if switching entirely to mirrorless works for you, congratulations – having one system that works for you has got to be an optimal solution for anyone. Thanks for reading and commenting!
I never used the xpro2, but used about any mirrorles out there, and yes they can replace a dslr, but will mainly depend on your kind of shooting. Portraits, and family Picts of course, any thing that needs fast response and fast tracking capabilities not there yet, unless the xpro2 is miles ahead of any of the other mirrorles which I don’t think so. So it mainly depends on your shooting style.
Excellent read and some great mages!