As a follow up to my previous post on this topic, it was time to publish a full review/impressions piece on the X-Pro2. To summarise: (i) it’s really, really good; but (ii) not everyone will agree with (i). I’ll be honest about the negatives but to be clear, for me, this camera makes them irrelevant.
Key features include the retention of the hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinder, this time with diopter adjustment, a new 24mp sensor with built in PDAF, new processor, new screen and back panel layout, new focus control joystick, new hybrid ISO/shutter speed dial, weather sealing and an improved grip. The body is about the same size as the original, but the repositioned screen and new grip mean different cases would be in order.
The build quality of the body is fantastic. The viewfinder remains a thing of beauty, still hindered somewhat by parallax inaccuracies, but fantastic for street photography. I didn’t have an issue with the OVF on the original X-Pro1, but the diopter adjustment is a welcome addition. The layout of the rear of the camera is much improved, moving the controls to the right hand side and adding a focus control joystick. It’s difficult to explain just how excellent the joystick is and how quickly it lets you select focus points, but I will observe it’s a substantial part of the reason I rate the ergonomics and controls of the camera highly. I know some have complained about the lack of a touch and flip out screen, but to me those sort of features don’t have to be in every model (though if these features matter to you, you should note this lack). This camera doesn’t pretend to be a Swiss Army knife, it does what it does really well and in my view it’s better for that.
The only real fly in the ointment is the hybrid ISO/shutter speed dial, which I think doesn’t work as well in practice as the designers must have hoped – I sometimes found that I was accidentally adjusting both or selecting something I didn’t want. The addition of dual SD card slots will be a welcome addition to those who shoot events. The new 1.6 million dot screen has increased resolution, colour accuracy and is a welcome addition. Watch out as similarly to the screen on the Nikon D810 and D750, it’s a little brighter than the true exposure of the photograph, which needs to be taken into account for in camera raw processing. It’s also worth mentioning the updated menus that I feel on the whole are logical and an improvement.
The sensor is really, really good. It’s not as good as a top grade 35mm sensor, but it’s exceptional for an APS-C one. I would say, subjectively, that high ISO results are improved over the X-PRO1, which if you consider the bump in resolution, is exceptional performance. Base ISO Dynamic range isn’t class leading, but I suspect this is used to benefit high ISO performance, similarly to the new D5.
What’s really impressive between the sensor and the processor is the way the rendering of colours has improved, particularly from the previous xtrans II cameras. All channels retain more information with the red channel particularly well controlled. I would go as far to say that this camera produces some of the most attractive results out of the can of any ILC (it’s definitely up there with my other favourite, the D810), though the resolution it provides is clearly still 24mp (which is fine). Aside from the frankly lovely colours, the camera includes a new film simulation, Acros, which gives just stunning results with people. Velvia has been improved such that it still provides bold, saturated results but without obliterating colour detail. You can also add film style grain to results. All of this makes processing raw files in camera a joy.
What about my concern that xtrans results can look washed out in some conditions, as expressed in previous reviews? Well, I have come across this via in camera jpegs. I processed the same pictures via Lightroom and they were bold and contrasty, so no real concerns there.
In camera wifi is included too and can move files to a phone or tablet quickly. I do feel like the iPhone app needs some work though. It’s not very intuitive to set up the connection and requiring button pushes on camera after turning on the camera wifi is a little old school.
Autofocus is very good to excellent. It’s very fast for the majority of lenses in afs, AFC isn’t perfect but within the PDAF focus area it gives away nothing to the A7RII when equipped with a faster focusing lens, particularly with continuous shutter engaged. It’s worth noting here that some of the Fuji primes, particularly the earlier ones, might not match up to the full possibility of the body (I’m looking at you 60mm macro) in terms of focus speed. I quite liked the way continuous shutter works, disabling face detection when turned on (face detection means contrast detect only AF, so turn it off for the fastest possible focus).
Ergonomically, the camera is a joy when used with the majority of lenses. It weighs just shy of 500g and has an improved grip back and front, such that it just sits in the hand nicely. When you combine this with the manual control of shutter speed and aperture, the ease of using the focus joystick and the fantastic hybrid viewfinder, you have a user experience which is just plain fun.
That last paragraph brings me to my conclusions. Despite not always being the most capable camera in every use case, this is one of the best cameras I’ve used in a while. Everything that needs to be there is there and it just works. Shooting with the X-Pro2 is fun and the results are excellent. If you are on the lookout for a mirrorless camera, this is a really good one. I rate the experience of using this camera above the experience of many other mirrorless cameras. This deserves to be a huge hit for Fujifilm.
The X-Pro2 is available in the UK here: Fujifilm X-Pro2