The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a incredible digital camera, however it's not for me
I have been wanting ahead to the X-Pro2, Fujifilm’s flagship mirrorless digital camera, ever since switching over to the X Collection 18 months in the past. To know why, you might want to know somewhat about me. I’ve solely actually been taking cameras critically for seven years. My first got here in 2009, a barely battered previous Nikon D40. Three years, three Nikons (I upgraded twice) and three further lenses (35mm, 40mm and 50mm fastened) later, I used to be uninterested in lugging round an enormous digital camera, and much more uninterested in the small choice of good lenses obtainable in my worth vary. I then tried out a mirrorless Sony digital camera, however Sony’s lens choice on the time was pitiful should you weren’t prepared to spend massive cash.
It wasn’t till an previous colleague of mine confirmed me the Fujifilm X100T, a compact digital camera with a 35mm-equal fastened lens and an revolutionary viewfinder that is each digital and optical, that I knew what I needed. Inside weeks I might thrown my Sony in a drawer and purchased an entry-degree X-M1 and a pair of lenses to offer Fujifilm a shot.
After a particularly profitable trial run at CES 2015, I used to be satisfied. All that was left to do was improve from the entry-degree physique to a mannequin that did every thing I needed it to. I made a decision on an X-Pro1 — regardless of a colleague advising me towards it — as a result of it had the identical viewfinder tech because the X100T I might fallen in love with. The issue was, rumors advised that a sequel, the X-Pro2, was simply across the nook. So I waited.
Fujifilm would not announce the digital camera till January this yr, and I did not get an opportunity to the touch one till final month. In any case this time, was it well worth the wait? On paper, the reply appeared like a powerful sure: The X-Pro2 has an all-new third-era X-Trans sensor, which ups the decision significantly over the remainder of the X Collection, and a recent picture-processing unit (the “X-Processor Professional”). Meaning a 24.three-megapixel decision and a local ISO restrict of 12,800, an enormous improve from the earlier cameras’ sixteen.three-megapixel and ISO 6,four hundred limits. There’s additionally an improved autofocusing system with part detection — not solely new for the X Collection, however new for the X-Professional.
However earlier than we actually get into what the X-Pro2 is, let’s shortly cowl what it isn’t. The X-Pro2 isn’t a compact mirrorless digital camera. At 445g (zero.ninety eight kilos), it is solely 10g (a 3rd of an oz) lighter than the D3100 I tossed apart 4 years in the past. The X-Pro2 can also be not a DSLR alternative. The corporate’s X-T10 and X-T1 fill that area of interest, and the X-Pro2 is nearer in form to the Nikon SP and Leica M3 rangefinders fashionable within the ’50s and ’60s. Lastly, the X-Professional 2 just isn’t low cost. It is $1,seven hundred, which places it in the identical worth vary as Nikon’s and Canon’s extremely-excessive-finish APS-C DSLRs just like the 7D and D500, or, nearer to house, Sony’s excellent full-body mirrorless A7 II. None of those cameras are instantly similar to the X-Pro2, although, and that is due to Fujifilm’s distinctive viewfinder.
Just like the X-Pro1, and the X100T that bought me on Fujifilm within the first place, the X-Pro2 has a hybrid viewfinder that takes the most effective features of optical rangefinders and digital viewfinders and mashes them right into a single unit positioned within the prime-left nook of the digital camera. In optical mode, it provides you a large subject of view and tasks extra info on prime of it. Somewhat than displaying you what your lens is seeing and its focus, you will as an alternative have a white field indicating the world your lens will cowl. For a extra sensible instance: When you’ve got a zoom lens, this field modifications sizes relying on what focal size you’ve got chosen. Above and under this view you will discover the standard info you’d anticipate from a viewfinder. That is customizable, however I’ve it set to point out shutter velocity, aperture, ISO, publicity and battery.
The restrictions of an optical viewfinder — specifically, not with the ability to see what you are specializing in — are mitigated by a tiny digital viewfinder that sits within the nook of the optical window. This will both present you the entire body (such as you’d see on a daily EVF) or a decent crop of what you are specializing in. The setup is a contemporary-day tackle the rangefinding idea — utilizing two separate picture guides to take a single photograph — and I relied on it pretty typically when utilizing my favourite Fujinon lens (a 35mm f/1.four). With a telephoto, although, you are going to really feel restricted, as a result of the boxed-in space will probably be tiny. Due to this, when capturing with a zoom lens I ended up flicking the lever on the entrance of the X-Pro2 and turning the optical viewfinder right into a full-blown EVF.
The common EVF is nothing to put in writing house about. At zero.forty eight inches and a couple of.36 million dots, it is bested by cheaper cameras from different corporations and even Fujifilm itself. It is undoubtedly strong, and it supplies some very important flexibility to make up for the optical view’s shortcomings. As defined, it is nice for capturing with telephoto lenses. That is not one thing I do typically, besides, I discovered the EVF helpful for navigating menus and viewing photographs when capturing at night time (i.e., once I did not need the LCD on the again lighting my face like a Christmas tree). Likewise, the primary LCD — a three-inch panel with 1.sixty two hundreds of thousands dots — is sweet sufficient, however it’s fastened in place. When the X-T, X-M and X-A collection all supply tilting LCDs, it’s a must to query why the X-Pro2 does not have one.
Certainly one of these three themes — unbelievable, versatile and ok — could be utilized to each side of the X-Pro2. The brand new picture sensor and processor are implausible, with nice JPG dealing with, shade copy (aided by Fujifilm’s “movie simulation,” which helps you to select from numerous processing choices), and usable pictures even at ISO ranges as excessive as 12,800. Fujifilm offered me with an 18-55mm zoom lens (f/2.eight–four.zero with optical picture stabilization), which has been round for a couple of years. It is remarkably sharp round 27–40mm — much more so than your typical package lens — however as you’d anticipate suffers on the extremes of its vary with softness and distortion. I ended up leaving it at residence for almost all of my testing, principally as a result of I am used to capturing at fastened focal lengths.
Once I paired the X-Pro2 with lenses I am conversant in, I used to be very happy with the outcomes, if not with the convenience with which they have been acquired. There are a pair of dials atop the digital camera, one a primary publicity (to ±three) management, the opposite a twin ISO/shutter velocity management. The latter could be very unintuitive — I actually could not clarify the way it’s presupposed to work regardless of having used it extensively. On the back and front of the digital camera are wheels whose features change relying on what mode you are in — shutter, aperture ISO, and so on. — which I solely actually used for nice-grain management of shutter velocity, as my lenses all have aperture dials. Elsewhere you will discover devoted mechanical buttons for auto-publicity lock, autofocus lock and a 3-level change for leaping between autofocus modes. There’s additionally a tiny joystick by the LCD on the again of the digital camera that allows you to set a focus with ease. It is nice, and each Fujifilm digital camera any longer must have it.
The X-Pro2 handles properly, and with the package lens, or smaller lenses just like the 27mm or 35mm fastened, it’s extremely straightforward to maneuver and maintain regular. Put a bigger lens on it, although, and it suffers; the grip is a bit too shallow for supporting the load of a fifty five–200mm zoom, for instance.
Regardless of an enormous vary of bodily controls at my disposal, I discovered the X-Pro2 missing. The issue actually is that ISO/shutter dial. The X-T10 (Fujifilm’s DSLR-like digital camera) breaks out shutter speeds and ISO into two separate dials, as do numerous different cameras. Why the corporate’s flagship doesn’t is a thriller. Fortunately, the X-Pro2 has three customizable auto ISO settings, so I set them up in fairly tight increments (200–800, 800–three,200, three,200–12,800, respectively) and jumped between them on the fly utilizing the Fn button. That fits my present capturing type (I sometimes use guide mode with restricted auto ISO as a security internet), however it’s nonetheless nowhere close to as fast or intuitive correctly. What I hoped for from the X-Pro2 was granular mechanical management over each side of the digital camera. What I acquired as an alternative was an irritating compromise.
Talking of, one main ache level for Fujifilm cameras has been video. I particularly have an affordable Canon DSLR simply to shoot the one or two issues I have to per yr, as a result of Fujifilm’s video is so poor. Whereas nobody is shopping for an X-Pro2 for its video functionality, I am comfortable to report that it could truly shoot satisfactory video now, at 1080p and 60fps. One for the “ok” column, for positive.
Autofocus, one other spotty space for the X Collection, is vastly improved over earlier Fujifilm cameras. The unique X-Professional had exactly zero part-detection pixels. That is one thing that is been rectified by newer fashions, however the X-Pro2 has by far probably the most part-detection pixels of any X Collection digital camera, overlaying roughly forty % of the body. That results in an enormous actual-world enchancment when it comes to each velocity and accuracy, though it must be identified that the precise tempo of focusing will rely upon the lens you could have in entrance of that sensor.
After a few weeks of capturing, I’ve taken some lovely photographs. In case my origin story did not clue you in, I’m very a lot an newbie. My framing may be poor, my depth of area too slender, my shutter velocity too sluggish. No digital camera will repair that. What I can say is that the photographs I’ve taken with the X-Pro2 have been higher than the pictures I’ve taken with different Fujifilm cameras. And I’ve had a number of enjoyable capturing them. I in all probability should not be advising you to go to a competing web site, however I might advocate testing Sam Byford’s pattern gallery over at The Verge. He is a much better photographer than I’m (and, not coincidentally, the aforementioned colleague who launched me to the X Collection within the first place).
As nice a time as I’ve had with it, I’ve come to the belief that the X-Pro2 isn’t what I would like from a digital camera. And that sucks, particularly after a yr of ready for it. In fact, I can not ignore the leaps ahead it presents. Elevated decision with no dip in pixel-by-pixel high quality, a local and usable ISO 12,800, improved autofocus, higher JPEG rendering, a brand new movie simulation mode (Acros, a black-and-white movie, was used to seize the shot above), the brand new hybrid viewfinder — these are all worthy and welcome enhancements. However they’re caught inside a physique that does not work that nicely as an on a regular basis interchangeable-lens digital camera. That viewfinder, as versatile as it’s, is a lot better suited to the corporate’s fastened-lens choices. The corporate’s incredible lens choice handles higher hooked up to the DLSR-like X-T1 and X-T10.
However this sensor and processor will come to different Fujifilm cameras. They usually’ll be a lot, a lot better for it. As a lot enjoyable as it has been to shoot with, and despite the fact that it is the most effective-performing cameras I’ve ever used, I am not too unhappy to be saying goodbye to the X-Pro2. I’m unhappy, although, to be caught ready once more, this time for a refresh to a different Fujifilm digital camera — for, I assume, the “X-T2.”
Ethics: Aaron’s companion is an worker of Ysbryd Video games. As such he has no enter into articles about Ysbryd or its video games. His companion has additionally had fiction revealed by Abaddon Books, which is in the identical group of corporations as the sport developer Insurrection. As the 2 corporations stay distinct, this doesn’t compromise his potential to cowl video video games created by Revolt.