After gaining very positive experience with my first Fuji, the X100T, it was time to move on. Since I am a fan of rangefinder cameras, I decided to pull the trigger for the Fuji X-Pro 2.
X-Pro 2 – The one of a kind
After Fuji released the X-Pro 2 I was very excited. The Fuji X100T, which was my only Fuji camera at that time, still impressed me with great image quality, but now and then the wish for other focal lengths emerged.
So I decided to buy the Fuji X-Pro 2 and after two months of eager waiting I could finally hold it in my hand. My first lens I bought for it was the Fujinon XF 35mm F2 R WR, and I will describe this lens in a separate article later.
A photographing tool built to last
What I really appreciate is the build quality of the X-Pro 2. It feels very solid, the body has a metal frame, and the camera has appropriate weight. Thankfully Fuji decided to avoid those ugly rubber covers, which I learned to hate on my Canon EOS 5D mk III and on my Panasonic GH4. Those rubber caps are nasty, they are collecting dust like if that was their only purpose, and I am always fiddling around to get them back in place. For the price you have to pay for such kind of camera, I expect a solid and sealed door like Fuji is doing it.
Fuji is taking care of small details, for example the lettering on top of the camera is engraved and the grooves filled with white paint. The same applies to the XF lenses too and I am pretty sure that this helps the lettering to make it more resistant over the life time of lens and camera.
The knobs and buttons are sturdy, reliable and have good pressure points. The button layout is good, and all the controls are far enough apart from each other, so that you can operate the cam with leather gloves too. That’s important, since Fuji did huge efforts to do a proper weather sealing and even specifies the camera from -10°C to 40°C.
The additional hand grip is a smart add-on
I don’t want to recapitulate the technical specifications of the camera here. You may find these on every other blog on the net, so I will point out a few things which seem important to me:
I soon bought the additional hand grip Fuji MHG-XPRO2. I quickly adapted to the additional finger support from the hand grip which I bought for the X100T too. Especially when I carry the camera for a longer time at city trips, it feels safer for me to have a bit more grabbing surface available. It’s simply more comfortable for me to hook my fingers into the hand grip, especially with heavier lenses attached.
As an addition you get an Arca compatible tripod mount with the hand grip. This is very convenient, since Arca mounting plates from other manufacturers have often different sizes and don’t fit flush to the body of the camera.
A true rangefinder camera
The X-Pro 2 is a rangefinder style camera. You get an optical viewfinder but may switch to an electronic viewfinder too. In optical mode you have the option to blend in a small electronic display in the bottom right corner, in order to get a magnified view of your active focus point.
The optical viewfinder also adjusts to the lenses you are using. There are two magnification levels which the camera adjusts automatically depending on the lens you are using. Furthermore you see an overlay of the captured cut-out, which alters depending on the focal length and the distance to the object. Sure, this definitely needs some practice. But after some practice you will figure out the benefits of each viewfinder mode depending on the situation.
The viewfinder options are a big advantage of the X-Pro 2 over the newer SLR style Fuji X-T2. I had the opportunity to try the X-T2 too. The fact alone that my nose was always touching the display which lead to greasy patches, drove me back to my beloved X-Pro 2. This are the kind of first world problems you never think off and just live with. Until you come across a camera which solves it differently.
Improved speed and responsiveness
I am always shooting JPEG and loss-less compressed RAW in parallel on both memory cards. This helps to save space on cards and disks, and I have never had any troubles with compression. The only thing I have noticed is, that Adobe Lightroom does need a tad more time to load Fuji Raws. I am not sure if that’s because of the X-Trans layout, the compression or maybe both. Maybe my feelings play a prank on me.
The Fuji X-Pro 2 is very fast, especially when comparing it to the X100T. The X-Pro 2 is in my opinion the first Fuji camera quick enough to capture moving objects with an acceptable average of correctly focussed images. In terms of focussing speed it’s still not at the top end compared to some other mirrorless cameras. But you don’t have to be afraid of sport photography either.
On the other side the X-Pro 2 is very fast writing data to the cards and freeing up the cache. I am using Lexar 2000x SDHC UHSII cards in both slots in backup mode. I am still very impressed how fast the cam is ready again after filling the buffer memory with an almost endless series of images.
The X-Pro 2 leaves nothing to be desired in terms of image quality
Although I am a passionate pixel peeper, I am quite happy with 24 millions pixels resolution the X-Pro 2 offers. With the X100T’s 16 million pixels I sometimes desired a bit more headroom, pixelwise. Especially as I sometimes needed to crop images because of the fixed wide angle lens. The X-Pro 2 with an appropriate lens for the situation solves this problem completely.
Image quality is top, the colour rendering of Fuji’s X-Trans sensor appeals to me a lot. I already mentioned it in my X100T article: Since I use Fuji cameras I spent a significantly shorter time in post production to get the look I want to achieve. After a bit of practice I often get the shot perfectly right at the first time. In Lightroom I am then just setting the colour profile and tweak highlights and shadows a bit.
Fuji’s artificial grain is so naturally analogue! I have never seen this before from a digital camera. Period.
As an addition to the former colour profiles Monochrome, Provia, Astia, Velvia, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg, you now get the new Achros film simulation. This black & white film simulation alone is worth the price of the Fuji, I can tell you that! Silky smooth gradients, nice skin tonality, well balanced and harmonic look – perfect for portraits. You may even apply one of two stages of grain to the image to get a more vintage appearance. I am not exaggerating when I am saying that this looks really awesome. Fuji’s artificial grain is so naturally analogue, I have never seen this before from a digital camera.
The Fuji X-Pro 2 is the best camera I had in my life. Trust me, I worked with a lot of different brands. It may not have class leading resolution nor will it record 4k. But it focuses completely on its core area photography, and that’s a wise move. The well-made body, together with straightforward operation is top of the line. Quick menu, customizable shortcut buttons, a versatile viewfinder, decent film simulation modes, and a widespread line of available lenses… The Fuji X-Pro 2 is the perfect photographing tool for me.
Until today I bought the following Fuji lenses, which I will describe in future articles:
Fujinon XF 16mm F1,4 R WR, Fujinon XF 23mm F2 R WR, Fujinon XF 35mm F2 R WR, Fujinon XF 90mm F2 LM WR, and the Fujinon XF100-400mm F4,5-5,6 R LM OIS WR. Come back if you want to read my opinion about these!
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