Over this previous summer, I suck my mittens into the Fujifilm X-Pro2. I already had Fujifilm's first-generation top-of-the-line SLR-esque camera in the X-T1, and I though a second-generation top-of-the-line rangefinder-esque camera would be the best complement.
Double Fisting It
I expected with the X-Pro2 to be able to carry two Fujifilm X bodies and be able to switch back and forth between them with ease, to help minimize switching lenses in a fast-moving photo shoot. But that's not what happened.
Quickly, two things became apparent. One, the cameras are too different to be able to quickly switch between them. The SLR-esque and rangerfinder-esque designs are more than just different viewfinders, but different button configuration and different ways of thinking about the camera. Whenever I would swap back and forth, I would stumble, losing my photo inertia and needing a moment to re-orient myself with the new shooting style. That was a big issue, and discouraged switching cameras, defeating the purpose of running with two bodies.
Secondly, and more bigger, the images coming out of the X-Pro2 were so much nicer looking. Now, I never had any issue with the way the X-T1 rendered the light. I knew there was a new generation of chip in the newer camera, but I didn't think it would be significant. That is, I didn't, until I saw what the X-Pro2 was doing. The crux is a superior dynamic range, and while I'm not a camera engineer, I think that's the source of all the other improvements in color handling and noiseless photos at high ISOs.
A moment about ISO
ISO, or film speed, is remarkable on modern digital cameras. My first digital camera, a Canon PowerShot S-200, had ISO settings of 50, 100, 200, or 400. And at 400 the photos were big ugly grain-filled messes. But take a look at this new X-Pro2, and the ISO dial starts at ISO 200 and only goes higher. The lowest I bother with is ISO 800, because I can find no reason to ever set the ISO lower. Even up through ISO 6400 – a number that is insane to a film shooter – there's no appreciable noise. Plus, the camera natively goes even higher, at the cost of reduced image quality, but if the choice is between no image and a noisy image, I'd pick "yes, image please" every time.
So I Sold my X-T1
What what what?
Yes, it's true. I parted ways with my beloved X-T1. I just wasn't using it anymore, so now someone else can. I will miss the X-T1, it was a good camera to me, and worked with me in the creation of many great photos, but change is inevitable and there's no point fighting it. The X-T1 has joined the ranks with my Canon 5D2 and Pentax 645NII before it – cameras I loved but sold.
You're a Fujifilm Fanboy
Well, that may be, but there are a few disappointments I have with the X-Pro2. First, the optical viewfinder is, well, a gimmick. It's really well executed, and has tons and tons of things going for it, and Fujifilm did everything possible to make it as awesome as they could. But at the end of the day, I just cannot give up the live image preview. Seeing exactly what the photo will look like before I press the shutter is a killer app, why take it away?A peak through the X-Pro2's optical viewfinder
Second, setting the ISO is clunky – just give me the full stops, please. No need for manually setting 1/3 stops on the ISO when both the aperture and shutter speed dials work in full stops.
I'm still relatively new to this camera – I tend not to review cameras until I've had them for at least twelve months and I've only had this six – but since I'm not new to the X system I feel confident about my future with this beast.
Now, here's some photos I've shot with the Fujifilm X-Pro2.35mm 35mm 16mm 16mm 23mm 23mm 55mm 35mm 16mm 23mm 16mm 16mm
First published on 6 Feb 2018; last updated on 3 Feb 2018.