Introduction and features
Few mirrorless cameras develop as strong a fanbase as Fuji’s X-Pro1, and even fewer manage to appeal to as wide a demographic as it eventually did. With its classic styling and manual controls, it immediately attracted seasoned photographers who may have started out with similarly styled rangefinders, while its fine image quality and a steady line of well-regarded optics slowly released alongside meant that it fast became the camera everyone else wanted to own too.
True, as the first interchangeable-lens model in the X-series it arrived with a handful of quirks and idiosyncrasies that weren’t to everyone’s taste. Its focusing system, for example, wasn’t particularly adept at capturing moving subjects, while the unique X-Trans sensor technology proved problematic when it came to video quality. Firmware updates were issued to address some of these concerns, but four years is a long time in camera technology and the appetite for a refresh was very obvious.
And here it is, the X-Pro. It retains its predecessor’s winning formula while rejuvenating the core feature set. With a new sensor and processor on board, together with a fresh focusing system and an updated hybrid viewfinder, it appears as both a significant upgrade and potentially a camera to win over those unconvinced by the X-Pro1.
Fuji has given the X-Pro2 joint flagship status alongside the more DSLR-like X-T1, and has aimed it towards the enthusiast/professional end of the market. It’s likely to be considered alongside the similarly priced Sony A7 II, as well as the Panasonic Lumix GX8 and Olympus’s well-received OM-D E-M5 II – and indeed, potentially the X-T1 too.
Up until the X-Pro2, all of Fuji’s interchangeable-lens X-series models employed some form of 16MP APS-C sensor, but the X-Pro2 breaks tradition by offering a new 24.3MP alternative. This is perhaps the most common pixel count across budget, enthusiasts and professional cameras alike, and this compares well against its direct rivals.
Now on the third generation of Fuji’s X-Trans CMOS technology, the sensor has once again been designed with a more random colour filter array than conventional Bayer GRBG sensors. Despite being more densely populated than the X-Pro1’s sensor, Fuji has broadened the camera’s sensitivity range from the same base of ISO 200 up to a maximum ISO 12,800 – one stop higher than the previous ISO 6400 limit. As is fairly standard on such a model, you can use extension settings that broaden this range, stretching to ISO 100 and 51,200-equivalent settings at lower and higher ends respectively. Sadly, the ISO 100 setting is JPEG only, but the upper values can be used when shooting raw files.
Fuji attributes many of the camera’s performance and image quality changes to its brand new X Processor Pro processing engine. This delivers start-up time of 0.4 seconds, as well as shutter lag of just 0.05 seconds, and also now allows for a losslessly compressed raw mode. It’s also responsible for the camera’s 8fps burst rate, with a burst depth of 27 uncompressed raw frames, 33 compressed raw frames and 83 JPEGs.
Fuji’s Film Simulation options have long included options to mimic the company’s Velvia, Provia and Astia emulsions, but they now include a new black-and-white Acros mode. This is said to offer deep blacks and smooth tones, and presents an alternative to the standard Monochrome option, while a new Grain effect mode lets you treat images with two different levels of grain for a look Fuji claims is reminiscent of images captured on film. Advanced Filters, such as Toy Camera, Dynamic Tone and Pop Color, are also provided.
Post capture, the user can take advantage of in-camera raw processing, with control over core parameters such as exposure, noise reduction, white balance and so on, together with the option to change the Film Simulation mode and either apply or remove the Lens Modulation Optimiser among other things. The LMO is there to offset the softening effect of diffraction at small lens apertures.
The X-Pro1’s Hybrid Multi Viewfinder was a much-loved feature, and something which separated the model from more conventional systems, and this has also been subject to a raft of improvements. Now dubbed an Advanced Hybrid Multi viewfinder, it maintains both the optical and electronic displays of the X-Pro1, but is augmented by the Electronic Rangefinder feature that first appeared in the X100T compact. This overlays a small version of the electronic finder in the corner of the optical one, which gives the user a better idea of exposure and white balance when not using the electronic finder.
The electronic component of the viewfinder has seen the resolution of its display jump from 1.44 million dots on the X-Pro1 to 2.36 million, while its display rate has similarly been increased to a maximum 85fps in its High Performance power setting (two further settings are also available, which increase battery life though at the cost of performance). It’s also now an OLED device.
The viewfinder gains internal dioptric correction – a feature omitted from the X-Pro1 and only possible through external optical accessories – and has had its eye point shifted from the previous 14mm to 16mm for better visibility. When using the optical finder, which takes its view head on like a rangefinder rather than through the lens like on a DSLR, the camera can apply framing guidelines to show what the camera will capture, and with the new Bright Frame Simulation option, it’s possible to see what angle of view would be be captured at other focal lengths before a lens of the focal length is used.
In contrast to many rival models, the camera’s 3in LCD screen cannot be pulled away from the camera in any way, nor is it sensitive to touch. It does, however, resolve details with 1.62 million dots, which is the highest resolution of any X-series camera to date.
Video and autofocus
Fuji has fleshed out the X-Pro1’s video recording options for the new model, sadly not offering the 4K recording common to many other recent releases, but with full HD capture now available in 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24p options. These record for up to 14 and 28 minutes at a time in Full HD and HD quality respectively. There’s also a mic port for external microphones to be used as an alternative to the camera’s own, and using the built-in interval timer it’s possible to create time-lapse footage.
The camera’s focusing system has been significantly upgraded from the 49-point system found on the X-Pro1. There are now 77 points as standard, and this can be expanded to 273 points where required, which densely saturates the central part of the frame with AF points. Phase-detect points now occupy 40% of the imaging area, which is said to help the camera when focusing on a moving subject, while improvements to the predictive AF algorithm are also said to be behind better performance here. Furthermore, thanks to changes to the contrast-detect readout speed from the sensor and the new processor, the camera is said to achieve the fastest focus of any X-series camera – double that of the X-Pro1.
The X-Pro2’s manual focusing system has also received attention, with the previously seen focus-peaking option fleshed out with different colour settings and peaking levels, as well as the rangefinder-style Digital Split Image method of achieving correct focus in both colour and monochromatic options.
The new camera follows other recent Fuji models such as the X-T1 and X-A2 in providing built-in Wi-Fi connectivity. As we’ve come to expect on such models, this can be used to control the camera remotely for shooting or simply browsing and downloading images and videos. When used in conjunction with the Fujifilm Remote Camera app, images and videos on the camera can be browsed and saved to a tablet and smartphone, while GPS information recorded by the app can also be subsequently embedded into images. You don’t need to use the app, however, as you can simply send images to a computer from the camera if you prefer.
Thanks to a new focal-plane shutter, the camera can reach a maximum shutter speed of 1/8,000 sec, although this can be extended to 1/32000 when the electronic shutter is used. This has the further benefit of silent shooting, which is useful with specific subjects and for discretion. The flash sync speed has also increased from 1/180sec to 1/250sec here, and Fuji rates the shutter to at least 150,000 frames, which is on a par with many pro-level cameras.
The X-Pro2 has the honour of being the first Fuji camera to sport two card slots. Both support the SD, SDHC and SDXC formats, although the primary slot also allows for the use of UHS-II cards, which are faster than more conventional ones. As the X-Pro1 only offered one slot, this was incorporated into the camera’s battery compartment, accessed via a door on the base of the camera, but the switch to two slots on the new model has meant this has now moved to a side-access door, which in turn means the camera no longer needs to be removed from a tripod for cards to be accessed or changed.
Those upgrading from the X-Pro1 but planning on keeping it as a backup body will also be pleased to learn that the new model uses the same battery. Battery life varies with poor management settings, but it stretches from 210 frames in the High Performance mode up to 330 frames in the Economy setting.
Build and handling
The X-Pro2 has been designed and constructed to a standard befitting its four-figure cost. Built around a four-panel, magnesium-alloy chassis, the body feels just as solid in the hands as the original X-Pro1. Furthermore, with 61 seals at various points of potential water and dust incursion and protection down to -10 degrees, Fuji also promises that the camera can be used in testing weather.
While the camera is not exactly small, it still manages to fit inside an average coat pocket when fitted with either the 18mm f/2 R or 27mm f/2.8 XF lenses. Its ergonomics show Fuji’s intentions for it to be partnered with smaller and lighter optics, particularly prime lenses, rather than the likes of the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR and XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R LM WR ASPH zoom lenses, which really require the more substantial grip of the X-T1.
The X-Pro2’s grip is more defined than the flatter grip on the X-Pro1, and walking around all day with the camera in my hand, I found the X-Pro2 provided a more secure hold at the slight expense of comfort. That’s not to say that it’s uncomfortable, just that the flatter design is perhaps more accommodating to different hands.
There are no doubt many photographers who would have preferred the X-Pro2 to have sported an tilting or side-articulating LCD screen with touch functionality, particularly when you consider that the X-Pro 2 is perfectly suited to street and snapshot photography where such features make a considerable difference. One argument against this is that any kind of tilting display compromises a model’s overall solidity. Nevertheless, the screen shows lots of detail and excellent contrast, and its wide viewing angle makes it slightly easier to use away from standard shooting positions.
Much of the top plate is the same as the X-Pro1’s, although the larger exposure compensation dial, which is now marked with an extra EV step in each direction and a ‘C’ function to extend this even further to -/+5EV is welcome. Comparing the torque of the exposure compensation dial to that of the X-Pro1’s reveals that its movement is tighter but during this test there were a number of occasions where the dial was 1/3EV out of line, which only became apparent after having taken a number of images at that setting. This is potentially partly down to its larger circumference, making it more exposed.
The changes Fuji has made to the shutter-speed dial from the X-Pro1 are largely positive. Being marginally taller and less obstructed by the top plate makes it noticeably easier to turn, while the slightly finer milling around the edges also helps with purchase. The angle between each setting on the shutter-speed dial has decreased from the X-Pro1, partly to accommodate the additional 1/8000sec option but largely to make room for a new window that lets you view the ISO setting that’s adjusted via a dial incorporated within the shutter speed dial. The two turn together as standard, with sensitivity only changing when the dial is lifted upwards.
The only annoyance here is that when manually adjusting shutter speeds, the markings on the inner dial are often either upside down – particularly at the commonly used 1/30-1/250sec settings – or at some other slightly awkward angle. With no illumination, there’s no way to see this in darker conditions and I found the window’s reflectiveness meant that reading it in brighter conditions was sometimes problematic; in these conditions I resorted to reading the value at the base of the LCD screen which changed as this was adjusted.
Together with a new command dial around the front of the camera, one of the most positive changes from the X-Pro1 is the inclusion of the mini joystick controller on the back of the camera for setting the AF point. Unlike on some other camera bodies, where this control is awkwardly placed where the left-eye shooter’s nose would be, there is enough space here to continue using the viewfinder without anything getting in the way. The control not only protrudes far enough for comfortable operation, but it also moves freely enough for the desired point to be easily reached, returning to the centre of the frame when pressed in. While this process was far from difficult on the X-Pro1 – you had to press the AF button on the left-hand side of the camera before using the menu pad’s directional buttons to reach the desired AF point – it’s great that Fuji has consolidated it into a single control here. Given how many AF points there are, though, it would be welcome to have the option of selecting alternative focusing patterns with fewer points, as this would speed up their selection.
It’s also possible to magnify the centre of the frame to check focus by pressing in the rear command dial, and this serves the same purpose when playing back images, zooming in to 100% in one press; this should really be a standard feature on any interchangeable-lens camera, but it’s surprising how seldom it’s seen. For whatever reason, though, this dial is recessed much further into the body than on the X-Pro1, almost to the point of it not protruding at all, which makes this action a little more awkward than it ought to be.
Controls and settings
In response to user feedback, Fuji opted to drop the Drive/Zoom in, AE/Zoom out and AF/Delete controls that were previously located on the left-hand side of the LCD screen, and using the camera, even for a brief period of time, shows this to make perfect sense. The playback and delete buttons are now next to each other, which allows for the quick deletion of images with just one hand, something that wasn’t possible before. The Drive mode option now occupies the top directional button that was previously a control for the camera’s macro mode.
Given the breadth of controls this accesses, from single-frame and burst shooting to Advanced filters and a raft of bracketing options, it’s clearly a much better use of space. Not only that, but these options are all arranged in a single vertical column, which makes them easy to access. All rear controls are just as clearly labelled as before, and although some are a touch smaller than the X-Pro1’s, they appear to travel a little more positively into the body.
While the X-Pro1’s menu system was already well regarded – notable for its clarity the logical organisation of its various options – Fuji has managed to considerably improve things here. The slightly darker background and brighter text makes non-selected options easier to read, and the new font is easier on the eye too. Fuji has also made much better use of graphics for each tab, making it easier to see where, for example, flash, movie, focus and other options are located from any other screen.
Each screen now offers a maximum of eight options rather than the previous seven, and a consequence of this is that the text is marginally smaller, although this makes it somewhat easier to digest as everything is closer together. There’s also a My Menu option which can have 16 options assigned to it and ranked in order of preference, which is perfectly at home on a camera of the X-Pro2’s billing, and many external controls can be customised to taste too.
The camera’s electronic viewfinder is significantly improved over the X-Pro1’s. Details appear with far greater clarity and lagging is negligible, meaning that the camera very much delivers on the promise of offering an optical viewfinder experience (that said, as with any electronic viewfinder, scenes with a wide dynamic range show details in shadow and highlight details better with the optical finder). Aliasing artefacts when shooting fine details also appear to be far less of an issue and less of a distraction than before, particularly when set to the High Performance mode. In many ways, this is an electronic viewfinder for people that don’t like using them.
The only slight annoyance is that the exposure compensation scale at the side of the viewfinder is smaller and decidedly harder to read than before, which is particularly a shame here given the ease with which the exposure compensation dial tends to be knocked out of place. It can, however be changed to a more simple numerical display and shown among other exposure information at the bottom of the viewfinder.
The camera performs best on its High Performance power management setting, although this is also the most power hungry. In terms of clarity and brightness of the electronic viewfinder the Standard option is a good alternative, with slightly less stability and a little more tearing (visible disconnection or breaks within the finder image) as the camera or subject moves by comparison, although focusing speeds appear to be the same. The Economy setting doesn’t do too badly with regards to clarity in bright light, although the feed is slightly more affected by artefacts and in darker conditions the gulf between this and the other two settings becomes particularly apparent, with a darker and less clear view. This is perhaps best stuck to if using the optical viewfinder and/or the battery is close to depletion.
As the optical viewfinder doesn’t take its view through the lens, it’s more usable with shorter optics that won’t obstruct the view as much as longer ones. Whichever lens you use, the framing marks which adjust as the lens is zoomed gives a better idea of focal length, adjusting for parallax correction when the shutter is half pressed. As on the X-Pro1 there appears to be a little distortion with the optical finder, although there does appear to be a small improvement in contrast on the new model, and exposure and other shooting information is crisper and easier to read.
On the X-Pro1 the viewfinder lever simply moved to the right to alternate between optical and electronic displays – here, it also moves to the left to activate the electronic rangefinder function when using the optical viewfinder. This has two benefits: first, it shows what kind of effect exposure compensation or white balance settings will have on the image, and second, as it magnifies a portion of the frame, it provides a better idea of correct focus. What’s particularly good is that you can apply focus peaking to this window alone, so that you can maintain a view of the whole scene while using this to fine-tune focus.
Perhaps the most common criticisms of the X-Pro 1 regarded its autofocus system, which explains why Fuji issued a number of firmware updates addressing this. Yet, even with the X-Pro1 running on the most recent v3.50 firmware update, a comparison between the two confirms that Fuji has indeed made real progress with the new camera.
Although it’s difficult to measure exact focusing speeds, and as these are very much dependent on the lens, subject and other factors, Fuji’s claims of a doubling of focusing speed from before does appear to be validated through testing. This is perhaps a touch behind some of the competition – this is, after all, an area where great gains have been made in recent cameras – although for most scenes this is not a concern.
• The AF point can be adjusted to one of four sizes, which is useful when focusing on smaller details such as the stamens of flowers. Here, the smallest point of the four options was used. Click here for a full size version.
• The new Grain function lends images a pleasing but subtle film-like quality, and this should particularly appeal to users who started out photographing in the analogue era. Click here for a full size version.
• The Zone/Tracking focusing option works well to maintain focus on moving subjects, and this can be combined with 8fps burst shooting. Click here for a full size version.
• The camera’s default colour option is Standard/Provia, which gives images a nice boost over Raw files while staying accurate and true to life. Click here for a full size version.
The camera’s Wide/Tracking option does well to maintain focus on subjects moving at slow and moderately fast speeds and I was impressed with the hit rate when studying these images closely. There were a few occasions where the camera repeatedly returned false positive focus confirmations, and it wasn’t obvious as to why this was the case given the fine visibility and contrast of the subject, but this did not happen often enough to be a cause for concern. When shooting ducks swimming in and flying around a pond, now and again the camera would be distracted by the shimmer of the water, although this is a testing environment for any camera’s tracking capabilities and it would be unreasonable to expect a flawless performance here. The key thing is that it’s usable and effective.
One thing I found useful is the ability to adjust the size of the focusing point – which is more a box than a point – to four different degrees, particularly when focusing on small details such as a flower’s stamens, where the default size was a little too large. The ability to adjust this quickly – you simply press in the focus lever and turn the rear command dial – is most welcome when you consider the lack of a touchscreen, which would otherwise be useful in achieving the same goal.
Even when capturing images at the camera’s 8fps burst rate, and shooting uncompressed raw images, the camera maintained its speed well enough to cover most eventualities. Using a Transcend 64GB SDXC card, the camera maintain a burst of uncompressed raw and Fine JPEG images for 25 frames, dropping to about one frame second after this, and 26 when shooting raw images alone (just one under the promised 27). These took around 20 seconds to clear the buffer and, pleasingly, the camera remained operational throughout, even allowing for further images to be captured. It was only when nearing the end of the card’s capacity that the camera slowed right down and took considerably longer to flush these out.
The X-Pro 2 offers a well rounded collection of raw processing options in camera, which is great when you want to tweak exposure, shadows or colours, or alternatively create multiple copies of the same image. It’s a shame that these options aren’t in any way previewed as they are selected, in the same way the they are when selecting different Film Simulation modes and white balance, as you’re essentially processing blind until all adjustments are made. Once the image has been processed and displayed, the camera returns to the original image, which at least gives you some idea of how appropriate any changes have been.
• Face detection does well to identify subjects and ensure that eyes are sharp. Click here for a full size version.
• The camera’s Raw processing function makes light work of small tweak to colour, exposure and so on, although the image cannot be previewed until converted. Here, Color was adjusted by +1 for extra saturation. Click here for a full size version.
The image stabilisation of the XF 50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens used as part of this test was clearly effective though the viewfinder, and I generally found good performance down to around 3EV stops slower than usual. Many of the lenses that are ideally partnered with the X-Pro2 – namely, smaller prime lenses – sadly lack image stabilisation. This isn’t too great a concern with wider focal lengths and wide apertures, but it nevertheless gives rival cameras with built-in image stabilisation an advantage. There are, however, three customisable Auto ISO settings that allow minimum shutter speeds to be defined to maintain sharpness, which is particularly useful with prime lenses.
The camera’s auto white balance system does very well in a range of environments, only slipping under mixed daylight and incandescent light, delivering far too warm a cast. I found it also sought to slightly tame the warmth of other artificial sources, but otherwise it did well.
Similarly, the camera’s metering system did a very good job in all manner of conditions. I was particularly impressed with its performance when faced with scenes dominated by either darker or brighter details, where many other cameras would come unstuck; here, studying the images and their histograms showed the camera did a brilliant job to keep the scene balanced. Only occasionally the camera displayed a tendency towards underexposure, although this is perhaps just as well as highlights did tend to roll off (burn out) a little sooner than expected. I also found a noticeable difference in exposure when the Face Detection system correctly identified faces in the scene exposures, lifting the exposure to deliver a slightly more pleasing result.
Colour rendition, noise and video
The camera’s default Film Simulation mode is the Provia/Standard option, and this is well suited to everyday scenes, rendering colours with accuracy. On the Standard Film Simulation mode JPEGs are given a noticeable boost over raw files, with colours getting just the right level of saturation and images a good sharpening, although I found most scenes could tolerate a little further sharpening to get them looking their best. What’s particularly good is that raw images can have their colours – and sharpening and much more – quickly and easily intensified in small increments with the raw conversion option, which is great for giving the odd image a little extra bite.
• Using the 90mm wide open at f/2 has resulted in a very pleasing background blur. Click here for a full size version.
• Even at mid-range ISO settings such as ISO 1600, detail remains very good. Click here for full size version.
Even at the base sensitivity there’s a little noise is visible in flat areas, such as blue skies, although this is fairly common and not particularly problematic until higher sensitivities are reached. The camera offers noise reduction over nine separate levels, which is very useful; on its standard, middle setting, noise is well removed and most details remain, without any obvious artefacts showing.
Lab testing reveals the camera to fall a little short against not only much of the competition but also the X-Pro 1 with regards to raw image noise and dynamic range at higher sensitivity settings. Still, the camera can hold its own with lower-ISO dynamic range and does very well with regards to colour accuracy. Not only that, but the jump in pixel count and Fujfilm’s X-Trans technology also means the camera does an excellent job to resolve details consistently across most of the sensitivity range, maintaining strong reading where smaller-sensor rivals fall short and doing well to fight the full-frame Sony A7 II.
The Lens Modulation Optimiser appears to make some difference to images captured at smaller apertures, although not to any significant degree – still, it’s easy enough to just keep this on when shooting JPEGs. The new Grain option also lends images a pleasing texture reminiscent of medium-speed black-and-white film emulsions, particularly the stronger of the two options where this is more apparent.
• Detail is still respectable at high ISO settings, and the fine control over noise reduction in camera allows you to tailor this specifically to the scene. Click here for a full size version.
It’s possible to achieve decent video quality with the X-Pro2, and footage appears to be less troubled by various artefacts than before. It’s also nice to find a wide choice of frame rates and the option to use external microphones through the port at the side, particularly as the camera tends to pick up the battering sounds of wind quite easily (and there is no specific control over this in the menu). When shooting at a specific shutter speed, the camera closes down the aperture reasonably silently but in noticeable increments to adapt to different changes in scene brightness; I found setting the ISO to Auto works better for smoother transitions.
The camera can be used wirelessly in conjunction with the Fujifilm Remote Camera app that’s available for both iOS and Android devices. Connection is very straightforward – you just find the network on your device and confirm connection on the camera. Although the control offered by this app isn’t quite as comprehensive as on similar apps designed for other manufacturer’s cameras, on an iPhone 6 I found the feed to be stable and the camera responding as quickly as excepted to any changes made, with images displayed and downloaded promptly.
Lab tests: resolution
We use an industry-standard resolution test chart to check camera performance. This yields resolution figures in line widths/picture height, a measurement now widely used across the camera industry. We also compare the results against our database of previous camera tests to see how each camera compares against its nearest rivals.
For the Fuji X-Pro2 comparison, we’ve chosen the following cameras:
Olympus OM-D E-M5 II: The Olympus may use a smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor than the X-Pro2, but it impressed us with its performance, features and appealing retro design.
Panasonic GX8: Panasonic’s flagship mirrorless camera uses a classic ‘rangefinder’ design, just like the X-Pro2, and has a brand new 20Mp Micro Four Thirds sensor.
Sony A7 II: The A7 II has a full frame sensor twice the physical size of the one in the X-Pro2 but the same resolution. It’s a similar price and pitched at a similar user level.
JPEG resolution analysis: The X-Pro2 lags slightly behind the full frame Sony A7 II at low and medium ISO settings but matches it higher up the ISO range. Its resolution is remarkably consistent across the sensitivity range. Interestingly, the new sensor in the Panasonic GX8 can match the Fuji for resolution.
Raw (converted to TIFF) resolution analysis: This pattern is repeated with raw files. The X-Pro2 is narrowly beaten by the Sony A7 II but, again, delivers remarkably consistent resolution across the sensitivity range.
Lab tests: Dynamic range
Dynamic range is a measure of the sensor’s ability to capture detail in extremely dark and bright areas. It’s measured in EV (exposure values) and the higher the figure the better.
JPEG dynamic range analysis: Fuji cameras typically deliver lower dynamic range JPEGs than rival brands, presumably as a result of higher mid-tone contrast. This tendency is repeated here, though the X-Pro2 does at least deliver consistent results across its sensitivity range.
Raw (converted to TIFF) dynamic range analysis: The results are much closer when comparing raw files, and here there’s little to choose between the X-Pro2 and the rest.
Lab tests: Signal to noise ratio
The signal to noise ratio is the ratio of random digital noise to real image data. The higher the signal to noise ratio the better. This inevitably drops at higher sensitivity settings, but the drop-off in performance does vary from one camera to another.
JPEG signal to noise ratio analysis: The X-Pro2 delivers a very good set of results that closely match those from the Panasonic GX8. Interestingly, the Sony A7 II can’t quite keep up and delivers JPEG images with a similar noise level to those from the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II.
Raw (converted to TIFF) signal to noise ratio analysis: The raw files tell a different story, however, and here the X-Pro2’s images prove significantly noisier than the rest, while the Sony and Panasonic are the best.
As we would probably expect given the four-year interval between the two, Fuji has made some significant changes to the X-Pro formula to create the X-Pro2 – and on the whole, the results are positive.
Those coming from the X-Pro 1 will immediately notice the superior electronic viewfinder, whose boost in resolution and overall performance goes some way to closing the gap between this and traditional optical viewfinders. While Fuji is not alone in making these more usable than on previous generation of cameras, it’s the type of viewfinder that may sway those ordinarily averse to using them.
The many changes made to both manual and autofocus systems also make it more suitable for a greater range of static and moving subjects, and the new focusing lever is great when shifting the AF point needs to be done quickly, although it’s a shame this has not been complemented with touchscreen functionality or an articulated LCD as these would benefit everything from street to macro photography.
At its current asking price of around £1395 for its body only, the camera’s main competitor is perhaps the 24.2MP Sony A7 II, although many people not tied to any system will also no doubt add the cheaper Olympus Pen F and OM-D E-M5 II to their shortlist, together with the Panasonic GX8. Compared with the GX8 in particular the X-Pro2 does appear to be highly priced, although this is partly down to the GX8 having been on the market for some time. The long gap between this and the X-Pro1 also means that the previous model can now be found for less than £400 brand new and even less second-hand in a good condition, which is a significant difference.
Fuji has paid a lot of attention to the things that matter, and in so many respects the camera is much better than its predecessor. The AF system is faster, the viewfinder is better and the inclusion of weather sealing means it can be used in a greater range of shooting conditions with confidence.
Image quality is strong overall, with sound metering and auto white balance systems and lovely colours straight out of the camera. The revised menu system also makes it a much nicer camera to use than its predecessor. All of this, combined with plenty of customisation options and a myriad of small and sometimes unexpected extras, means that the camera ticks many boxes it’s expected to.
While Fuji has made some welcome changes to the physical controls, some revisions may not be as well received, particularly by users used to the X-Pro1 who are considering it as an upgrade.
The easy movement of the exposure compensation dial and recessed rear command dial prove bothersome, while the excellent viewfinder performance sadly comes at the expense of battery life too. Furthermore, the need to change the ISO via a somewhat awkward physical control may upset those upgrading from the X-Pro 1, where the lack of a physical dial meant this could be changed easier, and the lack of a tilting LCD screen is shame when you consider how valued a feature this is on other cameras.
The X-Pro2 is a worthy upgrade on an already popular camera. It’s great to find that Fuji has paid attention to so many areas, notably AF and viewfinder performance through to the menu system and physical operation. It’s clearly sought to fix what wasn’t quite right from before and thrown in a handful of useful extras, and while not everything is a complete success, for many reasons it’s still a much nicer camera to use.
Those planning on upgrading from the X-Pro1 will find plenty to be happy with here although others will find the camera has a number of cheaper rivals vying for the enthusiast user’s attention. These typically have advantages of in-built image stabilisation, articulating or tilting screens and touch functionality, and these are all features than can make a considerable difference to the types of images you can capture.
Still, these aren’t always deal-breakers and many will be more than satisfied with what the X-Pro2 offers. It’s build is solid and image quality is very good, while the control Fuji offers over the camera’s operation often goes beyond what’s expected. In short, even with a handful of foibles, it’s remains a solid offering for the enthusiast user.