When the X-Pro1 was launched back in 2012 it caused a huge stir with its rangefinder-style design, hybrid viewfinder and impressive image quality. It was Fuji’s first X-mount release, and the pioneer of a range that has proved to be highly appealing in the compact system camera (CSC) market.
But technology advances at a pace, and in four years, the expectations of a pro-quality CSC have grown. Returning to fly the Fuji flag once more, the long-awaited X-Pro2 maintains its forebear’s retro aesthetic, but overhauls its core specifications. With an improved sensor, processor, autofocus system and viewfinder, it’s a whole new beast on the inside. But does this new incarnation of the X-Pro have the features and performance to trump its more numerous rivals this time round? Let’s find out...
Features & Build
At 24.3Mp, the X-Pro2 is built around the largest resolution APS-C size sensor found to date in an X-series camera. Newly developed, the X-Trans CMOS III has a random colour filter array to reduce moiré and false colour, without the need for an optical low-pass filter. Files can be output as either JPEGs or RAWs at a maximum size of 6000x4000px, and there’s the option to use space-saving lossless compression if desired. Unlike some of its rivals, the X-Pro2 does not feature sensor-based image stabilisation, but can take advantage of the optical stabilisation offered by many X-mount lenses. Complementing the sensor is a new processing engine – the X Processor Pro.
The camera’s native ISO range now tops out at 12,800, with 200 maintained as its lowest setting. The X-Pro2 also offers three expanded ISO levels – 100, 25,600 and 51,200 – all of which remain available when shooting in RAW.
At 8fps it offers a solid, though not exactly ground-breaking, continuous shooting speed. Full HD video can be recorded at 60fps, but there’s no 4K option. Available shutter speed ranges from 30secs to 1/8000sec, but is expandable to an impressive 1/32,000sec using the electronic shutter. There’s also a Bulb mode for longer exposures up to 60mins. Not forgetting the connectivity expected of a modern CSC, Wi-Fi enables remote operation and file transfer via Fuji’s Camera Remote app. Like the X-Pro1, there’s no built-in flash, but it does feature a hotshoe. It’s also the first X-series camera to provide dual SD card slots, and these can be assigned to either file backup or storage expansion duties.
Measuring 141x83x46mm, the retro-styled X-Pro2 is quite chunky, and at 495g, it’s not light for a CSC. It does, however, benefit from a magnesium-alloy chassis, milled aluminium dials and 61 weatherproof seals on its body. At the bottom left of the camera’s rear is a 3in LCD screen with an improved 1620k-dot resolution. Unlike some rivals, it’s not a touchscreen, and doesn’t articulate to assist with framing from awkward angles. Its positioning does allow all buttons and controls to be placed on the right hand side, though, which makes for good handling. Matched with this display is one of the X-Pro2’s most distinctive features, its Advanced Hybrid Multi viewfinder. This combines an optical viewfinder giving 92% coverage of the frame with a 2360K-dot electronic viewfinder.
Despite a small raised grip on its front and a thumbrest on its rear, the X-Pro 2 feels quite square and angular in the hand. However, its button placement is intuitive, with major settings within easy reach, even when the camera is held up to the eye. On its top is the power switch, a shutter button with cable release thread, a function button and two large dials, one for Exposure Compensation, and one with a dual-function shutter speed/ISO control. There are also front and rear command dials on the body. A Quick Menu button keeps many of the most-common settings close to hand, while a new My Menu feature allows users to assign their 16 favourite settings to a custom screen. Like many Fuji models, the X-Pro2 features a substantial range of film simulation options, and the new ‘Acros’ mono mode takes the total to 15.
The Hybrid autofocus system features 77 phase-detection points that cover around 40% of the frame, alongside contrast-detect AF which covers almost the entire frame. While the speed of the original X-Pro1’s AF was rather pedestrian, we found this new system to be both highly accurate and responsive. The active AF point can be quickly selected with a dedicated joystick on the camera’s rear. Available AF modes include Single-shot and Continuous, while users can choose between single-point, zone and wide/tracking focusing. For those that prefer to focus manually, the camera offers focus peaking and digital split image for accurate results.
In our tests, single RAWs took 0.8sec to write to card, while JPEGs took half that time. When set to its 8fps burst mode, the buffer filled after 26 RAWs, taking 15secs to write. JPEGs filled the buffer after 76 shots and wrote to the card in 17secs.
Value for money
At £1349 body-only, the X-Pro2’s unique viewfinder, excellent sensor and improved AF go a long way to justify the £500 premium it carries over its X-T1 sibling. But it does lack the more advanced video features of the Panasonic GX8 (£779 body-only), and the vari-angle touchscreen offered by the retro styled Olympus Pen-F (£999 body-only). There’s also Sony’s full-frame A7 to contend with, which costs just £975 with a 28-70mm lens.
With its refined build, all-metal body and classically-styled exterior, there’s no doubting the X-Pro2’s prestige status. But despite the massive improvements to its resolution, AF performance, and on-board technology, some of its features could be seen as a little behind the curve when compared to the flagship CSCs it competes against. 4K video and an articulating touchscreen are not incorporated, and while videographers aren’t the X-Pro2’s target market, some street photographers might feel disappointed with the lack of a vari-angle display. But in use, these factors are soon forgotten, making the X-Pro2 a very attractive proposition. Intuitive handling, inspired Hybrid Viewfinder and great image quality add up to a premium CSC oozing retro charm. And above all, it’s a real joy to use.
- Body price £1349 (As of July 2016)
- Resolution: 24.3Mp (6000 x 4000px)
- Format: RAW & JPEG
- Sensor: APS-C X-Trans CMOS III
- ISO: 200-12,800 (100 expanded low, 51,200 expanded high)
- Shutter: 30secs-1/32000sec & Bulb mode
- AF: system Intelligent Hybrid AF
- Focusing: modes Manual, Single AF, Continuous AF
- Metering: Multi, Spot, Average, Centre-weighted
- Burst rate: 8fps
- Monitor: 3in, 1620K-dot LCD
- Viewfinder: Hybrid, 2360K-dot 0.48in TFT EVF / OVF with 92% coverage
- Pop-up flash: No
- Hotshot: Yes
- Video: Full HD 1920x1080 @ 60p
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi
- Write speeds: 0.8sec RAW
- Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC
- Weight: 495g
- Dimensions: (WxHxD) 141x83x46mm
- Visit: www.fujifilm.eu/uk
This review was first published in the April 2016 issue of Digital Photo - download back issues here.