When the Fujifilm X-Pro1 landed in January 2012, it ushered in something of a golden era for Fujifilm cameras. I’m a big fan of the X series’ retro designs and tactile controls. It also helps that their sensors consistently outperform other cropped sensors for low noise, giving image quality that’s nipping at the heels of full frame cameras.
The X-Pro2 is the long-awaited update to the X-Pro1, and externally there’s not much to separate them. The rangefinder-inspired design looks like it could have been drawn up at any point in the last 50 years, and the lack of a logo or other markings on the front gives it an air of assured confidence. The camera feels just as good as it looks, with a nicely balanced weight and enough of a handgrip to feel secure during single-handed operation. At 495g without a lens it’s relatively heavy for a compact system camera (CSC), and at £1,349 it’s also one of the most expensive, but Fujifilm offers lots of compelling reasons to make you part with your cash.
The 24-megapixel sensor is brand new and a notable step up from the 16-megapixel sensors in previous X series CSCs. The ISO speed range has increased, too, with a 200-12,800 range that can be expanded to 100-512,000. RAW capture is available at all ISO speeds – a big improvement over previous models, which maxed out at ISO 6400 in RAW mode.
The sensor incorporates 77 phase-detect autofocus points to speed up autofocus, and autofocus certainly felt pretty nippy in the time I spent with the camera. There are dual SDXC card slots, and lossless compression helps to keep RAW file sizes down. The maximum shutter speed is up from 1/4,000 to 1/8,000s and there’s improved weather sealing compared to the X-Pro1.
Single-function buttons and dials are a key part of the X series’ appeal, and the X-Pro2 is no exception. It matches the X-Pro1’s dedicated dials for shutter speed and exposure compensation, and goes further with dual command dials and a dedicated ISO speed dial. Shutter and ISO speed are built into a single control – pushing the centre button down unlocks the shutter speed dial, while pulling the outer ring upwards accesses ISO speed. It took me a few goes to get the hang of this but it quickly proved to be an elegant use of the limited available space. Another big upgrade over previous X series cameras is the rear joystick for moving the autofocus point. This leaves the four-way pad free to be assigned to a choice of other functions.
The X-Pro2 also revisits a feature that was included in the X-Pro1 but not on any other compact system camera – a hybrid viewfinder with both optical and electronic functions. Each type has its advantages, with the optical viewfinder eliminating any lag and showing the true colours in front of you, while the electronic viewfinder shows a closer representation of the photo you’re about to capture. Being able to toggle between them via the switch on the front of the camera is a great asset. New to the X-Pro2 is a hybrid mode, which uses the optical viewfinder but shows a small electronic viewfinder image in the bottom-right corner. This can either show the whole frame or a magnified area to help with focus. The optical viewfinder isn’t a through-the-lens (TTL) view, so there’s some parallax error for nearby subjects and the lens’s focal length is marked by a white box rather than a zooming image. The ability to see the scene beyond the confines of the framed shot can be extremely useful.
Other updates over the X-Pro1 serve to bring the specifications in line with current trends. Wi-Fi is built in for remote control and transfers to smart devices. 1080p video capture is at frame rates up to 60fps, and there’s a 3.5mm microphone input. The 3in LCD screen has a 1.62 million dot resolution – the highest I’ve seen to date.
The X-Pro2 is clearly an upmarket camera but it jostles for pole position in Fujifilm’s line up with the X-T1. The X-T1 has an articulated screen and additional dials for drive mode and metering mode. Both cameras’ electronic viewfinders have a 1024×768 resolution, but the X-T1’s is quite a bit bigger with a 0.77x rather than 0.59x magnification. Then again, the X-T1 lacks the X-Pro2’s hybrid viewfinder function and joystick, and its sensor is the older 16-megapixel design with a narrower ISO speed range fewer phase-detect autofocus point. It’s too early for a definitive verdict, but my initial tests suggest truly outstanding details and noise levels from the X-Pro2’s new sensor.
The X-T1 is one of my favourite cameras of all time, and the X-Pro2 looks set to be a worthy contender for the crown. I’m looking forward to getting one in for extended testing and a full review.