Our resident Fuji expert David Cleland was one of the first photographers to get his hands on the X-Pro2. See his images and read about his time with this highly-anticipated camera
Fujifilm’s multi-lens mirrorless debut came quick on the tail of retro-styled X100 camera the previous year and launched with the 18mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses. The X-Pro1 was the start of a new photographic chapter, and it is hard to comprehend just how far things have moved on in the last four years. Although I remain a fan of the original Fujinon lens, we have seen Fujifilm release some seriously amazing glass in the last number of years catering for literally every area of photography, from primes to ultra-wide angle and telephoto zooms, all succeeding at being impressive.
For the outdoor photographer, the launch of a number of WR (weather resistant) cameras and lenses is particularly exciting. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a massive step forward – over the last five years Fujifilm has been busy in the background, listening to photographers and revising and developing their product. The X-Pro2 sees the launch of the next-generation sensor and processor combined with a wealth of features that make the X-Pro2 something to get really excited about.
The first thing that struck me when removing my (pre-production) X-Pro2 camera from the box was the sense of luxury – the magnesium alloy X-Pro2 is light at just 495g (including a battery and memory card), yet it feels solid and well built. The buttons on the rear of the camera have been moved to the right-hand side of the body and are all easily accessible and responsive.
Fujifilm has made a number of improvements to the ergonomics introducing a little joystick to the rear of the camera than allows for easy moving of the focus point across the massive 273 focus point grid. I love this additional control, especially given the boost in the number of focus points that are now available – the X-Pro1 offered just 49. The dials at the top of the camera have also seen a bit of a redesign, with the ISO control now merged with the shutter speed dial. It’s a fantastic design: simply pull the dial surround up while depressing the centre button and rotate to change the ISO.
Although the X-Pro2 is slightly larger and ever so slightly heavier than the X-Pro1, in real terms the change is insignificant. I actually only noticed the difference when I lined both the X-Pro1 and X-Pro2 cameras up together. Long exposure photography fans will be happy to know that the same threaded shutter release button that appears on the X100 and X-Pro1 has found its way on to the X-Pro2, so your low-cost cable release is still usable. However, the USB port on the side of the camera also supports the Fujifilm Remote release cable (RR90).
Turning the camera on takes just 0.4 seconds and I was instantly impressed with the newly designed menu system displayed on the all-new LCD screen. The menu offers a massive range of customisation as well as a dedicated user menu that you can set up to your own requirements. The LCD screen is a stunning 3-inch model, with a 3:2 aspect ratio offering approximately 1.62 million dots, and this means the menus are crystal-clear and readable. Image preview is phenomenal even when outside capturing landscape images.
The viewfinder is also just as impressive, a 0.48-in TFT colour model, 2.36 million dots (4:3), offering approximately a 100% view area. The X-Pro2 offers an image stabiliser function when used with OIS type lenses, a mechanical shutter with speeds of up to 1/8000 sec and an electronic shutter capable of 1/32000 sec.
The new 24.3MP 23.6mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans CMOS III sensor is the key improvement with the X-Pro2. It’s everything you would expect from Fujifilm: breathtaking image quality, exceptional white balance metering and stunning colour rendition. I suspect there will be lots more talk about the new sensor in the weeks to come, especially concerning if and when it will appear on other models.
I am using the Toshiba Exceria Pro memory cards with the X-Pro2, so my setup is impressively fast. The X-Pro2 offers a pre-focus option (activated in the menus) so the camera is already working towards the shot as you point in the direction of the subject. Many will also be celebrating the fact that the X-Pro2 sports dual card slots, one offering UHS-II and the other UHS-I.
I am really impressed at the speedy performance of Fujifilm’s latest release; although speed is not that essential for the kind of landscape photography I do, the X-Pro2 is quick to ready itself after each shot and I found on relaxed days out I was able to quickly capture and document the action. The X-Pro2 also offers continuous shooting at 8fps.
The majority of Fujifilm cameras offer a celebrated range of film simulation options. The X-Pro2 brings the introduction of the ACROS film simulation: a black and white film emulation with three sub-options you can tweak depending on your shooting conditions. I spent a day shooting JPEG images with ACROS film simulation and I have to say I totally love it.
The Great Outdoors
Like the Fujifilm X-T1, the X-Pro2 offers both weather and dust protection which is perfect for the outdoors and landscape photographer. Combine the X-Pro2 with one of the Fujinon WR lenses to create an ultra-portable, high-performance landscape camera.
As a Fujifilm user I was obviously familiar with how the camera works but I found that changes to the X-Pro2’s ergonomics, the location of the buttons and the inclusion of the little joystick all make perfect sense. I found after a day of capturing in the mountains I was aware of where everything was without having to look at the camera. The X-Pro2 is intuitive and I really love the little joystick for adjusting the focus points. Each of the buttons and dials on the X-Pro2 are easily reachable by the thumb on my right hand and I found I was able to quickly make adjustments in a range of shooting environments.
I normally shoot Raw but as Lightroom doesn’t yet support the X-Pro2 files (not surprisingly for a pre-release camera) I opted for shooting JPEG images while out and about with the X-Pro2. In short, the JPEG files are stunning, especially when partnered with the film simulation modes. It was impossible not be excited. I fell in love with the muted tones of classic chrome, and it was great to know all I had to do was get the composition right and the X-Pro2 would deliver the rest.
It has been five years since Fujifilm released their first X camera and it has been exciting to see the range grow and develop. The X-Pro range has matured and although I was using a pre-production X-Pro2 (with an early firmware release) the system already felt like the complete package. The X-Pro2 introduces both Fujifilm’s new sensor and processor, packed with power and performance, and is an amazing new milestone in the mirrorless journey. Fujifilm has kicked off 2016 with a milestone mirrorless camera, and it is impossible not be excited about the future of Fujifilm X.
About the Author
David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long-exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is also an official Fujifilm X photographer. You can see more of his work on his website or follow him on Twitter