The Fujifilm X-Pro2 might not have all the bells and whistles of some other mirrorless cameras out there, but it excels at refined shooting pleasure.
There are now quite a few cameras in the Fujifilm X series of mirrorless cameras, and the company appears to have made a remarkably good transition from film to digital. I reviewed the X-T1 a few years and ago and have been shooting with the X-T2 recently (stay tuned for a detailed review coming soon).
Most of the cameras in this series have retro styling that harkens back to old-school film cameras. They don’t necessarily have the fanciest bells and whistles or are necessarily have the easiest learning curves for newcomers, but one thing they share is they’re aiming to make pro-level tools just plain fun to shoot with.
While the X-T2 is probably the most complete all-rounder in the current lineup, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a camera for photographers who would be happier with a rangefinder camera in hand than a whizz-bang DSLR. There’s no messing around with zooms and shooting modes and sounds and menu options.1 It’s about taking photos, pure and simple.
It’s a mirrorless camera with a 24.3MP APS-C sized sensor. Its lenses are interchangeable.
The X-Pro2 isn’t a camera for all seasons, and it’s not going to appeal to everyone. And it may not have the bells and whistles of some of the other cameras out there. But what it does, it does very well indeed.
The X-Pro2 is larger than you might expect and is somewhat boxy. It isn’t the prettiest camera you’ve ever seen, even if you’re into retro styling. But it feels good in the hand–substantial in a positive way–and I found it comfortable to shoot with.
Still images are the bread and butter of the X-Pro2. Pretty much everything is designed to emphasize seeing and capturing the image.
Here’s a rundown of some so the key features and specs.
Image Formats. The X-Pro2 can shoot RAW or JPG (or both at once). The RAW format is Fujifilm’s .raf file format, which is pretty widely compatible with most RAW image processing apps.
Aspect Ratio and Sizes. Here are the aspect ratios and pixel dimensions of the various size settings available in the X-Pro2.
|Aspect Ratio||Dimensions in Pixels|
ISO Range. The native ISO range is from 200 to 12800. There are also three extended values–100 at the lower end and 25600 and 51200 at the upper end (you can get undesirable effects on image quality with these extended settings).
There’s also AUTO ISO, with some control over the thresholds at which it is applied and parameters it will stick within.
Autofocus Modes. The X-Pro2 doesn’t have as many fancy autofocus modes as some other cameras, but it has the key ones of single point, zone (multiple focus points within a region of the frame), and wide/tracking (it follows moving targets to some extent, working better on high-contrast large subjects).
Focus Points. There’s a small joystick on the back of the camera that you can control with your right thumb to move the focus point around within the frame. You have quite a lot of control over the positioning and size of the focus point, which is better explained here.
You can also control the granularity of the focus point grid (and therefore the speed with which you can move around it) by choosing either 77 points (in a 7 by 11 grid) or 273 focus points (in a 13 by 21 grid).
Interval Timer. There’s a basic intervalometer built in to shoot still image sequences. It doesn’t stitch the timelapse into a movie in the camera–you’ll need to use a separate timelapse stitching app for that.
Flash. There’s no built-in flash, but there is a standard hot shoe on top. You can also use a flash with the sync terminal. The X-Pro2’s flash sync speed is 1/250 sec.
Yes, the X-Pro2 can shoot video, although its focus is squarely on still images, and I haven’t used the video functionality on this camera much at all. The video option is there, but if you’re planning on shooting a lot of video there are much better options (like the Panasonic Lumix GH5, for example.
Firmware update 4.00 added 4K video to the X-Pro2’s video capabilities.
The controls that it does have can feel minimalist compared to some other cameras out there. Rather than cramming every available space with a button or dial, the controls can be well spaced out. That means less likelihood of bumping the wrong one when you’re focusing on getting the shot. And the controls are quite limited, creating less distraction from what you’re looking do, after all: create photographs.
It has the retro dials on top for shutter speed and exposure compensation.
Aperture is handled old-school, with an aperture ring on the lens.
The buttons on the back are very similar to ones that appear on other Fujifilm cameras. They get the job done without fuss.
You can pair the X-Pro2 with any of the growing range of Fujifilm X-mount lenses. That includes telephoto zooms and wide-angle zooms.
But something about a camera like this just begs for me to use it with a fast prime. I used it with the B&H PhotoFujifilm XF 23mm ƒ/2 R WR lens, and that’s what I used for all these sample images.
It’s a smallish prime. On the X-Pro2’s APS-C cropped sensor, the 23mm lens is the equivalent of a 35mm on a full-frame (or 35mm equivalent). So it’s a versatile and battle-tested focal length. And with a maximum aperture of ƒ/2, it’s quite fast.
It has two manual rings, one for aperture and one for manual focus.
And while I didn’t test out this particular feature, it’s weather resistant as well, which is a nice feature to have.
It also focuses unusually close, with a minimum working distance of only 9 inches (23 cm).
I found a lot to like about this lens. It’s fast, simple, and has excellent image quality. It’s a great pairing with this camera, and it’s not surprising that it’s one of the lenses that’s available in X-Pro2 bundles.
Many cameras these days can do similar things. Things like shooting in RAW, long exposure, burst modes, focus point selection, basic onboard image editing, and face/eye detection are becoming pretty standard. Even panorama modes and interval shooting (timelapse) are quite standard. But some distinctive features of the X-Pro2 stand out.
Dual SD Card Slots. There are two SD card slots. One of them is compatible with UHS-II, so you can take advantage of that feature of some of the fastest SD cards.
Viewfinder. It might seem odd to single out the viewfinder as a distinctive feature, but the one on the X-Pro2 is a bit different to most and has what I think is a pretty cool feature.
There are three ways to see what you’re shooting with this camera. Firstly, on the back is a large LCD screen that provides the kind of live view that we’ve become used to with most cameras and smartphones these days. Secondly, there’s a digital viewfinder.
Thirdly–and this is the cool feature that I like–you can use the same viewfinder portal to switch it over to an optical viewfinder. It still provides the same digital overlay in a heads-up display kind of way. This is the mode I found myself using most of the time. It does take a little getting used to the different perspective.
There are some things to be aware of when using this optical viewfinder mode. This isn’t a through-the-lens viewfinder like on a DSLR. It’s very similar to what you get with a traditional rangefinder camera. What you see is not exactly what you get, and with most lenses, you can even see the outside of the barrel of the lens prominently in the bottom right corner. And particularly for subjects that are close, the perspective and framing you see vary a little from what you’re shooting.
But there are also advantages. The view through the window is wider than what the sensor captures, so you have room in the area around the actual photo. That’s not going to be to everyone’s taste, but I like it because it gives you a much better sense of things that are coming in and out of frame. Many high-end video and film cameras operate that way.
Film Simulation. Rather than abandon their impressive film heritage, Fujifilm has firmly incorporated it into their digital cameras in the form of their film simulations. If you used to shoot with Fujifilm slide or negative films back in the day, chances are you developed favorites. Maybe it was Velvia for its rich, saturated colors and high contrast that could add some spark to even mundane landscape or travel photos. Or maybe it was the relatively neutral Provia or the soft Astia that was especially good for skin colors and flattering portraits. Fujifilm has taken those distinctive looks and updated them for the digital age by building them into their cameras as film emulation processing profiles.
The available profiles on the X-Pro2 are:
I have a more detailed post specifically on these film emulation profiles here. It also includes some real-world examples.
If you shoot JPG, these film emulations are applied directly and aren’t reversible. If you shoot RAW, they’re applied as metadata tags and are reversible and switchable later in post-processing. It’s applied to the embedded JPG preview, but if you regenerate the preview image in an image editor, the settings aren’t automatically reapplied for the new preview (you can override it in something like Lightroom by applying camera profiles).
But one thing to note is that there is a difference between the Film Emulations and Advanced Filters, and they’re treated differently. When you’re shooting RAW, the film emulation is entirely set in the image’s metadata and not hard-coded into the image itself. But the Advanced Filters are applied directly and output as separate JPGs.
Like most modern cameras, the X-Pro2 has a lot of other features. Rather than provide a laundry list of them all, here are some of the key ones:
Here are some sample images I shot with the X-Pro2 and the 23mm lens to give a bit of a sense of how the combination performs in real-world shooting conditions. I’ve posted a much larger collection of sample images separately.
You can find the owner’s manual online here.
The X-Pro2 isn’t for everybody, and there are photographers who will need or want features that the X-Pro2 lacks, but for those looking for a camera like this it stands out. Its refined in build quality and gives you a lot of control over the shooting options without the clutter of bells and whistles, which is something that many serious shooters are likely to appreciate. It’s not at all flashy, which will be something else that appeals particularly to street photographers–there’s not even a brand name or model number etched on the front.
And, in my opinion, it excels at the things that I’m most interested in. The image quality you can get out of its great. And in what might be my highest compliment of a camera, it’s just plain fun to shoot with. It’s one of those rare cameras that you just want to pick up and go out shooting wherever you are.
You can find the X-Pro2 at B&H Photo in black, silver, and graphite models as well as a range of kit options.