A Review Of The Awesome Fujifilm X-Pro 2
In this Fujifilm X-Pro 2 review, I take a look at why I fell in love with this wonderful camera and how it compares to other cameras on the market. You may be wondering why a design studio is writing a review about a camera. Well, up until earlier this year I used to be a wedding photographer and we still take lots of photos for both ourselves and clients, and this camera is worth writing about.
I have been using the Fuji X-Pro 2 for about 4 months now and absolutely love it. It’s an awesome little camera and I have really enjoyed shooting with it. I have shot 3 weddings with the Fuji X-Pro 2 and one with the X-Pro 2 alongside my Nikon D750 which I no longer own, I’ll get into that a bit later on. I have also shot some landscapes, portraits, sports and general family stuff.
I have two young kids so if a camera can keep up with them it can keep up with anything. For the most part the Fuji X-Pro 2 can keep up with my children once you get used to how it works best and adjust your style slightly from that of shooting with a conventional DSLR.
Previous to me owning the Fuji X-Pro 2 I had owned and used extensively the Nikon D750, Fujifilm X-T1, Sony A7R II and A7 II, Canon 5D Mark III, Panasonic GH3 and the Olympus OM-D E-M5. So I’ve had experience with all these other cameras, some much more than others. I owned and shot a lot with the Canon 5D III which was a great camera and served me well for years. My mirrorless journey started around three years ago with the Olympus OM-D E-M5, which was a cracking camera but I didn’t like the sensor much, it was too small and lacked dynamic range.
I used to shoot weddings and photography was a more prominent side of my business back then. I still shoot a few weddings a year but not like I used to. I also used to do a fair bit of video work before focussing more on graphic and web design. So I’ve tried a lot of different systems over the past few years searching for the perfect camera and finally settled on the Fuji, the X-Pro 2 to be precise. It’s been a long and interesting path to finally feel settled, but why did I pick the X-Pro 2?
When I owned the Fuji X-T1 it was a great camera but I didn’t love it, the image quality just didn’t quite cut it for me. Even the colours which everyone raves about on Fuji’s were not to my liking, the colour always seemed to lean towards the magenta side of things and I tried 3 different versions of the camera, they were all the same.
I shoot raw mostly too and lightroom didn’t really seem to bring out the best in the files and I didn’t want to change my entire workflow just to accommodate the Fuji files. The jpegs felt over smoothed with a kind of waxy feel, so they were out too. I loved the size and the look of the camera and the lenses with the physical aperture rings are exceptional quality. But the overall image quality and colour wasn’t for me. So I sold it and bought a Sony A7 II.
This was an interesting camera, I bought it with the Sony / Zeiss 55mm f1.8 lens and the 70-200 f4 Sony lens. The colours were wildly vivid and deep, the sensor was superb, the 55mm lens was seriously sharp and contrasty, I liked it most of the time but it was a pain to use. I kind of got used to it but eventually sold it as I just didn’t enjoy using it much, especially weddings where I was always changing settings I didn’t want to change with that stupidly sensitive mode dial when I wanted to change the focus point, which nearly always resulted in a lost moment. Image wise it was wonderful, if not a little too punchy at times for my taste. So I sold it went back to the Canon 5D Mark III again. I bought a used one with a 70-200 2.8 II and Sigma 35mm ART to get going with.
This was sold within 3 weeks, it felt like a dinosaur, the image quality compared to the Sony just wasn’t as good and I missed the EVF and IBIS when doing video, which I had gotten used to more than I realised. I had a little break from cameras for a few months while I tried to figure out what the heck I actually wanted from my camera system and why I kept feeling discouraged with each system. I also needed to recoup my financial losses, which were mounting up. Then the Sony A7R II was announced!
A few more months past and I completely threw reason and all common sense out the window and just had to buy the Sony A7R II. It was definitely going to be loads better than the previous A7 II I sold and make my photography and life in general loads better! Well, it made the images I took look better from a technical standpoint. I don’t think I’ve ever seen sharper, more detailed images from a full frame sensor.
The colours are simply beautiful, with wonderful depth especially when used with some of the top end glass, like the 35mm 1.4. The autofocus was improved and the auto eye detect is awesome, most of the time. It was and is a great camera but certainly was not better to use, if anything it was worse, take more than 5 photos in a row and it would lock up for about 20 seconds while it was ‘writing to the card’. If you wanted to check focus after taking an image, you better put the kettle on and take a seat as you might be there for awhile.
These and the general cumbersome nature of the focus selector and menu system lead me to sell the camera. I had a busy year of weddings ahead and I wanted something that was rock solid and dependable, that I didn’t have to think about, so I purchased two Nikon D750s a couple of primes and got on with things for awhile. Then the Fuji X-Pro 2 was announced. Can you see a pattern here!
When the Fuji X-Pro 2 was announced I was excited, it seemed to tick a lot of boxes and had improvements in all the right areas, I watched and read all the reviews I could get my hands on and once again I started to think, what if… So I headed to my local camera store in Brisbane to check it out. I took my sd card in with me and took some very average photos of staff and booklets and lights and anything else I could find in the store.
The photos were uninspiring, to say the least, but they had a certain look to them that I liked. It was also a pleasure to shoot with. The EVF was not as great as I had hoped, but it was quick. The focusing was better than the XT-1 and overall it felt fast, responsive and easy to use. Changing your focus point was now a breeze too with the new selector stick. Why this wasn’t implemented from the beginning I will never know, it’s such a fundamental part of any camera. Surely if Sony sorts this out they will have very happy photographers all over the world.
I didn’t buy the camera that day, but I wished I did for about two weeks and then I bought it. Along with the 23mm f1.4 lens to start with. I took it along to a few weddings with my Nikons and used it more and more, I then sold one Nikon and the 35mm Sigma lens I had for it and used the Fuji alongside it. I then decided that as I wasn’t going to be shooting too many weddings anymore I didn't need the other Nikon either. So I sold that too and all the remaining Nikon gear I had.
I’ve now been shooting with just the Fuji X-Pro 2 for about 3 months and love it. It’s a funny thing, it kind of grows on you. You don’t realise this until one day you hire and shoot with a Canon 80D to test out the autofocus in video mode because you think you need it, take some photos, look at them in Lightroom and then realise how awful they look in comparison and how the colours, when compared to this new Fuji sensor, look like rubbish. It’s weird, I didn't expect there to be such a difference between them, but it’s very noticeable after shooting with the Fuji for a while.
So to sum up this rather long story, I mean review. The Fuji X-Pro 2 is a major step up from the older X-T1 and the newer sensor and processor is working some wonderful magic. The focussing isn’t the best I’ve missed a few shots, to be honest, but it’s plenty good enough particularly if you take the time to adjust your style slightly. The EVF could be bigger, it’s a bit like a tunnel and you don’t have much eye relief, again though it’s good enough and I use the screen a lot now.
There are few other little quirks, like the ISO dial, it’s a pain, no 4K video, not a big deal for me right now, no flip out screen, again not a major pain but would have been nice. However in spite of these little niggles, it doesn't matter to me one bit because when I load those images onto my computer I am always in love with the look, feel and colours. For some reason, they just look awesome. I have no idea why some kind of voodoo Fuji magic but they sure do know their colours and I love it.
Of course, the Fujifilm XT-2 has recently been announced which is supposed to offer pretty much everything I mentioned above that is lacking from the X-Pro 2, so that might really be the ultimate dream camera for me but I’ve gotta say, they Fuji X-Pro 2 is doing it for me right now.
If you got this far, thanks for sticking around, I guess this wasn’t really a review but more of a rambling of my thoughts about a few cameras. Either way, I hope you enjoyed it please feel free to leave some comments, it lets me know you stopped by.