The Fujifilm X-Pro2 for Street Photography

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 for Street Photography

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Fujifilm X-Pro2

Introduction

About three weeks ago our friends from Fujifilm Hellas sent us the Fujifilm X-Pro2 so we could try it out. Put it through it’s paces. Give it a whirl. You know the drill. So, what did I think of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 for Street Photography? Read on and you will soon find out!

But before we jump into the good stuff, I would like to remind you of our previous camera reviews that you might find interesting. We have written reviews on the Fujifilm X-Pro1, the Ricoh GR, the Fujifilm X-T10, the Fujifilm X-T1, the Fujifilm X70 and the Canon EOS 6D. All cameras we review here on Streethunters.net are reviewed in a particular way and under specific circumstances. They are reviewed as street photography cameras specifically. As mentioned in previous posts, we do not give a rat’s bum about pixel peeping, lens distortions, chromatic aberrations or anything like that. What matters as far as we are concerned is how the camera handles in the streets!

Now that this intro is over, let us look into the Fujifilm X-Pro2 for Street Photography!

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 For Street Photography

We would like to make perfectly clear that all camera reviews we write are from a personal point of view. Neither myself nor any of the Streethunters.net Editors are a camera expert. We are not pro camera gurus or have any affiliation with any particular camera brand. All cameras that we have reviewed we have used extensively in the streets. In this post you will be reading my personal opinion about the Fujifilm X-Pro2 body, not the lens shown in the photos.

If you feel that there is something that is missing from this post, something that you would have liked me to include, please feel free to make your suggestions in the comments section below. During this review I will discuss the X-Pro2’s size & weight (portability), build quality, handling, performance, features, low light performance, image quality and value.

Size & Weight = Portability

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Size does matter in Street Photography and whoever says otherwise is not telling the truth. At 141 x 83 x 56 mm (5.55 x 3.27 x 2.2″) and weighing 495g (1.09 lb / 17.46 oz) including the battery and memory card, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is ideal for long hours of shooting in the streets and doesn’t stand out like a massive DSLR. So it is discreet and light. Not compact for sure, but still at a very, very good size and weight that will allow any street photographer to easily carry it around his/her neck for hours. Compared to the Fujifilm X-Pro1 we reviewed here it is ever so slightly larger and just 45g heavier. When I put them next to each other and held them both simultaneously I couldn’t see or feel any difference though. So the differences are so small that they are unnoticeable. During the time I reviewed the X-Pro2 I didn’t carry it around my neck, instead I had equipped it with my leather wrist strap. The longest I carried it around with me was 5 hours and I didn’t even notice it. When I wasn’t using it, it was stored safely in Camslinger around my waist or it rested on a bar.

Rating: 8

Build quality

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 body is made of a very durable magnesium alloy. When holding the camera it feels as solid as a brick and fits comfortably in my average sized hands. I never lost my grip and it never slipped. The top dials are metal made from aluminium and feel good to the touch. Just like with the X-Pro1 they feel great. That is, except for the ISO dial which is a pain in the neck, but more on that later. Another great feature of the camera body is that is dust and water-resistant with a total of 61 weatherproof seals and can work in low temperatures without issues. The very bright optical viewfinder of the X-Pro2 is the best one made by Fujifilm to date offering lots of useful overlaid information. Following in the footsteps of the X-Pro1, the back dials are of great quality and the addition of the joystick has made it even easier to use. The X-Mount is metal like in all the pro Fujifilm cameras and the 3.0 inch LCD screen on the back is of the highest quality, offering a resolution of approximately 1.62 millions dots, which is 390,000 more dots than the X-Pro1 screen. Overall the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a very nicely built camera that feels as if it can go though a lot. So if you are a street photographer that enjoys shooting in harsh weather conditions, don’t worry about using this camera. It can manage!

Rating: 9

Handling

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Following in the footsteps of the older X-Pro1, the X-Pro2 is just as good at handling! But not everything is good unfortunately. Read on for more.

Pros

I felt right at home the instant I turned the camera on. Even though the differences in the menus are significant between the two X-Pro models, if you have used a more recent X-mount camera you will feel very comfortable. The strong point of all the X-mount cameras isn’t the menu, but the on-body controls that let you control the X-Pro2 just like any old film camera. So, just as I mentioned in my X-Pro1 review, for anyone with previous experience with older film cameras, the layout becomes instantly recognisable and feels very familiar. Using the X-Pro2 doesn’t just feel great, but also feels inspiring, because it gives the photographer a creative freedom that can’t easily be achieved with other cameras. That, for me is very important and a very serious reason to consider buying this amazing camera.

Cons

There is a downside though, and it is a pretty big one and for that the X-Pro2 will never get a rating of 10 for handling. The ISO dial! Seriously, whoever thought of implementing an ISO dial from ages past on a camera like this was not focusing on the user experience. Let me explain why. To change ISO values you have to tightly grab the ISO dial with your fingers and lift it up and turn it. 90% of the time you try to do this, you will accidentally change your shutter speed instead, or you will change both your shutter speed and ISO value. No matter how focused on the task you may be, there is no way you will manage to move the ISO dial flawlessly. This slows down the process of changing ISO dramatically and makes it feel like a pain in the neck. This is a nightmare especially when you are in a hurry for a shot. ISO in Digital cameras is meant to be changed frequently, sometimes as often as shutter speed and aperture. So making a dial that doesn’t give the user the flexibility to switch between ISO values easily and fast is beyond my understanding. Fujifilm, this is something you have to change in the future. Either make a dedicated ISO dial, or remove it completely. I can’t say it is a deal breaker, especially if you use Auto ISO, so don’t worry about it, but it will annoy you from time to time guaranteed. So, besides this really frustrating dial, the rest of the camera handles amazingly well.

Rating: 9

Performance

“Catwoman” – Photo by Spyros Papaspyropoulos

Inside the Fujifilm X-Pro2 you will find a lovely New X-Trans CMOS III sensor & X Processor Pro! The sensor is 24MP and the image quality that comes out of this monster is simply stunning. In my opinion, the IQ is the best I have seen so far in any Fujifilm X-Mount camera I have reviewed and tried. More on this later though. For this part of the review we will examine the Camera responsiveness, Battery life, the Autofocus speed and accuracy and the EVF’s performance.

Camera Responsiveness

This is a lightning fast camera! When I was testing it, it always responded instantly to my “commands”. There is no shutter lag, or at least I didn’t notice it and when turning the dials the values changed without delay. Out of all the cameras I have reviewed, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the most responsive.

Battery Life

Every time I review a MILC I mention the same thing, that battery life isn’t ideal. By now this should be accepted by everyone, because Mirrorless cameras require more power to work than DSLRs. Accepting that a camera doesn’t have a good battery life though doesn’t change the fact that it is inconvenient, however this is nothing that a second battery can’t solve. If you keep the LCD screen turned off, you will get a pretty decent amount of shots out of one charge, so keep that in mind, use the OVF more often and you should enjoy the camera for much longer. Please note that I did feel that the X-Pro2 handled power much better than the X-Pro1. So it does use up energy in a more advanced and economic way than its older sibling.

Auto Focus

Out of all the Fujifilm cameras I have reviewed, the X-Pro2 has the fastest Auto Focus by far, no doubt about it. Keep in mind I haven’t yet had the opportunity to test the X-T2, so I might change my tune if I get that camera in my hands, but until then the X-Pro2 has for me the fastest AF any X-Mount camera has to offer. Focusing in low light, wasn’t ideal, but it wasn’t a never-ending hunt like in other Fujifilm cameras. The X-Pro2 would focus, albeit a bit slower. At this point I would like to remind you that when I reviewed the X-T1, I mentioned that Sony was always better at AF than Fujifilm. I also said back then “I will make a mental note to return to this remark I made once I try out the Fujifilm X-Pro2 and the XT-2 and let you know if this is still the case.” Well, the X-Pro2 AF is very fast and accurate, but I can’t say if it is faster or slower than any SONY camera. My capabilities as a human tester can’t spot any differences, so I guess the improvements in the Fujifilm X-Pro2 camera AF are massive.

OVF Performance

There is nothing much to say about the X-Pro2 OVF. It is bright, clear, and has loads of information overlaid onto the glass. It covers 92% of the capturing area and offers 2 magnifications at approximately x0.36 / x0.60. I think that the X-Pro1’s fonts were easier to read, but that is something one can get used to pretty fast. I remember that after a couple of days, I didn’t notice it any more. The OVF is fantastic, period! That is all I used for street photography.

EVF Performance

What a great EVF! It is very responsive, bright and has a great resolution. Specifically it has 2.36 millions dots and covers 100% of the capturing area. The massive bonus you get from using the EVF is that what you see is exactly what you get! Not only from a compositional point of view but from an exposure point of view too. So, if you prefer actually looking at a live preview of your image before capturing it, then the EVF will work wonders for you, but keep in mind that when you use a flash in low light you will either have to switch to the OVF (this is my recommendation) or turn off the live preview in the EVF, otherwise you will only see black. You can read more about this in the Fujifilm X-T1 review I wrote in paragraph Performance > EVF Performance. Due to the fact that I used the EVF for testing only and not for street photography in the bright Greek sun like I did with the X-T1 I can’t say how it felt using it in the daylight. I was too hooked on the amazing OVF!

Rating: 9

Features

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Fujifilm X-Pro2

I will try and keep this short because in a nutshell the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is full of amazing features! There is nothing you can’t use this camera for. It isn’t just a street photographer’s camera. It can deliver as a studio camera, a wedding photographer’s camera, a sports and events camera, as a documentarist’s / photojournalist’s camera, a landscape photographer’s camera, and anything else you feel like doing with it! It is a professional tool that can do anything and can perform well in the hands of anyone who will invest 30 minutes to learn how to use it. If you are not familiar with the way Fujifilm cameras work, then you might not know about the custom presets. I have mentioned these before in all my Fujifilm reviews. Basically, custom presets give the photographer the power to setup up profiles that can be switched through fast and easy. So for example you might have a setting for bright daylight shooting and another for indoor photography. You are walking in the street shooting, but find yourself unexpectedly entering a pub for a beer. Instead of re-setting your camera, all you have to do is switch to your indoor photography setup, change your aperture and speed and you are ready to shoot inside without even having to jump into the menus! Love this feature!

Moving on, the ISO range has increased to 200 – 12800 and is now expandable to 100-51200 with RAW support! This is very handy, because most previous Fujifilm cameras would only go up to ISO 6400 in RAW.

A new black and white film simulation have been added, the Acros and also a Grain effect for JPGs that combined together can produce really filmic looking monochrome photographs.

The X-Pro2 supports WiFi connectivity that worked for me like a charm. I don’t know if the Fujifilm iOS app has been improved or the X-Pro2 firmware is better than the one of the X-T1 I used, but the experience of connecting my iPhone to the camera was smooth and fast, nothing compared to what I experienced with the X-T1.

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is also weather sealed! If you combine if with one of the new weather sealed lenses you will not have to worry about the weather again! You can shoot in the rain, in the snow and in a dusty environment carefree. You have to love this.

What makes this camera even more sexy in my opinion is the fact that it sports 2 SD card slots one of which is a UHS-II slot! How cool is that?!

Another great feature is the increase in top shutter speed from 1/4000th to 1/8000th and the addition of an electronic shutter option that increases shutter speed up to 1/32000th.

But my favourite of all features has to be the increased Flash sync! It is now at 1/250th. This makes the camera much easier to use during daylight, especially when combined with the extended ISO setting set at 100.

For more details on the X-Pro2 features, I recommend you visit the Fujifilm website.

Rating: 10

Low light performance

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a low light monster! For a cropped sensor camera, the results are amazing. I didn’t expect anything less from Fujifilm’s new sensor technology to be honest. I mentioned before that the full ISO range is supported in RAW mode now, which is great! Before you could only take advantage of the full ISO range in JPG mode, which was annoying to be honest, but that is now over. The X-Pro2 delivers in low light and if you combine it with a fast lens, something like the XF23 f1.4, then you are going to really have fun shooting in the dark streets of your city with this camera! I can’t help but feel that if the X-Pro2 had a full frame sensor the low light performance would have been better though, so I can’t allow myself to give it a perfect 10. I guess a 9 will do just fine!

Rating: 9

Image quality

If you have read my previous Fujifilm camera reviews you will know by now that I really, really, really like the image quality that comes out of those cameras. Something has changed with the Fujifilm X-Pro2 though. The Image Quality has actually got better! My lord! Amazing results. I am not a pixel peeper, or a colour pimp or anything like that, but I can tell, just by looking at the files that the IQ is out of this world. The new sensor has really upped the X-Pro2’s game! It feels like stuff pops out of the picture. I get that 3d feeling I get when looking at full frame camera files. Also, the highlights, shadows, blacks and whites are much better. Wow! Yeah, you will really love the image quality on this camera.

Rating: 10

Value

Fujifilm X-Pro2

Here things start to go a little downhill for the Fujifilm X-Pro2. The camera retails in Europe at around €1706, in Britain at around £1349 and in the USA at around $1699. So the best place to purchase your new X-Pro2 from is the UK hands down. I have to say, even though it is a massive improvement over the X-Pro1 and every other X-mount camera previously made and even though it has amazing features, great image quality (one of the best on the market) and performs wonderfully, I still think that the cost for the body only is a little steep. Maybe it is me coming from Greece where the cost of the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is nearly as much as 3 basic salaries, maybe I just have a different way of estimating the value of a tool such as the X-Pro2, but in my book, it is pretty expensive and has to lose points for this reason.

Rating: 7

Conclusion

Fujifilm X-Pro2

The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is an amazing camera for street photography. There is no doubt about it. I highly recommend it to anyone that can afford it. The ergonomics, the weight, size, performance, features, image quality, low light performance and handling are all top notch. This is a monster of a camera, a KING in the streets, unquestionable in my opinion. I am not too happy with the camera price however and I think that Fujifilm needs to start bringing its prices down a bit. I strongly believe that if the camera was priced lower, it would be in higher demand. That said, ever since I tested this camera, I knew I was going to own one of my own one day. But that day will come much later when Fujifilm decides to push it in a bundle or cuts the price at least 20%. Until then I will shoot with my Fujifilm X-Pro1 which I adore!

If you want to know more about the Fujifilm X-Pro2, just ask me in the comments.

Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!

19 COMMENTS

  1. Great review! Thanks! What lenses you use on the Fuji camera’s for streetphotography? Own a XPro-1 myself and use it with the Fujinon 35mm f1.4. Now thinking of getting the latest Fujinon 23mm f2.0. You tried this? Any thoughts about this?

    • Hello! Thank you for reading and for taking the time to comment. I use the XF18 f2.0 mainly, sometimes the XF27 f2.8 too. For the X-Pro2 I also had the XF23 f1.4 available. I haven’t used the 23 f2.0 so I can’t really share an opinion about it. Maybe another reader has tried it and can help out.

  2. Another interesting article, Spyros. I came to Fuji from Full Frame Canon in the October of 2012. I started with a Fuji X100 Limited Edition and found it to be a superb camera for street photography, taking many great images both in the UK and in Rhodes, Greece. I followed on with the X Pro 1 in 2014 and have been with that camera ever since. I will of course upgrade to the X Pro 2 at some point no doubt but at the moment my love affair with the X Pro 1 hasn’t quite ended yet (I doubt it will).

    I waited a long time to get the X Pro 1, which at the time of jumping from the Canon ship, was still very expensive. I got a good price for my Canon gear but didn’t want to throw good money away. I saved myself a small fortune buying into the X Pro 1 via the Fuji shop, taking my chances with a refurbished machine. It has been absolutely marvellous I have to say. It has soul and spirit! I can feel its excitement as soon as I take it out of the bag. It wants to get going and just loves being put to work. I think like the X Pro 2, like the X Pro 1, will need several updates to squeeze out its full potential. At the moment it is more than I can afford. I will wait for the price to drop significantly before biting the bullet on a deal and pick up another bargain for a lot less money. I love a bargain.

  3. This is a great review. , i agree with the ISO button. jesspos said i could bring this back and nearly did .
    I held back before doing so , im a chilled guy and so chambing the iso is not a problem for me . I have set the three Auto settings in camera for general lighting situation and so i just flick in to that of my choice .
    Ive got use to changing that button manualy and so for me its now ok.
    Im soooooooo glad i never returned this bad boy back to the shops.
    I love this and the images are awsome or should i say quality from the camera .
    If you look at the tricky camera to use the role film Leica camera ok which is hard to use and very old , turning that ISO is not that hard to get use to in comparison.
    This camera the Fuji Pro 2 is awsome for me and i love it.
    Thanks for the above review.

  4. Great review Spyros, I love this camera for my street photography, I wouldn’t go back to a dslr style camera. Totally agree with the iso dial, so it’s normally auto iso for me, and if I’m hanging around one area and not moving around I’ll use the exposure lock button.
    See you on the streets 😀
    I’ll be on Rhodes in August and hope to get in some street photography while I’m there.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more. I use auto ISO more for the convenience (if I’m moving quickly between exterior locations and interior locations) than anything else. In tricky lighting situations I always use exposure lock, usually taking the reading from the ground at my feet or the palm of my hand. I have worked that way for many years.

  5. Thanks for the very honest and extensive review. I have owned the X-Pro2 since June of last year. I also have the X-Pro1 and the X100s, both which have traveled extensively with me over the last few years. I have to agree with you about the price being a bit steep, $2000 here in Canada but for me, the bluetooth connectivity, improvements in focus speed, increased pixel count/image quality, and the joystick for changing focus area made it a relatively easy decision to pay the price. About the ISO dial. I know this is a personal thing and some will hate it, others love it. I’m in the ‘love it’ crowd. I’ve never accidentally changed my shutter speed when adjusting it and it is always with my eye to the viewfinder when I do change it. It did take a bit of practice for this to become a smooth and instinctive movement but after about the first month, it was a no-brainer action. I wasn’t sure about it when I first got the camera but now, it is no more difficult than changing the aperture or shutter speed and I can do it all without dropping the camera from my eye. But I do understand that some will find it to be fiddly and/or awkward.
    I have just returned from a 2 week trip to Asia and I’m currently going through the 2000+ shots that I took. I am finding way more jpegs that need little or no processing than I ever did with the Xpro1 or X100s. Maybe it’s the fact that the experience I gained from those 2 cameras and the film simulations gave me a better feel for what settings to use with the different simulations but I think that the new sensor/processor on the XPro2 also play a part in this. I still shoot raw as well so when I run into a tricky light photo that might need more flexibility in the dynamic range than the jpegs provide, I can still save the shot. After this trip, I can honestly say I have no regrets in upgrading to the XPro2.
    I haven’t posted any XPro2 shots yet to my website but you can check out my XPro1 and X100s work here:
    https://myfujifilmstreetshots.wordpress.com/
    I know I should have called it ‘myfujifilmtravelshots’ but it just sort of evolved from street to travel.
    I hope the price gets to a point where you too can purchase and really enjoy this camera.
    Cheers from Canada
    John Grubb

    • Hi John, thank you very much for your comment and for sharing your work. I hope the price get’s to a point that I can afford to buy it myself also, but until then, I will keep having fun with my X-Pro1 which I adore!

  6. Fuji has become the top mirrorless camera brand fro mixing the old and new like no other. Most ppl love the feel of the iso dial as it brings them closer to 1970s while having all the latest technology
    If you are changing your ISO so often or cant really manage to successfully work that dials even a dummy can operate, XT-2 would be a better choice. Most XPRO 2 owners i know love that dial.

    • Thanks for calling me a dummy mate. You must be so proud to be such an intelligent person knowing how to operate a dial.
      It is always nice to have “positive” people share their opinions on our blog.
      Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting!

    • Hey Dan my brother! Thanks for reading. Yeah, battery time is better and the X-Pro2 overall is a significant improvement over the X-Pro1, but for Street shooting, the X-Pro1 is more than enough.
      Stay Sharp & Keep Shooting bro!

  7. I shoot the XPro2 with the 23 1.4….street, NYC, battle tank, low light monster.
    ISO dial…? Really? Ever own a camera before digital….ie..when you had to pay attention to your set up? It just keeps you honest.
    Anyway, fine review.
    Paul

    • Hi Paul, yeah, thanks for the comment man. I did own a camera before digital. I am 40+ years old and have been shooting for ages. But the concept of the ASA and the digital ISO are totally different. When shooting film, as you know, you set your ASA and forget it until you switch rolls. But with digital you have the luxury to set your shutter speed and aperture and change ISO constantly. I like shooting that way, so the X-Pro2 is annoying in that respect. However, if you are a person that shoots Auto ISO, or you like setting your ISO to one specific setting throughout your shooting, then I am sure you will love the X-Pro2, but for people like me, who change ISO settings regularly, it is not so convenient.

      • I have to agree with you on the ISO differences to those of film days. It took me a long time to come to terms with that aspect of digital photography. ISO for digital has no bearing to the sensitivity of film stock. In the days of film we had to pay close attention to ASA/ISO before purchasing a roll of film for our cameras. For street work I favoured 400 ISO and always set my aperture anywhere between f/11 and f/5.6 depending on aperture of the lens. I still use the old ‘sweet spot’ method of 2.5 to 3 stops up from widest aperture of the lens in use to this day and it works for me. I always set ISO to auto these days, my fear of using high ISO numbers having long passed me by – something I would have dreaded with film. With mono work, just set it to auto and forget about it. It is pointless to keep faffing with it.

        Please note that much of my work with Fuji X is now in a temporary private gallery at my website, available to those who buy my eBook. They will be made public after 1 year.

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