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!
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
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Low light performance
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!
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.
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.
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!