This review is entirely my own opinion based on using the camera professionally for just over a year. This isn’t intended to be a technical review, but rather my impressions on how it performs primarily as a wedding photography camera but also as a personal one. Whilst there are a selection of pictures in this article that I’ve taken at weddings with an X-Pro 2, almost all of the photographs in my portfolio galleries have also been taken with these cameras.
Around 13 months ago I was photographing weddings with a Canon 5D Mark III and a Fujifilm X-T1. I had bounced around between using a Canon 7D originally as my backup, and then switching to an old Canon 1D Mark II all the while keeping the 5D as my main body. That was until I met the X-T1.
This was truthfully a very different camera to me. It felt simultaneously tactile and compelling to use whilst almost feeling delicate, especially when compared to the 5D. Perhaps after years of shooting with Canon cameras my hands were so accustomed to the feel of a reasonably large DSLR that the smaller form factor of the X-T1 caught me off guard a little.
Something about the X-T1 drew me in before I bought it. My gut tells me that it was Fujifilm’s marketing but my heart tells me it was a yearning for a more creative experience from my camera.
After around 6 months using the X-T1 I had really enjoyed it, but had a few little niggles that I couldn’t shake. I wanted dual card slots. I wanted better low light performance. I wanted to stop knocking that blasted dial into toy camera mode.
Enter the X-Pro 2.
The X-Pro 2 went on sale around the start of March 2016 – perfect timing for the UK’s big photography exhibition, The Photography Show at the NEC in Birmingham. Fuji let me try one at the show for the day and I really liked it. I bought one that very same day. Then I bought a second one a couple of weeks later. And then a third.
With that, let’s get into the bulk of the review. Spoiler warning – this is a great camera and I’d recommend it to anyone. But.
…but, there are some small foibles here and there. It’s not for everyone. Get yourself a cup of tea, read on and learn a little more about my journey with this amazing but polarising beast. I’m not trying to sell you the camera, I simply want to express my thoughts on the good, the bad and the ugly.
1. Initial Impressions, Overview and Aesthetic Appeal
2. Functionality of Design
4. Viewfinder Functionality
5. High ISO Performance
6. Battery Life
7. SD Card Options
8. Film Simulations
11. Other Camera Options
1. Initial Impressions, Overview and Aesthetic Appeal
A Different Way To Experience Photography.
I want a Leica.
There, I said it. I also want a Ferrari. It doesn’t mean I’m going to get one. I’d be lying to you from the beginning though if I denied my Leica aspirations.
I’d also be lying to you if I said that the somewhat Leica-esque design of the X-Pro 2 wasn’t a factor that drew me in. There’s something timeless about the rangefinder design that doesn’t disappoint with this camera. I first held the camera and remembered thinking it felt weighty and robust. The X-T1 didn’t quite nail this feel of dependability to me. The body feels like it’s designed for professional use, and that was something that struck me straight away. The body feels metallic and this is only let down by the occasional plastic accent – the viewfinder switch on the front and the focus mode selection switch, for example. The SD card slot door is a little flimsy and the same could be said for the USB connector / headphone jack door although I never open this one anyway. I paid £1349 for the body alone and everything bar these plastic switches feels like a camera worth every penny of that £1349.
It feels great in the hand. This is of huge importance to me. I started thinking about Fujifilm as I wanted a different way to experience taking photographs. However you approach photography it’s an artistic pursuit. I’ve been a pianist for around 12 years – I love playing on a Steinway & Sons grand piano not only because it sounds wonderful but because it feels fantastic. This camera hits all the right beats for me in this aspect, but it’s down to personal opinion. You’ve really got to try one to see if you feel that same connection to the camera. I was fortunate enough to try out the new Fujifilm X100F a few weeks ago where a fellow photographer commented on how the camera didn’t quite have the same soul as his M9. I on the other hand resonated with the X100F completely – it’s a matter of taste.
In black I’d say that the camera is fairly discreet. It’s not overly bulky although this is obviously dependent on what lens you choose to put on the front. The 16mm f/1.4 is probably my largest lens as I only shoot primes. It feels nicely balanced but I wouldn’t choose to go much larger than this in size as I feel it somewhat begins to miss the point of a rangefinder camera. I know there are many photographers who shoot with Fujifilm’s larger zoom lenses who would disagree.
2. Functionality of Design
To me, aesthetic appeal and functionality are two different considerations entirely. Let’s talk about if the various design choices work well as an overall package or if it’s form over function.
I do love a dial. The X-T1 was quite novel to me coming from a typical DSLR in it’s use of physical control dials. The X-Pro 2 is no different. Exposure compensation and shutter speed are both accessible via two main dials on the top of the camera. If you’ve used any of the other Fujifilm interchangeable lens cameras you’ll be familiar with aperture being selected on the lens itself.
The elephant in the room is the ISO dial.
The ISO dial is ‘retro’ – I hate this word when I’m talking about my cameras. I’ve read so much about the camera being ‘retro’. I get why they say that, it’s styled that way. But I see the manual controls as being functional and enjoyable to use, not just there because of a stylistic decision. I prefer to use physical controls rather than virtual ones. Don’t get me wrong, I mentioned earlier that I love the styling of this camera, and I do. I think it looks fantastic and it’s clear where the influences lie. Arguably however the ISO dial is literally retro – I’m not sure that it’s a functional decision as much as a stylistic one. It doesn’t serve to make the camera more enjoyable to use.
It’s only ok.
For anyone unaware, it’s a dial within a dial (“like a wheel within a wheel…”). There’s a little window on the shutter speed dial which displays the ISO and from here you have to lift a collar surrounding the shutter speed which allows you to change ISO.
I’ve never found it to be a problem – I either set ISO to Auto (*gasp*!) or I emulate a roll of film, set it to one option and leave it there. I do much more of the former than the latter. This means I’m never in a rush to change ISO. If you do change ISO regularly, you’re not going to like this feature.
Focus Point Selector
I think that this is a great feature. On the back, Fujifilm have added a little joystick that lets you move the AF point around. I had one on my 5D MkIII and felt a bit lost without it on the X-T1. It is possible to assign the four-way directional pad to do the same thing, but it’s not quite as fast and easy to use as the joystick.
I also shoot quite a bit of back button focusing, sometimes combining the ‘focus/recompose’ method. The joystick isn’t needed for this, but when you want it it’s there and in a good position for my thumb. I’m glad to see the X-T2 and X100F have also adopted this feature.
Almost all of the buttons are assignable as function buttons. This isn’t a new feature for Fujifilm cameras but it’s very handy nonetheless. I know some photographers wish that the Q button was also assignable but I’m not sure I share that opinion. I like the Q menu and find it helpful for quickly checking my JPEG settings before heading out to shoot. The function buttons can be used to select white balance, shutter type, image size, image quality, film simulations and a whole host of other options. On my D-pad I have up set to drive mode, left set to white balance, down to face detection and right to AF mode (single point, zone or wide/tracking).
The camera is weather resistant. There’s not a lot more to say about it other than that – it’s a useful feature that I was glad for on one occasion shooting street photography. It’s not something I’ve been bothered about for 98% of the photographs I’ve taken with it. Someone far more technically minded than myself may be able to comment on how that affects design choices but I’m afraid I’m just not that person. For Chinese New Year I photographed some images in Trafalgar Square where it was very wet for a couple of hours. I was using the 16mm f/1.4, which is also weather resistant and had no issues at all on the day or since then.
The viewfinder is interesting. I’m going to save the discussion about OVF vs EVF for later in the review, but in terms of the physical design of the eyecup and the positioning of the viewfinder itself there are a couple of things worth mentioning.
The viewfinder is located on the far left side of the camera as you look at it to take a photograph, as per usual with a rangefinder design. This is fantastic for me. I’m right-eyed so I can use my left eye to get a better sense of what’s going on outside the frame. If you’re left-eyed you may find this to be more frustrating, you’re going to have some lovely nose smudges all over your LCD. I imagine it wouldn’t be vastly different for left-eyed users to SLR form factor cameras where the viewfinder is in the middle, but either way you’re certainly not going to get the same benefits a right-eyed user may have from the positioning here.
I have two issues with the design of the viewfinder. Both are related to the eye-cup, if you can really call it that. There’s a little rubber ring surrounding the viewfinder, but it barely protrudes past the camera’s body. This means that while there’s a little padding there, someone wearing glasses may be irritated by how close they can bring the camera to their eye. I wear contact lenses 90% of the time, but the 10% where I choose to wear glasses makes shooting that bit more difficult for me. It could simply be that I’m not used to it, but to me it feels like it’s simply not well designed to support glasses. It’s worth noting that I suspect this is in part to save on bulk, which makes sense to me with such a sleek body design. I’m sure you could buy a larger eyecup but there’s something to be said for keeping the camera as free from additional bits and pieces as possible. It’s not designed to be the ‘pimp my ride’ of photography in my opinion.
My second problem is one that I’ve seen reported on various forums and Facebook pages over the last year. The rubber ring surrounding the viewfinder can (and does) peel off if caught. It’s happened to me on occasion and I’ve fortunately realised at the time so I could find the ring. It’s normally when I’m taking the camera out of my bag. The ring is very easy to put back on, but I’ve heard that it’s an integral part of the weather sealing and if it’s lost the camera needs to be sent to Fuji – I have no idea why Fuji can’t ship out these rubber rings but there we have it.
“Everything feel snappier”
This category is very dependant on the lenses that are being used with the camera, but I’ve had some fairly consistent results across the three primes I’ve been using. There are three main focus settings as with most modern digital cameras – single, continuous and manual. Amongst these settings are a good number of additional options.
My camera is almost always in single shot focus mode. Coming from the X-T1 there is a noticeable increase in focus acquisition and everything feels ‘snappier’. This coupled with the focus joystick makes the camera very easy to use. Back button focusing is assignable to different function buttons and is something that I make use of, but all ways round the joystick is great for a lot of my wedding and family work. The size of the focus spot is adjustable which some may find useful. I personally have left it on the smallest setting as I like to define the exact point I want the camera to use to find focus. You can choose between 91 autofocus points or 325. I take a lot of ‘people’ pictures, and people move quite a lot. I honestly don’t have time to flick through 325 autofocus points so I leave it set to 91, but I’m sure there are lots of users out there who would benefit from the former. The camera does hunt around in very low light and this is where back button focusing comes into it’s own.
This is a strange one. I don’t use continuous focus mode a lot, but I do use it at least a couple of times at every wedding. A bride walking down the aisle is not something that happens that quickly so I have no real doubt that the camera is able to keep up, but it has a strange way of telling you what’s in focus. Through the viewfinder it looks as though it’s hunting to find focus the whole time and nothings ever really in focus, but the pictures all turn out just fine. I feel that this is one of those quirky moments with this camera and strangely you do get used to it. I know that in firmware update version 3.00 there’s a note about addressing this. I’ve yet to update as it’s only been out for a week and I want to ensure there aren’t any glaring issues before I do, but when I’ve had a chance to trial version 3.00 enough I’ll be sure to include any changes in a new post.
Manual focus assists
I shoot with manual focus for street photography and have also used it on occasion where light is very poor and the autofocus simply can’t get it together. There are a number of assists to help out with manual focus including my favourite; focus peaking highlights. This is so useful and makes manual focus very manageable. The camera displays tiny dots through the EVF or LCD on what it thinks is in focus. The colour of the dots can be changed between white, blue and red. I’ve got mine set on red and it makes the focus area very clear. I’ve shot at around f/1.8 with manual focus and focus peaking highlights without too much trouble. There are other assists also available, but for me this is the one that I would always go to.
What kind of pro uses face detection?! Honestly I rarely use it weddings, but I do use it quite a lot for personal family work. It’s fairly intelligent and while it can be hit and miss, it does work and does make life easier. Sometimes. If you’ve got 5 people in the frame things are going to get more complicated, but if you’re focusing on one or two subjects then the face detection is worth giving a go. I’d still prefer to use the focus joystick to pinpoint my focus area but sometimes things are moving just a little too fast in a closed space.
4. Viewfinder Functionality
There are some fantastic viewfinder features in this camera. There are essentially three viewfinder modes (and then the LCD too) – electronic viewfinder (EVF), optical viewfinder (OVF) and finally a combination of the two.
EVF vs OVF
The EVF in this camera is brilliant – it’s bright, clear, and the refresh rate means there’s no irritating lag that was associated with EVFs of the past. It’s incredibly helpful being able to see your final image before you press the shutter, although some might argue that it’ll make photographers lazy. I only have two minor criticisms of it. One is the contrast displays slightly differently in the EVF to the LCD, and consequently to your actual image file. This is best illustrated with an example, where I was photographing bridal preparations at a wedding and the bride was sitting with some fantastic window light just painting in her features whilst the rest of her face was cast into shadow. In the viewfinder, the shadow looked completely crushed, which is exactly what I was looking for. On the image itself the shadow had retained quite a lot of the detail and wasn’t quite as dark as it was in my EVF. This isn’t actually a big deal seeing as it’s so easy to change these things in post, but it’s worth a mention anyway I think.
Alongside this, my only other potential complaint is that it’s not as large as both the X-T1 and X-T2 (and I suspect by extension the X-T10 and X-T20). Again, I personally don’t find this to be a problem or a reason to get the T series over the Pro. Nonetheless, others may have an issue with this.
The OVF works exactly like you might expect it to on a rangefinder – instead of looking through the lens you’re actually looking through a little window the other side of the camera. There are a couple of issues that arise because of this design, but it’s not a problem with this camera so much as with the form factor of any cameras in this category. The first is that some lenses and lens hoods can protrude into the frame of the OVF. It’s something that you get used to and as long as you haven’t got a huge zoom on there you’re perhaps not going to notice this as an issue. The main advantage of the OVF is that it provides a field of view closer to 16mm (24mm full frame equivalent), so when you’re shooting with the Fuji 23mm you can see a little of what’s going on outside your frame. This can be really helpful in street photography where you may want to be aware of what’s about to enter the frame at the sides. The area that is being photographed is displayed as a white box in the viewfinder. The problem with this is if you wanted to shoot with, say, the 90mm, not only will the lens protrude into your OVF but you’ll also have a very small box to show the area that’s being photographed. This makes it only suitable for shorter focal lengths.
One final problem that can occur as a result of shooting with an OVF on a rangefinder is something called parallax error. The angle at which your viewing your subject will be slightly different to the angle that your lens/sensor is seeing the subject, so because of this autofocus can be slightly out if you’re using a single point. Again, this is not a complaint of the camera but an issue with this style of camera as a whole. Fujifilm have done what they can to combat this by showing a ‘corrected’ autofocus point alongside the original one. I’ve often found that when I then press the shutter for focus the actual autofocus tends to sit somewhere between the ‘corrected’ autofocus point and the original. It’s something that you’ll need to try to get a real sense of how it works, but it’s not as painful as it sounds.
The final option in the viewfinder is a combination of EVF and OVF. The vast majority of the view is taken up by the OVF and then in the bottom corner it’s possible to display a small EVF window, which you can choose to show either your full picture in miniature EVF form or a small part of your image to help with focus acquisition. It’s a handy feature although I do tend to forget about it if I’m using the OVF.
All of these changes between viewfinders are made with a little plastic switch on the front of the camera, which I find very easy to operate with my right hand middle finger. The center of the switch is also a function button that can be assigned to whatever you like.
Changing View Mode
Switching between the viewfinder and LCD is accessible via a ‘View Mode’ button. I typically have my view mode set to just ‘Viewfinder Only’. This means that the viewfinder will always be on, whether my face is against the camera or not. One of the many options is to use an eye sensor – this sits just to the right of the viewfinder and can be used to activate your preferred view mode. On paper it sounds like a great idea – I had visions of using the viewfinder all the time (like I do at the moment) but when I take my eye away the camera automatically turns the EVF off. That’s exactly how it works, but it’s too slow. Whenever I bring the camera up to my eye there’s a very small delay before the EVF pops up but I think that it’s enough of a delay to miss a shot.
5. High ISO Performance
The ISO performance has improved dramatically with Fujifilm cameras. In and of itself that statement means arguably means nothing, but let’s put a number on it to give it some significance.
Totally usable. Grainy, yes. But very usable. I go as far as I can to avoid using flash at weddings until the evening dancing gets started. Since I’ve had this camera and coupled it with the fast Fujifilm prime lenses I’ve had very few issues with low light performance. The SOOC JPEGS by default apply some noise reduction, which was one of the first things I changed about my in-camera settings. The in-camera noise reduction is a fast-track to waxy skin. I just don’t like it. Drop the noise reduction to -4 and you’ll be fine – I always shoot JPEG + RAW anyway and would recommend doing so given that the camera has two card slots (more on that later).
I’m not a pixel peeper so some may feel differently about the ISO performance, but I think it’s pretty damn great. I haven’t photographed at ISO 25,600+ and I don’t intend too, I think that 12,800 is the usable limit with this camera.
ISO invariance is complicated and I’d be lying if I said I understand it. Nonetheless my real-world screw-ups have proved that the X-Pro 2 is at the very least somewhat ISO invariant (someone with more technical knowledge may be able to say for certain if it is?). I’ve sometimes accidentally shot horrifically under-exposed images. With the X-Pro 2 it’s not the end of the world, taking the RAW file it’s very possible to bump up the exposure several stops and see the equivalent noise level you’d expect if you shot the image on a higher ISO – no added grain for your mistakes. So let’s say you took a photograph (RAW) at ISO400 with the X-Pro 2 and then increased the exposure in Lightroom by 3 stops. The image you’ll be looking at is going to be very similar to taking that same photograph at ISO3200 in-camera, without any changes to other settings. This is incredibly useful, because let’s face it, we’re all human and we all make mistakes.
6. Battery Life
Let’s be real about this, the battery life on these cameras is poor. There are some fantastic photographers out there who claim to be capable of getting in the region of 1000 shots from their Fujifilm batteries – I don’t disbelieve them at all. I think it’s very possible, but I think you have to be very diligent in always turning the camera off when you’re not using it, never chimping/reviewing pictures on the LCD, etc. I can get 700 photographs from a battery, which is not all that bad, but that’s if I’m taking pictures very quickly in a comparatively short space of time. On a wedding day the camera gets left on sometimes for a couple of minutes. Those minutes all add up. It’s arguably user error and I hold my hands up for that. It’s also a size thing, I recognise the cameras are small so the batteries need to be too. But it makes for a difficult comparison looking back on my Canon days when I could shoot a whole wedding on one battery per camera.
The problems with the battery life are exacerbated by the battery indicator. It’s better than the X-T1, I’ll give it that. It’s still rubbish. The indicator will be on full battery / 5 bars for the majority of time you’re using it. Then it’ll drop to 4 bars. Pressing up on the d-pad when you’re reviewing pictures let’s you see a more detailed battery life indication, and according to that with 4 bars I have 70% left. I think it’s lying to me. I’d say you’ve got closer to 40% left, because oh boy do those remaining bars fall away quickly from this point on. My general rule of thumb if I’m at a wedding and I’m about to shoot something that’s ‘one-time only’ (processional, first dance, those sorts of things) and I have any less than 4 bars of battery remaining I’ll put a new one in.
You do not have 70% left at 4 bars, I can tell you that. I now own three of these cameras and they’re all just as bad as each other, so it’s not even a defect in one of the models.
7. SD Card Options
Dual card slots! This was a big factor in my decision to buy the X-Pro 2. For all intents and purposes the X-T1 was a great camera, but professionally I was nervous about going back to shooting weddings on a single SD card. Once again, I know that there are many photographers whose opinions and work I respect very much that have photographed weddings on the X system for years, to whom dual cards were not a deal-breaker. I feel much more confident knowing that I’ve always got a back-up from the moment I press the shutter. S
There are various configuration options for how you use the dual SD card slots. I use slot 1 (UHS-II) for RAW and slot 2 (UHS-I) for JPEG – for a typical wedding I’ll have a 32GB SD in slot 1 and a 16GB SD in slot 2. This gives me room for around 1,200 shots per camera, although I never hit this limit and rarely even come close to it. I’m not that concerned about buffers and write speeds so long as I can get a good burst off for confetti pictures. If you’re shooting greyhound racing you may want to check out a different review for more specs on how quickly the X-Pro 2’s buffer can fill up.
The other SD card writing options are ‘Sequential’ (the camera will record images to one card and then move over to the other once it’s finished) and ‘Backup’ which literally writes an identical back-up from one card to the other.
8. Film Simulations
If you’re shooting JPEG your pictures can look pretty great straight from the camera, and this is largely thanks to film simulations. Fujifilm cameras have had them for years but the X-Pro 2 has two of my favourites; Classic Chrome and Acros. I use Classic Chrome exclusively for my colour photography (although I also dabble with Velvia for night time street photography) and Acros for my black and white photography. I don’t typically only use the JPEGs that come out of my camera as I often revert to the RAW files, but these options are all there in the Lightroom calibration tab too. Classic Chrome gives slightly subdued colour, which to my eye often looks more ‘real’ than the Provia (standard film simulation). It’s not so heavy to be compared to a VSCO preset for example, but it gives a nice subtle change of tone. The Acros film sim is a punchy black and white that applies a very natural looking grain effect when you’re using JPEGs SOOC.
I often import all of my pictures from a wedding or family session, convert the RAWs immediately to Acros while keeping my JPEGs in classic chrome to give me an idea as to whether I want a picture in colour, black and white, or both. Film simulation bracketing is possible but at the moment it can’t quite do what I want it to. For a start, you have to have 3 film simluations bracketed on one shot – I don’t want this. I only want it to bracket Acros and Classic Chrome. In addition to this the bracketing can’t apply any other settings in your JPEG profile. So say for example you want to boost your highlights and crush your shadows it’s possible to do that and have it applied to all of your JPEGs. It’s not possible though to then bracket that preset with another one.
I had some real issues when I bought this camera at launch. They all centered around the camera locking up in one way or another, with the most common culprit being an error that would pop up telling me to turn the camera off and on again. This happened with my first X-Pro 2. I sent it back and I got a replacement.
Then I bought an additional X-Pro 2. It happened with that one too. I sent it back and I got a replacement.
Then I bought a third X-Pro 2 to complete my line-up. It happened with that one too. I sent it back and I got a replacement.
You might ask why I would consider buying a second camera and even a third one with so many issues. This is a fantastic camera that I genuinely loved from the word ‘go’ (more on that in the conclusion) and I knew that the problems would be sorted out eventually. Fortunately, they were.
I can say with confidence that since the initial problems the reliability on these cameras has been very good for the last year. Unfortunately, this is something that requires even more time to evaluate fairly though. My X-T1 developed a problem with it’s printed circuit board around 9 months after I bought it. While my X-Pro 2s have moved past this checkpoint who knows what the future holds. At the moment there’s nothing to suggest that they’ll develop faults.
The firmware update for this camera is onto version 3.00 – this is a very different camera than it was at launch. I’ve yet to update to the latest firmware as I’m aware that there can be bugs that need ironing out, but to give you an idea of how well Fujifilm support and improve their cameras take a look at the list of improvements from the latest update:
- 1.Shooting RAW in Bracketing and Advanced Filters
- 2.Extended ISO 125 and 160
- 3.Programmable long exposure of up to 15 minutes
- 4.“AUTO” setting added for the minimum shutter speed in the ISO Auto setting
- 5.Faster “Face Detection AF”
- 6.Improved in-focus indication in the AF-C mode
- 7.Addition of a smaller Focus Point size in Single Point AF
- 8.Addition of “AF Point Display”
- 9.Addition of “AF-C Custom Setting”
- 10.Change of focus frame position while enlarging it
- 11.Addition of “Eye Sensor + LCD Image Display” in the View Mode
- 12.Shorter EVF display time-lag
- 13.Name Custom Settings
- 14.Copyright information in EXIF data
- 15.Voice Memo function
- 16.Extended AE Bracketing
- 17.Addition of “Shoot Without Card” mode
There’s talk about another update on the horizon too. Fujifilm always deliver on their promise and philosophy that when you buy a camera it’s the start of your relationship with the company, whereas with so many others it’s the end point. They have to be commended for their improvements. If you compiled a list of everything they’ve added from all of the firmware updates in the last year they could easily get away with marketing a ‘new’ money-grabbing X-Pro 2S or an X-Pro2.5.
11. Other Camera Options
I’ll preface this by saying that it’s been a year since I’ve used an X-T1 and I haven’t used an X-T2 at all. Here are the Fujifilm cameras you might choose to buy instead of the X-Pro 2:
- X-Pro 1
I’ll get the X-Pro 1 out of the way straight away. It’s dated, the X-T1 is faster, I can’t see why you’d go out of your way to buy one in 2017. All of the past generation Fujifilm cameras are still very usable if you’ve already got one, but coming to the market as a new buyer there’s really no reason to get the X-Pro 1. The X-E2S presents a more challenging comparison. With all the firmware updates I hear it’s every bit as fast as the X-T1. If you’re looking for a more affordable Fujifilm camera in a rangefinder style, perhaps this is a good option. If you’re not bothered about the form factor and are looking for a cheaper alternative then the X-T1 is still a good camera.
If you’re looking for an SLR form factor, video functionality and a tilt screen and budget isn’t an issue then the X-T2 is your camera. If, like me, the SLR form factor isn’t something you’re wild about and you don’t care about video then the X-Pro 2 is your camera. Honestly, I’d use a tilt screen on my X-Pro 2, but I can live without it.
The X100 series potentially provides a more tricky decision. I’ve recently bought an X100F for my personal photography whilst keeping my X-Pro 2 cameras for work. It’s not a decision I regret, as I love the simplicity of a fixed focal length camera and adore the 35mm focal length for family photographs. I miss my 23mm f/1.4 from time to time but it’s rare that I think about it much. So the X100F and X-Pro 2 are more or less the same price, there’s just £100 separating them at the time of writing (X-Pro 2 at £1349, exactly what I paid for mine over a year ago, X100F at £1249). However, if you don’t own any Fujifilm lenses you’ll have to spend some more on the X-Pro 2. In short, if you love 35mm focal length (or 28mm with the wide conversion lens / 50mm with the tele conversion lens) and don’t have any interest in super fast primes, zooms, interchangeable lenses and dual card slots then the X100F is the camera for you. My only complaint at the moment with the X100F is that while the build quality is great, it doesn’t feel quite as premium as the X-Pro 2, which I suppose is only fair enough. Don’t get me wrong though, it feels pretty fantastic. The guts of the X100F are basically identical to the X-Pro 2. The X100T is also an option (predecessor to the F) but is back on the ‘old’ 16MP sensor and lacks some of the speed you’ll find with the F. A quick eBay search throws them up anywhere between £500-£800 at the time of writing, playing off against the X100F at £1249. Many people swear by a certain ‘Fuji-magic’ in the X100 series so definitely don’t shun the T just because it’s not the latest model. I’ll be doing a detailed review of my X100F at which point drawing comparisons between these two cameras will be easier.
I’ve purposefully tried to make this review unbiased and non-Fuji-fanboyish as I can but there’s not getting around the fact that I love these cameras. They’re special to use and they feel like quality. I don’t get tired of using them in the slightest which is a hugely underrated selling point. I’ve really put my money where my mouth is on this one and having bought three of them I have no regrets. I don’t miss the SLR form factor, I don’t miss full frame either. With 24MP the quality from these cameras is really fantastic, and unless you’re printing to billboards I don’t think there’s a relevant argument against the X-Pro 2 when it comes to sensor size.
As a Wedding Camera
This is why I bought them. They gel very nicely with my style as a photographer. They’re sturdy, small, discreet and wonderfully tactile to use. I’d recommend the X-Pro 2 to every wedding photographer who leans slightly away from posed photography being their bread and butter style. I very much admire photographers who are exceptional at directing couples and creating those kinds of images, but I feel that the camera has iffy flash support which would perhaps let them down.
I use three X-Pro 2s at weddings with the 16mm f/1.4, 23mm f/1.4 and 56mm f/1.2. That combined with my EF-X20 flash on a TTL lead and about 10 spare batteries blends perfectly with my vision.
As a Street Camera
Awesome little black box. It’s stealthy on the street and I love it. As street is ‘hobby’ photography for me, the X100F has taken over the role as my new street camera. I miss the clutch mechanism on some of the lenses with the distance scale underneath for zone focusing, but other than this the F performs very well on the street. Other than this there’s very little between the two cameras. If I wasn’t comparing them both I’d say that the X-Pro 2 is one of the best cameras out there for this kind of photography.
As a Family Camera
It performs exactly the same as a family camera as it does for weddings and on the street, but I much prefer my X100F as a family camera. It’s hard to say why, but it’s always with me in a way that the X-Pro 2 wasn’t. The X-Pro 2 captured some fantastic family memories and I’d recommend it for this in a heartbeat, but if I was only buying one camera for this job it would be the X100F.
I hope this review has been informative and interesting for you. Please do drop me a message if you have any questions about the camera. After I’ve had a chance to shoot even more with the X100F I’ll be adding a review for that, along with an update for the X-Pro 2 based on the latest firmware version 3.00 and some reviews of the lenses I’ve used.