I’ve now had my Fujifilm X-Pro2 for more than six months. During that time, it’s been my primary camera. It’s covered races on the beach, models in the studio, and dozens of cities both domestic and abroad.
I started the mirrorless transition with an X100s. I do a lot of street photography, and it was an ideal camera for the purpose. Impressed with the quality of the Fuji sensor, I soon added an XE-1. Once interchangeable lenses entered the equation, the Fujis quickly started to take the main share of my work, leaving my Canon gear for the studio. And once that happened, the quest for quality continued its march.
With the introduction of the new X-Trans sensor, it was time to upgrade to the X-Pro2. Although the lenses have remained the same, the upgrade is like an entirely new system. Other sites do a better job of discussing the technical changes, but there are three features that I've found to be transformative: the focus lever; face recognition; and the sensor itself.
For me, the advantage of SLRs has been their speed of operation, and the ability to get the camera out of the way. With film, simple metering systems allowed me to concentrate solely on framing and focus. Wide aperture lenses on a ground glass screen are extraordinarily quick to snap into focus, and tracking focus was intuitive.
Although nothing yet beats that speed and intuitive control, the X-Pro2 is getting very close. The EVF operates at a quick enough refresh rate that ghosting is extraordinarily rare, giving a better perception of the reality being seen. It's still artificial, but embracing that artificiality as a tool actually works better for me: I set the EVF to an Acros preview, allowing me quick visualization of highlights and shadows.
The always-on focus lever is a great improvement, though it's still incredibly slow compared to manual focus. Where the X-Pro2 is closing the gap on the speed of manual focusing, though, is in the sheer processing power that enables face tracking. That feature works well only with a single subject, but when it works, it does a fantastic job of ensuring focus tracking on the face. When taking portraits, it does a great job in freeing the mind of one less technical annoyance.
But for me the sensor is the single greatest improvement that has made the X-Pro2 my go-to camera. Specifically, the sensor's pixel pattern, and its dynamic range.
The X-Trans CMOS III is pretty amazing. I can easily pull more than two-stops out of both highlights and shadows, meaning that in the studio I don't have to worry as much about reflectors, and on the street I don't have to worry about getting the exposure perfect. This frees my mind up for the important stuff of what actually goes in the frame.
But what's particularly nice about the sensor is how beautiful the noise is. I often shoot at high ISO's just for the very film-like quality that it produces. Because it's the result of sensor pixel pitch, it's a look that can't be achieved with filters, which makes it all the more like shooting film. (Which, for me, is a plus!) However, much of the fantastic feel of the sensor is usually lost in images seen on digital displays. It really shines when the images are printed.
To end the technical discussion, I'll note that the only lockups I’ve had have been while using Lexar Professional 2000x UHS-II 32 Gigabyte cards. I’m not sure if I have a bad set of cards, or if there’s something particular about that design. I routinely use the Lexar Professional 1000x UHS-II 64 Gigabyte cards without any issue. I also had sensor spots out of the box, which I assume were oil from the shutter. Cleaning the sensor is an unfortunate necessity—even when it’s brand new.
What's best about the X-Pro2, though, are the things that don't show up in the technical specifications. It's the feel of the quality. The naturalness of the controls. The ease of use. The fluidity of the mechanics of the camera getting out of the way and aiding in the process of capturing images. These qualities are tragically rare on the market today, and generally still confined to film cameras like the Canon F-1 and the Nikon F3. They are there in the Leica M240, but the Leica lacks the processing power of the Fuji, and the focus spot of a rangefinder is too limiting for a lot of work outside of spontaneous, zone-focused street photography. The X-Pro2 has the reach to be a great rangefinder street camera on par with the M240, but also has the power to do precision studio work with its excellent EVF.
Moreover, with the X-Pro2, I think Fuji has finally reached a Leica level: build quality is superb, the sensor quality is unique, the speed will hold up with time. Fuji continues to update the firmware of the 4+ year old X-Pro1, and so it’s safe to assume that even a body bought today will have appreciable longevity. I think the X-Pro2 has all the qualities necessary to retain its value and remain a strong market player years down the road. I’m very happily pleased.
Below are more examples of the diversity of subjects which I've been able to tackle with the X-Pro2.