Fuji X-Pro2 First Thoughts

Warning. Extremely cursory evaluation.

Well my solution to the Gordian Knot backup camera and flip-flop of when/if to grab an upgraded Fuji X camera in the form of an XT-2 or X-Pro2 arrived late yesterday. Buried in client work I only had a moment to fire off a few StupidCrap™ test shots while grabbing a cigarette out on the porch.

Wide

I won't stick a bunch of flower-y test shots up I'll just leave it at this one hand-held casual 100% view. Open in another window or download to pixel-peep if you want. I'll try to give a few first impressions that I don't think will change a whole lot first and then a few perceptions that will take some more time to verify.

Right Off The Bat

  • Knocked it out of the park home run. No idea why you really have to dig to find the BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT EVER FOR FUJI X CAMERAS. I'm talking about the shutter half-press behavior. You can now take shot after shot after shot without refocusing in AF. I used to have to switch to manual/back-button focus to do that. Almost a deal killer for me with the previous X cameras.

  • Fast. Operationally much more fluid than any other X and I would say at this point possibly slower but not noticeably less fluid than my Nikons.

  • First few frame suggest the Fuji X System glass is even better than I thought it was. Translation; more magnification/megapixels are not an issue for the quality of the glass I have. Above was 35mm f/2 WR wide open not even close to the center of the frame. Wow, the new sensor really has that X-mojo to an even greater degree. Lightroom CC with default sharpening. Plenty of ummmph.

  • I really love the new OVF in many ways. I'll have to make some stuff out in the real world but I think 80% of my use is most likely going to be OVF.

  • The thing that bugged me the most about the old X-Pro1 as well as the X100 and X100s was that even in manual focus the bright frame would dance around between infinity position and current focus distance every shot. This one doesn't. A whole universe of less distracting/annoying. Love it.

  • The joystick for focus points is a, a, ummmm, joy? Sorry. It's fantastic as others have pointed out. Really hard to do without it after having used it once.

  • EVF in high performance is a bit nicer but if I had to trade the 85 fps or higher magnification for primarily EVF use I would take the higher magnification. Thankfully you won't have to make that trade off after September. Since I'm probably an OVF kinda photographer I'll probably opt for the extra smoothness of high-performance mode for occasional EVF chimp/close-up but If I do/am using the EVF most of the time I'll probably back it off to standard mode as the additional battery drain seems acute.

  • The X-Pro2 feels far better in my hands than the X-Pro1 did. Somehow less hollow and more solid. Feels great.

  • Forgot how much better that black paint looks instead of the black coating. Gorgeous camera in person way better than the pictures.

We'll See

  • The area AF mode has promise when coupled with the OVF in a lot of ways at 50mm (equiv) and wider focal lengths. Needs to be tested in more dynamic situations.

  • ISO dial is fiddly. Doesn't affect me much and I like it. We'll see if I change my mind about the liking it part. Honestly I like it at least as much as I like the XT-1's ISO dial. I swear I changed the drive mode every time I changed ISO. Probably a bigger pain in the ass than knocking the shutter speed off. My usual is to pick ISO then pick exposure so NBD.

  • If everything else wasn't so damn good it would be hard to forgive Fuji screwing the pooch on the front/back dial push feel. WAY too recessed and not very positive. Actually really bad. I am leaving this in the we'll see because I don't predict using them all that often. The most I see using the back dial push is with playback chimping and zoom to 100% and back. Operationally while shooting??? Don't know yet. Here's how bad they are; You actually have to press hard enough so that your thumb sort of deforms and extrudes itself into the guards surrounding the dial. How f'ing fun. Really Fuji, everything else is so right and this?? Trust me two out of three push attempts will probably fail for you.

  • AF-L button position sucks. It might suck 4.34% less than it does on the contortion inducing XT-1. I'll probably swap it with the AE-L button.

  • A lot of complaints about the diopter adjustment and knocking it out of whack. So far I haven't and it seems very very tight and well protected. I've not really used it in the field so we'll see. The dial press stuff above certainly deserves MORE FURY and this maybe a bit less in proportion to the current tend of reviews on this camera.

Recommendations

If you are a 28/50 (18/35) combo person like me or you could be this camera and those two lenses are a match made in heaven. Specifically the 18mm f/2 and the 35mm f/2 WR. Zero OVF obstruction. Very comfortable beautiful framing. Super fast focusing. Quiet, a bit noisier with the 18mm and silent with the 35 but I usually use manual/back-button focus with the 18 anyway. Still quieter than the 35/1.4. Super discrete. Pretty, great IQ and look.

If you are more of a 35mm (23mm) guy/gal the 23mm f/1.4 is great but a completely different beast with that lens vs the above two. Guess you'll have to wait for the 23/2 WR. Seriously, the 23/56 kit is fantastic for this camera. The 18/35 kit makes it a completely different rig in terms of feel size, etc. Very cool I have both.

If you are or were more of an OVF kind of photographer then flipped over to the XT-1 and verified that you could absolutely live with it (vs previous EVF's) and even like somethings about it, like the magnification, you may want to give the X-Pro2 a whirl. I see myself using the OVF 18/35 kit the vast majority of the time. My major hesitation for pulling the trigger on the X-Pro2 vs waiting for the XT-2 and waiting some more until the initial prices came down was that I thought I would miss the extra magnification of the EVF. I do miss it, a tiny tiny bit but I like the OVF better for my most used focal lengths. You might too if you've not tried it in a while.

Far, far more to tell later after I get out there and make some real pictures in my usual circumstances.