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Ever since Fujifilm unveiled their debut consumer camera in late 2010, the fixed-lens x100, the brand has become a favorite for professionals, and enthusiasts who seek an advanced digital camera experience, that still retains much of the look and quality of the classic film era.
Fujifilm’s very first mirrorless interchangeable-lens camera, the X-Pro1, was released in March 2012 to much praise from critics and users, and was recently replaced with its successor, the X-Pro2. Given the four year gap between camera models, there are many upgrades and improvements in the new X-Pro2, all achieved without adding significant weight or bulk to the camera. Prices are clearly a big differentiator at this point, with the older X-Pro1 going for as little as $799, and the X-Pro2 currently set at $1,699. But pricetag aside, just how many more features are packed into the X-Pro2, and is it worth it?
The Fuji X-Pro2 can be purchased body-only for $1,699; this basic kit comes with the following accessories in the box:
While the X-Pro2 has a slightly better battery life than its predecessor, it’s still on the low side. As a result, it doesn’t hurt to have a spare NP-W126 Li-Ion Battery, or two, on you for longer shoots. Since the X-Pro2 has dual SD card slots, having one or two memory cards is also handy, although in testing I never fully maxed out a single 32GB SD card.
In terms of lenses, this X-Pro2 was tested specifically with the Fujifilm 35mm f/2 WR, a beautiful prime lens that equates to about 56mm on a crop sensor, and the Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4, a compact mid-range zoom that’s about 28-88mm on a crop sensor. Both lenses are relatively affordable ($399 and $699 respectively) and together made for a solid, compact, travel photography kit. Lens preference will, of course, depend on your shooting style, and Fujifilm has many other lens choices available.
First, let’s review the X-Pro2’s specs, which are vastly improved over its predecessor.
Perhaps one of the biggest feature additions on the X-Pro2 is a shutter that allows for both mechanical and electronic capture; the latter allows for more flexibility. The mechanical shutter speed has increased to as high as 1/8000th, compared to 1/4000th on the X-Pro1. The X-Pro2 also enables the use of an electronic shutter speed with an even wider range of one second to 1/32,000. The X-Pro2 also includes Face and Eye Detection, meaning it will seek out faces and eyes when shooting. This is a very handy feature for photographing people, and it proved to be highly accurate during test shots.
While both viewfinder and LCD sizes really didn’t change much in terms of physical size, both received a bump in resolution, and an updated User Interface in the X-Pro2. The viewfinder also finally allows for diopter adjustment, and the electronic viewfinder (EVF) has a wicked fast refresh rate of 85 frames per second. Still absent is a pop-out LCD screen.
The X-Pro2 has made some pretty giant leaps in the realm of autofocus. This camera now has 273 autofocus points, which is quite a bit more than 49 on X-Pro1. It also includes single, zone, wide/tracking autofocus modes, all of which were lacking on the X-Pro1. Finally, the X-Pro2 adds a physical feature that Canon DSLR users will find familiar: a mini joystick button which Fujifilm calls the focus lever. Besides acting as a button, the focus lever enables quick selection for all 273 autofocus points, and also helps you navigate through the menu.
When it comes to the X-Pro2’s build, it is still comprised of a sleek, half matte black body, with a distinctly retro look. However, the build material is now magnesium-alloy versus aluminum for the X-Pro1. Despite using lighter material, the X-Pro2 is still slightly heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 495 grams (17.5 oz.) versus 453 grams (16 oz.). In terms of dimensions, the X-Pro2 is a tiny bit wider and deeper, but it still looks about the same size as the X-Pro1.
The battery life on the X-Pro2 has been slightly improved, up to 380 frames, versus 300 frames on the X-Pro1. That’s still on the low side, so carrying a spare battery or two certainly won’t hurt. Camera startup time is a hair faster at 0.4 seconds, compared to 0.5 seconds. Also, the X-Pro2 now has dual SD card slots, which will certainly help with the increased size 24.3MP files. A built-in flash is still not included, but flash sync speed is now at 1/250 of a second, up from 1/180.
WiFi has been added to the X-Pro2 allowing for geotagging, wireless image transfer, and remote camera control. Finally, the X-Pro2 comes with improved weather sealing with 61 points of dust, water, and cold resistance. This doesn’t make the X-Pro2 waterproof, but it does allow for shooting in more diverse conditions.
This is a difficult question to answer, given the plethora of vastly different digital camera options available today. Whether you go for the X-Pro2 or not, will really come down to your personal preferences and budget.
Personally, I loved the image quality of the X-Pro2, as well as its retro buttons and controls. With that said, the retro controls are unique to Fujifilm digital cameras, and can take some getting used to if you’ve been using a point and shoot, DSLR, or another brand of mirrorless camera. It’s also worth noting that while the X-Pro2 is definitely not as bulky and heavy as a professional DSLR, it’s not as compact and lightweight as other mirrorless cameras such as the Sony a6300, which has very similar technical specs, packed into a much smaller body.
With higher shutter speeds of 1/8,000 or even 1/32,000 using the electronic viewfinder, higher ISO ranges, vastly improved autofocus, and enhanced weather sealing, the X-Pro2 has officially become a serious contender for professional photographers. If you’re looking to invest in a Fujifilm mirrorless interchangeable camera, it’s hard to go wrong with the X-Pro2. While deals can certainly be had with the older X-Pro1 model, the significant upgrades in the X-Pro2 make it a worthy investment if you have the money to spare.
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