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Is the FujiFilm X-Pro2 a Perfect Pro Compact?

Writing for Pocket-Lint, Mike Lowe shares my observations about the FujiFilm X-Pro2’s image quality and quirkiness…going into great lengths to explain the hybrid viewfinder and a pet peeve…no locking exposure compensation button on a compact pro camera. Back from Vegas, and processing photos, I had a whole series turn out like this—that’s an underexposed -3 by mistake. 1st-gen Alpha series cameras had the same problem, but now if they’re not locked, they require more force to push than by a glance banging around in your camera bag.

Under exposed shot.

Under exposed shot.

Of all the functions to master on a camera with lots of buttons, missing a shot because it’s underexposed is certainly frustrating and seems like an oversight from a camera in its second rev and targeting pros as their daily shooter. As you expect, the X-Pro2 improves specs after a 4 year wait, and Mike covers all that.

So let’s recap, if you’re unfamiliar: the principle of the X-Pro1, which the X-Pro2 also embodies, is to pair an optical viewfinder’s quality with an electronic viewfinder overlay to add the benefits of shooting data direct to your eye. The X-Pro2 is an interchangeable lens camera, so different lenses will mean different digital crop marks are shown within the finder to get around the fact an optical finder, in a rangefinder-like arrangement, will always have a fixed angle of view. So when the optical finder ceases to make sense – such as with extra-long lens like the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6, where the lens protrusion more-or-less blocks 50 per cent of the finder view, or when close-up parallax error comes into play, the finder clicks into a 100 per cent electronic view.

 

Where we don’t agree as much, and won’t know for sure until there’s a Camera Raw update for Photoshop and Lightroom is how clean the files are. Even with a 20mp, new X-Trans CMOS processor, no low-pass filter, and a unique collar array, an APS-C sensor is noisy compared to a full-frame, and the product manager even says 20MP is pushing the limit.

By and large this iteration is all about resolution: the X-Pro2 pumps resolution to 24-megapixels, which is a significant increase compared to the 16-megapixel standard throughout the range before. Takashi Ueno, X-Pro2 manager, described this as “almost the limit” of what’s feasible from an APS-C sensor size, and while we’re sure the company will push into even higher resolution in the future, the results from the current model speak for themselves.

 

In my shots, I needed to sharpen then smooth the images to tighten up the pixels and remove noise. Where the Rx1R II produces extremely malleable, uncompressed raw files at 86M to work with in post, FujiFilm expertise in film encourages a shooter to create an look in camera, with far less time in post; if they’re in focus and composed, of course. Frustration with autofocus I’ll attribute to needing to spend more time with the camera, and taking the time to adjust the zones or move a single focus point around with a joystick.

Fans of FujiFilm, will find the X-Pro2s quirkiness endearing (excusing the exposure compensation dial), and newcomers to the brand we’ll just need to get used to them. Overall, the camera delivers and is a recommended upgrade. Firmware updates should address some of the “why did the camera do that?,” issues, like did the custom settings take or how do I make it stop going to sleep like that?

Available now and shipping from Amazon, the X-Pro2 costs $1699.00 for the body. The kit lens bundle has sold out.

 

 




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