The Switch to Fujifilm: Initial thoughts on the X-Pro2

A few weeks ago I threw around the idea of putting my Canon 6D and lenses off to the side in favor of the Fuji X series. A few of my friends questioned why I would want to go from a full frame DSLR to a APS-C mirrorless camera. The answer was not so simple even though I knew why because its hard to explain if you haven't used a Fujifilm system before. In this blog post I will explain to you the reason why I made the switch to Fuji and my initial thoughts on the X-Pro2.

I am certainly no stranger to Fujifilm, as in the past I've owned the X100, X100s, and X-E1 and a few X series lenses. I swear by this system and the quality of images you can achieve with it. One of my biggest regrets was getting rid of my past Fuji cameras because simply, they were amazing to use but at the time I sold them to fund other purchases for my Canon system. Since then I looked at purchasing another one and the X-Pro1 caught my eye but I knew it has some downfalls that would ultimately limit me. When I heard the X-Pro2 was rumored to be released, I knew it was going to be something special and definitely had my attention. 

To me the Fuji series is something special. I swear the team at Fujifilm put some sort of magic in their cameras (but you can't put that on the spec sheet) because the colors that it produces are simply amazing and very pleasing. Image quality is always top notch and the functionality of these cameras are a breath of fresh air. The retro characteristics are very pleasing and simple to use and like some cameras, you can pick it up and know exactly how to use it in minutes. These are by the far the best cameras I've ever used and you won't hear that just from me.

 

Classic Chrome film simulation

Classic Chrome film simulation

Acros B&W film simluation

Acros B&W film simluation

Fast forward to right now. I decided to go ahead and order the X-Pro2 with the 23mm f/2 WR lens. I've been using it for the last week so don't expect this to be my full review, thats coming later. This is my initial thoughts and experiences with the camera.

AF System

The specs are an impressive improvement over the previous X-Pro1. One negative people were saying about the X-Pro1 was a lackluster AF system and its performance. This simply is not an issue with the X-Pro2. The AF system with its 77 point (expandable to 273) system, its more than enough for most people and its quite snappy and accurate. Focusing with the 23mm lens is very quick and accurate. Faster than my 6D actually which is very nice because my 6D AF system is just ok. On my 6D, I'm used to taking multiple shots of a subject just in case it didn't accurately focus. Not an issue with the Fuji. Its always spot on every time and the focus itself is very sharp.

ISO

In my ISO test, it performs very well even at 3200 and on most cameras, you would typically get an ugly grainy look but Fuji, its reminiscent of film type grain which looks very pleasing and often times I actually purposely shoot at high ISO to get that unique film like look. 

Film Simulation

One of my favorite things about the Fuji system is that they incorporate a film simulation mode which is basically digitally reproduced film types developed by Fuji such as Provia, Velvia, Astia and the newly added Classic Chrome and Acros B&W. These are woindeful to shoot in and the color rendition is wonderful. 

Classic Chrome film simulation

Classic Chrome film simulation

Controls

The controls on the Fujifilm are placed in perfect locations. With the X-Pro2, all the buttons are on the right side of the camera for easy one handed use. The ISO dial is uniquely placed inside the Shutter Speed dial allowing you pull up on the SS dial to change ISO. It is quite weird to use at first but you do get used to it and is very minor. The Exposure comp dial is also placed at the top of the camera right where your thumb rests for easy access. A new addition to the X-Pro2 and the first on a Fuji camera in general is the joystick nub which allows easy access to moving AF points and adjusting AF coverage. On the back of the camera you have your AE/AL buttons, as well as a plethora of other buttons with customizable functions. Not once did I have to go into the menu to change any setting while I was shooting. Standard of Fuji lenses is the adjustable aperture ring on the lens itself.

Viewfinder

Exclusively on the X-Pro2 and its little brother, the X100 series, the cameras sports a hybrid viewfinder allowing you to shoot through the built in rangefinder or switch the an EVF, which is a high resolution and the best EVF I have ever used. A conveniently placed lever on the front allows you to easily switch between the two. A new addition to the cameras allows you flick the lever while using the OVF and a small digital screen pops up that shows what your are focusing on. Great for manually focusing.

Wifi

have not used the wifi yet but on the X-Pro2, you can remote shoot from your iPhone or android device and also view images. From what I've heard from other people is that its very easy to use and it works well.

Build Quality

This camera is built like a tank. Seriously. Its one rugged camera that could take a beating in the field. Did I mention its weather resistant? Well it is. Meaning you can take this into the rain and not fear that it will break. Pair it with a WR (weather resistant) lens and you can have yourself a durable camera that can withstand the elements. The camera body is made of an magnesium alloy chassis with rubber gaskets inside the ports and card slots. Oh yea, new for this camera is dual SD card slots. Great for overflow onto a second card or shooting RAW and JPEG separately. I love having the option unlike my 6D.

The bad

No camera is perfect. Im sure we can all agree on that. My biggest issues with the camera were:

-Finicky ISO dial (i got used to it but it is something new to get used to)

-Menu system could be better. There are a lot of menus and some things were hard to find.

-Battery life. Its not great. I shot over 300 photos at the Philadelphia Auto Show for a few hours and when I left, I had about 20% battery life from a fully charged battery. Definitely will need to have a few spares if you're shooting something like a wedding or anything that requires a lot of time.

Conclusion

I love this camera so far. Im very confident that I could leave my Canon and not look back. I have no doubt that this can handle something like a wedding. Its been such a joy to use and I can't wait to use it more. Its broken me out of a weird funk and made me interested in shooting again. If you have every considering giving Fujifilm a try, I encourage you to jump right in and try it because you won't understand what makes these such wonderful cameras until you actually use one. Its truly something special.

This is part 1 of my review of the X-Pro2. I'll be writing another part after I use the camera more and put it through its paces. Thanks for reading and enjoy the rest of the photos.