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XPRO2 First impressions : A beast of a camera or do I sense some disappointment ? 

I was hesitating in choosing an appropriate title for this post …

Article updated 09/04/2016. Updates can be found marked in red

The XPro2: I can’t help but feeling some disappointment….
or
The XPro2: The beast (or how the X system finally came of age)

So depending on how you want to interpret this, here are 2 articles in one. (Spoiler alert: It has a happy ending!)

Background
I’ve been using fuji camera’s on assignment ever since the XPRO1 came out. I’ve been shooting all my work Fuji exclusive since the release of the XT1. While the XT1 is good enough for my main line of work (weddings) there are 2 reasons why I wanted to upgrade. The ergonomics of the X-T1, The D-pad gives me muscle cramps after a full day and it doesn’t have dual SD cards. (That extra insurance on a wedding day is worth the upgrade by itself.)

So last friday I picked up my long anticipated pre-order and with no assignments that weekend I bored family, friends & instagram with it. Besides the fact that you expect the XPRO2 to be better than all previous models … these were my very first thoughts after only one day.


First image: That feeling when you get the kids from school. They really need to eat but you’d rather play with the new toy.

The X-Pro2: I can’t help but feel some disappointment….

When you are wearing glasses, it appears you are looking into a cube and the screen is at the far side… the EVF appears to be buried deep down inside the viewfinder

Viewfinder Eye Relief (as a glass wearer)
I didn’t full understand what David Hobby meant by Eye Relief until I first picked up the camera. And damn, I was a bit disappointed.
Best way to describe it is that it appears you are looking into a cube and the screen is at the far side… the EVF appears to be buried deep down inside the viewfinder. It actually feels like it’s a couple of centimeters away from you. It’s a bit of shocker if you compare those the XT1 and the XPRO2. The XT1 viewfinder FEELS huge compared to the XPRO2 one. On the bright side, I don’t feel disconnected from my subject anymore because the refresh rate & the clarity is very impressive. At times I felt the viewfinder on the XT1 was perhaps to big to have a fast birds eye view of your composition. Time will tell how well I’ll adjust to this flaw.

**** Update It’s okay… moving back and forth from the XT1 to the XPRO2 the size difference is relevant but it’s okay. I did pump up the brightness on the EVF a bit more. Something I’ve never had to do with other fuji camera’s. My biggest beef right now is that the dioptre compensation dial is too loose. It happens frequently that I have to re-adjust it. Something that will be very annoying on fast paced wedding days.


A Slight exaggeration of what it feels like. (Shot with the Iphone through the viewfinder)

Front Command Dial
As a full manual shooter, I leave the shutter dial on T and use the front dial to adjust my shutter speed. The position of that wheel compared to the XT1 is bit more to the right making it harder to reach while maintaining a comfortable grip on your camera. This might be a very personal issue but why can’t FUJI line out their controls a between their top segmented camera’s. This one centimeter offset between the two models is a bit of a mind-fuck to me…

ISO Dial
It looks nice and it works when you are looking at the dial when you do it …. in reality, I keep on knocking my shutter speed dial around as well … it also feels very weird that depending on position of your shutter speed you might gave to read your ISO setting on the top , bottom, or upside down … I was happy with mapping the fn key on the XPRO , or even the funky (also heavily critiqued) X-T1 dial.


In T-mode all is well.

1/250th “Upside down …. boy you turn me – Diana Ross”

**** Update I hope a firmware update can bring a solution/workaround so we can assign a Fn button for iso (example ISO in H2 mode acts as a mode where you can adjust with the Fn button)

 

Tilt Screen (or lack thereof)
I knew it didn’t have one when I ordered but you only miss things when they are gone I guess….

PRO Camera
Range finder design .. but it is labeled as a PRO camera. With no replacable eyecup (or option for a better one), and it will never see a vertical grip (no contact points in the bottom plate). Am I the only one who finds this strange? (even if XT1 & PRO are 2 product lines) I’m sure some PRO (concerts, sports, …) shooters would like that. For now they have to stick to the XT1 or wait and see what the XT2 brings.

Menu related issues
With the the new menu system, especially the canon shooters will feel right at home, it feels familiar first time round, so that is a good thing!
Still some minor things I would like to see addressed in a future firmware.

  • Please allow us to remap the D-pad Drive button. Memory muscle is important to me … coming from the XT1 (and I still intend to keep one) I’ve mapped all D-Pad buttons to “AF selection”. I’d like to be able to do the same on the XPRO2…. Especially the drive button. Because 2 clicks on that button thinking you are changing the focus point you actually end up in the “toy camera”, advanced filter. **** Update I still feel strong about this issue. So I can only hope Fuji is listening.
  • I’d like to add the formatting & save data set-up menu’s to the My Menu. (How is formatting a card a User setting anyway?)
  • In playback, can we please assign the joystick press as the image zoom ? So I don’t keep swithing between sd cards …

I’m sure Fuji can and will fix these small issues in a next firmware release if we all nags about it enough! So sharing is caring 😉




Annoy people mode ON

 

The beast (or how the X system finally came of age)

For full specs I’ll be happy to point you to google. This is what stands out for me:

 

Build quality

It feels that sturdy I’d even consider bitch slapping uncle bob with it.

When you already own an XPRO1 it feels like the same camera. Built like a tank, solid as a rock it shouts PRO camera from the feel of it alone. It feels that sturdy I’d even consider bitch slapping uncle bob with it if I have to.The XPro2 took all the good things from the XPRO1 , X100T and mixed it with (almost) all the good things of the XT1, and then some!


Weather Sealing! It’s true what they say about Belgian weather
 

Focus lever
I call it a JOY-stick, no more finger cramps. Hooray.

Dual SD cards
Don’t put all you eggs in one 32GB basket, now it’s 1 egg 2 baskets, one for RAW, one for JPG. It’s wedding insurance, nuff said.

AF & High ISO Performance
While I was happily snapping away family pictures all weekend it wasn’t until Saturday night when it sunk in how incredibly well this camera is performing.When you press the shutter down it’s blazing fast, the shutter lag is non-existent, the write speed is blazing fast. The EVF (even with the eye relief issues) is sharp, the refresh rate is near live view performance. Even with the older XF35 1.4 the AF is great! The sound of the shutter (or lack thereof) is gratifying.

At a Cirque du Soleil show I grabbed my camera to “try” the AF & high ISO in low light … Let me say this: if the AF can track 2 trapeze artist in low light I know I’m safe when a couple walks down the isle in church and I know this camera can perform up to par with any camera system in a first dance in low light. After reviewing the images on a big screen my mouth dropped open even more. High ISO is very impressive.



Cirque du soleil images : XF35 1.4 @ ISO6400 – 1/250th and 1/1000th – f.something

For the pixel peepers, I’ve uploaded a couple of high res (lightroom exported) JPG’s and RAW files to dropbox. Download link here.

On Sunday I took the camera with me to the local carnival. Played around with the continues drive & wider tracking zones. Tried to see how it would react to focusing in heavy backlight and again … I couldn’t throw the AF off-guard. With the medium rain & light hail I got that day I’m very happy to say that the weather sealing really works too. 😉

You can’t help but feel the X system finally came of age.

(obligatory reference to my post title …)


Big grumpy guy


Small dude in heavy backlight

So, when AF has always been THE point of talk with Fuji you can’t help but feel that in that department the X system finally came of age.

The sensor
24MP.. It will make lightroom cry

Battery
I already own 10 of those, so I’m not complaining. On the other hand, this might have been the perfect timing for Fuji to have upped the juice.

Closing note

I’m already curious about the XT2 (damn you Fujifilm). The XPro2 could have been my perfect camera, for now it’s just the best camera to do my job. As long as my muscle memory doesn’t let me down too much I’m holding off on weilding 2 XPro2’s and I’ll try to manage with one of each.

Should you upgrade from the XT1? If you don’t need dual SD… see what the XT-2 brings. If you are still holding on to your XPRO-1 and waited for 5 years, chances are you already bought one, so good on you! Bottom line (literally) , despite the quirks & viewfinder issues I can’t describe it any other than being a BEAST of a camera (ow yeah, on a roll …)

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