Fuji X-Pro2 Review
Performance - How well does it take pictures?
Camera performance starts with image quality, which the foundation of our digital camera ratings. Ergonomic issues may get in the way, but in the end, image quality counts the most. For an ILC, image quality greatly depends on the lens used. While color, noise, exposure and dynamic-range are properties of a camera, distortion, vignetting and chromatic aberrations are properties of the lens. Sharpness and contrast depend on the weakest link. That is, a camera cannot capture more details than a lens lets through. Conversely, it is quite possible for a lens to transmit more details than a sensor can capture.
Image Noise & Details
The Fuji X-Pro2 produces excellent-quality images. Its output closely matches the top performing 24 megapixels APS-C cameras currently available. Until moderate sensitivities, its performance is class-leading, only falling slightly behind 16 MP sensors of the same size when it comes to very low light, including the original X-Pro1 which has 50% larger pixels.
Image noise is extremely low from ISO 100 to 3200 where it becomes barely perceptible at 100% magnification. Details are rendered very sharply thanks to the unique 24 megapixels X-Trans CMOS III which uses a pseudo-random 6x6 color-filter-array which is not prone to moire and therefore does not use an anti-alias filter. Details are resolved incredibly well even as ISO is increased to 3200.
ISO 6400 shows an obvious yet fine pattern of luminance noise. This reduces the appearance of the finest details and lowers dynamic-range due to the impact of noise in dark areas. While images appear to have less contrast at ISO 6400, they remain highly usable and can produce superb moderately large prints. From this point though, the top cameras with larger pixels still have a clear advantage.
ISO 12800, which is the maximum standard sensitivity of the X-Pro2, is quite impressive. There is some visible noise with loss of fine details and a little less contrast. Results still look exceptionally good when printed to common print sizes. Images are vivid with good details considering such a high sensitivity.
There is a clear jump in noise and further loss of details when entering Expanded ISO territory. ISO 25600 is relatively good and usable for small to medium-size prints. Contrast and colors are quite decent too for this level. This mirrorless can also do ISO 51200 which is probably a little too far. It can produce usable images in small prints or for web use though.
Noise reduction works well with the new color-filter-array and manages to keep images very sharp while removing noise. There are 5 levels of noise-reduction and they extremely close in output quality. Sharpness is also controllable in 5 levels. Things start from a little soft to overly sharp with the default setting of 0 being optimal. Anything above shows sharpening artifacts and below images do not quite have critical sharpness.
Color & White Balance
Color accuracy of the X-Pro2 is very good. Hues are close to reality with different Film Simulation mode mostly affecting saturation. The standard Provia film slightly exaggerates saturation without appearing unnatural. Velvia is somewhat over-the-top, while Astia has a slightly dull look. The new Classic Chrome is similar to Astia. One can get very good color starting there and boosting saturation which is simply called Color on the X-Pro2.
Automatic White-Balance is generally reasonable. It performs quite well in good light but tends to leave a cast which deviates as light dims. Scenes lit by incandescent lights show a glowing yellow tint and those under fluorescent lights show a slight magenta cast. As usual, there is a Custom White-Balance option for difficult scenes. While the camera tries to simulate white-balance in the LCD preview, it occasionally gets it wrong, showing a cast but rendering the image correctly.
The Multi-Segment metering system in the X-Pro2 performs admirably well. It is very reliable and consistent, only occasionally clipping the smallest highlights. Over exposure is actually quite rare with this mirrorless as it prefers more conservative metering. Since the dynamic-range of this Fuji greatly exceeds what its EVF and LCD can show, it can easily trick the user into thinking that there will be clipping. In most cases, this is simply a limitation of display technology.
Dynamic-range of the X-Pro2 is excellent. At its standard level, scenes of high contrast are generally well captured with plenty of details from shadows to highlights. Reducing the Shadow Tone parameter to -1 keeps even more shadow details while rendering deep blacks. There is a 200% Dynamic-Range option available from ISO 400 to 12800 which allows to preserve more details in highlights. Even more highlight details can be captured with the Dynamic-Range set to 400% which is possible from ISO 800 to 12800.
The X-Pro2 bests more mirrorless cameras when it comes to dynamic-range. When compared with the best APS-C DSLRs though, it still does not quite match them. As ISO increases, the gap narrows until it disappears completely.
With a 50% increase in image resolution, it is easy to overlook the most significant advancement of this new mirrorless: An all-new 273-point hybrid autofocus system. While the X-Pro1 relied completely on Contrast-Detect AF, the 24 megapixels X-Trans CMOS III sensor on the X-Pro2 has 169 Phase-Detect points arranged in a 13x13 grid occupying half the width and roughly two-thirds the height of the frame. Coverage extends on either sides with an additional 104 Contrast-Detect points.
Autofocus sensitivity is equally high at all points. While they all focus relatively fast, the 169-Point Phase-Detect pixels are even faster in moderate to good light. Fuji uses those pixels to determine the direction of focus which also lets the X-Pro2 simulate a split-screen digitally. Contrast-Detect information is used generate an outline of sharp edges for Focus Peaking. The camera can also magnify an area to assist with Manual Focus.
There are three autofocus selection modes. One automatically chooses multiple points among all 273. Another can select any one point or square block consisting of up to 5x5 points. The third mode divides the focus coverage region into 77 areas and selects a 3x3 to 7x7 block of them. The camera then decides which point or points within the selected block to focus on. Thanks to a clickable joystick, it is easy to move the autofocus selection.
Autofocus on the X-Pro2 is highly accurate and no fine-tuning is necessary since the hybrid system determines focus by contrast. In good light AF takes as little as ¼s but it can slow down to 1s when light levels are low. Continuous AF does not fair so well as it frequently remains behind the action. Despite being noticeably improved compared to its predecessor, it remains too slow for action photography.
The Fuji X-Pro2 responds very quickly to buttons and dials. Except for its autofocus which becomes relatively slow in low-light, this mirrorless rarely holds back the photographer. The Eye-Start sensor is very sensitive and switches between the LCD and EVF with a short yet perceptible delay.
There are two continuous drive speeds which are both available at the full 24 megapixels of resolution. At 8 FPS, the X-Pro2 can continuously capture up to 83 JPEG images or 33 RAW files. At 3 FPS, it can shoot until the memory card fills up, assuming a sufficiently fast card. Oddly, only one memory card slot supports UHS-II cards. This means that one slots clears the memory buffer faster than the other.
The following measurements characterize the performance of the X-Pro2:
- Power-On: Just over ½s. Excellent.
- Power-On to First-Shot: 1 seconds. Very good.
- Autofocus: ¼ - ¾s, good in bright light, below average in low light.
- Shutter-lag: Immediate with extremely short EVF blackout. No blackout at all with OVF. Excellent.
- Shot-to-shot: Under ½s with AF, 1/3s in MF. Superb.
- Playback: 1/3s to enter or exist. Average.
- Power-Off: 1 second, includes sensor cleaning. Very good.
- Video: 1s delay starting, instant stopping. Slow.
Fuji clearly worked hard at improving the performance of this mirrorless. Despite needing significantly more memory throughput than its predecessor, it surpasses at almost everything. The shot-to-shot speed is even class-leading among mirrorless cameras. It has an excellent shutter-lag and a very impressive black-out time. The X-Pro2 even compares well to high-end DSLRs. Of course, the Reverse Galilean optical viewfinder provides a range finder experience by not having any black-out and showing over 100% coverage starting at moderately wide focal-lengths.
The one area where it falls behind the original X-Pro1 is video. While the older camera had a dedicated video mode, the X-Pro2 does not and so the sensor is not immediately ready. It takes one second to start recording which is on the slow side. Stopping is instant though.
The Fuji X-Pro2 is powered by a proprietary Lithium-Ion battery which provides a paltry 250 shots-per-charge. This is well below average and goes down quickly while reviewing images. At least two additional batteries are recommended to last a full day of shooting.
The new Fuji X-Pro2 is the first sequel to the original XF-mount mirrorless. Coming in 4 years later, it features a third-generation X-Trans CMOS sensor, jumping from 16 to 24 megapixels while maintaining a unique 6x6 pseudo-random color filter-array which avoid moire without the need of an anti-alias filter. As such, the X-Pro2 delivers exceptional resolution and extracts much more detail from lenses.
Image quality from the X-Pro2 without simply excellent. Noise levels are incredibly low for a 24 MP sensor and dynamic-range is quite wide, particularly when expanded to 400% starting at ISO 800. Physics still favor larger pixels which is why it does not quite perform like the X-T1 at high ISO. From low to moderate sensitivities, it clearly delivers on image-quality. Metering and color rendition is excellent with only automatic white-balance leaving a little room for improvement.
This new mirrorless is blazing fast for nearly everything. Even the nearly instant shutter-lag is optional. Shot-to-shot speeds are splendid and the 8 FPS continuous drive provides even faster shooting when needed. Autofocus is reasonably fast without being exceptional. In good light, it locks AF very quickly and can even prime the lens using its effective Pre-AF feature which focuses when the Eye-Start sensor is triggered. Autofocus slows down in low light yet always remains quite accurate.
Fuji refined the design of the X-Pro2 while keeping it in classic range-finder style. Its numerous direct controls are efficient, only a little over-defined and complex. It may hold a record number of dials which provide different ways to control the camera. The new embedded ISO dial is however somewhat difficult to use, although other dials and even the aperture ring on most Fuji lenses could use stiffer detents. The new sturdy body is fully weatherproof and freezeproof to -10C.
Overall, the Fuji X-Pro2 is a notable addition to the family Fuji mirrorless digital cameras. Those needing the additional resolution will be quite pleased with the X-Pro2. Speed is also a huge improvement for street and wildlife photography, although the autofocus system cannot quite keep up with fast action. The unique hybrid viewfinder is a superb technological achievement and can be extremely useful for certain type of photography.
Fuji X-Pro2 Facts
Mirrorless digital camera
|24 Megapixels Mirrorless (SLD)||ISO 100-51200|
|Fuji X Mount|
Sensor-Size: 24 x 16mm
Actual size when viewed at 100 DPI
|0.48" Hybrid EVF 2.4 Megapixels (0.59X)||Full manual controls, including Manual Focus|
|Automatic Eye-Start sensor||Custom white-balance with 2 axis fine-tuning|
|1 Axis Digital Level||Spot-Metering|
|Weatherproof down to -10C||Hot-Shoe & Sync-Port|
|Built-in Dust Reduction||Stereo audio input|
|8 FPS Drive, 83 Images||Lithium-Ion Battery|
|1920x1080 @ 60 FPS Video Recording||Secure Digital Extended Capacity x 2|
|3" LCD 1.6 Megapixels|
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