This is where I am – A Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review

Past & DSLR’s

5 years ago I bought a Canon 500D. I didn’t knew what DSLR meant. I just knew they click good pictures. Gradually i learned about camera & photography. Gradually I moved to manual mode. Once i got an opportunity to take my friend’s 5D Mk 2 to Kaas Pathar, Satara. And that’s where i was sold to Canon’s full frame. A year back i bought a 5D Mk2, second hand. Last few years i have used Mk 3 occasionally on wedding assignments.

Mk2’s images were good. Loved the skin tones. So after using it for about 10 months, i felt the need to upgrade. Mk 2’s body was ageing. Combined with 16-35 L series lens, the combo was heavy & big. To carry such heavy equipments on treks made no sense. That shutter sound…it gets louder with its age. Nothing new (revolutionary) coming from Canon. 1D Mk2’s specs were promising. I predicted 5D Mk 4 will be a little less on features as compared. Anyways, I didn’t wanted a big, fat, overly priced, less featured DSLR, as an “upgrade”.

Meantime Different camera makers have upgraded themselves with marginal difference. Sony, Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic are into the Game & they are taking photography seriously. DSLR’s are comparatively fast & agile, but this time… i’m not just thinking about being fast.

The Fuji story

As the days passed, I started to feel the need of new lenses. I thought of switching to Nikon’s Df, coz it is the lightest DSLR on menu. But it has many flaws then gains. This is where mirrorless comes in picture.

Sony… I have used Sony’s A7 series. I have 2 issues with Sony apart from image quality.

  1. Operating system & lens choices. According to me, operating Sony A7 series is not cool. They have designed cameras to look retroish but they are quite confusing for me. The lenses for E mount are fabulous quality. But they are less in choice, heavy & expensive.

  2. Sony had to come up with mark 2 versions for their A7 series, just after a year. This, to me, raises, many questions about their product reliability, durability.

Olympus got an awesome mirrorless lineup. After all, they started it. But their sensor size is not enough for my professional requirement. If i had to choose a camera for personal use it would be “PEN-F”.

Fujifilm. I had my eyes on Fuji since the release of X-T1. Many professionals have made switch to Fujifilm. I have read like hundreds of blogs/reviews on X series cameras. X Photographers across the world like, Zach Arias, Kevin Mullins, Jonas Rask, Elia Locardi… got me lot of confidence on Fuji’s APS-C sensor. Otherwise that was the only reason holding me back to switch from a full frame.

But all this was on internet, i wanted to use the products by myself. In India, Fujifilm’s network, marketing and availability is very weak. All the rental shops never heard of Fujifilm. Even in Mumbai’s local camera market, Fuji’s are available only on request.

Outside India, Fujifilm have build a trust factor around photographers. I know their cameras are not perfect but neither any other camera is. There is something unique about their products. They have a selected audience. It’s a ‘Photographer’s Camera’ company. Fuji listens to photographers & design/modify products with purpose. It’s like a custom made kind of thing.

Fuji makes firmware update. Even on discontinued model. I mean this is crazy. I never heard of Canon or Nikon’s firmware upgrade with so much upgrades like Fuji. For Canon firmware’s are just a way to fix issues in camera. Fuji produces some fine prime lenses. On primes you have an amazing metal Aperture ring. Yes!! lenses are also made of metal. The focal lengths are designed as such that, they get along with 35mm sensor focal lengths. Fuji’s are lightweight, yet strong & metal.

So few months back i got the chance to use a guest’s X-T1, 35mm & 56mm. And damn i loved the camera, colours, the feel of the body. I asked him that I’m thinking about switching to Fuji. He said ‘Don’t think just buy’.

After a month I bought, Fujifilm’s X-Pro2. Which also makes me one of the rarest people in India who use a rangefinder camera for professional use.

I loved the rangefinder style body. New 24MP sensor. New & fast processor. New shutter mechanism. Acros film simulation. 273 focus points.

X Pro2’s design is retroish & very intuitive. Dials!! whoo… I never faced any issues with combined shutter & ISO dial. One has to get used to it & apply some muscle memory. Aperture ring on lens feels like live saver. A joystick to move focus point. This is Fast! EVF shows correct exposure before you press that silent shutter. This is Furious!! And what the image quality!!! Beautiful & rich colours straight out of camera. Sharp jpeg’s. This APS-C size sensor is enough for my Travel & Wedding photography. Fujifilm’s colour palette is an experience itself. And you know what, all these features are going to get better by future firmware’s.

56mm f1.2 lens is THE lens (appx 85mm on fullframe). I love the images coming out of it. To get this IQ from Canon, i had to spend an insane amount on L series glass (Well, actually Sigma’s Art series will do better job).

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18mm f2 is also quite good lens (appx 28mm on fullframe). It’s not that fast focussing & IQ is pretty decent. Little softer at f/2.

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There are number of small features which i loved about this camera. For e.g. In Manual focus we have distance scale in EVF, 3 different power saving modes, wifi is super easy to use, in camera photo editing, film simulations, focus selector joystick, looks. Electronic shutter.

Fuji’s are discreet. While walking on streets i’m no more a professional photographer, I’m just a tourist. While shooting a wedding, I don’t feel like a professional photographer. This is so important to me coz i shoot weddings in documentary style.

Before X-Pro 2 i have never used a rangefinder body. It’s a different experience. I feel like I’m shooting with a new approach altogether.

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So like they say, no camera is perfect. There are couple of things which i would have loved to see on X-Pro 2. Battery life is weak. Thankfully i have bought 3 extra batteries, which are enough to get me through a day’s wedding. I would have preferred a tilting back screen for those weird angles. I would have appreciated image stabilisation, either in-body or on lenses. &… yeah…that’s it. I’m very happy with my decision to choose Fujifilm.

Have read somewhere that “Fujifilm is made for Artists… rest are professional” & this is where I am.

Keep shooting.

Let me know your thoughts at storyteller.yogesh@gmail.com

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Links:

  1. Here is an interesting article on X-Pro2’s design story

  2. Kevin Mullins’s blog on switching to Fujifilm

  3. Here’s an interesting argument from Zack Arias. One of my all time favourite photographer. This one is for those, who think APS-C is not professional

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