If you love cameras for simply being cameras, you can’t help but fall in love with the X-Pro2. Fujifilm’s X Mount flagship is refreshingly individualistic – an adventurous combination of traditional design elements (the RF-style optical viewfinder, beefy dials, etc, etc) with thoroughly contemporary technologies. On paper it really looks like it shouldn’t work as well as it does, but Fujifilm’s blending of the old with the new is damn near seamless so there’s a harmony and a balance that flirts with ergonomic perfection. It might not look like it, but in the hand the X-Pro2 is a revelation (perhaps confirms why Leica has stuck with a similar basic configuration for over 60 years).
There’s also a purity of purpose – after all, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is first and foremost a working camera – which makes for an uncomplicated appeal. The styling is, before anything else, uncompromising… including a return to the oldfashioned way of setting the ISO by lifting and turning the outer rim of the shutter speed dial. The magnesium alloy bodyshell is now weather-sealed and there’s dual memory card slots, but the jewel in the crown is still Fujifilm’s unique hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. Now that EVFs are so good, it could be argued there’s less imperative for the optical option, but Fujifilm’s arrangement delivers the best of both worlds. The latest-generation ‘X-Trans CMOS’ sensor continues as one of the best in the ‘APS-C’ world and now allows for hybrid contrast/ phase detection autofocusing with its attendant improvements in speed and reliability (plus most of the X-T2 refinements are available as an upgrade). The conventional focal plane shutter runs to 1/8000 second and sensor-based shutter to 1/32,000 second. And while everybody has JPEG picture presets, Fujifilm puts a lot of effort into designing its profiles to replicate the look of its best-loved colour films. Now it’s doing the same with B&W so the X-Pro2 has an ACROS ‘Film Simulation’ preset. Fujifilm’s film heritage is also behind functions such as the ‘Lens Modulation Optimiser’ (LMO) for dealing with diffraction and the particularly effective dynamic range expansion processing.
Appropriately, the X-Pro2’s feature set is workmanlike rather than flashy, there’s everything needed to get the job done incamera with the emphasis on a smooth and efficient workflow. This is a camera that works with you rather than against you so it makes business a pleasure and, if you aren’t shooting for profit, the whole experience is a sheer delight.
It’s backed up by a solid performance, especially from the 24 MP ‘X-Trans’ sensor and Fujifilm’s expertise with processing imaging data. It may be a very different animal to its pro-level D-SLR rivals – or, for that matter (and more relevant in this category), its pro-level mirrorless rivals – but as a highly effective means to an end, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is actually without peer.
PROFESSIONAL MIRRORLESS CAMERA – THE FINALISTS Fujifilm X-Pro2 Leica SL Sony Alpha 7S II