Fuji X-Pro 2 Mirrorless Camera Review: The Best Camera I've Ever Used?

It's a little bit crazy how much better this camera is than it's predecessor.

 The Fuji X-Pro 2. Image courtesy of  B&H .

The Fuji X-Pro 2. Image courtesy of B&H.

With Canon or Nikon, body upgrades are so frequent and incremental that they're almost not worth the investment. Fuji, being relatively new to the market, pushes their technology leaps and bounds with each generation

The Fuji X-Pro 2, released 4 years after the X-Pro 1, introduces a new sensor, new control schemes, snappier response times, weather sealing, dual card slots, and double the megapixels of it's little brother.

If the X-Pro 1 was the camera that made me fall back in love with photography as a hobby, this was the camera that made me fall back in love with photography as an artistic and professional pursuit. Yeah, it's that good

 Sophia Black in the Hollywood Hills for Aaro Entertainment. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4.

Sophia Black in the Hollywood Hills for Aaro Entertainment. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji XF 35mm f/1.4.

Technical Specs of the Fuji X-Pro 2

  • Effective pixels: 24.3 millions pixels
  • Image sensor: 23.6mm x 15.6mm(APS-C)X-Trans CMOS III with primary color filter.
  • Storage media: SD memory card(up to 2GB) / SDHC memory card(up to 32GB) / SDXC memory card( to 256GB)
  • File formats: JPEG, RAW, MPEG-4
  • ISO: 200-12800, 51200 extended
  • Image Stabilizer: Supported with OIS type lenses
  • Film Simulation Modes: PROVIA / Standard, Velvia / Vivid, ASTIA / Soft, CLASSIC CHROME, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, Black& White, Black& White+Ye Filter, Black& White+R Filter, Black& White+GFilter, Sepia, ACROS, ACROS+Ye Filter, ACROS+R Filter, ACROS+G Filter
  • Outputs: USB 2.0 High-Speed / Micro USB, HDMI output, Microphone / shutter release, Hot shoe
  • Battery Life: Approx. 250 / 350 frames
  • Size: 140.5mm (W) x 82.8mm (H) x 45.9mm (D) / 5.5in. (W) x 3.3in. (H) x 1.8in. (D) 
  • Weight: Approx. 495g / 15.7 oz. (including battery and memory card)
 Alisa in Central Park. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Alisa in Central Park. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Fuji X-Pro 2 Review:

Let's get this out of the way: this camera is gorgeous. Totally drool worthy. It's metal housing is retro-styled with a distinct Fuji-cum-Leica look.

A dual purpose dial on the top of the camera controls both exposure time and ISO – simply lift up the ring of the exposure dial and spin to adjust the ISO. Having a tactile way to adjust the ISO is a nice improvement from the X-Pro 1, which forced you to either dive through menus or map the ISO control to a shortcut button to adjust. Neither of the control setups are correct or incorrect – and the updated ISO ring has many vocal critics – but the physical layout of the X-Pro 2 has afforded me a more enjoyable shooting experience.

Speaking of ISO, the image quality is great up to 3200, and usable up to 12,800. Considering the relatively small sensor, it seems like a feat of broken physics to produce gorgeous images at such high ISOs.

 A woman in the 14th street ACE station in Chelsea, Manhattan. Fuji X-pro2, Fuji XF 16mm f/1.4 WR.

A woman in the 14th street ACE station in Chelsea, Manhattan. Fuji X-pro2, Fuji XF 16mm f/1.4 WR.

 Runners in Central Park. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Runners in Central Park. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

I've had so much fun carrying this camera in my coat pocket every day, shooting whatever caught my eye. But when it comes down to it, this camera is usually my B-camera for a paid job.

But wait – the title of this review is 'the best camera I've ever used', isn't it? Well, that's not hyperbole. Let me explain.

Here are the facts: a full frame DSLR will outperform the Fuji X-Pro 2 in terms of image quality – no contest. The amount of micro-detail per inch that a larger sensor can afford is simply unbeatable by any mirrorless camera... but that image quality comes at a massive cost.

A full frame camera would be significantly heavier and larger, and create larger (and slower) files to parse through in Lightroom. For every day use, it's simply overkill. But for a paid job – with call sheets, stylists, models, and lighting equipment – I would be happy to pack up a larger camera and bring it to set to maximize my output quality.

Knowing this, I asked myself: how often was I regretful over the image quality from the Fuji X-Pro 2? Did I ever feel like I missed a shot or spoiled an opportunity? Were there any instances where I wish I had my Canon 6D on me instead?

My answer, to all of the above: never!

 The mouth of a parking garage in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  Paris. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji 16mm f/1.4.

The mouth of a parking garage in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  Paris. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji 16mm f/1.4.

 A tenement building in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  Paris. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji 16mm f/1.4.

A tenement building in Washington Heights, Manhattan.  Paris. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji 16mm f/1.4.

That's the whole point of the Fuji X-Pro 2: it's an unmatched shooting experience – backed by top-tier mirrorless image quality. With exceptional image quality and latitude in your RAW files, you'll never feel like this camera can't handle what you're trying to shoot. It's tactile, portable, and empowering. Not only can you take it anywhere, but you'll actually want to.

And remember... the most iconic National Geographic covers were shot with comparatively ancient technology. The important thing was for the photographer put themselves in the right situation at the right time. That's what the Fuji X-Pro 2 will do for you

Fuji X-Pro 2 For Video? 

While the X-T2 and the X-H1 seem to get all the video shine, the sensors – ergo the resulting image quality – in both cameras are actually identical. While lacking the battery grip of the X-T2 and the IBIS and Eterna/F-log profiles of the X-H1, the X-Pro 2 is able to shoot in 4K and, when using the Pro Neg Hi Standard film profile, produce gorgeously colored footage that's usually flat enough to push in post.

Take a look at the above for a quick example of the video quality you can expect with the X-Pro 2. I like to use the Helios 44-4 lens to 'de-digitize' my footage – I find the worn down coating and natural haze of the vintage lens helps curb the baked-in sharpness of the digital footage, giving a more cinematic look.

But as gorgeous as the raw video quality is, the lack of IBIS – coupled with the scarcity of IS in Fuji's native lenses – makes a tripod or gimbal essential.

EVF vs Hybrid Viewfinder: When to Use Which? 

The hybrid viewfinder is yet another stroke of Fujifilm genius. The shooting experience of looking directly through your rangefinder harkens back to the days of film photography – and before you roll your eyes, there really is something to be said about staring at your composition as it is before you rather than a digitized screen. In my experience, the hybrid viewfinder helped me stay rooted in the image I was trying to create.

When shooting with vintage lenses, you'll be forced to use the EVF to frame and focus. Luckily, focus peaking works great with vintage lenses with no electronics – or, if you're like me, simply press the scroll wheel in to 10x magnify the composition and eyeball your focus from there. 

The EVF is also ideal for photographs that are tricky to meter. The RAWs from this camera have tons of latitude in both highlights and shadows, but it's better to nail in camera – and the EVF helps you accomplish exactly that.

 Staircase in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Staircase in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Fuji X-Pro 1 vs Fuji X-Pro 2: Which is Better?

I do all my editing and photo browsing on a 27-inch 5k Retina iMac screen. Sure – the 16MP output from the Fuji X-Pro 1 might be good enough for web use and standard size prints, but they make granular editing a real chore. Truthfully, if I'm going to spend time capturing an image with a professional grade mirrorless camera, I want the file to be of a high enough resolution that I can blow up the image as large as I want!

Some people argue that the color rendition on the original X-Trans sensor in the X-Pro1 is better and more characteristic of the 'Fuji' look. It's a subtle difference – one that I don't necessarily see myself. Sometimes an upgraded sensor can diminish the charm and uniqueness of a camera – like the Sigma DP2 Quattro vs the Sigma DP2 Merrill, for example – but in this case, the different color science isn't better or worse.

Make no mistake: the Fuji X-Pro 1 is one of my favorite cameras of all time. It's inexpensive, durable, lightweight, and has wonderful image quality. But the X-Pro 2 is the X-Pro 1 all grown up, ready to take on more serious work with a higher megapixel count, more resilient upper ISOs, and a dual card slot for those long-haul shoots.

Bonus round: if you're looking for the image quality of the Fuji X-Pro 2 and feel totally satisfied with a 35mm equivalent fixed lens, my highest recommendation goes to the Fuji X100F for an every-day carry (read the full review to see why).

Where Can I Buy the Fuji X-Pro 2?

For a camera that came out 2 years ago, the value has held remarkably well – which is good news if you're planning to sell yours when the next generation comes out. 

 Workers in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Workers in Washington Heights, Manhattan. Fuji X-Pro 2, Helios 44-4.

Fuji Lens Reviews for Your Fujifilm Mirrorless Camera

If you're hunting for the perfect lens to go with your Fuji body, check out a comprehensive list of our Fuji lens reviews below:

 A deer in Fire Island. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji 35mm f/1.4.

A deer in Fire Island. Fuji X-Pro 2, Fuji 35mm f/1.4.

Digital strategist, writer, and image maker based in Manhattan working with clients in the tech and entertainment industry.