Fashion, beauty, portrait and advertising photographer Wayne Johns gives his feedback on shooting with the Fujifilm X-Pro2.
When did you first start shooting with the Fujifilm X-series?
My X-series camera was the remarkable and very loved X-Pro1 which I had mainly for personal use as a small lightweight carry-around type camera, although I did shoot a couple of commercial projects on it.
The results were so impressive, it ended up replacing my Leica M9 which I later sold because I loved the X-Pro1 so much. It even came with me on my honeymoon, and I still own and use it now.
What drew you to shooting with the X-Pro1?
Firstly, I love the retro rangefinder-style design. It’s also so compact and lightweight to carry around, especially compared to a standard DSLR kit – it’s almost unnoticeable when shooting in public.
The vast array of features in that little black box is pretty impressive too, and on top of that you have the amazing quality of the Fujinon XF-series glass; I think they are just phenomenal quality.
What about the X-T1?
After shooting with the X-Pro1 for a while, it wasn’t long before the X-T1 came along. Packed full of upgrades and enhancements in a DSLR-style body, it was a game-changer for me. It wasn’t long after shooting with it side by side next to my Canon DSLR kit that it ended up replacing all my Canon gear. And I’d been a Canon shooter for over 23 years! It gave me all the quality and performance without the size and weight.
And now we have the Fujifilm X-Pro2. Does this feel any different in your hand compared to X-series cameras you’ve previously used?
Yes it does. Fujifilm has worked a bit of ergonomic magic with this new beast. The redesign of the front finger grip and rear thumb grip is great. That’s one thing I kind of tagged as a negative in the X-Pro1.
Taking all the buttons from the left side of the rear LCD, as it was on the X-Pro1, and moving them to the right side of the screen to enable single-handed operation was brilliant. Its operation/adjustment functionality is much quicker and much more intuitive now. Love it…
Dual card slots sitting in the side of the body, instead of underneath with the battery, is so much easier and a second card slot too…that’s a nice bonus for a camera of this style and size. The rear screen is a bit bigger and a higher resolution too – great when viewing things back or checking for details in set ups.
What’s your favourite new feature on the camera?
It has to be the dedicated joystick for controlling the focus points. It has made life so much quicker and easier in those environments where that function is needed – it’s an ideal addition to your shooting workflow. It’s probably my most used function next to shutter speed and aperture adjustment; I always tend to shoot in Manual mode, it’s just the way I am.
How does the new sensor perform?
Now this is a beautiful addition and a step up from its predecessors. I’ve only shot with the X-Pro2 prototype so far which wasn’t at 100% build stage, but I’m still really impressed!
I had already been very impressed with the X-T1’s 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor – I must have been for it to replace my Canon kit. But to now have a new 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor with a newer/faster processor as well, this little beast is not to be sniffed at. It’s a tremendous camera packed full of advanced features to please everyone….or most people anyway!
How have you found the new viewfinder?
It’s very clever. I don’t know who at Fujifilm has these ideas, then makes them work so smoothly, but they deserve a very big pat on the back to say the least! Shooting in optical viewfinder mode, but still having an EVF overlay – that’s just genius.
For my studio work though, I find that I switch to EVF mode for most of my shooting, especially as they’ve increased the refresh rate from the X-T1’s 54fps to a staggering 85fps. It’s a beautiful viewfinder with virtually no lag, nothing I can really notice anyway – very nicely done!
Has the handling improved?
The handling has had a vast improvement over its predecessor. The new button configuration layout is a joy to use; moving all the main function/control buttons to the right side of the body for use with the right thumb is fantastic. Once you program your brain to remember the layout and button functionality, working with them while shooting is a dream, and the left hand can stay under the camera for support and to change your aperture on the lens. I also think putting the ISO control within the shutter speed dial enables it to keep its nostalgic retro looks, but with a modern upgrade. It’s simple, looks good and works well.
How’s the AF performance?
The AF has had a fabulous overhaul, very much improved over its older brother. It’s faster, snappier and with lots more choice of focus points to choose from as well. I mean, my X-T1 has 77 focus points, but with the new X-Pro2 I can use up to 273 focus points, all of which are directly selectable. That’s an incredible amount of control for those that may need it…incredible!
Finally, how would you describe the X-Pro2 in one word?
One word…seriously?…just one word…..Mmm…..Addictive!