Fuji X-Pro2 digital camera

Long Term Review: 16 Months of Weddings with the X-Pro2

My FujiFilm X-Pro2's landed the first week in March 2016 and have been in constant use ever since. So, sixteen months on, how are they coping with heavy use from a full-time wedding photographer?

Firstly, why am I writing a 16-month review when 12 and 18-month are more conventional? It's simply because of my workload, I was too busy at 12 months and 18 months is right in the middle of wedding season. So, here it is, 16-month review.

As much as I loved using my XT-1's, when the X-Pro2 was announced promising faster autofocus and even better high ISO performance I pre-ordered two. Right out of the bag (box) the improvements over the older XT1 were not subtle, the XT1's never let me down but X-Pro2 is the next generation and just inspired more confidence (as it should).

In true FujiFilm style, the X-Pro2's have been subsequently improved via firmware updates so these cameras genuinely do keep getting better.

Wedding photography on the streets of Liverpool

Focusing

As someone who photographs live action, often in low light, focus speed and accuracy are very important to me, the X-Pro2 really delivers on this requirement. The focus speed really suits wedding photography, easily coping with aisle precessions and dancing. Even wedding cars driving at speed don't trouble the X-Pro2's servo-focus.

Church weddings in Liverpool

Let's talk about accuracy. I've found the X-Pro2 to be highly accurate, more so than any other camera I've owned. It might be a little slower than my previous pro dslr but it's definitely more accurate, especially when shooting wide open at f1.2 and f1.4 (apertures I dare not use with my pro dslr's).

Unlike my old dslr cameras and lenses which seemed to deteriorate and need calibrating every year. Sixteen months in and my X-Pro2's focus accuracy hasn't changed. (the XT1's had been exactly the same). Week in, week out, rain or shine these cameras just work. My lenses are coming up to four years old and are as sharp now as they were new.

I use the 23mm f1.4 and 56mm f1.2 for most of the day, they give me a natural point of view, I love their fast apertures and their positive focus.

Fun journalistic photograph

If I want something more dramatic I use the 16mm f1.4 and if I need more reach I have the excellent 90mm f2. I wish I used the 90mm f2 more often, it's a stunning lens and so sharp you could cut yourself on it.

The first dance can be a testing time, the light is usually very low and the subject is moving, sometimes quite fast. It is a testing situation for any camera, again, the X-Pro2 impresses.

Firmware has seen focus speed improve, become more positive and receive more options including a smaller focus point selection and customisable servo-focus sensitivity.

I particularly like the customisable servo focus sensitivity, it means you can match how your autofocus reaction to your subject. You also have various ready made presets if you don't want to customise/make your own.

bride attaching earing in mirror

ISO Performance

To me, higher megapixel sensors mean more noise, so increasing from the XT1's 16mp to 24mp worried me. I needn't have worried everything about the new sensor exceeded my expectations. It's not just the low noise of this sensor, the colours are even better than before and getting the white balance correct seems easier. The ISO range and performance are perfect for me with my fast prime lenses.

The files are as beautiful as ever, I love the ACROS setting for black and whites which was first introduced with the X-Pro2.

Wear and tear

Despite (almost) shooting one and a half full wedding seasons, these cameras still look, feel and work like new. Admittedly, I do look after and respect my cameras and lenses but I don't baby them. The X-Pro2 deserves its pro body status, it's build quality is top drawer. They are an excellent tool and true pro workhorses. The cameras have had the odd knock etc. however their compact size allied with prime lenses makes them less exposed to the knocks and bumps larger cameras with huge f2.8 zooms attract.

Wedding photography

Does any camera make you a better photographer? Obviously not! Cameras are just tools but it's a fair argument that choosing the best tool for any job will have an impact on the final result, after all, you can knock screws in with a hammer.My photography style relies on me being discreet and going unnoticed, from the whisper quiet shutter to the unassuming appearance of the X-Pro2 which is pure black with not even any branding on the front, this makes it perfect for my style of photography.

bride helped into her dress by mum and sister

My photography style relies on me being discreet and going unnoticed, from the whisper quiet shutter to the unassuming appearance of the X-Pro2 which is pure black with not even any branding on the front, this makes it perfect for my style of photography.

I'm getting closer to my subjects than ever before whilst remaining discreet and undetected. Since I discovered FujiFilm mirrorless cameras and my work has taken on a more up close look, for the viewer it feels like they are there and part of whats happening.

Conclusion

So there you have it, the X-Pro2 is an even better camera than it was at launch (firmware). Its performance continues to impress, it does everything I ask of it and copes supremely well in tough lighting conditions. The X-Pro2's build quality is right up there with the very best and can easily take the heavy use of a full-time professional photographer. It has, and continues to perform flawlessly and shows no signs of failing.

Rob Sanderson
Liverpool and Cheshire wedding photographer

We talk GFX-50s with Fujifilm UK marketing manager

Following the exciting announcement of the Fuji GFX 50s medium format camera, Rob Sanderson caught up with Andreas GeorghiadesMarketing Manager, Electronic Imaging to ask him a few questions about it.

Andreas, you’ve just returned from Photokina 2016, how was the show for Fujifilm?

The show was such a buzz for so many different reasons.  Photokina is the biggest photographic show in the world and only happens every two years so it was important to us to save some real WOW announcements.  We think we stole the show with the GFX50S announcement, no one was really expecting that.  The thing is we had quite a number of other new products on display at the show for the first time, the XF 23mm f2 R WR and 24 megapixel X-A3 announced in August, the XF 50mm f2 R WR lens due out in March 2017, the new Instax Mini Monochrome Film, the exciting new Instax Square format, the Frontier DE Drylab printer, and the Velvet Type S, Leather and Linen RA4 papers just to mention a few.

How would you explain the difference in image quality to photographers who've never experienced medium format before?

The sensor in the GFX50S measures 42.8mm x 32.9mm.  It is 1.7 times larger than a full frame camera and almost 4 times larger than an APS-C camera.  The amount of light and detail a sensor of that size can capture is phenomenal.  The depth of field results the camera produces will be outstanding.  It’s the ultimate image quality possible in modern, digital photography.  It’s the next generation for sure.

Who are your target markets for the GFX 50s?

The GFX50S is targeted at Professional photographers and photo enthusiasts who are looking for the ultimate image quality at an affordable price and useable size. Photographers who demand the best image quality, colour and tone reproduction with a higher resolution. Commercial, Fashion, Studio, Landscape are the main styles of photographer we feel is best suited to using this camera.  Basically, anyone looking at high-resolution full frame cameras has another option.  Once upon a time medium format cameras were not very affordable, this will change.

The GFX 50s is remarkably compact for a medium format camera, how important were the size and weight when developing this camera?

When we decided to use the larger sensor, the challenge was set to our engineering team was to make the camera smaller and lighter than a full frame DSLR but just as usable on a day to day basis.  With the X series, the philosophy has always been to create small, reliable, high-quality cameras.  This hasn’t changed with the GFX50S

How important is and what are the benefits of the multi-aspect ratio sensor?

We feel this is very important to both differentiate us from other large sensor cameras but as well to acknowledge our long history of making various ratio cameras.  The GFX50S will support, 4:3, 16:9, 1:1, 65:24, 3:2, 4:5, 6:7 aspect ratios

The focal plane shutter is a unique feature of this digital medium format camera, what are the benefits?

The main benefit of having a focal plane shutter is the ability to use any lens old or new – providing you have the right adaptor.  Also, each lens for the camera will be slightly less than the equivalent leaf shutter lens as you don’t need to include expensive leaf shutter components in every lens.  Overall, reliability is also improved although shutter life has yet to be confirmed.

The GFX 50s adheres to the proven X system feel and controls, does that mean this camera will handle like a big XT-2?

The X of GFX stands for X DNA which means menus, buttons, dials are all similar to the existing X-T2 and X-Pro2.  Customers will be able to switch seamlessly from one system to another depending on what they need.  Ultimate convenience with great image quality or Ultimate image quality with great convenience.

Well under £10k for this much camera - seriously?

Yep, that’s the target.  We can’t release exact pricing yet as exchange rates are fluctuating and production hasn't started.  BTW we said well under $10k for the camera and a lens.  At current exchange rate that’s about £7500!


A big thank you from the Fujiholics team Andreas for taking the time out of your busy schedule to talk to us about Photokina and the exciting new Fujifilm GSX 50s. This looks like yet another game changing camera for Fujifilm, I can't wait to get my hands on one!


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