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
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