I have had the Fuji XPro2 for several months now, and I have received a lot of questions about how it performs as a wedding body. I’ve jotted down some of my thoughts over the past few weeks (I have shot it at several weddings, commercial sessions, and portrait sessions), so I’m feeling comfortable sharing my opinion now regarding how the camera operates in the field. Read on if you’d like to hear my thoughts/experience!
I am a wedding and commercial photographer, and I need my gear to be fast, work well under a variety of lighting conditions, and work with my light system. I have been shooting professionally for over 15 years, and I started moving to Fuji from the DSLR camp a year ago.
Why? I bought a beautiful, lightweight X100 (and later and X100S and an X100T) for personal travel, and it was truly a joy to shoot. When Fuji released the X-T1, I waded tentatively into the world of mirrorless wedding work. With each firmware release I liked that camera more and more. When the X-T10 was released, it became my go-to walk around camera and my backup on wedding days. As much as I enjoyed those X-series cameras, though, they were always missing something…dual card slots. I was happy with the image quality, I was fine with the focusing systems (although I recognized that there was room for improvement there), I was okay with the lighting system (hey, I shoot my lights on manual anyway so I was able to use my Profoto lights with no problems and a Cactus v6 trigger works well with speedlights and Fuji as long as you don’t want TTL), I thought better high ISO performance would be nice (a higher maximum ISO), and I was even okay with the file size (although I’ll admit that I thought a slightly larger file size would be nice to work with), but it was the dual card slots that I really missed.
I always shot backup with the dual card slots on my DSLRs (RAW to one slot, JPEG to the other) to provide in-camera redundancy, and I’ll admit that I had become used to that since the release of the Nikon D3. Suddenly I was back to dual camera redundancy, and while I like shooting with two cameras, I don’t like feeling like I need to shoot the same scene with two separate cameras in the name of file redundancy to protect against a card failure. And yes, I recognize that the likelihood of total failure is slim and that it is much more likely that I’ll experience file loss due to user error of some sort. However, I’ve had two cards fail during my professional career— one was a total loss and one was a partial loss. Fortunately the total loss occurred during the dual card slot years, so I was able to use my JPEG backups from the second card. So, this is a sticking point for me.
When I found out that the X-Pro2 was definitely going to have the second card slot I was sold. I wasn’t sure if I would love the rangefinder style (I have always shot SLRs and I had no experience on a rangefinder), but I knew that I was going to get one the moment it came out. It was *that* appealing.
I’m right in the middle of destination high season now and I didn’t really feel like I had the time to “break in” a new camera when the X-Pro2 was released (I’ll never use a new camera on a wedding until I have tested it thoroughly to uncover any potential issues and to get used to the layout), but I decided to make the time.
I’m so glad I did. The Fujifilm X-Pro2 is a camera that just felt right in my hands from day 1, and I’m so pleased with all of the improvements in performance that Fuji packed into this little camera! You can find all of the specs on Fuji’s website– I’m going to give you my first-hand experience…how it feels to work with this gem of a camera.
Size. This has always been a selling point of mirrorless for me. I like my gear to be unobtrusive, easy (and light!) to carry, and I need my entire kit (including my lights) to fit inside an international carry-on compliant bag. I don’t want to feel that post-wedding “hangover” the day after a wedding— I used to experience that with my DSLRs— the body aches that come after a long day of shooting with a heavy camera. And I’m a prime shooter, too, so my DSLRs weren’t as heavy as most.
The X-Pro2 doesn’t disappoint. In fact, I love it. It’s a little larger than my other Fuji cameras, but I found it pleasing to hold after a brief adjustment period. I frequently shoot from the hip or above my head at a wedding, and while I needed to adjust my grip from what I was using for the X-T1 and X-T10, I found that shooting with the X-Pro2 was a comfortable experience. I was expecting this since I was already sold on the other X-series cameras, but it was nice to confirm it.
I love the fact that I can carry an entire kit at the wedding without feeling it in my shoulders and back. Whether I’m shooting a 7 hour wedding or a 12 hour wedding, I walk away from the shoot feeling great.
Handling. This camera is fast…so fast. I’ve heard companies talk about faster focusing and faster operation in newer models, and then in the field the difference was negligible or so small that I couldn’t notice it under most shooting conditions. Coming from the X-T1/X-T10, this camera is noticeably faster to do…well, everything. It feels as snappy as my Nikon D4s did— it is quick to acquire focus, but (perhaps more important) it is ACCURATE. There have been so few misses (full disclosure— I didn’t test all of the focusing modes, so this my opinion of accuracy simply relates to my method of focusing with the camera).
Working with Lights: I have used the X-Pro2 with my lights, and it works flawlessly. I shoot natural light for most of the wedding day, but I’ll switch over to an OCF setup when I need it (generally during the open dancing). I didn’t have any hiccups. I use the Profoto system (both the B1 and the B2) as well as an off camera flash speedlight system, and everything works just as it should.
Metering: There isn’t much to say here…I found the meter on the X-Pro2 to be accurate. I shoot in manual mode, so I rely on my meter (I spot meter using the zone system) quite a bit. It was spot-on, so I have no concerns relying on the X-Pro2 for an accurate assessment of my exposure.
Buttons and Dials: The buttons/dials/menus are a little different than the other X-series cameras, but they are very customizable so you can set up your camera exactly the way you’d like. I actually like the placement of the ISO dial (you lift the shutter speed dial and you can change your ISO)— I found that I accidentally changed my shutter speed a few times and it was a bit more difficult to lit the ISO dial with a trigger on my camera, but I settled into it quickly. I do wish that Fuji would offer the option of assigning ISO to another button…they offer so many button functions that I DON’T need, so I would love to see them offer quick access to the ISO manual from a custom button assignment in case the shooting conditions and trigger on the camera make accessing the ISO more challenging. Truth be told, I’d prefer an ISO button over an exposure compensation button since I shoot in manual, but I realize that exposure compensation is an important button for a lot of folks, so I understand why they chose to give it such a prominent place on the top of the camera.
White Balance: I use a combination of auto white balance, Kelvin adjustments, and custom white balance depending on the situation. Most of the time I find that the auto white balance is wonderful on the X-Pro2, but it is very simple to switch over to Kelvin (you can make white balance a custom button) — you don’t have to dive deep into the menu if you want to tweak or select your own white balance for consistency. Of course, I love the fact that that you can see white balance changes live so you can really tweak your image. This saves so much time in the post processing stage, especially if you are dealing with thousands of files.
I also like the fact that you can review the image/image information via the electronic viewfinder– on a bright day (or even just an overcast one), this can be really helpful.
When I first started shooting with the electronic viewfinder with some of the other X-series cameras, it was one of those things that I expected to hate. Unexpectedly, I found that Fuji’s electronic viewfinder is one of the things that I love most about the camera. Shooting into the sun? You no longer have to worry about your eyes hurting while staring at the sun through your glass (and I shoot into the sun a lot). Is there a slight white balance or exposure shift due to a subtle change in the light? No worries— you can catch it immediately.
I spend so much less time in post now that I shoot with the EVF. The EVF in the X-Pro2 is the one thing that I feel could be improved with a firmware update. It’s good, but I find that the white balance in my EVF and my LCD don’t match (the LCD is more accurate for me). It is wonderful and fast, but at this point the EVF in my X-T1 and X-T10 (which are perfect, btw) are a bit better. The camera came set up with automatic EVF brightness adjustment, and I’ll admit that drove me nuts. I was very happy to find that I could disable it. And of course, you can toggle between the optical, electronic and a hybrid viewfinder quite easily with the X-Pro2 if you aren’t sold on it.
Image Quality. I was least concerned about this point. I expected the image quality to be excellent. I chose Fuji, after all, for the wonderful image quality and I’ve been happily using their cameras for a while now. The color coming out of Fuji has always been lovely.
The X-Pro2 is a fantastic addition to the lineup— the images are stunning, and the added file size is a bonus. High ISO performance is remarkable…shooting at 6400+ is simple and the files are lovely. The image below was shot at ISO 10,000 and the black and white dancing image was shot at 12,800.
At low ISO with all of the dynamic range benefits? The images are lovely, just as I expected them to be. The files are smooth and beautiful. In Lightroom I’ll generally use the Provia setting in the Camera Calibration tab, but I like having other options as well.
Final Thoughts. The X-Pro2 is the camera I’ve been waiting for. I gradually fell in love with the X-T1 and the X100T, and the X-T10 felt like an old friend when I picked it up. I’ve owned a lot of flagship SLRs during my career, too. There were definitely some cameras that I came to love along the way. But I’ve never loved a camera immediately like I have with the X-Pro2— it simply feels like an extension of my hand.
Plus, it’s just fun to shoot, and when you are spending hours a day with your camera in hand, this can make a big difference.
Are there improvements that I would make? Not many. Are there things that I will need to get used to? Absolutely. But I simply don’t want to put it down, and it is truly a wonderful experience to shoot with it. As far as I’m concerned, Fuji hit this one out of the park. The best part? Fuji has a history of listening to the photographers who use their gear and churning out firmware updates to improve your shooting experience with their cameras, so I have no doubt that this gem of a camera will just get better and better.
How serious am I? Well, I sold my DSLR wedding kit…that’s how serious I am about Fujifilm and the X-Pro2. I’ve been shooting my Fuji kit only at weddings for a year now, but I held on to my SLR kit. I’m not sure why, but I just wasn’t ready to sell it. But with the release of the X-Pro2? I boxed it up and sent off my SLR kit with nary a tear shed, and I have no regrets.
Post by destination wedding and commercial photographer Michelle Turner.