(Read about features 1 to 5 in this post)
In a month, I’ll be off to India again to teach a travel photography workshop together with fellow X-Photographer Matt Brandon and I hope to take the X-Pro 2 with me. I’m really looking forward to the trip. When I’m traveling, I always hope that nothing bad will happen to my gear because it’s often difficult to replace or repair. That’s why I’m extremely happy with the next item in my top-10 of new features:
6) Weather Sealing
Contrary to the X-Pro 1, the X-Pro 2 is now weather sealed. Now, truth be told I’ve never had any issues with my non-weather sealed Fujifilm cameras and they’ve eaten quite a lot of dust, too, but it’s still a reassuring feature to have.
Of course, ideally, you then have to pair the camera with a weather proofed lens as well, such as the beautiful XF-16 mm 1.4. I love that lens because, thanks to its wide aperture, it still allows me to play with shallow depth of field although it’s relatively wide-angle.
7) Flash improvements
This one is pretty big, at least for me: the sync speed has been increased to 1/250th of a second. That means that when you’re working at the sync speed of your camera, your flashes effectively become one third of a stop more powerful than they were on an X-Pro 1 or an X-T1.
But even better, you can now also use a flash when the camera is set to continuous shooting. To be fair, it’s something almost every other camera has but it’s great to see that my X-Pro 2 now does it, too. Especially with more powerful flashes like this Jinbei, this means that you can keep on shooting with flash at lower power settings for quite a while until the flash has to recharge. This is the same feature by the way that got introduced for the X-T1 in the latest firmware update that subsequently got pulled because of a bug. So X-T1 users, this one is coming your way, too!
Finally, Fujifilm have announced a new speedlight, the EF-X500, that is capable of doing High Speed Sync. I can't wait to get my hands on that one!
8) Improved Bracketing
I’ve never understood why the bracketing functionality of all Fujifilm cameras was limited to 3 shots with +/- 1 EV. If you want to create HDR images, that range is often too limited.
Maybe it has something to do with the new maximum shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, but you can now bracket 3 shots with +/- 2 EV. I would still love some more options, like shooting 5 or 7 frames but it's already a big step up. If you want to go beyond what's currently possible, I recommend you do as I do: put the camera on a tripod and use the Exposure Compensation function on the Camera Remote App: this lets you make up to 7 bracketed shots, 1 stop apart, without touching the camera.
9) An improved menu
I already like Fujifilm’s menus more than most of the other brands out there, but they have made the menu even better: it’s more legible and there’s also a MyMenu, which lets you assign up to 16 items for quick acess. So between this MyMenu, the (customizable) Quick Menu and the function buttons, there really is no shortage of options of having this camera do what you want it to do, as fast as possible. On thing that did not improve is formatting the card. It takes way too many button presses. Luckily, there appears to be a shortcut which I learned about over at Kevin Mullins' excellent review. If you're thinking about using the X-Pro 2 as a wedding camera, read his review (and then start saving). Oh, the shortcut you ask? Press the delete key for a couple of seconds and then click on the back command dial.
10) 3 Power Management Modes
Let’s be honest. Battery life isn’t the best feature of the Fujifilm cameras. But let’s also be honest in that the batteries (the X-Pro 2 uses the same as the X-T1, X-Pro 1 and X-T10) are very lightweight and compact so adding a couple to your bag won’t break your back. I think Fuji did well in maintaining the same battery. However, what they did is offer three power management modes: Economy, Standard and High Performance. As you might guess, autofocus speed and EVF refresh rates increase as you switch from the first to the latter, but battery life decreases, from 330 shots over 250 to 220. I just use High Performance and I pack a couple of spare batteries. I guess I’ll only use Economy when I see I’m popping in my last spare! Oh, and even in Economy the camera is still a Ferrari compared to the original X-Pro 1. So, as greater minds have already said: ‘Everyting is relative’.
So, that’s it for this highly subjective top 10. As some of these are firmware-related, there's some hope that they might trickle down to other cameras too.
There are other features, such as the new black and white ACROS film simulation and the new grain engine, which look nice. But as I explained in this blog post, as long as there is no Raw conversion software that can actually read the raw files of this camera, I set my film simulation to something very neutral as the JPEGs are currently the only thing I can work with. Setting a black and white film simulation would mean I currently cannot work on the image in colour and I want to keep my options open.
If you have any questions, I’ll be happy to try and address them in the comments.
What about the Tilt Screen?
Yeah, what about it? There isn't one, as you probably know by now. For me, it's not a deal breaker. Sure enough, if the X-Pro 2 had one, I would welcome it, but not if it came at the expense of a bigger, bulkier body. Between the dual card slot and a tilt screen, I'll take the dual card slot any time. Also, don't forget that you'll be able to wirelessly control the camera with the smartphone App. That's even better than a tilt screen, in some cases!
What could be improved?
Some testers have reported the Exposure Compensation wheel is too loose. It did not feel loose on my sample. What I would like is that Fujifilm offer the option of saving 16 bit TIFF files to card. I feel that Lightroom still isn't squeezing everything out of the RAW files and this would be a nice addition, especially for people who shoot rather slow and deliberate, like me. Alternatively, I wish that Fujifilm would release a simple RAW to 16 bit TIFF conversion software. Basically, a desktop-version of the in-camera RAW converter that would allow batch-processing. And no, I don't mean Silkypix, that awfully complex raw converter that ships with the camera.
Another thing I would like is to see on the accessory list is a 'Long Eyecup' like the X-T1. This helps to block the sunlight and gives more contrast in the viewfinder which is especially helpful on sunny days.
Finally, I would really love to have some more highlight clipping information in the EVF and OVF: we can already program a gazillion warnings in the viewfinder, but the one I would like to see is a Lightroom-style highlight / shadow clipping warning, showing the actual areas that are clipped. Sure, there's the live histogram but that only says there's clipping. It does not say where that clipping occurs.
As you can see, minor quibbles that are mostly software- or firmware related. Other than that, I really can't think of much. So now, I'm off to shoot some more! Where did I put my spare batteries?