X-Pro2 with XF 23mm and XF 50mm

I moved to Fujifilm cameras several years back. Since then I sold my x100s and XT-1 and moved back to a Canon SLR. My reasons at the time were that X-T1’s autofocus, sensor size, and overall speed of camera. Also I hated lugging 2 battery types for the cameras and learning only slightly different camera controls and menus.

The 16 megapixels of the X-T1 and x100S were not enough if you needed to crop at all. This was made worse if you were also slightly out of focus (I've never been quick on manual focus), and the sluggish navigation of the menus took joy from the shooting process.

I over compensated with the fastest autofocus I could afford after the trade in; Canon 7D Mark II and a few prime lenses that were sharp AF. I had my Canon muscle memory, fast menu, autofocus…and all the weight and gear cruft that comes with an SLR. I found I couldn't keep the gear in my daily bag and was shooting less. I was spoiled by the portability of the Fuji system

Not long after I rejoined team Canon something wonderful happened. Fuji announced the X-Pro 2 now with 24 megapixels, new faster processor, and a line of f/2 lenses with wicked fast and dead silent autofocus. Much to my wife's confusion I quickly sold the Canon gear for a loss of a few hundred dollars and bought an X-Pro 2 and a 35mm f/2.

Current Gear

Fast forward a bit. I took on some wedding work to get the cash for the second body and extra lenses.

Main Kit

Backup Kit

My daily bag has one X-Pro 2 body with the 23mm f/2 attached. I keep the 50mm f/2 in my bag. The size and weight of this setup is amazing.

The second body I keep at home with the 35mm f/2. The primary use being, my wife has a camera at home for her use with our kids and secondary use is a redundant body for any event or wedding jobs where one camera is not practical.

What I love

The heft of all my gear weighs about as much as the Canon 7D body alone. And size of the gear is amazing. All of it fits in a a roughly 6"x9"x4" space in my backpack. That's 2 bodies with 2 lenses attached and 1 extra.

In most cases while shooting at a park or museum I keep the camera on a neck strap and the second lens in my jacket pocket.

The images I make with these cameras are some of my favorites. If you don't enjoy post processing Fuji is unmatched with their JPEG presets out of camera.

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Ability to see the final image in my viewfinder while I am shooting is extremely addicting. If you are shooting a black and white preset you can see that image in black and white at the final exposure essentially live.

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I cannot remember Canon adding a single new feature in the 5 different bodies I owned across 10 years. Fuji adds legit new features to my cameras every 6-8months through firmware updates.

Weather sealing on the body and lenses gives a peace of mind that would cost much more in the SLR world.

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The low profile design of the cameras combined with the silent shooting allows for capturing images that a larger camera rig will not. The retro look prompts folks to ask if I am shooting film. It also gets some “that camera looks old” comments. This may make it less likely to be stolen.

The Fuji X-Series cameras can shoot at very high ISO with very low noise. You can expose the night sky easily and the noise, when it does creep in at higher ISO ranges feels more like grain than digital noise.

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Rough Spots

The digital viewfinder does have a dark side. It is limited by a refresh rate of a sensor and processor. Unlike an SLR, which works literally at the speed of light, you can notice lag when moving very quick. The other gotcha with the viewfinder is that when using a flash to light your image you cannot see anything in the digital viewfinder. This is because your ambient light exposure is black and the flashes only fire on shutter release.

Fujifilm is definitely not the best choice if you have existing strobe and speed light workflows. Probably even worse if you want to work wirelessly or have HSS (High Speed Sync). However this may get better with future firmware updates, and you can get there with a few adaptors and extra AA batteries and likely buying different speed lights than you own right now.

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Portraits taken using speed lights

If you want to shoot tethered, which I occasionally do for various time-lapse or studio scenarios then you are out of luck unless you have an X-T2. But this may get better with future firmware updates.

There are a few 3rd party lens options but to my knowledge none of them have autofocus options. It isn't like Canon or Nikon where you can find cheaper Sigma or Tamron lenses to build out your kit.

The iOS app, or at least the connection to the app is not reliable. It is cumbersome to configure and the camera drops connection with the change of the wind. Some of the newer bodies may be using bluetooth connections which may fair better. This isn’t a huge deal for me, but if you expect to control an X-Pro 2 with your smartphone don’t buy one.

Reading Tea Leaves

I see expanding my kit in 2 directions. Long and wide. There is a rumored XF 200mm f/2 prime. My favorite Canon lens ever was the L series EF 200 f/2.8. So a stop faster with weather sealing has my mouth watering right now. Unlikely, but it would be nice to see competition with Canon's $750 price tag also. As for the wide direction the XF 16 mm f/1.4 seems right. I did own the XF 14mm lens previously and loved it (and found a few times craving even wider) but it isn’t weather sealed like the 16mm.

I do miss the pocket size and the leaf shutter of the x100. And now that the battery of the x100F matches the X-Pro 2 it is very tempting. But not enough to have a third body with a lens nearly equivalent to my 23mm.

I am very excited to see where Fujifilm is in the next 2-3 years with the X-Series. But for now I am very happy with the X-Pro 2 system and glad to be back to stay for a while.

Hey dude, what camera should I buy?

Well if you value small, light cameras with manual controls get a Fujifilm X series camera that supports interchangeable lenses (X-T2, X-Pro 2, an XE series, etc). They are the best bang for your buck in my opinion.

If the above applies but you don't want interchangeable lenses get the x100f. It has a fixed lens and is an amazing, fun to use camera. It basically fits in a jacket pocket no problem with the same sensor as the other X-Series models

If you don't care about size and weight and you want to spend less than $1000, I recommend a Canon or Nikon SLR at the price point your budget allows. Get a fixed lens in the 35mm to 50mm range.

If spending more than $500 on a camera feels crazy to. Use your smartphone.

Well what about Leica? I don’t know but I am not rich enough (or crazy enough) to purchase one. Man they are pretty looking.

Well what about Sony? Price is very high for those as well and they do seem to be iterating quickly which is cool to see.

But what about Olympus or Pentax or…? Not sure there either. I learned on SLRs and was drawn to Fuji for the balance of size and image quality. The solid lens roadmap or the XF line has kept me from looking for greener pastures.

In Closing

This article isn't meant to convert you to any camera make or model but to answer the question of what camera I shoot and why. Happy shooting.

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