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The X-Pro2 Review Part One: Vs the X-Pro1

Yes, you read that correctly πŸ™‚

I have in my hands an X-Pro2, and I’ve gotta say….. Having typed the word ‘X-Pro1’ several 100 (1000?) times now, I fear for some muscle memory typos here….

With the X-Pro1 pages, I’ve written a lot of tips, tricks, and advice, opinion, rhetoric and course images.

And by and large, you seem to have enjoyed it πŸ™‚

But while I have the X-Pro2 at my disposal, I’d be daft not to review it, and I think that at least some of you are interested in the X-Pro2 and are curious how it compares with the X-Pro1…?

I haven’t read that much on the internet comparing the two cameras….

Fuji of course were very quick to promote just how much better the 2 is (over the 1) but that’s slightly twee in my opinion… The camera to compare the 2 against would be the X-T1.

I mean when BMW release a new Mini Cooper Sports car, they don’t harp on about how much better it is compared to the original Cooper from 20 years ago do they? No. A new product should be compared to the most recent model.

But screw that, especially with the X-T2 looming!

So I’ll be comparing the X-Pro2 to the X-Pro1 πŸ™‚ Which I suspect is of more interest to you anyway.

Now before we get into this, I just want to take a moment to explain something.

I quite frequently see comments online that go something like

I hate the new Fuji, the Q button is completely in wrong place. What terrible build quality

Folks, this is NOT build quality.

This is ergonomics.

Build quality would be something like:

man my Q button fell off, how rubbish is that?

This isn’t just important because I’m verbose and pedantic. Nope.

This is important because when I refer to build and ergonomics, I’d like us to be on the same page about what I’m talking about!

Now, I did say that I hadn’t seen much on the internet truly comparing the 2 cameras.

That’s not exactly true….

For example there’s a fair few sites listing the differences (so if you want to know which camera is heavier, or which camera has an electronic shutter option google X-Pro1 compared to X-Pro2)

The most in depth review I’ve seen is the excellent site Fuji Vs Fuji

You can check that out here Fuji Vs Fuji: X-Pro1 Vs X-Pro2

It’s a good piece actually, lots of side by IQ comparison pictures, even shots that have been downsized to harmonise the difference in resolution, not to mention all the specs.

Seriously – you’re not going to get that here πŸ™‚

Basically (and unsurprisingly) that review claims the X-Pro1 to be old, jaded and faded; suitable for the budget conscious and those needing a backup body.

But what do I think, the author of the X-Pro1 love story website?

Well that’s all we have time for this week, tune in next time for

I’m just messing with you πŸ™‚

Let’s start off with the things that I think the X-Pro1 is still the king (of the pair) of, which by proxy means the things that the X-Pro2 didn’t do so great at.

The buttons and Command dials:

Much seemed to be said about the X-Pro2 buttons.

Apparently lots of feedback from real life photographers. One handed operation. etcetc.

Well OK. Here’s the first thing.

Every button on the X-Pro1 is decent, sure you might prefer them all on the right hand side, but every button on the X-Pro1 is nice to press.

The X-Pro1 rear command dial feels a little flimsy, sure; but it works OK.

Most of the X-Pro2 buttons are decent.

But not all.

The Q and AF-L buttons are far too recessed. I appreciate usage will get easier with time (muscle memory, getting used to the camera etc) but the fact is (in my opinion) that Fuji got EVERY X-Pro1 button basically correct (in terms of haptic feedback) and on the X-Pro2 they got 1 badly wrong.

The too recessed Q button does prevent accidental (and quite often intentional 😦 ) pressing, and you could argue that was an outstanding bit of design, devised to prevent you activating the Q menu when you don’t want too.

Except it wasn’t, it’s because the Q and AF-L buttons are exactly the same design and size (in manufacturing it’s cheaper to have 2 identical parts with different labels on, eg Q and AF-L, than manufacture 2 different buttons)

So what I’m getting at is…

Yes it’s true – the X-Pro2 AF-L button is hard to find and horrible to use once you do find it. You’ll feel like Indiana Jones, searching for a secret lever to open the treasure chamber every single time you back button focus (BBF) or lock AF.

For a BBF user like me, damn annoying. For a company like Fuji, claiming to be the photographer’s choice, actively seeking out real photographer’s opinions and sending pre-production units out to the trusted few, I have to ask

How did that slip through? (And to be fair many of the prototype X-Pro2 testers did mention this too Fuji)

Now the X-Pro2 does more things – so it gets more buttons. OK.

But seriously, those 2 buttons (Q and AF-L*) are just naff.

[*Yes, I am aware I can swap the function of the AF-L button with the AE-L button.]

In fact while we’re on the subject of buttons… Like the X-Pro1, the X-Pro2 has identification icons painted (or silk screen printed or whatever) on the buttons themselves.

So here’s a little personal whine.

Camera OEMs – why not put the button icons on the body NEXT to the button? That way the paint won’t rub off after lots of fingertip touching. And yes that does happen (ask original X100 owners!)

The command dials feel better made on the X-Pro2. They don’t wobble around like the X-Pro1 one does, AND you can press them in to engage functions.

But again, I have to say in actual usage, the X-Pro1 command dial (the X-Pro2 has 2 command dials, the X-Pro1 one) is so much nicer, it sits slightly prouder than the X-Pro2 ones, making it a lot easier to find and an awful lot more easy to press.

Remember, these buttons and dials aren’t ‘how you activate Wi-Fi’ or some other comparatively infrequent task – these buttons/dials conceivably need to used more than once on pretty much every single shot or image playback, menu dive, AF box size change…

How did this slip through the net?

So the X-Pro2 may have more buttons, that link to more features.

But at least all the buttons on the X-Pro1 are nice to use. For the X-Pro2; (if applicable to how you currently wear your nails) I highly recommend not cutting your index finger and thumb nails as short as you normally would… This seems to help with the ergonomics a little.

Next time we’ll continue looking at (and rating) the similarities and differences between the 2 bodies.

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