The X-Pro2 Review Part Two: Dials Vs the X-Pro1

Last time (click here for part one) we looked at buttons, not chocolate ones but camera ones! As we move on to the top plate there’s another button worth mentioning – the shutter button!

On the X-Pro2 the shutter wobbles about like a ball joint that’s past its service limit. Or put in terms for those that don’t know what a ball joint is (it’s part of a car’s steering and suspension system) let’s just say it’s wobbly. Not a deal breaker, it’s not mushy to use or anything – the up and down travel is fine, it’s just got a bit too much side-to-side movement, it feels sloppy, and it’s a part of the body that you’ll want to use a lot 🙂 It’s also, in my opinion, part of the camera that you want to feel really nice….

But I can’t stress enough, I like how the shutter works, I have no problem with resting on the half way point, the X-Pro2 has a AF feature, where if you don’t fully release the shutter after taking a shot, you can take another without re-metering or reacquiring AF, and I have no problem using that either.

So it’s doing its job… It’s just never going to get employee of the month, not because of a lack of work ethic, but because of it’s ‘appearance’ (SIC).

So for button and command dial haptics – sincerely, the X-Pro1 edges the comparison, it’s doing a victory lap in an open top car, waving a flag and chugging champers from its trophy. Meanwhile the X-Pro2 can’t find its AF-L button.

Now let’s move on to the top plate controls.

The X-Pro2 at quick glance isn’t so much different to the X-Pro1.

But things aren’t completely equal.

We’ll start off with the EV dial.

The X-Pro1 was rightly criticised for having an EV a dial that’s too easy to accidently turn.

I seem to recall writing something like

With the X-Pro1; checking that the EV dial is where you left it becomes second nature, it’s good to develop this check, because it won’t be (where you left it)

Well the great news is that the X-Pro2 EV dial is noticeably stiffer to turn than its predecessor. The bad news for accidental turning is that it’s also larger…. I seem to recall from school boy science that a wider or longer lever provides more force from the same fixed input.

Or put another way – the X-Pro2 EV is still prone to being knocked from where you left it. But as on the X-Pro1, once I started using a thumbs up grip, the problem was largely negated, and the same is true with the X-Pro2

The EV dial now also offers +/- 3 EV (X-Pro1 has +/- 2) and is expandable to +/- 5, by placing it in C mode, and using the front command dial to select your value. (This feature is activated by pressing the front command dial in)

I’m not totally sure why Fuji has done this…. Anyone?

I’m sure +/- 5 EV is handy for HDR shooters, but for the normal use?

PERSONALLY I can’t imagine a time when I’d say

Hmmmm in AE mode my Fuji has selected a SS of 1/125; but actually I want to shoot at 1/4000, so what I’ll do is put the EV dial to C, then I’ll use the front dial to go +5, I won’t bother just turning the SS dial to 1/4000. Why would I want to do that?

Perhaps it’s useful in manual exposure mode to control ISO, although again, why would you not just turn the ISO dial.

Let’s take a moment to review the SS/ISO dial.

On the X-Pro1, in my opinion the SS dial feels very solid, very sturdy and it’s possibly slightly too stiff to turn, but satisfying to use.

The SS on the X-Pro2; in my opinion, feels like a product manager called a meeting and people brain stormed what they thought their customers were looking for* in a SS dial !!

(*Hey don’t laugh, car designers have meetings like this to discuss the thunk sound that a car door makes when it’s closed, and whether a cheaper manufacture of car door can be made to give the same impression of quality as an expensive one)

So after brainstorming, they probably ended up with phrases like ‘easy to turn’ / ‘not too easy to turn’ / ‘robust’ / ‘engineered’

So what did we get?

Well the ISO dial lives in the shutter dial, so appraising just the haptics of the SS dial is tricky.

The multiple moving parts of this ISO/SS dial mean we get a fairly cheap feeling experience to be honest… The outer collar that is the ISO part has a very tangible amount of play in-between lock stops.

However, the X-Pro2 SS is easier to turn than the X-Pro1 and the (X-Pro2) unlock button is higher and easier to press. So I suspect this practicality edges it in the X-Pro2 favour…

Overall I’m going to score the top plate controls as a draw. The X-Pro1 SS dial feels slightly better, and the EV dial feels slightly worse – so the X-Pro2 SS dial might feel worse, but is actually slightly better in use.

The ISO dial has come in for a fair bit of stick on the internet. To be honest… I haven’t used it much! The X-Pro2 features 3 auto ISO settings (I have mine on a Fn button) – they’re easy to adjust on the fly as well, so you can tweak them as and when required. Also, and again – PERSONALLY SPEAKING – I tend to either use a specific ISO value (mainly 200) or I don’t mind auto ISO doing it’s job. The ISO dial is quite springy, you have to ensure you’ve fully raised it to change the value, and it offers zero tactile feedback (ie it doesn’t click between values like the SS/EV/Command dials or like the ISO dial on the X-T1 does) which I feel is a mistake. To set a specific value you’ll need to be looking at the dial, or at the VF/LCD, you can’t just count the clicks, because there aren’t any.

Now it may sound like I’m not very happy with the X-Pro2. Not at all. The areas that truly matter (IQ and how easy it is to access that IQ) work very well. But equally… That doesn’t mean that the X-Pro2 is without foibles, failings and idiosyncrasies. I just feel compelled to point them out to you.

In fact, I wrote this page, last week’s page and next week’s page all at the same time (trust me – you’d have never got through it all in one go!), this week’s page has required editing, as I spend more time with the X-Pro2, the more I’m bonding with it, and some of my inaugural feelings were a little too harsh. This is a very encouraging sign.

Next time around we’ll continue looking at the physical implementation of the X-Pro2 controls.

But Adam, what about the damn IQ? Patience my friend… I’ve started posting X-Pro2 samples on my social media accounts, so feel free to check them out 🙂

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