Photography Retro camera that's picture perfect

Fujifil X-Pro2 review. Early morning light near the Mount Henry bridge in Mount Pleasant.  Fujifilm X-Pro2 with XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens. 2.6 sec at f/9.0, ISO 200. Pic Mogens Johansen, The West Australian
Photo of Mogens Johansen

Our expert photographer gives his verdict on a new camera that's stylish and packed with clever tech features. 

Several camera makers have retro-looking mirrorless rangefinder-style models but, as I am about to find out, none of them is quite like Fujifilm’s X-Pro2. 

I’m at Fujifilm’s WA headquarters speaking to regional business manager Justin Moriarty about the X-Pro2, which I’m going to test for a few days. “Quality and functionality are the key design goals for the X-Pro2 and the inspiration for the X series began with the idea of combining a traditional or classic camera body with aesthetic design, highly tactile ergonomics partnered with today’s leading imaging technologies,” he says.

Later, as I familiarise myself with the camera, it is hard to argue too much with Justin’s sales pitch. The camera is clearly well made and the traditional camera design is clearly evident.

You will not find the common P, S, A and M (program, shutter priority, aperture priority and manual) mode dial on this camera. Instead, it’s like a step back in time to cameras from the 1960s and 70s. Because of this, using the X-Pro2 makes perfect sense to an old-timer like me but it may take a little longer for younger users who are more familiar with the mode dials of most modern cameras. However, once you have got your head around that, the camera is a joy to use. 

The shutter speed dial has speeds from 1/8000 to 1 sec, and an auto setting. The lenses have the full range of aperture settings and an auto setting, and the ISO dial is embedded into the shutter speed dial. 

If you want to use aperture priority, you simply dial the aperture ring on the lens to your chosen aperture and set the shutter speed dial to auto. If you want to use shutter priority, you choose the shutter speed on the dial on the top of the camera and set the aperture ring on the lens to auto. If you want to go fully automatic you need to put both the shutter speed dial and the aperture dial on to auto. 

The X-Pro2 is Fujifilm’s premium mirrorless camera and it doesn’t disappoint on the technology front. It’s packed full of clever features to satisfy both the serious enthusiast and professional user. 

It has a 24.3 megapixel APS-C sensor, a TTL 256 zone metering system, an intelligent autofocus system that uses up to 77 focus areas, a choice of optical or electronic viewfinder and a wireless function which allows you to transfer images and control the camera remotely. It is highly customisable so you can assign various buttons to suit you and your preferences.

The camera feels well built with quality, well-located dials and buttons. The menu is easy to navigate and frequently used features are easily accessed via the quick menu button on the back. I really enjoyed the shooting experience, although I found the retro square design of the camera body a bit of a challenge to handle when using controls such as the front and rear command dials and the joystick toggle that controls the focus area. The small front and rear grips just don’t seem adequate but the ergonomics can be improved with the addition of Fujifilm’s bigger hand grip for the X-Pro2.

The X-Pro2 has an excellent ISO range, handy dual SD card slot and several cool film simulation modes that replicate some of Fuji’s bestselling colour and black-and-white films.

The recommended retail price for the X-Pro2 camera body is $2699 but I’ve seen it on special around town for around $2200. The RRP for the XF16-55mm f/2.8 lens supplied with the test camera is $1799.

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