Should I Switch to Fuji? One Month Review with the Fujifilm X-Pro2


One question about my camera bag has been on my mind for about a year now: Should I switch to Fuji? At the beginning of December, Fujifilm Australia reached out to loan me an X-Pro2 camera, so I could properly test it out. They also sent a few lenses; the Fujinon 35mm f/2, 10-24mm f/4 OIS and 50-140mm f/2.8 OIS.

During the 4 weeks or so that I had the camera, I produced a number of videos and used it as much as possible to gather my considered thoughts about Fujifilm, compared to Canon or Sony (my other cameras) for my travel photography.

My thoughts on the Fujifilm X-T10

My thoughts on the Fujifilm X-T10

Check out my first post about using Fujifilm as my main photography system whilst in Thailand late last year, using Elly’s Fujifilm X-T10.

All of my Fujifilm X-Pro2 videos


This post aims to be an extension to my videos posted, so I highly recommend watching them first to get my overall thoughts on how I feel about the Fujifilm system.

Listed below are all of the videos I produced about the Fujifilm X-Pro2, including a large round-up review filmed in 4k. I’ve also include a large sample of photos from the X-Pro2 taken on various trips throughout Christmas in Melbourne, Byron Bay, Buderim, Springbrook and other natural areas around Brisbane, Australia.

I Got A New Camera (sort of)

The first video covers my first impressions with the camera and package that Fujifilm Australia sent to me, along with some initial images from the first week of testing.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 For Melbourne Street Photography

Continuing my road-testing of the X-Pro2 Fujifilm sent me — this time doing some street photography around the Melbourne laneways with the 10-24mm f/4 OIS.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 — One month review

My final thoughts on the Fujifilm X-Pro2 having used it for a month, before I had to send it back to Fujifilm Australia.

The idea of switching camera systems


I’ve been a Canon shooter ever since I got into photography with the EOS 350D back in 2006, followed by the 50D, 70D and now the 7D Mark II. I’ve always been happy with my gear, but in recent years, I’ve felt like Canon have been a little bit stale in product development.

I was enticed by Sony about a year and a half ago when the A7R II came out and was very close to making the full switch from Canon to Sony at the time I bought it, as I was wooed by the impressive specs and competitive price (compared to other full-frame cameras).

My thoughts on the Sony A7R II

My thoughts on the Sony A7R II

I was thoroughly impressed with the Sony A7R II when it was released. Read my thoughts about the shortcomings of Canon and my frustrations with their upgrade cycles.

However, I never did make that switch to Sony, fully.

You see, I came to realise just how functional and ergonomic Canon cameras had become and I realised just how “useable” they were. After about a year of use with the Sony A7R II, I came to the decision that it wouldn’t replace my Canon and I shouldn’t try to force it, because I simply wasn’t feeling as comfortable with it as a camera for photography.

I still love my Sony for video work, however I just can’t get on with it for photography in the same way I can on my er… Canon.

Why I don't use my Sony A7R II for photography

I actually made a video to address my reasons for not using the Sony A7R II for photography, as it became such a frequent question in the comments on my other videos. I’ll be the first to admit that the video seems as though I’m utterly slating the Sony. But I genuinely wanted to share my honest thoughts about it specifically for photography, as a user who is split almost 50-50 between photography and video.

With the love/hate relationship I’ve had with my Sony, I’m very cautious about any ideas I have about switching photography systems, which is why I’m thoroughly testing my thoughts with a Fujifilm setup before making any abrupt decisions.

But wait a minute, Joe. You’re always saying “gear doesn’t make you a better photographer”. So why are you looking at different gear?

I totally stand by the notion that buying into the specs of a camera is a dangerous game to play. Especially when I’ve (sort of) fallen foul to the idea myself. Ahem *Sony A7R II*. But this is where I want to be very explicit with my wording.

The specs of a camera mean nothing, if its usability falls short of anything else.

In each of my camera review videos and posts, I like to talk about the usability and enjoyment that I get from using each camera, rather than the technical specs. I personally prefer to gauge how much I enjoy using the camera and my experience with it, rather than letting the specs give an illusion for how good a camera is.

My theory is simple. If a camera is enjoyable to use, I will find myself using it more. The more you do something, the better you become. So by having a more usable camera system, in theory, my photography should improve.

It’s a brutal thought process and of course it isn’t fully bulletproof, but it’s one that I think works best for my style of photography.

So then, what about my experience with Fujifilm?


So what about Fujifilm? How usable are they? Will I be switching? The short answer: Yes. Very. And yes. The long, detailed answer is more complicated.

I am thoroughly in love with the Fujifilm cameras I’ve used. Both Elly’s X-T10 and the X-Pro2 that was leant to me. They have easily been the most enjoyable cameras I’ve ever used. There’s just something about the whole feel of the camera and satisfaction with every click of the shutter, coupled with the viewfinder and manual dials for every control; all compacted into a relatively small and lightweight body.

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It’s extremely difficult to pinpoint exactly why, but I found myself picking up the X-Pro2 almost every time I left my house and it made me want to continue taking shots of the areas I see regularly, that I would otherwise not bother to shoot. The camera reignited an excitement for photography, that I hadn’t had for about 10 years.

As I said, it’s hard to explain, but this camera honestly felt like an extension to my arm that not only had me shooting more, but enjoying every single shot as well.

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Should I switch to Fuji: Fujifilm X-Pro2 test at the MCG

Fujifilm X-Pro2 technical specs


So if the usability scores top marks, how about finally considering the specs? Certain specs and features of certain cameras appeal to certain photographers. I’ll outline the specs that matter to me and relate to my style of photography — which is leaning more and more towards lifestyle and travel photography, as time goes on.

The X-Pro2 has an APS-C sized 24 megapixel X-Trans sensor that produces beautiful images. The RAW files have been as easily manipulated as any of my Canon shots, but I have generally preferred the original colour from the Fujifilm over my Canon. Like my 7d Mark II (but not the A7R II) the X-Pro2 features dual SD card slots, something I would consider a must-have for any camera that I need to rely on.

Weather-sealing and a magnesium alloy chassis are also high priorities for me, as I’m often shooting for long hours outside, with no control on my environment or conditions. One thing I love about a weather-sealed camera is that I really don’t have to think about it. I can just focus on the shots I’m taking, safe in the knowledge my camera will be fine, even if it’s raining! The X-Pro2 fits this, excellently.

Mirrorless cameras are notoriously bad for battery life in comparison to DSLRs. Although the X-Pro2 can’t compete anywhere near as well as my Canon, it definitely trumps my Sony without a doubt and it’s really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. With such a fast on/off time on the Fuji, I really had no concerns with battery life.

So when should I switch to Fuji?


This is the most difficult decision right now. You see, there’s nothing wrong with my Canon equipment. It works perfectly. My lenses cover all focal ranges I need and provide the excellent quality that I’m looking for. I’m just having a bit of a love affair with Fujifilm right now, that’s exciting, enjoyable and downright fun to use.

I don’t need to update my camera equipment, but it’s a constant thought process that I’m currently contemplating. Right now, I use Canon for photography and Sony for video. I’m still looking for that ever-elusive perfect camera for both, which I know I’ll never find, but I feel I’m getting closer.

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Should I switch to Fuji: Fujifilm X-Pro2 Testing at Byron Bay

Although I was testing out the X-Pro2, my eyes are still firmly on the X-T2; which is more of DSLR style design in terms of the ergonomics. However, I’ve yet to test out the Fujifilm X-T2 extensively, but I have high hopes for the new video features, in comparison to my Sony.

Based off of my experience with the X-Pro2, I already know that I’d love it for photography, but I just don’t know for video… yet.

If I could replace my gear with a simpler and lighter setup for both photo and video, it would be incredibly beneficial to the travel lifestyle I live and give me less frustration when using a single camera. I feel like I’m close, to knowing what that setup is. Real close. I just need to get my hands on an X-T2 and do a video project with it…

The short answer to all of my thoughts whilst I was shooting with the X-Pro2, was that I simply didn’t miss having my Canon. Not once.

Sample photos


To close out this post, I want to share a selection of sample photos taken with the X-Pro2, that will hopefully show the style of my photography and my results from thinking “should I switch to Fuji?”

Should I switch to Fuji: Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review: Springbrook view
Should I switch to Fuji: Fujifilm X-Pro2 Review: Melbourne CBD
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Should I switch to Fuji: Fujifilm X-Pro2 test shot of me shooting with my Canon 7D Mark II
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Should I switch to Fuji: 2016-12-29_post-img_2864_
Should I switch to Fuji: 2016-12-23_post-img_2162_
Should I switch to Fuji: 2016-12-23_post-img_2155_

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Comments


22 comments

  1. I know how you feel. May first own “real” camera was a Nikon D-600, besides it’s later occurring flaws and the dramatically fallen selling price after the D-610 came out, I never really enjoyed the experience.

    After that I switches to the A7 Mark I. This camera helped me to make really great photos but lacks a lot do be desired in terms of usability (the menus are just awful).

    I really love the experience you have while shooting with Leica cameras but until know I don’t have the money to buy an M, Q or SL maybe sometime in the future.

    When the X-Pro2 came out I noticed the X-Camera-System for the first time and ordered one just out of curiosity. It seemes to offer this special feel I liked while testing the Leica cameras. The fact that you can set everything in the exposure triangle without turning the camera on, the perfect and simple menus and the great image quality made me never look back. I shot a wedding with it, some other photo assignments and my personal stuff and everthing worked great.

    I have to test the X-T2 as well for its video capabilities and maybe the new X-T20.

    Sorry for the long comment but your thoughts are really similar to mine back in the day and I curious if you really switch and find a perfect tool for the things you’re up to.


    1. Hey Christian! Thanks for sharing your thoughts as well. It does sound very similar to my thinking! I think Fujifilm will always hold this unknown air of value to those who’ve never shot with one before. I’m so glad to now have some extensive experience with the setup and can’t wait to use them again!


  2. Very good blog article.

    As I already stated on one of your previous video, I can understand your difficulty in making a choice.

    I was for 5 years equipped with Canon hardware; 550D then 7D, then 6D with the 7D in complement. I used a 16-35 f/4 + 24-70 f/2.8 + 70-200 f/4 and since October, I made the choice to make a 100% switch to Fuji by taking two XT-2 + XF 10-24 f/4 + 18-55 f/2.8 + 50-140 f/2.8 and like you, since I have this photo material, I have more the desire to go out to make pictures, I feel better With the XT-2 in hand and I prefer by far the color rendering and the sharpness of the pictures …. it’s just hallucinating.
    All that to say, yes, it is difficult to make this kind of choice, especially when one is accustomed for a long time to another brand. So as you said, you will test an XT-2, take the time to test it well and compare the rendering of the photos and you should quickly give you an opinion 😉

    Thank you for your excellent work.

    Hello from France.

    Gael


    1. Thanks for stopping by the blog, Gael! I appreciate your comments on the videos and your enthusiasm for Fujifilm!

      I’m very much looking forward to testing an X-T2 — hopefully I can get my hands on one soon, though as I mentioned, I have no real need to upgrade my equipment right now, so I’ll have to wait until I’m out shooting with someone who has one. How do you find your 18-55 by the way? Thanks!


      1. Hello.

        I fully understand your desire to thoroughly test this XT-2 and take your time to do it.

        To answer your question, by buying the XT-2 + 18-55 pack, I expected it to be like all the other 18-55 sold in kit with Canon / Nikon DSLRs …. and I was surprised!
        Already, the quality of construction is incredible, one has the feeling of having a piece of metal in the hands, something solid and really well finished, compared to the plastic ends sold at the conccurence. The dive is also excellent and the focus is really fast! It is very light and compact, which makes it perfect for street photography.
        Much compares it to a 24-70 f/2.8, which is true in terms of focal length, but I regret that it is not at f/2.8 at all focal lengths; A little like that proposed by 16-55 f/2.8. I’ve already been told that this 18-55 was better than the 16-55 especially in terms of dive … I can not confirm it since I have never tested it.
        Nevertheless, I only have him to do shooting reportage for the customer services that I have to realize and that is enough for me at the moment; To choose later, I hesitate to take a 35mm f/1.4 equivalent 50mm for the reportage.

        Still thank you for your work, good continuation to both of you.

        P.S: Sorry for my English as allways, i use Google Translate to help me.

        Gaël


  3. Joe,
    Enjoyed the article. I’ve been shooting Canon ever since breaking into digital with a 20D and share many of the same concerns regarding the future of Canon.
    As I’m sure you’re aware, Canon likely will be delivering a full-frame mirrorless system in the not too distant future. With the success of the M5’s Dual Pixel autofocus and 5 axis image stabilzation, may not be a bad idea to see what they have in store before jumping ship. If they can successfully deliver an EF mount on a full-frame mirrorless system, it may be the camera that finally has the best of both worlds.

    Of course that’s what keeps us hanging on right?, waiting for the next best thing. Just a thought anyway. I really enjoy the blogs and videos, keep uo the good content.


    1. Yeah I’m aware of a lot of the rumours; though you’re right, we’ll always be waiting for “the next thing” if we decide today’s isn’t good enough. I just wish they would return to blurring the lines between photo and video models. It seems there isn’t much addition of video features on the photography specific cameras anymore. I understand they have the C100/200/300 line, but I honestly believe there’s a completely different market that still wants higher quality video (C-log, peaking, audio outputs…) on a DSLR style body. Time will tell I suppose. It’s interesting to watch, but potentially quite sad if a company just fails to live up to previous history, due to a misaligned attention to the audience or internal conflicts.


  4. Matthew Anderson

    I’m in the same boat, can’t stop thinking about switching to Fuji. I just bought an X100S in hope that will satisfy my needs for a while however I haven’t picked my Canon up since I bought it so I feel that may have backfired on me.


    1. Oof, that’s a tough call! It’s definitely similar to what happened with me whilst I had this X-Pro2. It’s why I described it as a Fujifilm love affair!


  5. Great post Joe! That really aligns with the experience I had with Fujifilm as well. I started a little earlier than you in thinking about the change. I was shooting a Canon 5D MKII and bought the X-E1 with the 18-55mm. It felt extremely slow and sluggish compared to my Canon, but there was still something that I enjoyed about using it. When the 5D MKIII and 6D were announced, I started thinking about my upgrade path and was convinced that the MKIII was the way to go. Then Fujifilm announced the X-T1 and there were a lot of claims about AF and overall speed improvements. I ended up making the decision that the 6D would be good enough for what I do and I would use the money saved to buy the X-T1 body only since I had the 18-55mm kit lens already. Both cameras arrived very close to the same time. I was blown away by the X-T1 and the continuous firmware updates was like getting a new camera every 8 months. I ended up selling the 6D in November of last year with less than 2000 shutter actuations on it. With the exception of my 50mm F/1.2L, the rest of my Canon lens collection is gone. I just never got around to posting the 50mm up for sale. I now have an X-Pro2 and X-T2 w/booster grip and have to say I do not miss my Canon system at all. The Fujifilm cameras make me want to bring them everywhere and take photos, and they are easier to carry around.


    1. Thanks for your thoughts Brian — I’ve heard so many stories like yours that just emphasise how enjoyable Fujifilm cameras are to use. It’s like they’re the humble underdog that just wants to make great cameras! I’ve also heard a lot about the frequent firmware updates which are always very welcome!

      Thanks for reading and I’m glad you enjoyed the post!


  6. Hi Joe,

    I stumbled upon your youtube tonight because I’ve been contemplating on getting a Fuji. First thing, I love you’r videos and you’re very insightful about your experiences and knowledge of the cameras which I don’t find often in review videos 🙂 also love your colour tones of them.

    I currently photograph with a Canon 5DM3 and I find them too heavy to travel around and find my shoulders aching, I want something lighter but just as good or even better. I was indecisive about choosing a the Sony A7R 2 but you’ve made me want a Fuji! I am going to wait for your review of the X-T2 because I can’t decide weather it’s worth the upgrade from the X-T1.


    1. Thank you Adele, I’m glad you’re enjoying my content! I’m with you on the weight side of things when travelling. It’s definitely a pain to not want to miss a shot with a particular lens such as a 70-200mm, but along with other travel items, it definitely takes a toll on the shoulders! I’m hoping to get my hands on an X-T2 as soon as I can, but I continue to hear amazing things about it! I would say I’ve read a lot about it being an impressive upgrade on the X-T1, so unless you find an X-T1 at price you cant refuse, I’d probably just look to the X-T2.


  7. Great article, thanks for the tips and your opinion. But I have a question:
    I’m new with the photography department, I do own a Fujifilm camera (fujifilm x10 a compact camera, not DSLR) and used for a few years after I bought my first camera Canon 600d, I’m a starter . I enjoy using my fujifilm for more action scenes like when I go to a concert, it’s perfect for concerts… nice compact and works well.

    But I still don’t know what’s the difference between DSLR and mirrorless camera which both can use different lenses. I thought only DSLR camera’s was capable of switching lenses. Again thanks for your review on Fujifilm, hopefully one day I can upgrade mine 🙂


    1. Hey Arzu, glad you’re enjoying photography and getting more and more into it! The difference between mirrorless and DSLR is fairly straight forward and sort of gives itself away in the name of it. SLRs are “Single Lens Reflex”, with DSLRs being the digital version using sensors rather than 35mm film. The “single lens” refers to the physical attribute of looking through the viewfinder and out of a single lens attached to the body, for accurate composition and views. The “reflex” part of the name refers to the mirror mechanism that allows you to use the viewfinder to look through the lens (without exposing the sensor/film). With each shutter actuation, the mirror and shutter flips up to revel the sensor and take the shot. A mirrorless system is able to expose shots without using a mirror. The main difference is that the viewfinder will be electronic in a mirrorless camera (using the detail from the constantly active shutter) rather than optical (straight through the lens via mirror, without any added power).

      Both camera types have subtle differences and multiple pros and cons, but it’s definitely exciting to see how progressive mirrorless cameras are becoming!


  8. Hi Joe,

    great article! It really captures most of what made me switch from Canon, to Fuji three month ago. One thing that I would like to add is the weight / bulk that you’re saving with a Fuji system and the trade of you’re going to make. I was about to upgrade from a 70D as I was just not happy with it in combination with the Canon EF-S 17-55mm f2.8. Don’t get me wrong, it took beautiful pictures. I still love the color and rendering but I ended up having focusing issues, sent it in but never got it solved. So somehow I never took it with me and started thinking about upgrading. As upgrading and not replacing implies, I was looking for even better picture quality, weather resistance and all that stuff. In Canons case this would lead to going for full frame bodies and lenses. I was already thinking twice about taking my camera as this combo weights in at about 1.4 kg … And that’s just one crop sensor camera and one crop sensor lens. So I was looking into Canon gear, which I was familiar with for years and that’s when I realized that, if I’d stick to Canon, I was either stuck with their less professional gear, since their high quality L lenses are reserved for full frame, or lugging around even more weight as the full frame lenses tend to be heavier and bigger than the crop sensor lenses. So I started looking elsewhere, especially in the mirrorless section. Sony was the first brand to go to since the do have quite a good reputation these days, built in stabilization and all. But I was quickly turned off by the fact that their better lenses are basically the same size and weight with the Canon lenses, since they also use a full frame sensor in their high-end gear. Also, as you already mentioned, the usability of the Sonys is quite poor. Then I found Fuji. A system with no full frame Cameras, where the highest quality glass is made for crop sensor bodies. So now with the X-T2 and the kit lens I can basically do almost everything I did with my previous combo while having a way smaller camera which weights only about 0.8kg. Result? I almost never leave without my camera, I basically take it everywhere. Couldn’t be more happy!

    In Short: For me it’s one of the best solutions for traveling photographers who care about their picture quality.


    1. Hey Tobias, you’re absolutely right about the weight! I’m literally writing this comment whilst looking at my excessively overweight baggage for a flight I’m waiting for. I love that Fujifilm have created a smaller system with incredible quality that rivals all other manufacturers extremely competitively!

      However, I would say that although L series lenses work with full-frame, they are not solely for full-frame cameras. It’s more a case of EF-S lenses are solely for APS-C cameras, but L series offer greater sharpness, weather-sealing and quality that transfers just as well on smaller sensors as it does on full-frame. They are definitely heavy though!


      1. You’re right, it is possible to use an L series lens on a crop sensor body and you will get great results 🙂 Just the focal length will be a bit … weird. 24-70 mm will become a 36-105 mm due to the crop factor, which isn’t so bad but still not an all-purpose-zoom range any longer. Photography gear seems always a trade off to me and I’m happy to say that for me I found a great compromise in the Fuji system. I’m not sure about the video side of things as I’ve heard that Sony is still better on that topic, especially since the X-T2 sadly doesn’t offer a fully articulating screen, but the colors are just great as far as I could see. I’m looking forward to see your choice in the future 🙂 Save travels!


  9. The Xt2 is lacking of the movable screen from the xt1 🙁


    1. No it’s not, it even flips out an additional direction for low portrait shots as well.


  10. Hey Joe,

    First read this back in February and for a few weeks after couldn’t get the idea of switching from Sony out of my mind, all the reviews of the XT2 seemed so, so good.

    I was a Sony APS-C shooter (A6300 & 6500) and never felt the need the Full Frame, as it’s only a part time job for me and never had any form of quality complaints.

    Anyways, fast forward to the end of March and took the plunge and sold up and bought the XT2 along with the 35mm & 16mm F/1.4.

    I’m still in shock now at the difference, especially with the 16mm, it’s night and day better than anything I’ve ever used. So just wanted to say thanks for writing this you may have cost me a lot of money but it’s giving me some amazing photos.

    If you haven’t already you need to get the 16mm, it’s on another level!

    Cheers Joe!


    1. Hey Rob, thanks for your thoughts and I’m glad I’ve been able to help you out somewhat! I’ve not used the 16mm yet, but will keep an eye out for it. I personally don’t like to shoot as wide as that normally, but will still try and see it anyway!


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