Autofocus

Along with video, autofocus (in particular, continuous AF) hasn't conventionally been a strength for Fujifilm's X series cameras. Sadly, unlike video, we can't report quite such a significant improvement with the X-Pro2.

In single point AF mode you can choose from a 21 x 13 grid of points (273 in total).

However, in Zone and Wide/Tracking mode (or if you've chosen the '77 points' option from AF menu), the camera drops back to the 11 x 7 pattern offered on previous cameras.

Either way, the square region in the center of the frame are the PDAF type points.

The X-Pro2 lets you select from up to 273 autofocus points, 169 of which offer phase detection (it's a 21x13 array with a central 13x13 PDAF area). The size of the point itself can be varied in five steps.

As soon as you step away from single point mode, the camera knocks back down to an 11x7 pattern (with the central 7x7 area offering PDAF) much like the previous Fujifilm cameras. The other AF area modes are Zone, which utilises a user-selected 3x3 box and focuses on the nearest occupied point, and Wide/Tracking, which utilises the entire AF region.

Single AF

It's fair to say that the lens-to-lens variability of focus speed is more obvious in the X system than most others. Different lens designs (on all systems) focus at different speeds but the gap between fastest as slowest and the breadth of the distribution between them is more apparent on the Fujifilm system than most others.

That said, the the X-Pro2 is generally pretty quick to make a single AF acquisition and very quick with some of its lenses (particularly the normal zooms and 'LM' lenses). The accuracy of the system is also notable: it's significantly more dependable than most DSLRs at focusing bright prime lenses.

Continuous AF (Distant Subjects)

Continuous AF is a more complex question to address. The lens-to-lens speed differences become much more apparent in C-AF mode, as some of the designs - particularly fast primes - appear to struggle to throw large, heavy lens elements around.

With a fast-focusing lens (the 55-200mm F3.5-4.8 LM OIS in this case), the camera does a reasonable job of refocusing on an approaching subject. However, while this is better than some cameras that focus by contrast detection AF, the hit rate is lower than for any phase-detection-based camera we have tested, mirrorless or DSLR. It's even lower than what we've seen from more advanced contrast-detect systems, like that in the RX100 IV or Panasonic's Depth-from-Defocus technology.

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Tracking gives a similar result. Using the Wide/Tracking mode the camera lets you select a starting point within the PDAF region and then tries to follow that subject. It was easily confused when our cyclist passed into the shadows (suggesting that the system is fairly color/scene dependent). However, once out of the shadows the camera was usually pretty good at tracking the subject if it stayed within the PDAF region.

While the performance was often reasonable, there were occasions on which the camera would only really discover the subject when it got quite close and distinct from the background, which undermined our faith in it somewhat.

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In principle, the camera is also able to track a moving subject that starts outside the PDAF region, by comparing differences, frame-to-frame. We've not had much luck getting this to correctly identify a subject.

However, if you behave the way that DSLRs users used to have to: constantly moving the camera to keep the subject within the (Zone) focus area, the camera works reasonably well but still significantly less well than the best of its peers.

Continuous AF (Close-up)

Unlike Sony, which in continuous AF mode switches to mainly use the distance-aware phase-detection AF method, the X-Pro2 continues to use a hybrid system, meaning that it attempts to conduct a contrast-detection hunt before confirming focus. This means that, even with a static subject, the focus will dance around, hunting very slightly to re-confirm focus and occasionally selecting different AF points (approximately in the same plane-of-focus). This can lead to a delay between pressing the shutter button fully, and the camera firing the shutter.

Face detection takes this further by only using contrast detection autofocus, which prioritises precision over speed. Because of this shift to CDAF, Face Detection can only continuous focus at drive speeds of up to 3 fps.

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The rollover above shows the performance. It's doing a good job of keeping track of where the face is, but a less good job of keeping it in focus. The hit-rate of about 50% at 3 fps (here using the relatively fast-focusing 16-55mm F2.8) is acceptable but not up with the best of its peers.

The alternative is to keep shooting in the 8 fps 'Continuous High' mode, and use the Wide/Tracking AF mode to follow the subject, which benefits from being able to use the full hybrid focus system. We found this gave us a similar hit-rate, but it would more easily get distracted by the other objects around the mannequin's head.

The results were again very lens-dependent. The 16-55mm F2.8 LM gave us a much better hit rate than the 23mm F1.4 prime, with which you can feel the focus motor grinding away as it constantly tries to refocus. Unlike our mannequin head, the results aren't the stuff of nightmares, but equally, they're far from best-in-class.