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(Pocket-lint) - Four years in the making, the Fujifilm X-Pro2 is the company's highest-ranking compact system camera. But have those four years been worth the wait, or is the latest model barely different to its X-Pro1 predecessor?

We've handled both cameras to break down the differences between the two and whether the latest model is worthy of the upgrade or, indeed, initial purchase (although it's only available body-only, there will be no kit options).

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: Design tweaks

At first glance both cameras look similar, but the X-Pro2 is all about the subtle detail tweaks.

On the front there's a command dial to the front of the X-Pro2, which the X-Pro1 lacks in its entirety. There's a more pronounced grip on the newer model too.

Up top is a larger exposure compensation dial which caters for +/-3EV as standard (expandable to +/-5EV via the "C" option) compared to the +/-2EV limits of the X-Pro1. Look closely at the X-Pro2's shutter dial and you'll see ISO settings in a small window opening too, accessible by pulling up an outer dial and then twisting through the available settings.

On the back the X-Pro2 adds a new joystick control for rapid focus point repositioning, the rear thumb rest is more pronounced and buttons have moved away from the left side of the screen to simplify making adjustments while using the camera raised to the eye.

Outside of view the X-Pro2 is the first compact system camera to offer dual SD card slots, a feature we think many will appreciate.

What continues to lack is a larger screen size (there's space enough for one in the design), touchscreen functionality (perhaps not a deal-breaker, but with cameras like the also-announced Fujifilm X70 offering such a feature, it seems like a sensible extra option), and the screen remains fixed to the rear.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: Viewfinder advances

The X-Pro2's hybrid viewfinder uses the same combination of optical view with electronic overlay like before, but it pushes the resolution to 2.36m-dots, up from the X-Pro1's 1.44m-dots. That's almost twice the resolution.

More importantly, perhaps, is the X-Pro2 takes lead from the X100T by adding a corner-positioned "digital rangefinder" within the viewfinder. It's not visible when not active, so it doesn't get in the way.

Because parallax error occurs with close-up focus - that is, what you see through the optical finder differs positionally from the frame you'll actually capture, increasingly so the closer to subject you are - it can be countered by seeing an accurate 100 per cent view of the scene at small scale in this additional screen. Alternatively this additional screen, which is translucent, can show a 2.5x or 6.0x magnification of the active focus point for precision manual focus, ensuring correct focus.

The X-Pro2's latest processor means a refresh rate of 85fps too, which, while not quite class-leading, is considerably higher than the X-Pro1 for better performance in low-light and smoother playback in normal conditions.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: New, higher-resolution sensor

The X-Pro2 introduces the X-Trans CMOS III sensor, boasting 24-megapixels. That's a 50 per cent increase over the 16-megapixel C-Trans CMOS II sensor of the X-Pro1. Couple that with a far faster processor, capable of through-putting 20fps, and the X-Pro2 is the more accomplished of the pair.

The process of image capture is the same between both cameras, using Fujifilm's proprietary colour filter technology to capture colour information and resolution in a different way to its competitors. Fujifilm was the first company to ditch the optical low-pass filter for sharper results, using this colour array filter - which captures a non-linear six by six rather than a rigid two by two grid - to avoid moire and false colour results.

The X-Pro2 also adds two new in-camera image options: there' ARCOS monochrome for authentic black and white; while a new grain mode is available in weak/strong/off. Neither of these features are available on the X-Pro1, authentic film fans.

Just how much better will the X-Pro2's image quality be than the X-Pro1? We don't anticipate a huge boost in handling of image noise, but the added resolution will be a draw for professionals looking to work on big scale prints and the like.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: Performance push

The X-Pro2's new sensor doesn't just mean a difference in image quality, though, it means a difference in performance too. On its surface there are 169 phase-detection focus pixels (out of the 273 focus points total, the others being contrast-detection) arranged in a central square for quicker focus than the 49-point matrix of the X-Pro1.

We still wouldn't say the X-Pro2 has the fastest autofocus system in the market, but it's elevated its performance to a competitive level that's a lot quicker than the X-Pro1 was at launch. Of course the original model did see some firmware advances to help speed it up, but the X-Pro2 is more proficient.

The X-Pro2's rear joystick, which we mentioned as a new design feature, also comes in handy to quickly moving the single focus point around. Again, the X-Pro1 doesn't have this, requiring a little more menu digging to make adjustments.

Fujifilm X-Pro2 vs X-Pro1: Price and kit options

Over the course of time Fujifilm has released more X-F lenses, making any interchangeable X-series model that much more advanced.

However, the X-Pro2 only comes in a body-only format, which makes us think that Fujifilm sees this as an upgraders' camera; one that's looking to its existing range of pros and advanced amateurs.

Price-wise, however, we anticipate a £1,300 body-only price. That positions both cameras on par at launch, despite the older X-Pro1 now being available for around £349 online. Yep, the older model is almost a full thousand pounds less than the latest. Take that as you will.

Writing by Mike Lowe. Originally published on 18 December 2015.