The Fujifilm XQ2 is a digital camera that will cause some confusion among entry level photographers. With just 12 megapixels of resolution, it’s tempting to think this is a low end camera with below average image quality. But my Fujifilm XQ2 review shows that because of this camera’s 2/3-inch image sensor — which is quite a bit larger than the image sensors included with the other models on our best compact digital cameras list — it is able to create impressive images, even with only 12MP of resolution.
In a Fujifilm XQ2 vs. Canon S120 comparison, you’ll find that both cameras have 12 megapixels of resolution. But the XQ2’s image sensor is larger than the Canon S120’s 1/1.7-inch sensor, giving the Fujifilm model the advantage.
Summary: An image sensor that is larger in physical size than most compact cameras can offer allows the Fujifilm XQ2 to provide strong image quality versus comparable models.
WHY IT’S A TOP PICK: Amazing image quality in a thin and small camera.
Price: $299 from Amazon
Available: January 2015
What We Liked
- Camera with fast fixed lens at maximum aperture of f/1.8
- Works well in both automatic and manual control modes
- Thin camera body
- Good image quality in low light and at high ISO settings
- Fast performing camera
What We Didn’t
- Camera is limited to a 4X optical zoom lens
- No viewfinder
- WiFi features are limited
- Not many improvements over the Fujifilm XQ1
Fujifilm XQ2 Review Key Specs
|Image Sensor Type||2/3-inch|
|Optical Zoom Lens||4X|
|RAW and JPEG Image Formats|
|Avg Battery Life||240 photos|
|Size||3.9 x 2.3 x 1.3 inches|
Design and Build
The Fujifilm XQ2 measures only 1.3 inches in thickness, meaning it will fit easily in most pockets. The camera body is covered in a textured coating, which makes it easier to hold the camera steady, even though it’s thin. Its full dimensions are 100 x 59 x 33 mm.
Fujifilm included a 2/3-inch image sensor with the XQ2, which is much larger in physical size than the sensors found in most compact cameras, where 1/2.3-inch sensors are common. The 2/3-inch image sensor is also larger than what most cameras offer that have a similar price point to the Fujifilm XQ2.
The lens included with the XQ2 will disappoint some photographers, even though it’s a high quality lens. The lens has a 4X optical zoom lens, which means you won’t be able to record photos over long distances. Some compact cameras, such as the Canon PowerShot SX710, include a larger zoom lens.
Rather than focusing on a large zoom capability, Fujifilm chose to give the XQ2’s lens a maximum aperture of f/1.8, which allows you to easily shoot portraits where the background is blurred and the subject is in sharp focus. (A lens with this type of aperture is called a fast lens.) Lenses with a similar maximum aperture setting are extremely versatile, but they aren’t often found in compact cameras.
The XQ2 includes Fujifilm’s EXR II processor, which typically is found in more expensive Fujifilm cameras. The EXR II gives this model much faster performance levels than is typically found in a camera in this price range. You can shoot your first photo about 1 second after pressing the power button, for example. And the XQ2’s fast autofocus system results in almost no shutter lag, which is a common problem for compact cameras.
When compared to a Fujifilm X30 review, you’ll find that the XQ2 has the same 2/3-inch image sensor and 12 megapixels of resolution as the slightly older X30. The X30 has a few more dials and buttons than the XQ2, which makes the Fujifilm XQ2 a bit easier to use.
Considering the Fujifilm XQ2 price, its image quality level is outstanding. But at first glance, you may be confused about the image quality level of the Fujifilm XQ2. After all, its resolution is 12 megapixels, which trails most cameras currently on the market, including all of the cameras on the best digital camera under $200 list.
However, a camera’s image quality doesn’t solely rely on the number of megapixels of resolution. What’s typically more important in determining the image quality of a camera is the physical size of the image sensor included with the camera. The 12 megapixel 2/3” X-Trans CMOS II Sensor with EXR Processor II and the 4x Optical Zoom (25-100mm) with F1.8-4.9 lens helps produce crisp, clear photos. The XQ2 can shoot continuously at a max of 12.0 fps, has high-speed phase detection autofocus in 0.06 seconds, and has a max shutter speed of 1/4000 sec.
The number of pixels of resolution refers to the number of areas on the image sensor that measure the light in the scene. A larger image sensor in physical size has larger pixels, which will result in more accurate light measurement. The larger pixels also are able to measure light more accurately in low light scenes. So a camera with a larger image sensor will result in greater image quality most of the time, even when the image sensor has a below average number of pixels of resolution.
To further improve the image quality with the Fujifilm XQ2, you can choose to shoot in either the RAW or JPEG image format (or both formats at the same time). You also can make use of manual control modes to have complete control over the camera’s settings, allowing you to ensure the XQ2 is measuring the lighting accurately for the scene. Also, choose from 9 film simulation modes included in this model, like the popular “classic chrome” mode.
Low Light Performance and Movie Mode
Fujifilm gave the XQ2 a wide ISO range of 100 to 12,800, which helps yield good image quality in low light settings.
The XQ2 has a popup flash unit, which gives the flash a good angle to the scene versus the tiny embedded flash units that often are placed in the corner of a compact camera.
You can shoot full HD movies at a 1920×1080 resolution with the Fujifilm XQ2. You can shoot full resolution movies at speeds up to 60 frames per second, which is an above average level of performance versus other cameras in this price range. The back of the camera has a dedicated movie recording button to simplify the video recording process. Also, this camera uses SD/SDHC/SDXC memory cards for storage.
Fujifilm estimates the battery life of the XQ2 to be 240 shots per charge. Of course, those estimates typically are obtained under perfect shooting conditions. Testing under real world conditions, the XQ2’s actual battery life is about 200 to 225 shots per charge.
If you plan to use the built-in Wi-Fi function quite a bit with this camera, you will receive a much lower battery life per charge, and I’d recommend purchasing a second battery. You also may want to purchase an external charger, as the XQ2 doesn’t include one in the camera’s box, meaning you’ll have to charge the battery inside the camera.
There are a lot of things to like about the Fujifilm XQ2 compact camera, and its drawbacks are minimal. Perhaps the biggest drawback to this camera is its lack of significant upgrades from its predecessor. Both the XQ1 and XQ2 have the same image sensor size, same resolution count, same optical zoom lens, same maximum aperture setting, and same LCD resolution. So if you already own the Fujifilm XQ1, you probably won’t need to upgrade. But if you’re looking for one of the best compact camera options in terms of image quality, the Fujifilm XQ2 is a strong choice.
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