First Impressions of Fujifilm’s X-T2

I love new gadgets, especially the latest camera equipment. Over the past decade I’ve owned various cameras, which has given me the opportunity to understand what I want, need and dislike about many of them. I have found that there’s no ‘magic camera’, and there will always be room for improvement. The perfect balance for me is finding the camera that’s lightweight for travel, works how I need it to work, and has a few bonus features thrown in to keep me satisfied. Am I asking too much?

Physically, the X-T2 is very similar to the X-T1. I know looks aren’t everything, and it probably shouldn’t determine whether it’s a suitable camera or not, but it does have a classic look and feel to it that I really like. For years I shot primarily with DSLRs and recently added a Fujifilm X100S to my arsenal, which has become my go to camera for travel and street photography. When I saw the specs of the X-T2, I knew Fujifilm had taken a good long look at their rivals, and have made serious attempts to offer a camera similar in performance to a DSLR, wrapped in a more compact body.

On the surface, the shutter speed and ISO dials have been refined and improved with the inclusion of click and declick locks. This really helps avoid accidently knocking the dials during use. Fujifilm have also added photometry functions to the base of the shutter dial, leaving the left hand ISO dial to select drive modes. The X-T2 now shoots 4K video, a first in the x-series, with the video function set on the left hand dial. It’s a nice placement, allowing for easy switching between stills and video. There are also plenty of function buttons (Fn) to allow complete customisation, all of which make it easy to setup an ergonomic workflow.

In the hand, the X-T2 feels solid and water resistant. On the left hand side of the body you’ll find an HDMI port, USB port and a mic jack, which videographers will appreciate. With its dual SD card slots and a redesigned locking door hinge, you’ll be left in doubt how serious this camera is.

I like that Fujifilm have added a joystick/lever that can be used to set focus point similar to what can be found on high-end DSLRs – your days of using the focus assist button are over. Browsing the menus is a breeze using the joystick, as well as playing back images on the LCD.

Speaking of the LCD, one of the biggest improvements is the 3-axis tilt screen, giving both landscape and horizontal orientations. This makes shooting from the hip responsive and really helps you nail the shot. There’s also a new EVF (electronic viewfinder) with a refresh rate of 60fps in normal mode and a whopping 100fps in boost mode with the new booster grip installed (more on that later). I didn’t notice any lag – it feels very smooth. The EVF performs exceptionally well in low light even manual focusing with the split focus screen. It’s responsive with barely any suppression between shots, which some X-T1 users have mentioned.Battery life and speed is where the X-T2 shines with the addition of the new booster grip. As mentioned earlier, you’ll get a refresh rate of 100fps with continuous bursts at 7fps when using the mechanical shutter, and 14fps with the electronic shutter. Attach the grip and you’ll get an astonishing 11fps with the mechanical shutter. I have no hesitation shooting all day with the grip installed – goodbye spare batteries!

Inside, image quality is superb with the same 24.3MP sensor as the X-Pro2, producing a crisp resolution of 6000 x 4000px. The dynamic range is impressive, allowing you to really push the shadow/highlight detail without the need to bracket exposure – perfect for landscapes when you don’t want to use graduated ND filters. You will of course still have to watch your histogram, as it does still have limitations to how much information can be recovered in the highlights, but it’s very impressive. High ISO is clean; I had no issues shooting ISO 6400 at night.

The most significant upgrade of all is the Autofocus, an outstanding 325 AF points, with 49 being phase detection. Auto focus is important for my travel and street photography, so it’s critical that my camera nails focus at least 98% of the time. AF is accurate and fast; even in low light it locks focus quickly. In AF-C mode you now have various profiles with three simple parameters: Tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity and zone area switching. It means you can make your own adjustments to fine tune AF for any situation, which is really useful.

Inside, image quality is superb with the same 24.3MP sensor as the X-Pro2, producing a crisp resolution of 6000 x 4000px. The dynamic range is impressive, allowing you to really push the shadow/highlight detail without the need to bracket exposure – perfect for landscapes when you don’t want to use graduated ND filters. You will of course still have to watch your histogram, as it does still have limitations to how much information can be recovered in the highlights, but it’s very impressive. High ISO is clean; I had no issues shooting ISO 6400 at night.

 

My Personal Rating

Handling (5 stars)
The X-T2 is one fine piece of kit featuring Fujifilm’s classic stylish looks: it’s sure to be a conversation starter. The body feels pro and it responds like a pro body. I had no need to read the manual everything works as you’d expect it to. The buttons and controls are positioned for ease of use, I had no problem adjusting the settings during mid-shoot, although I did find the exposure compensation dial a little awkward at times. I prefer the exposure compensation dial on the X-Pro1, with the slight indentation for my thumb. That aside, the menu was simple to navigate. The new joystick made AF selection quick and simple.

Features (4 1/2 stars)
With an abundance of features the X-T2 packs a punch. The EVF has been improved substantially, making it more adaptable when shooting fast paced subjects or photographing in difficult lighting. AF-C settings strengthen AF performance. If you shoot video you will appreciate having 4K video, I tried it briefly and it worked well. I did miss not having a built-in ND filter like the X100S; I found the ND useful for landscapes, but this is easily overcome by purchasing ND filters. Like all Fujifilm cameras the X-T2 has film simulation with my favourite being Classic Chrome, a perfect all rounder.

Exposure (5 stars)
Adjusting exposure is simple with a dedicated shutter dial on the top of the camera. Auto exposure is accurate 99% of the time. I shot mostly with the exposure set to ‘A’ mode and set my aperture accordingly. Auto white balance was also accurate. No complaints here.

Image Quality (4 1/2 stars)
Images are sharp even at 100%, and it handles high ISO surprisingly well. I found I was able to achieve clean results up to ISO 12800. The Classic Chrome film simulation for people photography is absolutely gorgeous. I did find the images a little contrasty when shooting landscapes, however I was able to adjust this in Lightroom. Dynamic range is really impressive, allowing me to really push the shadow details to obtain a natural looking HDR. I do feel it performs better shooting people than it does landscapes, but it did a very nice job overall.

Value For Money (5 stars)
In the world of mirrorless APS-C, I feel there’s no other camera that compares to the Fujifilm X-T2.

This review was originally published inside Australian Photography magazine, and shared with consent on my blog.