Welcome to my Fuji X-T2 Review ~ Initial Thoughts
So its time, once again, to welcome another new camera into the Fujifilm X-Series range. The Fujifilm X-T2. Its a camera that has been rumoured ever since the X-Pro2 was announced earlier in the year. This is my Fuji X-T2 Review (initial thoughts at least).
If you have read my review of the X-Pro2, and possibly my shooting weddings with a Fuji blog post you will know that I think the X-Pro2 is a fantastic camera. I’ve been shooting all my professional wedding photography work with it since January.
However, shortly after the X-Pro2 was released, I was lucky enough to be invited by Fujifilm UK to be one of the pre-release testers and evaluators of their new camera, the X-T2.
From the 7th July, you will see many Fuji X-T2 Review post across the world. As ever, I’m not going to give a technical review here. You will be able to view the full specs on the Fujifilm website.
As the sensor is the same as the X-Pro2, I’ve decided to give an overview of what I feel are the core differences between the X-Pro2 and the X-T2 and that has been my focus of concentration whilst using the camera over the last few months.
So let’s take a look at the Fuji X-T2:
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm F2 Lens (front)
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm F2 Lens (rear)
Those who use the X-T1 currently have probably been devouring the specifications of the X-Pro2 since its release and expecting most of its features to be included in the X-T2. And so that is true.
Fuji X-T2 Review: Fuji X-T2 v Fuji X-T1
Many of you will be already using the Fuji X-T1, so here is a concise list of some of the core specification and relevant changes.
In a nutshell, the Fuji X-T2, compared to the X-T1 is a completely different camera. Its faster, its more capable, its more durable and its more functional.
The X-T2, in my opinion, is as solid and full an upgrade to a camera as the X-Pro2 to the X-Pro1 was.
- Resolution: 24.3 Megapixels
- Sensor Size: 23.6 x 15.6 (APS-C)
- Sensor Type: X-Trans III
- Image Size: 6000 x 4000 pixels
- ISO Range: 200 to 12,800 (expanded 100 and 51,200)
- Metering: TTL 256-zone metering system with multi, spot, centre-weighted and average options
- Continuous Shooting: Up to 14fps (electronic shutter) and 8fps (mechanical shutter), 11fps (mechanical shutter) with Vertical Booster Grip.
- Exposure Compensation: +/-5EV in 1/3 EV steps
- LCD Monitor: 2-way hinged 3in with 1.62 million dots
- Video: 4K UHD at 30p, Full HD at 60p
- Connectivity: USB 3.0, Mini HDMI, audio in and out
- Media: Dual SD/SDHC card slots both UHS-II compatible
- Dimensions: 132.5 x 91.8 x 49.2 mm
- Weight: 507g (with battery and card)
- 16.3 Megapixels
- 23.6 x 15.6 (APS-C)
- X-Trans II
- 4896 x 3264 pixels
- 200 to 6,400 (expanded 100 and 51,200)
- TTL 256-zone metering system with multi, spot and average options
- Approx. 8.0 fps (JPEG : max. approx. 47 frames)
Approx. 3.0 fps (JPEG : up to the capacity of the
- +/-3EV in 1/3 EV steps
- 1-way hinged 3in with 1,040K-dot
- Full HD at 60p
- USB 2.0, Mini HDMI
- Single SD/SDHC card slots both UHS-I compatible
- 129 x 89.8 x 46.7 mm
- 440g (with battery and card)
Fuji X-T2 Review: Ergonomics
Those used to the Fuji X-T1 will notice that the overall look and feel of the X-T2 remains largely the same. And this is a good thing.
I have always believed the the X-T1 was a great design and for those that wanted a more DSLR-like body, it ticked most of the boxes from an aesthetic and physical point of view. From a very personal point of view, I still prefer the ergonomics of the more ranger finder styled X-Pro2.
Fuji have changed a few things, some minor and some major.
Articulating LCD Screen
Perhaps the biggest physical change is the introduction of the multi-hinged LCD. With the X-T1, the flip screen was really only useful when shooting horizontally. Fuji have enhanced this and the flip screen is now very good for both horizontal and vertical shooting.
The fact of the matter is, the X-Pro2 is a different camera to the X-T2 and whilst the sensor and main functionality are the same, the two cameras do aim to serve two different types of market place in my opinion.
The two way tilting LCD screen is part of that differentiation.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm F2 Lens & Vertical Power Booster Grip
Whilst I do use the LCD screen on my X-T1 (and the fabulous X-70), I use the camera more with the view finder, or simply zone focusing / shooting from the hip.
The flip screen is of course beneficial and with the Fujifilm X-T2, the screen has a multi-angle swivel which whilst I didn’t use it when shooting stills, I did find very useful when shooting test movies.
Dials and Chassis
When you hold the camera in your hand it just “feels” better. It feels stronger and all together more comfortable.
I believe this is down to the slightly bigger and more rounded grip. This in itself makes the camera a bit bigger, and a bit heavier than the X-T1.
Although a different shape, the Fuji X-T2 is overall a little heavier too than the X-Pro2.
Thankfully Fuji have addressed the issue with the overly-recessed buttons on the back of the camera and they are easy to use and find even with your eye to the view finder.
The focus assist button is no more, but instead we gain a focus point joystick.
On the top plate, everything is a bit better spaced for a start. You notice from the image above the video button has been removed (its now on the drive collar).
Fuji have also addressed the push/lock dials that were on the X-T1. The new X-T2 has a pretty neat system where you push once and release the locking mechanism when adjusting ISO and Shutter Speed.
The view mode button is still in the (in my opinion) rather awkward position on the view finder prism chamber and I would have loved to have seen that moved to the front of the camera or perhaps as a function button option.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm F2 Lens / 1/850 Second at f5.6, ISO 200
Shooting from the hip with the LCD tilt screen is definitely a benefit for those that want to try and get those shots that you may otherwise not be able to achieve by raising the camera to your face.
Fuji X-T2 Review: Still Image Quality
I’m really not going to go into this in too much detail as the still images are created by the same sensor as the X-Pro2. I’ve covered the image quality, noise performance and Acros film simulation a lot in these previous blog posts:
Needless to say, the extra mega pixels in the sensor has not led to a decrease in image quality and as ever, the JPEGs from the sensor are superb.
XF 23mm F1.4 Lens / 1/750 Second at f2, ISO 400
XF 23mm F1.4 Lens / 1/350 Second at f5.6, ISO 400
XF35mm F2 Lens / 1/14,000 Second at f2, ISO 400
XF 23mm F1.4 Lens / 1/10,000 Second at f2, ISO 400
XF 23mm F1.4 Lens / 1/30,000 Second at f2, ISO 400
Fuji X-T2 Review: Metering Additions
The camera now sports the new metering mode also found in the X-Pro2 so the full compliment of multi, spot, centre-weighted and average options are on the meter dial on the top plate.
This is a useful way of finely tuning exposure whilst keeping control of the focus point and composition.
Fuji have aided us by allowing us to choose whether the AF / AE is triggered on the Shutter button too with a menu option (below).
This gives us even more control over the exposure and focus options and is something I’ve found very useful when shooting with the X-T2.
Fuji X-T2 Review: AF Improvements
Much like the X-Pro2, the Fuji X-T2 has seen a huge increase in Auto Focus Performance and configuration over its predecessor.
The number of focusing points has been dramatically expanded from 49 in previous models to 91 (up to 325 points).
Approx. 40% of the imaging area (centre area containing 49 focusing points) is covered with phase detection AF pixels to form a fast and precise phase detection AF area that can be used in almost every conceivable situation.
Its impossible for me to put in words or display in stills the magnitude of the update to the Auto Focus system. Again, Fujfilm have been concentrating on this as they know this is a huge area for mirrorless users….and, indeed, perhaps the most important area.
The Fujifilm X-T2 has an enhanced ability to auto-focus on points of light, low-contrast objects and subjects with fine and delicate textures such as bird feathers and animal fur, which have been the weakness of phase detection AF. Those who currently use the X-T1 in low light, even with the Firmware 4 update will be blown away by the speed of focus acquisition in low light situations.
The performance of contrast detection AF, enabled for approx. 85% of the imaging area, has also been improved.
Continuous Focus Modes
When I used to shoot with my DSLRs, I really loved the ability to choose different continuous tracking modes.
When the AF-C updates came in Firmware 4 for the X-T1 (and subsequently released in the X-Pro2), we suddenly had a continuous tracking mode that worked incredibly well.
One thing I missed though, was the ability to fine tune the continuous tracking and decide on things such as whether I wanted the camera to ignore subjects crossing in front on my primary focus subject, or react quicker to quick moving subjects etc.
You can customise settings to optimise AF characteristics according to the type of subject movements.
The electronic viewfinder, which is used to continuously track a moving subject, is capable of displaying up to 100 frames per second, while also maintaining the magnification ratio of 0.77x and the display time lag of 0.005 seconds.
The duration of the viewfinder blackout, in which the live view display blacks out temporarily while the camera reads picture data, has been reduced by more than half (and I know this has been an issue for some people in the past), enabling up to 5fps, instead of 3fps in the X-T1, during continuous shooting in the Live View mode, a better option to ensure tracking subject movements.
I really love the ability to customise the way the AF-C works and during my testing, I’ve found this to be invaluable. For wedding photographers, it comes into its own when shooting and tracking things such as the bridal recessional or the confetti run where you don’t want the camera to suddenly start tracking the confetti itself or another person entering the scene.
When you combine this new feature, with the ability to shoot at 11 fps (with the vertical grip) during tracking then I think its finally a really valid option for those who need to shoot sport and birds etc. I used to shoot a lot of rugby pitch side when I had my old DSLR equipment. I haven’t shot any since I sold all that gear off but I’m looking forward to getting back to the side of the pitch and using the X-T2 to its full potential.
I’m sure John Rourke will have more to say on this with his amazing motor racing images that he shoots with the Fuji system.
More on the Vertical Grip a bit later, but you should know that without the grip attached, the maximum burst rate of shooting in CH mode is 8 fps. As mentioned, with the grip, its 11fps.
An addendum to those figures is the fact that with the electronic shutter in operation, you can even shoot at 14fps.
These are very quick burst rates and way over what I would ever need or use as a documentary photographer, but I imagine are spot on for those sports and wildlife photographers I referred to.
Fuji X-T2 Review: The Vertical Power Booster Grip
That’s Fuji’s name for a battery grip, with a difference.
Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 35mm F2 Lens & Vertical Power Booster Grip (front)
I have never been a fan of battery grips on my cameras. I prefer the camera to remain as small and compact as possible.
However, I have always seen the advantage of using a battery grip when shooting long weddings, or out on the street for prolonged periods of time. It makes sense, sometimes, to just have spare power available without worrying about physically changing the batteries.
I guess the headline feature of the grip is the fact that it stores two additional batteries. This means you can shoot with three batteries loaded into the camera.
The published amount of shots this will produce is around 1,000. However, Fuji are bound by certain industry standard testing metrics and my trials have seen me shoot double that, depending on certain camera configurations. Now, bear in mind I rarely use zooms or flash, which will reduce that output somewhat but I can’t see any situation where I could be shooting a wedding for the whole day and need to ever reach the bag for a fourth battery.
I think when you consider how much people have maligned Fujifilm about battery life (when in truth, a little research and careful configuration will alleviate those problems somewhat on all the cameras), its great to see they have spent time and effort producing an option for people who really do want to be able to rest assured that they have power on the go at all times.
Fujifilm X-T2 Power Management Options
As you can see from the Power Management shot above, Fujifilm are serious about giving us more control and options over the power management of the camera.
I’ve been asking for the ability to have different rations for Auto-Power Off for sometime and I was really pleased to see this new control available for us.
I’ve been setting mine to 15 seconds and I now no longer need to worry about actually switching the camera off when I’m not using it. Little things like this have made quite a big difference to the way I’m shooting with the X-T2 compared to the X-T1 and even the X-Pro2.
Fujifilm X-T2 with Vertical Power Booster Grip (boost dial)
The Vertical Power Grip, as mentioned, is more than just a battery holder. It has all the controls on it to enable you to shoot vertically comfortably. This includes front and rear dials, AF-L, AE-L, Q button, Fn button and a focus joystick.
Additionally, the grip has the neat little “Boost” toggle which does a couple of things;
- The EVF refreshes at a rate of 60fps, or as high as 100fps in the Boost mode to deliver smooth display of movements. It can continue displaying a moving subject without interruption. The fast rate of refresh is maintained even in low light for easy framing during night shooting.
- In the Boost mode, it will enhance camera performance in continuous shooting, shooting interval, shutter release time lag and blackout time, while also extending the duration of 4K video recording to approx. 30 minutes.
It’s a pretty nifty little device.
But wait…..there is more…..
The grip also has a power in socket which means you can charge two batteries on the go in the grip tray. This is very neat and if you are out and about and need to charge quickly, you can use the tray to charge the batteries quicker than using the standard charger. You’ll be able to charge two batteries, simultaneously in two hours flat.
For those that want to shoot video to any serious level, you’ll also find a headphone port in the side compartment. I’ve been using that when out and about testing the 4K video functionality.
And so to 4K Video in the Fujifilm X-T2…
Fuji X-T2 Review: 4K Video Recording in the Fuji X-T2
Now, I’m not a video shooter in any professional capacity but its something I have been exploring and certainly want to do more of.
If I’m honest, I was disappointed that the X-Pro2 didn’t have 4K functionality. I understand this is down to heat issues inside the body. So when I received my prototype X-T2 and learned of the specifications I began looking forward to exploring shooting higher definition videos.
For a while, I’ve been asking Fuji about the seemingly crazy reason the audio jack in the cameras were an almost proprietary 2.5mm when everywhere else used a 3.5mm jack.
Et Voila…. a 3.5mm jack for audio in. This is huge, believe it or not, for those who want to shoot video in any serious capacity. I’ve been using a Rode NTG-2 to record some audio direct to the camera I can use an XLR > 3.5mm cable converter. Previously, I had to use an XLR > 3.5 > 2.5 connection which greatly affected the amplification of the sound.
Additionally, as mentioned earlier, there is a headphone socket in the vertical power grip which means you can monitor sound accordingly too.
And finally, there is also a HDMI out option which means you can monitor the footage on an external screen or record direct from the camera.
Fujifilm X-T2 with RODE NTG2 and Video Monitoring in action.
Thanks to my good friend and epic wedding photographer Rob Ward for the above shot.
In terms of video formats for recording, the X-T2 offers the 4K range along with the standard HD range found in the X-Pro2.
You’ll get the chance to shoot at:
- HD 60p
- HD 50p
- HD 30p
- HD 25p
- HD 24p
- 4K 30p
- 4K 25p
- 4K 24p
If you are not using the vertical power grip you will be able to shoot clips up to 10 minutes in length. With the grip, that will be extended to 30 minutes.
I was hoping we’d see HD 120p and even dreaming of 4K 60p. For the time being though, I’m very satisfied with the options available to me. I’m very excited by this.
NOTE: The pre-production versions of the Fuji X-T2 that I have had do not allow RAW or “neutral” recording. The specifications read: MOD (MPEG-4 AVC / H.264, Audio: Linear PCM / Stereo sound 48KHz sampling) and I’m hopeful that at some point the camera will be able to record RAW footage too. Who knows!
That said, as we know, the film simulations in the Fuji cameras are one of the main reasons many people invest in the series and its great to be able to shoot using these film simulations in 4K too. The grading is pretty much done in the camera – much like shooting JPEG and not needing to process the RAW files.
I took the camera to London for a few hours with a view of shooting some random scenes and testing the outputs of the camera. They worked really well, and whilst my clips are certainly not art, they ticked the boxes in terms of seeing what the 4K footage can do:
Stills from the 4K Video Footage
Whilst its not something I’m likely to ever do, I know some people are interested in taking stills from moving media and as the resolution of the files becomes larger, I guess it becomes possible to draw a reasonably useable JPEG still from the footage.
Fuji X-T2 Review: Dual UHS-II Card Slots
The X-Pro2 saw the introduction of dual card slots and it made sense for Fuji to continue that feature in the X-T2. However, they have gone one step further and whereas the X-Pro2 has one UHS-I slot and one UHS-II slot, the Fuji X-T2 has two super fast UHS-II slots.
When shooting in burst mode, using backup as the data saving option I can’t remember one single occasion where the camera slowed for the buffer to refill, even at 11 fps.
Those of you who have been hankering after shooting film simulation bracketing (jpeg) to one card, and RAW to another will remain disappointed I’m afraid.
I really would love to see Fuji roll out this option in a firmware update. I can’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be possible to record the film simulation brackets to one card and a clean RAW file to another, especially now both cards are super fast. Fingers crossed on that one.
Fujifilm X-T2 with dual UHS-II Card Slots. Vrooooom!
Fuji X-T2 Review: MCEX-Macro Extension Tube & X-T2
Simply because I’ve never really used it in anger before, I thought I try some shots using the Fuji X-T2, the 90mm lens and the MCEX-16 Macro Extension Tube.
Fujifilm X-T2 with 90mm F2 Lens & MCEX-16 Macro Extension: 1/850th Second, f2, ISO 320
Fujifilm X-T2 with 90mm F2 Lens & MCEX-16 Macro Extension: 1/1,500th Second, f2, ISO 320
Fujifilm X-T2 with 90mm F2 Lens & MCEX-16 Macro Extension: 1/680th Second, f2, ISO 320
Fuji X-T2 Review: Flash Photography with the Fuji X-T2
I’m not a big user of Flash, you will be better off checking out Bert Stephani for more on this.
What I can tell you though, is that the Flash support in the X-T2 has been greatly improved and will work seamlessly with the new EF-X500 Flash unit also announced today.
Fujifilm X-T2 offers greater support and control of Flash
You can see from the image above, the camera is now well equipped to move into a much more professional real when shooting with both on and off camera flash. The EF-X500, I believe, will offer those that like to use multiple off camera flash at weddings (and elsewhere of course) a far more granular and powerful configuration.
Fuji X-T2 Review: Tethering and Wifi
The Fuji X-T2 will support native tethering with a plugin for Lightroom users. Great news for studio shooters especially. You can automatically transfer and save images on the computer, and shoot while checking Live View images
I have also been using the X-T2 a lot with my Instax Share SP1 and this has worked seemlesly printing direct from the camera or via the Fuji Remote App on my iPad.
One other thing I’d love to see happen at some point (and I think could be something that could be done via a firmware update) is the ability to sync camera time and settings across bodies.
I’d love to press a button and all three of my XT-2s or all three of my X-Pro2s suddenly synced time, and inherited my custom settings, shadows, highlights etc. That would be neat.
Fuji X-T2 Review ~ Summary
This Fuji X-T2 Review is just my initial thoughts. As the firmware stabilises in the pre-productions I will be using it more at weddings and will be compiling a fuller review in due course.
For me, Fuji have once again taken a working formula in the X-T1 and not only refined it, but built on it, re-engineered it and rewarded us photographers with another stunning camera to use.
Fuji X-T2 v Fuji X-Pro2
By and large, the X-Pro2 and the X-T2 are very similar. Certainly in terms of image quality and major features of the sensor itself.
I think its true that Fujifilm will release, at some point, a firmware upgrade for the X-Pro2 that may well include some of the newer focus enhancements that are found within the X-T2.
From an ergonomic point of view they are of course very different.
When the X-Pro2 was released I sold two of my X-T1’s and kept one X-T1 (I had three). When I think back to my reasoning for that, I think it came down to that flip screen.
The X-Pro2 is a much better camera than the X-T1, but it didn’t have the flip screen and it didn’t have 4K video.
As you have seen in this Fuji X-T2 Review the new camera has the screen, has 4K video and, in fact, has a lot more to it than just those features of course.
Where do I lie with camera choice?
Well, I can tell you that so many people in the wedding photography world wanted an X-Pro2 with a flip screen and whilst the X-T2 is more than that, those people now have their wish.
The X-Pro2, for me, remains more discreet, probably a bit more reactionary for me to use (I personally prefer the rangefinder-esque footprint of the X-Pro2), has the incredibly quick Optical Viewfinder.
I will sell my final X-T1 and will buy an X-T2 when it is available. I think I will likely still remain predominately an X-Pro2 shooter (I have three of those now!). I can see me pulling out the X-T2 at weddings when I really have no choice but shoot considered hip shots with the tilting LCD, or, of course, if I ever want to shoot video.
What you will choose may simply come down the very simple basics of:
- If you really want a flip screen, choose the Fuji X-T2
- If you really want 4K video, choose the Fuji X-T2
- If you really want amazing customisable focus acquisition technology, choose the Fuji X-T2 (though I’m not sure if this will come in time to the X-Pro2).
- If you want a range finder style camera with a fast Optical View Finder as well as an EVF, choose the Fuji X-Pro2
- If you want a very discreet, sleek camera, Choose the Fuji X-Pro2.
- If you want a camera that is incredibly curate and quick to use with and OVF, choose an X-Pro2.
56mm F1.2 Lens: 1/20,000th Second, f1.2, ISO 200
16mm F1.4 Lens: 1/340th Second, f1.4, ISO 400
56mm F1.2 Lens: 1/4,000th Second, f1.2, ISO 400
You can see more of my of my core wedding and social documentary work over on my wedding photographer website.
If you are a wedding photographer, shooting with Fuji’s, you may be interested in the managed Facebook group I run especially for us.
I really hope this little Fuji X-T2 Review has been useful. There will be many more out there on the internet of course.
Please feel free to leave questions in the comment sections and I will answer them there.
You can pre-order the Fuji X-T2 from Castle Cameras where I get my cameras in the UK right now. I would, if I were you 🙂
- Happy Snapping – Kevin (in my Studio in Malmesbury, at 5:30am! listening to Radio 4)