First Impression: Fujifilm X-T2

With the internet is still abuzz with the announcement of Fujifilm’s latest flagship mirrorless camera, the X-T2, I was invited to an exclusive launch event hosted by Fujifilm Australia and was provided with the opportunity to trial the new X-T2. It’s not every day that an average “Joe” like myself get invited so such an event so I just wanted to use this opportunity to thank the guys over at Fujifilm Australia for organising the event. Some of the images and videos are shown here were taken straight from the X-T2.

For those new to my blog you’ll find my reviews are more focused on real-world examples and use case scenarios that an average person would normally use in a real environment, you won’t find any colour charts, pixel peeping or side-by-side comparisons with other camera manufacturers here. So here are my first  impressions of the X-T2.

Introduction

The launch event was held in Sydney at a secret location to prevent the general public from crashing the event. The event kicked off with your standard meet & greets where I ran into Matt Granger and a number of journalists from various photo magazine publications and online blogs including Photoinsomnia and Shotkit just to name but a few. It then proceeded with presentations highlighting the new features and improvements, but the most engaging part of the presentation was when guest speaker, X-Photographer & Fujifilm Ambassador, Andrew Hall, came up on stage and talked about his experience using various X Series cameras, the pros and cons and how the new improvements in the X-T2 have addressed some of those limitations which I’ll discuss in more detail later on.

First Impression

Design

At first glance one would easily mistake the X-T2 for an X-T1 and personally I’m glad it does as I believe Fuji has done everything right with the design and layout of the X-T1 so I commend Fuji for going with the same design and button layout along with some new additions such as the AF lever and I’m sure there are many X-T1 users out there who would agree. On paper, the X-T2 is slightly heavier (507g vs 440g) and wider (132mm vs 129mm), but strangely while holding the X-T2 (without the battery grip) it feels almost identical in both the size and weight department. So existing users of the X-T1 will feel right at home when handling the X-T2.

Button Layout

As mentioned earlier, there are some new additions to the overall design, one of which is the highly anticipated AF lever (joystick). This was first introduced on the X-Pro2, if you’re not familiar with the AF lever, it allows you to manually select your AF point (all 325) using a joystick-like lever without having to sacrifice the function pad which I’m sure many X-T1 users (myself included) have theirs configured this way. The lever goes in all 8 directions and is nicely placed just below the Q function button if you’re an X-T1 user that’s where the existing Q button location is. It doesn’t take long to get acquainted with the AF lever, I’m currently reviewing an X-Pro2 and after about 2 weeks using the AF lever to select my AF points, it’s very hard to go back to my X-T1 and having to revert back to the function dial pad.

The AF lever also acts as a button so by  pressing the lever it will allow you to adjust the size of the AF point selector, just like some of the other X Series cameras there are 5 sizes to choose from. Another thing worth noting is that if you’ve moved the point off centre and want it returned back to the default centre point, simply press the lever in again and it will return back to the default centre position, extremely handy considering the X-T2 has 325 AF points.

Another thing worth noting about the AF lever can also be used in the preview mode and navigating through the menus.

DSCF3912

The other improvements are quite subtle, for instance, the ISO and SS (shutter speed) dials are now slightly thicker which offers a better grip when turning the dials. They both now have a lock toggle whereas on the X-T1 you had to press the centre dial button down in order to turn the ISO dial. I must admit that it does take some getting use to. The biggest improvement, in my opinion, is the secondary dials underneath the ISO and SS dial, they are now less prone to being changed accidentally, there is enough resistance that you won’t accidentally change from Single shot to Continuous High, something that has been frustrating me on my X-T1.

If you’re one of those who like to pimp their cameras with accessories and pretty colours, the shutter release button now has a screw hole for those who want to insert a custom shutter button similar to those on the X-Pro1/2 and X100T.

DSCF3926.jpg
Customise your shutter button

Both the front and rear dials now act as buttons, for example, while previewing an image, pressing in the rear dial will zoom in 100% There is also an additional Fn button in between the SS and EV dials, this button is quite important which I’ll discuss a little later when we talk about the battery grip.

A question I get asked by my readers is whether or not the dual memory card slots are UHS-II compatible, YES both slots are UHS-II compatible, unlike the X-Pro2 which only slot 1 is UHS-II compatible. The hatch revealing the slots has been improved and now has a lever that must be pressed in order for the hatch to open, I believe this was done based on  feedback from the consumers.

LCD Screen

Apart from the new tilt axis, the screen is believed to be made with a more durable glass that’s both scratch and smudge resistant, but that’s not going to stop me from placing a tempered glass protector on the surface. Previewing images or using it in live view is about the same as on the X-T1, there was nothing that was a noticeable difference. I would have liked if it came with a touch screen, this should be a standard feature in today’s cameras regardless of it being mirrorless or not, there are already DSLRs out there that have touch screens i.e. Canon 80D, 1DX MKII and Nikon’s D5500.

Another thing I would have liked to see on the X-T2 is a fully articulating screen, it seems like an oversight to offer 4K video recording and not have the screen fully articulated. I’m sure there are Vloggers out there who would have liked this feature.

Battery Grip

There seem to be some mixed feelings circulating around the internet regarding the new battery grip for the X-T2, some have criticised it as being unfair to force consumers to purchase the battery grip just to unlock “Boost” mode. It does raise the question though as to why it’s mandatory to have 2 extra batteries just to use these additional features and whether 1 battery is sufficient? After all, Boost mode only enables a handful of extra functions such as the increase in FPS from 8 to 11, it also increases the EVF refresh rate from 60 FPS to 100 FPS as well as increase 4K recording times from 10min to 30mins.

So do you need Boost mode? I personally don’t believe you do unless you fall in the category of sports/action photography as it will allow you to shoot bursts of 11 FPS (14 FPS in ES mode), Wedding/Event Photography as this will enable up to approx. 1000 shots with the extra batteries, Videographers who need to record more than 10mins in 4K. The battery grip also comes with a hefty price tag, so you have to ask yourself do you need Boost mode or would that be better spent towards new glass?

There’s also something about the battery grip that not many people know about, the battery grip comes with its own firmware, which could mean there may be future firmware upgrades to improve the Boost mode.

So here’s what we know about the battery grip:

  • It takes the original NP-W126 batteries and Boost mode will still function
  • The grip itself has its own firmware
  • The only difference between the NP-W126 vs NP-W126S is that the newer battery dissipates heat more efficiently
  • The batteries in the grip are hot-swappable
  • The batteries in the grip can be charged via an AC power source (approx 2hrs)

AF Tracking (AF-C Custom Setting)

It’s obvious that Fujifilm did their research and identified what’s been holding the X-T1 back and it’s no secret that it struggled in the AF tracking. Fujifilm has now greatly improved the AF tracking on the X-T2 and is a serious contender for sports / action photographers. Andrew Hall, an official Le Mans motorsport photographer, discusses the improvements in the AF tracking  system, one improvement he emphasised on is the ability to now customise the AF tracking profiles and its sensitivity. An example he described is the ability to lock and track vehicles moving away from you, something that the X-T1 struggled with. There are 5 AF tracking profiles that can be configured from vertical panning, ignoring objects that come between you and your subject to switching focus between multiple subjects as they come in and out of the frame (similar to the Canon 5D MKIII tracking profiles). While Andrew is shooting subjects moving at speeds of up to 360kph, for the average person this is probably  overkill, but it just means that it’s capable of just about any type of fast action photography (kids sports, wildlife etc).

Here is some Andrew took using the X-T2 during a Le Mans Endurance race, as you can see, the new improved AF tracking worked flawlessly, Andrew went on to mention that his keeper  rate with the new X-T2 was significantly higher over the X-T1.

4K Recording

Unfortunately, I didn’t get much time to fully test everything, I’m the type of person who prefers to shoot stills so this was an area that I didn’t really focus on. I did, however, manage to record a quick video however it doesn’t do it justice as it was done with a telephoto lens without OIS, so it is shaky throughout the footage.

It’s also worth noting that at the time of recording I was using an unofficial firmware, I have been told that the release models will have an updated firmware, therefore if you notice anything in the sample footage below I’m sure they’ll have this address in the new firmware on all launch models.

4k_recording
Sample frame from 4K recording

Video: https://youtu.be/R4qHNTgvEa8 (remember to select 4k quality and freeze the frame to get a better idea of the quality and detail)

Sample Images

The following images are taken from the X-T2 unedited straight out of camera (SOOC) using various film simulations.

 

Conclusion

Just a little over 2yrs ago Fujifilm released the X-T1 and it immediately won the hearts of many and even converted both hardcore Canon and Nikon fanboys/girls. It’s amazing how much Fujifilm has achieved and improved since the launch of the X-T1, the new X-T2 is sure to be a trendsetter in both digital stills and video recording. With the addition of the AF lever, dual card slots, 24mp, 4K recording and an AF tracking system that’s on steroids, the X-T2 is a sure contender as the go-to camera for professionals.

However, at a price point of just over $2,000 AUD, some may find it hard to justify paying a premium for a crop body camera. But if you consider the all the things from the X-T1 plus the new features and improvements in this new camera body, along with the excellent lens lineup and superb image quality it produces, it’s easily justified.

But what if you already have the X-T1 should you get the X-T2? That all comes down to personal preference and your style / genre of shooting. If you’re happy with the X-T1 then, by all means, stick with it, just because there is an updated model the X-T1 is no slouch and is still capable of producing amazing images and will continue to do so as Fujifilm is known for releasing firmware updates even on discontinued models. This alone should give you the confidence that no matter what Fujifilm camera you’re buying you’re bound to get a number of years out of it before your next upgrade. If you’re seriously considering the X-T2 then you better get your pre-orders in as these are sure to sell like hot cakes. I know where my money is going now just gotta find a buyer for my X-T1 Graphite 🙂

 

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7 thoughts on “First Impression: Fujifilm X-T2

  1. Thanks for the X-T2 evaluation Joe, an enjoyable read! Makes me really excited but I don’t think I’ll get it as I don’t think Fuji has a serious enough sports/action lens line up to keep up with the camera. I just shoot my kid’s sports and usually indoor gyms or night time games are an issue with any lens slower than F2.8 even with the bump in usable ISO on the new sensor. I might step backwards to a DSLR and get a used Nikon D4 or new D500 with a new Nikon 300mm F2.8, I already have a Nikon 70-200 2.8 so I don’t need the Fuji 50-140. Do you have any info on the what was once pending Fuji 200mm F2.0? If that was back on the map I’d be all in on this lens, the new kit, and the 50-140.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi, I’m glad you enjoyed the read, I have not used the Nikon D4 or D500 so I can’t really compare the two systems. But I do know that the new X-T2 has AF profiles that many of the higher end DSLR cameras have to fine tune focusing based on the situation. X-Photographer and Le Mans Motorsport Photographer, Andrew Hall, illustrated the new AF tracking on subjects moving between 300 – 360kph (towards, away, panning, zig-zagging etc) and was able to maintain a high keeper rate. Unfortunately, there weren’t any fast moving subjects at the time of test that I could test the AF tracking myself on. If you’re shooting sports or fast action, the 2 lenses I would recommend are the XF50-140mmF2.8 and the XF100-400mmF4-5.6, the IOS on both of these are excellent and can be shot handheld.

      In terms of the XF200mmF2 there is no confirmation at this point, any news you hear would be based on rumors and speculations at this point. I believe that the next lens to be announced (September) will be the XF23mmF2.

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    1. Boost is possible without the grip but to don’t unlock the full potential compared to having the grip attached such as the 11fps and 30min 4k recording time just to name a few.

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  2. Nice write up Joe, thanks. The screen is one of the most compelling things for me; a fully articulating screen is not the nicest thing to hold when shooting from waist level, which I do a lot, but I miss the ability to tilt the screen in portrait orientation. This, therefore, seems the perfect screen setup for me.

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