The Fuji X-T2 has a special allure to it. Have you ever gone into a new car showroom and sat in a new car and after grabbing the steering wheel and before even test driving, just know you wanted to buy the car? That’s the X-T2! Hold it and you want it. First, I want to say thank you to Fuji for getting me a production X-T2 a few days before my journey to Greenland, Italy & the Dolomites and eventually Photokina in Cologne, Germany. I own a Fuji X-T1 and have had the X-T2 in my hands at press events. Even then I knew I wanted it.
The X-T2 is leaps and bounds different than the X-T1. It certainly seems that Fuji has listened to the review critics – but more importantly, they have listened to their end users. The camera features a 24.3-megapixel X-Trans sensor. Fuji has added an extra SD card slot, more AF points and significantly increased the variety of AF operations in the camera. The camera can shoot 11 frames per second with the Booster handle (vertical grip) and when set to electronic shutter, can shoot 14 fps. The mechanical shutter’s speed can be between 30 seconds and 1/8000th of a second. In Electronic Shutter mode expect 30 sec. to 1/32000th of a second. Yep, I always wanted to shoot an image at 1/32000th of a second. Something I’ll have to give some consideration to. More on this in the more comprehensive review here later.
There are so many sites doing reviews of cameras today that it can be overwhelming. I like to take cameras out and use them the way they were meant to be used, under real life circumstances. So, with a trip coming up that would be over three weeks in length, I loaded up the X-T2 and an arsenal of lenses and headed off to Iceland, Greenland, The Dolomites, St Moritz and then Cologne for Photokina.
Short Video Review
I keep asking myself why I like the feel of this camera so much? It is different from many other brands of camera. I think it is the top dials and easy access to the controls that matter most. I am old school – if you haven’t already figured that out! This does not mean I don’t like the new way of things, but the ability to look at the top of the camera and see ISO, Shutter speed, metering mode, drive modes and exposure compensation is a real pleasure. It speeds up the operation of the camera so much and makes it easy to make adjustments and changes especially with gloves on as I found out in Greenland. The dials for ISO and shutter speed unlock and lock with a center button.
Setting the all the standard settings is a breeze. Underneath the dials on the front are levers (for lack of a better word) that allow you to set drive modes on the ISO dial and metering modes on the Shutter Speed dial. Everything you could pretty much want is easily set up and may be seen without looking at a menu screen.
Any setting that cannot be accessed this way can be accessed through the “Q” menu. This is activated by a Q button and brings up a screen with numerous choices. You scroll through the choices wth the joy stick and then once selected, use the rear command dial to review your choices. This menu is completely customizable so you can choose the settings and placement of items that you want. I set my primary selections on the top row. The AF framing size I access a lot. I can set the size of the AF focus box from small to large. I can also select a spot AF point or the numerous continuous AF tracking modes.
The NEW continuous focus tracking on this camera is one of the best I have used. It’s fast and you can choose from one of five different modes including subjects going across the view, coming toward you or just appearing on the screen. There is even one that allows you to ignore things that appear on the screen (obstacles) while tracking. There is also one for subjects just popping into the view. All are customizable and there is one that you can specifically set up with your own parameters.
I tried these with cars, bike riders and sports cars on the mountain roads of the Dolomites and it works well. I’ll need to do more analysis and will have more information in the more comprehensive review following soon.
Some of the other new features are 4K video which we only tested briefly but looks real good. We’ll be doing some interviews at Photokina and will be using this feature there.
I really liked is the ISO performance. ISO range is 200-12800, and there is a Low for lower ISO and High for higher ISOs, but frankly I doubt I would ever use those. I use Auto ISO a lot while shooting, simply because I do not have to worry about noise in the files. The ISO performance is very good. There are three user choices for Auto ISO, and you can set those to appear in the Q menu. I set mine on Setting 1 to ISO 200 – 12,800 with a minimum shutter speed of 125th of a sec.
This allowed me to shoot by setting the shutter speed and f/stop based on the type of subject. The camera chooses the ISO to use. When shooting from Zodiacs, ships or subjects that move across a varied light range, this works great. The three lenses I used the most during the last few weeks are the 10-24mm, 16-55mm, 50-140mm and the 100-400mm. Each performed really well. I did a lot of far-away images with the 100-400mm lens and it is just a fantastic fun, sharp lens to use. I have some prime lenses too and they have always been impressive. So far much of the shooting I have been doing requires zoom capable lenses. I’ll come back to you with performance of the primes lenses when I publish my extended review.
The other day I did some waterfall shots. You know, “…just another waterfall…” but I have to shoot it. I put on an ND 8 filter and on my first waterfall forgot the electronic camera release. So I went to the Q menu and selected self-timer for 2 seconds. This allowed me to have no vibration from touching the camera and possibly shaking it on the small tripod I brought with me.
I did not use a tripod at all in Greenland and the only time I have used it on the trip is when shooting waterfalls. For the second waterfall, I remembered my release, but it confused me how to hook it up. Under the cover is a full USB connection and the release connector is a small USB connection. I then figured out to plug it into only the bottom half of the USB camera port, and it worked great. Maybe this in the manual but who reads manuals? And again, who has them in their pocket standing in front of a waterfall.
One waterfall was in both bright light and deep shade. So, this was a chance to watch the histogram which you see on the rear screen of viewfinder and hope that the shot could be fixed in processing.
I use Capture One for processing my Fuji files and by the time you read this X-T2 RAWs should be available in a new release. There is a lot of debate over which RAW processor handles the tricky X-Trans sensor files best. For software developers, a new bit of math is required as this sensor does not use the standard Bayer mosaic pattern. I have looked at all the options and find that just as for all my work, Capture One works best and especially in a field workflow. So that we don’t start a flame war debate on the forum, I suggest you choose the one that you like best after testing. Lightroom also handles the Fuji files well.
Fuji also has a number of Film Effect selections. These selections duplicate the look for several Fuji film types and are really good and great fun to use. They do not effect the RAW file but produce a JPEG file. I particularly like the B&W Acros film mode. It produces lovely B&W files and has a setting for with or without filter effect. For landscapes with the sky, I find I enjoy the Acros with red filter. I set the camera up to record RAWs on one SD card and JPEGs on the other.
The viewfinder is large and bright, can be set for various looks, is fast and refreshes quickly. While it won’t replace an actual DSLR in viewing when shooting at high frame rates, it is now very useable and using the booster mode on the booster grip, I was easily able to track fast subjects. I intend to test this further and more in my next report but it is the best I have used so far – especially when shooting at 11fps.
I need to get through Photokina and then spend enough time at home to thoroughly go through my files and test a few more features in greater depth. My experience so far is excellent. For me, photography should be fun. The X-T2 brings fun back to photography for me. It’s fast, compact and has a great lens selection. The image quality has to be seen to be truly appreciated. While it is a 24mp sensor, the files it yields are of such quality that it can easily be compared to the resolution from a larger megapixel camera. I know that is a loaded statement, but when I get home I’ll do a lot of printing from these files and see on print just how good the files are. From what I can see on the computer screen so far I am blown away.
I always go into a Photokina trying to predict what will be talked about the most. This year I think Fuji will be the talk of the show and the X-T2 and X-Pro2 are just part of that reason. Fuji is on a roll and the X-T2 is a true winner.
Images From The X-T2 – On The Road To Photokina