It has been a few years since the Fujifilm X-T1 shook the photography world when it was announced, thanks to its amazing ergonomics, superb autofocus system, great image quality and a strong line of lenses, making the X-T1 one of the most desirable mirrorless cameras on the market. It took two years for Fuji to bring out the much anticipated update in the form of the Fuji X-T2 and given the status of its predecessor, the expectations were very high, making it tough for Fuji to deliver something truly outstanding. With the X-Pro2 already out, many of us thought that there would be very few differences between the two. However, Fuji engineers did manage to pack many more features into the X-T2 to make it stand out from the X-Pro2, with 4K video, faster EVF, faster continuous shooting rate with a grip, dual UHS-II memory card slots and a slightly lower price, making it a truly appealing camera on its own. In this review of the Fuji X-T2, I will be taking a closer look at the camera, which I have been heavily using for the past 4 months. The X-T2 was not an easy camera to obtain and Fuji is still struggling with meeting the heavy demand, which speaks volumes about the positive perception of the camera by the photography community.
Since I already own the Fuji X-T1, I wondered if the X-T2 is worth upgrading to – I have been quite happy with my camera and even after reading all the press release information (which surely looked good), I was still not sure if I wanted to upgrade this early, since my usual principle is to skip at least one generation between upgrades. After-all, Fuji did bump up the price of the X-T2 compared to its predecessor by $300, putting it at $1,599, which is only $100 cheaper compared to the top-of-the-line X-Pro2. I decided to hold off buying one and my request for a review sample also went out a bit late, which was a big mistake, because it took two months to be able to finally get my hands on an X-T2 – it was out of stock everywhere for quite sometime and it still is, which is crazy!
I finally got my copy of the X-T2 in December, right before my trip to New Zealand. It was a perfect opportunity to test the camera, since I knew that we would be shooting in all kinds of harsh environments – a perfect opportunity to see if the camera would survive a three week-long trip through tropics, sandy beaches and snowy mountains of New Zealand. I also had my usual Nikon gear with me (the Nikon D810 with a few high-end lenses) and I wanted to see which gear I would end up using more for similar international trips. Finally, after four months of heavy use and abuse of the camera, I feel that I am qualified to talk about the Fuji X-T2 and share my experience with our readers.
1) Fujifilm X-T2 Specifications
Main Features and Specifications:
- Sensor: 24.3 MP (1.5x crop factor), 3.9µ pixel size
- Sensor Size: 23.6 x 15.6mm
- Resolution: 6000 x 4000
- Native ISO Sensitivity: 200-12,800
- Boost Low ISO Sensitivity: 100 (JPEG-only)
- Boost High ISO Sensitivity: 25,600-51,200 (JPEG-only)
- Sensor Cleaning System: Yes
- Lens mount: FUJIFILM X mount
- Weather Sealing/Protection: Yes
- Body Build: Full Magnesium Alloy
- Shutter: Up to 1/8000 and 30 sec exposure
- Shutter Control: Focal Plane Shutter
- Storage: 2x SD slots (UHS-II compatible)
- Viewfinder Type: 2,360,000-dot OLED color viewfinder
- Viewfinder Magnfication: 0.77x
- Continuous Shooting Speed: 8 FPS, up to 14 FPS with battery grip
- Exposure Meter: TTL 256-zones metering
- Built-in Flash: No
- Autofocus System: 325-point AF system
- LCD Screen: 3.0 inch, 1,040,000 dot tilting LCD
- Movie Recording: Up to 4K @ 29.97p
- GPS: No
- WiFi: Yes
- Battery Type: NP-W126S
- Battery Life: 340 shots
- USB Standard: 3.0
- Weight: 457g (excluding battery and accessories)
- Price: $1,599 MSRP body only at launch
A detailed list of camera specifications is available at Fujifilm.com.
2) Camera Construction, Handling and Controls
Similar to the X-T1, the Fuji X-T2 also features a high-quality full magnesium-alloy construction from front to back, so it is designed to be a workhorse camera. You get a good sense of the toughness of the camera when you hold it in hands – the camera feels similar to a high-end DSLR, with its solid construction, aluminum knobs and a nicely protruded, comfortable to hold grip. Fuji delivered many changes and tweaks to the X-T2 when compared to the Fuji X-T1 – some are small and others are quite significant.
First of all, Fuji replaced the original strap with a much nicer, wider and more flexible leather strap, which is great. I wish every camera manufacturer got away from providing the absolutely horrid, neck-cutting straps that scream with their brightly colored logos. While the new X-T2 strap might not be the best one on the market, it is pretty lightweight and comfortable enough for me to consider keeping it on the camera – definitely a welcome change! Second, the dials have been completely redesigned on the X-T2. Not only are the two main dials larger and taller, but they also now have a much better locking mechanism – you no longer have to hold the top button on the ISO dial to change ISO and the shutter speed is no longer only locked on the “Auto” setting; the button can now be either pushed in to lock the dials or pushed out to be able to freely rotate them. Here are the two cameras compared from the top (Left: Fuji X-T2, Right: Fuji X-T1):
Third, the shutter release button is now threaded, allowing one to customize the shutter release with a fancy extension button. Other small tweaks to the top of the camera include the removal of the dedicated video recording button (the video recording function has been moved to the shutter release – one must first switch to the new Movie mode in the ISO sub-dial) and the addition of a new “center-weighted” metering mode in the shutter speed sub-dial.
If you are not familiar with Fuji cameras, they are all about retro manual dials and controls, which is why many enjoy shooting with these cameras so much. With the ISO, Shutter Speed and Exposure Compensation dials on the top of the camera, along with the Aperture control ring on lenses, the Fuji X-T2 allows complete manual control of the exposure. And for exposure changes and other controls, the X-T2 also comes with two separate rotary dials – one one the front and one on the back of the camera, similar to what we see on most Nikon DSLRs. The rotary dial on the back is typically for changing the shutter speed, while the one on the front is for changing lens aperture when using XC lenses that have no aperture rings. Manual control does not mean that you cannot use the camera in Auto modes either – any of the Exposure Triangle settings can be set to Auto (indicated as a red “A” on dials), allowing Auto ISO, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority and Program modes – all without having a PASM dial that we are so used to seeing on many DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
Fuji made the new X-T2 a little bigger and thicker compared to its predecessor in order to be able to accommodate larger dials and buttons, which is definitely good for those with larger hands. The same goes for the front and rear rotary dials, which are now slightly larger and more comfortable to use. Aside from the larger front dial and a slightly modified grip, the rest of the camera front remained the same, with a single function button, AF mode switch and an external accessory port.
Where Fuji made great ergonomic changes are on the bottom and the back of the camera. On the bottom of the camera, the mount has been finally moved away from the battery door, making it easy to remove and replace the battery without having to take off a tripod plate:
It is worth noting that the tripod thread has been moved to the center of the lens mount, which is exactly where it should be. For my X-T1, I personally ended up buying the Sunwayfoto L plate, because it was too painful to detach and re-attach tripod plates. Although the X-T2 can now be used with any generic tripod plate, if you are not planning to use the battery grip, check out the Sunwayfoto L plate for Fuji X-T2. It might not be as superb as the X-T2 plate from RRS, but at one third of the price, it is a bargain!
One quick glance at the back of the X-T2 might make it seem like Fuji has not changed much on the back of the camera, but that’s not true – there are two significant changes that might push some people to want to upgrade to the X-T2. The first, and the most important change, is the addition of a dedicated focus point joystick. Finally, there is no more need to mess with button settings in the menu in order to make the rear function buttons available for choosing a focus point! The focus point joystick takes all of that away and frees up all those function buttons to use for quick settings changes (Left: Fuji X-T2, Right: Fuji X-T1):
This is what many of us, Fuji X shooters have been asking for since the beginning and now we finally have this must-have feature. The joystick is such a huge functional enhancement, that it instantly makes the X-T2 a much superior camera ergonomically when compared to the X-T1. Lack of a joystick is one of the main reasons why I have not invested in the Sony mirrorless system. I am shocked to see how ignorant and deaf Sony has been in this regard – being able to quickly select a focus point should be among the most basic ergonomic features of a camera. Sony thinks that it is OK to force us to press a button before being able to move focus points, which is ridiculous.
Since the joystick was put in place of the “Q” / Quick menu button, the “Q” button was moved up to where the Focus Assist button used to be. Speaking of Focus Assist, don’t worry, that feature has not been lost – it has been moved to the rear dial of the camera! That’s right, the real dial is no longer a “dumb” dial anymore. You can press the dial as a button as well – very thoughtful on behalf of Fuji. The button becomes incredibly useful not just for checking your focus while shooting, but also when you want to instantly zoom in to pictures at 100% to view how sharp they are.
The second major change worth pointing out, is the LCD screen. While the X-T1 screen can only tilt in one direction, Fuji has done something very smart on the X-T2, by allowing the LCD screen to not only tilt up and down, but also sideways up to 45 degrees. While it might not seem like a big deal, I personally found it to be a great feature when shooting vertically on a tripod. I was able to tilt the screen upwards towards me when shooting vertical panoramas and see everything I was doing, which was great!
On the functional side, another huge reason to take the X-T2 seriously, is the addition of the second memory card slot. I love my X-T1, but I would never consider shooting anything critical such as weddings and paid shoots with it, since it only has a single SD memory card slot and there is no option for in-camera backups. The X-T2 not only adds a second SD card slot, but also makes both slots UHS-II compatible! So if you have those insanely fast UHS-II SD cards that can do over 150 MB/second speeds, the X-T2 is going to be able to take a full advantage of them. For professional work, all you have to do is go to the Settings menu, navigate to “Save Data Set-Up”, select “Card Slot Settings (Still Image)” and pick “Backup” to enable simultaneous writing of images to two memory cards. That’s another slap on the face of Sony, which thinks that it is OK to have a single memory card slot on a high-end full-frame camera like the Sony A7R II…
Compared to the X-T1, the X-T2 gains two more programmable buttons – in addition to the front and top Function buttons + 4 multi-selector buttons on the back, you can also program both AE-L and AF-L buttons, which is nice. And the options are not limited to a select few, so you can pretty much set any of the buttons to do anything from back-button focusing to setting a film simulation.
For those with larger hands or those who want to make the X-T2 a speed demon, you might want to check out the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip. Interesting and catchy name for a battery grip, but there is definitely truth in marketing here – the VPB-XT2 surely does boost the power of the X-T2. First of all, it can house two additional batteries in the grip, which is a huge jump in battery life. Second, it gives enough juice to the camera to be able to go all the way to 11 frames per second when shooting in continuous release mode and it simultaneously improves shutter release time lag and blackout time. If you shoot video, you might want to consider the grip as well, since you can extend 4K video recording time to 30 minutes and have a headphone jack for audio monitoring. Lastly, you can quick charge the two batteries in the grip at the same time with an included adapter! How awesome is that? This grip is more like a camera extension – no wonder why Fuji decided to give it a “Power Booster” name. While I personally stay away from bulky camera grips, I would definitely get the X-T2 with the VPB-XT2, as it truly completes the camera.
Hand-holding the camera is very comfortable for my hands and the slightly protruded camera body does not bother me at all – it is barely noticeable anyway. Fuji slightly tweaked the thumb resting area on the back of the camera and made it a little smaller and more defined, which definitely improves the overall grip. With all the improvements listed above, the X-T2 is definitely one of the best cameras I have used ergonomically. It is truly a joy to use and the controls never get in the way.
3) USB Port Charging
Another killer feature of the Fuji X-T2, which does not exist in the X-T1, is the ability to charge the camera via a USB port. This one is a huge plus, because if you are traveling on the road and you don’t have access to power, you could use a portable power bank to charge the camera! Being able to charge the camera via USB is very beneficial when shooting in remote areas. Imagine setting up a portable solar panel, connecting it to the camera and let it charge when not shooting. Also, if you manage to forget your Fuji adapter, it is good to know that you still have an option to charge the camera with a universal Micro USB cable that you can find pretty much anywhere nowadays.
Although the X-T2 has a USB 3.0 interface, do not worry – you can still use a regular Micro USB 2.0 cable to charge the battery. You will be plugging the cord in the lower part of the interface and the moment you do that, you will see the green light on the side of the camera light up. Once charging is complete, the light will go off. Keep in mind that charging via a USB port might take longer than charging with the Fuji charger and that’s expected, since the dedicated charger uses more amperage to charge the battery than a typical Micro USB interface. Also, it is important to mention that the length of charging will depend on the amp output of the charger – some supply less power compared to others.
4) Weather Sealing
When it comes to weather sealing, the Fuji X-T2 is sealed even better than the X-T1. The side doors aren’t as flimsy anymore and they seem to stay in place when closed. The memory card door on the X-T1 was one of the weaknesses of the camera and Fuji addressed it with a memory card door that no longer slides out – there is now a switch that you must push down to get the memory card door to open. The interface door has also been slightly modified to be a tighter fit, which is nice.
If you are wondering about the weather sealing claims of the Fuji X-T2, the below picture is a good way to illustrate how much this camera took a beating in New Zealand:
We had two cameras die during the trip to New Zealand. One Nikon D810 had its shutter mechanism damaged after getting frozen (very rare, never seen that before) when we shot in sub-zero temperatures on top of a snowy mountain near Mt Cook. The second DSLR to die was the Nikon D800E, which when subjected to an extremely rainy day at Milford Sound gave up due to too much moisture. After we let it dry out for a day, the camera came back to life, but it was a bit of a disappointing experience. The Fuji X-T2 was with me all the time and as you can see in the above picture, I did abuse it quite a bit. The X-T2 just kept on shooting! It was pretty soaked all around, so when we got back to the car, I thought it might be a good idea to turn the heater up and put the camera on the dashboard. Bad idea! I did not notice that there was a lot of heat coming through directly on the camera and due to the big difference in outside vs car temperature, some condensation built up inside the 35mm f/2. I immediately removed the camera and let it sit for a while, after which the condensation disappeared. Fearing that I might have damaged the internals of the camera, I took it out and fired a few test shots. Again, it just kept on clicking! Amazing.
A word of warning: although the Fuji X-T2 was subjected to a lot of moisture and humidity, it is NOT a waterproof camera. Yes, it does have weather sealing like many other DSLRs and mirrorless cameras, but it is not designed to be (ab)used in ways such as above. If you plan on shooting in extreme conditions with a lot of rain and humidity, I would either suggest to get a protective coat to wrap the X-T2 with, or look at other waterproof options on the market.
5) Menu System
One of the surprises for me was the new menu system on the X-T2. Fuji did not just tweak it, but completely changed the way the menu system works on the X-T2. On my X-T1, the left side of the menu has numbers next to Shooting and Setup menus. As you scroll down each menu page, the left side jumps down to the next option. It surely works just fine, but once you see the menu on the X-T2, you will understand why the new menu system is so much better in comparison. Fuji did away with numbers on the left and created real logical menus and sub-menus, similar to those that we see on Nikon DSLRs:
The first main menu is “Image Quality” and it has several pages worth of sub-menus. As you navigate down each page, you see a small red icon on the menu jump down. Next comes “AF/MF Setting” for autofocus and manual focus adjustments. From there, there is a “Shooting Setting” menu, followed by “Flash Setting”, “Movie Setting”, “Set Up” and finally “My Menu” where you can place any of the sub-menus. Everything is logical, thought-out and well-grouped. Another huge win for the X-T2!
6) Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)
First of all, if you have never shot with the Fuji X-T1, you would have no idea just how amazing the electronic viewfinder (EVF) on the higher-end Fuji cameras is. With a crazy magnification of 0.77x, the viewfinder just looks monstrous when compared to a DSLR camera with an APS-C sensor. In act, even top-of-the-line Nikon DSLRs like the D5 have a lower 0.70x magnification compared to that of the X-T1 and X-T2 cameras. Having a large viewfinder does make a big difference, since you can see more details of what you are photographing. Additionally, if you couple the ability to zoom in on a subject to check focus before taking a picture, or the ability to zoom in on an image after it was captured, the electronic viewfinder becomes even more amazing to use in the field – something an optical viewfinder (OVF) will never be able to match. On the flip side, you will always some lag on an EVF, which certainly gets worse when shooting in low-light conditions, but it is not as bad as it sounds in my opinion and something one can get used to.
Although Fuji kept the EVF on the X-T2 at the same resolution as the X-T1, there are definitely some very important changes under the hood. First of all, Fuji made the screen on the X-T2 far brighter compared to the X-T1. On my X-T1, I can only push EVF brightness to +2 level, whereas on the X-T2, I can go as far as +5. That’s over twice brighter in comparison and the difference is very noticeable when looking through the viewfinder. Fuji also improved both contrast and color saturation on the X-T2 viewfinder, which looks more vivid and life-like compared to the viewfinder on the X-T1. Lastly, the refresh rate on the X-T2 viewfinder has also been improved, which makes it look a bit less laggy in comparison to the EVF on the X-T1.
To make shooting with the EVF more enjoyable, Fuji switched out the eyecup on the X-T2. Although it is more comfortable and nicer (especially when shooting in bright light), I managed to rip the top left part of the eyecup when taking the camera in and out of my camera bag. Not sure if it is my particular unit that might have had an issue, but I have not had a similar experience with the eyecup on my X-T1.
7) Battery Life
Fuji is still using the same type of battery on the X-T2 as on the X-T1, but the battery specifications have been improved a little bit, allowing for better heat dissipation. The batteries look exactly the same, with the exception of the red square on the side of the battery, which is now a red dot. So if you have a bunch of those older NP-W126S batteries from the X-T1, you will be able to use them with the X-T2 to take pictures. For shooting 4K video though, I would recommend to only use the newer battery type, since it can handle heat much better. Battery life is still about the same. Per specifications, you will be able to take around 340 shots (CIPA). Keep in mind that CIPA standards don’t mean much for shooting in the field, especially if you know how to conserve your battery. You can easily pass that 340 shot mark by keeping the LCD and EVF screens off as much as possible (those are the primary source of battery drain). Personally, I prefer switching the camera to EVF-only mode + Eye Sensor and I turn the camera off pretty much as soon as I am done taking a picture. When I was in New Zealand, I never managed to ran out of battery and I only had two batteries with me.
8) WiFi and Remote Control
Just like with the X-T1, you can use WiFi to remotely control the XT-2 through a Fuji app that you must first install on your mobile device. While I personally rarely use this feature, it could come handy for those that want to capture images remotely or want to transfer photos to their phones while travelling. Once you install the Fujifilm Camera Remote app (here is the Apple version and here is the Android version) you can fire it up, connect to the X-T2 and take control of all exposure variables.
Although the app has been updated on February 17, 2017, I found it to be slow and buggy when using on my iPhone. I am not sure why none of the camera manufacturers can spend the time and resources to make solid apps – they all seem to be equally crappy. Seriously, why can’t you guys get your development efforts together and pay someone who knows what they are doing to design an app that actually works? The Fuji Camera Remote app has a rating of 1.5 stars on iTunes, which shows how bad it really is.
Although the X-T2 does not have a built-in flash, a small and portable EF-X8 external flash unit is included with the camera. Personally, I never use built-in flashes and the EF-X8 pretty much stayed in the box for 4 months. For those who want to do serious flash work with the X-T2, there is a big improvement over the X-T1 when it comes to flash sync speed – it has been increased from 1/180th of a second to 1/250th of a second, which is very nice! I have not played much with off-camera flash on the X-T2 yet, but I tried setting up a quick shot with my PocketWizard Plus units connected to Nikon speedlights and the setup worked quite well, as expected. My Nikon speedlights also work just fine in Manual mode when mounted on the flash hot shoe of the X-T2.
The intervalometer feature has also been improved on the X-T2. While with the latest 5.01 firmware on my X-T1 I am still limited to shooting a total of 999 shots, the X-T2 has the ability to shoot infinite number of exposures. Still, Fuji should work on this feature a little more and bring some more options / customizations, such as the ability to set the number of bursts per interval. For advanced timelapse sequences at the moment, you are still better off using a third party tool. I hope Fuji continues to develop this feature to make it even more useful in future firmware revisions.
11) Image Sensor
Fuji is known to reuse the same sensors on different cameras and the X-T2 is no exception – it has exactly the same sensor as on the X-Pro2, which is a 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III. It is a great sensor offering superb image quality and dynamic range. Also, the 24.3 MP X-Trans sensor is very close to being ISO-invariant. Similar to the X-T1, the sensor incorporates phase detection pixels right on its surface, allowing for much faster autofocus (see the Autofocus Performance and Accuracy section below for more information). The biggest change, however, is the number of focus points. Compared to the X-T1, which only had a total of 49 focus points (9 of which where of phase-detect type), the new X-T2 has a total of 325 focus points, 49 of which are of phase detection type! That’s a huge difference and something definitely worth looking into.
As for image quality, Sony has been making some of the best sensors in the world and the 24.3 MP X-Trans CMOS III is a good example of such superb sensor design. The sensor produces excellent color, dynamic range and its high-ISO performance is also superb. I challenged the sensor quite a bit during my tip to New Zealand shooting landscapes with a huge dynamic range and the sensor performed as expected, with a great ability to pull out both highlight and shadow details from images. Although I started out shooting in Lossless Compressed RAW, I later found out that some software such as Capture One have issues with the compressed RAW files, so I eventually switched to Uncompressed RAW. The files obviously got larger in size, but I did not want to lose the flexibility to edit my images with different software.
11) Autofocus Performance and Accuracy
With a whopping 325 focus points, the AF system on the X-T2 is without a doubt one of the most advanced focus systems in the world today. Coupled with a faster image processor and an updated algorithm, the new AF system is superb in terms of autofocus performance. Take a look at the two grids below that show the difference between the AF system on the X-T2 and the X-T1:
This gives you a pretty good idea about the way the AF system is designed on the X-T2 when compared to X-T1. First of all, when using a single point AF, only the center 9 focus points on the X-T1 have the ability to use phase detection AF, whereas on the X-T2, the grid is much larger, with a total of 49 points (7 vertical x 7 horizontal). Second, when using Zone AF, the grid on the X-T2 is a bit more refined as shown above, so the camera can track a total of 9 focus points and you can move those points anywhere in the AF grid. Third, if you enable all 325 focus points (AF/MF Setting -> Number of Focus Points -> 325 Points), when using the camera in Single Point AF mode, you can move between all 325 points and really fine tune exactly where you want focusing to take place. The grid is quite large – although it does not cover all of the sensor space, it covers a great deal of it from top to bottom and left to right. When switching to Zone or Wide/Tracking modes, the number of AF points automatically goes down to 91, with a grid of 13 horizontal x 7 vertical focus points.
At the end of the day, these stats don’t matter all that much, if the AF performance is not there. The big question is, is AF truly improved on the X-T2 when compared to X-T1? After shooting with the X-T2 extensively, I must admit that the AF performance on the X-T2 is indeed superior. While the X-T1 is no slouch in terms of AF speed, it does hesitate at times and misses focus. The X-T2 is very different in this regard – point it at the same subject and reacquire focus a few times and the camera locks on very fast and does not move. The X-T1 on the other hand, can lock on a few times, then hesitate and rescan the subject again. And that’s when shooting in Single shooting mode. Switch to Continous tracking and we are talking about a night and day difference! The X-T1 fails miserably at tracking subjects, always hesitating, always adjusting. The X-T2 is vastly better in comparison – the system locks on the subject fairly well and does a pretty decent job at tracking it, even when compared to DSLRs. We now have the ability to tweak AF-C tracking, similar to how it can be done on DSLRs, and the X-T2 has a total of 5 presets that can be found under AF-MF Setting->AF-C Custom Settings. These presets have different levels of tracking sensitivity, speed tracking sensitivity and zone area switching. And if you want to fully customize the tracking behavior, you can set your own through the sixth “Custom” set.
I personally found AF tracking to be quite acceptable for shooting moving subjects, which is the first time I can say something like this on a Fuji camera – shocking to see just how much Fuji has been working on its AF systems ever since the X system was launched. It literally went from downright unusable to acceptable in a matter of a couple of years. I shot a few sequences of test images at varying distances and subjects and I am happy to say that the X-T2 performed well with slower subjects (such as people) and fairly well with faster subjects. I would not recommend any mirrorless camera at the moment (including the X-T2) for shooting ultra-fast, unpredictable action and tough subjects such as birds in flight, but I am sure that the recommendation will change with the advancements and improvements in AF tracking within the next few years. Take a look at the below sequence of a model, who walked directly at me while I photographed her with the X-T2 set to Continuous AF mode:
These are just some of the random images that I grabbed from a large sequence captured at 8 fps using the excellent 50-140mm f/2.8 lens. When looking through all the images, I could not find a single one that was completely out of focus – the camera did a good job at tracking the model. However, I cannot say that the camera nailed focus 100% of the time – some images were slightly out of focus, especially when the model got closer. Still, it is not bad by any means, as even some high-end DSLRs can occasionally misfocus.
The camera also does well when shooting in low-light conditions. If the conditions are too dim, the focus speed obviously slows down as the camera transitions to contrast detection AF, but the overall accuracy is still quite high, especially in Single AF mode.
Overall, AF speed and accuracy has improved across the board, which is a huge achievement on behalf of Fuji. I hope the company continues to improve the continuous autofocus capabilities of the camera and brings it to DSLR levels. From there, the next step will be to introduce some long telephoto lenses and it might make Fuji a very desirable system for shooting sports and wildlife.
12) Manual Focus
The beauty of the Fuji X-T2 is how accurately you can focus, whether shooting in autofocus or manual focus modes. If you want to manually focus Fuji XF or XC lenses, or want to use third party lenses via adapters, the Fuji X-T2 gives you plenty of tools to nail every single shot – something you could never do with a modern DSLR! The large, high-resolution electronic viewfinder is superb for manual focusing, because you can use such features as Focus Peaking, Digital Split Image and Dual Mode with a zoomed image to the right of the frame. Simply switch to Manual focusing using the switch on the front of the camera, then press the rear rotary dial and you are in business! The camera will zoom in where the focus point is and let you tweak focus before you take a picture. You can zoom in and out to your comfort level using the rear rotary dial (two zoom levels are available). With manual focus, you can also switch to other modes such as Digital Split Image and Focus Peaking.
If you are used to Nikon’s one click zoom feature on advanced DSLRs, you can do the same thing on the X-T2 by simply pressing the rotary dial while playing back images, which is very nice. Once zoomed in, you can rotate the dial to zoom out and the joystick allows you to move around the image.
If you are a fan of the focus and recompose technique, then you will love the X-T2. All you have to do is set the front focus switch to manual (“M”) mode and you can press the AF-L button on the back of the camera to acquire focus – no need to change anything in the menu. If you want to set any other button for this, or perhaps want to stay in Single shooting mode, then you can deactivate the focusing function from the shutter, and set up one of the buttons to do focusing. Works like a charm as well, although I personally prefer the above method, as it is much faster and does the same thing without changing button assignments.
Additionally, you can set up the EVF in a “Dual Mode” (switch to manual focus, then toggle with the “DISP BACK” button on the back of the camera), which splits the viewfinder into two separate images. The larger one shows the whole frame, while the smaller one shows a zoomed area where the focus point is. Now that’s an insanely useful feature that sets these mirrorless cameras apart from a DSLR – using manual focus is now extremely handy, as you no longer have to think about focus errors. And if you have bad vision, you can zoom into the focused area by up to 100% view! Keep in mind that dual mode only works when you are in manual focus mode. If you switch to Single or Continuous AF, toggling the “DISP” button will not show this mode. Also, you have to make sure that your screen is set up correctly and the “DUAL IS MODE” is checked under “Display Custom Setting” in “Screen Set-Up”.
13) Fujinon Lenses
As of March 2017, the Fuji X lens line has expanded to a total of 21 lenses. Fuji has done a phenomenal job with lenses, since most lenses are optically superb – something I could not say about Nikon and Canon APS-C lenses and Sony’s lenses for the Sony E mount. Fuji understood early on that the only way they can interest professionals in the X system is by making stellar lenses and the strategy paid off – many enthusiasts and professionals today are shooting with the Fuji X system. I have been shooting with many Fuji lenses and I must say, Fuji lenses are some of the best I have ever used. And now that Fuji is making many more Weather-Resistant (WR) lenses and also giving us some great f/2 budget options, there is really not much to complain about.
I wrote a detailed article on evaluating mirrorless camera systems, where I went through a number of options from each brand and you can see that Fuji has one of the most complete lens lines among mirrorless camera manufacturers. Lenses alone make the Fuji X system that much more attractive in my opinion.
14) Metering and Exposure
Just like its predecessor, the X-T2 meters and exposes quite well. It might not be super accurate in some unusual or high contrast scenes, but that’s what the exposure compensation dial is for right? While some cameras require a permanent exposure compensation “fix”, the Fuji X-T2 does perfectly well without any compensation – only use it when necessary. Changing camera metering mode is really easy – just rotate the sub-dial switch on the bottom of the Shutter Speed dial and you can toggle between 256-zone TTL Multi, Average, Center-Weighted, and Spot modes.
15) Shooting Speed
With an 8 fps continuous burst rate that can be increased all the way to 11 fps with a battery grip, the X-T2 is the fastest Fuji camera in the line-up – even the higher-end X-Pro2 can only go up to 8 fps. And if you are willing to switch to an electronic shutter, you can even take it all the way to 14 fps, which is insane! The buffer, on the other hand, is not all that great – Fuji kept the buffer size identical to that of the X-Pro2, which can hold a total of 27 uncompressed RAW images, 33 losslessly compressed RAW files and 83 full-size JPEG images. This means that if you were to shoot in losslessly compressed RAW, you would only be able to squeeze around 3 seconds of continuous shooting time before the camera slows down. To be honest, it is not a huge concern with the X-T2 at the moment. Once Fuji makes a few high-end super telephoto lenses and brings AF up to speed with top DSLRs, then I will expect to see much bigger buffers, especially at those insane speeds.
16) 4K Video Recording
So far, Fuji cameras have been quite disappointing in terms of video quality and even the X-T1’s 1080p HD recording was rather poor when compared to the competition. Fuji decided to step up the game with video on the X-T2 and made it a very impressive camera for serious video work. The X-T2 is the first Fuji X-series camera that can do advanced 4K UHD recording at 3840×2160 resolution with frame rates of 29.97p, 25p, 24p and 23.98p. Not only did Fuji make a wonderful video shooting camera, but it also made it one of the best on the market today. The main reason for this is that the X-T2 records 4K video using the full area of the sensor (only 1.17x crop, no pixel binning, no line skipping), so it is basically 6K video capture downsampled to 4K, which yields very sharp output. The camera can shoot in Fuji’s proprietary “F Log” log gamma (only externally via HDMI), which is supposed to be able to create very neutral image with a very high dynamic range. Speaking of external output, the XT-2 can output uncompressed 4K signal with 4:2:2 color sampling and 8-bit compression, which might not be as good as Panasonic’s GH5 (which can do 4:2:2 in 10-bit), but still, for a company that has not been paying attention to video since the first Fuji X camera was announced, to suddenly have all these amazing capabilities is a nice surprise. Take a look at the below 4K video sample that I created from clips from New Zealand:
The beauty of 4K video recording capability, is that you can actually shoot in 4K and then down-sample the footage to 1080p to get amazing sharpness and details, similar to how you can do downsampling of images on a high-resolution camera. Another option is to be able to use the same video for the second cut by cropping the clip, or perhaps do other things like motion, zooming, cropping, etc.
As I have mentioned earlier, if you want to take a full advantage of the video recording features of the camera, you need to also buy the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip, which not only extends the shooting time of the camera from 10 minutes to 30 minutes, but also provides a headphone jack and two additional batteries for hours of continuous video shooting.
17) ISO Performance
ISO performance will be posted shortly.
18) Fuji X-T2 vs Fuji X-T1 High ISO Comparison
ISO Comparisons will be posted shortly.
In my subjective opinion, the Fuji X-T2 is the best mirrorless camera on the market today. After using the camera for four months and putting it through a lot of use and abuse, I have to say that I am very impressed by its capabilities. In addition to its amazing image quality, the X-T2 delivers outstanding ergonomics, fast and accurate autofocus system, superb EVF and LCD performance, very impressive video recording features, logical menu system and excellent weather sealing to make it a beast of a camera for enthusiasts and professionals. Add the amazing line-up of Fujinon lenses and the X-T2 can challenge even some of the most capable DSLRs, except in a lighter and more compact package. While companies like Canon and Nikon seem to be lacking innovation in the past few years, Fuji has been aiming high with each new release of their X series cameras, pushing for excellence and challenging everyone else.
The X-T2 is not just another rehash of an existing camera – with all the new and amazing features mentioned in this review, Fuji made sure to make it worth the upgrade for existing X-series camera owners. And as an X-T1 owner, I have to say that it was rather painful to go back to it after shooting with the X-T2 for such a long time – it is just completely different shooting experience. For me, the biggest reasons for moving up to the X-T2 would be the added joystick, dual SD cards, AF speed and accuracy, 4K video shooting and the much thought-out menu system, which makes using the X-T2 a breeze. In fact, the joystick alone makes it worthwhile moving up to the X-T2, since it is such a huge ergonomic improvement. When I was in New Zealand, my Nikon D810 mostly stayed in the bag and was primarily used for making timelapses. The Fuji X-T2 was glued to my hands and coupled with the XF 10-24mm f/4 R OIS, XF 23mm f/1.4 and the XF 35mm f/2 WR lenses, it simply delivered. At home, it was the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 and XF 56mm f/1.2 lenses that I was hooked on and for a good reason – they are equally stunning lenses for portraiture.
I don’t think I have ever praised and rated a camera so highly before and I am not the only one – based on how high the demand for the X-T2 has been since it was introduced, many X shooters are in love. If you are considering the Fuji X system or you want to move up from your current X-series camera, the Fuji X-T2 is worth every penny.
20) Where to buy and availability
All Images Copyright © Nasim Mansurov, All Rights Reserved. Copying or reproduction is not permitted without written permission from the author.
21) More Image Samples
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