Review Date: October 10, 2016
Category: Advanced to Pro
Photoxels Editor’s Choice 2016 – Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera
Friday, September 16, 2016 – Here’s what I receive in the box:
- Fujifilm X-T2 (black)
- No memory card [I used 2 16GB SDHC II memory card for the review]
- Li-ion Battery NP-W126S 8.4V 1260mAh 8.7Wh
- BC-W126 Battery Charger with power cord
- Shoulder Strap
- Body Cap
- External flash EF-X8.
- Metal strap clips (2) with Protective covers (2) and a Clip attaching tool
- Documentation: Owner’s Manual
I also chose to pair the X-T2 with the following portrait lens:
- FUJINON XF56mmF1.2 R APD [85mm equiv.]
One way you can think of the Fujifilm X-T2 is that it is basically the DSLR-look version of the X-Pro2 (which sports a rangefinder-look). You can say that they are the same camera, yet different. Fujifilm wants the X-T2 to be their other flagship camera, the workhorse that can do everything, targeted to pros, and has therefore thrown everything they could into it.
Compared to the X-Pro2, the X-T2 has:
- 325 AF points with custom settings for faster C-AF with tracking (vs 273 AF points, no custom settings) to satisfy the needs of pro sports photographers;
- an EVF with a higher magnification (0.77x vs 0.60x) and higher refresh rate in Boost mode (100 fps vs 60 fps) so you’ll never miss an OVF again;
- a three-direction tilt LCD (but surprisingly of slightly lower resolution: 1.04M-dot vs the X-Pro2’s 1.62M-dot) with, oh thank you, no selfie features;
- the electronic shutter can now shoot down to 30 sec. (vs. 1 sec.);
- both card slots support UHS-II SD cards;
- USB 3.0 for faster data transfer (vs USB 2.0);
- a microphone socket (but headphone socket requires the optional Vertical Power Booster Grip);
- and of course 4K video (vs Full HD).
- Don’t forget the optional Vertical Power Booster Grip with two extra batteries that boost continuous shooting frame rate to 11 fps using C-AF (5 fps with Live View enabled), extends video recording time from 10 min to 30 min, and number of stills frames from 340 to 1,000 — and make it more comfortable to handle longer and heavier telephoto lenses.
4K video is the big news and should satisfy serious videographers. However, rack focus is a challenging proposition without Touch AF. You can use manual focus but it’s just not as easy and intuitive as simply touching the screen to where you want focus to smoothly shift to next. You can use the Focus Lever to move the AF frame but then the camera attempts to focus at every point the AF frame travels to on your way to where you really want it to switch focus to.
The removal of the dedicated Movie record button may be the result of Fujifilm listening to some of its more influential users about the X-T2 being primarily a stills photography camera. However, I believe Fujifilm should still give users the ability to repurpose one of the Fn buttons as the Movie record button. With the shutter button freed from the role of starting/stopping video recording, it would be great if the X-T2 could, like some other mirrorless does, start shooting a 4K movie at the push of a Fn button, and let us click the shutter release to take a full 24.3MP resolution stills photo, all without stopping the video recording.
One of Fujifilm’s claims about the X-T2 is that Continuous AF with Tracking has improved so dramatically that pro sports photographers may now use it. Fujifilm may need to release more fast long telephoto lenses since most pro sports require that long reach. An X-T2 paired with a long tele lens will be the ultimate test of that improved AF-C. Not being a pro sports photographer, I won’t even pretend to be able to draw a definite conclusion on that claim, and so I will let pro sports photographers comment if the improved Continuous AF with Tracking finally satisfies their exacting needs. What I can definitely confirm is that the AF on the X-T2 is much faster than that on my X-Pro1 — and it’s more AF speed than I will ever need.
It was hard to return the X-T2 after the two-week loan. It’s a camera you get attached to easily and very quickly. I love the metal feel, the heft, the texture, and the fact that I don’t need to be too careful about using it in any location and weather condition. I especially like the large and bright EVF, allowing me to see the whole screen with my glasses on. It focuses fast and precisely, and consistently gets the shots. I am one of those who love the direct control dials and I find the tactile feel of those dials very satisfying. The Rear Command dial frustrated me a bit in the beginning since I kept clicking it when all I wanted was to rotate it; I learned to rotate, not click. The small tab levers of the Metering dial and Drive dial could do with a slight redesign in the future, though I can live with them as is. Otherwise, the X-T2 is about as perfect as it gets.
What I like about the X-T2:
- Top-notch construction (metal feel, heft, texture).
- Weather-sealed body: Splash-proof, dust-proof and freeze-proof.
- Direct control dials, now with lock/unlock release buttons.
- Tilting LCD that stays positioned on the optical axis of the lens (I always feel weird pointing the camera one way and looking at a LCD offset to the left).
- Large and bright EVF with rotating info.
- I can see all four corners of the EVF display even with my eyeglasses on.
- EVF and LCD gains up excellently in low-light.
- Lens locks securely against the mount and there is no flex or jiggle, and I don’t have to “fight” the zoom ring or the manual focus ring of the XF lenses I have used so far.
No review is complete without a couple of improvement suggestions:
- Make the clicking of the Rear Command dial a bit more deliberate. Currently, it is clicked too easily just by turning the dial, throwing you suddenly and unexpectedly into a different mode.
- Redesign the small lever for the Metering dial and also the one for the Drive dial.
- Allow one of the Fn buttons to be repurposed as a dedicated Movie button, and allow a stills photo to be taken at full 24.3MP resolution while recording a movie, without stopping the recording.
- Default the C setting on the Exposure Compensation dial to +/- 3 EV, depending on the direction you were rotating the dial when you got to C.
- Add Touch AF capability (with, of course, the ability to turn it off).
In design and construction, handling, image quality and user experience, the Fujifilm X-T2 is a camera that is easy to love. It’s not only a camera to satisfy the demanding requirements of enthusiasts and pros, but one with an increasing number of high quality lenses, and backed by Fujifilm’s praiseworthy commitment to provide free firmware upgrades to extend the life, usefulness and quality of its cameras. Highly Recommended.
- Fujifilm X-T2 Press Release
- Fujifilm X-T2 Hands-on Preview
- Fujifilm X-T2 Specifications
- Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Images
- Fujifilm X-T2 Special Site
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