Gear Reviews

The Fujifilm X-T2 – my first impressions

· 13.September.2016

First of all let me start by saying I am not a Fujifilm Ambassador and all my Fujifilm gear has been bought out of my hard earned cash at the full retail price. So my comments below are purely my own as a working professional photographer and not biased in any way (not that I’m suggesting that an X-Photographer’s are). Nor is this intended to be a review of the X-T2, for there are and will be plenty of these to be found on the Internet.

Earlier in the year I had already upgraded from the X-Pro1 to the X-Pro2; a worthy upgrade in my opinion and long overdue by Fuji. The 24-megapixel sensor and other improvements, requiring little decision making on my part. Prior to that I had also owned the X-T1, which I had enjoyed owning and using, but sold to help fund the X-Pro2 purchase.

Like many of you, I am sure, I too had pre-ordered the X-T2, but I only made this decision after having had the opportunity to try one out the week before the release date at a local dealer. Up to this point, whilst really impressed with the Fuji system and using it for most of the assignments that I am commissioned to carry out and also for my street photography workshops, I had still hung onto a Canon 5D Mk2 body and a couple of lenses. The main reason for this was that when shooting events in low light and equally wedding parties that can often carry on until late at night with low light (mainly just the coloured lights from the band), the AF on my Fuji’s had struggled and was too slow. So it was with this in mind in particular that I wanted to test on the X-T2 to see if I could finally sell the last of my heavy Canon gear. I also get asked to shoot the occasional video; another reason for hanging onto the Canon, as the quality of the Fuji video up to now just couldn’t compete.

Well the short answer has been yes! After rigorously trying out the demo X-T2 in one of the dealers poorly lit store-rooms and shooting some video, I felt confident enough to part-exchange the aforementioned Canon gear for an X-T2.

So I then eagerly waited for September 8th to arrive and showed up at my dealer that day to collect my new X-T2.

On unpacking it at home, my first impressions were that it felt much better made and more substantial than I remembered of my X-T1. Also a bit heavier and larger too (which in my mind is a good thing). Also the grip is chunkier and feels nicer to hold. I love the fact that it has inherited both the focus point selector toggle and the twin SD card slots (both now UHS-2 compatible unlike the XP2 which only had one) from the X-Pro2. I have also found that the dioptre adjustment button hasn’t so far got knocked out of position, as it does all to easily on the badly positioned one on my XP2.

As it happened I decided to be brave and use it for a job I had been booked to cover that same evening, a 60th birthday party in a marquee. (My X-Pro2 was in my bag as a back up just in case!) The great thing about keeping to one camera system is that it’s far easier to set-up a new camera and switch between them. Although I have noticed that whilst the XT2 came with a new W126S version of the battery, the older batteries that I already owned, work perfectly in the XT2. Apparently from what I have researched the new version offer better heat management, I’m guessing for when shooting 4K video?


X-T2 16mm f1.4 at f2.0

As I suspected the light in the marquee was pretty dim and as the night wore on and with a great DJ present there was plenty of dancing. The AF worked brilliantly with not one shot ruined because of the AF acquisition being too slow. This combination of low light and fast moving action had proved a problem for me in the past and which often resulted in my reluctantly reaching for the Canon. So, so far so good!


X-T2 35mm f2.0 at f11

Then this last weekend I was running a street photography workshop with students around Shoreditch in London. I decided to take the X-T2 coupled with the equally excellent 35mm f2 lens along to test it out on the streets. I found that once again the camera behaved faultlessly. On an unusually bright and warm sunny day for mid-September in London, the X-T2 proved a joy to use. Super fast AF, a large and clear EVF and great spot metering quickly became a winning combination. Even more so for street shooting when you add the flip LCD screen that I wish they had fitted to the X-Pro2. Shame Fuji didn’t make it a touchscreen, as this works great and is a useful addition on my X70.


X-T2, 35mm f2.0 at f11

My only criticism at the moment is that whilst I hated the old recessed and awkwardly placed video button of the X-T1, but at least it had one. Hopefully this can be easily rectified in a firmware update, so that I then will be able to assign one of the buttons to activate and stop recording, rather than having to change the drive dial. The only other point is that I feel the camera would benefit from adding the bolt-on battery grip. (or booster grip as Fuji call it) Whilst I have resisted purchasing one in these in the past, as it just makes the camera so much larger, on the X-T2 it does feel better balanced with some of my heavier lenses like the 56mm f1.2. In addition if you do wish to shoot 4k video with your X-T2, then you will find that it extends the recording time significantly from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

As to which I now prefer, the X-Pro2 or the X-T2, well that is a more difficult question to answer. In reality I would like a combined version of the two! Based on the X-Pro2 (as I love the rangefinder shape and the option to use the OVF) but with the addition tilt screen, 4K video, faster AF and ISO dial of the X-T2. Maybe next time when the X-Pro3 arrives in a couple of years or so, it will have these features included? As to which you should choose at the moment, it really depends I guess on what body shape you prefer and which of the following are important to you; do you need 4K video and/or a tilt screen or is the option to use an OVF a driving force?

So to sum up although it’s been less than a week and obviously time will tell, but so far I am not regretting my purchase or my decision to finally dispose of my old workhorse, the Canon 5D and I am sure you won’t if you go ahead a buy an X-T2.

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