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 revised in the form of the Fuji X-T2 and given the status of its predecessor, the objectives 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 grasp, dual UHS-II memory card slots and a slightly lower price, making it a really 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 used for the past 4 months. The X-T2 was not an easy camera to obtain and Fuji is still struggling with meeting the large demand, which speaks volumes about the positive perception of the camera by the picture taking community.
Check Out: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-T2
Fujifilm X-T2 Price, Deals & Discounts
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Camera Structure, Handling and Controls
Similar to the X-T1, the Fuji X-T2 also features a high-quality full magnesium-alloy structure from front to back, so it is designed to be a workhorse camera. You get yourself 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, lightweight aluminum knobs and a properly protruded, comfortable to hold grasp. 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 excellent. I desire every camera manufacturer got away from providing the totally horrid, neck-slicing straps that scream with their brightly colored logos. While the new X-T2 strap may not be the best one in the marketplace, it is pretty lightweight and comfortable enough for me to consider keeping it on the camera – definitely a welcome modification! Second, the dials have been completely redesigned on the X-T2. Not merely 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 switch on the ISO dial to change ISO and the shutter rate 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.
Third, the shutter release button is now threaded, allowing one to customize the shutter launch with a fancy extension button. Other little tweaks to the top of the camera include the removal of the dedicated video recording key (the video recording function offers been shifted to the shutter discharge – a single must first switch to the new Movie mode in the ISO sub-dial) and the addition of a new “center-weighted” metering setting in the shutter swiftness sub-dial.
If you are not familiar with Fuji cameras, they are all about retro manual dials and settings, which is why many enjoy shooting with these cameras so much. With the ISO, Shutter Rate and Exposure Settlement dials on the top of the camera, together with the Aperture control ring on lenses, the Fuji X-T2 allows full manual control of the direct exposure. And for exposure adjustments and other handles, the X-T2 also comes with two independent rotary dials – on the front and one on the back of the camera, comparable to what we see on most Nikon DSLRs. The rotary dial on the trunk is typically for changing the shutter quickness, 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 reddish colored “A” on dials), enabling Auto ISO, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Plan modes – all without having a PASM dial that we are so used to seeing on many DSLR and mirrorless cameras.
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 any more and they seem to stay in place when closed. The memory cards door on the X-T1 was one of the weaknesses of the camera and Fuji tackled it with a storage card door that no longer slides out – there is currently 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 suit, which is nice.
We had two cameras die during the trip to New Zealand. One Nikon D810 got its shutter mechanism damaged after getting frozen (very rare, never seen that before) when we shot in sub-zero temperature ranges 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 time, the camera came back to life, but it was a bit of a disappointing knowledge. The Fuji X-T2 was with me constantly and as you can view 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 so 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 temp, some condensation built up inside the 35mm f/2. I immediately took out the camera and allow it to sit for a while, after which the condensation disappeared.
Fuji continues to be using the same type of electric battery on the X-T2 as on the X-T1, but the battery specifications have already been improved a little bit, allowing for better warmth dissipation. The batteries look exactly the same, with the exception of the red square on the side of the battery pack, 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 images. For shooting 4K video though, I would recommend to only utilize the newer battery type, since it can handle heat much better. Battery life is still about the same. Per specifications, it is possible to take around 340 shots (CIPA). Keep in mind that CIPA specifications don’t mean very much for capturing in the field, especially if you learn how to conserve your battery. You can easily move 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 + Attention Sensor and I change the camera off virtually as soon as I am done taking a picture.
Autofocus Performance and Accuracy
With a whopping 325 focus points, the AF system on the X-T2 is without a doubt probably the most advanced focus systems in the world today. Coupled with a faster image processor and an updated algorithm, the brand new AF system is outstanding when it comes to autofocus performance. Have a look at the two grids below that present the difference between your AF program on the X-T2 and the X-T1:
At the end of the day, these stats don’t matter all that much, if the AF overall performance is not there. The big issue is, is AF truly improved on the X-T2 in comparison with X-T1? After shooting with the X-T2 extensively, I must admit that the AF performance on the X-T2 is indeed superior. As the X-T1 is certainly no slouch with regards to 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 will not move. The X-T1 on the other hand, can lock on several times, then hesitate and rescan the subject again. And that’s when capturing in One 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, constantly adjusting. The X-T2 is normally 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 completed on DSLRs, and the X-T2 has a total of 5 presets that may be found under AF-MF Setting-> AF-C Custom Settings. These presets have got different levels of tracking sensitivity, speed monitoring sensitivity and zone area switching. And if you want to fully customize the tracking behavior, you can establish your very own through the sixth “Custom” set.
In my subjective opinion, the Fuji X-T2 is the best mirrorless camera on the market today. After using the camera for four weeks 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 picture quality, the X-T2 delivers excellent ergonomics, fast and accurate autofocus system, superb EVF and LCD overall performance, very impressive video recording features, logical menu program, and excellent weather conditions sealing to create it a beast of a camera for lovers and specialists. Add the amazing line-up of Fujinon lenses and the X-T2 can task even one of the most capable DSLRs, except in a lighter and more compact package. While companies like Canon and Nikon seem to be lacking innovation during the past few years, Fuji provides been aiming high with each new release of their X series cameras, pushing for excellence and complicated everyone else.