Fuji X-T2 review by Damien Lovegrove: Now, I’m not a photographer who is particularly demanding on my cameras. I don’t need 14 frames a second, one frame a second will do me nicely. However, I do need accurate autofocus because my eyesight is not what it used to be. I crave easy access to ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings plus I like to see what I’m taking before I press the button. I’m going to be asked this question a lot “Is it worth replacing a perfectly good X-T1 with this new X-T2 camera, bristling with features that I’m probably not going to use? The answer is yes, and in this Fuji X-T2 review I give you my reasons why…
Knobs The knobs and their locking mechanisms on the Fuji X-T2 camera are superbly designed and made. The knobs can be locked or unlocked in any position and the little white indicator shows at a glance if the dial is locked or not. This is a really big deal for the way I work and here is the reason why. When I was shooting with my XT1 cameras with my eye to the viewfinder I often found myself changing the Drive dial setting by accident when I changed the ISO. I change the ISO a lot because I often use it to trim my exposure on the fly. I set the aperture where I want it, often wide open at f/1.4 or f/2. I then set the shutter speed to suit my lens choice, 1/250th second if I’m hand held with the 56mm lens and 1/500th second with the 90mm lens and then I use the ISO to fine tune and tweak exposure. The X-Pro2 doesn’t suit this way of shooting either because although it’s great having the ISO control on the top plate it is an equal faff to change the ISO on the fly. It seems I was not alone because the X-T2 dials have a new design and locking system. It’s so simple it’s brilliant. I’m now less fingers and thumbs and I shoot with the X-T2 is a more fluid process.
Shutter button I like the concave soft shutter button (£2.49 from Ebay) that I’ve used on my X-Pro cameras and now I can use it on my X-T2 because of the integral thread in the new cameras shutter release button. Unlike the X-T10 and the X-Pro cameras the X-T1 had a solid shutter button. My soft release button just helps me to find the shutter more easily. It doesn’t make the shutter action any softer despite it’s name.
LCD Screen At last I’m free to be fully creative with my shooting height without any faff. The tilting screen on the X-T1 was great but this 3 way tilt is a game changer for me. I know the reason the X-Pro2 didn’t get a tilting screen because I was in the meeting in Japan and the street shooting contingent amongst us photographers wanted the X-Pro2 to be as simple and robust as it could be. I’m an X-T shooter so I stepped back from the conversation at that point but my wishes came true for the X-T2.
Joystick When I first used the X-Pro2 I didn’t want to change the way I set my focus position. I had been using the four buttons that surround the OK button from day 1 with the Fuji X system but reluctantly I switched to the joystick. Once I got used to it I was really pleased I made the switch and now the joystick feature is on the X-T2 as well. You can still set the multi selector to Focus but the joystick is by far the fastest way to select any of the hundreds of focussing points available.
Video button What video button? It’s gone and now the video function is on the Drive wheel where it belongs. The top plate of the camera near the shutter release button is now clutter free.
24mp sensor The jump from 16 megapixels to 24mp happened for me when I started shooting with the X-Pro2 in October. I wasn’t really hoping for too much at that time because I expected the resolution of the Fuji system to be limited by the lenses. After all, the XF lenses that I own were developed on 16mp cameras. However, it transpires that the lens designers in Japan have always had the 24mp resolution as their bench mark and this philosophy has really paid off. The increased resolution of the 24mp sensor has been a real boost for the image quality that I’m achieving day in and day out. Some people say that for portraiture 24mp is not needed and for head shots I agree. I am more often shooting figure in the landscapes now and when the person in the picture occupies about 10% of the frame the high pixel count is very welcome.
Film simulations All the film simulations from previous cameras are available in the X-T2 including Acros and Pro Neg S. So my camera settings and post production routine remains unchanged. It is worth noting that Adobe Lightroom is already Fuji X-T2 ready. I used Lightroom to edit my X-T2 files from early in May using an EXIF editing tool to fool Lightroom into thinking it was working with X-Pro2 files but I later got the nod that Lightroom 2015.6 (Camera Raw 9.6) was X-T2 ready and I’ve been using that version ever since for both the lossless compressed and uncompressed files.
Flash has always been an issue among some photographers looking to make the switch to Fuji. I am glad to say that I’ve now fully tested the new Fujifilm EF-X500 Speedlight on the X-T2 and I can confirm that any shutter speed can be chosen up to 1/8000th of a second with full TTL or manual control. The process of using HSS is seamless.
The EF-X500 has the same superb build quality as the Fuji X cameras and sports leatherette panels. It feels solidly built with design cues from the X-T cameras themselves. The EF-X500 can work in local or master mode on camera and subsequent units can be used in remote mode with HSS and TTL. One other welcome feature is the low power setting of 1/512 that can be selected in manual mode giving subtle lighting control even when shooting at maximum aperture. In order to use the full remote functions you will need to use an EF-X500 as the master unit on camera. You can choose to set this master to be non firing or select TTL or Manual for it’s output. No doubt, subsequent Flash systems from Fuji will utilise radio communication but the EF-x500 optical pulse system works well and is a welcome addition to the Fujifilm X lineup.
I’ve also been testing the Fuji X-T2 with the new Cactus V6 mk2/ Cactus RF 60 Speedlight system that uses radio triggering and I can confirm that HSS functionality up to 1/8000th of a second is available with the Cactus system too. Bear in mind that the Cactus V6, V6mk2 and RF60 is a manual only system but it is fully featured with remote flash power control and zoom control etc. All the flash units I tested were pre production and had some firmware issues still to resolve before final release but the future looks bright for Fujifilm X users wanting HSS functionality and remote TTL.
I’m often asked questions like “What camera should I buy” or “What lens should I buy next”. It’s been hard for me to give good direct advice when I’m contracted with a non disclosure agreement so I apologise if I’ve been vague with my answers over the past few months. The choices in the Fujifilm CSC world are now crystal clear. There are two camera styles. The offset finder style of the X-Pro2 and X-E2s and the central finder, tilting screen style of the X-T2 and X-T10. There are 24mp and 16mp cameras in each style. All the cameras use the same battery and take all the lenses.
Fuji X-T2 review conclusions
I am delighted to say that in my opinion the size and feel of the X-T2 is spot on. The buttons and dials are superbly designed and have exactly the right feel. The continual consultation process with photographers that Fujifilm implements has paid off in the camera design. The best bits of the new X-Pro2 have been incorporated in the X-T2 and the performance jump from the X-T1 is very significant indeed. This is the camera I’ve been waiting for and It’s a delight to use.
I’ve had my reservations about certain design and build quality aspects on every camera that I’ve ever owned until now. This Fuji X-T2 is just about perfect. No doubt the next generation will be improved somehow but now if you want a fully featured 24mp professional mirrorless camera that takes superb lenses there’s no need to wait. It’s all here in the X-T2.
It’s at this point in my reviews where I detail what could have been better or what will take me time to get used to etc but I’ve nothing to add. I’ll take my production copy in Graphite Silver please. (I’m not sure if Fujifilm have plans for a Graphite Silver option but if we don’t ask…)
For the record: I am a paid ambassador of Fujifilm UK however the opinions I express here are my own.
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