First days with the Fujifilm X-T2
We, the Fuji users, have been reading so much about this camera for months now.
And finally today Fujifilm announced the X-T2!
As you might know I am a official Fujifilm X-Photographer since April 2016.
When Fujifilm asked me to participate in beta testing the new camera I was more than happy!
On the 20th April I got a package from Fujifilm Germany - just one day after my birthday - what a timing ;-)
No need to read the rumors anymore...I already had the camera in my hands...what a fantastic time ;-)
Please remember: The camera I got and used until today is a pre-production unit. Features and image quality might not be final!
This will not be a technical review of the X-T2. Instead I will try to let you participate in my experience with the X-T2, how I see the camera and how it evolved over the time I used it. Even though my English is far from perfect I hope you enjoy the blog post!
As you can see the X-T2 looks quite similar to the X-T1.
With the camera came the new battery grip. It features the two front and back dials, AE-L and AF-L buttons, the joystick!, one FN-button and the Q-button. On top of that there is a very interesting switch for NORMAL and BOOST. Wow...we will have to check that one!
The Grip also features a headphone jack to enable audio monitoring during video recording.
Fuji invented small but welcome changes to improve the usability and push the handling of the camera another step forward:
My favorites are:
- New tilting screen mechanism
- Joystick for AF point selection
- Bigger dials on the top
- New locking mechanism of ISO and time value dial (push it down and the dial is locked, push it again and the dial stays unlocked - very welcome!)
- Slightly bigger overall - not much - but perfect for my hands
- Better doors and locking mechanism for SD-cards and the battery
- Both dials on the front and the back of the camera can now be used as push buttons
- With the battery grip attached we now can use 3 batteries simultaneously (1 in the body, 2 in the grip). The EVF and display show all three battery status.
- Dual SD card slot
There is no more button for filming but a new dedicated filming mode on the top left dial.
Not perfect (nothing is ...):
- AE-L and AF-L buttons are a little to small for my taste. The X-Pro2 is better in this regard
- Owning both the X-Pro2 and the X-T2 i think they should have changed the position of the Q-button and the joystick on the X-T2 - so the joysticks would have nearly identical positions for blind operation.
It is inside the camera where we find most of the bigger changes.
At the time of writing I had no data sheet, so I can only tell what I see or have been told.
My favorites again are:
- New X-Trans III sensor with 24,3 megapixel
- New AF system with more options and tracking configuration!
- More AF points which cover a bigger area of the scene (X-T2 91 or 325 focus points, X-PRO2 77 or 273 focus points)
- Faster and configurable burst rate
- Viewfinder has incredible fast refresh rate (X-T2 100 Hz, X-Pro2 80 Hz)
- Refined and more Film simulations (same as X-Pro2)
- 4K filming with very good codec (30 minutes with battery grip, 10 minutes without)
- Filming in Full HD also improved significantly
- Flash sync speed up to 1/250 sec
- 1/8000 mechanical shutter speed, 1/32000 electronic shutter speed
- New menu system (same as in the X-Pro2)
- New metering system “center-weighted metering”
Not perfect for me:
- Display information in the EVF is smaller than on the X-T1.
- Histogram could be bigger and colored to the far left and right corners.
We have to look a little closer to a few of these points:
The gain in AF points is mostly a gain in coverage. This is very welcome as we now nearly reach the borders of the frame.
The new AF system now allows for tracking configuration. This is similar to the options you get in DSLR's like e.g. the Nikon D750.
Further tests will show how much influence each of these settings have. Finally we get a very customizable AF system for moving objects!
Another very welcome change is the possibility to modify the burst rates in CL and CH.
CL can be set to 3, 4 or 5 frames per second. And on top - it is no problem anymore to take only 1 frame at a time (with my X-T1 i always got 2 frames - no matter how fast I pushed the release button).
CH can be set to 8 frames per second without the battery grip. If the battery grip is attached and switched to "BOOST" we get another 2 options: 11 and 14 frames per second. 14 frames per second is only available when using the electronic shutter.
If you use fast cards (280 MB/s) the buffer clears very quick - and even if it is full the camera performs very well.
This is how it sounds and behaves when switched to 11 fps mechanical shutter:
The BOOST setting on the battery grip also accelerates the AF system.
The camera arrived with a beta firmware that was mainly the firmware of the X-Pro2. This firmware was quite unstable and caused some funny behavior on the X-T2.
But hey...this is a beta test! Let's have some fun!
So here we go...i had the X-T2 on my table...but "only" some of the features of the X-Pro2.
Some of the buttons on the camera and all of the buttons on the battery grip had no function, the display had still wrong colors etc.
Only a few days later Fuji sent me a new firmware that changed a lot. In the next weeks the firmware got better and better. With every iteration Fuji delivered new and better functionality.
It is fantastic to see how Fuji reacts to feedback. With every new firmware they changed or invented things that i (and for sure other testers) asked them to. This really is a big part of the fun in testing a new camera!
In the first days it rained like cats and dogs but I managed to photograph a little in the forest and the results looked very promising. The camera was already very responsive and fun to use.
As I normally shoot raw I tried to find a solution for the next months. No software would be able to read the X-T2 raw files...but shouldn't they be similar to the X-PRO2 files which features the same sensor?
Finally we got that new and fantastic X-Trans III sensor with 24 megapixel in the X-T line up!
So I changed all my files exif data from "X-T2" to "X-PRO2"...and here we go. Lightroom and Iridient worked like a charm. The files looked very good - but the results may become even better when a proper implementation of the Fuji X-T2 RAW files is available (Lightroom now supports the X-T2 files! and Iridient will shortly).
The weather did not get any better ...heavy clouds, thunderstorms and lots of rain. The days with nice clouds were welcome...but it mostly rained and the sky was grey without any structure.
I decided to visit Bavaria's "Nationalpark Bayerischer Wald" - many professional photographers go there to get pictures of bears, wolfes, lynx, wild cats etc.
Going there was fun - and I met a lot of nice people waiting for mama bear to show her two cubs. Some waited for 5 days and did not see any bear. I had more luck ;-)
Even with battery grip and the XF 100-400 attached the X-T2 looks tiny in comparison to all the full frame DSLR's with their huge lenses. Thanks to the fantastic OIS I was able to shoot handheld and therefore I could change my position very quickly.
Funny short story - I met two other beta testers of the X-T2 in the national park...how small our world is!
Still loaded with the second beta firmware my camera operated very well. AF was very quick - although the tracking options had not been implemented. C-AF in combination with the burst rate 5 or 11 fps made it very easy to capture the right moment. The viewfinder is superb - the high refresh rate really makes a difference!
I also did quite a few landscapes - and again the files look fantastic.
Filming with the X-T2 has been much improved too. It is possible to capture in 4k with 100 Mbit/sec and the codec seems to be very stable with a lot of room for post processing and color grading.
With the first beta firmware it was only possible to capture clips in Full HD at 1920x1080.
I had the opportunity to capture some impressions from our 20 years Taekwon-Do-Bonn gala - where I also participated. So I was not fully concentrated on filming...but the clips came out wonderful. I switched to Classic Chrome and have done no post processing or color grading (only one slowmo). This will be a real big time saver for many who do not want to spend hours color grading their footage.
Color from the X-T2 is just great - the pictures are alive, it is sharp, detailed and shadows are clean.
The downside as for now is some moiré and aliasing...but much better than with the X-T1.
Still - I hope Fuji implements more features for filming - but I really think most of the limitations (e.g. switching film presets can only be done when in photo mode - not in film mode) will be implemented in the final firmware.
Watch in HD1080!
The camera is still loaded with a beta firmware and i am still digging deeper into all the possibilities available.
But one thing is sure - I am very very happy with the new camera. The X-T2 is a stellar camera that delivers in every aspect. It is fast and responsive in every situation. Even in beta status the quality of the files is fantastic. The viewfinder is amazing and the new tilting screen is something I always waited for.
On top of all the features Fujifilm manages to get me connected to the camera.
I just want to shoot with it! And that means a lot to me!
I will post more about shooting the camera in the Lake District UK in a few days...so stay tuned!