Fujifilm X-T2 review // Thoughts and experiences
Taurus has been in my hands few months already and not until now while writing the last chapter I ask myself why Taurus? Without thinking more I open Google and type in Taurus and click search. While images are opening onto screen I realise it is a bull. At the same time I figured out why Fujifilm’s new comer X-T2 has had that “code name”. It is bull indeed. Workhorse. A camera which you can trust to and has the strength to keep on going. It won’t leave you halfway.
Where X-Pro 2 is delicate and full of soul, X-T2 has place in Fujifilm’s family tree as a supporting bull.
Story how Fujifilm X-Pro 2 got a competitor // Fujifilm X-T2 review
It was end of April when I packed my camera bag, old fella called Billingham, who has worked with me many years. I headed to Sweden to Fujifilm’s office. Slight excitement got to me when I was walking Stockholm’s rainy streets thinking: “In a minute I will see it and get it to my hands.”. Few months earlier I was chosen to test Fujifilm’s new camera body before releasing it. Feeling was absolutely amazing. Only few months earlier X-Pro 2 had arrived to the market and replaced Nikon’s regime in my photographing history. Following text will compare these two while I tell my own experiences.
How does X-T2 really feel?
Which one will win the bout?
Which one is going to stay in my bag and which one in my hand?
Mean while in Sweden: “…and there it is. Still unripe berry inside but impressive, waiting me to pick it up.
The moment when I grapped Fujifilm X-T2 to my hand // First touch
Camera was on the table with VPB-XT2 battery handle and when I picked it up the first thought was “How robust!”. Last time I had this feeling with Nikon D3. My own hands aren’t the biggest ones but I understood how much photographers with big hands will love this.The first hour passed in the same fog that with X-Pro 2. Well I was holding something top secret – like in Hollywood movies they have files which say “classified” in red. As I mentioned earlier camera was still a draft. I headed home and waited for update so I can start shooting.
Although I couldn’t take photos yet I wrote some thoughts about the first feelings and they went something like this:
Where grip is 10/10 with the battery handle without it there is improvements to make. X-Pro 2’s ergonomics is nicer and steadier. On a wedding day camera might be in my hand for hours nonstop and when shooting 14 hour days you learn quickly what is good and what is not. To me X-T2 grip’s got the problem on the back side. Thumb’s “handle” is not low enough while in X-Pro 2 it goes all the way down. This is how thumb gets good back grip all the way. On the front side ergonomics is better than in X-Pro 2 though. In wedding photography the most important things to me are lightness and inconspicuousness. Then I leave VPB-XT2 out but I wait what X-T2 and MHG-XT2 combination feels like. MHG-XT2 has only the ergonomics factor and doesn’t include battery though. I have been using MHG-XPRO2 with X-Pro 2 and the difference is huge. Also there is barely addition to weight with it.
It is worth of mention that camera also looks very identical to X-T1 which creates familiar connection and almost all the buttons are at the same positions. It will be easy to update to this one for X-T1 owners.
Time flies like a free bird – Strong and fast
Time passes and weddings keep comping. The camera wasn’t ready to take a place from my camera bag. Few times I tried but not just yet. Until in the middle of June it happened. X-T2 software got the upgrade which made it shine in my hand like supposed to. I got in the full speed working with the camera until happened something…
I like it when you don’t have to scroll through the menu and everything is within the reach of fingers. In this X-T2 is better than X-Pro 2. Lightmetering and camera-mode can be selected without getting lost in the menu. Not a big thing but it is the small nuances that make the camera better and smoother to use. Shutter speed- and ISO-dials have gotten a new positive addition; lock/open -button. Very easy and nice to use and there will be no accidental turns. X-T2 wins this round as well. The joystick that X-Pro 2 made us familiar with is in the X-T2 as well and has proven to be a great feature. Sidenote; with battery handle the joystick is often lost, too low for me. For some reason my thumb doesn’t find it immediately. MENU OK and direction buttons have been made bigger and you can feel it. Trash, play AE-L, AF-L, Q and disc back buttons are still too small or doesn’t come out of the body enough. Where X-Pro 2’s buttons can be felt easily even with gloves on with X-T2 will be some button searching especially if you keep eye on the finder and at the same time want to press some of the buttons mentioned above. In usability there are a few other negative things to mention that will affect my shooting. Fn1 button and EV-dial.
What ever I photograph the camera is usually fully on automatic mode. It is camera’s job to take care of ISO and shutter speed while I adjust the aperture size. This is how I keep myself focusing on the events and using the camera is by far faster. If needed I fix the exposure with EV-dial and this is where I face a problem. When using X-Pro 2 I use my thumb to adjust it but when shooting with X-T2 I have to use two fingers. Index finger has to move away from the shutter which is “a problemo” to me because of the fast occasions. EV-dial is also too stiff at first, I hope that usage and time do the job.
Fn1 button is in the wrong place. It is in between of shutter speed dial and EV-corrector, when right place would be above the EV-corrector like XT-1’s red rec- or X-Pro 2’s Fn-button. The height of the dials has increased and Fn1-button remains in the shadows. You have to put effort to pressing it.
Positive things to mention are new battery and memory card slots. Opening and closing is model dslr. Now you can just push to close rather than pushing and locking with finger. Tilt screen (which I have missed a lot) has gotten upgrades to usability. Now screen can be turned vertical position in addition to horizontal position and it creates new possibilities. To me this is very handy because when taking portraits I very often use the back screen. Unfortunately the screen still doesn’t turn all the way “down” but stops half way. When taking photos with camera above your head you don’t see the screen fully. Maybe in the next model?
-Shutterspeed- and ISO-dial’s locking and opening
-Battery and memory card slots’ new opening mechanism
-Camera’s ergonomics is perfect with the new battery handle
-Menu ok and select buttons have been made bigger
-Tiltscreen turns also vertically!
I don’t like:
-Grip without the battery handle. Support from the back for the thumb falls short
-Trash, play, AE-L, AF-L and dis back buttons are still too small and doesn’t come out of the body enough
-EV-dial is just a few millimetres in wrong place. Should be within reach of thumb like in X-Pro 2
-Back screen doesn’t turn down enough when shooting with camera above your head
Fujifilm X-T2 wishes you the most welcome
If you are interested to hear what has gotten better compared to the last generation (X-T10, X-T10, X-E2/s) read this review of X-Pro 2. Interior of X-T2 is very similar, but a few thoughts next.
Oh, I almost forgot to tell you what happened. I had to take a little break in writing because X-T2 “took a shower” and had to retire. Sometimes lifecycle is short and we have to enjoy every day we have.
First of all I have to say that focus speed has gotten better by far. Focus speed is almost dizzying. Mega-hyper-super improvement compared to X-T1 but also significant improvement compared to X-Pro 2. I haven’t used continuous focusing with Fujifilm before but now I am getting close to start using it. Slight freezing can be noticed when focusing from very close to far but the problem might also be in user or settings. Have to dig into this more. One thing that might keep me from using continuous focusing is the lack of big and large back focusing button. AF-L ja AE-L buttons are too small. Could it be put in back-dial button? I didn’t find the location from the settings where I could change what happens when pressing the roll. When I used Nikon D750 I had it always on continuous focusing and it was prefect. When I changed to X-Pro 2 I switched to single focus but I think I’m going to change back again. Awesome! Conclusion is, for wedding photography and personal use focusing is now good.
EVF is absolutely X-T -series’ superpower which has improved to the new model. In normal mode you get 60fps and in boost mode it goes up to 100fps. View is very smooth and so called blackout time is almost negligible. Menus represent Fujifilm’s new generation and it is same as in X-Pro 2. There is still little tweaks to do and some simplifying would be good. I recently got Canon G7X Mark II into my hands and menus are very simple and smooth. This is something to try to achieve! The shutter sound in X-T2 has gotten even more smoother which I like.
And then the famous battery life. No, still no improvement. In boost mode with battery handle battery dies even faster. Nice thing though is that in battery handle you can have two batteries instead of one. Usage three batteries improves the usability but doesn’t really make battery life better. Nice new feature is that it is possible to charge the batteries while they are in the handle. Maybe we will get new batteries in the future also? On a wedding day I use about 5 batteries per body. Fortunately batteries don’t weight a lot and I am use to have a few batteries in the pocket.
-EVF is getting better and better!
From X-Pro 2:
-Double SD slots (only other one is UHS II)
-Mechanical shutter goes up to 1/8000, electrical 1/32 000
-Acros and heavy grain
I don’t like:
Who takes the place in my camera bag // X-T2 or X-Pro 2?
But the final question is; which one is in my bag and why? It is not so simple and I am in a privileged position. Where X-Pro 2 has the soul and sensibility, X-T2 has the working mentality. In my hands X-Pro 2 belongs to street photography and documentary wedding photography environment and X-T2 has the place in studio, portraits and sports photographing. Don’t get me wrong, you can do your job with any camera, but to me it is important what I feel when using camera. It shows the world what I feel and experience and how. Cooperation has to be perfect.
I always use three bodies. One I am using and the two others are backup. Often I am using two bodies at the same time though and that’s why I have both X-T2 and X-Pro 2 with me. They don’t exclude each other and together they make a brilliant combo. Third wheel would be reliable party and traveling buddy X100T. Fujifilm has given us great working tools so let’s use them all for what meant to.
Fujifilm’s got a great hype going on at the moment. I couldn’t imagine what it would lead to when I bought their first body three years ago. Camera dude’s wet dream was fulfilled a few weeks ago when Photokina introduced medium size sensor. I don’t know when Fujifilm started planning this but right after I got in X-Photographers group I said: “Stay in crop sensor and forget about full frame, bring something better and greater to the market.”. And here we go.