The Fujifilm X-T2: First Impressions & Images

So, this happened. The Fujifilm X-T2. WOOOHOOOOO!!

But before I do the new camera dance,  I must preface with:

Those who know me have come to expect the type of piece I’m about to write. But for those who are new here (Hello, you!)… this first-look, hands-on review thing isn’t your typical one. It’s subjective and based upon my own personal experiences and preferences.  If you’re looking for the splitting-of-pixels, comparisons of each f-stop and all that jazz, well, suffice it to say there are PLENTY of geeky types out there offering those. Google ’em and go git ’em!

I’m here to share my initial thoughts and images from this amazing camera and the technical bits that have been relevant to me in creating my work so far.

Secret Agent Girl

I was one of only a few photographers who were given the opportunity to test the X-T2 over the past couple of months. It was a tip-top secret mission. I honestly don’t know how many of us there actually were… only that it was a small number. We weren’t even allowed to speak its name; it had a code name. Upon threat of death, nary a word could be spoken. It was like being in a spy novel!

It even arrived with all the branding blacked out with tape:

Fuji X-T2-015

Here it is, out from behind the curtain:

Fuji X-T2-030

First Impressions

It was waiting for me at home when I got back from my 2 months in Europe and I got busy with it, jet lag and all. Typically, takes me awhile to fully get up close and personal with a new camera. But with a form factor so closely aligned with the X-T1 it took me no time at all to get up and humming.

What I got excited about right away was its 24.3 megpixels (image file size: 48 mg) with the same sensor as the X-Pro 2 (X-Trans CMOS III). I’d primarily used the X-Pro 2 in Europe and LOVED the images it creates. But I’m a fan of the feel and ergonomics of the X-T series, so I yearned for that, especially my beloved flip LCD screen. I was stoked to have it back.

AND, UM, ABOUT THAT FLIP-SCREEN:

It articulates 3 ways!! Here’s it is horizontally:

Fuji X-T2-025

 

But now you can flip it out vertically too. Man, I love this. It’s a neck and back-saver when I’m out in the field:

Fuji X-T2-039

The X-T2 also has dual SD cards. Aww yeah.

Fuji X-T2-022

It also sports a menu button system with some of the features of the X-Pro 2 that I particularly liked, as well as various cosmetic and aesthetic updates that you’d expect from a decent upgrade.

And finally… 4k video. [fist pumps the air] Thank you, Fujifilm!

OK, here are the X-T2 key features:
  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III Sensor
  • Dust and moisture-resistant body with approximately 63 points of weather sealing; Freeze resistance to 14°F
  • X-Processor Pro
  • Fast AF of 0.06 seconds
  • Startup time of 0.3 seconds
  • Shutter time lag of 0.045 seconds
  • Shooting interval of 0.17 seconds
  • Phase detection AF and motion predictive AF for continuous shooting up to 8 frames per second (fps)
  • Up to 11fps using Booster Grip
  • High-precision 0.48-inch, 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder
  • Viewfinder magnification for digital cameras of 0.77x
  • Wide viewing angle (diagonal 38° and horizontal 31°)
  • Ultra-fast Real Time Viewfinder with a lag-time of 0.005sec (less than 1/10 of existing models)
  • Automatic Brightness Adjustment function
  • EVF refreshes at a rate of 60fps, or as high as 100fps in the Boost mode
  • Continuous shooting of 5fps in Live View
  • Full 4K 3840×2160 30P/25P/24P shooting (Using a card with the UHS Speed Class 3 or higher)
  • Continuous recording: up to approximately 10 minutes
  • Full HD 1920×1080 60P/50P/30P/25P/24P, Continuous recording: up to approximately 15 minutes
  • HD 1280×720 60P/50P/30P/25P/24P, Continuous recording: up to approximately 29 minutes
  • Four different display modes: Full, Normal, Dual and Vertical
  • Full mode: Displays shooting information at the top and bottom of the screen to avoid obstruction of the view
  • Dual mode: Adds a small second screen for checking focus point with Focus Peak Highlight or Digital Split Image
  • Normal mode: Lets you concentrate on framing the shot in Auto Focus mode while keeping you aware of how the shooting conditions are changing, making it the perfect setting for sports and action photography
  • Portrait mode: When in Full or Normal modes, it rotates the shooting information interface when the camera is turned vertically
  • Tempered glass 1.04 million dot high-precision 3” tilting LCD monitor
  • Digital Split Image and Focus Highlight Peaking
  • Wi-Fi and remote camera operation
  • ISO200 – 6400, extended ISO 100, 12800, 25600, Auto(maximum ISO setting from ISO 400 – ISO6400 available) with High ISO 51200 setting
  • Lens Modulation Optimizer technology maximizes each lens’ performance
  • In-camera RAW converter
  • Die-cast magnesium body provides a sturdy and durable, while compact and lightweight design
  • Two command dials and six Function buttons for instant control and customization
  • Interval timer shooting for Time Lapse photography is available with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours and up to “∞” frames
  • Advanced filters and Film Simulations, including ACROS

    Lupine, Lake Tahoe, CA
    Fujifilm X-T2, XF60mmF2.4 R Macro
    Hand-held, ISO 640, f/6.4, 1/250 sec

LovelyLupine2
A word about choosing gear

Let me say right here that I’m someone who believes that the best camera is the one you have with you. I’m not judgey about that or a camera snob. An artist creates with the materials at hand. I also don’t get into riled up discussions over which camera out there is better. Because what I know to be true is that everyone’s different. There’s something that’s going to suit YOU perfectly, if you can figure out what you actually want to do and create FIRST… then find the gear that brings you closest to that ideal.

For me, that’s Fujifilm. I determined that by trying every single mirrorless camera that looked like would even come close to my list of requirements and desires. Your list might be entirely different than mine. I’d advise anyone wondering “which camera is right for me” to make a list (mental or physical)  of what you want to do with your gear – and what you want to see in the way of colors and contrasts, dynamic range, weatherproofing (or not), size, weight, everything you can think of. Then go get your hands on some cameras, either by borrowing, renting or buying somewhere that offers a full 30-day refund.  Because my priorities are not yours… and vice versa.

OK, I’ll step off my soapbox now. 😉

Mule’s Ears, Truckee CA
Fujifilm X-T2, XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
ISO 500, f/22, 1/4 sec
Really Right Stuff tripod, BH-40 ballhead

But What About The Images?

I’m glad you asked. Because more than camera specs and speculations, the proof is always in the pudding. I’m all about the pudding.

I loved the images that the X-Pro 2 made during my 2 months in Europe this year. Greater clarity, depth and just an overall bump up in quality made me happy. Not to say the other cameras AREN’T good… just that the new sensor made a difference, as it should.

The X-T2 has that same sensor, so I experienced much the same delight in the quality. Along with the other improvements I mentioned earlier, I have to say I was happy as a clam using the camera. If you’re thinking of upgrading from an X-T1, you’ll feel right at home with this puppy.

Shining Through.. Truckee, CA
Fujifilm X-T2, XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
ISO 500, f/13, 1/25 sec
Really Right Stuff TQC-14 tripod, BH-40 ballhead

ShiningThrough

Pining Over the Summit: Truckee, CA
Fujifilm X-T2, XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
ISO 640, f/20, 1/9 sec
Really Right Stuff TVC-24 tripod, BH-55 ballhead

This image was created from two exposures from the X-T2.

PiningOnTheSummit

This was the RAW exposure I shot for the sky:

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 3.19.39 PM

And this was the one for the land:
(I blended them in Photoshop, then brought out the colors and contrasts for the final image.)

Screen Shot 2016-07-07 at 3.19.49 PM

6-image early morning panorama of Eagle Falls, Lake Tahoe, CA:
Fujifilm X-T2, XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
ISO 200, f/14, 1 sec
Really Right Stuff TVC24, BH-55 ballhead

EagleFalls

Trax: Felton, CA
Fujifilm X-T2, XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
ISO 500, f/7.1, 1/9 sec
Really Right Stuff TVC-24 tripod, BH-55 ballhead

Trax

Smokin’ Sunset: Truckee, CA
Fujifilm X-T2, XF16-55mmF2.8 R LM WR
ISO 640, f/9, 1/180 sec

I shot this one hand-held and it was getting dark. There was a wildfire that had just started maybe 70 miles away.. the first fingers of smoke had just come up over the mountains. I was out for a walk without my tripod, and figured I’d give it a shot. I expected to need a higher ISO, but didn’t. This is something I’m beginning to notice with this camera; that perhaps it’s got improved light sensitivity. Time will tell… but where I expected to have to go up to 1000 or 1200 ISO, it did just fine at 640 and f/9. A nice surprise! Now to see if it continues…
SmokinSunset

Her Own Self: Lake Tahoe, CA
Fujifilm X-T2, XF60mmF2.4 R Macro
ISO 500, f/7.1, 1/250 sec

And of course, no showing of new images is complete with something that was “artified.” There is a field of lupine that goes off like crazy every year in Tahoe City, CA. I brought my X-T2 down there one afternoon – and stayed through a lovely sunset. The images were so… well, so Fujifilm I guess that some of them made me see some possibilities beyond the “real”. It’s part of how I see the world… so it’s part of how I create my impressions of it.

HerOwnSelf

Finally (for now!)

I’ve only been a Fujifilm user for a bit over a year now. In that time, I’ve seen amazing growth and improvements. Every upgrade is solid. They listen to what users say. There’s just no sliding by for them. This is something I was looking for when I was switching to mirrorless: great gear, yes. But also a company that really gets photography and stays on top of their game. It’s been so exciting to watch it happen… and to be a part of it!

I’m grateful for the opportunity to be a photographer in this day and age. To allow my art to grow. To have equipment that helps me do what I do and inspires me every step of the way. As an artist, it is a true gift – and I never take it for granted.

The X-T2 is right in line with all of that. For me, it’s kind of a dream camera. I haven’t had it in my hands for that long, yet I never want to let it go! I’m loving what I’ve been able to create with it in a short time, what it inspires me to think about and how it handles in every situation I’ve taken it into.

I haven’t yet dug into the video feature, but that’s coming. Winter? Should be interesting. They say it’s good to 14 degrees F. Sometimes I shoot in near 0 degrees, or a little lower. So well see! I can’t wait to do more and share my further impressions as they happen!

 

20 thoughts on “The Fujifilm X-T2: First Impressions & Images

  1. Thanks for your review!

    I’m still doing research, since last year, on which Mirrorless to go with. It is between the Sony Alpha series or Fuji.

    Question: Talk about the menu on the Fuji. How easy is it to use, understand, & is it intuitive? With the Sony models, everyone I’ve talked to complains about the menu. I’m was curious if across the various Mirrorless brands, the menus are a complaint?

    Question: I believe this model is APS-C? Do you prefer this or full frame?

    Question: For the APS-C model, are there a number of good quality, dedicated lenses?

    Question: When you moved to Mirrorless, what was the most difficult issue to get use to [Example: EVF? Menus? Etc.]?

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comments and reply.

    1. Hey Rick,

      Glad you like the review!

      In answer to your questions (remember – it’s only my opinion, ALWAYS weight gear decisions out based upon YOUR needs. 😀 )

      Question: Talk about the menu on the Fuji. How easy is it to use, understand, & is it intuitive? With the Sony models, everyone I’ve talked to complains about the menu. I’m was curious if across the various Mirrorless brands, the menus are a complaint?

      KH: Personally, I think the menu system is easy to use and understand. At least it is for me. I switched from Canon to Fujifilm. Fuji does think a bit differently than Canon does – but it didn’t take long to get what that was – after that it was a piece of cake. I did use the manual to speed the process along. I had a much easier time of that than I did Sony, during my tests. I suspect that varies from brain to brain, but I hated Sony’s menu system. It required me to use it for everything – and it never seemed logical. I found that really difficult. What I love about Fujifilm is that I can customize the buttons for my most oft-used functions, which cuts down the time I have to spend in the menu by about 70%. LOVE that. It works for me.

      I don’t know if menus are a complaint across mirrorless systems. I don’t pay much attention to all that, honestly.

      Question: I believe this model is APS-C? Do you prefer this or full frame?
      Yes, this model is APS-C. It’s an interesting question. I always ask what a person needs full frame for? I think that’s a more important question than “which do you prefer?”. As I watch technology evolve, I’m leaning toward thinking that argument is yesterday’s concern. So far I’ve only had my Fujifilm images printed up to about 4′ across or so… and they were gorgeous. Do most people print bigger than that? Mostly not.

      That said, I’m not even sure the sensor size is as important as what goes on within the pixels themselves – the size and design of the microns making UP the pixels and a whole bunch of other deep tech talk that I don’t even fathom. I’m not the expert at that level. I do know that not all pixels are created equal. And that is independent of sensor size.

      For myself: what I’m seeing out of my Fujifilm cameras is so good that I think my next leap would likely be to medium format and skip full frame altogether.

      Question: For the APS-C model, are there a number of good quality, dedicated lenses?
      KH: In the Fujinon line (Fujifilm’s native line of lenses).. yes indeed there are. They had everything I needed/wanted and then some.

      Question: When you moved to Mirrorless, what was the most difficult issue to get use to [Example: EVF? Menus? Etc.]?
      KH: For me, EVF took some getting used to. But mostly it was the refresh rate/speed. When I switched, they were still slow compared to my Canons. Fujifilms were faster than any of the others that I tried at the time though… and it wasn’t long before they became at least twice as fast and seem to be better with each upgrade. It doesn’t bother me at all now. Granted, I don’t shoot sports or anything… but I do photograph wildlife sometimes (both animals and birds). Nowadays, I can capture all of it easily. That wasn’t so true when I switched only a year ago, which tells you how the technology is constantly getting better.

      Hope all that helps!
      Good luck in your quest… 😉

  2. Great, to the point review. Beautiful images to boot! Well done. I find that many of the X photogs with very few exceptions, seem to gravitate towards the dark(er), B&W, street type of images — totally NOT my thing. I hate people. So, seeing your review was extremely refreshing as the images are very well done, and of a subject which is about 90% of what I shoot— landscapes.
    Thanks for this refreshing look at my future camera from a very happy X-T1 user.

    1. I’ve noticed that too, Jorge! I don’t know why that is.

      When I picked my first Fujifilm camera up and thought about using it for landscape work, I actually wondered if it could do it! That was simply because of all the street type of images. It made me think it was perhaps somehow deficient in the world of landscape. Boy, was I stoked (and ok, a little surprised) to see how brilliant it is at capturing our beloved out-of-doors-epic-ness!!

      If you’re a happy X-T1 user (as I am)… I think you’ll love the T-2. (I still love my T-1 though. It’s a great camera.)

  3. Hey Karen,

    Love your reviews! You always talk about how the camera makes you feel as opposed to other reviewers who are always hung up on the specs. Sounds like you are very impressed with the sensor upgrade and possibly higher sensitivity (lower ISO required), and you will be testing the video features later. I’m curious if anything else about the camera really stood out to you using the X-T2 vs the X-T1? The focus joystick? Higher EVF refresh rate? Brighter EVF? ACROS film simulation? More prominent D-pad and dials? Did the camera feel more responsive and faster?

    It’s ok if those things didn’t stand out, I just keep hearing about them in every X-T2 review, but noticed you didn’t mention anything. Just trying to gage if any of these upgrades were just hype or if they really improve the camera experience.

    1. Hi Clinton! I’m so glad you like my reviews! They’re definitely the “anti-spec” variety, for better or worse. 😉

      OK… about the sensor upgrade. Yes, impressed indeed.

      I’m sure I’ll be looking more closely at the video capability at some point soon,, but the photography part was my top priority. It’s been awhile since I’ve focused on video, so I’ll have to see how I start feeling inspired to use it. I did a little bit just to see it, of course. First glance was certainly impressive! I’d quit even trying to use the video on previous models, if I’m honest. My iPhone was better. doh!

      As for the other things that stood out between the X-T1 and X-T2: yes, the joystick is fab… plus the 2-way articulating screen (a biggie for me) and dual SD card slots. I do feel that the camera is faster and more responsive… and yes the D-pad and dials are more prominent. That latter wasn’t an issue for me before, so I didn’t think to mention it in my review. But yes, they aren’t recessed as much, for sure.

      ACROS film simulation… I’m not the one to ask about that. Honestly, I still feel fairly new to film simulations that I actually like… so ACROS and non-ACROS don’t really register in my brain. I just know that I love the film simulations.

      The EVF refresh rate is also faster… and is another thing that didn’t bother me on the X-T1. It was so much better than any mirrorless I’d tried to that point that I was pretty happy. It actually took you mentioning it to even register that the X-T2’s is faster… but yeah, it is. Brighter EVF? Hmmm. It might be… but it isn’t anything that jumped out for me personally.

      I think this is a really solid upgrade. Did you read Elia Locard’s review? Google it… it’s also good and he covers a few things I don’t. He’s guy, y’know? 😉

      The X-T2 is exactly the camera I kept coming up in my mind during my trip in Europe as an ideal marriage between my fave features of the X Pro 2 and the X-T1. I nearly hyperventilated when I picked it up! That is SO not objective, but true.

      I always find it fascinating to see which features really “land” with someone. We all obsess over different things…

  4. Hi Karen, I always enjoy reading your reviews focusing on user experience and the feeling of using the gear and thanks for the postcards tour in Europe. Germany is on my bucket list now… Just around the corner.
    During my transition between the X-Pro1 and 2 I used the X-T1… I must say that I prefer the X-Pro out-of-the-face style, with the X-T series I always end up sticking my nose where it doesn’t belong… on the screen. Living in the Nordic countries it can be an unpleasant experience in the wintertime 😉
    Anywhy… In the Smokin’ Sunset text you mention that you notice an improved light sensitivity, is that in relation to the Pro2 or T1?

    1. Hey Peter!
      My perception of improved light sensitivity is in the X-T2. I’m really unsure why that is at the moment… or if I was imagining things. But it seems I can photograph in lower light situations on a lower ISO than before. I mean, these cameras are all so good at higher ISO that low light doesn’t freak me out anymore in general… but if I’m right, where I might’ve shot at 1000 ISO, I might now go 640 or so. I have to keep working with it to be 100% sure… but so far, that’s what I think.

  5. Is not having a built in pop up flash a deal breaker? What is the small external flash which apparently is included. Love your images!

    1. Hi Alice,
      Well, it’s definitely not a deal breaker for me, but I rarely use flash. I’d say the “deal breaker” aspect would depend upon your priorities. What’s most important to YOU?

      Personally, I like an external flash for the few times I DO use one, because it sits up higher than a pop up flash would. That makes the light clear most of my (bigger, landscape-oriented) lenses, instead of creating a shadow of said lens in every image.

      Hope that helps!

  6. With the 60 macro, how do you find the focusing on the xpro2 and xt2. Has it improved?

    1. Hey Lindsay,
      First, I can’t claim to be the ultimate expert on Macro photography here, but in my own personal experience to date, I haven’t had an issue focusing the 60 macro. My previous experience was with the Canon 100mm Macro and I find the 60mm similar in its responses. I also do quite bit of manual focusing, which takes the whole auto-focus question out of the equation altogether.

      Has it improved? Again, not the mega-final-word-expert, but to me the performance feels pretty consistent no matter which camera I use. I use it for landscapes too, and it’s terrific there as well.

    1. Hey Wayne, I’ll be honest and say I haven’t even used mine!

      The way I use my camera, it’s better to just bring some extra batteries. So I’m not 100% sure how much it weighs. Looking at it, it seems similar to the X-T1 in size, and it holds 3 batteries. For some people, this is a godsend… and when/if I ever want to do alot of video, it will be for me too!

  7. Is the wireless connectivity improved in any way, either on the camera or Camera Remote app side, i.e. Making a connection initially less finicky, jpeg only, select one image at a time for transfer in the X-T1 version. Any improvements to the remote function for folks who like to use their smart phone to control the camera? Thx for any Intel though I admit I am upgrading regardless as wireless aspects are a “nice to have” aspect but not a deal breaker. Sony is a little superior here where you can download apps and transfer everything shot on a particular to a device in one go. (But for me I prefer Fuji’s controls and ergonomics).

    1. The wireless function still similar, Gano. Not the best… but like you, it wasn’t a deal breaker for me. Knowing Fujifilm, I’d guess there’ll be an improvement in future (at least I hope so!)… so for now, I guess we grin and bear it. 😉

  8. I never thought you could ever surpass those amazing images you shared with us during your first date with the X-T10. You went away together. France! Now that in itself is romantic, but true love made it a perfect marriage between you and Fuji. Remember the honeymoon began as you walked into a ballet scene? Lights, professional at that, camera and action! Ballerina, you and Fuji.

    Now you did it again, this time on your home turf, these first images you just shared taken with your Fuji X-T2 are my all time favorites. Breathtaking! K Hutton has done it once more. Let the games begin!

    1. Oh – swoon! I remember my first date with the X-T10! The love affair that started in Paris… and now continues. Jeez I love that analogy.. and I love your depiction of it all, Carol! Thank you so much for these kind and poetic words. Let the games begin indeed!!

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