Fujifilm X-T2 Hands on Impressions

This spring, I got my hands on a Fuifilm X-T2 for a week. I did not get a chance to dig too deep, but I did get to see and feel how it handled. It's a very capable APS-C camera sporting the Fujifilm X-Mount which offers a fantastic line-up of glass. I ended doing some compares to my Sony A7R II for another review, but it gave me a good idea of how an APS-C camera goes head to head with a full-frame one. The X-T2 has some powerful tools, as well as what I like to call "cute" features like the film emulations. More on that below.

For the purpose of this hands on overview, I'll keep most of the comparisons out of the picture and try to focus on what this mid-priced camera can do. I mounted a Zeiss Touit 32mm as it has a full frame equivalent of the Zeiss Loxia 50mm, which I used on the Sony. 

Before we dig, let's get into the tech specs.

Fujifilm X-T2 Tech Specs

The Fujifilm X-T2 is about average size for a mirrorless camera and packs some really nice features. It will see burst speeds up to 14 fps with the electronic shutter and will allow 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps.  It also features dual SD card slots (something I wish my A7R II had). This camera comes in the all black or graphite silver editions. Here are the important details for you.

  • Mount: Fujifilm X Mount
  • Dimensions: 5.2 x 3.6 x 1.9" 
  • Weight: 1.11 lb / 507 g (with memory card and battery)
  • Sensor: CMOS, 23.6 x 15.6 mm
  • Total Pixels: 24.3
  • Screen
    • 3" Rear Screen Pivoting LCD 
    • Aspect ratio 3:2, approx. 1,040K-dot
  • Viewfinder
    • 2.36 millions dots OLED 
    • 100% coverage
    • Magnification: 0.77x with 50mm lens
  • Light Meter: TTL 256-zone metering, Multi / Spot / Average / Center Weighted
  • Mode: P(Program AE) / A(Aperture Priority AE) / S(Shutter Speed Priority AE) / M(Manual Exposure)
  • White Balance: Automatic Scene recognition / Custom1~3 / Color temperature selection (2500K~10000K) / 
    Preset: Fine,Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White),Incandescent light, Underwater
  • Exposure Compensation: -5.0EV - +5.0EV, 1/3EV step - (movie recording : -2.0EV - +2.0EV)
  • ISO Range: 200 to 12800 (1/3 step)
  • 325 AF points (169 of which offer phase detection)
  • Shutter
    • Mechanical Shutter
      • 4 sec. to 1/8000 sec.(P mode), 30 sec. to 1/8000 sec.(A mode)
      • Bulb mode(up to 60 min), TIME : 15 min to 1/8000 sec.
    • Electronic Shutter
      • 30 sec. to 1/32000 sec.(P / A / S / M modes)
      • Bulb mode : 1 sec. fixed, TIME : 15 min to 1/32000sec.
    • Mechanical + Electronic Shutter
      • 4 sec. to 1/32000 sec.(P mode), 30 sec. to 1/32000 sec.(A mode)
      • Bulb mode(up to 60 min), TIME : 15 min to 1/32000 sec.
    • Synchronized shutter speed for flash
      • 1/250 sec. or slower
      • Flash Sync. Speed: 1/2000 sec.
  • 8 fps continuous shooting with AF (11 fps with booster grip)
  • 5 fps continuous shooting with live view updates between capture
  • 14 fps continuous shooting with electronic shutter
  • Image Types: JPEG (Exif Ver.2.3)*2, RAW : 14bit RAW (RAF original format), RAW+JPEG
  • F-Log flat profile and 4K out over HDMI
  • Cost: $1099 (Amazon - July 2018)

Using the Fujifilm X-T2

As I said in the intro, while I had the X-T2 in my hands, I also ran it head to head a bit with my Sony A7R II (review) with Zeiss Loxia 50. I took a few images of the camera's side by side so you could get an idea on the similar sizes of the two bodies and the differences in grips. Honestly, the grip on the X-T2 felt a little thin to me.

The retro dials featuring lock and release on top are really nice. The lock and release keeps you from making accidental adjustments while handling the body. I always prefer a mechanical dial to some screen to jump around. ISO 200-12800, as well as low, high, and auto are all selectable on the left hand dial in 1/3 steps. This dial also allows the selection of shooting drive modes like single, continuous, etc. which is quite handy.

Shutter speeds from 1-1/8000, as well as timer, bulb, and auto are selectable on the center dial. This dial also controls your metering modes. I found this feature really handy for swapping modes on the fly in several scenarios.

The third (right side) wheel is exposure comp which allows +/- 3 EV in 1/3 steps. With the use of the C location, you can select up to +/- 5 EV. I am a huge fan of having an easily accessible EV comp wheel.

Easily accessible by your right thumb is the AE-L and AF-L buttons and a programmable wheel. These buttons, along with just about everything else, if fully customizable.  Bonus.

The rear of the body sports a very nice 1.04 million dot LCD screen that can tilt in three directions. When shooting landscape, the screen tilts up and down like you'd expect. Flip to portrait, and you can also tilt up. This was the first time I was exposed to a rear LCD with this ability and found it handy for doing waist-level portraits. The screen was pretty bright and viewable under direct sunlight.

The 2.36-million-dot high-resolution viewfinder is pleasant enough, at 0.77x magnification. The display lag is only 0.005 seconds which makes looking through this very easy on the eyes. The live view is extremely bright and easy to see in any situation and reflects your camera settings. What you see in the liveview is what you'll get for your image. There was no sign of moirĂ© or false colors. The EVF refreshes at a rate of 60 fps, but in Boost mode this jumps to 100fps for tracking ultra-fast objects on the screen. The black out time is hardly perceivable.

The body itself felt durable, being made of lightweight magnesium alloy. The body is weather-sealed in 63 points to achieve a high level of resistance to dust and moisture, though I didn't get a chance to put that to the test. Fuji rates the camera to -10 C so this can be used almost anywhere in any conditions. One thing that stands out is you are not saving body size, weight, or lens sizes by going to this when compared to a FF mirrorless. The Fuji is actually larger in size when compared with my FF Sony. Cost is a factor when comparing the two, though. The Sony runs for $1998 on Amazon (July 2018) while the Fuji is at $1099 on Amazon (July 2018).

Colors

When looking at the raw files off the Fuji compared with the Sony, you can see the Fuji tends more to the warm / reds than the Sony. Obviously, a quick fix in an editor, but something worthy of noting. This is a user preference thing - some like cooler, some like warmer.

Both images were shot in raw with auto-WB and equivelant settings.

FujiFilm X-T2 Shooting and AF

The Fujifilm X-T2 boats are really nice focal-plane shutter with speeds up to 1/8000 second and a flash sync of 1/250. But this also supports silent shutter operation at up to 1/32000 second which can allow shooting wide open, even in the brightest of light without a filter.

Auto-focus was zippy with the camera.  Both phase detection and contrast detection have been vastly improved over the previous model. There are now 325 focus points with 91 being phase detection (up from 49). Focus points are easily changed using a convenient 8-direction joystick on the back of the body. 

When shooting moving objects, like dogs and crazy children, the AF system allows you to adjust tracking sensitivity. This will allow the tracking system to follow a moving person when it goes behind an obstacle like a tree or a large mother-in-law. The system also allows for adjusting the speed tracking sensitivity, allowing to decide on tracking something with a constant or variable speed more accurately. Finally, you can adjust the zone area sensitivity, allowing you to set priority to a zone of AF points for tracking. Super handy for shooting sports, I would assume.

To make life easy, there are 5 presets (and a custom) to choose from, based on your scenario:

  1. Basic  - behaves like AF-C.
  2. Ignoring obstacles - this is the child running behind the mother-in-law scenario
  3. Accelerating / decelerating subjects - think shooting at a race track on the bend
  4. For subjects that suddenly come into the frame - Maybe a groundhog coming out the hole?
  5. Erratically moving subjects - Shooting a ping-pong tournament
  6. Custom 

Manual focus has some great features as well. Along with Focus Peaking, you get an awesome Digital Split Image. This reminds me a little of rangefinder focusing, where you have to line up two pieces of the image to have clear focus. This worked excellent when shooting portraits. The joystick can be used here for selecting the area of the screen to be enlarged.

Combining the 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor with the processing power of the X-Processor Pro, this camera and post some excellent shooting stats:

  • AF Speed: 0.06 sec
  • Shooting Interval: 0.17 sec
  • Shutter Lag: 0.045 sec
  • Start up: 0.3 sec
  • Continuous Shooting: 14 fps
  • EVF Refresh: 100 fps

Though not something I really want to use, this Fujifilm X-T2 comes equipped with several film emulation modes.

FujiFilm X-T2's Film Simulation

Fujifilm cameras like to pack in a throwback to their old, mostly discontinued, film stocks. It doesn't do bad with them, if you're into emulating stocks. This can save time editing if all you want to do is shoot and post to your social media, or what have you. It comes packed with 15 modes, including: PROVIA/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, CLASSIC CHROME, PRO Neg.Hi, PRO Neg.Std, Black & White, Black & White+Ye Filter, Black & White+R Filter, Black & White+G Filter, Sepia, ACROS, ACROS+Ye Filter, ACROS+R Filter, and ACROS+G Filter.

I tried a couple to share with you. These are the jpg's produced using Velvia and ACROS. I did not use the optional grain texture on these.

 Valvia Vivid - Fujifilm X-T2

Velvia Vivid

I feel this did a pretty good job, though maybe not as punchy as I would expect from Velvia. But I did like the colors coming straight off the camera without having to put them into an editing program. This would be good enough for me to use on social media.

 ACROS Film Simulation - Fujifilm X-T2

ACROS

This not only shows how well it does ACROS, but also how nice the shutter speed freezes my dog in mid-day light, shooting fairly wide-open. AF tracking was spot on here.

Final Thoughts on the Fujifilm X-T2

For the most part, I like the feel of the body in my hands. It's solid, though the grip was a little thin in my book. The retro dials are really superb and like what Fuji did here. I found them so easy to use and handy. The images produced off the camera are nice and clean, and Fuji is rightyfully known for doing colors right.

Below are a couple samples from the X-T2.

And here's a compare of a file off the Sony A7R II + Zeiss Loxia 50 and the Fujifilm X-T2 + Zeiss Touit 32. Look pretty similar, no?

Crop vs FF - Image 1.jpg

Though I didn't shoot this a ton, I got enough use to give a first impressions feel of the camera. I'd like to give it more time down the road to play with the features I mentioned above. Honestly, this APS-C packs enough power for anyone to enjoy. Maybe not a main camera for weddings, but for the everyday enthusiast, this is a great camera.