Say hello to the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless digital camera. Another offering for photographers that aggressively thumbs its nose at comparable massive pro DSLR bodies from Canon and Nikon.
In 1993 I purchased my first camera, a Nikon 8008. Shortly thereafter, I bought my first brick of FujiChrome Velvia. Velvia had this amazing fine grain structure, contrast that rivaled Darth Vader’s dark side, and what many felt TOO brilliant a saturation. Regardless, all of the magazines at the time gobbled up shots taken with the amazing film.
Enter the destruction of the craft of photography. I say that because I truly believe that social media and digital have destroyed the craft of photography. Nothing is tangible anymore. So what does a company who produces film do when there is little to no demand for film? They start producing digital cameras. Fujifilm is quietly giving the photographer a mirrorless camera system easily worth its weight in gold.
Looking on Fujifilm’s website for information regarding the Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless digital camera sent me right back to 1993. Their website looks like it hasn’t be updated since the film era. Still, all of the info that I was looking for was there.
Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Digital Camera Specs
The latest digital cameras are becoming a bit of a Ground Hog Day scenario when it comes to specifications. The Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless digital camera shoots 4K footage and 24MP stills. Yep, the same as the Sony a9 and the Leica SL. There must be something in the water regarding a 4000 x 6000 pixel photo size. It shoots 4K video at 29.97p / 25p / 24p / 23.98p. This is pretty standard stuff these days. One cool note – unlike the Canon 1DX Mark II this camera will record that footage on my decade old SD card!
The Fujifilm X-T2 has very similar auto focus modes to the Canon 1DX Mark II and 5D IV. The Fujifilm X-T2 shoots at 8FPS right out of the box. You will see better performance using Fujifilm’s Vertical Power Booster Grip (optional VPB-XT2). You double the battery power, which allows for more photos. The Fujifilm X-T2 also benefits with a faster frame rate of 11FPS with this booster.
The Fujifilm X-T2 uses an APS-C sensor without a low-pass filter. All of your lens choices will be cropped. The included lens with my X-T2 is an XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS. This converts over to a 27mm-82.5mm f/4.2-6
Fujifilm X-T2 Out of the Box
I am becoming such a geek with this stuff! The Fujifilm X-T2 with XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens and battery attached weighed in at 1 pound 12 ounces. Pretty similar to the Sony a9.
One cool feature of the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens is that it has an aperture ring on it. So anyone used to old-school manual focus lenses will feel right at home. I kind of got into using this ring instead of our new-school dial method. Don’t worry the dial is available for aperture adjustment too.
The build quality of this camera is as, if not a little more, sturdy than the Sony a9 that I tested earlier this year. The lens is a little different though. It is tight! The XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens was reminiscent of a Leica SL lens. So while I feel that I could bust up the camera with some effort, the lens may actually stay intact.
Fujifilm X-T2 Handling
Fujifilm has implemented a control dial system for the X-T2 similar to Sony ‘a’ series camera. The ISO and Shutter dials both have locks on them so they won’t change when rattling around in a backpack. The dials make more sense for the compact camera size. It is easier to spin a dial instead of fumbling with a small button footprint. However, while I didn’t mind the compactness of the Sony a9, I fumbled a lot with Fujifilm X-T2. My hands continuously missed pressing the AF-L button to activate focus.
Just like the classic aperture ring on the lens, Fujifilm brought back another classic film camera feature on the body. You can release the shutter with an old-school screw-in mechanical cable release. This may not work for some though. I like it because a plunger style release doesn’t require batteries to function.
The menu system on the Fujifilm X-T2 is intuitive. I didn’t need to open the owner’s manual to begin making setting adjustments. It is a bit less styled than a Canon menu, but works quite similar.
Turning your RAW into Fujichrome Across is a single click in Lightroom CC Classic.
Fujifilm X-T2 Film
One feature that I felt was really cool with this camera was its built-in ability to simulate Fuji’s films. Fuji Velvia, Provia, Asita and a host of other films from the photography past can be simulated on your RAW files! YES, on your RAW files both in-camera and in post. In Lightroom CC Classic, in the Develop Module under Camera Calibration > Profile you have the ability to choose what type of Fuji film you would like to simulate. It works pretty good too.
I guess I should have expected a company that produced film to give the photographer that choice in their digital camera.
Fujifilm X-T2 Size
I mentioned earlier that the compact size of this camera was a bit of a hinderance to my gangly hands. It was awesome to just throw it into my 15L Dakine Hydration pack on my recent trip to New Mexico though. I didn’t even notice the camera was in there. So I would be willing to fumble around a bit to have the pro grade photos from the X-T2 in my every day mountain bike pack.
You might think that Fujifilm only has a few lenses available for this camera and none that a pro photographer would need. In fact, it is completely the opposite. There are more than a dozen prime lenses and almost a second dozen of zoom lenses for this camera. Fujifilm even has two teleconverters and a XF100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR zoom! That may actually make this camera one of the best outfitted mirrorless cameras out there. If you run the numbers with the APS-C sensor that 400mm gets you a 732mm lens.
Original ISO 6400 photo from Fujifilm X-T2.
Fujifilm X-T2 Photo Quality
I didn’t mess around with the Fujifilm X-T2. I took it on a mountain biking trip to New Mexico and didn’t bring ANY other cameras with me. How is that for rolling the dice in Vegas baby? I also didn’t mess around with the ISO. I shot most of my photos from that trip at ISO 1600. All the photos that weren’t taken at ISO 1600 were taken higher.
How was the quality? Truly fantastic. If you factor in that camera isn’t using a full-frame sensor, potentially even better. This little camera resolves noise significantly better than my Canon 1DX. AND … it fits in my pocket. Truly remarkable.
I have pumped this camera up. Primarily because I think it is a pretty amazing device. There are some things that I really don’t like about it though.
The scene where the X-T2 wouldn't acquire autofocus.
Low-light autofocus isn’t that great. I am not talking in darkness like the above high ISO photo either. About 5 minutes before sunrise I couldn’t get the camera to focus. It wasn’t until the sun actually hit my athlete that the camera acquired focus. Yes there is a focus peaking setting to help you manually acquire focus but that’s not autofocus.
The second issue is the EVF (electronic view finder). It doesn’t compare to the Sony and isn’t even in the realm of the Leica SL. When the autofocus wasn’t working, the EVF wasn’t good enough to allow me to just set focus manually either. Talk about kicking you when you are down. Ugh.
One last, albeit a small issue. The lens cap is nearly impossible to keep on the lens. Almost every time that I pulled the camera out of my pack the cap was laying detached. Not good when you are stuffing this thing in a street pack with other sharp items.
Who is this For?
The Fujifilm X-T2 is for any photographer wanting to lighten their load. It is a sturdy, compact camera that wouldn’t disappoint a pro like myself, nor an entry level enthusiast. I say entry level because the kit that I tested sells for $1799! While there are some features and specs that I truly didn’t like, overall the camera is amazing. The photo quality was unsuspectingly great. I also feel that my hands would adjust to the compact button locations over time. This wouldn’t be a deal breaker for me.
The auto focus is good when the light is good. I don’t necessarily shoot when the light is right there on my action subject though. Fujifilm states in their press release for this camera that the autofocus is dramatically improved over the X-T1. I think the next generation of this camera would be the one where they absolutely nail it.
The lens choices and film simulation of yesteryear are abundant. This camera would allow any photographer to grow in any direction they chose by owning one.
Fujifilm X-T2 – Positives
Image quality is really good.
Compact size and weight allow you to always take it with you.
Good build quality – especially the lens.
Large selection of compatible lenses.
Fujifilm X-T2 – Negatives
Low-light autofocus is not that great.
EVF doesn’t compete with Sony or Leica quality.
Buttons don’t work great for those with large hands.
Stupid lens cap.
Get You Some of This:
Purchase your very own Fujichrome X-T2 Mirrorless Camera Kit with XF18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS lens from B&H Photo.
Well……..I purchased this camera with the kit lens 18-135 and love it. Purchased b/c I wanted it for hiking but use it now for everything. I was tired of carrying my heavy 5D4 and lens. Low light has not been an issue for me at all. If I could add images I would show you as none as of yet are on my website….but on Instagram, as just returned from Maui and all pictures there are with this camera. https://www.instagram.com/tcgibson7/
EVF….not the greatest but satisfied except in bright light and then most shoot through the view finder.
Buttons….Takes getting used to as my hands are not small but work fine now……I use the camera for wedding, conferences, portraits, and landscape.
Lens cap on my 18-135 is fine but the lens hood is a pain, plastic and the lock is wearing out. Just purchased the 16-55 F2.8 and it is better quality.
The Continous focus is fast and accurate…..shot windsurfers 1/4 offshore and sharp as can be. I use a back focus button, top one above the central OK button…held down while photographing windsurfers.
Articulating LCD is sweet and a joy to use. I use the magnification button to check focus. I use a lighter tripod and keep it lower down and do not extend the legs.
Exposure mode for me is Manual and love the live histogram. Expose for highlights and open shadows without noise. I will use the use Av it will be b/c of variable light and run and gun shots. Now enjoy RGB histogram with 3.0 firmware update but use to the luminous one.
Battery life for me has not been an issue but I have not shot a lot a night or in the cold. In those conditions, I know it could be a problem.
I purchased the Rokinon 12mm lens but returned. Manual focus was fine but often need fast focus and that lens is just a manual focus. Too I like to see the EXIF data and know what I did right or wrong.
Tips and Tricks eBook by Dan Bailey is excellent http://danbaileyphoto.com/blog/
Thanks for this confirming blog…..
Like to hear more of your thoughts and I hope followup responses to this email..
Thank you for the wonderful comment Tom! It’s great to get additional info for my tests. I only get a short time with these products so I obviously cannot cover every situation. You are further reaffirming what I felt too. This is an amazing camera. Not just for the value but for its functionality. I think Nikon and Canon are headed the wrong direction. Fujifilm, Sony and Leica are just thinking differently at this point and their successes are evident.
Hey Jay –
another Fuji-Fan Tom here – thanks for posting your own review. I got mine in May wanting to try something lighter/less conspicuous than my big Nikon for lighter-travel use. I just returned from Greece with the 10-24mm and used it 90% of the time (had the 55-200 as well but was usually shooting architecture!)
If you have more time – do try the other lens like 10-24mm and 16mm!
PS – hope you get to try the Leica Q to compare for city travel use too! I hear thats also amazing and simple to use.
I think the Leica CL will be first. It has a greater user set plus interchangeable lenses! While I wouldn’t discount the Q it definitely has a very specific user in mind.