Review: Fujifilm X-T2

Editor’s Note: This review is now complete.

“Should someone really upgrade?” is a conversation that I had with a colleague of mine about the Fujifilm X-T2 after getting a chance to look at it for a little while. On paper, the camera seems to have a number of significant advantages over the X Pro 2 such as the addition of 4K video and a heat sink that can do this. Plus there are more autofocus points. Of course, both the X Pro 2 and the X-T2 are better than the X-T1.

When you look at the Fujifilm X-T2 what you see is a camera that essentially looks and functions the same as its predecessor. A few things are beefier like the SD card door for example. The camera’s finish also lends itself to a more solid feel. But otherwise the camera will feel very much at home in the hands of an experienced Fujifilm camera user. However, there isn’t much of a reason for a hobbyist to upgrade–at least from our initial thoughts.

Also be sure to check out our comparison of the Fujifilm X-T2 vs the Fujifilm X Pro 2.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (3 of 12)ISO 2001-2000 sec at f - 2.0

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great image quality
  • Versatile raw files
  • Weather sealing
  • Super solid build quality
  • Reliability
  • Fast autofocus, though still not the fastest
  • 4k video addition due to the heat sink on the camera
  • Dials can be locked into place
  • With the battery grip and two other batteries in the grip, it can last for forever basically.
  • Fast FPS shooting

Cons

  • Tracking autofocus isn’t the fastest
  • Autofocus in low light isn’t so great

Gear Used

The Fujifilm X-T2 has been tested with the 35mm f1.4 R and the EF-X500 flash. Throughout the review period, we also used the Adorama Flashpoint Zoom Li-On, the Fujifilm 23mm f2 R WR, and the 23mm f1.4 R.

Tech Specs

Specs taken from our initial report

  • 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

Ergonomics

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (7 of 12)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 2.8

When you take a quick glance at the Fujifilm X-T2, it’s easy to mistake it for its predecessor: the X-T1. Overall it really looks the sample–you know, except with the giant white logo on the front differentiating the two.

The front of the camera showcases very typical Fujifilm minimal styling with only a few controls. The X-T2 retains the grip that other SLR style Fujifilm cameras have.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (8 of 12)ISO 2001-1250 sec at f - 2.0

Look at the top of the camera and what you’ll find are dials–lots of them. On the left is the ISO dial, then a hot shoe, then the shutter dial, and then the exposure compensation dial. New to this dial is a C function that let’s you set something custom, quite obviously.

Around these dials are more controls too.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (9 of 12)ISO 2001-2200 sec at f - 2.0

On the front side of the camera is the PC Sync port and the focusing type switch. Fujifilm continues to add a PC Sync port and it’s actually strangely appreciated for those rare moments when you need to shoot with a cord of some sort.

The company has always put a little piece of plastic that is meant to stay over this hole. However, it’s easy for the plastic to get list and the weather seal to therefore become ineffective.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (10 of 12)ISO 2001-850 sec at f - 2.0

Turn to the back of the Fujifilm X-T2 and what you’ll find are are number of controls though also seemingly minimal. The back is dominated by a giant LCD screen, a playback button, trash button, a quick menu button, directional joystick (a new addition that is also on the X Pro 2) and directional buttons. In addition to all this you’ll find a dial that functions to zoom into your images and for other things accordingly.

Oh right! Don’t forget the viewfinder.

In Comparison

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 2 product images review (2 of 12)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

The closest camera that the X-T2 competes with would be the X Pro 2. It’s a great camera and honestly my favorite in Fujifilm’s lineup. The two cameras have a lot in common. Their major differences are the X-T2’s 4K video addition and the X Pro 2’s addition of the optical viewfinder option. If you’re a rangefinder type of person, go for the X Pro 2.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Sony a6300 product images first impressions (2 of 8)ISO 4001-60 sec at f - 2.8

Another camera that this competes with is the Sony a6300. It’s quite capable too, but if you’re looking for better ergonomics you may want to reach for the Fujifilm.

Rating

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

Lots of people will really like the X-T2. But I like the X Pro 2 so much more. This is of course just my opinion.

Build Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (11 of 12)ISO 2001-5000 sec at f - 2.0

The Fujifilm X-T1 was a solid camera, and the X-T2 retains that durability standard. With loads of weather sealing points (check the tech specs for reference) I’m sure that when coupled with an equally weather sealed lens it will be able to stand up to the elements with no problems. During my first hours with the camera, I wasn’t able to test this theory.

Update: 10/26/2016

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We had the chance to use the X-T2 for a month and were amazed by how resilient the camera is. During a photowalk, the camera strap we were using broke and the camera tumbled onto the NYC sidewalk. My 35mm f1.4 was attached and the lens hood is now permanently attached. Additionally, the back of the LCD screen was smashed in one spot. But otherwise, the camera continues to work and function without any major issues.

This, more than anything else is absolutely amazing to me. We also shot with it in a bit of rain and it survived with no issues.

In Comparison

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So let’s see here:

  • X Pro 2: Said to have the same level of weather sealing
  • a6300: Splash and dust proof
  • Olympus OMD EM1 Mk II: We’re still waiting to test one
  • Panasonic GH4: That camera is also pretty tanky overall.

However, I’ve never quite wrecked any of those other cameras like I have the X-T2. So I really have to hand it to this camera here.

Rating

Phoblographer-Star-rating

How can I give this camera a bad build quality rating? It survived hell.

Autofocus

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial sample images (3 of 7)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

If you’re reading this blog post on July 8th 2016 and there is no update, then I’ve had the chance to only test a pre-production unit. As such, I need to clearly state that the images and the evaluation so far has been from an experience with a pre-production unit.

In terms of autofocus performance, I’m quite pleased with just how well the camera performs. Like the X Pro 2, the X-T2 pretty much always nails the shot. In the image above there is very strong backlighting and the camera consistently nailed the focusing. Not a single photo from my session is out of focus enough for me to care when looking at the image as a while. When I give a portrait to someone, they won’t care about critical eye sharpness either.

At one point, the camera was using a group and continuous autofocus. After a while, I switched it to a single autofocus point and the camera continued to function very well.

Update: 10/26/2016

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So most of the time the autofocus is pretty spot on an accurate. In low lighting without a whole lot of contrast, the autofocus can work pretty darn reliably like in the image above.

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Tracking and continuous autofocus in good lighting and with a wide angle lens is also pretty solid. To be fair though, it’s pretty tough for any system to really mess that up in 2016.

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In the image above, the camera had lots of issues. Granted, any camera would. Further, tracking AF in low light is really slow and sometimes not even worth using. You’re better off using the single AF setting and hammering away at the AF button like a kid in an arcade mashing buttons on a Street Fighter machine.

In Comparison

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 2 High ISO Edit (1 of 1)ISO 128001-100 sec at f - 1.4

Here’s where something is really, really weird. With the X Pro 2, I had a much better and more reliable experience focusing in very low light. Even with a subject moving just a tad, the focusing performance seemed, well, honestly better. If you’re shooting candids, the only thing that could come close is the a6300.

ISO 12,500

ISO 12,500

Speaking of which, the a6300 had great AF performance in low light too. If I had to rate any of them as the best, it would be Sony’s model for sure.

Rating

four-star-Phoblographer-Star-rating

The autofocus isn’t bad. But Fujifilm is still behind the pack when it comes to autofocus performance overall.

Ease of Use

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (1 of 1)ISO 2001-1250 sec at f - 2.0

To reiterate, at the moment of this initial publishing I handled a pre-production unit of the Fujifilm X-T2. The camera in the image above has a menu system that is in Japanese. Some of the cameras were set to English and those worked well enough for me.

From what I gathered from my short experience with the camera, the menu system is a lot like the Fujifilm X Pro 2’s.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X Pro 2 product images review (7 of 12)ISO 4001-30 sec at f - 2.8

Just for reference, here’s what that looks like.

I spent a lot of time fiddling with the flash menu system because the model I photographed had a flash firing right at her. That menu system is very interesting and extremely visual. If you’re used to working with wireless flash triggers, it will all be very familiar to you.

Update 10/26/2016

The Fujifilm X-T2’s menu system is exactly like the X Pro 2’s with some very minor tweaks to accommodate to each camera’s unique features. If anything, you’ll spend more time working with the dials and switches than anything else. You’ll have little reason to go into the actual menus.

In Comparison

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There’s nothing major to complain about here for the most part. Once you spend some time with the camera, you’ll wrap your head around it with ease.

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My major issue comes when the vertical grip is attached. If you don’t lock the shutter button down on the vertical grip, you’ll accidentally hit it and believe your camera is screwing up and going haywire. So just keep that in mind–you’ll need to pay attention to the vertical grip.

Rating

Phoblographer-Star-rating

As I keep saying throughout this review, I’m much more partial to the X Pro 2. But others may not be.

Metering

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial sample images (2 of 7)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 2.8

When handling the pre-production unit, I didn’t get the time to do a Sunny 16 test. My initial theory is that since this has the same sensor as the X Pro 2, it will meter accordingly overall.

Before photographing the model that you see above, I did my own handheld light meter test using an app on my iPhone. The ambient metering on the pre-production unit seemed to hold up fairly well within a stop of standard metering methods.

By modern camera standards, a stop is a bit excessive–but I’m willing to blame that on the fact that this is a pre-production unit.

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial sample images (4 of 7)ISO 2001-1000 sec at f - 4.0

While taking the images of the model above that you see with a flash added into the scene, I used two X500 flashes. One was in the hot shoe, and the other was in the hand of an extremely good quality voice activated light stand.

The flashes, which were pre-production units, weren’t the most reliable in terms of metering. Fujifilm reps themselves admitted that their TTL communication isn’t very good and instead they stated that we should switch the flashes to manual mode. After around 10 minutes of trial and error with TTL, switching to manual mode indeed helped. Using this in conjunction with High Speed Sync worked out very well.

The controls are all done from the Fujifilm X-T2 which then tells the flash what to do. But just to be safe, what we did was set the off-camera flash to its own power setting accordingly. This all worked out–but I surely hope that Fujifilm fixes these flash problems and that someone comes out with good radio flashes for the system.

Update 10/26/2016

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I haven’t be able to call the flashes in again, but the camera’s Sunny 16 metering readings are totally in line with what has been used for many years.

Image Quality

As of July 8th 2016, I’ve only tested a pre-production model of the camera and can only base this evaluation so far on the findings from that unit. An actual evaluation sample will be in my hands soon though.

Update 10/26/2016

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There were many times throughout the review period where I was positively floored by the output of the X-T2. Standard CMOS has its own look, so do CCDs. But X Trans–there is nothing like it. The JPEGs and the RAWs are all great. Generally, you’ll get less detailed images at high ISOs than you will the X Pro 2. But otherwise, the image quality is pretty much neck in neck.

JPEG Quality

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial sample images (7 of 7)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 4.0

Fujifilm’s JPEG quality is outstanding and always has been. Photographers tend to speak volumes and sing sonnets about their JPEGs. In this case, there is no exception.
Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial sample images (6 of 7)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 4.0

Update 10/26/2016

JPEG SOOC

JPEG SOOC

At lower ISOs, the JPEGs are all fantastic. It’s when you get to the higher ISOs above 6400 that you start to lose detail. With that said though, the noise still looks very organic and beautiful overall.

High ISO Results

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For the most part, your images at higher ISOs are going to look great. You’ll lose details beyond 6400, but the noise isn’t all that terrible either to begin with. I much prefer the files from the X Pro 2 because I feel there is more detail overall though.

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RAW File Versatility

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You’re able to get a tremendous amount of detail and nerf loads of potential issues that the images may have in Adobe Lightroom. Here above is the original image.

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Now here’s the edit.

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Original

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Edit

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Original

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Edit

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Original. Here’s where we were really surprised.

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Pushed a whole load of stops. Yet we were still able to create a very usable file.

Extra Image Samples

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In Comparison

You’ve got the same sensor and process as the X Pro 2. With that said, the image quality is pretty much on par with the weird exceptions that I found at higher ISOs.

In comparison to the Sony a6300, the X-T2 has better image quality overall–especially at higher ISO output.

Rating

Phoblographer-Star-rating

I can’t complain at all about the image quality here.

Conclusions

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (4 of 12)ISO 2001-450 sec at f - 2.8

From what I’ve seen of the pre-production sample of the Fujifilm X-T2, the results are very good. To be fair though, I’ve only spent maybe an hour or so with the camera and a good portion of that was trying to take good product photos and shooting a model with an off-camera flash.

My conclusions don’t end here though and a production unit of the camera will soon be under evaluation.

Update 10/26/2016

Phoblographer-Star-rating

There is a whole lot to love about the Fujifilm X-T2. It’s got some of the best autofocus of any Fujifilm camera and is very reliable in most situations. The build quality is top notch and that continues to add to its reliability as we found after dropping the camera. The overall ergonomics will appeal to so many people, but not me. I prefer the rangefinder style camera body offerings. Then there is the image quality. Overall it’s fantastic. If you’re using the WiFi function to send an image to Instagram via your phone, you’ll have no issues at all. On a desktop, you’ll want to do just a bit of editing. Combine this with Fujifilm’s camera profiles to give you all the film renderings, and you’ll be very happy.

The-Phoblographer-Editor's-Choice-Award-Logo

The Fujifilm X-T2 receives our Editor’s choice award and five out of five stars. Want one? $1,599 is kind of expensive, but it makes sense at this point in the photography game.

Recommended Accessories and Lenses

Chris Gampat The Phoblographer Fujifilm X-T2 review initial product images (1 of 12)ISO 2001-500 sec at f - 1.4

23mm f1.4 R: Personally, I chose this lens because I like the 35mm field of view. No, it isn’t weather sealed, but I also like the bokeh I get at f1.4

35mm f1.4 R:.Same reasons as above.