Fujifilm's New X-T2: Some Thoughts

First things first: THIS IS NOT A REVIEW! There are many reviews of the X-T2 available on the interwebs. And since, for some reason, Fujifilm opted to not send me one of their shiny new X-T2 bodies to play with, it would be rather difficult for me to write an actual review. I have no idea why they'd make such an oversight, except maybe that the folks at Fujifilm USA don't really know me from Adam.

Anyway...

When I first started writing this post two days ago, I had intended to write about how I didn't see myself wanting an X-T2, and that if I were to move "up" from my current bodies (X-E1 and X-E2 with v.4 firmware) that I would most like add an X-T1 to my kit. I had a very good experience with a rental X-T1 a few weeks back, and found it an absolute joy to use.

From the reviews, test pictures, and videos that I've seen over the past few days, I'd say that Fujifilm have pretty much tamed every shortcoming I found in the X-T1 and my X-E bodies.

For the record, here are some key features of the X-T2:

  • 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor
  • 325 AF points (169 of which offer phase detection)
  • AF point selection joystick
  • 2.36M-dot OLED EVF with 0.005 sec refresh time (60 fps or 100 fps in boost mode)
  • 3" 1.04M-dot articulating LCD
  • 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps for up to 10 min (30 min with booster grip)
  • F-Log flat profile and 4K out over HDMI
  • 8 fps continuous shooting with AF (11 fps with booster grip)
  • 5 fps continuous shooting with live view updates between capture
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II compatible)
  • USB 3.0 socket

There are a few points that pique my interest...

The articulating LCD is pretty cool, and a first for Fuji. It features a dual hinge system that allows it to bend around in a number of directions. I've never had a screen that articulates before, and so I don't miss that, but back when I had the old Minolta A-1 and A-2 cameras, I had one that flipped outward for either waste-level or over-head viewing, and that was pretty handy (the X-T1 has a flip-out screen, and it's something I wish they'd add to the X-E series).

AF tracking appears to be superb, for those who need such things. In fact, one video I watched showed absolutely flawless follow-focusing of a fairly-fast-moving subject, even when the camera was being visibly shaken. Now, we all know that I don't really care a lot about video in a stills camera, but knowing that the autofocus tracks so well applies to the dance and performance photography that I like to do -- and currently struggle with.

I'll stress again that I haven't had this camera in my hand, but one thing that may be disappointing is that the camera is slightly larger than it's predecessor, which is contrary to the general trend with mirrorless cameras. That said, it may feel really good. I won't know until I rent one (yes, I do intend to actually play with one and let you know how I fee about it -- maybe Fujifilm will see this and offer to send me one for a week or two).

An X-T2 still isn't in my plans at this point. I've only recently bought the X-E2, and I'm still coming to grips with all the improvements that brought me (except that On1 doesn't yet support the raws for editing, so I'm having to work from the excellent JPEG files). Which brings up a point -- I shoot RAW+JPEG and, though I generally don't use the raw files, it's always good to have them around.

The X-T2 introduces dual SD card slots, and can be configured to write JPEG files to one card and raw files to the other. To me, this is actually one of the most enticing selling points of the camera! It's not that I can't separate the files relatively easily on my computer, but it's not so easy to do that on an iPad. To date, transfers off the SD card to my iPad have copied both files, but only allowed me to access the JPEGs. While that may be addressed in the next release of iOS, it would be very convenient to be able to pull out just the one card and transfer images into the iPad for quick edits.

Another improvement is in the way the camera handles continuous shooting. The current models display the last recorded image between the blackouts that necessarily occur when the mechanical shutter is cycling. That behavior has been improved with the X-T2, which in addition to decreasing the blackout time, displays live view instead, improving the ability to track with a moving subject. With the X-E1 and X-E2, I find that I will start to "lag" behind the movement when panning and shooting continuously. It's pretty frustrating when an otherwise perfect bird-in-flight shot is missed because the bird's beak or bill or head is out of the frame.

Dammit Fuji! This actually looks enticing now.