On test: Fujifilm X-T2

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Arriving to great fanfare, the X-T2 promises to deliver creative perfection, but how does it stand up to its significant competitors in this sector? Fergus Kennedy finds out…

 Article originally published in April 2017 OP216 issue of Outdoor Photography.

The latest mirrorless offering from Fujifilm promises an update to the popular X-T1 and boasts the same X-Trans sensor as their X-Pro 2. I was eager to see how the X-T2 compared.

Using the X-T2 down at the coast for some seascapes, I was impressed by the overall usability; it is easy to get on with. Finding a shot that was too wide for the lens I had on it, I switched the camera to portrait orientation and shot a quick handheld panorama. The in-camera stitching worked a treat and the colour rendition and detail were as pleasing as they had been in the X-Pro 2.

Ergonomically, the X-T2 is an evolution of the X-T1. Its looks have a traditional, slightly retro appeal, and almost all the settings you would wish to adjust are accessible via physical controls. The top plate provides three large dials: ISO, shutter speed and exposure compensation. The ISO dial has a secondary ring below it that is used to select shooting mode: single shot, continuous high speed, movie mode, panorama, and so on. Below the shutter speed dial you can select metering mode. Both these two main dials can be locked to prevent accidental shifting. In addition, there is a thumb wheel on the back and a right index finger wheel.

Image above: The rugged build and weatherproofed body made the X-T2 a good choice for scrambling over the rocks on the Sussex coast.
Fujifilm X-T2 with 18-55mm lens at 18mm, ISO 200, 1/320sec at f/8

One thing that Fujifilm does slightly differently from most other manufacturers is that on some of their lenses, aperture is controlled via a ring on the lens. There is also a switch on the lens to flip between lens-based iris control and auto-aperture. On the subject of lenses, you select single shot autofocus, continuous autofocus or manual focus using a switch on the bottom right of the front of the camera body. Another nice touch is that you can change the function of the rear thumb wheel by pressing it. For instance, while it can normally be used to control shutter speed, one click activates expanded focus in the viewfinder or rear LCD, which can be further zoomed by rotating the wheel. I did find that there were times I would have liked the X-T2 to have a touchscreen. I can cope without it, but sometimes it’s a better option for selecting autofocus points, particularly when shooting video.

While the hybrid viewfinder on the X-Pro 2 was something of a Marmite feature (love it or hate it), the X-T2 has a more conventional electronic viewfinder. I would describe the viewfinder resolution as adequate rather than class-leading, but personally I prefer it to the hybrid finder of its close cousin. The autofocus speed and accuracy both showed a noticeable improvement over either of its predecessors and were up to tracking continuously moving subjects when I took it out for some street photography. The X-T2 is also capable of a blistering 14fps continuous shooting, with a power-boost from the battery grip.

Image above: The X-T2 preserved good detail in shadows and highlights in this coastal cave image.
Fujifilm X-T2 with 18-55mm lens at 18mm, ISO 200, 1/400sec at f/8, stitched panorama from five portrait format shots

Talking of the grip, I seldom feel the need to extol the virtues of what is normally a fairly mundane accessory, but I’ll make an exception for the X-T2 grip. It is quite simply wonderful. Firstly and most obviously it provides space for two extra batteries in addition to the one in the camera, giving a total of three. The battery levels are displayed individually as three separate battery symbols in the display and they are exhausted sequentially, so it’s easy to keep track of battery life. Battery life is frequently the Achilles heel of mirrorless cameras, so this grip is highly recommended for anyone using the camera on anything more than a casual basis. The grip also has a charging port on it, so you can charge the batteries in the grip without removing the grip or the batteries. You can even simultaneously charge the battery in the body, with an additional USB lead. The grip has a headphone socket on it for videographers, who will also be pleased to hear the battery grip extends your maximum recording time from 10 minutes of 4K to 30 minutes. For stills shooting, the grip allowed all-day shooting without any battery changes.

Heading out for an evening of street shooting in low light, I explored the high ISO performance of the X-T2. Although perhaps not quite at the top of its class, I found the camera provided pretty clean results up to ISO 6400. Although it lacks the in-body image stabilisation that seems to be creeping into many newer mirrorless offerings, I found the in-lens image stabilisation on the kit lens to be very effective. Shooting at around 1/10th second, I was getting pin-sharp shots handheld. Fujifilm now has an excellent range of both zoom and prime lenses, although it’s mainly the zoom lenses that boast optical image stabilisation.

Image above: Regent Street, London, on a drizzly winter’s evening. Although the X-T2 has no in-body image stabilisation, the lens image stabilisation proved pretty effective for handheld shots at moderately slow shutter speeds.
Fujifilm X-T2 with 18-55mm lens at 18mm, ISO 800, 1/15sec at f/2.8

SPECIFICATIONS

Sensor 24MP micro four thirds

Resolution 6,000 x 4,000 pixels

Lens Interchangeable Fujifilm X mount

Shutter speed 30sec to 1/8000sec, electronic shutter: up to 1/32000sec

ISO 200-12800 (100-51200 extended)

Viewfinder Electronic

LCD 3in articulated (3:2) 1.04M-dot

Flash Hotshoe

Movie mode Max UHD 4K up to 30fps

Card formats SD/SDHC/SDXC dual card slot

Power NP-W126S lithium-ion

Size 133 x 92 x 49mm

Weight 507g (with battery/no lens)

LIKES

Ergonomics; it feels great
in the hands

Excellent, feature-packed
battery grip

Snappy operation in both autofocus and fps

Superb image quality in stills
and 4K video

Dual card slots for backup

DISLIKES

No touchscreen

No in-body stabilisation

VERDICT

The Fujifilm X-T2 feels like a high quality, well thought out product. The grip is a genuinely useful addition that will be indispensible for many users. The camera is responsive and fast and the image quality is excellent. This is a genuine contender among today’s excellent crop of mirrorless cameras.

RATINGS

Handling        96%

Performance 97%

Specification 97%

Value 95%

Overall 96%

Guide price £1399

Contact fujifilm.co.uk

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