Cameras

Fujifilm X-T2 Review

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Ever since the launch of the X-Pro2, we’ve been expecting to see a replacement for the much-loved X-T1 – and, sure enough, the X-T2 was announced back in July.

With the X-T2 sitting alongside the X-Pro2, Fujifilm believes it now offers two distinct options for photographers. The X-Pro2, with its rangefinder design, is less obtrusive and suited to Fujifilm’s range of prime lenses, while the more SLR-like X-T2 is designed with the brand’s growing selection of fast zoom lenses in mind.

Update: The Fujifilm X-T2 has now been replaced by the X-T3, which brings with it a new 26.1MP sensor and 4K video recording along with a revamped autofocusing system, although the X-T2 is still widely available brand new. The X-T3 itself has been joined by a more junior X-T30 alternative, one that packs much of the same specs, and this is currently retailing at a similar price to the older X-T2. So if you fancy a more up-to-date spec sheet inside a slightly more portable body, the X-T30 is worth adding to your shortlist. The X-H1 has also taken the flagship X-series spot previously (jointly) occupied by the X-T2 and X-Pro2.

Check Fujifilm X-T2 Price

Features

  • 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS sensor
  • 3.0-inch tilt-angle screen, 1,040,000 dots
  • 4K video capture to 30p

It’s no great surprise to see the 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans III CMOS sensor that we first saw in the X-Pro2 in the X-T2. This sensor, with its clever filter designed to eke out even more detail compared to conventional designs, has delivered some impressive results in the X-Pro2 and is a welcome upgrade from the 16.3MP sensor in the X-T1.

The sensitivity range runs from a modest 200-12,800, but can be expanded to 100-51,200 – and the good news is that, unlike in the X-T1, this extended range doesn’t force you to shoot in JPEG, with raw capture now possible as well.

The X-T2’s electronic viewfinder has also come in for some attention, and while the 2.36 million-dot OLED display with 0.77x magnification remains the same, there are numerous improvements over the one used in the X-T1.

It’s now twice as bright (500cdm/2 in comparison to 250cdm/2), there’s an automatic brightness adjustment function and it features a higher baseline frame rate of 60fps (compared to 54fps on the X-T1) – and there’s now a Boost mode that increases this to 100fps to ensure that even fast0moving subjects are displayed smoothly. As you’d expect though, this increase refresh rate does come with a compromise, with the camera demanding more power from the battery.

Along with the viewfinder, the rear screen has been updated, although at first glance it may appear that very little has changed. The 3.0-inch display keeps exactly the same 1.04 million-dot resolution for starters – it would have been nice to have seen this increased to match the X-Professional2’s 1.62 million dots, but the articulated display does have a clever trick up its sleeve.

While the articulated display on the X-T1 was great when shooting landscape-format shots, whether that was from low-down or raised positions, it wasn’t much use when you came to shoot in portrait format. The X-T2 fixes that, with the new double-jointed articulated design making it possible to pull the screen outwards and away from the body when the camera is tilted on its side.

Interestingly though, while the X70 benefited from a touchscreen, Fujifilm has opted to omit this feature from the X-T2, its argument being that having spoken with end-users, there just isn’t the hunger for it on X-series cameras. While that may be the case, some might feel that this is a bit of unnecessary oversight.

The X-T2 is the first Fujifilm X-series camera to shoot 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) video recording, offering a bit rate of 100Mbps (compared to 34Mbps on the X-T1) at 30, 25 or 24fps. It offers recording times of up to 10 minutes – although if you attach the optional VPBC-XT2 battery grip this is extended to 29 minutes and 59 seconds – while there’s an HDMI output, audio volume live monitoring and adjustment, and a 3.5mm microphone socket in the body (there’s a 3.5mm headphone terminal in the optional grip).

The aforementioned all-new VPB-XT2 battery grip accommodates two batteries (as well as being supplied with a dual charger), and as well as offering benefits mentioned above it improves the burst performance of the X-T2 from 8fps to 11fps, while Fujifilm claims that with two fully charged batteries you’ll be good for 1,000 shots – and that’s not forgetting the other battery tucked away in the camera.

Finally, the X-T2 now features dual SD card slots around its side (the X-T1 only offered one), and these accept both SDHC and SDXC cards in addition to older SD types. Furthermore, unlike on the X-Pro2, both are UHS-II compatible, which gives them equal footing from the performance point of view.

Build and handling

  • Magnesium alloy construction
  • Dust and weather-sealed
  • Weighs 507g

As we saw with the X-Pro2, rather than opting for a radical new design with the second-generation model, Fujifilm has elected to take the X-T1 as its starting point, refining and tweaking elements of that style to arrive at what promises to be an even more polished camera.

As before, the body is crafted from magnesium alloy, providing a solid and durable feel in the hand. The body also is weather-sealed at 63 points to protect the camera from dust and moisture, so when it’s partnered with one of the growing number of WR (weather-resistant) Fujinon lenses you’ll have a setup that’s very well protected from the elements.

If you’ve got a keen eye, you’ll notice that the ISO and shutter speed dials have been heightened slightly compared to the X-T1, while the dial locks that divided opinion on the X-T1 have already been adapted, making it now possible to toggle each dial’s setting without the need to release the lock, should you wish.

This is certainly a welcome improvement and reduces the frustration when trying to quickly change settings as the camera is raised to your eye, though it still feels slightly awkward when setting the ISO like this – and would be nice to see the option to set a function button to quickly adjust ISO.

The exposure compensation dial has also been tweaked, so as well as offering physical adjustments of up to ±3EV in 1/3 increments, there’s now a C position to set compensation up to ±5EV using the camera’s front command dial. This works perfectly – even if you’re utilizing the command dial to create aperture, simply press it to swap over to exposure compensation adjustment.

The X-T2 does away with a dedicated video button, instead of having the setting amongst the drive modes, the thinking is that instead of simply using the X-T2 to capture the odd short video, Fujifilm wants us to see video as a more sophisticated, dedicated mode on the camera – more on that in a bit.

Fujifilm, in addition, has raised the 4-way buttons and, as we found with the X-Pro2, the X-T2 gets the benefit of a multi-directional focus lever that the thumb can rest on, rendering it a much quicker process to select the desired focus area.

The level of customisation is impressive as well, allowing you to tailor the X-T2 to your own specific shooting style. There are six dedicated function buttons (including the 4-way buttons), plus the AE-L and AF-L control keys, with each of these enabling you to assign a plethora of settings in the X-T2’s menu.

Other little tweaks include a larger eyecup for more comfortable viewfinder shooting, locks on both the card cover and battery compartment, and a slightly enlarged handgrip and rear thumb rest.

These last two additions make the X-T2 that bit more comfortable when hand-holding, with the overall feel of the X-T2 just that bit nicer than the X-T1. It really is a nice camera to pick up and shoot with, with the grip further enhancing the experience, though this obviously makes the digital camera that bit larger.

Performance

  • 8fps burst shooting (14fps with electronic shutter)
  • Mechanical and electronic shutter
  • 0.3sec start-up time

The unchanged TTL 256-zone metering system performs very well, especially when challenged by high contrast scenes, where if anything it tended to underexpose. This wasn’t really an issue as this meant highlights could be recovered later on, while using face detection AF the metering would show a bias towards overexposing the shot for a more flattering high-key result. Because you can see the exposure in real-time on the EVF, it’s possible to easily toggle the publicity compensation dial – especially if you have it set to ‘C’ and adjust via the front command dial.

Sticking with the viewfinder for a moment, and it’s lovely and bright in use. The refresh rate delivers an incredibly clear display with plenty of shooting information available. The combination of this and the tilt-angle rear screen make the X-T2 and pleasure to compose shots – the double-hinged display a real benefit when shooting portrait-format images from low angles.

Moving onto the white balance and it copes perfectly in a range of environments, only really struggling when confronted with a mix of daylight and incandescent lighting, with the X-T2 opting for a slightly too warm result. There are plenty of presets to choose from too, while the Auto setting can be fine-tuned to your taste.

Raw files deliver very pleasing colour, while those shooting in JPEG have Fuji’s excellent set of Film Simulation modes on tap as well. Provia/Standard is the default option and a good choice for general shooting, while the likes of Velvia noticeable boost saturation and the Acros mono filter (and its yellow, red and green options) delivers some really nice results (see above) for those that like to shoot black and white. While it’s hard to beat the depth of a processed raw file, pick the right film simulation mode with their unique mix of colour, sharpening and contrast, and you can get some cracking results without the need to spend ages processing images later.

The burst rate is a decent 8fps while putting a decent SDHC UHS-II card in the X-T2 and you can expect to shoot a consecutive 27 uncompressed raw files at this rate before the buffer needs time to churn through the data, while if you’re solely shooting JPEG files, 81 files are possible before it slows up.

If you’re going to be using the additional battery grip, the burst rate increases to a fast 11fps, with it possible to capture the same amount of raw files as before, but this time at this faster price. If you want to opt for the electronic shutter instead of the mechanical shutter, then it’s possible to shoot at a burst rate of a very snappy 14fps without the need for the optional hold and record 24 uncompressed raw documents in doing so prior to the rate slows.

Check Out: Best Fujifilm X-T2 Lenses 

Verdict

The original X-T1 has been a firm favourite amongst photographers and us here at TechRadar, and it’s easy to see why when you take into account its small form-factor, tactile controls, solid build and lovely results. It wasn’t perfect though, with the AF performance, particularly in continuous mode, a big stumbling block for the camera. It’s an area that’s undeniably deterred a lot of potential users looking to switch from their DSLR and who’ve grown accustomed to an advanced AF system that doesn’t stumble when trained on a fast-moving subject.

Now though, the X-T2 looks to change all that. While maintaining and tweaking the lovely handling characteristics of the X-T1, as well as some welcome additions like the double-hinged rear display, the biggest leap has to be the AF overall performance. Not only is it a huge step up from the system in the X-T1, but it’s also a very polished and sophisticated system in its own right, delivering an easy and reliable efficiency that when matched with the fast burst shooting setting, make this a very capable camera for action. There’s still a bit of room for improvement, but factor in the new sensor that delivers pin-sharp results and the X-T2 needs to be one of the most desirable cameras available right now.

Check Best Fujifilm X-T2 Prices 

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