Flying High with the Fujifilm X-T2 X Series Camera

Fujiflm X-T2 X-Series Camera
Fujiflm X-T2 X-Series Camera

The recently announced Fujifilm X-T2 X Series digital camera is what I can consider part of the next level of Fujifilm’s mirrorless system. I say next level because the bar has already been set pretty high by both Fujifilm’s previous cameras and some other recent additions to the mirrorless market by Sony and others. It is no longer sufficient to bring a camera into the market based on size and weight alone; photographers are demanding great image quality, fast AF, high quality video, and high-resolution. Any camera in the mirrorless world has to compete with a lot of really great cameras. Mirrorless technology is picking up speed and Fujifilm at the front of the race.

Specs never tell the whole story though, so Fujifilm was nice enough to let Midwest Photo shoot a pre-production model of the Fujifilm X-T2 for a couple of days. Fujifilm gave us the camera with the Vertical Power Booster grip, and I was seriously impressed. I have shot with almost every digital camera to come out in the last 5 years, and this is definitely one of the most powerful and professional mirrorless cameras from any manufacturer yet. And I happened to fly in a helicopter. 

Pre-flight check. Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS at ISO 400 1/50 sec at f /4.0
The Fujifilm X-T2
The Fujifilm X-T2

The original X-T1 is an amazing camera, but the Fujifilm X-T2 X Series camera is all about the upgrades. The styling is similar to the X-T1, but this is a whole new beast in a lot of ways. Fujifilm has been paying attention to the requests of both enthusiast and professional photographers, adding features not traditionally found on mirrorless cameras, like dual card slots and weather sealing. The more you look at the specs of the camera, you realize that this is a very capable professional camera in a small, modular, mirrorless package.

Upgrades and Impressions:

  • New 24MP X-Trans CMOS III sensor!

The 16mp X-Trans sensor is a great sensor, but 24 mega pixels tends to be a sweet spot for a lot of people, especially on an APS-C sized sensor. For professional work or large format printing, it is very nice to have the extra resolution to work with. The increase in resolution to 24 mega pixels brings this camera into the view of a lot of landscape photographers, who may have avoided the 16 mp sensor.

The beauty of the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor
1: Microlenses 2: X-Trans Color Filter 3: L/R Light Interception Filter 4: Phase Detection Sensor / Green Filter Pixel 5: Photodiode

The thing that really makes Fujifilm X Series different is the way that Fujifilm arranges the RGB filters over the sensor. The typical Bayer arrangement works well for other camera companies, but Fujifilm has pioneered the use of this new type of sensor to great effect. The X Series color filter arrangement enables Fujfilm to avoid the use of the Low Pass filter, enabling a very sharp sensor. Fujifilm also has some of the best built-in color profiles for photographers that want great color and B&W JPEGS without all the post-processing time.

Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 1600 1/750 sec at f/6.4
Just look at the color! Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 1600 1/750 sec at f/6.4
ISO 400 1/7500 at f/4.5
Shot with the Fujfilm X-T2 Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 400 1/7500 at f/4.5

 

Fujifilm X-T2 ISO 1000 1-1250 sec at f - 7.1
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 1000 1/1250 at f/7.1
  • Intelligent Hybrid 325-Point Autofocus System

  • AF point selection joystick

The AF joystick is a welcome addition to a camera with one of the most advanced AF systems on the market.
The AF joystick is a welcome addition to a camera with one of the most advanced AF systems on the market. Image courtesy of Fujifilm.

These two points are where this camera really starts to kick out the jams. The Intelligent Hybrid 325-Point Autofocus System feels as fast as any AF I have ever used on a mirrorless camera and seems at least as fast and accurate as any DSLR. Although my AF tests were not scientific, per se, the proof is in the shooting. The ease at which you can adjust the focus points with the new joystick, combined with the unbelievable speed and accuracy make this camera more than capable in the wildlife/sports genres; areas in which Fujiflm cameras are not the norm. This new AF system is so advanced Fujiflm has made a separate website for it, so take a look if you want more diagrams of the technology. 

Image courtesy of Fujifilm.
The tracking abilities of this camera surpass that of any other mirrorless camera I have used, with the possible exception of the Sony a6300. Image courtesy of Fujifilm.

Testing the autofocus on the Fujifilm X-T2 was a lot of fun. This AF system is as simple or as complex as you want it to be, with a ton of customization. Plus, it’s fast. Below, I quickly panned upwards using the Fujinon XF 50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR lens and the focusing system just nailed it. This is a great autofocus system for any camera, leading me to believe that Fujifilm is just getting warmed up with autofocus

Fujifilm X-T2 with the FUJINON LENS XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 400 1/3200 of a sec at f/4.5
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 400 1/3200 of a sec at f/4.5
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon at ISO 400 1/7500 sec at f /4.5
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR at ISO 400 1/7500 sec at f /4.5
  • 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

  • Weather Sealing

The previous generation X-T camera, the Fujifilm X-T1 already had one of the largest and highest quality EVF’s (electronic viewfinder) on the market, and this is just another huge step further. The high frame rate and super fast refresh time makes the viewfinder as easy on the eyes as an optical finder, but with a lot more info overlays, real-time exposure simulation, focus peaking, and many more features available only on an EVF. this viewfinder is huge, bright, and just overall amazing. It is hands down, the best viewfinder on the market.

  • 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

High quality video was never a strength of the X Series line, but this camera poised to change that. Fujiflm aimed at the still-image-only photographers at the start, allowing Panasonic and Sony to pull ahead in the high res video segment. With this release, Fujifllm decided to put professional grade 4K video and a new F log video profile for shooting flat cinema style video. For a lot of photographers high quality 4K video is a must, and amateurs can benefit also. The perfect camera, for me, is one that is small enough to be relatively inconspicuous for street photography, while still able to shoot some cinematic footage when I need it to.

Take a look at the video below. I left the DJI Osmo 1920×1080 footage at its normal size so it is easy to see the size difference between Fujifilm’s 4K footage. Being able to shoot great 4K footage right to your SD card is amazing. I simply switched into video mode and was off and running.

In my opinion, there is barely any rolling shutter artifacts and great image quality. This is not an exhaustive test by any means, but the quality is easy to see. I look forward to checking out the F-log when the final production camera is released.

  • 8 fps continuous shooting with AF (11 fps with booster grip)

  • 5 fps continuous shooting with live view updates between capture

The new Fujiflm Vertical Booster Battery grip, made specifically for the X-T2, is where the real action is. This new grip allows one battery in the camera body and two additional batteries in the grip, with real time battery life readouts. That is three total batteries! 

One way to think about this camera is that it’s kind of modular which is one of the things I like the most about it. If you want performance and battery life, or you are shooting high-end video you use the battery grip. When you are going out for a couple of hours of street photography, you can leave it at home. When you enjoy shooting lots of different genres of photography the flexibility of the removable grip is amazing. 

Power Booster grip for Fujifilm X-T2
Power Booster grip for Fujifilm X-T2

When you flip the “beast boost mode” switch, the camera jumps from an already impressive 8fps, to a lighting fast 11fps in continuous shooting. Just a couple of years ago these frame rates were only available on the most expensive DSLR’s! Everything is fast on this camera. The improved continuous shooting rates will please action-shooters, and portrait photographers will be able to shoot all day in the studio without ever changing a battery.

In addition to the fast frame rates, this camera has an electronic shutter setting allowing shutter speeds to surpass the typical 1/8000 of a sec max speed by two full stops to 1/32,000 of a second. You read that right. 1/32,000 of a second shutter speed. Freezing fast moving subjects just got a whole lot easier. 

With the Boost mode switched on with the power grip, this camera becomes a very capable sports and journalism camera.
With the Boost mode switched on with the power grip, this camera becomes a very capable sports and journalism camera.
1/22,000 of a second shutter speed!
1/22,000 of a second shutter speed!
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II compatible)

  • USB 3.0 socket

Dual card slots.
Dual card slots is a welcome feature for any serious shooter.

These two features may not excite every photographer, but anyone shooting weddings, or really any professional photography will rejoice in the addition of dual card slots. Fujifilm made it very easy to switch between slots in the menu system, allowing images to be recorded to specific cards with ease. The peace of mind that comes with dual card slots is, even just psychologically, extremely helpful. I haven’t had many memory cards fail on me over the years, but it does happen. This feature alone could save you thousands in legal and drive recovery fees. 

Fujifilm X-T2 ISO 800 1-1250 sec at f - 6.4

Ready for lift off…

We were lucky enough to have the opportunity to ride in a Columbus Police Helicopter on one of their hourly city patrols. They were really friendly and accommodating. I was very impressed by how these gentleman treated us like friends as they showed us around our city and enabled us to shoot high-resolution photographs that even a drone wouldn’t be able to get… legally, anyway.

The experience of just riding in a helicopter above the city was good enough for me. But, hanging out of the side of a helicopter with maybe the best new camera to come out this year, with awesome AF and image quality was truly amazing.

Here we go! Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS at ISO 400 1/450 sec at f/4.0
Here we go! Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS at ISO 400 1/450 sec at f/4.0
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS at ISO 400 1/4000 sec at f /4.0
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF10-24mm F4 R OIS at ISO 400 1/4000 sec at f /4.0
Fujifilm X-T2 ISO 800 1/12800 sec at f/5.6
Fujifilm X-T2 ISO 800 1/12800 sec at f/5.6
Fujifilm X-T2 ISO 800 1-1600 sec at f - 9.0
Fujifilm X-T2 ISO with the Fujinon XF 10-24mm F4 R OIS at ISO 800 1/2200 sec at f/9.0
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR ISO 800 1-/2400 sec at f/5.6
Fujifilm X-T2 with the Fujinon XF 50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR ISO 800 1-/2400 sec at f/5.6

Final thoughts:

I always try to find something that I don’t like about a camera when I write about it. I honestly couldn’t find anything. I’m sure that there will be some things that people will find that needs to be changed, but Fujifilm is amazingly responsive to feedback, regularly releasing firmware updates to correct any issues that may arise. This camera was a pre-production model, so it did not have the latest firmware that will ship with the cameras, and I still didn’t have any issues.

Okay, okay okay… here’s a downside- You need to use the vertical power boost grip to have a headphone jack and make the most out of the 4k video and continuous shooting. There it is. Some may bemoan this fact, but I actually don’t mind it. Without the grip, the camera is small enough to be used for street shooting, and travel photography. With the grip it is still a manageable size considering it is still just about the size of the average DSLR when the grip is attached.

Who is this camera for? In my opinion, this camera covers just about everything a pro shooter could want, and way more than an enthusiast will ever need. The image quality was amazing, the size and weight were right where they need to be, and the dual card slots and 4K video are real clinchers. If you are a Fujfilm fan already, this camera is the next step in the evolution of the X-Series cameras that have so many dedicated shooters going crazy. If you are not a Fujifilm owner already, this is the camera that may turn you into an X-shooter.

This camera is due for release on September 8th so place your pre-order now to be at the top of the list. 

Gear used for this article:

TJ Hansen

Photographer at MPEX.com

2 thoughts on “Flying High with the Fujifilm X-T2 X Series Camera

What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s