Elevating X-Trans? Fujifilm X-T2 Review

The Fujifilm X-T2 is an updated version of the company’s top-level DSLR-shaped APS-C camera. It’s built around the same 24MP X-Trans sensor as the X-Pro2 but ends up being much more than an X-T1 with more pixels. Instead, the X-T2 is a camera that does much to address the X-System’s remaining weaknesses, which can only broaden its already considerable appeal.

Fujifilm X-T2 Key Features:

  • 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

The X-Pro2 represented a good step forward for image quality within the system and the X-T2 gains all of that improvement, but there are also some considerable changes in terms of autofocus, video and flash control, suggesting Fujifilm wants its the X-T2 to be an all-round more capable camera than its predecessor, rather than just building on its existing strengths.

The body seems broadly unchanged at first glance but there’s a clever doubly-hinged flip-out screen that seems to offer many of the flexibility advantages of a fully articulated monitor while retaining the more compact form of a tilting screen.

There’s also a Performance Boost mode that speeds up several aspects of the camera’s behavior (at the expense of some battery life), but that really comes into its own when the optional ‘Power Boost Vertical Grip’ is added. None of these additions comes for free, though: at $ 1599, body only, the X-T2’s launch price has jumped $ 300, compared to its predecessors’.

Autofocus

Part and parcel of that 24MP sensor are the 169 phase-detection points that we saw in a large central square region of the sensor on the X-Pro2. Beyond this, the X-T2 now gains an extra two columns of 13 contrast-detection AF points down each side of the frame, widening its AF area and bringing it to a total of 325 AF points in total.

Fujifilm also promises a more powerful processor and revised algorithms, along with faster sensor read-out, to improve the camera’s speed, regardless of whether it’s using a combination of phase detection and contrast detection (Hybrid AF), or simply the latter alone.

To get the best-possible performance out of the newly refined AF system, the X-T2 introduces a use case-based AF-C setup system. Much like the one we’ve seen on high-end Canon DSLRs, this lets you specify the types of movement you’re expecting from your subject, so that the camera can try to respond appropriately.

Video

The X-T2 makes a bigger leap forward into video than we were expecting. There was much chatter around the time of the X-Pro2’s launch that the camera’s hardware was, theoretically, capable of 4K capture, but that the company hadn’t pursued its development for such a stills-orientated model. Well, it has now.

The X-T2’s movie capabilities are a big step forward for the system.

But Fujifilm has done more than just do enough to be able to emblazon the phrase ‘4K capable’ on the box: the camera also gains a mic socket and on-screen audio monitoring with the ability to assign mic volume to a Fn button. There’s also an ‘F-Log’ flat profile to give flexibility while color grading.

The good news is that our first shots of our test scene suggest the camera’s 4K footage is much more impressive than the 1080p that the first X-Trans cameras could muster. Fujifilm says its taken from an area 1.8x larger than the 4K UHD region, which suggests oversampling in each dimension. Combine this with 4K output over HDMI and the X-T2 looks like the first X-Trans camera that might appeal to shooters interested in shooting both stills and video.

Flash control

One of the missing pieces of an increasingly well fleshed-out XF mount system has been the lack of advanced flash control – something that the X-T2 is looking to address. Up until now, users have had to turn to third-party makers if they wanted to communicate TTL flash information to remote flash units.

The newly introduced EF-X500 flash allows high speed flash sync and remote TTL flash control for the first time, making it significantly easier to use the X-T2 with strobes.

Optional ‘Power Booster Grip’

Along with the X-T2, Fujifilm has introduced the VPB-XT2, a vertical battery grip that holds two extra batteries. As well as significantly extending the camera’s battery life, the grip also extends the camera’s ‘Boost’ mode. With the grip attached, this is able to draw power from multiple batteries, increasing the camera’s maximum continuous shooting rate, as well as extending its video recording time to 30 minutes.

The entertainingly-named ‘Vertical Power Booster Grip’ can house two addition batteries (without displacing the camera’s internal unit), helping increase capacity to around 1000 frames between charges. It also adds a headphone socket and a ‘Boost’ switch that improves responsiveness and ups the frame rate to 11 fps.

This grip features the same level of environmental sealing as the camera body and also plays host to a headphone socket for audio monitoring while shooting video.

Review History

Review History
6 July 2016 First Impressions, Studio Scene and Beta Gallery published,
based on pre-production camera running f/w 1.34
19 October 2016 Image Quality, Autofocus and Conclusion published,
based on production camera running f/w 1.00

Articles: Digital Photography Review (dpreview.com)

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