Fujifilm X-T2 Review

Introduction

Initially released spring 2017, the Fujifilm X-T2 sits in Fuji’s upper-midrange of their mirrorless lineup. In price and features, it’s largely identical to the previously released Fujifilm X-Pro2. However, when compared to the predecessor, the X-T1, it features improvements in virtually every shortcoming. Most notably, however, is the updated 24.3MP sensor and the newer X-Trans III processor. Fuji claims these two improvements along with the refinements made to the autofocusing system and the addition of 4K recording make for a camera that’s the perfect fit to take on Sony’s a6300 and Nikon’s D7200 cameras. Today, we assess just how well they did and whether these improvements are enough to rival the APS-C titans.

Fujifilm-X-T2-Mirrorless-Digital-Camera-specs

What are some of the goods, bads, and uglies of the Fujifilm X-T2?

Pros:

Image Quality

It features a 24.3MP X-Trans III CMOS sensor, similar to the X-Pro2. The images it produces are nothing shy of gorgeous. The color rendition is brilliant, even on the camera’s default settings. And the white balance is spot-on and quite neutral, typical for Fuji. The camera also delivers enough dynamic range for ample room during post-production recovery without any noise in the shadows.

It has a continuous burst rate of 14 fps, using the electronic shutter and optional grip, or 11 fps, using the mechanical shutter without the grip. And the buffer depth is surprisingly good as well at 25 uncompressed RAW images or 30 with the VPB-XT2 grip. Also, it’s important to note that when shooting at the lower 5 fps continuous low speed, it experiences minimal viewfinder blackout. And thus, it’s a suitable contender for sports, journalism, and wildlife applications.

As mentioned above, it features an electronic shutter, which provides faster shooting speeds. But, it also is quite helpful when more discreet or silent shooting is required, such as weddings or events.

Video Quality

The X-T1 was a significant step for Fuji from the video standpoint, and this camera surely follows suit. In video capabilities, this camera represents a significant step forward for Fuji. It now shoots 4K video up to 30 fps and 1080p Full HD video up to 60 fps both at 100 MBps. This 100 Mbps bitrate, while not industry-leading, provides a good compromise between post-production flexibility and storage demand. This camera supersamples its sensor to create both 4K and 1080p videos. With that, like the image quality it delivers in photos, the video quality is also excellent. Videos are sharp and free of moiré or compression artifacts. And like previous Fujifilm cameras, it also features built-in film simulation modes. And these translate to recordings to create unique and stylistic videos, which are difficult to replicate in post-production alone. And when these simulations combine with its superior image processing, the camera is capable of delivering outstanding color-rendition.

The camera provides a clean HDMI output for use with external recorders. When connected to a recorder, it delivers an 8-bit 4:2:2 signal with the same data rate as the Panasonic GH4 and a6300, quite respectable for this class. Also, the camera can output Fujifilm’s F-log profile, for wider dynamic range and flatter color or the film simulation modes.

Also, of note, Fujifilm has included 120p 1080p, internal F-log recording to the SD cards, and the ability to change ISO while filming via a firmware update.

Low Light Performance

It has a native ISO of 200 to 12,800, further expandable to ISO 51,200. Low light performance is surprisingly outstanding. Users can expect usable images up to ISO 6,400 or 12,800, with minor post-production noise reduction applied. And videos are usable up to ISO 6,400 as well. The noise that is present at these values is well controlled and free of color casts or shifting in the shadows. Overall, its performance rivals the full-frame counterparts at this price point.

Focusing Performance

The focusing system has improved significantly over the predecessor. It now features a 325 point Intelligent Hybrid AF system, where 169 of these points use phase-detection. In point to point single-shot autofocus, it’s performance rivals both the Sony a6300 and Nikon D500 in speed and accuracy. However, the most notable improvements come in the camera’s continuous autofocusing performance. It now features Face-detect and Eye-Detect AF, both are customizable as well, allowing users to select which eye to track.

However, the most notable improvement in the system comes in the form of added customization over the tracking performance. The camera now provides an AF-C custom settings option, which adjusts how the continuous tracking system reacts to movement. With these settings, you can now determine to what degree the camera ignores incoming obstacles that enter the frame. Unlike the Sony a6300, the Fuji delivers far greater flexibility and versatility in customizing the tracking performance. And, in many respects, it offers the same level of versatility that closely matches Canon’s 5D Mark III. For best performance, you will surely need to configure the system, however. But, once set up, it easily rivals Sony in continuous subject tracking performance.

Fuji has implemented Manual focus assist well on this camera for those who prefer manual shooting. Merely pressing the rear dial engages focus magnification, regardless of the setting on the lens. And the magnification can either take up the entire screen or a subsection depending on your preference. Fuji has even included a helpful focus scale, to better gauge distance and calculate the depth of field.

Display & Viewfinder

Like the predecessor, it maintains the 3.0-inch tilting rear screen with a resolution of 1.04M dots. While it supports the same 45-degree articulation for low or high angle shooting, Fuji has also added a third axis. This third axis is perfect for low or high angle shooting when the camera is in the portrait orientation. It’s quite a rare and uncommon implementation, but helpful.

It has an OLED electronic viewfinder, which has improved over the predecessor. While it still offers the same 2.36M dot resolution and 0.77x magnification, it’s now twice as bright. And not only that, but it also provides a variable refresh mode. Which, when used with the optional grip in the boost mode, offers a refresh rate of 100 Hz for reduced latency when tracking fast action. Outside of this change, it retains the eye sensor, which automatically senses an approaching eye to enable the viewfinder.

It also features added display view options. Users can now choose between electronic viewfinder only, LCD only, or EVF with eye sensor only. A healthy selection of options.

User Interface

It features classically designed Fuji menus. And, while they’re complicated, navigating the menus is quite intuitive. You can also navigate using the AF joystick for a more responsive experience, instead of just the multi-way controller alone.

It features the customizable Quick (Q) menu, which allows users to have their favorite shooting settings on a single page.

All of its buttons are fully customizable, providing approximately 30 different options to customize the entire layout to your specific preferences.

It features the customizable My Menu, which allows users to create a predefined list of their favorite main menu settings. And this menu also becomes the default menu once configured.

Physical Layout & Ergonomics

Upon receiving feedback from their user base regarding the X-T1, they’ve now increased the height of the physical dials, quite substantially. They’re now far more comfortable to turn and deliver a better grip than the predecessor. And, overall, the ergonomics have improved. The camera provides an even better tactile feel and more responsive changes. The grip is also now slightly deeper, with a better finish for a more reassuring hold. The body maintains its robust magnesium alloy construction, allowing for full weather sealing while still only weighing a mear 457g body only.

It features an AF joystick for responsive autofocus point selection and menu navigation. This is surprising as this is usually a feature reserved for high-end cameras.

It features dual adjustment dials for controlling aperture and shutter speed if needed.

It features a multi-controller d-pad, which also functions as an OK button to engage settings when navigating the menu.

It now features back-button focusing using the AE-L button, detaching autofocus from the shutter release.

It now also includes locks on the ISO and shutter dials, to avoid accidental changes during storage.

Niche Features/Extras

It features dual SD cards, both of which support the faster UHS-II format.

It features 15 film simulation modes.

It features built-in Wi-Fi for wireless image transfer, geotagging, and remote shooting.

It supports high-speed sync, allowing for synchronization of external flash units at 1/250 shutter speeds— quite a rare finding on this class of camera.

It now offers a 3.5mm headphone input when used with the optional grip, a first for a Fujifilm camera. Now users can finally monitor captured audio. And they’ve finally done away with the 2.5mm port, removing the need for any external adapters.

When using the external battery grip, users can take advantage of the Boost mode it supplies, which provide several notable improvements to performance. Firstly, as expected, it improves battery life. The grip holds two additional batteries, which extends the total lifespan to approx 1,110 shots. Secondly, it extends 4K video recording to the industry-standard 29 minutes and 59 second recording time. Thirdly, it increases the refresh rate of the electronic viewfinder to 100 Hz, for reduced latency. And it even surprisingly improves autofocusing performance for more consistent focus. Lastly, it includes a headphone input and an AC adapter for continuous power during operation via the AC-9VS charger. Wow. That’s quite a list. As we can see, the optional grip provides immense value to make it a worthwhile purchase. Though, it’s important to note that enabling boost mode requires two batteries installed. And also of note is that the grip retains full weather sealing and duplicates all physical controls, including the joystick.

It features the more recent USB 3.0 port for improved file transfer speeds. This port also supports USB charging as well.

It features help manual focusing aids such as the dual-screen display and peaking.

Since Fuji designs specifically APS-C cameras, they are now the leaders in this format and offer the most extensive selection of high-quality prime lenses. While many may claim full-frame is indeed better, that’s not always the reality. With this system, the likelihood of missing a full-frame is rather low. The only slight advantage offered by a larger full-frame sensor is better low light performance. But, considering most users don’t often go above ISO 6,400, this difference is insignificant.

Cons:

Video Capabilities

The camera lacks zebras for exposure clipping indication. And it also lacks any advanced video features such as waveforms, vectorscopes, and histograms while recording.

When shooting 4K at 30 fps, you will incur a small crop, so you will need to factor it in when choosing lenses if shoot at that frame rate.

Without the optional grip, 4K recording time is limited to 10 minutes and 1080p to 15 minutes. Ouch.

Like many cameras in this class, it also splits up video files into 4 GB chunks, which require post-production merging.

Like many mirrorless cameras in this class, it also suffers from rolling shutter when shooting in 4K.

Also of note: if any of the batteries die, the recording will stop. It doesn’t make a difference if it’s in the grip or inside the camera. Strange.

Battery Life

The battery life is average. It uses the NP-W126S battery, which Fuji rates for 340 shots per charge. However, the camera only provides 40 minutes of 4K and 50 minutes of full HD video, which is far below average. Without the battery grip, the longevity here isn’t great.

Display

The rear screen lacks touch functionality. And while the articulation it provides is useful, it lacks a fully articulating display. And this can be a potential deal-breaker for those looking for a capable video camera for vlogging or self filming.

One slight downside is that manually focusing using the rear screen displays a slightly soft image. The screen simply lacks the fine sharpness needed to gauge such minute details accurately.

Ergonomics

The Drive Mode dial and Metering Dials are recessed and difficult to press. The exposure compensation dial is also quite tricky, as well.

The video mode has a dedicated position on the selector wheel, and videos are activated using the shutter button. Thus, you cannot go from shooting stills then press a single button to record video, if needed.

Considering the battery grip is an essential component to this camera’s overall performance, it adds quite a bit of heft to the camera once attached. It makes it much heavier, even more so when mounted with longer lenses. And, unfortunately, it turns a compact camera into something more of a film SLR, and you immediately notice the increase in weight.

Lacking Features

It lacks in-camera image stabilization. Instead, you will have to use optically stabilized lenses if you desire stabilized footage.

It lacks a built-in pop-up flash. However, Fuji includes an external flash that mounts to the hot-shoe.
Is this a good beginner camera?

Yes. Overall it’s an excellent camera and one that’s packed with performance and advanced features. It inherits the classic Fujifilm styling, design, and interface, for a more sensory-driven approach to photography. And this physical approach will give new users a real edge when learning the fundamentals.

What are the best lenses & bundles for the Fujifilm X-T2?

General Photography: 

Fujinon XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR

Specifically for Macro Photography:

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro

Specifically for Landscape & Astrophotography Photography:

Fujinon XF16mmF2.8 R WR

Specifically for Portrait Photography:

Fujinon XF 23mm F1.4 R
XF35mmF2 R WR
Fujinon XF50mmF2 R WR 
XF90mmF2 R LM WR

Specifically for Sports & Wildlife Photography:

Fujinon XF200mmF2 R LM OIS WR

Specifically for Product & Still Life Photography:

XF60mmF2.4 R Macro

Extra Batteries:

Fujifilm NP-W126S Battery

SD Cards:

Sony TOUGH-G series SDXC UHS-II Card

Is the Fujifilm X-T2 a good camera for you?

Yes.

It makes an excellent stills centric camera, with the amount of easily accessible physical controls offered along with the resounding image quality.

It makes for an excellent choice for those looking for a capable hybrid camera to shoot beautiful stills and 4K video. The quality and color rendition are both extraordinary. Sure, it’s still missing a few advanced video-centric features, but the features it does have prove their worth and are quite beneficial.

Now, for those looking for primarily a video camera, while it is an excellent choice. Keep in mind the battery grip is an essential component to unlock its full capabilities. Thus, it may not be entirely worthwhile. The battery grip plus two extra batteries come at quite a steep cost, placing the camera in a much higher category than what it sells for alone. However, if you are willing to take on the extra cost and the added bulk, it represents a good compromise.

Going back to the battery grip, it’s such an integral part of this camera. While the camera delivers extraordinary capabilities without it, you gain so much more with it. We must stress here just how important it is if purchasing this camera.

All in all, Fujifilm X-T2 is an excellent camera. It’s one that brings much-needed style and sex appeal to a digital camera. Yet, simultaneously, inheriting many features typically reserved for high-end professional cameras. And many of these are rare to find on cameras in this class. Fuji has hit a grand slam with this camera. Their commitment to their user base shows with this iteration. And in the end, they’ve shown they can easily rival the pros.

Overview
  • Image Quality
  • Video Quality
  • Focusing Performance
  • Low Light Performance
  • Dynamic Range
  • Battery Performance
  • Display & Viewfinder
  • User Interface
  • Physical Layout & Ergonomics
3.8

Summary

The Fujifilm X-T2 is an excellent camera that brings much-needed style to the mirrorless market place. Yet, simultaneously, it inherits many rare features typically reserved for high-end professional cameras. Fuji has hit a grand slam with this camera. Their commitment to their user base shows with this iteration.