A few days ago I had the chance to meet up with our local Fujifilm representative at a local camera store to get a look at the new X-T2. A few people have asked what I thought about it, especially since I’ve already pre-ordered one for myself. I went in armed with a lot of knowledge based on what I’ve read and seen so far, but there were still a few surprises that I didn’t expect.
WHAT I LIKED
- It's faithful to the original X-T1 design, and that's a good thing. They didn't do anything drastic like switch the positions of the shutter speed and ISO dials, so it feels easy to make the transition from the X-T1 to the X-T2.
- Speaking of the ISO and shutter speed dials, the new "pen button" push-in / push-out locking mechanisms work well, and the dials themselves seem much more solid and easy to grab without moving the shooting mode underneath. Old habits die hard, and at first I still found myself pushing and holding the ISO lock down, which obviously isn't necessary now.
- The new menu navigation is intuitive. I'm told it's the same as what's on the X-Pro2 with some additions (such as 4K video options).
- The doors for the memory cards and ports are definitely improved, with a decisive "click-iness" to indicate the latch is closed.
- When picking it up for the first time, it doesn't appear to be any larger than the X-T1 at all (despite official specs indicating that it is slightly larger).
- The focus lever (joystick) is a fantastic addition. X-Pro2 users are loving it and I see why now. The Focus Assist button is gone, and you now zoom in to check focus by pushing the rear command dial in.
- The My Menu option seems really useful! I look forward to customizing my own menu and quickly accessing the functions I use the most.
- ACROS is gorgeous. Very excited to be using that simulation and playing with the shadow, highlight and grain settings as well. I traditionally edit everything from RAWs, but I might be up for positing straight ACROS JPGs.
- I liked that the video mode is a dedicated shooting mode now, and I really enjoyed shooting video in the ACROS simulation.
- The real star of the show for me is the huge leap in phase detection autofocus points on the new sensor. When used in conjunction with the focus lever, it really gives you an amazing amount of control over EXACTLY what point in your frame you want to focus on. I did an X-T1 shoot at a coffee shop the day after previewing the X-T2 and was dismayed to find the point I really wanted to focus on was between two of the autofocus points on the X-T1. Sure, you work around it, but just knowing the the X-T2 could fit another two or three points in between the two points on the X-T1 made me eager to get my hands on the new camera.
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
- It was difficult to notice any huge differences in either EVF refresh rate or autofocus speed. Of course, being inside of a camera store isn't really the ideal testing grounds, but going between my X-T1 and the X-T2 wasn't as earth shattering as say, going from an X-Pro1 to an X-Pro2 would be. Still, I know the improvements are there and given the right subject matter I'm sure I could give the new autofocus modes a proper test. Focusing with the 35mm f/2 in Single Point on the X-T2 was fast, but I was hoping for more immediate results. Too demanding? Probably, but it seemed to focus at the same speed as the X-T1. I think the new autofocus algorithms really shine when tracking fast motion with Wide Tracking enabled, especially when you set the mode to ignore objects that pass between you and your subject. That's always been difficult for the X-T1 to overcome.
- Despite the eye cup being larger, I still think it's too shallow. I'll be swapping out my long eye cup onto the X-T2 when it arrives.
- Similarly, despite the grip of the X-T2 being slightly deeper and more ergonomically friendly, I still think it's too small, especially when compared to the medium Grip I've added to my X-T1. As much as it hurts me to say it, I think I'm going to have to shell out the additional $129 for the X-T2 Grip. Ouch....that does hurt.
NEITHER HERE NOR THERE, BUT WORTH MENTIONING
- The extra battery grip is nice, but it's just too heavy and cumbersome when attached. "Too heavy" will make some DSLR shooters laugh, but for the kind of shooting that I find myself doing, it's not for me. Videographers, sports shooters and perhaps commercial photographers will definitely benefit from it though. I still think a headphone jack on the X-T2 body itself would have been ideal.
- Shooting with the quiet, quick 35mm f/2 and then comparing it to the 35mm f/1.4 is really starting to make it hard to keep ignoring the f/2. Ignoring the 23mm f/2 is going to be even more difficult!
- I only briefly checked the video modes and I wish I would have gone in and investigated the menu for video focusing even further. One thing that I forgot to test was manually focusing during video WITH focus peaking on while the camera is recording / rolling. I checked in with my friends at Fuji Canada and they let me know that yes, focus peaking IS viewable during video recording, so I'm looking forward to testing that out when final firmware is available.
- I'm really looking forward to the added phase detection points and increased resolution, but in the end it will all come down to image quality. Seeing as how the X-Pro2 can produce some stunning results, I'm confident that the X-T2 files will be equally stunning.
So that’s my quick personal overview after briefly shooting with the X-T2 and scrolling through the various menu options. I’m looking forward to getting my own X-T2 in soon so I can customize it to my liking and examine some of the outputted files from that new sensor. From what I’ve seen so far, this camera will not disappoint!