Fujifilm X-T2 Body Compact System Camera
The FUJIFILM X-T2 features a 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor for outstanding image quality. Its highly random pixel array effectively reduces moiré and false colors without the use of an optical low-pass filter. When combined with an XF lens, the sensor delivers images with a perceived resolution far greater than the number of pixels used. Other features include outstanding read speed, high-speed continuous shooting, high-precision AF tracking, highly faster liveview refresh rate and superb video recording. The X-Processor Pro image processing engine is approximately four times faster than the previous model. The increased built-in memory and enhanced computational power bring out the maximum capabilities of the X-Trans CMOS III sensor. It produces high quality images and improves response times for shorter delays between shots, reduced shutter-release time lag and greater AF precision. The engine also delivers faster Live View refresh rates and reduces image delay when tracking moving subjects. AF performance has been improved in a number of keys areas. The fast and accurate phase detection AF now covers a larger part of the frame and has been optimized in the area where users are most likely to position the main subject. At the same time, the FUJIFILM X-T2 boasts significant focusing improvements on small highlights, low contrast subjects and subjects with fine textures, which have previously caused problems for focal plane phase detection AF. Contrast detection AF, which excels in low light conditions, has also received a performance boost, with the ability to accurately focus in light levels as low as -3EV. The camera also refocuses more regularly during the slow burst mode in AF-C. The phase detection area has been expanded by approx. 230% compared to previous models, with the number of focus points increasing from 49 to 91 (up to 325). The camera also activates phase detection AF more frequently to take advantage of its AF speed and accuracy in a greater variety of situations. The AF algorithm has been improved to boost the camera's ability to capture subjects that have previously caused problems for phase detection AF. Subjects with delicate textures, such as bird feathers, can now be focused on quickly and precisely. Choose Face Detection to automatically detect human faces, or turn on Eye Detection AF to automatically detect and accurately focus on human eyes for successful portraits with a shallow depth of field. You can also define the area of priority focus, for example right or left eye, or the eye closer to the camera. These functions have been upgraded for improved accuracy to a level that will impress professional photographers. They are particularly effective when shooting with the XF56mmF1.2 R / XF56mmF1.2 R APD or XF90mmF2 R LM WR lenses. The FUJIFILM X-T2 has a variety of functions that assist pinpoint focusing in the MF mode. Set the Focus Mode Lever to MF and rotate the focus ring to access a variety of MF Assist functions. These include Focus Peaking, in which color is used to show the parts of the image that are in focus, and Digital Split Image, where focus is achieved by lining up the split image strips in the center. These features are particularly useful in macro photography and portraiture, which involve a shallow depth of field and require focusing precision. The focus area can be changed in eight directions using the FUJIFILM X-T2's Focus Lever: up/down, right/left and diagonally. This allows users to make quick changes to the focus area for accurate focusing after composing an image. This feature is useful not only to shift the AF points during autofocusing, but also to quickly choose the area to be enlarged in MF Assist mode during manual focusing. The 2.36-million-dot high-resolution organic EL electronic viewfinder has a magnification ratio of 0.77x, a horizontal viewing angle of 31 degrees, and a display time lag of just 0.005 seconds. The viewfinder, which is 2 times brighter than the previous model, also features an automatic brightness adjustment function so it's easy to see in all conditions - even intense backlighting. It completely eliminates moiré or false colors, and boasts performance comparable to an optical viewfinder, but with the added advantage of displaying a live view that reflects exposure settings. As standard, the EVF refreshes at a rate of 60 fps, but in Boost mode this jumps to 100fps, which continuously displays even fast-moving subjects smoothly to deliver a performance comparable to that of an optical viewfinder. The fast refresh rate is maintained even in low light for easy framing during night shooting. Continuous shooting performance has also been improved, enabling up to 11fps when using the mechanical shutter* and 5fps in the Live View mode. The viewfinder blackout time is now less than half that of the previous model. This means that you can track a fast-moving subject more easily for an extended period of time during continuous shooting. The combination of advanced continuous shooting options and EVF performance deliver continuous AF-C shooting never previously thought possible with mirrorless cameras. The FUJIFILM X-T2 captures approx. 1.8x the required number of pixels for 4K video (4K/30P, 25P, 24P) and 2.4x the required data for full HD video (1080/60P, 50P, 24P) to deliver superior movie quality free from moiré or artifacts. It also supports the high bit rate of 100Mbps. Film Simulation modes are available during video recording. Movie shooters can enjoy extra creativity, without the need for lengthy post-production, including monochrome video in ACROS and documentary-themed tones in CLASSIC CHROME. You can also change settings such as aperture, shutter speed and exposure compensation while recording video. The FUJIFILM X-T2's body is made of magnesium alloy. Despite being compact and lightweight, it is both solid and highly durable. The body is also weather-sealed in 63 points to achieve a high level of resistance to dust and moisture. Couple this with its ability to work in temperatures down to -10°C and you'll see the camera is ready for anything. Similar weather-sealing is applied to the dust-resistant and water-resistant lenses and the Power Booster Grip to provide weather resistance across the entire system. The body features dual slots to accommodate two SD cards for highly reliable data storage. Both Slot 1 and Slot 2 are compatible with UHS-II standards for excellent write speeds. You can use the slots for sequential recording, backup, sorting to record RAW files in Slot 1 and JPEG files in Slot 2, or assign one of the slots for video storage. The FUJIFILM X-T1's grip has been further developed and now offers even greater comfort on the FUJIFILM X-T2 thanks to a larger area set aside as a thumb rest. Locking mechanisms have also been introduced for the SD Card Cover and Battery Cover. Featuring a premium LCD screen that can tilt in three directions. Tilt it up and down when shooting in landscape, and upward when shooting in portrait. The screen remains positioned on the optical axis of the lens for easier high-angle and low-angle shooting. The 3-inch LCD has 1.04 million dots and uses toughened glass. When not tilted, it fits flush to the body.
|Video Type||4K Video Recording|
|Sensitivity||Auto, 200-12800 (Extended Mode: 100-51200)|
|View Finder||0.77x 2.36m-Dot OLED Viewfinder|
|Memory Card||SD/ SDHC/ SDXC Memory Card|
|Power||1x NP-W126S Rechargeable Lithium-ion Battery Pack|
|Exposure System||Modes: Aperture Priority, Manual, Program, Shutter Priority Compensation: -5 EV to +5 EV (in 1/3 EV steps)|
|Shutter Speed||Type: Mechanical Speed: 30 - 1/8000 second Type: Electronic Speed: 30 - 1/32000 second|
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- "It all adds up to something quite special."| by CAMERA MagazineThe X-Pro2 is a very special camera, but Fujifilm knows full well that it’s not for everybody. The uncompromising rangefinder-style design complete with hybrid optical/ electronic viewfinder make the X-Pro2 unique among mirrorless cameras, but it also means it may not be everybody’s first choice when it comes to switching from a D-SLR. This is where the X-T2 comes in.
As with its predecessor, Fujifilm is heavily promoting the X-T2 as a D-SLR alternative and, what’s more, a pro-level D-SLR alternative. Traditionally a conservative lot, working photographers have been slow to jump on the mirrorless bandwagon, but they’re getting the message now and the potential reductions in the size and weight of a full kit have the same attractions for pros as they do for everybody else. The significance with the X-T2 here is that it’s an ‘APS-C’ format camera, allowing even more of a reduction in bulk as aptly illustrated with the recently-released Fujinon XF 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR telezoom – equivalent to a 150-600mm, but a fraction the size of a comparable lens in the full-35mm format.
At the X-T2’s Australian press launch, professional motorsport photographer Andrew Hall talked about his experiences of using the system at the Le Mans 24 hour race, and he was certainly convinced he wouldn’t be going back to a D-SLR.
It’s a tad ironic, of course, that the X-T2 is more SLR-like than just about any D-SLR thanks to its 1970s styling – there’s more than a passing resemblance to the Contax RTS – and dial-based control layout. They’re big dials too, especially the ones for setting the ISO and the shutter speed which both have locking buttons. Both these dials also have selector switch below them – for setting the drive modes and metering modes respectively – which is really old school. And, as has been the case on all the higher-end X Series cameras, Fujifilm retains a cable release socket in the shutter button. There’s no mode dial because, also as before, the shutter speed dial and lens aperture collars have ‘A’ settings which switches them to auto selection. Just pick the required combination. The ISO dial also has an ‘A’ setting, although obviously the range – and there’s the option of predetermining up to three Auto ISO configurations – has to be set via the menu system. As on the X-Pro2, the exposure compensation dial is marked to +/-3.0 EV (in 1/3-stop increments) and then has a ‘C’ position which gives access to +/-5.0 EV, with these extra settings selected via the front input wheel.
The contemporary controls are, of course, the front and rear input wheels (the front one is pressed in to change the function), a joystick for AF point selection (as introduced on the X-Pro2) and the navigator key cluster which are also customisable function buttons (giving a total of eight in all). The joystick can also be used for navigating the menus.
It all integrates surprisingly well, a testimony to the reality that dials are still a very efficient way to operate a camera… and the setting read-outs are exactly where they should be.
Unlike X-Pro2’s fixed panel, the X-T2’s monitor screen is tilt adjustable, and not just in the horizontal plane, but vertically too. Yes, a screen with a swing adjustment can essentially be tilted in the vertical too, but it’s then offset from the back of the camera whereas Fujifilm’s arrangement keeps it in exactly the same positioning as when tilted horizontally. The resolution is 1.04 megadots and Fujifilm is still staying away from touch controls.
However, the X-T2 does have the revised menu design introduced with the X-Pro2 which is both better graphically and logically. As with the top-end D-SLRs, there’s a chapter devoted entirely to the autofocus settings and Fujifilm has added yet more refinements to this camera which we’ll get to shortly. Alternatively, there’s a ‘Quick Menu’ display which provides direct access to the commonly-used capture and camera setting adjustments (16 in all)... either as a ‘base bank’ or corresponding to the seven custom shooting set-ups. Additionally, a customised ‘Quick Menu’ can be created, selecting from a bank of 24 functions. The EVF uses the same 2.36 megadots resolution 1.3 cm OLED panel as its predecessor, but with a number of improvements comprising a display lag time of just 0.005 seconds and a 100 fps frame rate when the X-T2 is switched to its ‘Boost’ mode. This also reduces false colour in the EVF display. There are a couple of facets to the ‘Boost’ operations, namely the incamera tweaks just described, but some quite serious turbocharging when the camera is fitted with the optional Vertical Power Booster Grip, a.k.a. the VPB-XT2. Like the camera body itself, the vertical grip is fully weather sealed and insulated, and it houses two extra battery packs which not only deliver an extended range – particularly useful when shooting video – but also a number performance enhancements; the most significant being an increase in the maximum continuous shooting speed from 8.0 fps to 11 fps. Additionally, the shooting interval time is almost halved (from 370 milliseconds to 190), the shutter lag is reduced (from 50 ms to 45) and the black-out time is also shortened (from 130 ms to 114). There’s some smart thinking going on here because if you don’t need the extra speed, you don’t need to pay for it… and you can have a more compact camera package. If you do want 11 fps – which permits the X-T2 to play with D-SLR big boys – chances are that you’ll also need the vertical grip and the extended battery life, but you’ll still be getting a camera that’s significantly smaller than either the Canon EOS-1D X II or Nikon D5.
The inside story starts with the next-gen ‘X-Trans CMOS III’ sensor which is the same up-rated ‘APS-C’ device as is used in the X-Pro2. The effective pixel count is 24.3 million, giving a pixel pitch of 3.91 microns. The key design features include a ‘Floating Diffraction Amplifier’ to reduce noise and reshaped microlenses to enhance sensitivity. The read-out speed at 4000x6000 pixels is 28 fps which is partially achieved by replacing the traditional aluminium wiring tracks with copper to reduce resistance (similar to Sony’s latest full-35mm sensors). Copper also allows for thinner wiring which helps reduce noise. The native sensitivity range is equivalent to ISO 200 to 12,800 with a two-stop ‘push’ to ISO 51,200. In case you’re new to it, the ‘X-Trans’ name refers to Fujifilm’s unique 6x6 RGB colour filter groupings – as opposed to the standard 2x2 RGBG Bayer pattern – which employs a principle called aperiodicity to lower the frequency at which a moiré effect will occur with repeating patterns. Fujifilm was first with the idea of finding another way to deal with moiré other than the conventional optical low-pass filter (which throttles resolution), and ‘X-Trans’ sensor remains the most elegant solution.
The sensor is matched with Fujifilm’s dual-core ‘X Processor Pro’ engine which delivers that 8.0 fps shooting speed and, for the first time on an X Mount camera, 4K video at the Ultra HD resolution (see the Making Movies panel for a full run-down of the X-T2’s video capabilities). There’s also a big enough buffer memory to enable bursts of up to 83 best-quality JPEGs or 33 RAW files when shooting at 8.0 fps, but switch to the camera’s sensor shutter and you can step up to a very snappy 14.0 fps for bursts of 42 JPEGs or 28 RAWs. RAW files can be captured either as 14-bit uncompressed files or with lossless compression if you have a need for speed as the file size essentially halves. The JPEG capture options comprise two levels of compression, three image sizes and three aspect ratios – 3:2, 16:9 and 1:1. There are dual memory card slots for the SD format – both now with UHS-II speed support – and a range of file management configurations, namely ‘Sequential’ for automatic overflow, ‘Back Up’ which records files simultaneously to both cards, and RAW/JPEG which separates the RAW+JPEG captures to slot one and slot two. You can also specify which card is used specifically for video recording.
When shooting at either 8.0 fps or 14.0 fps, the autofocusing and metering are locked to the first frame, and if you want continuous adjustment you have to slow down to 5.0 fps (but obviously the burst length increases) which is a handy 2.0 fps faster than the X-Pro2.
The X-T2 has same 256-segment metering system as the X-Pro2 with the choice of multi-zone, centre-weighted average, fully averaged or spot measurements. Usefully, the spot meter can be linked to the active focusing point (or points cluster). The focal-plane shutter is Fujifilm’s new 1/8000 second speed assembly which is tested to 150,000 cycles, but as noted earlier, there’s also a sensor shutter which has an extended speed range of 30-1/32,000 second and, of course, operates silently.
The maximum flash sync speed is 1/250 second and, while the X-T2 doesn’t have built-in flash, it’s supplied with a handy little accessory unit called EF-X8 and which has a metric guide number of eight at ISO 100, 11 at ISO 200. The flash modes include auto TTL, fill-in, red-eye reduction, slow speed sync, first/ second curtain sync and manual (adjustable down to 1/64 of full power). Flash compensation is available over a range +/-2.0 EV. There’s also a ‘commander’ mode, but as we’ve noted with earlier X Series cameras, this is limited to the remote triggering of photocell equipped units and doesn’t extend to wireless TTL control. That said, full wireless TTL control is now available from the new EF-X500 accessory flash unit – but you’ll obviously need more than one – which has a metric guide number of 50 at ISO 100 and tilt/bounce/ zoom head. It’s also fully weather sealed. External flash units sync via either a hotshoe or a PC terminal.
Auto white balance control is supplemented by seven presets (including one for underwater) and provisions for creating three custom measurements. Fine tuning and auto bracketing are also available. As on the X-Pro2 there are five auto bracketing modes – all operating over sequences of three frames – the additional options being for exposure, ISO, dynamic range and the ‘Film Simulation’ presets. The X-T2 has the full complement of current ‘Film Simulation’ presets – which now number a total of 15 – including the Kodachrome-lookalike Classic Chrome and the extra ACROS (named after Fujifilm’s famous fine-grained B&W negative film) B&W settings. As we noted in the X-Pro2 road-test, the standard monochrome ‘Film Simulation’ preset is actually based on Fujichrome Provia minus any colour, but ACROS is designed to have a tonality curve which emphasises detail in the highlights and mid-tones, but gives enhanced smoothness in the shadow areas as a balance. The noise reduction algorithm is also different and actually processes the noise to look like film grain. And the effect varies with the ISO setting. Just in case you’d like to do this with the other ‘Film Simulation’ presets, there’s now a ‘Grain Effect’ function with the choice of Weak or Strong settings. As with the standard B&W ‘Film Simulation’ presets, there’s a choice of additional ACROS settings with yellow, red or green contrast control filters.
The colour saturation, sharpness, highlight and/or shadow tone (i.e. contrast) and noise reduction can be adjusted for each preset. Up to seven customised shooting presets can be compiled from a total of nine adjustments; including Film Simulation, Grain Effect, white balance, dynamic range and noise reduction plus the picture parameters. There’s a choice of three manual settings for dynamic range expansion processing – called 100%, 200% and 400% – or an automatic correction which assesses the brightness range in the scene and tweaks both the exposure and the tone curve accordingly. The X-T2 also has Fujifilm’s ‘Lens Modulation Optimiser’ (LMO) processing which detects and corrects for diffraction blur, an intervalometer (for up to 999 frames), a multiple exposure facility (technically still only a double exposure facility) and a selection of eight ‘Advanced Filters’ which includes all the usual suspects – Toy Camera, Miniature, Soft Focus, Partial Colour and Pop Colour – which probably aren’t a big priority on a camera like this, but the Dynamic Tone, High-Key and Low-Key settings may have more potential.
With our reference memory card – Lexar’s 128 GB SDXC UHS-II/U3 (Speed Class 3) Professional – loaded up, the X-T2 (using the focal plane shutter) captured a burst of 77 JPEG/large/ fine files in 9.451 seconds, giving a shooting speed of 8.12 fps. This pretty well matches Fujifilm’s quoted specs; a little faster in terms of actual speed, but a little under the burst length… the latter undoubtedly because the average test file size was a healthy 13.8 MB.
The autofocusing is the fastest yet in the X Mount family with a noticeable improvement in the responsiveness of the continuous operation with Zone AF and the accuracy of the tracking… even without the scenario-based finetuning. Nikon’s D500 (and D5) set the benchmark here, but there’s no question that Fujifilm has made up a lot of ground, especially since the X-T1. There’s no question that the X-T2 is now one of the fastest focusing mirrorless cameras on the market, as evidenced by the amount of motorsport photography being shown in test reports… fast-moving racing cars remain the ultimate challenge for autofocusing systems and this camera looks to be up to the job. The 256-segment metering system isn’t new, of course, but it’s proven reliable on previous X Mount models – including the X-Pro2 – and it continues to work reliably here.
Although the X-T2 has an expanded exposure compensation range of +/-5.0 EV, in practice you rarely need more than an adjustment of 2/3-stop… and this is usually only to counter slight underexposure. High contrast situations are handled surprisingly well.
Straight out of the camera, the best-quality JPEGs look superb with excellent colour fidelity, extremely crisp definition and a wide dynamic range. Fujifilm’s vast experience with colour reproduction is put to good use in the ‘Film Simulation’ presets which have been designed to balance colorimetric colour – or real colour – with expected or ‘memorised’ colour. The Standard/ Provia preset’s colour, but Vivid/ Velvia punches up the saturation without compromising tonal gradations and really replicates the eye-popping look of Fujifilm’s much loved transparency film. And B&W aficionados will love the ACROS presets – which we explored extensively when testing the X-Pro2 – as they deliver stunning contrast (especially with Red ‘filter’ applied) without compromising dynamic range or tonality. The good news for RAW shooters is that the ‘Film Simulation’ presets are proper profiles so the parameters can be adjusted post-capture.
The X-Pro2 delivers excellent high ISO performance, but if anything the X-T2 does a little better overall, a testimony to the fact that the correction algorithms are continually being refined. Consequently, noise just isn’t an issue all the way up to ISO 3200 and is minimal at ISO 6400 although there’s a hint of graininess in areas of continuous tone. This becomes more noticeable at ISO 12,800, but neither saturation nor sharpness are significantly diminished so this setting is more useable than is often the case with an ‘APS-C’ size sensor. Not surprisingly, the expansion settings are a last resort, although ISO 25,600 is possibly useable if you only need a small-sized image… definition is definitely reduced, but the colour saturation is still surprisingly good.
Given the similarity in price, you could well end up with both the X-T2 and X-Pro2 on your shopping list, but they’re actually very different cameras. The X-Pro2 is definitely more rangefinder-like in its overall characteristics so it’s a more considered purchase, and its professional applications are more suited to landscapes, documentary work or street photography (although, of course, it can actually do a lot more). On the other hand, the X-T2 is unashamedly designed to make mirrorless converts of high-end D-SLR users, and particularly those in the market for a ‘sports’ camera.
Beyond the traditional SLR-type styling and control layout – big attractions in themselves – the X-T2 is an absolute power house thanks to its sensor and processor, with the option of turbocharging some key specs via the optional booster grip… 14 fps continuous shooting takes it right up to Canon’s vastly more expensive EOS-1D X Mark II, for example.
The upgraded autofocusing system gives the X-T2 real potential to also match it with the best D-SLRs in this area, and Fujifilm is becoming increasingly competitive when it comes to high-performance lenses too. But it’s not just the ‘big picture’ aspects that Fujifilm has got right with the X-T2, but a myriad of smaller details – the monitor’s clever tilts, the dual memory card slots, the joystick control and vast scope for customisation of controls and menus. It all comes together in one gloriously capable and workable camera. And then there are the minuses which are actually plusses… less size, weight and dollars. It all adds up to something quite special.
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