Fujifilm X-T2: Professional Compact System Camera 1.0

Categoria: English Pubblicato: Mercoledì, 29 Giugno 2016 Scritto da Max Angeloni

Translated by Pietro Todaro

Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/250, f/9, Iso 200 (Light 2 x Godox 360 - 1 gel Blue filter)

Lets make a shopping list: weather-proof body... got it, two memory card slots... got it, operative speed... got it, 1/250 sincro Flash... got it, USB-charging in Camera... got it, auto-focus accuracy and speed... got this as well, ergonomics.... got it, there's also a battery grip that triplicates its autonomy. Very well! Then? Ah yes, burst shots... that reach 11 frames per second. Then? Ah yes, video in 4K and functions that are finally adequate to the ones of its competitors... these are there as well.
It seams that nothing is missing.

Ah yes, I almost forgot, image quality.... got that too, but then again we knew it was going to be there since we started shooting with the X-Pro2.
Just like we know that range of Fujinon lenses are probably one of the best on the market even though some specific lenses, such as those for sports or architectural photography, are missing.
Well then, can we say that CSCs have finally exceeded reflexes and are the new reference mark of digital photographic systems?

For once I will take a stand and say... yes. Or almost. Well... we are practically there.
No CSC system is probably as complete as those of Nikon or Canon. But hey, a gap that seemed unbridgeable just a few years ago has been filled.


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/125, f/1.2, Iso 800

I must confess something.
I have been clutching the X-T2 for several months now and have had the possibility to follow, on a step by step basis, all the updates that Fujifilm made from the various feedbacks it received. And day after day, firmware after firmware, I have seen this ugly duckling become a mute swan.
The Fujifilm X-T2 is a complete photographic camera.
It had been years since I felt so excited in using something new from the vast panorama of photographic equipment.
I think that the last time I felt this way was for the Nikon D3. Its not by chance that this model revolutionized the concept of digital photography.
An instrument that was able to easily tackle any photographic genre in any environmental and climatic condition.
There, with the X-T2 I feel these same sensations. I think: give me a pair of lenses, a flash and a light stand and I will photograph the whole world.
“Ok Max, you are exaggerating! You are an X-Photographer and surely your opinions are influenced by your long collaboration with Fujifilm”.
Yes and No. That is... No, I am not influenced by the long collaboration that I have had with this brand (it just takes a couple of readings to see what I write about of the products of this brand and see the wrist slaps that I give when I don't like something). Yes, I am influenced, due to the fact that I was drawn into this project by the manufacturer from the very start. I saw the X-T1 when it was just a mock-up made of bakelite and we were discussing whether or not to carry on with this project. The X-T2 has been in my hands from its first demo version.
I feel that there is something that belongs to me in this model, surely an infinitesimal part, invisible and imperceptible... but I feel that its there.
But as always, lets proceed step by step.


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/250, f/5.6, Iso 200 (Light 2 x Godox 360 - 1 gel Blue filter)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/250, f/9, Iso 200 (Light 2 x Godox 360 - 1 gel Blue filter)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR - 1/250, f/8, Iso 200 (Light 2 x Godox 360 - 1 gel Blue filter)


From X-T1 to the X-T2
The X-T1 was born from the idea to create two distinct segments within the Fujifilm range of products.
On one hand the X-Pro1 and X-E1 (and X-E2) and on the other the X-T1, and subsequently X-T10.
Two distinct segments not characterized uniquely by performance or by the quality of the sensor but, and principally, by a different photographic approach, based, on the users that they were destined for.
As far as the X-Pro is concerned, I have gone in depth on the philosophical aspects of this model in the article dedicated to the X-Pro2 that I certainly will not repeat here.
The X-T series gradually takes shape as the Fujifilm system expands with regularity the range of lenses and increases the performance of the cameras.
The CSC of Fujifilm, therefore, are not seen as a light alternative to photographic situations in which the reflex can be left home. The trend took a turn and this photographic system is being bought as a downright substitute to reflex cameras and not as a sort of spare tire. This is why the X-T segment took shape. Photographic cameras, that thanks to their ergonomics and appearance, come closer to reflex cameras rather than to traditional range finder systems. The new ergonomics allows the use of bulky zooms without making it feel unnatural. With ergonomics I am also referring to the big electronic viewfinder that is positioned on the center of the lens insert axis.


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/250, f/9, Iso 200 (Light 2 x Godox 360 - 1 gel Blue filter)

If the X-Pro1 represented for Fujifilm a comeback in great style in the segment of photographic systems with interchangeable lenses, the X-T1 paved the way for this system to be used in the most challenging photographic genres.
Obviously the X-T1 could still not be the ideal substitute of reflex cameras (to be precise I am referring to some models of reflex cameras) for certain specific uses. Just think of certain limits that would not suggest, or downright greatly limit, its use in certain photographic situations (for example where a reliable and effective continuous focus is needed or when a secondary memory card is necessary).
Moreover, the very elementary video functions had practically reduced to zero the market segment in which photographers were looking for instruments capable of taking both pictures and videos.
With the X-T2, Fujifilm seems to have covered these gaps. We'll see if when all is said and done these preambles will be confirmed, in time.


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/125, f/2.8, Iso 800


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/125, f/4, Iso 400


The X-T2 is slightly larger compared to the X-T1. In reality, the sensation its that of a hormone cure that has increased the muscle mass of this camera. Its just a few millimeters and yet, when clutched, on has the impression of a greater mass that goes in favor of the use of larger lenses. I repeat, the difference in size is minimal. To confirm this one can simply measure the maximum depth of the where the right hand grip is on the two models, to realize that the size is practically identical. So its more a question of having optimized the ergonomics rather than a substantial increase in size. All of this was dictated by the need to find more room for the second memory slot and for the tiltable monitor. This reinterpretation also affected other components in the body of the camera.
The ISO dials and shutter speed dials are now higher. The main reason for this is due to a button that is placed on the center of the dial that allows the locking and unlocking of these functions. In other words... if the button is pressed the shutter speed dial will lock... if its pressed again it will unlock. Obviously this is also valid for the ISO dials as well. A solution that I find extremely practical and functional and that is a remedy to the more intricate system adopted by the X-T1.


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/400, f/7.1, Iso 200

Under the ISO dial, one can find the video function symbols. Therefore, this is no longer a secondary function but a principal one for this camera. Obviously the red “Rec” button, that was located next to the shutter on the X-T1, has disappeared.
On the back, just as on the X-Pro2, a new joystick can be found whose function is that to select the focus point. The Q button has taken the place of the “Focus Assist” button, these functions can be now be activated by pressing the dial on the back (the one that is dedicated to the 1/3 stops, just to be clear). For the rest nothing has changed. Aside from the two memory cards slots and the new tiltable display that allows the user to correctly visualize the monitor when the shooting with the camera in a vertical position. Aside from this there is nothing else to point out.
As far as the Battery Grip is concerned, there are many updates to be mentioned. Firstly, this accessory can now accommodate two extra batteries. Adding them all up, this makes a total of three batteries that easily allow for over 1000 shots. Splendid.
Aside from the increased autonomy, the burst mode speed goes from 8 frames per second to 11. To activate this function one can simply do so by using the lever on the bottom part of the battery grip. Speaking about batteries, the X-T2 introduces the debut of the NP-W125S. “S” stands for “second”, that is second edition. Its still too soon to say what improvements this will bring.
Lets go back to the Battery Grip.
Lets stay on the back of the camera, on the upper part of the Joystick, on the left of the shutter button, there are two other debuts, the Q and Fn button. This means that its no longer necessary to be a magician if one wants to change some parameters while using the X-T2 vertically along with the Battery Grip.



Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/450, f/6.4, Iso 200


 Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/2000, f/3.6, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/2000, f/3.2, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/400, f/11, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/200, f/5, Iso 200


Image Quality
Those who had the chance to try the X-Pro2 will find many similar characteristics, if not identical, on the X-T2 to Fujifilm's digital rangefinder. Therefore I will not linger on these similitudes very much.
The image quality for example, is the same, and any differences that there may be are probably not very easy to detect. So there is not much point in writing the same considerations as those made on the X-Pro2.
Highlighting that the new sensor is carrying on the path taken by the X-Trans 16MP sensors is enough. It goes without saying that when I mention “sensor” I am referring to all the elements that are tied to the acquisition of the digital image. This means, new sensor, new image processor, new micro-lenses, new electronics so on and so forth.
All this translates, generally speaking, in a resolution increase and an improved delivery at high ISO. Regarding the delivery at high ISO, I am not referring to the “noise”. The sharpness of the image is a banality that I will gladly leave to those who love to fill up articles with comparative photos of bookshelves, bottles and other improbable subjects. If we really want to research on the clarity of a signal then we must print the image. Once printed, one can evaluate the notorious signal “sharpness”. Trials that are visualized via monitor really mean nothing. You will realize that the differences are just like the ones between hard facts and easy pub conversation.
Furthermore, to correctly evaluate if a signal is clean or not, one must shoot in RAW. The reason is rather simple. The RAW file is not contaminated with any intervention that the camera may make when shooting in Jpg. Only when one develops in RAW will one be able to realize if the quality of the file is good or not so good. Dynamic range, chromatic transition, high light and shadow outputs, details are just some of the elements that can be useful in judging an image taken at high ISO.
For me, and for my way of working, I judge the quality of a file based on how much the developing and post production remains unchanged with the increase of the ISO used.
With Jpg, instead, we can only get an idea of the post production interventions that occur within the camera.


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/125, f/2.8, Iso 8000


Iso 8000 Crop (raw + Lightroom release 2015/6, no Noise Reduction)

I am absolutely not implying that one must not shoot in jpg. On the contrary. But here is some advice. If you love shooting in Jpg, deactivate all the automatic controls. For example the sharpness, noise reduction, dynamic range amplifiers and any other similar miscellaneous controls such as these. In some cases you may get an apparently less “sophisticated” image, but it will certainly be more balanced in all points of views.
This is obviously valid for any camera, of any brand, of any price range and for any use.
In any case the X-T2, reaches its limit with 12,800. A limit that it reaches with higher quality compared to the 6400 ISO that previous models were able to reach.
Print to believe.



Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/100, f/2.8, Iso 12800 (raw + Lightroom release 2015/6, Camera Acros, no Noise Reduction)



Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/250, f/2.8, Iso 12800 (raw + Lightroom release 2015/6, exposure + 0.75, no Noise Reduction)


through the Holy Door... no photo please :)
Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/500, f/5.6, Iso 12800 (raw + Lightroom release 2015/6, exposure + 1,05, no Noise Reduction)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/500, f/4, Iso 10000 (raw + Lightroom release 2015/6, exposure + 1,70 !!!, no Noise Reduction)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/259, f/2.8, Iso 12800 (raw + Lightroom release 2015/6, exposure + 0,65, no Noise Reduction)


For those who own an X-T1, an update to the new model will not need a particular adaptation period as far as the photographic session is concerned. This cannot be said for the navigation within the menu and the implementation of new commands.
With the X-Pro2 the main menu of the Series X was redesigned and rationalized. Basically it is divided in six macro areas:

- Image quality settings
- AF/MF Settings
- Shooting Settings
- Flash Settings
- Video Settings
- Set Up

A personalized menu (MY) can be added to these six areas in which one can group up the commands that are used more frequently. I like this very much and its the same solution that I have used for years with Nikons.
Remaining within the options, some settings that are present in the “Q” menu have been extended. Basically... options such as Noise Reduction, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, Color and Sharpness can now be altered with values that range from -4 to +4 instead of the old -2, +2.
As far as the film types are concerned, there is a new type of Black and White called “Acros”. Black and White that can be selected paired up with the main digital filters (Green, Red and Yellow). Another new development is the “Grain Effect”, that gives the user the possibility to add some grain that gives to the picture an analogical touch. Obviously this can only be used when shooting in Jpg or if one develops the Raw files directly from the camera. So much for the enthusiasts of the clean and perfect signal.


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/200, f/1.4, Iso 200 (Lightroom, Camera ACROS filter Green)



Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/2500, f/1.2, Iso 200 (Jpg OOC, Monochrome filter Green)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/2500, f/1.2, Iso 200 (Lightroom, Monochrome filter Green)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/120, f/1.2, Iso 100 (Jpg OOC, Monochrome filter Green)


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/900, f/1.2, Iso 200 (Lightroom, Camera ACROS filter Green)

Field test
Ready, steady... go!
The X-T2 has barely reached my hands and I had already catapulted it in one of Rome's most beautiful public events.
In the occasion of Christmas in Rome (April 21), many historical commemorations are organized in the Urbe center that see participants from all over Europe dressed up in costumes. This event reached its climax on Sunday, April 24 with a huge parade that brought the participants to march in the most evocative streets of Imperial Rome under the eyes of over 300,000 spectators.
To say the truth, my X-T2 still had a temporary firmware, therefore I was not sure of the results that I would have obtained.
I said to myself... in the worst case I would have gotten accustomed to this camera and will have put the weather-proofing to the test, in these crazy spring days in which the hot sun is alternated with sudden downpours.
In reality, all my initial uncertainties dissolved shot after shot throughout the whole parade.
Not only that. Aside from getting confirmation that my uncertainties were unfounded, the first pleasant surprises started to arrive.
Lets start from the sweetest one, especially for those who take on photographic genres that obligates them to take many pictures during the span of a whole day.
With the battery grip mounted on the camera I took 1574 images (saved as Raw+Jpg Fine).
Now, I cannot say if this is thanks to the new NP-W125S battery that I had mounted on the camera body or if its the energy management optimization of the 3 batteries that are use simultaneously, orn from my habit of never looking at the shots taken.
But that's how it went.


 Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR - 1/4000, f/2.8, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR - 1/2200, f/4, Iso 200


 Fujifilm X-T2 - Fujinon XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR - 1/1700, f/3.6, Iso 200


Finally, even with these photographic instruments, the thorny problem of the autonomy seems to have found a solution.
The second confirmation that I got is the solid construction and the effective weather-proofing of the match up of the X-T2 with the its Battery Grip.

Now... while it is true that I did not go through the immense swamp of Mato Grosso, nor through Arctic glaciers much less through the fine dust of the Thumamah, you can rest assured that this Fujifim is capable of withstanding, without any problems, rain, mud, dust and accidental blows from the armors and shields of the Romans.
Its the price to pay if one wants to be where the action is. And if done with a camera that is not sufficiently solid, then this would be a very high price to pay.
Once the breaking in was over and the “reportage” test passed with flying colors, the X-T2 has accompanied me in all the photographic situations that I tackled in these past few months.
Therefore, if someone saw me taking pictures with an X-T1 that had duck tape all over it... well now you know, it was in reality the new X-T2 and the black tape was placed to camouflage the features of the new Fujifilm camera.

Firmware after Firmware, the new Fujifim has reached its full operative capacity. Every time this occurred I would gradually leave my other cameras at home.
The feeling that has been created with the X-T2 is so strong that I am starting to prefer a pre-production model rather than other equipment of trusted reliability.
I repeat... in this review I have decided to commit myself. I hope that for once you will pardon me for the clear cut position that I have taken.
But lets go back to the field test.


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/2900, f/1.2, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/1600, f/1.6, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF16mm F1.4 R WR - 1/2700, f/1.4, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/3200, f/1.2, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF56mm F1.2 R - 1/3200, f/1.2, Iso 200

With the X-Pro2, I had a sneak preview of the quality of the new auto-focus system. The X-T2 confirms the effectiveness of the path that Fujifilm has taken.
To this regard, I feel the urge to clarify certain points, reading here and there, I feel that many have not well understood how this system works.
To do this I will re-quote what I had mentioned on the X-Pro2 review:
“The revisiting of the auto-focus has interested the single shot function but has mainly improved the continuous focusing (that in the past was the real weak point of Fujifilm cameras).
We obviously must study the ideal set up based on the type of pictures that we will be taking. Generally speaking, one must select the number of focal points needed and that's about it. Naturally this is valid when the right lenses are mounted on the camera.”
There... the right lenses is the subject that I would like to analyze most in this moment. Fujifilm has adopted a precise strategy as far as the characteristics of its lenses go. Basically this means that not all lenses are designed to be used in continuous auto-focus and in extreme shooting situations.
The reasons for this choice are several. With the exception of the first three models (Fujinon XF60mm F2.4 R Macro, XF35mm F1.4 R and XF18mm F2 R) whose auto-focus systems were rather elementary, Fujifim has always diversified the motorization of their lenses on the basis of the use that these lenses were destined to satisfy.
This is not an official version, but the reason is equally identifiable.
An extremely performing motorization means an increase of costs and mass. One can simply think of the Triple Linear Motor adopted on the Fujinon 50-140.
Starting from these assumptions, many will be asking themselves why aren't all lenses equipped with a system that is optimized for a continuous auto-focus use.
I will ask you a question. Do you find that the Fujinon XF56mm F1.2R has a correct balance or would you have preferred it to be more expensive and bulkier? And then... which would be the photographic situations in which one should habitually use the “85” (equivalent angle of field) f/1.2 in the hunt of extreme photography?
Specific lenses for specific uses have always existed, and for what its worth, even other photographic brands adopt the same philosophy.
I don't ever recall having been on the edge of a race track or having tackled naturalistic photography if not with the usual professional lenses. That is, with extremely luminous and high performance zooms or fixed lenses especially built for these photographic genres.
There... if we really want to make an objection to Fujifilm, now that the auto-focus system has been optimized, it would be that to accelerate the commercialization of fixed lenses that have a new generation auto-focus motor.


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF23mm F1.4 R - 1/340, f/5.6, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF50-140mm F2.8 R LM OIS WR - 1/1600, f/2.8, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF16mm F1.4 R WR - 1/1000, f/1.6, Iso 200


As per my habit, after having described the positive characteristics of a photographic instrument, now is the moment in which I mention the things that I don't like or the things that need to be updated.
I must confess that for the first time, I find myself in a sort of crisis to try to point out what I don't like about the X-T2.
If one considers the contained selling price (contained compared to the characteristics that this camera has), it even becomes difficult to compare it with other cameras of other brands in the same price range.
And so? And so I have really concentrated, as never before, to find something that I don't like about this camera and finally, just as I was about to end this article, I found it.
In a professional camera of this type, that is dedicated to an intense and global use, the strap attachment appears to be rather uncomfortable and intricate.
Lets be honest, for those who well know Fujifim, no one has ever fully understood the solution that has been adopted. To insert the triangular strap fasteners, one must use a special tool (that goes beyond a university degree in mechanical engineering), then one must match up the two eyelets of the protective covering of the fasteners, otherwise the strap wont go in... and then finally, fix the strap. After about 5 minutes the protective covers will get detached from their place and start wandering all throughout the strap. This will result that fasteners, now without protective covering will be free to get tangled on t-shirts, sweaters, bushes and other things.
Obviously I have exaggerated just a little bit, but personally I really have found myself dealing with those metallic triangles getting caught on something.
If its for “meditative” photographic instruments then its a solution that is visually captivating and could be the winning choice, but if its for a more down to earth use then a more practical solution must be found.
The solution that has been adopted by other brands, for example, the triangular clip that has rubber or plastic around it seems to be, up to now, the best solution.


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF50-140mmF2.8 R LM OIS WR - 1/2700, f/2.8, Iso 200


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF16mm F1.4 R WR - 1/1000, f/5.6, Iso 1250




I had said it.
This time I have committed, more than what I usually do, in giving my impressions, that have been matured with time and use, of this photographic instrument.
Obviously I don't expect that everyone will agree with my conclusions, just as, far be it from me , from affirming that the X-T2 will be the CSC that will revolutionize the whole digital camera market.
But my actual state of mind is that of a farmer who gets a piece of land to create his vegetable garden. Its just a small area in the countryside that is full of weeds and stones. One starts to clean it out, and then with the shovel one starts to plough the field, then one prepares the irrigation system, then one sows and after months of hard work, one starts to see the first results, the sprouting of the first plants. One then has to fertilize, trim, spray insecticide paying close attention not to throw away all the work that has been done until that moment. At the end... but only at the end... once the first fruits reach his table can one truly understand that the goal that one had given to oneself has finally been reached.
There... the X-T2 is the finalization of a path that Fujifilm started 5 years ago.
The photographic camera that many have been desiring for years, when we were still open to accepting all sorts of compromises in the name of compactness and innovation.
How those days seem far away, now that the compromises are a distant memory and only compactness and innovation remain.
Now our table is set and we are ready to enjoy the fruits of our vegetable garden.
The important thing, as always, is to remember that a perfect photographic instrument capable of satisfying all photographic needs does not exist. What exists is a market that offers a very vast array of options. Some are better than others and the X-T2, is among the best.
At least it is for me.


Fujifilm X-T2 - XF16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR - 1/500, f/2.8, Iso 6400


Note: as a confirmation that when things are done well these are visible from the little details; the raw files of the X-T2 are usable since the beginning of June with the version 9.6 of Camera Raw and from the 2015/6 release of Lightroom. This is a one of a kind case, in which the conversion software is ready long before the camera reaches the market.

Special Thanks to: Eleonora Utini, Iago Garcia, Marta Flavi, Marla Rocca, Gruppo Storico Romano, Vincenzo Ricciarello, Vladimiro Ramoni, Franca Ferrari, Fabiano Armellin.