Two and a half years ago, Fujifilm announced what would become its best-selling X-series camera to date: the Fujifilm X-T1. It proved even more popular than the original X-Pro1 or X-E2 because of its SLR-like design, centrally placed EVF and tilting screen, and brought Fujifilm to the attention of professional photographers looking for a smaller and lighter system.
Fast forward to today and X-T1 now has a successor, the Fujifilm X-T2. In classic Fujifilm style, the camera has been updated to reflect many of the requests made by X-T1 users. Let’s have a look at these updates now!
All about the Fujifilm X-T2
The most noticeable new feature is 4K video recording, which was previously absent on all Fujifilm cameras and whose addition could certainly encourage so-called “hybrid” photographers previously on the fence about switching to Fujifilm to seriously reconsider their options. Fujifilm had previously stated that 4K wasn’t a necessary feature on specialist still photography cameras, but pressure from consumers and the competition seems to have prompted a change in strategy.
The camera can shoot in 4K UHD at 24, 25 and 30fps at a bit rate of 100Mbps and Full HD at 60fps, putting it on par with cameras like the a6300 and GX85. When filming in 4K, the camera performs a 1.17x crop, while in Full HD, there isn’t any field reduction. You can either use Fujifilm’s Film Simulation Modes to give your images a specific look or make the most of the new flat F-LOG profile for heavy grading in post production. It comes with a 3.5mm microphone input and a micro HDMI connector for clean HDMI output (4:2:2 8-bit), and can record for up to 10 minutes with the body alone or 30 minutes with the vertical battery grip.
Also worth noting is that Fujifilm has removed the dedicated movie button and instead added a movie mode to the Drive dial. This means you can use the shutter speed button to start/stop recording instead of pressing a separate button.
You can watch some sample footage taken with the X-T2 in 4K below.
Equally important is the new 24MP X-Trans III sensor, which is the same sensor used for the X-Pro2. Combined with the new X Processor Pro engine, the camera delivers beautiful imagery with more resolution than 16MP previous models, better low-light performance, and the possibility to select either uncompressed and 14-bit lossless compressed RAW files depending on the quality you require. It comes with the new ACROS film simulation mode first introduced on the X-Pro2. What’s more, 12800 ISO is now a native value and all ISO values, including the extended values of 100, 25600 and 51200, can be recorded in RAW and JPG.
If that weren’t enough, the X-T2 also enjoys an updated hybrid autofocus system with 325 AF points on a 13×25 grid, of which 91 are phase detection points. Fujifilm claims that this new autofocus system is even faster than that of the X-Pro2 and more capable of tracking moving subjects.
The maximum burst speed with the mechanical shutter remains unchanged at 8fps but this can be pushed to 11fps with the vertical battery grip in ‘boost’ mode. The Low speed with live view and blackouts has been increased to 5fps. Sports and action photographers will be pleased to know that the mechanical shutter now reaches 1/8000, which is a significant step up from the X-T1’s speed of 1/4000. No changes have been made to the electronic shutter speed of 1/32000 but you can now take advantage of it for a 14fps burst.
Perhaps the most significant update to the autofocus is the new AF-C Custom Settings menu. In this menu, there are three parameters that allow you to adjust tracking speed, tracking sensitivity and zone area switching, as well as six custom settings depending on the speed and movement of your subject. It should prove useful to those who shoot action on a regular basis.
Avid flash users, on the other hand, will benefit from the 1/250 sync speed, up from 1/180 on the X-T1.
Finally, we mustn’t forget about the plethora of updates made to the body itself, the most exciting being the brand new 3-way tilting LCD monitor that accommodates both landscape and portrait orientations. It flips up 90 degrees, down 45 degrees, and 45 degrees to the right-hand side, making it possible to shoot horizontally and vertically from almost any angle without losing sight of your composition.
The much-loved AF joystick first introduced on the X-Pro2 has made its way onto the X-T2, as has the Dual memory card slot, though in the case of the X-T2, both slots are UHS-II compatible.
On the other side of the camera are four ports: a 3.5mm microphone jack, 2.5mm socket for remote release, USB 3.0 port and micro HDMI connector. It is worth noting that the doors to the memory card slots and ports now come with latches, making them more robust and less likely to fly open spontaneously.
Although the resolution of the electronic viewfinder (EVF) remains the same at 2.36 million dots, it is now twice as bright with a shorter blackout time, and the refresh rate has been boosted to 60fps (or 100fps in ‘boost’ mode with the vertical battery grip) from 56fps for a more fluid shooting experience.
Other physical features that have been improved are the shutter speed and ISO dials, which are now taller and can be locked/unlocked with the central button, the exposure compensation dial that now caters for +/-5EV via the C option, and the D-Pad, whose four buttons are now more protuberant and thus easier to press. We also get a longer eye cup, a threaded shutter release, and rotating dials on the front and rear that can also be pressed. (The front dial can be set as a function button while the back dial is for focus assist.)
In addition to being fitted with a enlarged grip that is easier to hold, it is also slightly bigger and heavier at 507 grams with the memory cards and battery included. And speaking of batteries, the camera comes with an updated NP-W126S battery, with the S signifying “second edition”. While it is the same size as the NP-W126, it should prove more powerful and long-lasting. Unlike previous models, the X-T2 can be charged via USB 3.0.
What about the X-T2 vertical grip (VPD-XT2)?
The Fujifilm X-T2’s vertical grip, called the VPD-XT2, is being pushed as an essential component to the shooting experience rather than just an optional accessory. This is because it improves the performance of the camera in many ways as you’ll have seen throughout this article.
Because the grip’s slide-out tray holds two extra batteries, it triples the battery life of the camera. Early reports suggest that you can take over 1000 shots (RAW and JPG) with the grip attached.
Located directly on the grip is a Normal / Boost switch. By switching it to boost, you will experience a significant improvement in performance, autofocus speed, and shutter release time lag. For example, it will be possible shoot at a burst speed of 11fps up from 8fps and record up to 30 minutes of 4K video.
It comes with its own duplicate set of controls that echo those already found on the X-T2 body: the AF joystick, function button, shutter release buttons, AF-L/AE-L buttons, and rotating dial. Happily, it also comes with a headphone jack and A/C port to run the camera off wall power.
With a wide array of new and exciting features for both still photographers and videographers, there is no doubt the Fujifilm X-T2 will be a smash hit amongst existing Fujifilm users and will whet the appetite of professionals on the verge of switching over to a mirrorless camera.
The X-T2 and vertical battery grip are expected to start shipping in September at the respective retail prices of $1599 and $329.