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Fuji X-T2 Review | Switching to Mirrorless | For Non Gearheads

Fuji X-T2 Review

 

For the last couple of months, I have been shooting in silence with the now announced Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera.  I was given the camera on a Thursday, and on a Friday I took it with me to photograph a concert…don’t worry I did bring my Nikon with me as a backup, I am not that brave!

 

But, I never had to pull my Nikon out that night, and haven’t actually used it since.  I have taken the Fuji and used the X-T2 on every shoot I have had since I was given the camera.  Let’s get into it!!

 

The Switch to Mirrorless:

 

I was expecting some differences switching to a mirrorless camera, and I wasn’t wrong!  I had a couple of teething issues with the X-T2 at first, simply because it’s a mirrorless camera and the way that it works is different than a DSLR.  For starters the viewfinder is electronic.  Because it’s electronic, it presented me with two unexpected problems when I first started using it.

 

Blackout period – When you look through the view finder on a DSLR you are used to seeing exactly what you see with your eye, and seeing it the instant you put your eye to the viewfinder.  With a mirrorless camera such as the X-T2, this isn’t the case.  Because a mirrorless doesn’t have a mirror (obviously) it can’t actually show you anything on the viewfinder until you tell it to..this is usually done by half pressing the shutter.  The very first time I used the X-T2 was photographing a concert..I didn’t pick the easiest thing to put the X-T2 to the test!!  Straight away, the blackout period reared it’s head.  By the time I was seeing through the view finder, the person I had been wanting to photograph had moved to the other side of the stage.  Initially I was caught off guard by this…but I quickly developed a system of shooting where the blackout period became a non-issue.  I had to change the way I was shooting, but only slightly.

 

Exposure – I am not sure what else to title this section except exposure.  What I mean by this is that the electronic view finder in a X-T2 (and all mirrorless cameras I would think) again don’t show you what you see with your eye, but what you have the camera set to expose the scene like.  This is brilliant!!!  Unless you mostly shoot off camera flash and mostly underexpose your background like I do.  The first time I set up a shot with off camera flash and looked through the view finder I thought something was wrong with the camera!! lol.  There was absolutely nothing wrong with the camera, it was just showing me what the exposure was going to look like with my settings.  It obviously didn’t know I was going to be adding flash (though that would be amazing), so I can’t blame to camera.  In the end, I found a little workaround that made it easier for me to see what I was shooting.

 

Besides those two issues, the switch from DSLR to mirrorless is pretty straight forward.  Any other issues wouldn’t be down to one being a DSLR and one being a mirrorless.

 

The Design:

 

The design of the X-T2 is awesome.  It’s a throwback to old film camera’s.  You have your aperture control on the lens and dials on top of the camera for your shutter, ISO, and exposure compensation adjustments.  This makes making adjustments FAR easier than it ever was on my Nikon.

 

There were, for me, a couple of issues with the design that I just need to get used to.  One is the Q button.  This button allows you to change from different setting banks on the fly.  Quite handy.  But, not being familiar with the camera, I found the button a little too easy to accidentally hit and therefor accidentally change a setting bank.  This happened once and suddenly the X-T2 was shooting in black and white.  I quickly rectified the problem and since then have been MUCH more conscious of the Q button… personally, I think it should be moved to the left side of the camera.

 

The other issues was the viewfinder display button.  This is located on the right hand side of the view finder.  I am not used to anything being there, and it’s a little close to the shutter adjustment wheel.  Again, on a shoot I had accidentally hit this button and switched the display from the viewfinder to the LCD.  Again, quickly rectified and I am now much more conscious of the button.

 

Awesome Features:

 

There are quite a few awesome features on the X-T2.  Because everyone shoots different, I am only going to list the ones that really pertain to how I shoot.  There are inevitably more, but I haven’t discovered them probably because they are things I don’t need.  😀

  • 4K video
  • 3 axis LCD display
  • 2 card slots
  • The viewfinder can sense when the camera is to your eye
  • Wifi with the ability to send instant low res images to your phone
  • You can charge the entire battery grip without taking the batteries out of it

The Specs:

 

You aren’t going to get a lot of specs from me.  I am not a gearhead and generally don’t care about specs. I don’t ever have a need for a hundred photos a second, or shooting at 1/8000 of a second.  So I am not going to bore you with how many frames a second it can take or what is the fastest shutter speed…because I simply don’t care as I have no need for that stuff.

All I care about is that it shoots 4K video and is 24MP.  It can probably shoot as some ungodly ISO, but I never really have the need for anything above 1600 (and that’s really pushing it).

 

The Awesomeness:

 

So saying all that, all I really care about is how the camera performs with how I use it…so here you go.

  • Noise – amazing!!!  I shot a concert with it at ISO 800 and I couldn’t even notice the noise in the photos
  • Sharpness – Easily the sharpest camera I have ever seen.  This produces the sharpest images I have ever seen.  A customer emailed me about the photos I had taken with this and commented on how sharp the images were (meta data stripped so they didn’t know what I was shooting with)
  • Ease of Use – incredibly easy camera to use, especially if you are like me and used to shoot film.  If you are making the switch from DSLR to mirrorless, there will the teething issues, but once you get used to that it’s easy as pie!
  • Details – the RAW files from the X-T2 hold an incredible amount of detail and give a very wide range of forgiveness on exposures

 

The Verdict:

 

I am officially a Fuji convert, and that’s saying something as I HATE changing cameras…hate it!  As I said earlier, from the day I was given the X-T2 I haven’t picked up a different camera for a shoot.  I’ve been so impressed with the camera that is has become my workhorse camera.  I give it 5* out of 5*.  Sure there are people that will moan that the LCD isn’t touch screen or some other nonsense.  To me, that stuff is just filler..it’s not important to how you use the camera and THE most important thing about a camera is how it performs, and this performs better than any camera I have used previously.

 

Some Images:

 

Here are some images taken with the X-T2 along with some 100% crops so you can see the sharpness.  Unfortunately I can’t show quite a few of my favourites from the camera as they are images that will be in magazines that are not yet out…so I may update this blog with those images when I can post them.

 

 

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For clarity, this image is almost straight out of camera. I got rid of a couple distracting things, but I was blown away with the image in camera that I didn’t do anything else to it.

 

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The rare occasions I shoot available light. Shot at 2.8.

 

 

14062016-Luthier-Guitar-Maker-0083-100-crop
100% crop to show sharpness, shot at f2.8

 

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A bright example of using off camera flash with the X-T2. This image seeing the subject in the viewfinder was not an issue.

 

 

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A darker example of using off camera flash. This time it was more of a struggle to see through the view finder as we were in a very dark location.

 

 

I would love to post more, but so much of what I used the X-T2 for was commissioned and I can’t show any of those yet.  Check back regularly for updates as I will update this with those images once I can.

 

Updated Images:

 

I can finally share some of the commissioned images that were taken with the Fuji X-T2.   I was a little bit risky and immediately started using the Fuji X-T2 on commissioned shoots, and below are a couple of those that I can now share.

 

Wes-Borland-Limp-Bizkit-Editorial-Portrait-Photographer-Total-Guitar-George-Fairbairn-Photography

 

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3 Comments

Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Benoit
September 12, 2016 at 4:54 pm

Nice review! What Nikon were you using? Thanks

Ian Matthews | Kasabian | Rhythm Magazine Issue 258
September 13, 2016 at 7:54 am

[…] Fuji X-T2.  This was the first though, in which I was using off camera flash, and if you’ve read my review, this was where I discovered the (now resolved) issue of not being able to see!  So the camera was […]

George
September 13, 2016 at 8:01 am
– In reply to: Benoit

I was using the Nikon D800e for the last couple of years.