Here’s the camera photographers have been eagerly waiting for, but does the Fujifilm X-T2 have what it takes to be a DSLR killer? Michael Topham puts it to the test
Fujifilm X-T2 review
Fujifilm X-T2: Features
The design doesn’t seem radically different from the X-T1, but there are many updates and refinements to get excited about. Look beyond its hardwearing magnesium-alloy chassis, and you’ll soon realise there’s a lot more than first meets the eye. As we predicted, the X-T2 is equipped with the same 24.3-million-pixel X-Trans CMOS III sensor and X-Processor Pro as the X-Pro2. This combination provides a sensitivity range that covers ISO 200-12,800 (expandable to ISO 100-51,200). Unlike the X-T1, which regrettably didn’t allow users to shoot in raw at ISO 100, 12,800 or 25,600, the X-T2 doesn’t turn off raw image recording when you shoot in its extended settings.
The X-T1 was no slouch when it came to continuous shooting, but the pairing of the X-T2’s new sensor and processor presents numerous speed benefits. Not only can it shoot at up to 8fps, with a buffer of 27 raw files or 73 JPEGs, it’s possible to increase the top-end speed by attaching a new vertical booster grip. With the camera set to its performance-enhancing boost mode, the continuous shooting speed soars to 11fps using the mechanical shutter, or a blazing 14fps using the X-T2’s electronic shutter. Entering live-view mode sees the frame rate drop to a slower but still respectable 5fps, while the startup time and shutter lag have been reduced to 0.3secs and 0.045sec, respectively. As we’ve seen on previous X-Series models, there’s a mechanical focal plane shutter with a 1/8,000sec limit and the option to extend the fastest speed to 1/32,000sec by employing the silent electronic shutter.
The viewfinder is similar to that in the X-T1. It uses a 2.36-million-dot OLED display with 0.77x magnification and 100% coverage, but again improvements have been made. It has claimed to offer a stop better image quality in low light and the EVF refresh rate can be increased from 60fps to 100fps in the camera’s boost mode. Selecting the faster of the two refresh rates does come with one compromise – it consumes more power.
The display lag time of the EVF now stands at just 0.005secs. With reduced blackout time (0.13secs that reduces to 0.114secs with the power booster) and improved sensor readout and processing speeds, the X-T2 can now take up to five autofocus readings between frames during continuous shooting to improve the hit-rate of sharp shots when faced with shooting the fastest of subjects. To put this in perspective, the X-T1 previously only managed one autofocus reading between frames.
This leads us nicely onto the X-T2’s hybrid autofocus system, which features a central, square phase-detection region covering half of the frame width and three quarters of its height. Contrast-detection points are employed outside this area, and users are given the choice of either a 91-point AF array, which splits the frame into a 7×13 grid, or there’s a 325-point layout consisting of a 13×13 central grid of phase-detection points with a 6×13 grid of contrast-detect points either side. As before, single and continuous AF modes are selected from the front of the body, and there are five new autofocus case modes similar to those you get on Canon DSLRs. These are located from the AF-C custom settings in the main menu. By switching the camera from Normal to Boost mode (formerly known as high-performance mode) the AF acquisition speed improves by 0.02sec from 0.08sec to 0.06sec.
The big news at the rear of the body is the X-T2’s tilting screen mechanism. Unlike the X-T1’s display that can only tilt up and down, the X-T2 adds an additional hinge on the right edge, which when released using a sliding catch on the opposite side allows users to tilt the screen 60 degrees upwards. As well as being able to shoot at a low level and at an arms length above crowds in the landscape format, the X-T2 now lets you do the same in the portrait format. It’s an ingenious design that has been executed superbly. As for the specs of the screen, this remains unchanged to that in the X-T1. It measures 3inches in size, has a 3:2 aspect ratio and 1.04-million-dot resolution compared to the 1.62-million-dot screen on the X-Pro2.
Elsewhere, the X-T2 receives an improved graphical user interface and inherits the beautiful Arcos black & white simulation modes we loved so much on the X-Pro2. And, it’s not just in the area of stills where the X-T2 improves either. It becomes the first Fuji X-series model to sport 4K UHD video recording (3,840×2,160 pixels) at 30, 25 or 24fps for up to 10 minutes without the vertical booster grip, and 29min 59secs with it attached. Full HD (1,920×1,080) at up to 60fps is also on offer using the full width of the sensor, with the bit rate for 4K and full HD standing at 100Mbps. It’s good to see the X-T2 adds a standard 3.5mm stereo microphone input at the side, and there’s a new flat F-Log profile that videographers will want to explore when grading in post-production.