Fujifilm Launches X-T2 

Why launch today? 7/7 baby. Lucky numbers for sure.

bythom fujifilm xt2

Fujifilm today launched the much leaked and long rumored X-T2. In many ways, the new camera incorporates the changes Fujifilm made with the X-Pro2 over the X-Pro1, but in the X-T1 package. Still, there are a lot of subtle and deeper changes.

The big news is the use of the 24mp X-Trans sensor first found in the X-Pro2 (the X-T1 and most previous Fujifilm cameras were 16mp). Fujifilm is once again touting the X-Trans aspect of their APS crop sensor as providing similar or better image quality to the FX/full frame sensors of some DSLRs (“…produces image quality comparable to that of cameras equipped with a larger sensor with a higher pixel count”). Of course there’s no simple way of directly comparing X-Trans and Bayer cameras due to the functional changes required to interpreting the data, but in my experience, I wouldn’t put too much credibility into that claim. Moreover, it’s a qualified claim because it references the in-camera image processor. In point of fact, Fujifilm is apparently claiming that their in-camera X-T2 JPEGs are better than say, a D810’s in-camera JPEGs. 

Indeed, Fujifilm spent most of their time in their announcement and in their press materials about “Fujifilm’s proprietary color reproduction technology”, the film simulations, and of course the X-Trans impacts compared to Bayer. Out of camera JPEGs are one of Fujifilm’s claims to differentiation over the competitors, and the X-T2 launch didn’t change that one iota.

Probably more important in terms of sensor changes are the ones made for video. The X-T2 is the first Fujifilm camera to support 4K (2160P), and does so at 24, 25, and 30 fps. But only for a maximum of 10 minutes recording time. Similarly, 1080P has been reworked, but only records to 15 minutes. Fujifilm is also providing a new F-Log profile for recording video and a remote microphone socket, as well. (If you want a headphone jack, you have to get the vertical grip option.)

The X-T2 body grows a bit over the X-T1, partly to accommodate the 3” dual-pivot LCD. The LCD itself is now only 1.04m dots, though it has tempered glass over it. Unlike tilting and swivel LCDs, Fujifilm introduces a unique dual pivoting technique on the X-T2: tilt the LCD, then rotate it, or rotate the LCD then tilt it. Some of the controls have changed slightly in character, mostly refinements, but there’s one big addition: a thumbtack to control the active autofocus sensor. The EVF in the X-T2 gains a 100 fps mode (though this slows maximum frame rate to 5 fps in continuous shooting) that has lower frame blackout and produces less of the slide show effect often seen in the mirrorless cameras.

Both SD slots in the X-T2 are now UHS-II capable (only one slot was in the X-T1, and only one of the two slots of the X-Pro2 was UHS-II); you’ll need a UHS-II Class 3 card to record 4K video. Built-in Wi-Fi is present, but Fujifilm also added USB 3.0 support for faster tethered shooting.

The autofocus system has had a lot of rework, making it even more DSLR-like (also with modifiable tracking functions for continuous shooting). Only about 40% of the central area of the frame uses phase detect autofocus, though, and while contrast detect areas have been expanded, the X-T2 does not have edge to edge focus ability as some mirrorless cameras do.

Another thing emphasized continuously in Fujifilm’s announcement was size and weight (“…compact and lightweight”). This apparently also includes some change of heart about lenses on Fujifilm’s part. The already previewed 120mm f/2.8 macro lens “has been replaced with the 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR to satisfy the user needs for compact and lightweight lenses.” Indeed, the new Fujifilm lens roadmap only shows the 23mm f/2, 50mm f/2, and 80mm f/2.8 lenses coming in the next two years, and those are all small, compact lenses. That would put the X lens lineup at 23 lenses, 14 of which are primes, and many of those what people would consider compact.  

Overall, the X-T2 appears to be the expected update to the X-T1: moving to the new copper-clad 24mp sensor over the older 16mp one, attention to improving the controls and layout, improving the autofocus, as well as improving the continuous shooting experience. It should be a very well-received camera, despite the US$300 price increase of the X-T2 body over its predecessor. 

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