Fuji XT2: The complete review with everything we know so far

 

fujiXT2

The Fuji XT2 was just announced, and I've gotta say that this is going to be the camera to have.  It's faster, full of pixels, and promises to autofocus like lightning.

This post will be updated on an hourly/daily basis over the next few months as details are revealed about this camera.

I haven't had my hands on a Fuji XT2 yet.  A few select photographers have, such as Elia Locardi who is certainly worth a follow.  I chatted with him while speaking at a conference last year and he really has a wealth of knowledge to share.  Anyway, I'm anxious to get my hands on an XT2 to test, but I guess Fuji doesn't think I'm cool enough to send a review unit despite the fact that I.P. has over a million followers on social media and millions more website visitors.  Do I sound bitter?  I am.  But I get it.  Elia is definitely cooler than I am.

Overview

The Fuji XT2 takes everything from the Fuji XT1 that I loved enough to switch from Nikon and makes it better.  It retains separate dials for ISO, aperture, and shutter speed (awesome!), still has a tilting LCD screen, keeps the body size almost the same but very slightly larger, added the incredible autofocus from the XPRO2, and upped the resolution to 24 megapixels.

The only down side is the price is higher on the XT2 than the XT1 was at launch.  At $1,699 retail, Fuji is starting to get up there in price.  Price is no longer a compelling reason to switch to Fuji.

fuji-new-autofocus

Specs

The spec list is compelling on the Fuji XT2, but Fuji cameras never look as good on paper as they are in the hand.  The biggest benefit of shooting Fuji is form factor and controls.  It's the shootability factor (that's a word, right?).  It's like looking at the specs of a sports car that just can't convey the “fun to drive” factor.  Anyway, here are the specs (courtesy DP Review).

  • 24 megapixel sensor
  • 325 focus points with 169 phase detect points (and believe me, the focus system is awesome!  Read more on that later)
  • Weather sealed body
  • 4K UHD video at up to 30 fps for up to 10 min (30 min with the grip)
  • AF point selection joystick
  • 2.36M-dot OLED EVF with 0.005 sec refresh time (60 fps or 100 fps in boost mode)
  • 3″ 1.04M-dot articulating LCD
  • F-Log flat profile for shooting video
  • 8 fps continuous shooting with AF (11 fps if you get the huge grip that takes your small camera and makes it feel like a bloated DSLR)
  • 5 fps continuous shooting with live view updates between capture
  • Dual SD card slots (UHS-II speed, but not UHS-III)
  • USB 3.0 socket for tethering (P.S. would you fix the tethering problems in Lightroom, Adobe?)

What I DON'T Like About the XT2

There is always a list of things missing in any new camera release.  That list is pretty short with this camera, but I'd include three things:

  • Still no touchscreen.  This is soooo 2005 of Fuji!  Can you imagine a cell phone with buttons and dials all over the place instead of a touchscreen?  Cameras need a touch screen.  I used to think I wouldn't use a touchscreen on a camera until I got one that had it, and suddenly it was the only way I wanted to control the camera.
  • The menu system seems to be inherited from the XPRO2.  I've mysteriously seen people praising the new system, which is a mystery to me.  I talked with a Fuji employee at a conference last week and we spent 20 minutes together searching for menu items that should have been easy to find.  Even he didn't know where they were!  For example, why in the WORLD would you hide “format card” under “user settings”?   That's a setting that photographers need to access frequently, so it should be easy to find, and not in a sub-menu.
  • The LCD screen rotates up and down but is not fully articulating (flip out 90 degrees for selfie mode).  This is actually a major gripe for me.  I'm constantly recording video tutorials on photography for Improve Photography Plus while I'm in the field.  If I have a camera with an articulating LCD, I can see myself on the LCD while standing in front of the camera.  Otherwise, I just have to HOPE it's pointing at me.
  • Lack of a serious dedicated flash system.  This is not my gripe, but some people might care.  I've been using cheap, inexpensive, incredibly powerful Yongnuo flashes for the last 6 years and so I'd have no interest in buying into a proprietary Fuji flash system.  The Yongnuo flashes work perfectly on a Fuji.  See my flash recommendations page here.

Controls

I've mentioned several times already that the controls on the Fuji system are wonderful.  There's no touchscreen yet, but the tactile buttons are well thought out–better than any other system out there.

The only problem with the controls on the XT1 was moving focus points, which required a button to be pressed first before the four-way selector could be used to control which focus point was active.  No more.

Fuji released a joystick for their XPRO2 and they've brought it to the XT2!  It makes you feel like you're playing Atari while shooting.  The tiny little joystick allows you to switch between the absurd number of focus points easily and quickly.  And yes, there's an option to only activate 77 of the focus points so you don't have to spend so long moving the selector around.

It's time for some real talk about marketing phrases.  What the heck does "For the unseen photography" even mean?!??!?!

It's time for some real talk about marketing phrases. What the heck does “For the unseen photography” even mean?!??!?!

Build Quality

I've always been a fan of the build quality of Fuji gear.  In fact, I accidentally dumped my tripod over in the Li River a couple weeks ago and my Fuji XPRO2 was completely submerged underwater for a second.  The next day I tossed in a battery to try it out and it was as good as new!  No problem.

I have never dunked my XT1 underwater, but I've shot with it in downpours in Iceland without issue.  I'd expect to see the same quality in the XT2.

Autofocus

Autofocus was my biggest gripe with the XT1 (that, and resolution).  However, Fuji has completely fixed this issue.  I was amazed at what a leap forward they made in the speed.

In fact, I tested the autofocus of the XPRO2 (which has the same focus module that the XT2 is getting) and found it to be slightly FASTER than a Canon 7D Mark II for continuous focus of objects moving toward the camera.  I wouldn't consider it to be as good for movement that jumps between close and far quickly, however.

So when the receiver is streaking toward the camera, no problem.  You'll nail it.  But when a running back jukes back and forth around the linebacker, you'll have a little more trouble.  Sorry for those of you in unfortunate countries who don't get to enjoy American football 🙂  That reference was probably lost on you.  Enjoy your wimpy “football” that we call soccer 🙂

The autofocus system in the XPRO2 that is being inherited in the new XT2 is the best autofocus on any camera I've ever used. Period.Jim Harmer

I made the statement that the Fuji XPRO2 was the best focusing camera that I've ever tested and it really surprised some people.  Let me explain.  I'll say again that for objects that jump back and forth, it's not as fast as most DSLRs.  True.

However, it does very well with continuous focus moving toward the camera, and (here's the biggie) it can focus in near pitch black conditions.

In Iceland and in China on my most two recent workshops, we were in situations each day where the DSLR folks were fretting the fact that they couldn't focus on the landscape because there was absolutely NO ambient light.  The Fuji users had no trouble at all.  That camera found focus on just a little reflection of light hitting the water from the moon.  It's amazing.

If I were shooting pro sports, I wouldn't pick a Fuji.  However, I'd have no qualms about shooting some sports and also night photography and portraits, and any other genre.  Unless you're a dedicated sports photographer, the autofocus system in the Fuji XT2 will likely be an upgrade for you.

Screenshot courtesy DP Review.

Screenshot courtesy DP Review.

Video

Fuji has never been a video-focused camera company, and I'm okay with that.  Like most photographers, I periodically grab a few seconds of video but don't focus on video.  Previous Fuji cameras have had issues with video, but the XT2 looks to be a solid performer.

The XT2 shoots 4k video, and is capable of doing so onto the SD card.  Cool.  I'll care when more than one tenth of one percent of my viewers will be watching on 4k screens and have internet connections fast enough to show it.

What to Expect If You're Switching

The first thing I noticed when I switched to Fuji is how much better colors look coming straight out of the camera when compared to Nikon.  The files look much more like Canon raw files than Nikon raw files.  I was used to the dull look of Nikon colors until I switched to Fuji and remembered how nice it is to get the colors looking more natural right out of the camera without doing any work.

The thing I always hear people say when they tell me why they aren't interested in Fuji is low light performance, to which I always reply by asking if they have ever shot a Fuji camera at night.  Low light performance in the Fuji system is fantastic!  I do lots of low light shooting and night photography.  I would never have switched to Fuji if it wasn't kicking butt in the low light department.

Controls, controls, controls.  The best thing about shooting Fuji is that the controls are out of this world.  It's FUN to shoot!  Having a separate dials for the exposure triangle makes more of a difference than you can imagine, and you'll hate going back to another system after trying it.

The Fuji lens system is sharp, relatively inexpensive for pro quality lenses, and robust enough for most any photographer's needs.  If you're buying into the system for the first time and want to save some money, you should look at Fuji's prime lens offerings as they are quite inexpensive.  However, I've always preferred to just get the trinity of zooms in any system because it allows me to shoot any situation without issue.  Here's the trinity of lenses in the Fuji system:

  • Fuji 10-24mm f/4.  This is the wide angle lens in the Fuji system.  It's sharp as a tack, extremely lightweight, focuses close, and has a convenient zoom range.  The problem?  It's not weather sealed!  Argh!
  • Fuji 16-55mm f/2.8.  This is your equivalent of a 24-70.  Awesome.  Use it constantly.
  • Fuji 50-140mm f/2.8.  Equivalent to a 70-200mm on a DSLR system.  This lens is fantastic, but a little heavier than I'd like.  I couldn't have switched to Fuji if they didn't have a good 70-200.

PRE-ORDERING THE FUJI XT2

I always pre-order my cameras through Amazon.  Amazon hasn't yet updated their system with the pre-order info, but I'll update this post the instant they do.  For me, Amazon has been reliable in getting me the camera fast because they have ridiculously awesome shipping.  If you click that link right now and then if you decide to actually place your order later, I’ll get a 4% commission which helps to pay the direct costs of producing these in-depth reviews, and it doesn’t cost you anything extra.

Another option is to pre-order through your local camera store.  It’s happened more than a few times that I’ve seen cameras that were back ordered for MONTHS on Amazon and B&H which a local camera store would have in stock immediately.  I haven’t seen any backordering for the XT2 where the estimated shipping date is anything other than the September 2016 release date, so I’m not sure this will be necessary for the XT2.  But it’s a good tip to know when you’re pre-ordering the 5D Mark IV later this year.


About the Author

Jim Harmer

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Jim Harmer is the founder of Improve Photography, and host of the popular Improve Photography Podcast. More than a million photographers follow him on social media, and he has been listed at #35 in rankings of the most popular photographers in the world. Jim travels the world to shoot with readers of Improve Photography in his series of free photography workshops. See his portfolio here.

Comments

  1. I preordered the X-T2 a few hours after it went live on B&H. They expect availability mid-August and I hope that’s true. By the way, you are the one who inspired me to sell off my Canon 5DIII and all related gear and stick with just using the X-T1. I have had no regrets. In Utah right now getting the shots of my life…only brought the 16-55 and 10-24 in a PacSafe waist pack and it goes on every hike for instant access. Really looking forward to the X-T2!

  2. Hi Jim,

    I normally order my cameras from other sites. However, I found your info quite informative, I’d like to click the Amazon link that you mentioned. Where can I find this Amazon link on your site,. Other sites have these links highlighted.

    Cheers,
    James

  3. What are your thoughts on the Fuji 18-135? Do you have it? Not use it?

  4. What are your thoughts on its APS-C sensor? I’m using a D5100 and have been thinking of going full-frame (D750) for awhile now but am always reading such good reviews on Fuji cameras.

    My focus is landscapes (80% of my photos i’d guess) and I’d like to get more into night and star photography in the future. It seems I’d be very happy with an XT-2 except I wonder about being happier with a full-frame camera like the D750 for landscapes

    Appreciate your thoughts!

  5. Is there a mirrorless camera that you would recommend for shooting football? I want my next camera to be able to do that.

  6. We play rugby in New Zealand and it makes the US football guys look like a pack of sooks all padded up and protected, lol yea na bro your game is a little soft .

  7. Thanks @jim. I would love to order the XT2. I have been waiting for it button Australia, the pre-order price in upwards of $2300 AUD. As someone looking to move to Fuji as a hobbyist, do you think the XT1 with good glass would be better then the XT2 with the kit lens?
    Love the website and the podcasts.
    Cheers

    Colin

  8. if you need touch screen, buy smartphone. First you wrote “Controls, controls, bla bla bla”, then you crying for touch screen. Do you need camera or smartphone? Make decision what do you need.

    You should wrote:
    Och, I can’t install PokemonGo apllication in fuji, It is terrible !!!

  9. Video is a vital part of today’s world. If you’re a photographer not embracing video, you will lose. We have a production company, we started out with just stills. We were doing well with just stills. But a clever photographer will get the fact that times have changed. Companies now want video for social media as well as stills to send for publication etc. so my point is, wether we like it or not, it’s fantastic that 4K video is included.

  10. I couldn’t agree more on the low light statement. I have friends that thought I was crazy when I made my primary camera an aps-c camera. I’ve shot Sony ff and Nikon ff, and I would put Fuji’s low light in the same class.
    And as far as color… I’ve found that I am spending way less time in post with fuji’s raw files. I have had the xt1 for a year. Since then I have sold my Sony a99 and am about to sell my d600. The only reason that I still have the d600 is the af speed comes in handy at weddings/events in comparison to the xt1. If the xt2 improves on af speed, there will be no reason for the d600. I already internally moan when I have to resort to that camera. Seriously, it goes against all of my logic to reach for a 16mpx aps-c camera and leave a 24mpx ff camera in the bag, but that is the way it happens 99% of the time.

  11. Enjoy your wimpy football with pads crash helmets and steroids… over here real men play rugby league or union…

  12. Hi Jim,

    Regarding the issue of formatting cards in the XT2. There is a short cut which means you don’t need to go into the menu to format either card. Check it out on this tutorial, it’s covered at about 1 hour 14 minutes in, just skip to that bit if you need but I recommend you watch it all if you’ve just purchased your shiny new XT2.

    https://youtu.be/T9AS__60t2I

    Enjoy…

  13. I enjoyed this review, and came here looking for some solid evidence that the XT2 could perform as well as my Nikon D800 and the 14-24 f/2.8 lens combo which I have grown to love. It is a little hard to take your review on the night performance seriously when you state that the trinity lens for wide angle is f/4. Have you used this with any other wide angle lenses from Fuji, specifically to shoot the Milky Way?

  14. Jim,

    I can get the xt10 with the 18-50 mm for 1250 CDN and the XT2 with the 18-50 mm for 2400 CDN. I am switch from my Nikon D90. I shoot mostly with the 28 – 70 mm lens that came with the camera using iso to compensate for higher F stops. So should I buy the X10 and some more lens or get the XT2 and pick up more lens at a later date (when I find more money :)). Thoughts?

  15. Great review. Most informative among many online. Your cons, or gripes, are so easy to relate to. I’d really like Fuji glass, but OMD is just making some stellar features such as touch based focus, which blew me away when I tried it in a store. I came here looking specifically if Fuji XT2 and some of its lenses like 35mm f/2 would yield the same touch benefit. Alas, not yet. Your review is spot-on. Thank you!

  16. Greatliy appreciate this article (while looking over the spastic comments re: no touchscreen). The xt2 is at the top of my wishlist once Fuji has a model complete with full frame.

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