Fujifilm XT-2 Camera Review
In the day I required three things photographically speaking, (one) A camera, (two) A lens, and (three) film. Those three combinations dictated my photographs for a particular shooting session. My right brain was needed in the process to make decisions for each photographic adventures - back then photography required more planning as far as film was concerned because I could not rotate a dial to increase my film speed once I loaded it. Modern digital photography is much different in many aspects and the Fujifilm XT-2 brings a more tactile look and feel to your photography. The XT-2 camera centers on excellent ergonomics with inputs that many say represents a traditional film camera "look and feel."
As many know I spend most of my photographic time with my Nikon cameras and lens systems with some exception I do use lenses from 3rd party markets such as Tokina, Sigma, and Tamron -> all three make some fine glass.
If like me you are head down working in your one camera box with one camera system, I am about to blow your mind. I recommend you lift your head and eyes and look around beyond the that one company and investigate what others are now doing - get out and put your eye and hands-on other systems, you may just be surprised. That is exactly what I did at a recent CES and why I purchased a Fujifilm XT-2 for my own personal use.
Shot with a XF 35mm f/2 - window light late afternoon
With the purchase of the XT-2, it allows my Photographic opportunities to expand into the Fujifilm system line of products - this is NOT a replacement for any camera or lens I currently use, the decision is more of a break away from my normal routine. After using a Fujifilm XT-2 I was so impressed I needed to engage the Fujifilm XT-2 system in a more long-term plan, so I picked up the XT-2, XE-3, and a few optics - am I impressed? Yes.
On YouTube you find many people who offer their reviews - I partake only in non-biased self-funded reviews - I buy it, I review it, own it and use it, and that pretty much speaks for every review on this site.
It has been such a long time since I experienced a camera that made me want to take pictures - I know the XT-2 has been out for a year now and the XT-1 even longer, If you have time check out an XT-2 to see for yourself.
The Fujifilm XT-2 is one of the better cameras that I have ever used and I have used a lot of cameras! The Fujifilm XT-2 is as close to a reproduction of a "film-like experience" camera that emulates the days of emulsion film days wrapped in current digital technology, at a cost people can afford. If you never experienced the days of Kodak, Fujifilm, Ilford, or Agfa film, then this may not resonate with you, the normal for you may be a digital-only experience. Nikon and Canon have turned their cameras into a business camera model, with FUN being secondary - designed for speed and efficiency making the feel more logical than organic.
Fujifilm help removes the robotic digital mindset with their Fujifilm XT-2, A camera full of emotional experience and not a logical choice because of specs: Photography is about an emotion and experience, If your system is not rewarding you with dopamine in every push of the shutter - you have the wrong system.
Fujifilm is people, life experience camera, a right brain experience; I use XT-2 to help me paint my thoughts digitally not to digitally paint my thoughts. Noting has come as close to what a camera has to offer as Fujifilm in so many years.
From a DSLR shooter - the Fujifilm XT-2 is a breath of fresh air. During my adventures in Digital Photography, either you transitioned from film emulsion to digital, or you grew up knowing only digital and never experienced the smell of emulsion film fresh out of the plastic canister-- you are reading this because you love photography. I transitioned from film emulsion to digital under Nikon thinking that was my path and I do love Nikon. But lets face it, there are other choices, today I find myself here because I fully appreciate Fujifilm cameras, and appreciate what they have offered.
So the above is the emotional side of things - on to the more specifics about what I like and dislike about the XT-2.
What I love:
- The beautiful ergonomics of the camera
- The similarities of a film emulsion camera - Fujifilm nailed it`
- Good optical lens selection
- Control positions and ease of use, things I always use are on camera dials.
- Exceptional and I mean exceptional color reproduction - raw or JPEGS.
- Very good autofocus and tracking
Things I wished:
- Full Touch Screen, my D850 has it
- Better Battery life
- The XT-2 is a recent new offering - I am disappointed it has no touchscreen
- I wished it was a full frame sensor
The Build Quality: Outstanding, very robust and well made. I have high confidence in the camera body, feels as good as any other top-shelf camera on the market.
From A DSLR Frame of Mind Shooter: I love my back button focus, if you have never tried back button focus I suggest you investigate, in a nutshell, back button focus allows shutter release to be independent of the focus. You assign a separate button to focus. On my larger DLSRs, the AF-ON button is in perfect alignment with my thumb at the back of the camera and is raised to allow quick access with ease. On the Fujifilm XT-2 the AF-L button is flush to the camera body and close to the edge - awkward finding it, and the need to reposition my hand to comfortability access it; back button focus is doable but not as comfortable as on my DSLRs.
Fujifilm XT-2 35mm f/2 - shot wide open ISO 1250
Is the XT-2 a perfect crop camera - no, and here is the drill down. I own a Nikon D500 so, I find myself comparing it to that Nikon standard, and frankly, the D500 has superior performance overall - sorry Fujifilm. However, and why I OWN AND USE a Fujifilm XT-2 is because the camera works well, is lighter, great optics and makes me want to take pictures, have I mentioned the XT-2 has superior color reproduction right from the camera? The low light performance of the XT-2 does show more noise than my D500 at the same ISO. The big thing for me is Fujifilm flash support is lacking as compared to Nikon. The day and age of LED Strobes such as the NEO 2 may make the argument a bit less meaningful for portraits, and I plan on picking up a Rotolight NEO 2 soon, might be a time we re-think fill light using LED Strobes. Check out Jason Lanier on Youtube. If Rotolight works well with the Fujifilm then everything I said above about flash may be OBE, at least for me.
The margins of performance are so narrow in the crop sensor cameras now, and whatever you buy will probably be a good system.
Here are my thoughts; If you have an opportunity to hand hold and test a few cameras in stores, or at a CES, by all means, take advantage. If you are heading for a top level Pro Shooter position I highly recommend Nikon - Nikon has a crapload of lenses and excels a creative flash and support. If you have ambitions to take pro-level photos and be less concerned about top end nature and wildlife as it currently stands technology wise in the mirrorless end, Fujifilm is an amazing system. I would never try to compare my XT-2 to my D500 for serious sports and wildlife - until Fujifilm has a native 600mm f/4.
Cold Early Morning Sunrise
My initial Optics starting out:
I picked up three lens - 23mm f/2, 35mm f/2, and the 16mm f1.4 - if this works out, I plan on adding a few more like the XF 80 macro.
I will be adding images and more content here over time - so if you are tracking this - add the RSS to your feed. In the meantime, Fujifilm XT-2 is a real winner.
Final Thoughts - do not shut down other camera manufactures - seek and learn new things.
- Fujifilm XF 23 f/2
- Fujifilm XF 35 f/2