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Fujifilm XT-2 Camera Review

Fujifilm XT-2 Camera Review

Fujifilm XT-2 Camera Review

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TrueToad
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2020 Update: The question - Is the Fujifilm XT-2 a relevant camera now that the XT-3 has been replaced and available used and the XT-4 is available new? I can't answer the question for you but if I was on a tight budget I would not hesitate to pick up an XT-2 used - the used market price makes this camera very affordable. However, If my budget was a little more flexible I would go for the XT-3 because the XT-3 did bring several improvements in performance across the board. 

2018 Update:  Fujifilm has and continues to release Firmware updates that not only address issues but actually adds features to its camera lines - more so than any other camera company.  I was pleasantly surprised when I upgraded from 3.0 to 4.2 update that included improved performance overall, F-log, and larger icons/text for ease of reading/seeing. Fujifilm is a top-notch company and I applaud them for making these releases for free! Wow. Now I have a Fujifilm XT-2.5. Here is a link to the Fujifilm Firmware update page.

To show my appreciation - I just ordered the XF 80mm Macro Lens.

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 adventure - 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 - unless I tried to push processing afterward. 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" and I agree.

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.

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If like me you are head down working out of your camera bag with a one-camera brand system, I am about to blow your mind.   I recommend you lift your head and eyes and look around beyond 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.

With the purchase of the XT-2, my Photographic opportunities can be expanded using 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.

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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 some time now and the XT-1 even longer, please 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 emotion and the experience, If your system is not rewarding you with dopamine in every push of the shutter - you have the wrong system.

Fujifilm is a people's 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.

FujiFilm XT-2
Shot with a XF 35mm f/2 - window light late afternoon
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 let's 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.

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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.

Is the XT-2 a perfect crop camera - close, but no. My Nikon cameras have many more options for lenses so it fits a larger niche especially for my wildlife bird photography, and this is the lens range Fujifilm needs to address.  Due to the smaller XT-2 size, my rear button focus setup is cumbersome to use because the button is so close to the edge my thumb has difficulty getting to it while holding the camera with one hand.  Fujifilm has made excellent advancements in improved focus tracking, and overall usability of the XT-2.  The difference between a DSLR and this nice mirrorless is mostly determined by your lens needs and ergonomics, the argument over mirrorless vs DSLRs is no longer an argument or concern and in fact, I like many of the features of an EVF especially for immediate exposure feedback.

XT-2 with 35mm f/2
Early morning pier shot at sunrise using a Fujifilm XT-2 and 35mm f/2 lens
Here are my thoughts; If you have an opportunity to handhold 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.

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.

Thoughts:

 Fujifilm XT-2 is a real winner and I seriously recommend you put your hands on one today and try it out.

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Lens
  • Fujifilm XF 23 f/2
  • Fujifilm XF 35 f/2
Camera Body
  • Fujifilm XT-2

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