Versatile Still and Video Camera
Review by Steve Baczewski
Fuji’s new, high-end, mirrorless X-T2 camera with its 24-megapixel, APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor is a marriage of new technology and improved ergonomic design. It delivers high-quality JPEG and RAW files in a retro-styled body that feels and handles beautifully. At first glance the X-T2 looks very similar to its predecessor, the X-T1, but the X-T2 is a size-able upgrade, emphasizing better handling, 4K video, and improved autofocus.
The solid, compact, black magnesium-alloy body is weather-sealed, with a textured grip that’s deeper and adds stability especially when using longer lenses. There are now two SD memory card slots that can be used in tandem or as a backup. The camera’s pads, buttons, and dials are larger and taller for improved handling, and the ISO and shutter dials can now be locked to avoid unintentional changes. A joystick has been added for quickly moving the focus point and freeing up the four navigational pads, which now can be used as four of eight customizable function buttons for quick access to more than 30 features. The joystick is a big improvement, but a touchscreen would be even better for moving the focus point, stack focusing, or resizing in playback. The LCD now articu-lates 45º vertically as well as 45º and 90º horizontally, thus broadening the ability to shoot from low and high angles. The LCD holds up very well in bright light.
Composing with X-T2’s bright EVF and 0.77-magnification factor is a pleasure. Fuji has added a new “boost performance mode” that, amongst other things, increased the EVF’s refresh frame rate from 60 to 100 fps for very smooth viewing. The new sensor uses a larger combination of 325 contrast and phase-detection points with the faster 169 phase-detection points densely distributed in the center of the frame and the contrast points flanking its sides. Compared to the X-T1, focusing is noticeably faster with a minimum of hunting or hesitation in low-light or low-contrast situations. Fuji has paid special attention to improving continuous autofocus (CAF) tracking with five new presets that maintain focus while track-ing a variety of defined subject movement. You can also add your own customized CAF preset. Examples of defined CAF presets might be for erratic subject tracking, like a child play-ing or a subject moving toward or away from the camera. The X-T2 algorithms anticipate acceleration or deceleration and adjust with an impressive degree of success. For added preci-sion, you can adjust the tracking speed, sensitivity, and zone of the subject. These presets in combination with using the boost mode reduce the blackout time between shots, mak-ing continuous autofocus tracking close to the experience of using an optical viewfinder.
The X-T2 records both full HD and an impressive 4K video. The frame rates for 4K are from 23.9–29.97 fps internally. There’s also a micro HDMI out port for external recording. The optional vertical grip ($329) has a headphone jack to monitor audio. With its two additional batteries, the vertical grip increases continuous shooting burst performance from 8 to 11 fps, and up to 14 fps when using the electronic shut-ter. The grip also boosts camera life to approximately 1,000 frames and 4K video recording from 10 to 30 minutes. The new 24-megapixel sensor clearly delivers increased detail without adding noise. In a head-to-head comparison with Sony’s full-frame, 42.4 MP a7R II, there was no discern-ible difference onscreen, or in 17×22″ prints from ISO 200 to 2500. Fuji has produced a number of fine lenses that fit the X-T2, making this a robust system worth looking into. ■