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Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 1

When the X-Pro2 was announced earlier this year, it seemed only a matter of time before Fujifilm unveiled a replacement to its ‘other’ flagship, the X-T1. The just-announced X-T2 boasts the company’s newest 24MP sensor, an AF joystick and a significant speed boost.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 2

Externally, the X-T2 looks virtually identical to the older X-T1, which is no bad thing. Fujifilm got a lot right in the X-T1, and its replacement doesn’t change the basic recipe. The new camera is about 70g heavier, but side-by-side, you’d be hard pushed to tell it apart from its predecessor.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 3

The traditional Fujifilm top-plate, with its array of dials. From left: ISO > Shutter speed > exposure compensation.

One of the very few ergonomic differences between the X-T2 and its predecessor is the omission of a movie recording button from the upper-right of the top plate. This is made up for (sort of) by the addition of a movie recording position on the main exposure mode dial, but we’re not sure why Fujifilm would remove this button completely. 

Since we’re looking at the hot shoe, it’s worth mentioning that the camera can sync with flashes at 1/250 sec. The overall shutter speed range on the X-T2 is 30 – 1/8000 sec with the mechanical shutter, with a top speed of 1/32000 when you switch to the e-Shutter.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 4

Keen eyes will spot the new movie recording position on the mode dial (upper left in this image). The X-T2 offers by far the most advanced movie recording specification of any Fujifilm camera, including 4K (3840 x 2160) video, which to be honest, was a major surprise when we first saw the camera’s spec sheet.

Traditionally a major weak point of Fujifilm’s X-series it seems like the company is really stepping up its efforts when it comes to video.

The X-T2’s electronic viewfinder appears to be unchanged from the excellent 2.36 million-dot, 0.5″ OLED found in the original X-T1, which is absolutely fine by us. 

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 5

A predictable – but very welcome – addition to the X-T2 is a dedicated AF joystick (shown here just beneath the ‘Q’ button). Inherited from the X-Pro2, this joystick makes placing the AF point extremely fast and easy – something that could definitely not be said of previous X-series cameras (and many mirrorless cameras in general). 

A less obvious change to the X-T2’s rear controls is a slightly longer travel and more positive tactile response from the buttons surrounding ‘Menu/OK’. These controls on the X-T1 were disconcertingly mushy. On the X-T2, when you push a button, you know it.

Speaking of autofocus, the Hybrid AF system on the X-T2 has 325 points in total, 169 of which are phase-detect. Fujifilm says that the data readout speed has been doubled compared to previous (undisclosed) models and that all focus points are sensitive to -3EV.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 6

Speaking of tactile feedback, we were really hoping that the X-T2 would feature a touchscreen, like its baby brother the X70. No such luck. But at least it’s partially articulating – unlike the X-Pro2’s LCD. 

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 7

As well as tilting straight out, the rear screen can also be folded out to 45 degrees….

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 8

…and hinged sideways!

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 9

The major benefit of this kind of articulation is that it makes waist-level shooting easy even in the vertical orientation. 

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 10

Twin card slots can be found under a sprung door located on the X-T2’s grip. A rubber gasket seals the slots against dust and moisture incursion. 

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 11

The X-T2’s NP-W126S battery can be found nestled inside the grip, accessible from a door on the base of the camera. According to Fujifilm, a single battery should be expected to last for approximately 340 images. Not great, but typical for a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera.

You can’t quite see in this shot, but one deceptively major change in the X-T2 compared to its predecessor is that the tripod socket on the camera’s base has been centered to the lens axis, meaning that on most tripods, you won’t need to unscrew the camera from the tripod plate before you can access the battery compartment – a point of occasional frustration with the X-T1. 

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 12

If you need greater endurance (or you just have big hands) you might be interested in the optional VPB-XT2 grip. This grip takes two additional batteries, making three in total, extending the camera’s total battery life to more than 1000 shots.

There’s a ‘boost mode’ on the camera which uses the grip, increasing burst shooting from 8 to 11 fps (with the mechanical shutter), reducing shutter lag and blackout times and permitting up to 30 minutes of 4K video capture. Do note that if you want continuous autofocus, you’ll need to drop the frame rate down to 5 fps.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 13

The two additional batteries slot into a neat little tray which fits into the grip like so. Here you can also see a plug that accepts a 9V power adapter, so the grip can be charged separate from the camera.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 14

Any self-respecting battery grip offers duplicated vertical controls, and the VPB-XT2 is no different. Here you can see the duplicated shutter button, rear control dial (there’s another one on the front) and secondary AF positioning joystick. 

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 15

The X-T2 ships with a dedicated compact flashgun, the EF-X8. This can be used to command a group of external flashguns wirelessly – always a welcome feature on high-end cameras.

A new high-end flash – the EF-X500 – will also be available when the X-T2 launches. It has a guide number of 50m at ISO 100, supports high speed sync, includes a video lamp and covers a range of 24-105mm (or down to 20mm with the included wide panel). It’ll be priced at $449 when it ships in September.

Faster flagship: Hands-on with Fujifilm X-T2

Faster flagship: Hands-on with the Fujifilm X-T2 16

The Fujifilm X-T2 will retail for $1599 body-only or with an 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 lens for $1899, and will be available in September. We’re headed to New York soon to interview senior Fujifilm executives – what should we ask them? Let us know in the comments. 


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