My First Hour With The Fuji X-T2
In what feels like something of a tradition these days, the first thing I did when my Fujifilm X-T2 arrived recently was to pop a fresh battery into it and head out into the backyard for test shots. The last time I tested a new camera was in the spring when the Fujifilm X-Pro2 debuted. Since then, I have been shooting exclusively with the X-Pro2, having decided to move completely away from Nikon and DSLR technology altogether. Soon after the X-Pro2 was released, Fujifilm announced the late-year arrival of the X-T2, which I viewed as the right replacement for my Nikon D750 for its high-speed shooting, fast autofocus, and video capabilities. As I wrote about recently, these two cameras share the X-Trans DNA, but are different in a number of key ways, which is why I'm using both in my photography kit. So, in this case, I wasn't so much testing the X-T2 for image quality or functionality, but instead just taking it for a warm-up and feeling out the new ergonomics of the camera. In this short excursion, I only shot about ten photos, but like all Fujifilm X cameras I've used, I developed an instant connection with the camera. In what follows are some of my initial takeaways from my first hour with the X-T2.
Immediately upon opening the X-T2 box and holding the camera in my hands I felt at home, just as I did with the X-Pro2. Despite the purposeful differences in physical configuration - the X-Pro2 being of a rangefinder design and the X-T2 being of a D/SLR layout - the camera holds perfectly, with all the critical controls easily identifiable and manually adjustable from the top plate and back panel. If there is one thing Fujifilm has mastered, it is the ergonomics of their cameras. The X-T2 borrows from the X-Pro2 with its directional 5-button menu system and its intuitive focus stick "nub" for controlling the focus points. This latter feature is so outstandingly implemented and such a simple addition, it surprises me it took so long for a camera manufacturer to realize its benefit. On this note, it's interesting to see similar implementations now appearing on other brands' camera bodies.
Another feature of note is the articulating LCD screen on the back panel of the X-T2. When I first started shooting with the X-T1 - my first Fujifilm camera - it had been the first time I used a so-called "flippy screen" and afterwards, found cameras without them seemed so limiting in certain applications. It was, in fact, one of the primary reasons I was using the Nikon D750 at the time - though the Nikon implementation was pretty poor given the limitations of "Live View" on a DSLR system. When I first started shooting with the X-Pro2 earlier this year, the lack of an articulating screen wasn't a deal-breaker, but I have to say I missed the feature much more often than I thought I would. Thus, having it on the X-T2 is a welcome addition, and the updated design of the screen - which cleverly provides a third degree of motion for high- and low-angle portrait shots - is excellent.
While 4k video recording; faster autofocus system; and an expanded range of focus points are really the reasons for adding the X-T2 to my kit, the add-on battery grip for the X-T2 also stands as a key differentiator when compared to the ergonomics of the X-Pro2. Not only does the grip add a slew of extra, functional features to the camera because of the boosted power (the grip holds two additional batteries), like faster frame rate and extended video recording time at 4k, but it improves the overall ergonomics of the camera in ways the X-Pro2 simply cannot. For some of Fuji's larger lenses, like their fast 16-55mm f/2.8 and 50-140mm f/2.8 zooms, the balance of the camera/lens combinations is simply much, much better than with the X-Pro2. This point was verified as I walked around the yard with the 50-140mm mounted to the X-T2, along with the so-called "vertical power booster grip" which I would say is an essential add-on to the X-T2 system.
Footnotes: All images, Fujifilm X-T2 with Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 XF R LM OIS WR