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Welcome Fujifilm X-T2

A little over six months ago, I purchased the amazing Fujifilm X-Pro2 and began the journey away from traditional DSLR technology and toward mirrorless cameras. It didn't take long after shooting with the X-Pro2 to realize there was no going back. I had never shot with a more inspiring camera. After only a few short months of shooting exclusively with Fujifilm, I decided to transition entirely away from Nikon - a brand I had relied on a for a very long time - and commit completely to the Fuji X system. That transition was completed just recently with the release of the Fujifilm X-T2, a new body positioned alongside the X-Pro2 as the flagship technology of the brand. As soon as it was announced, I sold the last of my Nikon gear and ordered the new Fuji X-T2 as a companion to my X-Pro2. While these two cameras share a number of things in common with one another, there are a couple of key differences that prompted me to have both in my kit.

I should start by saying that I am not affiliated with Fujifilm in any way. While they do have a number of worldwide ambassadors as part of their Fujifilm X Photographers team, I am not one of them. I am simply an average consumer who has high expectations with technology, especially when it comes to the tools I use to make art (a lot of purists would disagree with me on the importance of technology in photography, but I'll save that for another article). Also of note, I do not make a living through photography, so I offer all of my opinions with those caveats.


X-T2 and X-Pro2 Shared Features

There are countless articles and YouTube videos out there on the technical details of these cameras, so I wanted to simply highlight the critical few that motivated me to stay within the Fujifilm family for outfitting my photography kit. Most significantly, the reason I was initially attracted to the Fuji X system was because of the sensor technology. While I could describe at length the unique technical approach Fujifilm took with their non-Bayer filter mosaic sensor design, I would only be paraphrasing the most excellently written article by Thomas Fitzgerald that covers this very same topic. What matters most about the Fuji X-Trans sensor, however, is the net result: Fujifilm digital images simply look more like film. They're richer, cleaner, and have an almost texture-like quality to them. And while some may argue this isn't entirely due to the sensor itself, I knew from the very first shot I took with a Fuji X-Trans sensor that its rendition of image data was the only one that could match my vision as a photographer. The 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor that's inside the X-T2 is the same as the one at the heart of the X-Pro2, making the two bodies a perfect pairing with one another for a dual camera setup.

Other similarities between the two bodies include outstanding construction and weather sealing; dual card slots; and extremely similar interfaces (both hardware and software). These may seem like minor details, but when shooting with both the X-Pro2 and the X-T2, the feel of one is very similar to the other, despite the differences between the two. This makes switching back and forth (or using both in a single session) fairly seamless. Lastly, both models include Fujifilm's incredible film emulation profiles which cook the RAW image data (either in-camera or in post) to produce gorgeous replications of Fuji's most iconic film stocks, like Velvia, Provia, or, my favorite, Acros.


Differences Between The X-T2 and X-Pro2

The biggest difference between the two camera bodies are their form factor. The X-Pro2 takes the form of a rangefinder layout, complete with optical viewfinder, while the X-T2 is configured more like a traditional D/SLR with a centered eye cup. On the X-Pro2, I have never seen a more innovative piece of technology on a camera as I have with its optical viewfinder. A flick of the front lever switches the finder from optical (complete with framing overlays and data) to fully electronic. Moreover, the electronic viewfinder is exceptionally functional, with many unique-to-mirrorless features well-implemented, such as live preview of exposure, white balance, and film emulation, as well as focus peaking. The viewfinder alone makes the Fuji X-Pro2 ideal for street shooting and portraiture. I also think it makes for a much more discreet appearance when photographing in public - a unique little detail is the fact there is no white lettering on the front face of the camera, presenting only a solid black body to any observer. The X-T2, on the other hand, goes with an electronic-only viewfinder, but with an exceptionally large magnification (0.77x), helping it stand apart from the X-Pro2 (0.66x).

On the subject of framing, the X-T2 features a unique, articulating LCD screen on its back panel, allowing for both high- and low-angle framing in both landscape and portrait arrangements. The X-Pro2 has only a fixed rear LCD panel, though it offers slightly higher resolution. Neither camera has a touchscreen, which is a little odd given the fact the diminutive Fujfilm X70 has a wonderful one.

Another key difference between the two camera bodies is the autofocus system. Both are improvements for Fuji, but the X-T2 further advances that of the X-Pro2's hybrid AF system by increasing the number of focus points (273 points/169 phase-detect on the X-Pro2 compared to 325 points/169 phase-detect on the X-T2) while also providing a refreshed series of algorithms for continuous AF along with AF-C fine-tuning profiles. And while Fuji plans to update the firmware on the X-Pro2 to reach parity with the improved AF-C algorithms, the X-T2 will likely still have an advantage for continuous tracking and fast-moving focus acquisition. It is this latter point that really begins to separate the two cameras, and one of the two primary reasons I have outfitted my kit with both the X-T2 and the X-Pro2. Simply put, the X-T2 is built for speed. It's built for fast-focusing, high-frame rate shooting. Sports, kids, nature... with its unique capability for shooting 11 frames per second (versus X-Pro2's maximum of 8fps), combined with its state-of-the-art AF system, the X-T2 is an awesome tool for these scenarios.

The other primary reason I added the X-T2 to my bag is because of its video recording capability. If there has been one long-standing knock against Fujifilm, it has been their consistently lackluster performance with in-camera video. But the X-T2 addressed this head-on and offers a tremendous set of features for videography, including 4k recording. Moreover, the video features of the X-T2 don't feel like "add-ons" as they do with so many other models of camera (including the X-Pro2), but rather an equal set of capabilities designed to complement the still image features of the X-T2.


How They Work Together

While the X-Pro2 is the camera I like to throw a fast prime on and take with me "everywhere," it's brother, the X-T2, is the camera I will be using for various outdoor excursions, nature photography, and fast-moving situations that demand the more sophisticated AF system. It also balances much better in-hand with Fujifilm's fast zoom lenses, like the 16-55mm f/2.8 and the 50-140mm f/2.8. Also, I will be using the X-T2 for its video features. I love the fact that, while both offer distinct advantages for different situations, they each produce the same image from their respective sensors. This provides a consistent style for my photography projects regardless of which instrument I use. With that as an introduction, I will be putting the X-T2 through its paces over the next month and will be writing more about my experience with it and with the overall Fujifilm X system.

Footnotes: All video, GoPro Hero4 Silver - Music, "Covert Affair - Film Noire" by Kevin MacLeod