I’ve had my little friend Taurus since April in one form or another through many iterations of firmware. I lost count of how many times I had to re-do my settings. Each version got better and better … and … better. There’s a kind of thrill taking an “experiment beta” on a real job. If you’re not nervous, the client’s not nervous. It’s nothing a battery pull can’t remedy.
Having freshly come off the Fujifilm X-Pro2 it was nice to get the camera in my hands I really wanted to use. The Fujifilm X-T1 had become my go-to “B” camera 70% of the time and my “A” and “B” camera about thirty percent of the time. There weren’t many jobs I couldn’t complete with just X-T1’s. Most of those jobs including the need for flash. I’m so used to the consistent results I get with Nikons that it’s hard to fully pull away from them. I’d probably not feel the same way if I were still shooting Canon. Hey, Canon, it’s 2016: Isn’t time you did as well as Nikon in the flash department. I still remember being told by Canon people back in the day, “Maybe you’re doing it wrong.” “That’s funny it’s always worked flawlessly with Nikon.” They're both full of arrogant staff.
I have a feeling Fujifilm will get there with flash, although I primarily used it with slaves and studio strobe and not with an on-camera-type flash. When I do use it with flash, though, I put a Nikon SB-910 on manual and it does pretty well. What I’d love, though, is for Fujifilm to do as well as Nikon’s TTL flash does. I think they’ll get there. I’m looking forward to seeing how good the (new flash) is. I’d love to dump all of the Nikon gear. :)
Although the X-T2 is bigger than the X-T1, you can barely notice it except in the front grip. The new accessory grip configuration fits my hands really well. Having three batteries on-board is almost as good as one D4s battery, which have given me more than 2,000 frames. With any Fujifilm you need to have a lot of batteries if you’re hammering through assignments. I don’t think I’ve shot the X-T2 without the grip at all. If I want a smaller footprint, I just use the X-Pro2. Having shooting controls on the grip is a welcome addition. Having the extra batteries on-board and using an electronic shutter on boost mode allows up to 14 fps. It also allows you to use boost mode, which brings the EVF up to 100 fps.
The EVF on the X-T2 is beautiful and one of the best I’ve seen. No, I don’t use Sony stuff but know they’re great, too. You can’t be a gear whore and get to know any one system exceptionally well. Since you’re just “shooting for the blog,” though, one would think one could get to know them more than tacitly. I love the way the X-T2 — and the X-Pro2 for that matter — render what I'm looking at. The higher magnification of the X-T2 is better for me and its refresh rate is spectacular. It’s funny that I’ve heard people say that the X-Pro2 is “better for prime lens users” and street photography. Um, really? They’re both equally good for using primes AND for street. I don’t know how people come up with that stuff unless they’re just “looking for something to say” because they’ve “only tacitly gotten to know the platform.” Dunno why but the X-Pro2's EVF looks different than the X-T2's. It was explained to me that the X-Pro2's is/was a TFT and the X-T2 is an OLED. Guess that explains why.
Even though I know the X-T2’s rear screen has less resolution than the X-Pro2, it rendered files to chimp beautifully. I’ll give up whatever the minuscule difference is to have a rear screen that articulates, too. It’s one thing I really missed having used the X-Pro2 for so long. I guess if you have an articulating screen you have to give up a little reso because it has to be inherently thinner.
While the X-Pro2 focuses better than the X-T1, the X-T2’s AF is better than the X-Pro2. Even though I’m not a sports-guy I found AF-C focus tracking to be as good my Nikon D4s. No, I don’t have a D5; I have no reason to ever buy one. I’m sure they’re lovely. I’m over the whole full-frame (whatever that really means) vs. APS-C debate. If you’ve enjoyed anything Hollywood has put out for the last while, it’s more than likely shot on an Arri Alexa, which has a sensor size very very close to APS-C (within a millimeter). If it’s good enough for those kings of visual schlock, it’s good enough for me. Bigger costs more. It’s not any different in the sensor world. Bigger sensors cost more money. I’m not sure spending $6500 on a Nikon D5 is going to do anything for me except waste valuable resources. Editors nor clients have ever said, “the quality isn’t good enough.” Actually, much to the contrary. Clients love the skin tones that come out of the Fujifilm X-T2. I just heard about a client that actually wanted “the look” of what Canon does so the photographer had to get a whole Canon kit Fedex’d because he is a Nikon shooter. Like they say in used car sales, “There’s an ass for every seat.” Perhaps that client needs to be introduced to lovely Fujifilm files?
While there is a slight difference in unscharfen bereichen — another word for bokeh, a word I refuse to use — or out-of-focus areas when shooting wide open between full-frame and APS-C, I don’t think it really matters. It hasn’t hampered me from shooting gigs and assignments. Zack explains it the best.
When you hold the X-T2 in your hands you can feel the quality that goes into building it. Wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the little push button locks on the shutter speed and ISO dials but learned to love them. Not only that but the detents on things like shooting modes and compensation are much stronger. I don’t think I cursed at it once for going into "Toy Camera" mode. I’ve also dropped one of the X-T2’s several different times. Once its strap was tangled with a Nikon and it went from the seat of a car to the floorboard to the curb to the street. Another unfortunate time it went from the dashboard bouncing off the gear selector to the floor board. That time I saw some weirdness in the EVF but it’s almost as if it self-healed. The last and least graceful crashes to the ground involved me tripping in an airport and the X-T2 dropping to the carpeted floor and sliding a few feet. It’s still going although I’m using another one that’s less “pre-production-y.”
I’ve found all of the Fujifilm digitals I’ve used to be extremely durable. I don’t mean to break things; it just happens.
I’d hate to be in the camera blimp manufacturing business because those are all but irrelevant unless you’re a total dinosaur. In electronic shutter mode they’re absolutely silent. Was walking around DTLA one day and was stopped on the sidewalk so they could shoot a take. When I looked for the A-Camera I saw the unit shooter using his Sony without a blimp. Although I didn’t shoot the X-T2 on a film set, I did happen to use it during a live performance at the St. Louis Opera Company. I was told I was the only one in twenty-plus years to do that. When I showed the director how quiet it is he didn’t believe I actually made any frames. A Leica sounds like an explosion compared to the X-T2 or even the X-Pro2 in electronic mode. Another way -- besides their old sensors -- Leica is completely behind the times, especially for a manufacturer that claims they're so silent.
Love the fact that the card slot door is so much better than the “flappy thing” used on the X-T1. Having dual UHS slots is really nice as well. I know people bitch about the camera not having a GPS radio built in but hopefully those in the U.S. military find out because they actually require the cameras they use NOT to have onboard GPS capabilities. Perhaps that’s why I’ve never seen a U.S. Air Force-guy with a Canon? Fujifilm’s government sales should take note. I still use the Fujifilm app on an iPhone for GPS tagging when I need that.
Like the X-Pro2 I loved seeing that I could control the AF focus areas with a joystick. Such a great addition. My Nikons have it but my Nikons are significantly more expensive than this “little $1600 camera body."
Coming from using several X-T1’s as my secondary — and many times primary — bodies I didn’t think there was “much to fix.” They worked perfectly for me in every situation where I didn’t have to use some behemoth of megapixels such as my D810 or Phase back. Of course, there were the dials that moved a bit easily, the mode buttons that would move over to “toy camera mode” a bit too much or the card doors that were a little flimsy. None of those problems precluded me from making the photos I needed to make.
Fujifilm made the next iteration of the X-T1 even better in my opinion. Not to mention the fact it’s so much lighter than the behemoth Nikons I shoot. My shoulders appreciate it. Oh, yeah, that little diopter control dial on the left side of the “prism bump” (which doesn’t have a prism) could use stronger detents.
Having the lovely joystick that controls the AF point just like my Nikons is great but the one thing that some of my Nikons have and the X-T2 does not … is … voice tagging. Besides the need for a powerful on-camera flash I also need voice tagging to help editors (and myself) with the captioning part of many of my assignments. Writing stuff down is so 1999. You guys have done it before so it can’t be that tough. The “big guys” will see that as a shot across their bow and it’s going to be funny as hell when they realize a company they “never saw as a competitor” is taking some of their market share. Mirror boxes are not the future yet I don’t think they’ve “seen that memo yet.”
Another reason I “kept the Nikons around” for was video and motion photography. Normally, I just put it on 24p and forget about it because I hardly needed to over crank. If I really needed it I’d use 50p and then slow it down another 40% in Final Cut. Would I like to have 96p to make over cranking that much easier? Sure. It’s kind of a shame that Fujifilm hasn’t put out some kind of video-centric grip together like the Panasonic GH4 has with the YAGH interface unit. Although I didn’t shoot anything I’m going to show here, I did make some test videos and they look amazing.
The AF focus tracking also worked very well in video mode. I was kind of shocked. I could never imagine any of my Nikons working that well. Having a friend walk down the street as I used the joystick to nudge the AF point in the direction they were walking nailed focus every time.
It’s great to see that Fujifilm isn’t just relying upon their past successes and becoming complacent. They’re continually moving forward and giving us better and better stuff. I don’t know of any manufacturer that works so hard at newer and better firmware making our jobs/hobbies that much easier.
Oh, wait, how about dual battery chargers? The big guys won’t like seeing that either.
Really don’t need to talk about ISO performance as I believe I covered it when I talked about the Fujifilm X-Pro2, which I loved.
How about some photos? I've processed these very minimally. In fact, all of these were shot as in-camera JPG files. I know ... everyone talks about how good Fujifilm JPG's really are. They are amazing. Yes, I prefer to work on RAW files but I don't mind working their JPG's coming out of Fujifilm cameras ... nor should you. I just had no time to process RAWs. :)
Salman Rushdie at The Opera Theatre of St. Louis' "Shalimar the Clown" Fujifilm X-T2 and 16/1.4
Pretty Los Feliz sunset. Fujifilm X-T2.
Yes, indeed, you can tell that I love the 35/2.0. If you don't have that particular lens, you should buy it. I mean it's almost free. I used it along with the venerable 50-140/2.8, the 23/1.4 and 16/1.4. All of those are very similar focal lengths to what I normally use for work with the Nikons. I can definitely see the day when I don't use Nikons any longer because these Fujifilm digitals (X-T2 and X-Pro2) are fantastic.
They're not just fantastic for work but also for just walking around doing some street or when you travel. The thought of ever bringing a gigantic Nikon D-SLR on vacation or travel (unless it's work) makes my shoulders hurt just thinking about it. Taking the grip off of the Fujifilm X-T2 makes for an extremely capable platform that can make any photo that's in front of you.
Cannot wait to see what they do with the 23/2.0. I think, though, I'd love for Fujifilm to do another iteration of their 23 and 35 in 1.4 with faster focusing motors. I have a feeling they're pretty busy.
With more and more newspaper staffs laying off employees, wires firing staff and such I think that the day of the $6-7K D-SLR flagship is coming to an end. For the price of one body a photographer can get an X-T2 and several lenses and be ready to shoot. Honestly, I think wire services are going to wise up soon, too. There's no need to spend $20K to outfit any one photographer. While Nikon and Canon rest on their laurels companies such as Fuji and Sony are just killing it.
A lot of people were waiting with anticipation for this camera and I see why: It's fantastic. Again, well done, guys! You continue to make my shoulders thank you.
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