Fuji X-T2 Review

Recently I have decided to go back to my origins and downgrade my gear.  My days of lugging up a mountain with two full frame camera bodies, three lenses and a tripod are over!  I miss my early carefree photography days of having a small camera that could fit into my day pack.  For years now, I did not want to compromise image quality and pixel count, however, even when I had the opportunity to display my images on digital billboards across Canada, to my surprise the resolution required was that of an entry level point and shoot!  I owe a lot to my full frame Canon, it was a true workhorse and never failed me, however, the technology nowadays allows for the same quality images in smaller cameras.

I decided to switch systems and go with the Fuji X-T2 with the hope that a smaller, lighter camera will not bog me down, not physically or creatively.  I have to admit that I have only one regret: that I did not make the switch earlier!

This post will give you a few of my pros in cons while using the Fuji X-T2 for a few months now, in hot, humid conditions such as Colombia, to cold and wet as I have back home in Canada.

 

So here are a few pros and cons from my own personal experience using the Fuji X-T2 mirrorless camera so far:

Pros:

1.    Weight!!! After traveling all over the world, trekking up mountains in Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Mexico, United States, Canada and numerous other countries I was done with lugging.  The ease of weight on both the camera body and the lenses are a HUGE advantage to the switch.

2.    Quality of Images, sensor and lenses quality.  I would have never replaced my Canon gear if I would have had to compromise on image quality.  Fuji has a long history of producing and developing cameras and I won’t get into any of the technical issues here, you can find a plethora of them elsewhere.  I can just say that I personally preferred to go with a Fuji camera as opposed to a Sony as Sony is primarily an electronic company and not a photography company.  Additionally, you can say: “well, I can use my Canon and Nikon lenses with the Sony and not the Fuji”.  Good point, however, I will direct you right back to point number 1 of my Pros claims. Using the Canon (or Nikon) full frame lenses would have completely defeated that purpose as some of them weigh as much, if not more than the camera body itself.

3.    Long Exposure Photography: I tend to shoot quite a bit of Long Exposure and there is a whole procedure that you need to follow, among them are:

a.    Switching to manual focus once the ND filters are placed

b.    Covering my viewfinder with tape (or a flap as is in the Nikon) to prevent light leakage.

c.    Setting a timer to start a time count of the exposure.

Using a mirrorless camera eliminates these 3 steps and makes my life quite easier, as I can say that on more than one ocasion a step in the processes was overlooked and costed me time of an exposure (or a whole set of exposures!)

Switching to manual focus is optional but not required.  I discovered this when I had 13 f-stops of filters on my camera and, as I mentioned, forgot to change to manual focus before taking the long exposure as I normally shoot my images in auto focus.  Normally, a regular DSLR would not be able to complete the shot in this situation as the camera cannot see anything through the filters and the autofocus engine would be searching and searching till the battery would wear off.  In the case of the mirrorless camera, the Fuji completed the long exposure shot and the result was pin sharp! This is due to the dual (hybrid) autofocus system of Phase Detection and Contrast Focus. 

In this Long Exposure capture I forgot to set the focus to Manual before taking the shot. It was a 10 minute exposure and came out pin sharp!

In this Long Exposure capture I forgot to set the focus to Manual before taking the shot. It was a 10 minute exposure and came out pin sharp!

4.    Manual Focus Peaking – an awesome feature for manual focusing which is specifically designed to help you manually focus a lens. The camera highlights in red (looks like a pencil drawing outline) the parts of the scene that are in focus, so that you can see which areas are sharp. You can also magnify the image at the touch of the button, making it even easier to see whether the subject is sharply focused.  This feature is prices less when you want to photograph indoor architectural images without a tripod.  You can bracket your focus and then do a focus blend in post processing to create a focused image foreground to background.

The red outline shows the areas that are in focus.

The red outline shows the areas that are in focus.

5.    Lastly, one of the fun features I love playing around with is the Advanced Filters Fuji has built in the camera.  On the Drive Dial, Fuji has set up a few pre-set filters with funky features such as Toy Camera – creates a retro looking image, Miniature – which one of my favourites, creates a Lens baby effect in which the top and bottoms of the pictures are blurred for a diorama effect or many other filters.  There are 13 filters in total and you can scroll through and enjoy creating fun images with an artistic spin.

Fuji Advanced Filters Drive Dial.png
Bogota from Monserrate Mountain  Toy Camera Filter effect creating retro looking colours.

Bogota from Monserrate Mountain

Toy Camera Filter effect creating retro looking colours.

Bogota from Monserrate Mountain  Miniature Filter creating a blur on the top and bottom of the image

Bogota from Monserrate Mountain

Miniature Filter creating a blur on the top and bottom of the image

Cons:

1.    Short battery life – I had to learn this the hard way while travelling in August to Cartagena Colombia where the temperature was in the mid 30°C (90°F)! My battery was dead within less than 2 hours! With my Canon I could have lasted the whole day.  This can be overcome by having spare batteries (now I travel with 4 batteries, which are super light anyway) and / or an external charger that you use for your cell phone, just hook it up to the camera.

2.    The Fuji does not have a remote shutter release.  I personally prefer going wireless and liked having a remote to trigger my shutter on the Canon.  Now I have to get used to having a remote connected to the camera.  For those with aging eyes, it is not the most convenient as you need to carefully and accurately connect the cable into the slot.  No big deal but takes getting used to.  At least there is no batter on the shutter release to wear off.

3.    Slow wake up time.  This is probably the biggest disadvantage the camera has to the DSLR’s.  It takes it’s time in waking up, so that split-second scene that you need now can get lost with the mirrorless.  This can be felt in street photography or when photographing children.  I personally shoot mainly fine art and not that much street photography so this issue is not a huge disadvantage for me, however, in sports photography or photojournalism I can see this being a major pivoting factor.