Fujifilm X-T2: The Good, The Hype and The Rant

Disclaimer: apart from the pictures of the X-T2, all the pictures in this blog post were taken with the X-Pro2, which remains a wonderful camera despite of all the hype you can read about other models 🙂

In my review of the X-Pro2, I concluded that if you could live without the hybrid viewfinder of the X-Pro2, then the X-T2 was probably worth the wait. This was before the official reveal of the specifications of the X-T2 on the 7th of July.

The Good

X-Pro2 or X-T2? That is not the question

The official specifications of the X-T2 have only reinforced this idea, as, on paper, choosing the X-T2 seems like a no-brainer. You get the same sensor and processor as in the X-Pro2, but with a few additional perks including:

  • Bigger and brighter electronic viewfinder, with less blackout periods between shots when shooting in continuous mode
  • Refined autofocus algorithms (coming to the X-Pro2 in October via firmware update), with customizable AF-C settings (think Canon autofocus menus) to better adapt to the situation (NOT included in the X-Pro2 firmware update at the time of writing this article)
  • Video mode: 4K video recording up to 10min in-body (30min with the battery grip), with a “standard” 3.5mm mic jack (vs a 2.5mm jack on the X-Pro2), although you unfortunately will need the battery grip to get a headphone jack
  • 2 UHS-II SD memory card slots, compared to 1 UHS-II + 1 UHS-I slot on the X-Pro2 (not a biggie for me as I am mostly using the second slot for JPEGs backups in RAW+JPEG mode, so don’t really need the UHS-II speed on the second slot)
  • Last but not least, a cheaper price than the X-Pro2

On top of that, you get the differences in design between the X-T series vs X-Pro series, which to my personal taste are positive points for the X-T1/X-T2:

  • Mode selection dial, instead of a “Drive” sub-menu. Whith the X-T2, the mode dial includes this time around a much needed position for the Video mode. Why there was none on the X-T1 is a mystery, as if you were not shooting stills in 16:9 JPEGs you could not frame your video properly before pressing the record button…
  • Articulated screen. Why the X-Pro2’s screen is not at least a minimum articulated to facilitate shooting from the hip is another great mystery…

The one (and only) reason that would make you want the X-Pro2 over the X-T2 is the hybrid viewfinder. If this is something that you really want, then the X-Pro2 was designed just for you! If you can leave without it, then getting the X-T2 is a no-brainer in my opinion.

The Hype

While Fujifilm has made (much needed but still relatively) fast improvements in its camera lineup, the company has also up its game in terms of marketing, especially on social networks. Via the Fujifilm X-Photographers programme, Fujifilm has quickly caught with other brands in building a group of talented photographers who became the best ambassadors of the brand.

Rui-chan Miko Cosplay

This is a brilliant marketing technique, because it means that during the (long) time between the X-T2 announcement and the actual release of the camera, the Internet buzz around the camera will be filled by people who:

  •  are not professional reviewers: they write about their personal experience with the camera but can’t draw any comparison with a wide variety of competitors
  • have a relationship with Fujifilm that would not be appropriate for a reviewer
  • even when forgetting about this relationship, they are a biased sample: they are Fujifilm users, which means they have already chosen Fujifilm over other brands for personal taste/reasons (well, of course anyone’s opinion on anything will be biased, but in this case Fujifilm selects them for their bias)
  • write all these previews and stories for free! What more could you ask for?

The downside of this strategy is that if you overdo it you can inflate a hype bubble – with the winds of “fastest auto-focus ever” and “finally better than DSLRs” – that could eventually backfire when the final product gets released, and the embargo on REAL reviews gets lifted. In my opinion we are getting close to the over saturation with he X-T2, I feel like they gave a pre-production version of this camera to way more people than they had ever done. You would think it is already out (fun fact: my X-E1 review is the most read article on my blog, because most of the photographers we hear praising Fuji today would not care to write about it at the time – with the exception of the few ones who jump into the boat from the start with the clunky X100). I do read all those previews, not because I want to hear how much better the ***insert any new camera here*** is, but I actually appreciate many of the X-Photographers for their personality (always nice and welcoming when you I met them despite of tight schedules) and their outstanding work. I would not love them less if they were not shooting Fuji.

But irrelevant to how much sympathy I have for them, their daily job is to produce beautiful pictures and not to review cameras (they will be the first ones to acknowledge that themselves when they write a preview). Consumers deserve real reviews to make an informed decision, and for their protection I would always call for professional and balanced reviews to be available earlier since the camera is already available for pre-order. Remember that when the X-T1 it had mushy buttons that had to be changed on the next batch of production. Something that you could (only?) read here before the release of the camera (and real reviews), amidst a sea of X-Photographers praising the X-T1 as a DSLR-killer (hum, sounds familiar).

Potential buyers who are being enticed by the HEAVY focus being put on the video capabilities of the X-T2 have nothing to lose waiting for real world balanced reviews to be out. No, the camera is not going to be out of stock forever if you don’t preorder. The video quality of the X-T2 might be awesome. I have no idea. But given the sub-par quality of the X-T1, there is no reason to blindly believe Fujifilm when they say they have suddenly  found the magic formula for video with the X-T2. Until the final camera is in the hand of independant reviewers, caution is advised.


The Rant

Again, I love the work of X-Photographers, I am just saying that consumers need to take a precautionary pinch of salt against the hype, and keep their expectations realistic. However, there is one thing that drives me crazy: reading interviews explaining that this camera did not get this feature available on another camera because the photographers using this camera told Fujifilm that street photographers don’t use this or that while this camera is targeting them… and then couple years later when this feature finally makes it on the successor of this camera the SAME people will write posts on how much this is fantastic!

This idea that you can put photographers in hermetic silos depending on what they shoot is plain stupid. If your camera designer does not want to put an articulated screen on the X-Pro series for design/cost reasons, obviously don’t put one. But if you are not doing it based on the fact  the tiny sample of street photographers you talk to never shot on a camera with one, then you are doing it for the wrong reasons: if they don’t want to move their screen, they can just leave it the way it is! Meanwhile different people could use the option extensively.

The current example of that is the lack of a touchscreen on the X-T2. Brainstorming meeting in Fuji HQ with a small sample of X-Photographers:
– Shall we put a touchscreen in the X-T2? 
– Nah, touchscreens are for amateurs and we are so scared that we could change a setting with our nose touching the screen that we cannot be bothered to turn the option off for ourselves while letting it available for the rest of the world to enjoy.

Fast forward to 2018, the X-T3 will come out with a touchscreen and the same people will start their previews on their blogs by saying how the touchscreen is a revolution and so intuitive because we have been using smartphones for 10 years…

Just a bit more patience

Anyway, in a week from now the wait will be over and the hype will slow down. The X-T2 will be shipping to my home. I have been using the X-Series for many years now, so my expectations are based on the previous products I have used. I am not expecting a game changer, a DSLR-killer, the fastest auto-focus in the world, etc… No camera is perfect, and spoiler alert the X-T2 won’t be. Just a camera… Find a brand/system that you like, whichever is good for you, so that you can only focus on what really matters. Shoot portraits, shoot landscapes, document your travels… Just focus on enjoying whatever camera you have and on having fun with it. Well, until it is time to fancy on the X-T3, and round and round we go 😉

Shiba Aura

19 thoughts on “Fujifilm X-T2: The Good, The Hype and The Rant

  1. Pingback: Fujifilm X-T2: The Good, The Hype and The Rant ...

  2. jbr2013

    I would be new to the Fuji system and yes, you are correct, I am enticed by the unofficial reviews of the X-T2. What I would like to read, but haven’t found yet, is an article detailing how an advanced amateur would start out once deciding to adopt the Fuji X-T2.

    For example, I have read many statements that Adobe does not do the best job with the Fuji RAW files. Well, what would be the best alternative? What workflow would be best for someone who has relied on Lightroom and Photoshop and now wants to start using the X-T2?

    What would be the best general purpose lenses for someone just starting out and not wanting to break the bank, so to speak?

    I would be interested in comments regarding the above.

    Thank you for sharing your insights and ideas – J. Ross

    1. Hello,

      Lightroom is not going to get the most out of your Fuji Raw files. Irridient seems to be often recommended. Personally I am using Lightroom anyway, knowing this is not ideal because I am too used to the Lightoom workflow. It’s good enough to post images on Internet in my opinion. If I was professional or printing in large size I would check Irridient’s Raw converter.

      In terms of lenses, the XF35mmF1.4 is still a good choice as a first versatile lens. The XF16mmF1.4 is my favorite Fuji lens at the moment, so I would look at it if you prefer wide angle. However, if you need wider than that, then you’d rather get the 10-24mm, which I like as well.

      The 18-55mm is more than good for kit lens, if you need a versatile zoom in this range I would just get the kit lens rather than the XF16-50mmF2.8, and use the money you save to buy an additional prime lens. The 56mmF1.2 produces beautiful images, but it is not what I would call a general purpose lens: it looks like it was designed thinking of shooting portraits with a professional model posing, so absolutely get it if it is something you do but otherwise be aware that it is slow to focus and would not track your running kids for example.

      The XF90mmF2 is also one of my favorite lens, however 90mm mounted on a crop sensor is actually very tight, so it is only useful in limited situations. I love this lens but it would not be the first one I buy.

      In my bag at the moment, I generally put the 16mm, 35mm and 90mm. If I know I will be shooting posed portraits(not action) I add the 56mm. If I know i might need to shoot wider, then I replace the 16mm by the 10-24 zoom. At the end of the day though, it all comes down to what it is that you want to shoot.

      1. I too am looking to purchase my first Fuji — the X-T2 — and I have questions about lenses as well. Why did recommend the XF35mmF1.4 versus the XF23mmF1.4 R? For someone who shoots mostly landscapes, would the XF16mmF1.4 be ideal or would the 10-24mm be more versatile?

  3. Pingback: Fujifilm X-T2: The Good, The Hype and The Rant ...

  4. I had X-T2 in my hands for 3-4h and i love it (on Fujifilm roadshow in Poland). Previously only play 3 days with X-T10. I’m pretty new in X-family but a progress with X-T2 is huge! I’m MFT shooter and X-T2 is almoust perfect balance (in this very moment) between DSLR and mirrorless. I had great time with it and i would like to buy it near future. It is camera from people for people with great handling, build quality. There are some not-so-great-things like new dials on top – i don’t like it and with my big hands sometimes i had problems to change metering dial. Overall i want it pretty badly 😀

    1. Thank you for your comment and sharing your thoughts. I actually agree with you on the dials. I was not of the opinion that there was anything wrong with the dials of the X-T1, but apparently enough people did so that Fuji felt they had to change them…

  5. As a long time XPro1 user, your rant personally resonates with my observation. Like Apple, Fuji has succeeded in building a cult around their products, with users vehemently defend each and every decision their camera overlord makes. I say good for them, but I will wait a few months until the hype deflates, the real reviews come out and the price go down.

  6. Peter

    Man what a clickbait title. Your title suggests you are reviewing this, explaining the good the hype, and the rant/bad. But you’re not doing anything just mere speculating! Common!

  7. Pingback: Dear Peter, don’t click on this link if you are looking for a review of the Fuji X-T2 – Gritty Monkey

  8. Pingback: Product shots of the Fujifilm X-T2 and the X-Series family (and a few sample shots) – Gritty Monkey

  9. Fran Oldham

    “Common” equals “come on” I think!
    Does the X-T2 offer high speed flas sync, so that one can use f 1.4 for out of focus background and borehole?

  10. Really liked the article… the ‘rant’ made me smile.

    I just don’t get why so many people are fickle. Why not just say, ‘well, I personally don’t need this feature, but hell, if it can be done, at least give people the option…’, rather than ‘well, since I don’t need this feature, obviously no one else needs it either, so let’s no give anyone the option of having it’… and then, as you say, the said-feature gets included on the next model, and bam, those same people say ‘don’t know how anyone could have done without it’… Hmmm, anyway, that is why I hate forums. Full, and I mean FULL (yep, that’s in capitals) of people, where, when you ask a simple technical question on a camera, they come back and not tell you any sort of technical answer, but instead, get up high on their very lofty horses, and preach why you should not need to do that, or ask why do I want to know that, or, or… well, you get the picture.

    So, with ‘my rant’ out the way, if you still have an X-T2 available, can you help me out with a simple test? I sold all my Fuji gear, X-T1, X-E1, all the lenses. Just slowed down my whole work flow. See, I like documentary photography, where I want the camera to fire when I tell it to. I don’t want to machine-gun it at 8fps, I just want back-button continuous AF when I want it, and fire the shutter in single-shot mode when I anticipate the shot. So, like on a Nikon D500, if I want to press the shutter 5 times in a second, because I happen to notice my subject blinked on the first couple of shots, and I want more shots, very quickly, before the moment passes, with the Nikon, it just happens. With the X-T1, I might be lucky to squeeze off two separate shots a second… unless I was using the 56mm, and then more like one shot every two seconds while it tried to establish focus on something that hadn’t moved a millimeter…

    So, back on track, a test for me, if you have a moment: Using something like the 16mm 1.4, in average light, stopped down to say F2.8, focus on a non-moving subject (let’s make it easy), and press the shutter as many times as you can, just for 2-3 seconds. And the big question (finally, sorry, long winded…), how many single shots in a second do you get on average?

    Very much appreciate any useful technical response you can throw my way…

    Cheers, Cass.

  11. I am a Fujifilm-X-Photographer and I can assure you that we get literally pushed to express our honest opinions – be they good or bad – throughout the media we frequent. Fujifilm want us to be There is a clear reason why we chose Fujifilm cameras as our tool – why I chose these cameras. We pay our bills with what they do for us. There are Fanboys and -girls for sure, but not among the pro photogs who’s daily work relies on this brand. Don’t spread assumptions without knowing any background information. One of the reasons why the X-T2 is such a perfect tool is the fact that it had been around in real world everyday usage a long time before release. Who would be more capable of writing an in-depht real-world review than a long time Fujifilm user? What makes ME sick are half-assed reviews of editors who maybe had a day or two with an unknown, new system where I clearly read between the lines that he or she actually doesn’t know the camera or lens at all.

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