The launch of the Fujifilm X-T2 had many photographers excited, with the successor to the wildly popular X-T1 promising higher image quality, 4K video recording and faster autofocus. With its new release, Fujifilm hopes to convert more photographers to the X-system with the DSLR-like handling of the X-T2.
We had the privilege of interviewing wedding photographer Benny Ang on his first impressions of the new X-T2, which Fujifilm provided him prior to the launch.
Ang has been photographing weddings for more than a decade in Singapore. Since the X-Pro1, Benny has shooting with the Fujifilm X system for his assignments, and he was invited to join the Fujifilm X-Photographers – a handpicked group of photographers shooting extraordinary works using the X-system.
What are the key improvements of the X-T2 over its predecessor that are important to you as a photographer?
As good as the X-T1 was, it was showing its age lately with its 16MP sensor. The X-T2, along with the X-Pro 2 that I’m using, are welcome changes for me. The higher resolution of 24MP along with the lack of optical low-pass filter makes it easy for me to extract the details that my clients are looking for. There is more room for cropping, and you can push the envelope for digital editing with a higher pixel count.
How about the improvements in autofocus speeds?
As a wedding photographer, autofocus speed is important to me, but not as important as it is to an action photographer. That said, the X-T2 is noticeably more responsive and rapid in its autofocus performance. I’m more impressed with the new 91-point system which helps to nail the focus using its intelligent algorithm, and the shorter shutter lag of the X-T2 – they help to capture the fleeting moments on wedding day. But for photographers shooting action, I think they will be very impressed with the new custom functions for tracking focus.
How does the X-T2 handle?
Fujifilm took everything photographers loved about the X-T1 and made it better. For starters, the X-T2 is very slightly larger but it holds up to 3 batteries for continuous shooting without me worrying about swapping batteries at critical moments. And everyone knows about the new hinged LCD with offers greater flexibility for shooting from creative angles.
I love the viewfinder of the X-T2 – it is twice as bright as the one in X-T1, but it is the higher refresh rate and the larger eye-cup that makes it so much more comfortable to use and to nail the focus. Ergonomically, the new camera features a mini joystick which frees up the directional pad for a lot more customised functions, and the thumb dial now features push switch function.
Because I have to shoot quickly at weddings, it happens occasionally that the dials rotates accidentally on the X-T1. Fujifilm actually developed an ingenious method for locking the dials – by pressing the discreet push-to-lock button on the dials, photographers can choose to lock or unlock the dials at any position to prevent accidental changes. The camera fits like a glove in my hands, and it has just the right amount of grip to fit ergonomically and comfortably with the optional VPB-XT2 vertical power booster grip.
What attracted you to the Fuji X-system?
I was always a SLR user, and I had a comprehensive DSLR system before I switched over to the Fuji system. My work requires me to lug my gear for long distances over a long day, and it is no small feat hauling a set of pro lenses with 2 DSLR bodies all day long, day after day. Switching to the Fujifilm system reduced my load dramatically, and I really love the skin tones from the X-Trans sensor. I used to shoot Fujifilm NPS and NPH back in the film days for the incredible colour palette, and Fujifilm really transferred their understanding of colours and skin tone reproduction into the digital age.
So how does the X-T2 compare with the other models in terms of colours rendition?
Although the X-T2 is very close to the X-Pro2 in terms of colour rendition, the X-T2 delivers slightly more punchy and richer colours than the latter. It is just that slight increment, but you can see from the MacBeth colour charts that I shot that it is tuned slightly differently from the X-Pro2. If I compare against the X-T1, the difference is more marked. The XT-2 delivers deeper blacks and cleaner whites, while the mid-tones remain neutral.
What’s in your bag?
I’m shooting with the Fujifilm X-T2 and X-Pro 2. Lenses wise, my favourite optics are the
10-24mm f/4 OIS, 16mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 56mm f/1.2, 90mm f/2 and 50-140 f/2.8 OIS.
It’s interesting you use both the X-T2 and X-Pro2. Which will you recommend for a photographer?
I’d say it all boils down to individual preferences. The X-T2 is more of a workhorse camera to me – the ergonomics makes it a better camera to hold all day long, and it is weather sealed so I can have more assurance shooting in any weather condition. Moreover, I can foresee more photographers using it for video with its 4K video capabilities.
The X-Pro2 on the other hand feels more like a rangefinder camera, although it is technically not. The offset placement of the viewfinder allows you to keep less of your face concealed, and you can connect better with your subject while shooting. Being lighter, it is probably more well suited for travel photography, and it has better battery life as well.
So coming back to the X-T2, what are your other favourite features?
The X-T2 features an electronic shutter with a maximum 1/32,000 sec speed, but it is the ability of being able to shoot in absolute silence that really appeals to me. In places like the church or at solemnization ceremonies, the ability to shoot without sound is godsend. The high ISO noise performance has also been improved, which means greater opportunity to shoot with ambient lighting. I’ve been getting good results even at high ISO, which is definitely a marked improvement over the X-T1.
And now the X-T2 holds two card slots – both of which are UHS-II compatible for high write speeds. That is very useful for me as a photographer since I can never tell when a memory card will give up the ghost on me. Writing to two cards simultaneously is a good backup policy in any case. And the closing mechanism for card slots & battery compartment have also been improved over the predecessor.
Should owners of X-T1 make the switch to X-T2?
I can’t speak for all of the owners. The X-T1 remains a very good camera, and it can still capture amazing shots. If you are a X-T1 owner and you’re happy with it, there is no reason to switch. That said, the X-T2 packs genuine improvements over the X-T1 in terms of autofocus, image quality, ergonomics and video technology. If any of these matter to you as a photographer, do check out the X-T2 – you might be pleasantly surprised at the improvements over the already-capable X-T1.
See more of Benny Ang’s works at the Fuji X-Photographer page.