I’m not much of a gear head, but when I was given the opportunity to try out a pre-production X-T2 I couldn’t resist. I’ve shot this entire wedding season on the fantastic X-Pro2’s, the image quality and high ISO performance of the latest X-trans sensor is phenomenal. The focusing system of the X-Pro2 was also a huge leap forward from the XT1 so I had high expectations of the X-T2 and it didn’t disappoint.
Essentially the sensor in the new X-T2 is the same as those found in the X-Pro2. With this in mind, I’m not going to go over old ground beyond saying the files from the 24mp sensor are simply beautiful. The colours have an organic feel to them with skin tones that look believable straight out of the box. The dynamic range is fantastic and allows me to produce files with lots of detail from the deepest shade right through to the brightest highlights with low noise even when using high ISO. Of course, you can personalise the cameras output in camera and shoot jpg or (as I prefer) within your chosen image editing software and shoot RAW.
As well as the sensor the X-T2 also shares the X-Pro2’s focusing system. The big surprise when using the X-T2 is how much zippier the focusing feels compared to my X-Pro2’s, this is good news because Fuji is fantastic at keeping their cameras and users up to date so I’m confident this same responsiveness will find its way via firmware to my X-Pro2’s very soon.
The most noticeable difference for me is the viewfinder, It’s noticeably bigger than that of the X-Pro2. Although not a deal breaker this is worth bearing in mind if you have less than amazing eyesight. I really enjoyed the larger viewfinder, this made a big difference to me when shooting weddings especially towards the end of the day when my eyes get tired. Having a larger viewing area is always going to be a bonus when composing images.
The X-T2 is small and very quiet which is just one of the many reasons I love shooting weddings on Fuji. The compact camera allows me to get closer to people without invading their space like a large DLSR with a big lens might and the virtually silent shutter allows me to take as many frames as I need whilst remaining undetected. People may argue you can get just as close with a large DLSR, this is just my personal experience and preference, there is no right or wrong here.
I used the X-T2 with and without the optional battery grip. The grip has many benefits, it holds two extra batteries meaning I could shoot all day without needing to swap batteries, it also allows easier portrait oriented shooting with its focus point selector and vertical shutter button. The grip also makes the camera a bit bigger and can make shooting a bit more stable for some photographers. My own preference is without the grip as I prefer the size and weight advantage, have never been troubled with battery life (it only takes a few seconds to change a battery) but mainly because I don’t take vertical images EVER!
As fantastic as the X-T2 I borrowed was, it was a pre-production camera running pre-release firmware so I didn’t use it as a main camera or for the important shots. With that in mind, I only used this camera once I knew I’d bagged the shot. I was being over precautions it did perform flawlessly, this was purely down to professionalism. When I did use the X-T2 it never faltered or let me down. The focusing snapped onto the subject even in tough lighting situations like extreme backlight or a dark dance floor and the metering was spot on.
I also tested the X-T2 using off camera flash during the first dance. The separate dials for ISO and shutter speed made shooting flash (always in manual) easier for me than with my X-Pro2’s combined dial. I set the top fn button to ‘preview exposure on/off’ making working with flash and manual fast. Being able to turn previewing off also makes composing and shooting with flash in dark situations much easier with Fuji’s electronic viewfinder than with DLSR optical viewfinders.
I’m delighted my two favourite features of the X-Pro2 have found their way onto the X-T2. The focus selector button/joystick makes selecting the focus points super fast meaning you have less chance of missing the action. The second feature I love is the ‘C’ setting on the exposure compensation dial, not only does this make adjustments faster it also goes to +/- 5 stops compared to just 3 on the dial.
Unsurprisingly, I love theX-T2 it’s everything I could wish for as a wedding photographer (or any other kind of photographer). It genuinely does everything I could want as a wedding photographer.
If you just took delivery of your X-T2 then I’m sure you’re going to love it too.
Will I be buying one? Without a doubt! However, my X-Pro2’s are amazingly good cameras too and won’t be going anywhere.
Words and pictures by Rob Sanderson, Liverpool wedding photographer