My Review of the Fuji XT-2
Disclaimer: I originally wrote this review for Amazon, I've just decided to cross-post it on my blog so I can share it with you all here too.
First off, this is (according to my failing memory), the only Amazon review I've ever felt compelled to write, so that should give you a pretty good idea on just how amazing this camera is.
Quick backstory: I've only been shooting for a couple of years. In 2014, I picked up my first DSLR, a Canon T3i. Within a few months I graduated to the Canon 6D, and a year or so later, the 5D Mark III.
Canon has served me well over the years, and I've been fortunate enough to make a solid side-income from this hobby-turned-profession. I wouldn't be writing this review right now, let alone know what a mirrorless camera is, if it weren't for my friend, Jahns.
We made plans to shoot some street photography one day and he showed up with a small little camera that looked more like a point-and-shoot rather than a DSLR. Turns out, it was neither. It was the Sony a7, and I quickly became enamored with its convenient portability and nifty features, like its electronic viewfinder, focus peaking, and advanced focus system.
Suddenly it became clear: mirrorless was the future. I knew I had some research to do.
I had my work cut out for me. There are plenty of mirrorless options on the market, so deciding which one I wanted proved to be a difficult task. Initially, I thought my choice was clear: The Sony a7rII. It boasted everything I would ever need in a camera. But the price tag ($3,198) was hefty, and I started to question whether I really needed all those megapixels. Surely, there was a more affordable alternative.
Enter the Fuji XT-2. I'm actually not sure how I stumbled upon this marvel of a machine, but I'm so glad I did. After reading glowing review after glowing review about the X-series, it became obvious the XT-2 was for me. So I ordered it.
Five Reasons Why I'm in Love with This Camera:
This camera along with the 35mm f/2 (the only lens I have for it) weighs 1.5 pounds. That's including the battery and lens hood. The Canon 5D Mark III with the 85mm f/1.2 weighs well over three times that much. The difference in weight is not just noticeable, it's dramatic. You can wear it around your neck or slung over your shoulder and you'll barely feel it.
2) Superior focus system
"Superior to what?" you might be asking. While I don't know if the XT-2's focus system beats out other mirrorless cameras (it might, I just haven't done the research), I can say with certainty that it's light years ahead of any DSLR I've shot with.
DSLR cameras use what's called phase detection autofocus, while mirrorless systems use what's called contrast detection autofocus.
What's the difference?
Phase detection is generally a little faster, but it has one huge drawback: it can be pretty inaccurate. With contrast detection, on the other hand, the camera looks at the point on the sensor that's supposed to be in focus and adjusts the lens accordingly until everything looks sharp.
Since getting the XT-2, my "throw-away" rate has been cut down significantly. So many images are in focus, and if they aren't, it's generally because I'm not shooting at a fast enough shutter speed.
3) Articulating Screen
If you're a street photographer, you're going to be in absolute heaven.
This camera is already discrete with its small form factor, but when you couple that with the ability to pull out the LCD screen, you have the superpower of going around virtually unnoticed.
Using live view, I can look down at my camera's LCD screen that's flipped up and focus more on composing my shot rather than worrying about if people are noticing me. This means capturing more real-life moments and less time planning out *how* you're going to capture those moments.
4) Film Simulation
The film simulations are a big part of what swayed me to Fuji instead of Sony. And they definitely do not disappoint.
I'm particularly fond of the "Classic Chrome" simulation; its soft and muted tones makes images so pleasing to look at. I generally will color correct images on my own, but I've been surprised at how many images are shareable right out of the camera. Especially for random outings and trips, this is such a welcome feature. No longer do you have to spend hours culling and editing every individual shot.
One other thing to note about the film simulations: they can be applied to video too, although I haven't thoroughly tested this yet. It's nice to know that you can choose to forgo color grading if you're happy with what the simulation gives you. (Fuji also has a flat video profile called F-log, though I think that can only be utilized when using an external 4k recorder.)
5) Sex Appeal
Looks aren't everything, but they sure do help, and the XT-2 is a damn sexy beast. With its three dials on the top of the body, it deceives many into thinking it's a film camera. That is, until they see the LCD screen or hear the sound of its delicious (and silent!) mechanical shutter. The XT-2 is the perfect marriage of nostalgia and technology, and is sure to be a conversation piece among friends and strangers alike.
The Bottom Line: No piece of gear will make you a better photographer on its own, but this camera certainly makes shooting hella fun. If you're considering making the leap from a DSLR to mirrorless, this is a fine choice. Get it! You won't regret it. :)
I hope you all find this review helpful. Thanks for reading, and happy shooting!
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