This last weekend was possibly a turning point for me. My XT2 has finally arrived and I’m excited. I haven’t been excited about a new camera in a long time. It’s hard to say what’s different this time but there is just something about the Fuji. The XT system and lenses is very high quality but compact. It seems to have many of the benefits of the Olympus EM5 but with improved image quality. That’s something that was difficult for me to admit at first as the Olympus has served me well for several years and is an excellent camera. Let me share my first impressions with you.
Removing the camera from the packaging for the first time, it feels very much like the XT1. The various dials which felt well positioned on the XT1 are all still there but with a few more options. What I liked about the XT1 was that everything seemed to be where you would expect to find it and the XT2 is very similar.
There are a few points though that Fuji should be specifically commended for:
- The eyecup on the XT2 is just like the replacement eye cup on the XT1. This is an optional accessory with the XT1 (and worth investing in).
- The screen protectors for the XT1 fit the XT2.
- The battery from the XT1 fits and works fine in the XT2. Sony is the only other manufacturer that seems to adopt this approach.
Looking over the camera controls I immediate notice one enhancement. I am very fussy about where I place the focus point and the XT2 just made life easier for me. The back of the camera now has a small joystick with which you can move the point of focus. I used to have one of these on my old Sony R1 and I loved it. You can even use it with the camera to your eye.
The other enhancement that I like is the two-way articulated rear LCD. I don’t particularly find the swivel screens very useful as I tend not to get horizon skewed. With the XT2, the screen moves on a hinge but there is a second hinge allowing it to tilt either horizontally or vertically. Nice.
In short, this feels a lot like the XT1 but with a few nice features thrown in.
When I bought the XT2 I purchased it as a kit with the 18-55 lens. Although I already have the amazing 16-55 I decided I couldn’t pass up the extra lens for only £250 more. The 16-55 whilst excellent is bulky and doesn’t have IS. The 18-55 is much smaller and does have IS. Whilst it’s not wide enough for all my work, it’s fine as part of my walking kit.
This lens also allows me to use the camera with my LowPro 140 shoulder bag. I use this bag for trekking as it allows me to also use a good sized day pack. The XT2 with 18-55 lens, together with the 55-200 lens all fit into the shoulder bag.
In terms of the 18-55 performance, the results are very good. It’s very sharp and seems to perform well across the entire focal range as well as into the corners. The only problem I’m finding is that after shooting a lot with Micro 43 cameras, I keep misjudging the depth of field with the Fuji. Given how sharp the images are, it’s not something I’m happy about. I need to get used to the larger sensor.
The colours from the XT2 RAW files are excellent as is the detail. I have been looking hard for signs of water colour effect and false pattern (wiggly worm) when using Lightroom but so far none. I did spot what I thought was some false pattern in a couple of images but then realised how to avoid it. I need to consider this more with the XT1 but if I have hit on something I will share it soon.
Shadow detail is also very good and the images are clean when lightened. I could apply a substantial amount of shadow recovery to a very contrasty scene and the result were very natural. The film simulations are also very nice in Lightroom.
Overall, I’m very impressed with the XT2. I’m looking forward to putting it through its paces in a proper shoot.