TALKING IMAGES 35 – THE FUJIFILM X-T2: FINAL THOUGHTS

 

 


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HISTORY

I started using digital cameras in 2009, with the full frame Nikon D700 which, it seemed to me (and I was to be proved right), would deliver similar image quality to my Nikon F6 film camera.  Since then, most of my photography has been with full frame Nikons (I added a D800 later), and they have been – and they continue to be – simply excellent cameras.  And the incredible creative potential of digital photography hit me just as I was looking for increased photographic creativity, and I have never looked back.  I know that film photography still has many adherents and that it may even be becoming fashionable in some quarters, but the simple fact is that, for me, reverting to film is unthinkable.  I shot film for around 50 years, and used wet darkrooms too on occasion, but that was in the past.  For me all of that is over now.
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In 2016, having read good reviews in Amateur Photographer, magazine (which, as always, I warmly recommend to you), I started using a Compact System Camera (CSC), the mirrorless Fujifilm X-T1, which was certainly not up to the standards of the Nikons, but which was distinctly smaller, and very capable and handy.  I’m currently posting a series of images called Going To Work, which pictures people and scenes during Bristol’s morning rush hour.  This series is a direct result on the X-T1’s small size, portability and capabilities – walking around the city for hours on end would be rather arduous with the far bulkier Nikons, and increasingly so for someone of my advancing years, but the X-T1 and one or two lenses are relatively compact and very portable indeed – in the way that my Olympus OM-1 and OM-2 film cameras and Zuiko lenses were all those decades ago.
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And so to the X-T1’s successor, the X-T2.  It arrived to rave reviews, and I splashed out one about a year ago.  As digital cameras go these days, its already ageing a bit, and for all I know an X-T3 is already on the launch pad.  And so, after a year’s use alongside the Nikons, a few last, overall thoughts on the X-T2.  All of the images here have been taken with this camera, and most (if not all) of them with the excellent Fujinon 55-200 zoom lens: as usual click onto them to enlarge them in separate windows – clicking onto the enlarged images may enlarge them yet again.
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THE X-T2: THE POSITIVES

OK, well, let’s just take 10 things I really like about this camera.  I’m not covering all aspects of the camera here, just things that are important to me:

  1. Small size and easy portability; excellent build quality

  2. Simply gorgeous images with vibrant colour rendition, and with eminently useful Film Simulations both in-camera and in Lightroom; I always shoot Raw

  3. The camera body is covered in dials and buttons that remove most of the need for delving into the menus; there are numerous customisation options, and favourite items can be grouped under a My Menu setting

  4. A very handy 24MP APS-C sensor – enough to give plenty of detail and scope for cropping; but not sufficient MP to cause handling problems or to clog up hard drives

  5. An extremely useful Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), packed with information, that in all but a few scenarios leaves the Nikons’ optical viewfinders standing

  6. Accurate light metering: 4 modes

  7. Good high ISO performance, which partners well with effective lens-based image stabilisation – I never worry about low light photography, and never carry a tripod

  8. Good autofocus performance that covers most situations

  9. Dual memory card slots: there’s no worry about available space

  10. An ingenious tilting screen – which I have to admit to not using much.

So, do I have any regrets about the buying the camera?  None at all.
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THE X-T2: THE NEGATIVES

  1. The X-T2 can eat batteries, especially when in its Boost (= high performance) mode.  I gather that this is currently an issue with mirrorless cameras.  So I always carry one or two spare batteries with me – no problem. I have started always using the X-T2 in Boost mode

  2. The autofocus is good, but in extreme situations – poor light; frenetic movement – its not quite up with the Nikons, and I suppose that I didn’t really expect it to be

  3. The positioning of AE-L and AF-L buttons is certainly not as good as the truly superb positioning of the  AE-L/AF-L and AF-ON buttons on the D700 and D800, where these two buttons fall so very readily beneath my right thumb when my forefinger is in the shutter release

  4. As with the autofocus, the Electronic Viewfinder is not as good as the Nikons’ optical viewfinders in situations with frenetic movement eg birds taking flight and in flight.

But, once again, do I have any regrets about buying the X-T2?  None whatsoever.  It is a wonderful, high quality and very portable camera that can be put to many, many uses, and which will have a go at tackling any sort of photographic scenario.  It is my current go-to camera, my current camera of choice.  But if I know in advance that conditions are going to be particularly demanding, then I’ll use one of the Nikons instead: this does not occur very frequently.
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WAYS OF WORKING

The X-T2 is my go-to camera and, on many occasions – and especially if long walks around Bristol are likely – I’ll just carry it with the excellent 55-200 Fujinon lens, which equates to around 84mm-305mm in full-frame (ie 35mm) terms.  I found that my photography received a boost when I first used Nikon’s 70-300 lens and it became apparent that, photographically, I “see” at 300mm, ie at x6 magnification – and this image stabilised, APS-C Fujinon lens mirrors the Nikon’s focal lengths almost exactly.  I could of course take additional lenses to cover more photographic scenarios, but I adopt a philosophical approach – if I miss shots by not having the required lenses with me, well that’s Life, that’s how it is – and there will always be other photographic opportunities around later on.  Having one lens also means carrying less weight, and not being distracted by thinking about which lens I’m going to use.  Many of my shots are set up very quickly – moving people or vehicles, the momentary flicker of sunlight across a scene – and switching the camera on while extending the zoom are often achieved in one, fluid movement >>> although since the Nikons have optical viewfinders that do not need to be switched on, I’m forever raising the X-T2 to my eye, forgetting to switch it on >>> and seeing blackness!
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But I’ve also long had the idea of carrying both the X-T1 and X-T2, the slower X-T1 with the 10-24 Fujinon zoom (full-frame 15mm-36mm equivalent), and the 55-200 on the snappier X-T2.  I did this recently walking around the nearby village of Stanton Drew and, with both cameras dangling around my neck, it worked very well indeed.  Firstly, carrying these two fairly compact, CSC cameras and lenses was fine – whereas carrying two of the big Nikons at once would not be fine!  And there was no thinking about changing lenses, I just had to raise the requisite camera to my eye.  My only note of caution here is that – especially if alone – carrying such a display of (relative) wealth around might not be such a good idea in places where opportunistic (and quite possibly violent) theft might be a concern …
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And lastly, the software I use is reasonably basic.  Lightroom Classic, as its now called, works very well, although I have reservations both about the monthly subscriptions, and about the Catalogue method of working.  I still use Capture NX2 too, and have yet to find anything (and certainly not in Lightroom!) to compare with Nik’s Control (or U) Point technology.  My software is completed by what used to be the Google Nik Collection, where I go absolutely ape about generating black and white images with Silver Efex Pro 2, and am also extremely enthusiastic about Color Efex Pro4.  And I am also EXTREMELY interested in the fact that the Google Nik Collection has just been bought by the software company DxO, who are set on developing it and making the Control (U) Points more widely available – this link takes you to DxO..
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HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

And so, Happy New Year to everyone!  Let’s hope that 2018 will be kind to us, and to those less fortunate than ourselves too.

And I hope that some parts at least of this post are useful, and enjoyable too.

All best wishes from The FATman!
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About Adrian Lewis
Photographer - using mono, colour and combinations of the two - many types of subject, including Minimalism, landscapes, abstracts, soft colour, people, movement, nature - I like to be adventurous, trying new ideas, working in multiple genres. And I've a weakness for Full English Breakfasts and Duvel golden ale, though not necessarily together.

30 Responses to TALKING IMAGES 35 – THE FUJIFILM X-T2: FINAL THOUGHTS

  1. Pingback: Talking images 35 – the Fujifilm X-T2: final thoughts – Vietnam Travel & Trade Portal

  2. rezinate says:

    In a manner of speaking sans a lot of post editing I’m inclined to believe film
    has a more personal nature to it – no quick deletes, when the shutter clicks
    best if you were on your game.
    It’s a digital world now and no complaints on my end, a digital world proving
    to be a quantum leap forward for photography.
    Fuji has made some fine cameras, the X-T2 another example.
    You have a fine portfolio I appreciate.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you for your thoughts, my friend. I agree, film is more personal because it can be manipulated less post capture, and I’m thinking of a post that mentions that. But, personally – and I can only speak for myself – I’m willing to forego what might be called an artisanal connection with photography via film, I am simply concerned with the product, the final image, irrespective of the way(s) in which it has been created. I’m glad you like my images – thank you! Adrian 🙂

      Like

  3. bluebrightly says:

    A fine New Year/Old Year summary, Adrian, and it does bring up a question. I’m not familiar with DxO; I checked the link but want to ask what you’re using it for most, and why you wouldn’t use LR and/or Color/Silver efex instead for that particular function. Sharpening? Exposure?
    Finally, I love your New Year wishes for kindness to those less fortunate – I can’t really think of a better, simpler way to put it.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      New Year wishes, yes. As I get older – 68 soon! – and also since I’ve retired, I think more and more about the things I see around me – especially in view of Imagined Realities and Imagined Hierarchies – and I see so much unfairness and inequality. I know I’m (relatively) privileged, and I know so many are not. It really makes me think.

      As for DxO, I haven’t got it at all, but it is high on the list of what I MIGHT choose > IF >> Gloria In Excelsis Deo, to go, with chips!!! So I haven’t got DxO yet, but I am keeping a very, very close eye on what unfolds. A 🙂

      Like

  4. Sonali Dalal says:

    this is so fantastic!! all the photos are awesome and thanks for review of XT-2.

    Like

  5. Jane Lurie says:

    Glorious images, Adrian! I read your post with great interest since I switched from my beloved Nikon D800 to an X-T2 last spring. I agree with everything you’ve said in your post. It’s a fantastic camera — still learning some of the tricks with settings– but I am thrilled with its performance and its back-saving light weight. I just added the 35mm F/2 and have the 18-55mm. I am also on the same page with LRClassic and Nik. 🙂 Wishing you a wonderful 2018!

    Like

  6. Emily Gooch says:

    You have such an extraordinary eye for seeing unique perspective and light. Thank you for the review and creative photos. I’ve been thinking it’s probably time that I retire my Nikon D90 and upgrade. I haven’t been doing much photography the last few years. Seeing your photos definitely give me the desire to get back in touch with my creative brain. For 2018, my goal is to shoot and blog more. Happy New Year, Adrian!

    Like

  7. What a post, Adrian! First I want to tell you that the images you’ve collected here are wonderful. The graveyard and the telephone stand out for me. Oh, but then there are those two cars . . . and the Going to Work photos. I give up picking favorites. Now about your cameras: I’m taking your raves about your mirrorless cameras to heart. I keep thinking about buying one, but am still using a Nikon D600. For a while I carried, simultaneously, a D70 and a D250, the D70 with the kit lens (18-70mm if I remember right), and the D250 with a long lens that doubled as a macro (70-180mm). It was really nice to have all those options all the time, but two cameras became heavier over the years, if you know what I mean. I occasionally sell photographs at the printed size of 20 by 24 inches, sometimes even bigger. One of the reasons I hesitate to go mirrorless is that I don’t think their images will print successfully that large. Perhaps my procrastination will serve me in the end, and I will make the leap when I can print in larger format.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Thank you so much for your good words, Linda. Oh, I know how heavy Nikon gear can be, even tho when walking I only take body and the (wonderful!) 70-300. But I never print my images, except in 12 inch square photobooks – where if they’re grainy I don’t mind. And that also leaves me quite free to ramp up the ISO if necessary, which is another great freedom. So I’m quite free of printing considerations. However I would say that X-T2 picture quality is excellent – maybe a way forward for you is to see whether you can borrow or hire an X-T2 + lens for a few says (or get copies of another user’s files) and have a look at the quality for yourself. I’m by no means abandoning my Nikons, I’m using the two systems in tandem, but the Nikons are getting less use these days – and mostly in specific situations. A 🙂

      Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Linda, another idea has popped into my tiny mind! If its not too big for an email, what about if I send you a (one or more I guess!) full quality jpeg from the X-T2, so you can look at it first hand? I shoot only in Raw, then process in LR to get a tiff, then convert to full quality jpeg, and then to mid quality jpeg for my blog, so I have plenty of full quality jpegs “lying around”! What do you think? A

      Like

  8. So many interesting photos. Lots of variety in subject matter. Still love the cemetery, but the swan shot. Ahhhhh❤️

    Looking forward to what 2018 has to bring.
    Happy New Year, bud.
    🎉XXX ATP XXX🎉

    Like

  9. Excellent wrap up of the X-T2, good and bad. You are certainly taking advantage of the good, Adrian! I’m looking forward to your work in 2018.

    Like

  10. Interesting post and wonderful selection of photographs!

    Like

  11. Excellent post excellent comments. The XT-2 is fast replacing my love for Nikon. Using Apple products. I left Nik for Skylum/MacPhun. Some of which works on windows. All the best in the New Year.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Victor, thank you very much, very glad this hits the spot! And very glad to hear we’re agreed on the X-T2! I’m using Lightroom, but whether that’s for the long term I don’t know. But I rather think Silver Efex Pro is (very) long term. All good New Year wishes to you too. Adrian 🙂

      Like

  12. paula graham says:

    Best wishes, my friend and what a great post full of the stuff people want to know. Super shots too.

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Paula, thank you very much – the post just sort of grew and grew and I just let it have its head! One day, maybe, we shall meet again, and I’ll bring the X-T2 along. A xxx

      Like

  13. Meanderer says:

    As you know, I’m not ‘into’ the equipment and technical side of photography, but all I know is that I enjoy visiting your blog and being delighted, surprised, and inspired by your work.

    Keep on keeping on Mr L. Let’s hope 2018 is a kinder and more tolerant one 🙂

    Like

    • Adrian Lewis says:

      Well, one (see the effect you’ve had on me! … and then there’s balletic …and parasol …) … one can’t get a better comment than that, that’s really encouraging, and I’m really grateful to you for it, my friend! And now, even one is driven to admit that one feels that one has imbibed too much Belgian beer for one Yule, and so a few more mellowers this afternoon, and then a few days’ cold turkey – but dahlink! >>> just how seasonal can one get!!!!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

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