Fujifilm X-T2 launch: A Street Photographer’s review

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 Fujifilm X-T2 launch: A Street Photographer’s review

I was one of the 100 photographers around the world to externally receive a pre-production sample of the Fujifilm X-T2 for a dry run before its launch.

mindytan-xt2 box-1 mindytan-xt2-sample-1
Straight out of shipment from Japan, a pre-production sample of the Fujifilm XT2. It arrives in May, black tape intact until its announcement July.

mindytan-xt2-selfie-1mindytan-xt2-selfie-2

In a mere span of 2 months, this little metal piece with its model and brand concealed under black tape, has travelled with me from Singapore to Beijing, Hong Kong and Malaysia. It’s been bashed up on the streets, it’s fallen (accidentally, once), and attracted too many a curious onlooker who would attempt conversation.

Especially when I carry it side-by-side, shoulder-on-shoulder with the Xpro2 while shooting a wedding, curious guests would observe this wedding photographer for a while before inquisitively asking, “Is that a Leica system you are using?”

It’s all rather hilarious, but today with the XT2’s official launch announcements, the black duct tape comes off, we unveil the truth.

I can’t recite the specifications of the camera.
24M, X-Trans™* CMOS III & X-Processor Pro
– Improved AF Performance
(I attest, X-T2 is much faster than the X-T1)
– New AF-C Custom Setting
– New EVF (Magnification ratio 0.77x, Shutter time lag 0.005 sec, 100fps live-view)
(The EVF is so huge you won’t get your eye make-up on it)
– 4K Video Recording
– ISO 51200 sensitivity
(Would personally never go beyond ISO 12800)

That was all cut and paste which you can find on Fujifilm’s main website.

But I can tell you that 6000 x 4000 pixels means lots of information will be captured in each image, even if you had to bump your initial Jpeg captures up 2 F-stops in your editing, the image will still look pretty decent.

As a woman, the ability to relate to a camera at an emotive level also makes a subtle difference to how well I perform. I know this can sound like a fluffy fact, but this ‘resonation’ is like ‘feeling at one’, your body, your camera and you. It is a difficult concept to grasp.

For me, this would be simplicity in form and a reduction of functions to its core. In the X-T2, I love how the camera’s dials are laid out like an open book. This is not unfamiliar to Fujifilm cameras. There’s no need to go through the menu screen for basic functions. I’d be able to close my eyes and operate the various dials, changing ISO, shutter speed, and of course aperture. Those dials trick my mind to shoot a little slower by thinking a little harder for each shot just like using a good ol’ film camera, shooting as if each exposure is precious.

That’s called resonating with a camera. It’s being at one with it because your personal philosophies fall in line with the way the camera makers think.

About the XT2’s look, there’s only one thing on that genie list.

I love the X-Pro2 being such an antithesis in design and wish the X-T2 could be a little less flashy in front like its good brother, which has ‘Fujifilm X-Pro2’ quietly stated on its top corner, if you ever had the good fortune to peer in that direction to make that initial discovery. The Japanese No brand (Mujirushi) value of good items (ryohin) are aesthetics that impress me.

Luckily for the X-T2, that’s a design problem easily improved with black tape.

The Joystick

The joystick dial similar to the X-Pro2, that was not found in the X-T1, is a little piece of brilliance. My favourite.

Being a professional photographer who shoots lots of weddings and street & travel photographs, speed is everything for me. There is a spilt second difference between catching a moment of subtlety of expression that takes you from good to excellent.

On the X-T2, I can adjust my focusing points as if playing a reality computer game, I’m but also getting really fast at scoring points with those focused shots.

The swivelling screen that flips up and down or left and right, means that for modesty’s sake, I no longer have to bend down in my skirt to capture puddle reflections off the ground (now I just have to flip up), or stick my body out a car or building window to get a better landscape shot (now I just have to stick my hand out and flip right).

Want to see the results? Let’s get down and dirty with performance.

Below are some images photographed on the streets of Beijing using my pre-production set.

BEIJING STREET PHOTOGRAPHY

 

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Swivelling function on ‘view mode’ saves me from digging my head into the wet cement for this (above) shot.

 

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

As I mentioned before, I like how the branding stays calm with Fujifilm cameras. That really allows me to get close to people and stick cameras in people’s faces without screaming the LVs and Pradas of the camera world at them.

 

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

The power of a jet black, sleek camera in photography is understated — especially when I am sticking serious equipment at half-naked men on their shivering morning swims, you don’t get much closer than that.

 

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Don’t forget we are also talking mirrorless cameras here. Mirrorless shutters = S. I. L. E. N. C. E

That means I can take a minute’s worth of photographs with this cat before it even budges.

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

Beijing Street Photography May 2016 Fujifilm XT2

The same gorgeous colour rendering from Fujifilm is of course found in the XT2. Red is one bleeding colour that’s always hard to replicate.

To keep this post concise, I will be posting more photographs on Beijing on my Instagram @tinyhumanmind


SHOOTING FIGHT CLUB IN SINGAPORE

I am also going to share some images taken at high ISO with the X-T2, with specs intact. These were photographed at Singapore’s The One Fighting Championship, a mixed-martial arts event held at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

The images were taken before the later versions of firmwares for the XT2 were released, the current firmware version is slightly smoother with less noise. I’d expect better results when the cameras go on sale in September.

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

MMA world champion Angela Lee receives a kiss from her brother before his fight. Shot at ISO 1600, 1/250sec f2.5

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

Father Ken Lee and mother Jewelz Lee, both martial art instructors, prepare their son William before his fight. Shot at ISO 1600, 1/250sec f2.5

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

ISO 1600, 1/125sec, f4

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

Japanese Tatsuya Mizuno before his fight, shot at ISO1600, 1/125sec, f2.5

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

One Fight UFC, MMA, Singapore 6 May 2016

Japanese Tatsuya Mizuno in this middleweight round against Egyptian Mohamed Ali. Shot at ISO 1600, 1/125sec, F4

What do you think, especially of the XT2’s low-light performance?

Hope you enjoyed the review, I’ll be writing more about street photography and photographing in North Korea in the near future. See you soon!

Mindy Tan, documentary photographer
www.mindytan.com
www.mindytanweddings.com

Instagram
@tinyhumanmind
@mindytanweddings

5 Responses
  • Carl Eksteen
    August 19, 2016

    Hi Mandi
    Wow wow wow !!!!!

  • Paul
    August 29, 2016

    Nice review Mindy! I wonder if you can help with a question about AF-C operation in the XT2? With the ‘old’ XT1 in AF-C mode, each time a frame was shot I had to totally release the shutter (or back button AF) and half press it again if I wanted AF-C focussing to contunue. Can you tell me if this has been changed on the X-T2 to bring it more into line with typical DSLR behaviour, where taking a shot doesn’t cause AF-C tracking to stop? Thanks so much! Paul

  • Dream_Emulator
    September 26, 2016

    Cool review! I like that you talk about the emotional connection to the camera. As an non-profit shooter I am drawn to these camera’s that make you happy and excited to go out into the world and discover. I’m sure full frame dual pixel etc will be better for pixel peeping but the real fun is in something that connects on more than just the technical level. Anyway, cool review!

  • Tarik Ahmet
    December 4, 2016

    Nice article, really enjoyed going through the pictures. I’ve just purchased my first Fuji xt2… took a lot of research and decisions between this and the Sony A7, but it just felt like the right camera in my hands.. Really feel inspired when shooting and love the grain you get at high ISO.

  • adam m
    December 28, 2016

    Great shots! Just added the xt2 alongside my much loved xt1 -really looking forward to shouldering just the one brand finally and ditching all my canons.

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