The Beast Out In The Wild: A 2-month field test of the Fujifilm X-T2
It was early May of this year when I received a very pleasant call from Manila’s Fujifilm HQ. That was when they invited me on board the testing phase of the then yet-to-be unveiled Fujifilm X-T2. The mere thought of being involved in the process was indeed a pleasure to a camera-geek such as myself.
I have to admit, I wasn’t quite as oriented with Fujifilm Cameras at the time except for a short testing stint for the X-Pro 2. But as early as then, I could really appreciate Fujifilm’s dedication in creating cameras that their users would love. The first step of the process began with the X-T1 and everything that the users wanted to improve about it. After that, every step of the process allowed feedback from X-photographers and us other-brand-users that allowed further improvement of the camera and it’s already efficient user interface.
I have to be honest. Being a photographer who started tinkering with cameras during the golden years of the DSLR era, I was resistant to the evident shift that many photographers definitely made when the so-called Mirrorless Revolution began. As a landscape photographer who has quite high standards for both sensors and glass, I had a lot of doubts about the feasibility of a smaller camera with smaller lenses competing or even topping the full-frame DSLR Image Quality. Suffice to say that now, I am one of those who doubt if Full-Frame is actually even a necessity. The APS-C sensors of these top-of-the-line X-cameras make the bulky full-frame DSLR format seem like just belly-fats to an athlete. Unnecessary weight.
SIZE DEFINITELY ISNT EVERYTHING
In that line of thinking, let’s keep this short. I did not expect something so compact to create such a good image. More importantly, a good image with this size. In fact, as far as cameras go, especially for outdoor photographers who carry around a lot of gear to various locations, LESS IS DEFINITELY MORE. Less size means more possibilities, more flexibility, greater distances, greater heights. Less Limitations.
DESIGN AND FUNCTIONALITY
The two aspects are usually independent of each other. Design usually means the exterior and over-all look of a product and functionality of course pertains to efficiency for the user. What I noticed with Fujifilm is that the two aspects seem to be embedded within each other. With the X-series Cameras, design also means functionality. Within the vintage-looking Mirrorless cameras come a very user-friendly and workflow efficient design that allows photographers to think less of the camera and focus more on the shooting. Fujifilm takes design not only as a way to make cameras look good but ultimately to make it a good camera.
Within your fingers’ reach are all the necessary adjustments needed when shooting. The ergonomically placed dials don’t only make the camera look good but it allows the photographer to adjust the exposure settings without having to take his eyes off of the subject. There’s no immediate need to look at the screen menu which allows for a more reactive workflow and that means there’s less to think about when shooting.
The live viewfinder, as can be found in almost all X-cameras, can give a precise preview of what the photographer is shooting even in harsh light conditions.
Landscape photography and great, dynamic compositions don’t always present themselves to you automatically. Oftentimes, one would have to go high or go low to take different angles to give a unique perspective. The 2-plane tilting screen adapts to that need and gives the photographer a possibly less strenuous shooting experience.
The optional vertical booster grip is best known for making the camera shoot up to 11 frames per second. While that is absolutely incredible, it does not have much application in Landscape Photography. However, the fact that it allows 3 batteries to be on board at once, seamless shooting for time-lapse and star trails is made possible. Heck, you can just leave the camera shooting there for the entire night while you sleep.
While most landscape photographs show pleasant weather, some of the most intriguing images are those taken in harsh conditions. Added to that, the travels that lead to the most amazing locations don’t always welcome you with blue skies and sunlight. A good camera, more importantly, a good camera for the travelling photographer has to withstand as much water and moisture as possible. Truth is, some of the best photographs taken of nature are often the ones taken in very risky situations. The camera has to adapt to that no matter what and the weather proofing of the X-T2 surely can take the challenge.
THE UNQUESTIONABLE PROWESS
There’s absolutely no need to talk about the image quality of this camera. If you were impressed with the X-Pro2, then imagine it in a buffed up body and pumped up by a vertical grip. The X-T2 brings the image quality of the X-Pro2 in a format loved by photographers who embrace fast-paced workflows. But even with that said, only the images can truly speak of its sensor. See for yourself.
*Gear used in the photos in this article: Fujifilm X-T2 body, XF 10–24mm lens, XF 14mm lens, Benro Master Filter System, Benro Scorpion Transformer Tripod*