I don’t usually write posts about gear news, but Fuji’s latest announcement has managed to get the reserved person that I am to buy into the hype. As mentioned in the title, Fuji has announced the next iteration of its co-flagship camera, the X-T2, a few months after the release of the X-Pro2. To understand why this announcement turned out to be a big deal for me, let me give you a bit of context
For about a year now, I’ve stopped using my 7D for stills and now shoot exclusively with the X-T1. I’d heard the rumours about the X-T2, but I’m not the kind of person who absolutely needs to get the latest version of whatever device I use. There were some interesting things such as a higher flash sync speed (1/250th vs 1/180th) and an extra stop of ISO. But that was it. I was perfectly happy with the 16 Megapixels sensor, and the other rumoured features didn’t impress me that much.
However, despite all the leaks, Fuji managed to keep one huge card up their sleeve: the new video capabilities.
OK, we could all have guessed that the new camera would have 4K video recording capability, but if my research on video cameras taught me anything, is that recording resolution and frame rates say nothing about actual image quality. Codec, bit depth, chroma subsampling and bitrates are much more useful pieces of information.
The X-T1 wasn’t very useful for serious videography. Its version of H.264 wasn’t very efficient and had a low-ish bitrate, The ergonomics aren’t suited to video shooting, etc. But today’s announcement dropped the bomb:
- 100 Mbps: It’s still H.264, I guess it’s still going to be 4:2:0, but at this bitrate, the camera should spit out much cleaner files, even in 4K.
- Clean HDMI out: While the X-T1’s HDMI output could only be used for playback, the X-T2 offers a 4:2:2 clean image for monitoring and capture via an external recorder.
- F-Log: Unexpectedly, Fuji also add a log gamma curve. While it sounds odd a first (“why shoot flat when the camera has such great film simulations?”), the addition is very welcome as this will make it easier to match the footage with other cameras, turning the X-T2 into a good candidate for a B or C camera.
The image quality looks really really nice, and the film simulations work just as well in video as they do with stills. I mean, look at this black and white:
Also, on the topic of good news, I’ve been told by a beta tester of the camera that the second curtain flash sync finally works with 3rd party strobes. In the list of features, you’ll also find improved continuous autofocus and burst rate, but as I don’t shoot sports any more, it’s not that important to me.
Now I’ll get off the hype train and be a bit more pragmatic. This is a big deal for me because in my opinion, my X-T1 is superior to my 7D when it comes to stills. The X-T2 appears to be superior to my 7D, period. This means I can go back to having a single system for shooting both stills and video (at least until I can afford a “proper” video camera). The upgrade has gone from unlikely to no-brainer.
However, would I recommend the X-T2 to anyone? Not necessarily. Unless you’re shooting with strobes often, shoot sports and/or you’re serious about video, the upgrade might not be worth it if you already own an X-T1. And if you don’t own one, it’s probably going to get quite cheaper soon.
The X-T2 isn’t out until September, but that should give me the time to save up for the upgrade.