Fujifilm X-T2 Launch Event at the Classic Car Club Manhattan

The Classic Car Club Manhattan. What could possibly be a more appropriate venue for a product launch event by a company that’s done an amazing job of capturing classic, retro lines in its X-100 and X-Pro series cameras? We’re talking about Fujifilm, of course, and the product that was launched at the CCCM is the exciting new Fujifilm X-T2.

We were on hand for the unveiling of the Fujifilm X-T2, the successor model to popular X-T1. The new X-T2 shares the same 24.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor that Fujifilm introduced in January in the X-Pro2 model. However, in this iteration the sensor is installed without a low-pass filter, so at least in theory the captured images should be inherently sharper.

A first for Fujifilm’s X-Series – 4K video. This camera rig demonstrated the ability to cycle through the 15 new Film Simulation Modes during video capture. (C) Jon Sienkiewicz

Other new features include 4K UHD video recording capability—first time for a Fujifilm camera—and an improved, faster AF system. The number of AF points has been increased to 325 with 91 zone focusing points. About 40% of the imaging area is covered with phase detection autofocus pixels; contrast detection AF is enabled for approximately 65% of the imaging area.

The X-T2 accommodates dual SD cards and features rugged, weather-sealed body construction. It also includes 15 film simulation modes, including one for Fuji Neopan ACROS monochrome film and a new Grain Effect function with three levels of intensity.

New Accessories
New optional accessories include the Vertical Power Booster Grip (VPB-XT2) which extends operation to about 1,000 images before recharge and offers a Boost Mode to increase capture rate up to 11 fps, and a Metal Hand Grip (MHG-XT2).

The new EF-X500 flash fills a noticeable gap in Fujifilm’s outstanding product lineup. (C) Jon Sienkiewicz

Also new, the EF-X500 Flash has a GN of 50 (ISO100 in Meters), bounce and swivel head and an LED video light that multifunctions as a catch light or AF Assist light.

How does the new X-T2 feel?
With my eyes closed, it’s impossible to tell the difference between the new X-T2 and my old X-T1. That’s good. Operating the camera is another matter. The AF definitely feels faster and a bit more certain—although I’ve never had a problem with it in the past. The refresh rate on the OLED EVF is now 60 frames per second and a blistering 100 fps in Boost Mode.

The new flash is a welcome accessory that frankly fills what had been a weak spot in the X-series line-up. Understandably, many Fujifilm X-camera shooters use available light primarily, and revel in the stellar low-light performance; still, when you need a flash, you need a flash. The new EF-X500 should satisfy everyone.

The X-T2 is weather resistant and not afraid to play in the rain. (C) Jon Sienkiewicz

Lens Roadmap
More lenses are on the way, which will bring the total to 25. Soon we’ll see a XF23mm f/2 R WR, XF50mm f/2 R WR and 1:1 macro lens XF80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro. Gone from the product roadmap is the 120mm f/2.8 Macro which has been supplanted by the 80mm Macro. The photos I captured at the Classic Car Club launch event with my X-T1 were taken mainly with the 23mm f/1.4, a terrific lens that is also a big lens—so I for one am excited to learn about the new, compact 23mm f/2.

You have to admire and respect Fujifilm for their firmware update policy. While some manufacturers make their customers feel disenfranchised every time a new model is introduced, Fujifilm frequently provides free firmware updates that bring at least some of the new features and functions to life in the older, discontinued models. Needless to say, this fosters a tremendous sense of loyalty in Fujifilm camera users.

This is Fujifilm’s second major X-series camera announcement this year. In January they introduced the X-Pro2 and the 24.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor. You’ll find the Shutterbug X-Pro2 review here. While the X-T2 and X-Pro2 cameras are clearly sister models, they couldn’t be more different. Which one is tops? That’s a tough one to decide. Which would you prefer? Let us hear your opinions.

For more specifications and X-T2 details, read the Shutterbug product announcement here.

Pricing and Availability
The new Fujifilm X-T2 is expected in September 2016 in the US with an MSRP of $1,599 (body only). With an XF18-55mm (27-84mm) the MSRP is $1,899.

The new Fujifilm EF-X500 Flash will be here at about the same time and is priced at $449. Pricing has not yet been announced on the optional Vertical Power Booster Grip (VPB-XT2).

—Jon Sienkiewicz