My journey to Fuji Mirrorless X-T1 / X-T2
I change gear quite a lot and recently sold my Sony A7II to fund a Canon 5d mkIV which i have to say is a fantastic all round camera. Somehow i never really got on with the Sony, don’t get me wrong, its a fantastic camera, maybe it was just the menu system but it just never felt right in my hands. So there i was all Canon again, but lacking something more portable. I contemplated getting the M5 but hit the usual problem, using my L glass and most of my other lenses on the M5 would probably double the size of the setup so i ruled this out. I also looked at compact cameras, the Ricoh GR seems to have gained cult status and together with the Nikon Coolpix A there are a couple of nice compact APS-C cameras around. In hindsight this may have been the sensible budget solution Instead of an X-T2.
I happened upon a fellow at a local wildlife reserve using a Fuji X-T2 that a friend had loaned him. He was shooting with the Fuji 100-400 and i havd my 5d5 also with my Canon 100-400. In truth i thought from the results i could see on both LCD’s that the Canon glass wiped the floor with Fuji, and i’m not sure i’ve changed my opinion of the Fuji 100-400. However I was intrigued that this little package was shooting 14fps and also had an auto focus system similar to Canon with an algorithm for shooting in different types of situation. I went home and started my investigation, I really didn’t know much about the Fuji X system, but i could see a number of people saying that Fuji had built a new the system from the ground up adn the lenses they had made were mostly fantastic. I also saw that lots of people were trading in their X-T1’s for X-T2’s and you could pick up the old model for about £400. It wasn’t long before i had an X-T1, then 18mm, 35mm and 56mm lenses. About 2 weeks later for no other reason than a better AF and slightly more megapixels i bought an X-T2. Both cameras are really fantastic, in fact even the X-E1 (which shares the same sensor as the X-T1 has remarkably good image quality).
Its intersting to note the DXOmark hasnt tested any Fuji compact system cameras since about 2010, this is because Fuji started using the X-trans sensor instead of a Bayer sensor arrangement used on virtually other sensor. I wont go into the technicalities, i’m sure there are much better articles, the x-trans sensor uses more green than the bayer sensor, this reduces the risk of moire and therefore reduces the need for an anti aliasing filter and therefore makes the resulting pictures sharper. Some people have observed that although sharpness has improved, landscape colours are dull, whilst people colours are among the best out there.
XT-1 vs XT-2
After a week of using the XT-1 i discovered that the auto focus whilst no bad wasn’t that great either. The image quality of the XT-1 is immense and for many people i’d say you would be mad to get an X-T2 when you can pickup the older money for peanuts, you would be much better spending money on one of the fantastic lenses Fuji offers. Both cameras have a fantastic menu system, and those dials mean most of the time you never need to touch the menu’s.
JPEG vs RAW
Fuji’s JPEGS are that good i’ve almost stopped shooting in RAW
Whilst using the XT-1, i got into the habit of using auto ISO, this is in part because the functionality on the camera controls it so well and partly because the jpeg that comes out of the camera is created so well that it takes alot of the noise out automatically. Until i’d picked up a Fuji, i would have shaken with fear at the thought of using either Auto ISO or not shooting in RAW – for the XT-1 i’m happy setting the ISO range up to 800
The X-T2 expands on the X-T1 capabilities and offers three Auto-ISO’s! At first it took a little time to get my head around this, but i now have the function button configured on the front of the camera, you can quickly flick between Auto ISO’s. Mine are setup as follows 200-400, 200-800 and 200-1600. As you will see later on, i’d trust the X-T2 to handle ISO right up to 3200 under certain circumstances.
I should also say that the X-T’s seem to shoot about 1/2 -> 1 EV darker than Canon and most other cameras so if the samples look darker its by design – but you should still be able to make a judgement on noise and clarity
Sample XT-1 and XT-2 Images
I’ll be adding more images in due course as i’m keen to investigate landscape capabilities myself.
Fuji X-T2 vs Canon 5Div
I’ve been really impressed on both Fuji’s with image quality, dynamic range and low light capabilities. we went away to centre parcs the first week i had the XT-1 and i was taking pictures of my daughter in the cabin in low light with surprisingly good results. I noticed that shadow recovery was very impressive and something i’d not seen on all but my latest Canons.
To pre-empt the following section, i’d like to say this is a completely unscientific test by an amateur photographer. I dont review cameras for a living but i hope someone may find the information useful as a comparison of the two cameras RAW files
The two sets of pictures are crops of a much larger photo as the Fuji is APS-C and the 5D4 Full frame, i used an 85mm f1.2 on the Canon and a 56mm f1.2 on the Fuji to give similar focal lengths
I’ve been really impressed with both the dynamic range and high ISO capability of the X-T2, whilst ultimately the Canon 5D mk IV won the day the Fuji was better or equal up to about 1000 ISO and then was very close up to 2500. Past this the Canon was in a league of its own – but we are comparing a full frame twice as expensive camera. Its also worth noting that in testing which was in low light i got far more first shots with the Fuji than the Canon which was really surprising, it may just be the difference between the weight in the two systems.