FUJIFILM X-T2 Review – Real World Video Samples and First Impressions

FUJIFILM, a respected company well-known for making high quality stills cameras, photo lenses and professional video and cinema lenses, is now taking its first steps towards implementing proper 4K video recording into their new X-T2 mirrorless camera. If you take a moment to look at the interview we recently conducted with Jun Watanabe, a manager at FUJIFILM corporation, you will hear how serious they are in planning to develop and enhance the video capabilities of that camera, and establish their name as a company that listens to their customers by supplying them with the right tool for their work. 

Fujifilm X-T2 (1 of 7)

Tokyo, July 2016. The heat and humidity are almost unbearable. I guess the only person who really doesn’t care about it is me. After all, I just got the X-T2 for a short test ride, and learning its ins and outs completely distracts me from that heat wave. As the camera is still on a beta stage and the installed firmware is not final, I have to be very cautious with what I write. I know for sure that some of the key limitations I found while working with it are now being reviewed by FUJIFILM, and some if not most of them will be addressed in the final firmware release (or the one after). Before I continue, I must confess that during my meeting at FUJIFILM, I had the pleasure of meeting humble yet determined and professional people who really gave me the feeling of talking to a company that is willing to listen to customers. If the demand for a certain feature is there, they will do their best to fulfil those wishes and implement them as long as the hardware used allows for it.

In order to achieve maximum picture quality, FUJIFILM provided me with the X-T2 mirrorless camera and the Fujifilm XF 16-55mm f/2.8 lens. I had in my hands an APS-C mirrorless camera which uses the H.264 compressing method with a data rate of around 100 Mbit/s in 4K mode. I’ll write up front that this combination is not suited for the occasional documentary shooter, as neither the camera nor the lens have any kind of built-in stabilisation, and micro shakes become very noticeable. For my next test, I will be using the less expensive yet equally capable Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4. This lens has a built-in OIS, so I expect to have a different user experience.. (Note that buying the X-T2 together with that lens will save you $300 over buying those two items separately).

Fujifilm X-T2 (6 of 7)

 

Here is a summary of what I found while working with the beta X-T2 camera. 

FUJIFILM X-T2 Pros: (in no particular order)

  • World camera. UHD video in 25p and 24p, plus a variety of frame rates (up to 60p) in HD mode.
  • F-log 4:2:2 (8 bit) through HDMI and external recording. For many, the 8 bit figure won’t cut, but with the current hardware being used, we have to be realistic.
  • EVF is truly high quality!
  • LCD screen is good and can be tilted.
  • No dedicated video REC button. The photo shutter release button is used to start video recording. For people like me who are not interested in taking photos while shooting video, this is a plus as the button is located very logically. But for others, it might be a big obstacle, one that can result in skipping purchasing that camera all together. I’ve put this point in the Pros section because it works well for me.
  • Testing during a relatively long interview, the camera did not get warm to the point of shutting off. I will experiment more when the final version is here.
  • Rolling shutter looks well controlled in full HD 50/60p, but average in 4K 24p. To be checked in our lab test soon.
  • Audio quality is well above what we are use to having in such small cameras when connecting an external microphone.
  • Good battery life. Having 3 of those batteries (one in camera and 2 in the handgrip) helped me to shoot throughout the whole working day without a problem.
  • The VPB-XT2 handgrip can serve as a very fast battery charger.

FUJIFILM X-T2 Cons: (in no particular order)

  • The camera together with a standard lens can only accommodate a very short photo tripod plate. Recommendation: use the additional VPB-XT2 handgrip to overcome that problem.
  • Using the X-T2 together with the XF 16-55mm f/2,8 and VPB-XT2 handgrip, proved to heavily lean to the left side. On my next test, I will be using the Fujifilm XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and hope to have a different experience.
  • Eyecup is hard and not replaceable. Not so easy to judge exposure during daylight.
  • The headphones plastic cover on the VPB-XT2 handgrip is extremely hard to open. Patience is the keyword…. 

  • The default setting for the ISO and SHUTTER wheels is “rotation free”. If you push the center lock button, THEN you can’t twist them anymore. To my opinion, the default should have been LOCKED and when pressing the center lock button, then be able to twist the wheels freely.
  • Currently “punch-in zoom” in order to verify manual focus is not possible.
  • Currently changing ISO values while recording is not possible.
  • Currently changing WB while recording is not possible.
  • Noticeable aliasing/moiré in some situations while shooting in 4K. In full HD/60p, it is more evident.
  • LCD/EVF are locked at the last viewing position. In other words, if one starts an interview looking at the picture in the viewfinder and then move away from the camera, the LCD will not turn on. 

  • Microphone and headphone jacks are located separately, one on the camera body, the other is on the handgrip. One will be forced to buy additional equipment in order to have total control over audio.
  • Currently, waveform is not available in video mode
  • In the beta camera I had, I could not monitor some of the changes I made in WB or film simulation. I know those are not possible to observe while in the Q menu mode, but I will repeat this test when I get the camera again and see why I couldn’t change it.
  • One of my biggest concerns is the highlight roll-off when using the different film simulation modes. It is very easy to over expose the picture. FUJIFILM assured me that the highlight tone / shadow tone is based on a film simulation mode which was previously available only in photo mode, but that will now be available for video. This will help with addressing this phenomenon.
  • At times, it felt like it takes longer then usual to write the data onto the SD card after stopping the recording, despite the very fast card I had.

  • No screen layouts to help with simulating 2,35:1 or any other ratio but 16:9
  • Not all photo-related functions in the menu are greyed out. It can be confusing when judging what is available for video mode.
  • Although the autofocus algorithm is totally the same, it is rather slow and inconsistent in 24p (as opposed to 60p).
  • Dual SD slots are relevant for photo mode only. It would have been nice to see FUJIFILM using both for video too.
  • Camera charger shows green light when charging. A bit confusing for the crowd who is used to translate green light as “charged”. As FUJIFILM is following its “illumination one color rules”, maybe the chosen color should be red instead of green (color on meaning charging, color off is battery fully charged, and blinking means battery fault).

 

Fujifilm X-T2 (2 of 7)

Conclusion:

For now, I will avoid giving a solid conclusion as the camera I worked with is still in its beta stage. The final version should be on our desk towards the end of August. What I would like to emphasize is that the potential is clearly there, and it is up to FUJIFILM to decide in which direction to go. Also, I do hope that FUJIFILM will decide to implement an in-camera F-log function, although it will be 4:2:0 8 bit only. I’m truly looking forward testing the X-T2 in its final form. Last but not least, as the competition gets tougher and the anticipation for newer models from Panasonic (GH5?) and Canon (EOS 5D mark IV?) gets real, I can only conclude this article with 3 words: “interesting times ahead!”.

Settings for the above video: 4k/24p, Film Simulation– “Pro Neg. Std”. Edited in Adobe Premiere CC latest edition. No color correction was done, but there was a minor change in exposure in a few shots. Audio with Machico-san was recorded in camera.

Music supplied by:  Art-list –  The East Mother by Alon Ohana – Nova Beat, Audiojungle –  The Love AngelTravelling Japan

Many thanks to Machico-san an her beautiful family.

 

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Reply
Peter Kent August 10, 2016

Thanks Johnnie, quite in depth for a pre-production with lots of pros and cons, I can’t wait for the Lab test with the release model.

I found your following cons to be my highest concerns:

1. “Currently changing ISO values while recording is not possible.”
-This one is very important and could be a deal killer for me; does this apply to Auto ISO while recording as well?

2. “Currently changing WB while recording is not possible.”
-This is also something that I would need but not as often as ISO while recording

3. “Noticeable aliasing/moiré in some situations while shooting in 4K. In full HD/60p, it is more evident.”
-This is a concern, especially in 60fps for me. In YOUR OPINION how does it compare to other cameras like tha a6300 or the 6D? Honestly I didn’t see any in the download of that video you posted.

4. “Currently ‘punch-in zoom’ in order to verify manual focus is not possible.”
-That is a shame because it may be my most used function on other cameras.

5. “… if one starts an interview looking at the picture in the viewfinder and then move away from the camera, the LCD will not turn on.”
-This would be VERY ANNOYING, any idea on how it would work with an external monitor?

5.”Eyecup is hard and not replaceable.”
-Yeah the a6300 has a horrible eyecup too, hurts after a few minutes of use.

Other than that could you expand on the following issues you had:

“…I could not monitor some of the changes I made in WB or film simulation.”
-I don’t understand, you couldn’t see the change on the lcd before hitting record? Or was it you wanted to see a preview before confirming the change?

“…highlight roll-off when using the different film simulation modes. It is very easy to over expose the picture. FUJIFILM assured me that the highlight tone / shadow tone…”
-I did see what seemed to be some extreme clipping, you’re say it couldn’t be recovered and this highlight/shadow feature should give us more dynamic range in camera? Is it similar to panasonic’s Highlight/Shadow adjustments?

Thanks Johnnie, and thank you very much for mentioning the lack of a record button even though you found you didn’t need it for your use.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri August 10, 2016

Hi Peter.

Lab test will be done as soon as we get the final camera towards the end of August.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts and commenting on my concerns. I’m sure FUJIFILM will take their time to read it all.

1 – Sorry, can’t answer as I don’t use Auto ISO, but if you are in Auto mode, the ISO values will change anyway, please correct me if I’m wrong.

3 – In the video you can not see any. (The 4K shot I had it on was not related to that story). I’ve shared my findings with FUJIFILM. In 60p it looks more severe. I’ll wait for the final camera version and then draw a conclusion also in regard to HD quality.

5 – Haven’t tried working with an external monitor as i did not have one during my journey. I hope this point will be fixed by FUJIFILM first.

Regarding the rest of your questions:

– I could not see the changes happening on the LCD/EVF at all. (For example, changing the color simulation type, but nothing is happening on screen to observe the change).

– I’m not sure how highlight tone / shadow tone works and how it will affect the final video. We will have to wait and see. We will also check this function on our lab and report if DR gets better or not.

Thank you Peter for taking the time reading the review and commenting!.

Johnnie

Steve MacDonald Reply
Steve MacDonald August 10, 2016

IDK, everything I’ve seen from this X-T2 doesn’t look as good as the 1080p out of the Xpro2, of course that’s my opinion, and it’s not biased on the fact I own the Xpro2! It really isn’t! I’m sure that opinion will change with the final version, but so far, I can safely say, the discontinued XXX camera that I own, that only starts arguments when mentioned, is superior over the present X-T2 video image.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri August 15, 2016

Hi Steve.

I was testing both cameras and the X-T2 (in 4K) is simply better then the X pro2 (including better audio capabilities).

Let’s wait for the final version and see how its preforms

Thank you.

Johnnie.

Gene Nemetz Reply
Gene Nemetz August 10, 2016

Gorgeous color! :-) It will have the 30 minute record limit, so I can’t buy it. Wish they’d evolve it to not have a 30 minute limit, or, make a camcorder. Won’t get either, I suppose. But I’d buy one if they did and it had this color and image characteristics.

Reply
Danny Rojas August 12, 2016

Thank Johnnie!

Thank you Fuji for reading our comments! This is why I choose to invest into your product as apposed to other companies, you listen to the consumer and respond accordingly!

Thank you so much for the review Johnnie, well done and much appreciated!! I happy to know that Fuji will analyze your comments in this review and take into consideration your “cons” and turn them into “pros”. (Please Fuji, Johnnie knows what he’s talking about!!!)

To be honest, I hope the XT2 will be on par or better than what Sony offers in this category (Slog3, 120fps, and 14 stops of DR amongst other things). After investing in a new XPro 2 and 5 Fuji Primes, I REALLY hope the XT2 will be a competitor agains the likes of Panasonic, Sony, Black Magic, and what Canon may offer in there upcoming 5D Mark IV.

Thanks Johnnie!

Reply
Johnnie Behiri August 15, 2016

Hi Danny, thanks for the thumbs up.

Me like you is very curious to see how FUJIFILM’s 4k journey will look like.

Reply
Jonny Henson August 13, 2016

Hi Johnnie. Great review thanks a lot. Basically just echoing what people have said. Absolutely brilliant image but the inability to change iso, WB, no waveform in video mode and no punch in zoom are MAJOR features that we need when shooting video regularly.

Not being able to see change in WB or film simulation on screen sounds like a firmware bug so hopefully that will get fixed along with adding the highlight/shadow tone in video mode. Fuji PLEASE add the rest of the above though! PLEASE. The image is to good and without these it would kill the camera for me, at least for video.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri August 15, 2016

Fingers crossed. I’m truly looking forward for the end of August to test the final camera version.

Thank you.

Johnnie

Reply
Andreas Paleologos August 14, 2016

Hi Johnnie and Fujifilm.
What a great real life introduction to the X-T2! I’m following this with great interest. I don’t know if I’m the typical profile for a Fujifilm shooter, but someone wrote that some Fujifilm reps had said “Sony is for professionals. Fujifilm is for artists.” In that case, perhaps Fujifilm would be interested in what I have to say..

I’m a freelance artist working in many fields. My main gig is as animation director, but also interactive visuals, and an electronic musician. Photography is part of my life, but professionally I’m more into shooting documentaries, synthesiser performances, synth tutorials and live visualisation.
In my work with video I’m using two Blackmagic Pockets. They’re great, small, they have a film like response curve, great dynamic range, and shoot forever. I need to shoot forever because in documentaries and interviews you never know, and in tutorials I usually shoot 45min-2 hours.

The Blackmagic colours are useless unless you grade them though. I like ProRes. It’s fast and looks great. I have to buy fast and big cards. No big deal. It’s a great investment anyway.

But shooting in h.264 would be totally ok if the colours look great to start with. Log has its place with professional use, but if Fujifilm lets us shoot beautiful dynamic footage to start with, I would ditch Log any time, and save so much time in the post process.

I’m eager to see the implementation of the shadow highlight settings for video! A necessity, if you ask me. Particularly with all the footage I’ve seen so far from the X-T2, the shadows are almost crushed, and the highlights are blown. It looks very digital. Like a style designed for shooting objects. I think a part of what’s so beautiful with Fujifilm is that you can capture the air, the ambience, and the environment in a shot. I think how the colours are represented in the shadows and highlights has a lot to do with this. So for shooting emotionally loaded, film like shots, we need control over dynamic range, and beautiful colours in the shadows.

Another thing I’ve noticed with footage emerging, is a sort of lack of grain and texture. There is a softness and cleanness that I find hard to fully get my head around. Is it the codec the that is a bit soft? The HDMI out Flog footage has a more natural grain in it.. Is it somehow lost in the h.264 codec? Or is it youtubers compressing and compressing again by YouTube that somehow breaks it down?

For video centric use, an in body stabiliser would of course solve a lot of shakiness. It’s not needed for stills, but for video it’ll do wonders. Especially for a one handed, one man show, where I’m handling the camera with one hand, mic with another hand, trying to ask interesting questions at a synth nerd event. Would be great in a future camera.

If the X-T2 shot HD forever (until the battery dies), without the grip, it would save me sooo much time in my documentary work and interviews. I don’t care about tax rules for video camera. If an iPhone shoots forever, why shouldn’t a Fujifilm camera? On the road now I shot a synth jam with the iPhone camera, a few days ago. A 45 minute take. Great. I had my old, buts till great X-E1 begging to be used, but I knew I would keep going over 30 minutes.. So I had to choose the iPhone.

In short.
X-T2 looks promising. Me personally, I need a pretty light body, that can shoot dynamic Fujifilm colours forever, without a heavy battery grip. In body stabiliser would solve a lot of stuff. I don’t need 4K, but I will use it here and there. Perhaps for tutorials 4K is great? For documentary and interviews, HD is just fine.

Sorry, didn’t mean to write a whole book here.
It’s all in the spirit of contributing. I love Fujifilm!

Cheers
Andreas

Steve MacDonald Reply
Steve MacDonald August 14, 2016

Interesting comments!

It’s a known fact the Fuji Xpro2 shoots crushed video black levels, that has been confirmed by a Fuji rep I spoke with in N.J. I was curious if the X-T2 had the same issue, however, based upon what you’ve seen, that could be the way the shooter had this setup in the highlights and shadow tones, which BTW, on the Xpro2 are disabled during video record. I would be curious to see clips from the X-T2 with all image tweaks set to zero. Even shooting documentaries, if you had the drive space, I would definitely shoot 4k. There’s just way to much of an advantage shooting that aspect ratio over HD. Of course you can still deliver in 1080p with the added advantage 4K brings to the edit!

Reply
Andreas Paleologos August 14, 2016

I find 4K really interesting. But the crop and rolling shutter, and potentially softer image due to the same bit rate as HD, is making me approach it with care, especially for handheld video. The current X-T2 preproduction firmware doesn’t support shadow hightlight settings in video yet. So all footage look the same, more or less. But Fujifilm reps have said that it will be featured in the final firmware. And thus possibly in the revised X-Pro2 firmware as well, one can hope? When going hand held, weight wnd the “intimidating impact factor” is important. I guess it’s possible to keep an external recorder tucked away in a pocket though. But I find that all these extra gadgets is making it a less optimal experience.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri August 15, 2016

Andreas, happy to see you’ve managed to register and share your valuable opinion!

Thank you.

Johnnie

Reply
Danny Rojas August 15, 2016

I’m curious to know why are the highlight and shadow adjustments disabled in the Xpro 2 in video mode? I know this is a XT2 conversation but Fuji, if your reading this, could this be adjusted PLEASE in a future firmware update?

I know I left a comment already on this forum a few days ago, but I echo everyone’s sentiments regarding this camera. For it to be a serious competitor in this market, it needs to be as good or if not better then the competition. By way of comparison, something that I’ve always appreciated from the Panasonic GH4 is the adjustability it offers: Master Pedestal, Vlog L, up to 96fps, True 4k, Zebras, Choice of Bit Rate, 10bit 442 via HDMI out… the list goes on and on. Panasonic allowed the user to access almost anything he or she would want! Why I did I go with Fuji instead of waiting for a Canon 5d Mark 4, or purchase a Sony a7 series? Fuji’s Color Science. The image is simply beautiful!!

I guess what I’m saying is… if I’m going to give Fujifilm over $2000 of my hard earned cash for the XT2 and Grip, I’m going to want to reach the full potential of the sensor, similar to what Panasonic allowed the user to do. But I’m also realistic, were not talking about an Arri Amira here! Some options are just not possible in a little camera. But hey, if Panasonic was able to do so much with their GH4, could Fuji have a similar approach? This is going to be interesting :)

Sorry for just blabbing away, this is my last post… promise!

Steve MacDonald Reply
Steve MacDonald August 15, 2016

Why they’re disabled on the Xpro2 is anyone’s guess, but they are, and there is no mention of that being added in the October FW update, which of course could change. I would encourage you to email Fuji at their global website and request those be added to the Xpro2. I was told by Fuji N.J. that makes a big difference in what’s added in FW by the number of requests.

Reply
Kepano Kekuewa August 15, 2016

Is there a link you’d recommend? Hitting the contact link on the Fujifilm global site sends you to a country selector page. In my brief search, I didn’t see a way to submit comments to Fujifilm Global.

 Tommy Rørvik Reply
Tommy Rørvik August 18, 2016

Thank you Johnnie for another great article. It is so refreshing and informative to read the views on a camera in this price/size class from someone that obviously have real experience using cameras for broadcast use.

I particulary like that you take time to comment on performance in the 50/60p 1080 modes of a camera since these frame rates most times are needed for practical broadcast use (news/sport/documentary).

4k/24/25/30fps quality are covered on most websites with not even a little mention of the quality in 50/60p HD video.

Me and more and more of my cameraman coworkers are shifting away from smaller sensor pro shouldercams to larger sensor/smaller form factor cameras because they have much nicer image quality and more creative possibilities.

For us 4k/25p is a nice thing to have for hobby projects and sometimes in special projects at work like shooting commercials/drama now and then. But 1080p50 is our bread and butter. And cinema5d is my only reliable source for information on the quality of these cameras in the modes that I need to have good enough quality.

Great to also hear about the quality of the audio recording which no one else seem to care about, but is just as important in broadcast as the video quality. My only other option would have been to buy one and find out myself if it was usable for sound.

Aldo nice that you mention the problem with lack of image stabilization in the f/2.8 lens for video. Sadly the tempo of production required from the press today will not allow me to use a tripod most of the time. So non stabilized lenses for video is something that I just cant use on cameras that are not stabilized by being huge and heavy and shouldermounted.

The 18-55mm lens with IS would be a compromise I would be willing to live with for zoom lenses. But I would sometime like to be able to shoot with less depth of field than a f2.8-4 zoom on an aps-c sensor would allow. A fast prime lens would be OK. But with no sensor stabilization and not a single stabilized prime lens under 100mm in the whole fuji lineup I am sad to say that I just can not use any of the Fuji cameras for video because of this no matter how good they are.

If they offered at least one 50mm equivalent stabilized fast prime I could have lived with the lens situation. But until that happens Fuji is just not an option for video shooters like me. For the same reason Canon is not an option as well. Only Sony/Panasonic/Olympus seem to offer stabilized primes and/or stabilized sensors for video. So for now I am stuck with Sony cameras for sensors larger than m43. I hope Fuji follow their example now that they take video more seriously since I find the X-T2 a very interesting camera.

Look forward to the review of the retail version. I think Fuji will work out many of the problems with the camera through firmware updates. So if they one day make a stabilized prime I might try it out.

Keep up the great work cinema5d.

Reply
Kepano Kekuewa August 18, 2016

Valid points. Send Fuji your feedback. That said, the 18-55mm is quite a nice lens.

Reply
Johnnie Behiri August 18, 2016

Tommy,

Thank you for your kind warm words, truly appreciated!.

The camera with its updated final firmware version will land on my desk very soon.
I’m very curious to see what was implemented/changed. It will also be my first experience to work with the XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and XF 100-400mm lenses (both are stabilized).

Will keep reporting from the field. Stay tuned.

Thank you again!

Johnnie