The Fujifilm X-T2 mirrorless camera is quickly becoming a candidate as the new gold standard in affordable 4K video. But will it be replacing the famous Sony a7S II as the best mirrorless video camera for cinematic shooting? Fujifilm X-T2 – Best Mirrorless Video Quality? Video shooters live in good times. Every few months, a new video shooting mirrorless camera rocks the market and gives us better cinema-like quality and features. Last year, the Sony a7S II quickly became the best mirrorless video camera you could get, with a nice 4K image, numerous useful video features and impressive lowlight performance. Just two weeks ago, the Panasonic GH5 was announced and raised the bar once more with its specs, offering internal 4:2:2 10bit in 4K, though this camera will only see the light of day in 2017. For now, the Fujifilm X-T2 has landed on our desk and stands a serious contender against the Sony a7s II as the new gold standard. Let’s take a look. We recently tested the Fujifilm X-T2 in a documentary style situation (check out our review). Few people expected that this camera would be quite so interesting for both photographers as well as video shooters. This is only Fujifilm’s first attempt at implementing 4K video into one of their mirrorless cameras, yet they got a lot of things right, and even since our review some new features have been implemented via a firmware update: Now you can get extended dynamic range (H-2, S-2) when recording internally. Comparison: Fujifilm X-T2 vs. Sony a7S II Both the Fujfilm X-T2 as well as the Sony a7S II are designed as mirror-less cameras in a photo body. The Fujifilm X-T2 has the Fuji X-Mount and houses an APS-C sized sensor. The Sony a7S II has the Sony E-mount and houses a full-frame sensor. There are fans for both sensor sizes, but in terms of the lens-mount, there are only a few adapters for Fuji right now, while there are many options for Sony E. This could change in the future, if user interest for Fuji X-Mount adapters rises. In our cinema5D Test Lab we have tested and compared many cameras. In this review we will take a closer look at how the Fujifilm X-T2 sensor performs in comparison to the one in the Sony a7S II. Fujifilm X-T2: Max Resolution: 4K UHD Max Framerate 4K: 29.97fps Max Framerate HD: 59.94 Log Gamma: F Log Sensor: Aps-C Mount: Fuji X Codec Bitrate 4K: 105mbit Price: About $1600 Sony a7S II: Max Resolution: 4K UHD Max Framerate 4K: 29.97fps Max Framerate HD: 120fps Log Gamma: Slog2 & Slog3 Sensor: Full-Frame Mount: Sony E Codec Bitrate: 95mbit Price: About $3000 Use the Fujifilm X-T2 with “F Log” The Fujifilm X-T2 has some unique properties, most notably “F Log”, Fujifilm’s very own log gamma setting that creates the most neutral and natural image with the highest dynamic range. Unlike the Sony a7S II which records Slog 2 (or Slog 3) internally, Fujifilm has restricted F Log to external recorders. Why did Fujifilm decide to do that? We actually talked to Jun Watanabe from Fujifilm about this recently, and it seems that they are open to implementing internal F Log should user interest be there (see the whole interview here). Considering that the Fujifilm X-T2 comes at half the price of the Sony a7S II, and how beautiful the X-T2 image is (more on that later), it’s still quite a valid option to connect a $1300 external recorder (eg: Atomos Ninja Flame) to it, in order to get that nice 4:2:2 8bit F Log image in 4K. The Fujifilm XT-2 has a micro hdmi connection to output F Log in 4K to external recorders. Back at the editing desk you will notice that the XT-2 has the same problems when it comes to external recording as the Sony a7S II in Slog2 gamma. In practice, this means you will lose 1 stop of dynamic range unless you find a way to turn those video levels into their proper values. This can be done with our Slog FIX LUT either during recording or in post with no quality loss (Get it here). Flip out lcd monitor on the Fujifilm XT-2 If you use this camera for internal recording only, the X-T2 also offers some very nice film simulations (picture profiles) and still has very good image quality. But if you are dependent on a Log gamma for your post workflow, you will need an external recorder. We hope Fujfilm will include internal F Log in a future firmware update. Dynamic Range A good dynamic range rating allows us to capture a larger range of shadows and highlights in high-contrast scenes. An important property when it comes to evaluating the best mirrorless video camera. We’re testing with a DSC labs XYLA-21 transmissive test chart. For this review we used the Fujifilm 56mm F/1.2 lens instead of the Zeiss 50mm Cp2 macro (more on how we test HERE). Our software measured about 12 stops of usable dynamic range on the Fujifilm X-T2. This is very similar to the rating of the Sony a7S II and Canon C300 mark II. Here’s a screenshot of the dynamic range of a few popular cameras compared. Usable Dynamic Range (SNR 1/0.5) – Blacks adjusted in the chart above for your convenience. 12 stops is very a good rating for a cinema camera. Many videographers today praise the Canon C300 mark II for its dynamic range qualities and when we take a closer look, the Fujifilm X-T2 isn’t far behind. High end cinematic productions still use the Arri ALEXA, as it outperforms all other cameras we have tested with its 14 stops of usable range. Image Quality This is where the Fujifilm X-T2 blows away most other cameras we have tested. The image of the X-T2 is very homogenous, clean and has a high resolution that dissolves lots of detail with a nice filmic grain. In the shot below you can see that the Fujfilm XT-2 offers slightly more detail than the Sony a7S II and seems to have better aliasing properties than both the Canon C300 mark II and Panasonic VariCam 35: Image resolution. 100% crops from 4K images In the star graphic above, the a7S II and X-T2 look very similar. However, when you compare the image detail of other shots of the X-T2 vs a7S II (see below), you quickly see that the Fujifilm X-T2 always produces cleaner and more accurate shots: Image detail. 100% crops from 4K images In practice, of course most users will downscale their images to HD, and for this purpose all mentioned cameras perform admirably. Still, the kind of quality you get out of the Fujfilm X-T2 is impressive and leaves even our beloved Sony a7SII behind. This is also true for internal recordings and certainly makes the XT-2 one of the best mirrorless video camera when it comes to image quality in 4K. The only comparable camera in this field is the wonderful Sony a6300 (see our test here). the a6300 however has strong weaknesses in other areas. Despite the lack of internal F Log, as mentioned earlier, the Fujifilm X-T2 comes with a variety of film simulating picture profiles in-camera. This is a very nice feature that we haven’t seen on any other camera yet. Others do offer “video picture profiles”, but none of them simulate filmic colors and contrast. Here are two different film simulations, recorded internally (105mbit H.264): Fujifilm X-T2 colors. 100% crops from 4K images As you can see image quality is just as impressive for internal recordings as it is when recording external 4K with an Atomos Ninja Assasin, like we did, or any other external 4K recorder. And HD Quality? Image quality in HD is not as impressive as in 4K mode. It is comparable to the Sony a7S II, but unfortunately there is also a lot of aliasing which creates lots of moire artefacts in contrasty image areas. The Sony a7S II performs better there and also offers 120fps, while the X-T2 only reaches 60fps. Below is a shot of the star chart and sieve comparing HD on both cameras: 100% crops of HD image Best Settings for Video on the Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T2 Settings Menu Accessible via the “Q” button. Sharpness Sharpness should always be set to -4. Otherwise artificial sharpening is added in-camera and gives you a video-ish look. If needed, you can also add sharpness in post. H-Tone and S-Tone These two settings add a smooth highlight and shadow rolloff and increase the dynamic range of your image when set to -2 and -2. This was recently enabled via a new firmware update. Film Simulation There are several film simulation settings available for in-camera looks. Try them. We liked their “Ns” setting best. All other settings (besides “white balance” which you set as needed) should be left untouched for best results. You should always shoot in 4K and downsample as needed later on, to get the best results. Rolling Shutter The Sony a7S II suffered from severe rolling shutter effect, a phenomenon also referred to as “jello”. Unfortunately, the rolling shutter that we see on most CMOS sensor video cameras is also present on the Fujifilm X-T2, but in comparison it is less pronounced than on the a7S II. Lowlight The Sony a7S II is an absolute miracle when it comes to lowlight performance. In comparison, the Fujifilm can’t reach the same high ISO’s but holds up well until ISO 3200, which is not bad in comparison to other mirrorless video cameras. Unfortunately, beyond that the X-T2 should be used with caution, because there is heavy and visible noise reduction going on that does not even look nice when downsampled to HD. We wish it could be disabled. The following shot compares the Fujifilm X-T2 in F Log (ISO 800) and Sony a7S II in Slog 2 (ISO 1600) at both their base ISO’s and then at higher ISO’s. 100% crop from 4K image The a7S II retains image detail much better up until high ISO’s. This is especially visible in motion. Conclusion If you thought the Fujifilm X-T2 is just another ordinary attempt by a stills manufacturer to implement video as an additional selling point, then you were wrong. This small mirrorless camera shows us how image detail and an organic in-camera look is supposed to be executed and in our opinion brings it into the class of best mirrorless video cameras. The 4K (UHD) image from the Fujfilm X-T2 is nicer and cleaner than that of the Sony a7S II, and outperforms our favourite low cost 4K camera in the rolling shutter test while achieving the same dynamic range rating of 12 usable stops. When it comes to HD quality and frame rates, internal log recording and lowlight, the Sony a7S II still has the upper hand. Considering the availability of E-mount adapters for Sony, available accessories (like the Sony XLR-K2M audio module) and the compatibility of the Slog 2 gamma, the a7S II currently remains our camera of choice and holds the position of best mirrorless video camera. For those interested in the built-in film simulation, outstanding stills camera performance and superb image quality at half the price of the a7S II, the Fujfilm X-T2 should be a clear winner. Whichever you choose, both are outstanding cameras that leave most competition behind. Only the Sony a6300 is another camera you should look at if the budget is tight (see our a6300 review here). We hope this review helped you. Please consider getting your gear from one of our recommended retailers and let us know your thoughts in the comments.Read more
Metabones has released an update to its EF-E Smart Adapter MARK IV and EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA, vastly improving auto focus, smoother aperture adjustments and enabling continuous auto focus on compatible Sony Alpha cameras. Many Canon-turned-Sony users will have become accustomed to the compatibility quirks of using EF lenses on a Sony Alpha body. Metabones has been an ever present stalwart in the big player camera/lens mis-match and, despite their best efforts, have always struggled with producing reliable auto focus. This hasn’t been a huge problem with filmmakers, many of whom won’t ever have the need for this feature. But many will also like to cross over to photography from time to time, one of the features that was so liberating with the Canon 5D. A lack of auto focus in stills photography is of course a much bigger deal, especially with the release of more advanced systems introduced with mirrorless cameras such as the A7RII and A7SII. The mis-match in Sony body/Canon lens compatibility has forced many into exploring the less nurtured, less developed, less exciting Sony E mount lens line. These of course make full use of the Alpha cameras’ auto focus abilities, particularly the aforementioned continuous modes in newer bodies. The firmware update that Metabones just released for its EF-E Smart Adapter MARK IV and EF-E Speed Booster ULTRA closes the gap dramatically between native E mount and Canon EF lenses. With Metabones firmware V0.50, auto focus on an EF lens is much improved, aperture changes are smoother (still clicky, but improved) and continuous auto focus is now enabled on later compatible bodies. Here’s some press: Release date: 23 Jun 2016 Benefits and improvements: Wide-open button functionality is removed on A7 series and A6300. The button of the adapter is now dedicated to the function of the customisable Focus Hold button on the A7 series and A6300. “Advanced” mode is now the default operating mode. (Note: you may permanently change the default to “Green” mode, by holding down the button on the adapter while attaching to an already-on camera, and then, without ever releasing the button, turn off the camera’s power. Changing the default back to “Advanced” mode using the same procedure.) “Native” autofocus features including DMF, Eye-AF and fast CDAF on all E-mount cameras (see Press Release for details). Support for smooth iris feature of the latest Canon and Tamron SP lenses. PDAF improvement for Canon EF 50/1.4 USM and some other large aperture fixed focal length lenses. Descriptive lens name on EXIF LensModel tag (except on older cameras and Metabones Mark I, Mark II, Mark III and the original Speed Booster). A compliant utility such as exiftool is required. Sony Image Data Converter does NOT display the LensModel tag. Fixed a focus parking issue after an exposure with some older Canon lenses. I’ve installed Metabones Firmware 0.50 on my EF-E Smart Adaptor and can confirm the improvements. As an owner of the Zeiss 25mm Batis lens, I’m fairly familiar with the continuous focus modes available on the A7R II and A7S II. Users of the Sony Alpha II/Metabones/EF combo can now look forward – under certain circumstances – to a useable focus mode when shooting video, featuring face detection, zonal monitoring, with speed and sensitivity modes. Speaking from a wealth of experience with Canon’s Dual Pixel Auto Focus, the Sony equivalent is more complicated, less reactive and less subtle, but it does the job on wide focal lengths stopped down. Whilst auto focus is vastly improved, initial experience suggests it’s not quite up to native E mount speeds, but it’s certainly getting there. You can download firmware update V0.50 now from here.Read more
Earlier this month Metabones announced firmware V0.41 for the Canon EF to E mount adaptor, promising to fix the frustrating aperture flash Sony FS7 and A7s users experience when using Canon lenses. In this article I check out how successful the update is. Many people have migrated from Canon to Sony camera systems of late, pound for pound there’s no denying Sonys dominance of the current market. Many of these people will have also brought with them an EF lens line. Sony still have a way to go in terms of offering a wide variety of professional E mount lenses, plus it makes sense financially; if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. However, users of the Sony FS7/A7s will all tell you of the… quirks when adapting EF to E mount via Metabones adaptors. The main problem lies in aperture adjustment. When opening the aperture, the iris will open to max before closing back down to the desired f-stop. The result is a bright flash every time you adjust exposure. It shouldn’t be a deal breaker, adjusting stills lenses on a native mount body won’t give you smooth adjustments like a manual aperture lens, however the flash is somewhat frustrating. Metabones Firmware Version 0.41 for the Canon EF to E mount Mark IV promises to fix the issue, along with a few other features. Here’s the list of updates: User may choose between lens OIS and IBIS using the lens’ IS switch (except for some Tamron lenses). If the lens’ IS switch is ON, lens OIS is used and IBIS is turned off automatically. If lens’ IS switch is OFF, IBIS is used instead. To turn off all IS, hold down the WO button on the adapter while switching the lens’ IS to the OFF position. IS is always turned on during magnified focus assist for ease of manual focusing Added autofocus support for some legacy lenses on A7 series Eliminated iris flicker when opening up the iris from a slower aperture to a faster aperture in Green mode on FS series, NEX-VG series and A7 series in movie mode. Eliminated iris tick noise while zooming a variable aperture zoom lens in Green mode Does it work? Check the below video where I’ve tested it. The initial clip is using the older 0.40 firmware, followed by results after 0.41 is installed. I’ve outputted to an Atomos Ninja Blade with overlays so you can see the aperture adjustment in action. Sony A7S with a Canon 50mm f/1.2 Music – Lights Motion | Our Time is Now. Provided by The Music Bed. I went ahead and tested all my in-house lenses also, I won’t bore you with the results, but after quick testing I can confirm the same results as the video for the following lenses: Canon 8-15mm f/4 Fisheye | Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 | Canon 16-35mm f/2.8 | Canon 16-35mm f/4 IS | Canon 24-105mm f/4 IS | Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 II | Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art | Canon 50mm f/1.2 | Canon 85mm f/1.8 | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II | Canon 100mm f/2.8 Marco L. The update now puts Sony cameras in the same boat as native EF mount camcorders (EOS C series) in terms of visual aperture adjustment. At 1/3 stop increments you’ll never get a perfectly smooth change. However this dramatic fix now means aperture adjustments may be suitable mid take for certain genres of filmmaking. Check here for download of Metabones Firmware 0.41 and instructions of how to update your adaptor.Read more
It’s official. While rumors have been making the rounds that Sony would be introducing new mirrorless cameras along the lines of the famous NEX’s, it wasn’t clear we’d see them coming so soon. Sony just announced two very potent new cameras that go head to head with the Leica concept we liked and also take on some of the bigger DSLRs as well.Read more
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