Fuji X-T2 vs Canon Review - Do I switch to Mirrorless?

Fuji X-T2 vs Canon Review

Introduction

I've been thinking for a while now about the possibility of giving up my lifelong friendship with “Canon” after being a dedicated Professional user for over 15 years. This isn't something a photographer would find himself saying, having spent a shed load of money and invested countless hours learning a system, why would they ever contemplate changing to a different manufacturer? Well…I found myself facing this very decision…tempted by a new toy, a game changer? We will see.

Being engaged in the industry since the birth of Digital Photography, I have witnessed the wave develop at a rapid rate. Taking my first steps into a digital era, I purchased the Canon EOS 10D. I loved this camera. It really opened my eyes to a whole new realm of creativity, especially coming from a 35mm film background. I could shoot as much as I wanted at the only expense of charging a battery... I was sold. 

For me, personally, if I commit myself to something I give it my all. So I upgraded my equipment through the years investing in the latest flashguns, camera bodies and lenses that were available on the market. The Canon EOS System is the foundation of my photography business. Its been a source of inspiration, the window to my creative world. 

 

Temptation

For as long as I can remember, in the DSLR industry, everything has always been a chase, kind of like a journey that never ends, not reaching that feeling of contentment, always having an ever expanding kit list of wants. Bigger is better, the more mega pixels the better, sharper optics, the consistent goal posts moving on price for very little feature upgrades. I feel the time has come to firmly put my feet on the ground, stop chasing pixels and new technology and find harmony somewhere within the vast, diverse world of choice that is “The Photography Industry”. Which brings me back to my original question, switching from Canon to Fuji? Maybe…? What's brought all this on? "The Fuji XT-2!!!" Was it just me, or did you read that last bit in the voice of Jeremy Clarkson?

 

Opening The Box

Its here…!!!!!!! I placed the box, containing excitable goodies, on the table and swiftly go to the kitchen to whack the kettle on, grab a packet of custard creams and we are good to go. First impressions… the packaging is really well made and wow, they filled it with a lot of polystyrene, you know, those snowflakes that go everywhere when you remove the contents from the box. Yep, there goes the dog with a mouthful of them. Today, just today, she can have them. Nothing is going to interrupt the grand unboxing of the Fuji XT-2. Excited!!!

 

So whats in the Box ? What have you ordered ? 

x1 Fuji X-T2 Camera Body 

x1 Fuji Vertical Battery Grip

x2 Extra Batteries

x1 35mm F2 Fuji Lens

 

First Impressions

OK. Ive unpacked everything and examined it all very closely, so far so good. The only thing that bothers me is the fact that they have sent me out a silver 35mm lens instead of a black one and on a black camera it looks a little odd. Not to worry, I have contacted the supplier and a black one is on the way. Great customers service Mifsuds. Wow! its way smaller than the Canon... I knew it would be, but I didn't think it would be this much smaller. The lens is tiny compared to what I'm used to. I look to the sky and start to ponder… have I done the right thing? 

Having read the reviews and people's experiences of owning this camera, I knew it was good really… didnt I..?

Well, there was only one way to find out. Get out there and shoot something! ( aim for tomorrow ).

Where's Lola my trusty four legged companion...? she can be a my guinea pig, even though technically she's a dog, so to speak.

 

"I can see  you" - 800 ISO - Review Fuji XT-2

 

"Cheeky Smile from Lola" - 800 ISO Review Fuji X-T2

 

"Lola in the Kitchen" - 800 ISO Review Fuji X-T2

 

"Portrait of Finley" - 200 ISOReview Fuji X-T2

 

Conclusion to day 1

OK, this camera really is a serious contender to the DSLR Market. For me it has a really lovely feel to it, combining a vintage retro look with all the creative tools to hand in what feels to be a very smart piece of kit. You can even add a slight tweak on the already cool Fuji XT-2 by simply putting on your father's flairs and a tank top, cruising the town listening to the Bee Gees, wearing oversized headphones. "Look at that dude, he's a vintage shooter". I guess that's the best way for me to sum up the experience of owning one of these camera's. Its not just a camera... .it's a feeling, a style. 

Im not going to bore you with specifications, F-stops and pixel peeping shenanigans.

From what I've experienced so far, the picture quality is stunning. It really has a unique way of making your picture pop, in colour and in sharpness. So far I'm a happy customer, we will see how it pans out the rest of this week, will I still be on the Fuji side come the end of the week? 

Stay tuned for Part 2 of my Fuji XT-2 Experience. Titled "Out and about with the Fuji XT-2". 

In the mean time, enjoy these images I shot whilst out on a walk with Lola and the misses, all shot at 3200 ISO. Im really impressed with the sharpness and quality it produced. 

 

Lee Searle Photography

"Local Chippy" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

"Local Chippy" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

 
"Chinese Take Away Entrance" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

"Chinese Take Away Entrance" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

 

"We are open even though we are closed" 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

"Chapel street shop window "Exterminaaaaaaaaaate" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

 
"The Dock Inn Penzance Cornwall" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

"The Dock Inn Penzance Cornwall" - 3200 ISO Review Fuji XT-2

 

PART 2 FUJI X-T2 REVIEW

 

Day 2 Using the camera

 

So owning the Fuji XT-2 has brimmed me with so much confidence on day one that I ordered another lens…….. I couldn't help myself, I ordered the 16mm F1.4 lens. My Canon 5 DSR is still firmly in the camera bag at the moment as as a back up just incase, should I need it. The canon continues to gather dust. What better way to test out the camera than having a nice stroll around the local landmarks. Obviously I wouldn't normally shoot landscapes during the day, but as I was wanting to see what this camera could do, I thought it would be a great start. Now, the Fuji has a very vast dynamic range. All these shots where taken with no graduated filter, just straight out of the camera. Anyway, we will cover that a little later on. So I'm up, my belly is full, I've taken delivery of the 16mm, I'm ready to go see what this puppy is capable of. I go to put the fuji XT-2, 16mm, 35mm into my camera bag and, holy shit! I almost lost it inside, like searching for a pea you just dropped off the Grand Canyon. I had to really reach into the bag to get it back out. Ok, its a small camera but not that small. I'm just messing with you. 

The first "Fuji smile" was brought upon my face by the fact I didn't need to take a camera bag out with me. Grinning like a Cheshire cat, I attached the 16mm lens to the camera body and simply popped the 35mm F2 lens in my pocket. Yes, thats right, in my pocket. Good bye shoulder ache!

 

This is my first shot of St Michaels Mount. It has high contrast lighting as you can see. The thing that impressed me was the camera ability to maintain highlights in an overly contrasty scene. There is virtually no light hitting The Mount and it's still managed to maintain detail throughout. Another thing I notice immediately is how sharp the image is, in camera. Shooting a fine JPG and a RAW the camera shows you a preview as the JPG. The benefits of shooting a JPG along side a RAW is that you can zoom in more on the display to check your picture. When only shooting RAW, you can  zoom in 4 times as opposed to 8 times in JPG. 

 

On this one, I thought I'd have a pop at the F1.4 thing everyones is raving on about. So I dropped the ISO down to 100, if you are a Canon user or are used to another system, it does take a bit of getting used to. Casually changing the ISO with a dial rather than spinning a wheel. It's like anything, you need to give it time. Back to the 16mm 1.4. Wow! just wow!, I was really impressed with the quality. The gentle fade of focus into the background, the intensely sharp foreground. Mmmmmmmmmm I think I'm going to like this. Not forgetting the fact I was travelling light. 

 

Moving on to Sennen Cove

Having played about over at St Michael's Mount for a while, it was time to head over to Sennen Cove. The light was starting to fade and I really wanted to try the XT-2 out with a few long exposures. Just enough time to get to the location and scout out the area for a decent place to shoot. Heck! I might even be able to squeeze in a cheeky coffee. 

I've photographed Sennen Cove quite a lot and have visited the area many times but on this occasion I have found myself looking for different elements. I was photographing angles I would never normally look at. Could this be the Fuji influence kicking in? A new upgraded eye to view my creative world through... I felt like Neo off The Matrix... suddenly I tapped into a new creative universe...Oh, wait, hang on here Lee, let's not get too hasty, remember this is only a test. I snapped out of it and continued to wander where my eyes took me. 

 

I would Love to be sat in there right now. Fire on, custard creams out, choppy seas out the window and a warm cup of coco, bledy handsome.

 

By this shot I'm really starting to get to grips with the camera, the controls are becoming familiar. However I did notice that the battery life had gone down a fair bit. For me, I'm familiar with the Canon battery system. Three grey bars, once there gone they're gone. On the Fuji it gives you a percentage, which I think will make me panic a little about the power side of things when on a Professional shoot, watching the life drain from my batteries with every shot. Im at 23% on one of the three batteries. I'm going to make a point of not charging the camera until its completely depleted its battery life. I will do this once in Boost Mode and once in Normal Mode. If anything was going to drain the batteries it would be long exposures. As far as I am aware in normal mode each battery depletes one at a time. In boost mode it slowly drains all three batteries.

 

Here's my long exposure from the Fuji XT-2. Again, no gradual filter just an extremely awesome, dynamic range. No more fiddly filters to carry. However, adding a grad makes it even more dramatic than it already is. One for the notepad to try later. I may also invest in an Neutral Density just to increase the movement in the sea a little more. Overall, though I was really impressed. It's doing everything I want it to do and more. Also, there's something about looking at your shot on a screen in live mode and being able to see it whilst you shoot rather than through an optical viewfinder. It's like you're looking at the shot on your computer afterwards. For me, it makes me see the composition better, you notice things more. Elements you don't want in the picture as well as elements you want to bring in. I like to shoot landscapes low and having the flip out screen was also a bonus. 

 

 

Doubts  

1) Autofocus Speed

Auto focus plays one of the key parts in photography for me, being able to take the shot when you see it. Nobody wants to miss a great opportunity due to Focus hunting. This feature for me is vital on my Wedding Photography shoots. How will the camera handle moving subject? Will face finder interfere with what i actually want to shoot?

So far I have had no reason to even look at the auto focus speed, which is a good thing as it handled everything I've put it through. If it let me down I'd have something to say about it. In this case, so far my lips are sealed. 

The camera has to operating modes, Normal and Boost. Normal giving you less frames per second and running off one battery at a time and Boost mode using power from all 3 batteries. The advantages of putting your XT-2 in Boost mode is that it increases your frame rate, the refresh rate of your EVF and increases Auto Focus Speed. 

The Auto focus system on the Fuji is fully customisable to pretty much any circumstance, tracking, panning fast moving subjects and face detection. Also there are 5 different presets you can choose from. I haven't yet tried these out but I will in due course. 

A really nice feature is that you can adjust the size of your focal point for those fine detailed moments and its super easy to change your focal point using the joystick.

Fuji auto Focus Current Status - More than happy 

 

2) The EVF

Being an avid optical view finder user, I had my doubts about this one... An electronic viewfinder...? Personally I wasn't liking the sound of that at all. Still it wasn't enough to put me off, I was happy to give it a try. The weird thing is you actually forget the fact its a digital display your looking at. I often found myself focused more on capturing the image than the EVF. At times, thinking it was an optical viewfinder. For me the advantages of the EVF are its almost like your looking at the picture on your computer, its easier to see flawed areas and the image quality is instantly rewarding. 

Overall the EVF is bright, colourful and has all the information you desire on screen. The refresh rate is awesome in Boost mode. The downside of an EVF is battery life, however the camera does auto switch the EVF off when you move your eye away from the viewfinder.  

 

3) Whole kit is not that much smaller than 5d Miii

The Fuji Xt-2 is smaller than the 5DMKIII and so are the lenses. There's a small size difference when you look at the stats but in your hand it feel so much smaller and lighter. My camera bag sized just halved.  

 

4) Moving your left hand to change ISO

Left hand ISO changing is something I was born to do. I guess, this is something that is down to personal preference. Im used to spinning a wheel on the right to quickly change ISO on the Canon. However with Fuji the setting is on the left. Its also on a manual dial, so you need to look at this when making a change. Something I'm prepared to live with as normally I use auto ISO unless I'm shooting something that requires smoother images. 

Knowing about your sensor and its capabilities is a must as a Professional Photographer. Knowing its limits, knowing at what point your picture quality starts to deteriorate. Personally I always found that a Canon file always requires work in post. Whether it be for a colour cast or just general exposure tweaks. As with the Fuji it produces eye popping images straight out of the camera. The JPGs off this thing are stunning. The Canon Sensor produces a smoother picture, its appears to be more distant. However the Fuji's picture is in your face from the off, its like your looking at a sharper more vibrant world. You have to see it to believe it. 

 

6) Weatherproofing and Reliability

Weather proofing for me was never an issue as I plan on purchasing the weather sealed lenses. The XT-2 is equally as weather proof as the Canon range. Personally I tend not to shoot my camera in wet condition unless I really have to. If I did its nice to know the feature is there.

 

7) Battery life!!

I spoke a little about battery life earlier on in my review but want to cover it in a little more detail here. Now Fuji claim that you can shoot 1000 images on a full charge using the battery pack as well as the battery inside the camera. So far this seems to be the case. Currently My Canon set up will require one battery change throughout a whole wedding day, which is awesome. Shooting with 2 camera bodies, I didn't need to worry about battery changes at all. However with the Fuji I would want to be prepared, I don't think I would have the confidence to go to a wedding using the same theory. So problem is battery power... Solution purchase more batteries so you can easily switch out when needed. Possible downside, is spending a day preparing and charging batteries prior to your shoot. Which brings me to another problem, the best way to charge multiple batteries. Surely one at a time is going to take ages? Yes your right it will, each battery taking 2 hours to charge. 

The battery charger supplied with the camera charges one battery at a time, however the optional battery pack will charge 2 at a time when plugged into a mains adaptor. Surely this could get messy with 2 camera bodies each with batteries grips and spare batteries! All patiently waiting to be charged. Fuji, if you reading this, a 6 battery charger unit would be greatly received. 

Currently the fastest way would be to own to Fuji Battery grips and even then that will only charge two at a time. 

I have a portrait shoot coming up that I'm going to do a battery test on. I plan on being a bit trigger happy. Im guessing the shoot will use up about 20% battery life. We wIll see. 

The Fuji  XT-2, has definitely earned a place in my camera collection, not only that it has also earned a place in my camera bag.  Im still hanging onto my Canon though...for the moment anyway.  

 

Portrait test for Sharpness and Colour

 

 

Be sure to leave some feedback in the comments section below, would be great to hear your thoughts. Also if you have any questions please post them below and Ill try to answer them.