Climbing the Mount Fuji

No, it will not be about the actual climbing but rather about my impressions from shooting Fujifilm X-T2 for a day.

I am a Canon shooter (6D) which I love but I am not a die-hard brand fanboy. I am with Canon since 40D which I liked a lot and stepping up to the full frame was just a natural thing to do. But I must admit that at times walking with this beast plus 2-3 lenses in a backpack can wear me down and take a lot of joy out of photography.

That's why I was looking with interest at the reviews of the Fujifilm X-T2. In store, it felt nice in my rather big hands – even if it is tiny compared to my 6D with a grip that I usually shoot with. I also like to old-school layout with most of the key settings accessible via physical buttons/wheels (e.g. ISO, shutter and aperture). But one thing is to play with a camera in store and other is to shoot with it in a real life situations.

Thankfully, living in Tokyo, there is a simple solution – Fujifilm Square. Located in the Tokyo Midtown, an upscale shopping/office development between Asakusa and Roppongi, it hosts a small gallery, Fujifilm camera museum and a service counter on the 2 floor where you can rent most of the Fujifilm cameras and lenses for a small fee (or even for free if you return it the same day!). So, on one cold and rainy Sunday I became a happy, albeit a temporary, owner of the X-T2 with 35mm f2.0 WR lens.

 Great colours - strange costumes. Tokyo Midtown

Great colours - strange costumes. Tokyo Midtown


I will not give you any technical specs about the camera as there are better places to find these on the web. Nor I would do any head-to-head comparisons with the Canon 6D. These will by my purely subjective impressions from shooting for a day with this new tool.

What have I thought I will miss the most as compared to my DSLR? Optical viewfinder. I was surprised to learn that I adapted rather quickly and was not really bothered by. Of course, it is not the same as the optical one (you do notice that you are looking at the screen) but otherwise it feels great. Plus, if you shoot quickly on the street and for some reason you are on a wrong setting (underexposed, overexposed) you will notice it immediately in the electronic viewfinder. No more chimping followed by "oh f#ck" moment.

 People are strange. Tokyo Midtown

People are strange. Tokyo Midtown


Focusing was very quick too, plus the thumbstick for focus point selection makes it vastly superior to 6D omnidirectional pad. I do not need a super complicated focusing system. I usually use the centre point/recompose system when I shoot. Here, I could easily move the point to where I wanted it to be. Coverage is also much wider than with 6D. I have not experienced any focus hunting also in low light conditions. Only downside, in my view, was that I could not use that easily a back-button focus routine I am accustomed to. The AF-L button at the back is not protruding enough, so I mapped focus to Fn2 button at the front and used it with my middle finger. Not great, but worked fine.

What do you do when it rains in Tokyo? You go to where all the neon signs are to catch the reflections. In my case it was Shibuya district which is near to where I live. Back at home, when I downloaded images to my computer, I knew right away that the image quality is good.

 Tokyo in the rain. Ramen place near Shibuya

Tokyo in the rain. Ramen place near Shibuya


I shoot in RAW and process my images in Lightroom, with occasional Photoshop when needed. I was pleased with what I saw. Lens was sharp, images had a pleasing colours and good contrast. Furthermore,  the files stood up to ISO 6400. This is where I would usually stop with my 6D. I have not pushed it further as it is usually enough for me. What's more, I had impression that the files took noise reduction and pulling of the shadows better than what I am used with my Canon.

 Transparent umbrellas. Hiro-O, Tokyo

Transparent umbrellas. Hiro-O, Tokyo


With regret, I dropped the camera back the next day at Fujifilm. I liked how small and light it was without paying for it in terms of image quality. It also felt solid and took rain in strides, so the weather sealing works. Now, how do I win a lottery to own a second system? If you know, tell me in the comment below.

 Reflections, Shibuya

Reflections, Shibuya


What I liked:

+ size, form factor/portability

+ image quality

+ that it did not stand in the way of taking pictures

+ totally silent shutter

+ flip screen - great for low angle shots



What could be better:

- battery life (but hey, you can always add grip if you want)