Which Fuji camera do you choose? This video highlights the major features of the X-T1 and X-T2.
- At the time of this shooting, Fuji is keeping both the X-T1 and the X-T2 in their product lineup. If you all ready know that you want more than one of their 10 series cameras, but you're not interested in the larger size and hybrid viewfinder in the X-Pro series, then you're going to be faced with a choice. Do you spend a little more on the X-T2, or a little less on the X-T1? Actually, a lot less. The good news is that either choice will give you a great camera, one you'll be able to shoot with for years, honestly, if not, for the rest of your life.
Both cameras pack Fuji's excellent X-Trans Sensor and image processor which yield great images. Both cameras support Fuji's exceptional line of X-Series lenses. They're both built around the same mode-less design, shooting with these cameras is different from shooting with a typical SLR because you can freely move between different levels of manual and automatic control; finally, both cameras offer all of this power in small packages. If you're tired of lugging heavy SLRs and lenses, then you'll be hard pressed to find a better example of the mirrorless advantage than either the Fuji X-T1 or the X-T2 and honestly, they both look great, so how do you decide? Now this may sound obvious, but before you make a buying choice you have to decide how much you can afford.
If you settle in on a price ceiling then you may not need to suffer with this decision at all. At the time of this shooting, the street price for the X-T1 body only is 899, while the street price for the X-T2 body only is 1899, and that's before you add a lens, so if you're hoping to get into a usable camera for under $1500, then you don't even need to look at the X-T2. If you're budgeting, say, $2500, but you want a selection of lenses, then you still probably don't need to look at the X-T2.
If you can afford the X-T2, then you need to think about what you want in the way of lenses because you may find that you'd be better served by the X-T1 with a broader selection of lenses than by the X-T2 with just a couple of pieces of glass. If you're an X-T1 owner and you're wondering about upgrading, that's also a reasonable question, whether you're starting from scratch or considering an upgrade, as we go over the differences here your choice will hopefully become more clear. There are a good number of external differences between these two cameras but before we get to those, let's consider what's different on the inside.
While the X-T1 packs an 18 megapixel sensor, the X-T2 offers a higher count 24 megapixel sensor. Both sensors are still APSC sized; what does this pixel count difference mean in real world terms, it's 4896 by 3264 on the X-T1 versus 6000 by 4000 on the X-T2, here's what the relative size differences look like in terms of image frame. At 300 DPI, you can print an X-T1 image at 16 by 10 inches without any resampling; an X-T2 image can be printed at 20 by 13 inches without resampling.
At 360 DPI you'll get a 13 by nine out of the X-T1 and a 16 by 11 out of the X-T2. If you're not outputting at maximum image size, then you'll find that the X-T2's extra pixels yield images with better sharpness and detail when you compare them side by side with the X-T1; however, remember that it's a rare occasion where you'll look at an X-T1 image and think, "Wow, I wish that were sharper." Side by side comparisons are interesting, but they can be misleading.
When you pack more pixels onto an image sensor of a given size, you have to make those pixels smaller, that can sometimes lead to noise troubles, but that's not the case with the X-T2; in fact, in low light conditions, even with its extra pixels, you'll likely find that the X-T2 yields better noise response than the X-T1 does, in fact Fuji is so confident in the X-T2's noise capabilities that they have expanded the standard ISO range. The X-T1's standard range is 200 to 6400, expandable to 25600, while the X-T2's standard ISO range is 200 to 12800, expandable to 51200.
If you do a lot of shooting in low light and are very particular about noise, then the X-T2 might be a better choice for you; however, bear in mind that the X-T1 is still a great low-light performer. Autofocus has seen a huge revision in the X-T2; some people complained about slow autofocus speed on the X-T1, honestly, in two years of steady shooting with this camera, the X-T1, I never felt like the autofocus was conspicuously slow or weak, but whether it was or not, Fuji has taken things to improvement.
Where the X-T1 has a 49 point autofocus system, the X-T2 gets 91 focus points when you're working with the camera's zone system; when selecting an individual focus point you can choose from amongst 325 different points. The central 40% of the X-T2's viewfinder, that's about 169 points, are phase detection points, the rest are contrast detection. In addition, there are two columns of 13 contrast detection points down each side of the X-T2's frame. All of these points give the X-T2 a lot more data to work with and the practical upshot is speedier autofocus, especially in low light, as well as very sophisticated focus tracking.
If you're a sports or wildlife shooter, the improved focus tracking features of the X-T2 are an undeniable boon; in addition to the additional focus points, the X-T2 has pre-programmed motion scenarios so you can tailor the camera's focus tracking to the precise kind of movement that you're trying to track; if shooting fast-moving subject matter is a regular part of your photographic diet, then you'll definitely want to lean towards the X-T2. I don't do a lot of that kind of shooting, but I still appreciate one major change in the X-T2's autofocus system, on the back of the X-T2 there's now a tiny little joystick, at any time while I'm focusing I can push this joystick with my thumb to move the focus point around.
I love that feature, again I never felt myself hobbled by the X-T1's autofocus capabilities, if it's what you can afford you'll be getting a great system; if you can swing it though, the X-T2's autofocus system is definitely better and has a major interface advantage. One of the biggest technical changes to the X-T2 is the addition of 4K video. The X-T1 has never been known as a great video camera, it can shoot 1080p video but the lack of a headphone jack, mic input, audio meters, exposure meters, and the clunkiness of some of the interface elements make it less than ideal as a video option.
The X-T2 gives you 4K video, a mic input, audio meters, improved focusing controls and with the addition of the external battery grip, a headphone jack; you still don't get a zebra display or a histogram display while shooting but there has been one very important control change. On the X-T1 there's a button on the top that starts the video rolling; that makes it easy to quickly get a video going. But when you press this button, the camera immediately crops its frame to its 16 by nine video aspect ratio and changes the viewfinder exposure to show accurate exposure for video.
If the exposure is dark, you may not be able to see your frame very well; in other words, you don't get a chance to preview your framing and exposure before you start rolling. With the X-T2, you put the camera in video mode using the drive-mode collar over here under the ISO dial; once you're in that movie mode, you will see your exact framing and exposure on the viewfinder, you then press the shutter button to start and stop shooting, this is a much more flexible, professional way to work. I don't know if this counts as an internal change, but the X-T2 sports a completely different menu-ing system from the X-T1; it's easier to read, joystick makes for simpler navigation, but most important it now offers a custom menu.
Unfortunately I found that feature to be a little weak, because I can't get all the features that I want into it, but this is something that could be easily changed through firmware updates. If you're someone who prefers lots of customization options, then the X-T2 is a little bit stronger than the X-T1. Physically there are a number of differences between these two cameras; first of all, the X-T2 is slightly larger and about two ounces heavier. While holding them side by side, the weight is noticeable but two ounces is really not enough to take the X-T2 out of the lightweight camera realm that you want when you choose mirrorless.
The X-T2 feels noticeably larger, and I definitely prefer the smaller size of the X-T1; in day to day carrying, though, I don't think the difference is that significant. If you're thinking of upgrading, and already have a tripod plate for your X-T1 then you're going to need to get a new one most likely for the X-T2. One important tripod difference; the X-T2 tripod mount is now properly centered below the nodal point of the image sensor, the X-T1's tripod mount is not. If you're a stickler for precise panoramic shooting, this might be a deal-maker or breaker for you.
Ideally, you should get your hands on both cameras before deciding anything about size just because you need to feel the differences. Several controls have changed in the X-T2, as I mentioned earlier there's now a joystick on the back which eases focus point selection and menu navigation. The shutter speed and ISO dials now have toggle-able locks, these little pushbutton locks on the top; this is a great improvement over the X-T1. The viewfinder cup on the X-T2 is larger and more comfortable and the four D-pad buttons on the back are taller and easier to press.
This is great when you need to press them, but I find that they're too easy to accidentally press on the X-T2; one of the biggest practical changes in terms of shooting on the X-T2 is the exposure compensation dial, which now has a C option, set the dial to C and you can control exposure compensation from the front wheel. What's more, you can press the wheel to toggle on exposure compensation lock. This is a great improvement over the X-T1 and means that you can easily adjust exposure compensation without taking your eye from the viewfinder. It means that this pretty mechanical dial is kind of useless now, I don't see why you'd ever use it and I think it'd be better served as a drive mode dial, since the drive mode collar is hard to move, but this new exposure compensation mode also expands your total compensation range from plus or minus three stops on the X-T1 to plus or minus five stops on the X-T2; I love this change.
While I was used to the exposure compensation dial on the X-T1 I prefer the one on the X-T2. That said, I don't believe I ever missed a shot on the X-T1 because I couldn't adjust exposure compensation quickly enough. There are a lot of other tweaks and adjustments throughout the camera, some of them are very welcome such as the changes to performance, shot to shot time is noticeably improved on the X-T2 and it's the first time I can say that shooting with a Fuji X-series camera feels like an SLR in terms of shot to shot performance.
This is huge for street shooting, wildlife shooting, sports shooting, where I always felt like the ability to shoot and then immediately grab another shot was a little bit hindered on the X-T1. But again, I learned to work around that on the X-T1. In some ways, the X-T1 made me a more diligent, careful shooter; with the X-T2 I can go back to my old lazy, sloppy SLR ways. To my mind Fuji has broken one thing on the X-T2, I can no longer set up the autofocus lock button to serve as a focus trigger and focus lock toggle.
I found this very frustrating and hope that Fuji will fix it in a future firmware update. If you feel like I'm waffling about recommending one over the other, that's because they're both great cameras; what's more, while I love some of the interface changes and new features on the X-T2, I don't feel like there's a thousand dollars worth of difference; I will keep shooting with the X-T2 over the X-T1 because of the higher pixel count, because of the better performance, and a couple of interface changes. I'll be frustrated with some of the other changes where Fuji has altered things that I did not think were broken; the thing is, I wasn't actually looking for a replacement for the X-T1, if this camera had not come along, I wouldn't have missed it, the X-T1 is still that good, if you need 4K video then the X-T2 is a no-brainer, similarly if you shoot sports or other fast-moving objects, you'll do better with the X-T2's autofocus.
If you're an extreme nerd about sharpness or regularly print very large, then the extra pixels on the XT-2 will be the way to go. Otherwise, you will likely fare just fine with the X-T1. You'll be missing out on a couple of interface tweaks and adjustments, but you'll be keeping others. As I said before, whichever you choose, you're getting a great camera that will produce beautiful images and support a fantastic array of lenses.
- Choosing between the X-T1 and X-T2
- Using controls including the ISO dial, focus locks, and exposure locks
- Choosing third-stop shutter fields
- Changing depth of field
- Using the autofocus mode
- Exploring face and eye detection
- Understanding JPEG quality
- Customizing menus and buttons
- Working with lenses and accessories