At the end it´s the images that matter. The camera´s just a tool, a means to an end, a vehicle to manifest and visualize your perceptions, impressions and emotions of the wonderful world around you! The less that camera gets in your way, the more intuitive / less intrusive its operation, the better your images will be! Fuji´s X-T2 has 3 distinct, unique features that help it to come closer to this ideal than any other camera I´ve experienced so far! You want to discover how to set up your X-T2 to make it magically "disappear" and enable you to fully focus on your images? Please read on, and as a bonus I show y´all a cool trick below not yet seen elsewhere on the web … ;-)
Above image with contrasty shadows painted on the pavement is easily overseen when using an optical viewfinder ...
The Fuji X-T2 has 3 distinct, unique features enabling an intuitive, non intrusive work-flow:
1. World´s best EVF (Electronic View Finder)
2. Only camera with always visible exposure triangle settings (physical dials iso menus)
3. No interruption of viewing when changing settings (how to configure the user interface)
These play a key role in the 2 criteria responsible for getting those special images (or should I say helping those special images find you):
- Being able to accurately pre-visualize your image, so you can be sure it tells the story you experienced or imagined when seeing the scene
- Being able to effortlessly and intuitively adjust the settings to suit your perception w/o needing to take the camera from your eye
Below these important 3 features are discussed in more detail:
1. World´s best EVF (Electronic View Finder):
The main advantage of an EVF over any optical viewfinder (as found in DSLR´s or rangefinder type cameras) is a realistic WYSIWYG (what-you-see-is-what-you-get) view: Means you can pre-view the image exactly as it will be saved, i.e. incl. film simulation, color, white balance, exposure, contrast, etc. settings applied. In the film era you only saw the result after getting back the developed film (meaning a delay until being able to review your images and then often having no way to redo anything in case something didn’t turn out as expected). This pre-visualization feature of an EVF dramatically shortens the learning loop (scene impression > viewfinder preview > image capture > image development > final image review > optimization), thereby exponentially increasing the hit-rate of your photographic process!
So what´s so special about the X-T2´s EVF? While sporting a best in class magnification of 0,77X and a state-of-the-art 2,36M-dot resolution (like X-T1), the X-T2´s EVF has a significantly higher refresh rate (100 fps in boost mode) and half the view finder black-out time (5 ms), compared to the X-T1. Compared to the X-Pro2 it has an increased viewing angle (38° vs 29°) and a longer eye point distance (23 mm vs. 16 mm) which significantly improve view-ability and ease of viewing (especially for eyeglass wearers!)
It´s the combination of the above characteristics that enables a truly immersive and enjoyable viewing experience and animates you to use the EVF in the first place! In fact the overall improvement is now such that for the first time I prefer the X-T2´s EVF over all other options (OVF or LCD): For me the X-Pro2´s EVF now appears too small & slow, with too narrow viewing angle and the X-T1´s EVF could not really convince me at the time to go full EVF (especially in lower ambient lighting conditions), so I sold it last year …
Once actually using the EVF, turning "preview PIC effect" to ON in the menu (MENU > Wrench > Screen set-up > Preview Pic. Effect > ON) is the KEY feature allowing you to pre-visualize the image exactly as it will be taken by the camera (e.g. as a black & white image focussing on contrast, form and light / shadow distribution rather than colors)
2. Only camera with always visible exposure triangle settings:
Exposure triangle means aperture, shutter speed & ISO settings - the 3 key elements determining image exposure and appearance. together with the exposure compensation dial you have 4 separate, dedicated manual dials on which you can immediately and always see/check the settings before lifting the camera to your eye, meaning you can preset the camera before taking the shot! As far as I know the Fuji X-T2 is the only one among high-end digital cameras having this traditional “photographer´s” user interface layout
On top of this Fuji´s approach to switching between program modes is much more intuitive & self-explanatory:
- Program mode: Aperture & Shutter speed dial on "A" > all elements are set automatically, depending on lighting conditions, ISO and exposure compensation setting
- Aperture priority mode: Aperture set on required f-stop (eg. to ensure required depth-of-field), shutter speed dial on "A" > shutter speed is automatically adjusted depending on lighting conditions, ISO and exposure compensation setting
- Shutter priority mode: Shutter set on required shutter speed (eg. to freeze action or to synchronize with flash), aperture on "A" > aperture is automatically adjusted depending on lighting conditions, ISO and exposure compensation setting
- Manual mode: Aperture and shutter speed set to required values (eg. for special lighting conditions / effects) > aperture and shutter speed are fixed. But with Auto-ISO you can still get a certain level of automatic exposure!
3. No interruption of viewing when changing settings (how to configure the user interface):
Your camera becomes an obstacle to your creative pre-visualization process and inspiration if changing settings forces you to take your eye from the viewfinder. Instead of concentrating on your subject you then need to divert your attention to fiddling with dials and menus. A camera which can be personally configured to allow changing settings without needing to remove your eye from the viewfinder will go a long way to missing fewer opportunities and allowing you to focus on what really matters: the image. In other words the camera kinda “disappears” from disturbing your work flow, see below how to do this!
I´m a “left eye dominant” shooter. When using my X-Pro2 this means my nose is squashed onto the LCD, resulting in frequently needed cleaning to remove smudges. I also gotta squint around the viewfinder to see the whole image (shorter viewfinder eye point and narrower viewing angle than X-T2). On the X-T2 my nose ends up clear to the right of the LCD but I can´t properly access the AF-L button as my nose and right thumb are competing for the limited real estate around the thumb-grip on the right hand side of the camera. Bummer, coz I love using the “back button focus” technique (means AF is initiated via a separate button rather than by half pressing the shutter release - gives me better control on what I want to focus on!
Fortunately the X-T2 offers me a work-around: By allocating “AF-ON” function to the front Fn2 function button I ca use a "front button focus" technique (long press “DISP BACK” button > Fn Button Setting menu appears > scroll down to Fn2 and right-click using 4-way controller > select “AF-ON” > confirm with “MENU OK”)
I don't (like to) use the "AF-L" button - IMO it´s misplaced coz the thumb rest partly blocks using it. Luckily this button can also be re-assigned on the X-T2, so I allocated the "Flash Function Setting" to it (use that sometimes for fill flash) and the "Shutter Type" selection to the somewhat difficult to reach Fn1 button. Pressing it cycles thru the shutter types MS > M+E > ES (which I mostly use to keep the camera quiet)
There´s more, you won´t find this nowhere else on the web: A special "Hendrix" X-T2 Fn-button configuration which allows me to fully focus on my image in the viewfinder, see the Fn-Button Settings in the image on the right:
The trick is to place the functions most used during viewing on the Fn3 and Fn6 buttons to get a fluid settings adjustment workflow in combination with the 4-way controller!
The Fn3 and Fn6 buttons are the top and bottom buttons on the 4-way controller. So, when activating the functions allocated to them you can fluidly change their function setting by continuing to press the same bottom or top button on the 4-way controller without needing to change finger position or taking your eye from the viewfinder ... COOL!
No confirmation via the "MENU OK" button is needed, half pressing the shutter release is enough. This "trick" only works for the top and bottom 4-way controller buttons. For functions allocated to the left and right buttons you need to change your finger position to the top or bottom 4-way controller button to scroll thru the function settings. This does cause some disruption of the viewing experience and may distract your attention from your image subject. Try it & you´ll immediately experience how much more fluid changing settings can be!
A final tip: If you want relatively fast access to 2 more secondary functions (over the 8 already assigned to Fn-buttons), you can allocate them to the top/left slot on "Q-Menu" and the 1st slot on "My Menu". These slots are faster to access as they are automatically highlighted first when selecting the Q- or My Menu. This saves some valuable time due to not needing to scroll around
I´ve allocated the top/left slot on the "Q-Menu" to the "Select Custom Setting" function (which I use to select different film simulation / setting configurations) and the 1st. slot of the "My Menu" to the "AF-C Custom Settings" function (which I use to switch between AF-C configurations depending on subject movement type)
For me it was important to get the configuration of the camera right from the start, and NOT CHANGE it afterwards, so that I could develop a consistent muscle memory fitting that configuration
With this review I´d like to encourage y´all to experiment to find the best settings for your kind of photography and work-flow, my preferred set-up is not necessarily applicable for everyone!
Many thanks for looking by & look forward to hearing your comments & experiences,
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