Fujifilm X-T2 Goes to Abu Dhabi and Dubai

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I had no idea whether I would even have 10 minutes to photograph while in the United Arab Emirates given that this was a business trip and my itinerary was laid out carefully and well in advance.  Still though, you don’t get over to places like Abu Dhabi and Dubai without a camera of some type, so I grabbed the Fujifilm X-T2 and two lenses: the 14mm and 23mm (21mm and 35mm equivalents).  Note that the 23 was the 1.4 version, not the 2.0 one.  My primary objective was to have a small and light yet highly capable kit with me at all times and certainly one that would not interfere with my primary task, that being the business meetings I was there for.

Well, photographic opportunity did knock twice.  Before dinner one evening, I had a chance to walk around the stunning Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi for about an hour and then on my last day, after the business objectives had been conquered, I took a quick stroll around the Spice Souk market and port area in what is called Old Dubai.

I have been shooting nearly exclusively with the fine Fujifilm X-Pro2 over the past several months and so this was an opportunity to test its top of the line sibling, the X-T2.  Under the hood, these are essentially the same camera though the X-T2 allows for customization of autofocus tracking and limited 4k video shooting (shorter bursts unless you equip it with a battery grip).  The sensor is the same as the X-Pro2 which can reportedly shoot 4k as well but heat dissipation issues precluded it from the final version.  I have always found the HD video of the X-Pro2 to be excellent and so I’ve never missed not having 4k.

Having used the X-T2 now, the question has surfaced: which will I keep?  The Pro or the T?

The truth is… there are considerable differences between the two bodies and I’m having a hard time deciding between them.  In favor of the X-T2:

Articulating screen.  I couldn’t bring a tripod on this trip but was able to pack the small Joby GorillaPod which allowed for the Grand Mosque long exposure shots above.  The GorillaPod stands only a few inches tall so this required placement of the camera close to the ground.  After 20 minutes of bending over, I had had enough of that.  Without the articulating LCD, I would have needed to get even lower to the ground – not something I would have relished given that I was wearing a suit and soon headed to a business dinner.

ISO dial.  The lift and twist design on the X-Pro2 is neat… on paper.  The toggling lock button on the T2 is far more practical and I could read the numbers much more easily.

EV dial.  Turns far too easily on the Pro and I often find myself wondering why images are too dark or light as I review them.  That’s because the dial had turned without my knowing it.  That never happened on the T2.

EVF.  Bigger, brighter, just plain better.  But see below regarding viewfinder.

In favor of the X-Pro2:

Rangefinder form factor.  This one is purely subjective but after years of shooting with SLRs and then DSLRs, I have been enjoying the rangefinder style.  For street shooting, as I was doing in the UAE, the rangefinder body would have felt more at home.

Optical VF.  I don’t use it nearly as much as I thought I would, but when you want/need it, it’s nice to have.  Obviously, the T2 doesn’t offer the possibility.

Build and feel.  I have no doubt that both the X-T2 and X-Pro2 are constructed similarly and could withstand some decent amounts of wear and tear.  But the X-Pro2 “feels” more substantial to me.  Perhaps that is because my shooting index finder rests upon a cooler-to-the-touch metallic surface while idle on the Pro while it sits upon a warmer-to-the-touch rubber or plastic coated surface on the X-T2.  The X-Pro2 feels more timeless, more solid.

Joystick placement.  It sits higher up and falls more naturally to my finger on the Pro than the T.  I figured I’d just simply get used to it after some time on the T but that just never really happened.  I prefer the placement on the Pro.  For those who don’t move the AF point around as much as I do – for example focus-and-recompose shooters – this difference won’t matter much.

I’ll continue to ponder the X-T2 vs. X-Pro2 question and will let you know what I decide.

The UAE was fascinating, on so many levels.  I did not get a chance to photograph the skyline at night as my schedule did not allow for it.  Maybe next time…

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