Introduction

My last generational comparison wasn’t much of a contest. The X-Pro2 was a huge evolutional leap over the X-Pro1, that drew upon years of X-Series refinement. In fact, with some of its internals, it could be said the X-Pro2 is actually two generations on from the X-Pro1.

By the time the X-T1 was released, Fuji had already done a huge amount of refining to their X series cameras. The X-T1 also spent less time waiting for a successor, so while we do see a generation’s worth of improvement in the X-T line, it’s perhaps a leap minus the bound.

Put another way, where X-Pro1 owners were chomping at the bit to upgrade, X-T1 owners could be forgiven for sticking with what they have depending on their needs. It is still an outstanding camera, and still for sale at some great pricing. That means the tougher call might be for newcomers to Fuji.

The actual comparison of these bodies will be light in some categories, as there simply isn’t a huge amount of change. Much like my X-T2 Review, I’ll spend a considerable portion of this comparison on one of the biggest differentiating factors, the accessory vertical grip.

Specifications

  X-T2 X-T1
Announced July 7, 2016 January, 2014
Released September, 2016 March, 2014

Sensor and Image Capture

  X-T2 X-T1
Effective Pixels 24.3 million 16.3 million
Maximum Image Size in Pixels 6,000 × 4,000 4,896 × 3,264
Sensor X-Trans CMOS III X-Trans CMOS II
Processor X Processor Pro EXR Processor II
RAF Compression Yes No
Native ISO 200 – 12800 200 – 6400
Extended ISO 100, 25600, 51200 100, 12800, 25600, 51200
Metering TTL 256-zone

Multi, Centre-weighted, Spot, Average
TTL 256-zone

Multi, Spot, Average
Exposure Compensation ±5.0EV
±3.0EV via Physical Dial
±3.0EV
Face Detection Yes Yes
Eye Detection Yes Yes
Scene Recognition (SR) Auto Mode No No
  X-T2 X-T1
Max Shutter Speed, Mechanical 1/8,000s 1/4,000s
Shutter Speed, Electronic 30s to 1/32,000s 1s to 1/32,000s
Continuous Shooting Electronic Shutter: 14fps
With VPB-XT2: 11fps
High: 8fps
Low: 5fps
High: 8fps
Low: 3fps
Reduced Viewfinder Blackout Time Yes No
Auto Bracketing AE (Exposure)
Film Simulation
Dynamic Range
ISO sensitivity
White Balance
AE (Exposure)
Film Simulation
Dynamic Range
ISO sensitivity
White Balance
Exposure Bracketing Values ±⅓ to ±2 EV ± to ±1 EV
Custom White Balance Banks 3 3
Interval Timer Shooting Yes Yes
Classic Chrome Film Simulation Yes Yes
ACROS Film Simulation Yes No

Autofocus

  X-T2 X-T1
Autofocus Points 325 in 25 × 13 grid
91 in 13 × 7 grid
77 in 7 × 7 grid
Phase Detect 49 Points
Middle ⅔ of the frame
Centre 9 Points
Autofocus Modes Single, Zone, Wide/Tracking Single, Zone, Wide/Tracking
AF-C Custom Settings Yes No
AF-C CUSTOM Custom Settings Yes No
Focus Stick (Lever) Yes No

Electronic Viewfinder

  X-T2 X-T1
Diopter Adjustment Yes Yes
Eye Point 23mm 23mm
Size 0.5 inch 0.5 inch
Resolution 2.36m dot OLED 2.36m dot OLED
Magnification 0.77× 0.77×
Viewfinder Rotation Yes Yes
Updated UI Yes Yes
Auto Brightness Yes No
Extra Bright EVF Yes No
Manual Focus “DUAL” Mode Yes Yes
Refresh Rate 60 frames per second
100 frames per second in “Boost Mode”
54 frames per second
Display Lag 0.005 seconds 0.005 seconds

LCD

  X-T2 X-T1
Size 3.0 inch 3.0 inch
Resolution 1,040k dot 1,040k dot
Touch Screen No No
Tilt 3 Direction 2 Direction
Updated UI Yes No
New Menu System Yes No

Video

  X-T2 X-T1
4K
3840 × 2160
Yes
29.97p
100Mbps
No
Full HD
1920 × 1080
Yes
59.94p
100Mbps
Yes

Flash

  X-T2 X-T1
Flash Included Included
EF-X8
Included
EF-X8
Flash Sync Speed 1/250 of a second 1/180 of a second

Body and Handling

  X-T2 X-T1
Storage Media Slots Two One
Media Max. Speed UHS-II
Slot1 and 2
UHS-II
Start-up Time 0.3 sec. 0.5 sec., with High Performance mode ON

1.0 sec., with High Performance mode OFF
Command Dials Front and Rear Front and Rear
Command Dial(s) Act As Buttons Yes No
ISO Dial Yes Yes
Dial Locks Yes Press To Turn
Metering Mode (Photometry) Dedicated Switch Dedicated Switch
Drive Select Dedicated Switch Dedicated Switch
Updated Menu System Yes No
  X-T2 X-T1
Dimensions 132.5mm Wide
91.8mm High
35.4mm Deep
129.5mm Wide
89.8mm High
46.7mm Deep
Weight
(Measured)
453g
513g with Body Cap, Hot Shoe Cover, Battery, Memory Card
393g
451g with Body Cap, Hot Shoe Cover, Battery, Memory Card
Body Contruction Magnesium Magnesium
Weather Sealing Yes Yes
Operating Temperature -10°C - 40°C -10°C - 40°C
Battery Life Up to 340 frames
(Normal Mode)
Approx. 350 frames
Power Management Boost
Normal
High Performance Mode On/Off
IO USB 3 / Micro USB Micro HDMI 3.5mm / Microphone / Remote Release 2.5mm Stereo Mini Connector Micro USB 2
Mini HDMI
Microphone / Remote Release 2.5mm Stereo Mini Connector

Build Quality

Thanks to an adjustment early on in its lifecycle, the X-T1 established a pretty solid benchmark in build quality. Some users have reported rubber peeling from their X-T1, but it’s not something I’ve experienced first hand. Camera releases since have not been revolutionary, and we probably shouldn’t expect them to be before some new manufacturing breakthroughs. Like the X-Pro2, the X-T2’s build is about refinement. If you’re pleased with the build of the X-T1, you’ll be just as if not more pleased with the X-T2. I’ll highlight the differences that have stood out to me here.

Body Finish

The compound of the rubber used on the X-T2 is quite different from the X-T1. It’s less tacky. This could be an effort to reduce how quickly the rubber wears off. My X-T1 has some areas that have smoothed right out after a few years of use. The finish on the X-T2 feels like it will stand the test of time better, but I prefer the feel of the grippier compound, especially in the cold winter months.

 The thumb grip area on my X-T1 (right) has lost just about all it’s texture

The thumb grip area on my X-T1 (right) has lost just about all it’s texture

Buttons, Dials, and Switches

Don’t expect any big differences here. The D-pad is a little clickier on the X-T1 (unless you still have one of the first of the line as mentioned above), dials turn more fluidly when unlocked on the X-T2, but that’s down to the addition of dial locks, something we can’t really fault the X-T1 for on the “Build Quality” front.

Memory Card and IO Doors

The X-T2 improves upon the the X-T1 where the IO door was flimsy and the memory card door would open in my hand, seemingly on its own. The X-T2’s IO door snaps into it’s closed position in a more reassuring way, and the memory card door is almost too hard to open.

Performance

The X-T1 was, and still is a very capable camera. Thanks to Fuji’s unrelenting firmware upgrades, it gained “whole-new-camera” capabilities a couple times over. We’re probably close to, if not at the end of its major update lifecycle, but Fuji has left it in a really good spot.

The X-T2 is just getting started, and yet it still manages to better performance despite having eight more megapixels to process.

Startup Time

What better place to start? Startup has been knocked down even further to 0.3sec. Remember when under a second was a luxury that required a separate mode to achieve?

Autofocus

With an improved engine and algorithms, the X-T2 should lock and track better than the X-T1, and it does seem to, but where I feel the biggest improvement, and I’m talking huge improvement, is the reduced viewfinder blackout period.

Reduced Blackout

I can’t stress enough how much of an improvement we have here. If you track fast-moving objects in your photography, this is reason enough to upgrade alone. Sports, wildlife, or a family member Bunji jumping, it will be significantly easier to keep your subject in frame.

I thought the X-T1 was pretty great, but after using the X-T2, I wouldn’t pick the X-T1 up to track a moving subject again.

Continuous Shooting

Another pretty significant jump here, from 8 frames per second to 11. If you need split-second framing without the risk of Electronic Shutter distortion, the X-T2 has you covered a little better.

1/8000 Max Mechanical Shutter Speed

The X-T2’s max mechanical shutter speed has ben bumped from 1/4000 of a second the 1/8000 allowing for “wide open” shots at one stop brighter than the X-T1 before having to add a neutral density filter, or switching to the electronic shutter, where, again distortion can become an issue.

1/250 Max Flash Sync Speed

The X-T2 is a little faster, making it easier to blot out ambient light for your studio work.

Where the X-T1 is better than the X-T2 and X-Pro2 for that matter is once you have set your shutter speed to the maximum flash sync marked on the dial, the Command Dial do not change the shutter speed.

I recently lost a pretty big chunk of testing work because I accidentally turned the rear (default) dial which resulted in the shutter speed on my X-T2 being changed to 1/320 of a second, leaving a dark gradient across the bottom of my images. The X-T1 has this right, and Fuji should really fix this or add an option to disable shutter speed changes via the Command Dials. I personally never use them.

Viewfinding

Electronic Viewfinder (EVF)

The X-T1’s EVF is already fantastic. For the X-T2, Fuji added more brightness, which helps in bright shooting conditions, and, at the expense of some battery life, more frames per second refresh with “Boost Mode” turned on. This is especially helpful in low light situations. Both are readily noticeable improvements, but so far I am more appreciative of the EVF refresh rate.

LCD

The display specs are identical, but the X-T2 adds vertical tilting to the mix. This has already saved me from hunching to see the LCD. It’s a bit fiddly to engage the vertical tilt, but it’s nice to have.

Overall, the X-T2 definitely wins here, but I wouldn’t call these improvements reason enough on their own to upgrade.

Handling

More refinement. Fuji was pretty far along in optimizing their body handling by the time the X-T1 came along. There’s still plenty that’s different to take handling into consideration.

Size and Weight

The X-T2 is a little bit more in every measure. Taller, wider, deeper, and heavier. None of these measures is offensive, but I do hope Fuji cuts it off here. We don’t want our beloved small cameras going the way of North American ultra-compact cars,1 which look to be on steroids lately.

Weight in grams

Includes caps, batteries, memory cards and covers

Focus Stick

I don’t think I would buy a Fuji camera without one of these. That said, if you’re primarily a focus and recompose sort, this hardware addition that I gushed about in my X-Pro2 review and Versus articles might have little to no impact on you. Likewise, if you are looking to add a backup for an X-T1 body, there’s a good chance you would be better off not adding a camera with a focus stick so handling stays the same between your bodies.

Threaded Shutter Release

One thing that always irked me about the X-T1 was the lack of a threaded shutter release. The X-T2 has one, and if you have an Remote Release RR-90 and are wondering why Fuji has the X-T2 listed as compatible like it was, it’s because you need to plug it into the larger opening of the USB 3.0 port.

Dials

The X-T2’s ISO and shutter speed dials have two additional rows of grip to them, the exposure compensation dial has one. This adds a sliver or two more height to these parts of the camera, but makes dials easier and quicker to grab hold of. I like these taller dials better.

Phase Detection

While the X-T1 does have phase detect autofocus points, its failing is how little of the frame is covered by them. The X-T2 covers 40% of the frame.

The increase in phase detection combined with the reduced blackout period leads to a much better experience when tracking moving subjects.

It’s also entirely possible that phase detection will be irrelevant if you’re a zone or manual focus shooter, for instance.

Autofocus Points

Want more fine-grain control over exactly where your focus point is in the frame? The X-T2 has 325 on offer. The display UI becomes a bit cluttered with so many points to choose from if you press the Focus Stick first, but if you just adjust the point by using the Stick directionally (no press), the UI is quite clean.

Metering (Photometry)

The X-T2 adds a “Multi” metering mode, which Fuji now recommends for most situations. It’s the mode I use most often on my cameras that have it for street and casual shooting.

AF-C Custom Settings

This is another feature that could be reason to upgrade or choose the X-T2 all on its own. If you track moving subjects a lot, the ability to hone the way your camera behaves as it does the tracking is huge. The new settings will likely take some time to get used to, but once you do, you’ll be able to bend your camera’s autofocus to your will.

Face and Eye Detection

Like the X-Pro2, the face and eye detection seems to grab onto both quicker especially in poor light. It’s not a big difference, but the newer camera is faster.

User Interface

The X-T1 added the same shooting UI first introduced in the X100T. Bizarrely, the menu UI still hasn’t followed suit, and at this point it isn’t likely to. The X-T2 not only has the new UI, it also incorporates the superior menu system introduced with the X-Pro2.

The X-T2 wins here, but a big part of UI is what you’re used to. New UI and menus are a nice to have, not a must have, and again, better to be kept the same if you are a multi-body user.

Image Quality

Resolution

The jump from 16 to 24 megapixels shouldn’t be overlooked as both a pro and a potential con. While the extra resolution provides significant extra detail and cropping headroom, I regularly see reports of post processing slowdowns because of the larger files captured with X-Trans III cameras. So if you’re computing hardware is closing in on it’s last legs, bear that in mind before upgrading.

Here’s what 16MP vs. 24MP looks like:

As another point of reference, a 5K display can show all 4,896 pixels in width available from an X-T1, not so with the X-T2.

For in depth comparisons and analysis of the image quality, JPEG detail, RAF detail, and ISO differences between X-Trans III and X-Trans II, see the Image Quality section of my X-Pro2 vs. X-T1 article. You can expect results identical to that when comparing the X-T2 and X-T1.

Vertical Grips

The X-T is a body for accessory lovers. The X-T2 actually has two fewer grips available for it,2 but the VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip takes the whole idea of a vertical grip to another level.

Build Quality

The quality of the VG-XT1 is already quit good, but because add-on grips are typically fastened with only the screw and held in place by a small metal post and contacts, it definitely doesn’t feel as solid as a body moulded with the vertical grip. The VPB-XT2 Vertical Power Booster Grip adds a grip extension that makes the whole package feel tighter. I detect a bit of movement between the extension and the body that I thought would bug me, but it hasn’t so far.

More Control

A second Focus Stick and a second Q button, more controls available in landscape shooting are also available in portrait. The X-T1 can’t compete on the Focus Stick side, but accessing the body’s Q Menu bottom while in portrait orientation isn’t fun. As I noted in my X-T2 review, the grip’s Q Menu button is a tad out of reach for those with smaller hands.

More Power

The VPB-XT2 holds two batteries compared to the X-T1’s single-battery chamber. This provides you with either a ton of battery life and fewer battery changes, or it allows the X-T2 to draw power from multiple batteries simultaneously to enhance performance.

More Performance

11 frames per second, faster shooting interval, less shutter lag and less blackout are all improvements only available with the VPB-XT2.

More Charging

The VPB-XT2 can be charged via an AC cable that’s included in the box. I use a Right Angle Plug adapter→ and left the power cable in the box. The cable from the power bright is is long enough to reach from a surge protector on the floor to my desk.

More Size and Weight

These extra come at a price, namely size and weight. There is a pretty big difference in size both.

Weight in grams

Includes caps, batteries, memory cards and covers

All told, I call this a big win for the X-T2. The amount the camera can be augmented by this one accessory is remarkable.

Conclusion

Compared to my last generational comparison of interchangeable bodies, this conclusion isn’t anywhere near as cut and dried. The X-T1 is still a very capable camera and will be for quite some time. The choice could come down to all kinds of things; whether the decision-maker is upgrading, adding to existing kit, switching or just getting started, the kind of shooting they do, their desired post-processing workflow, and their desired output. That’s a lot of things.

Upgrading, Adding, Just Starting

If you already own an X-T1, like it, and are thinking of upgrading, there’s really only one choice,3 but there is another option, sticking with what you have. If the X-T1 is working for you, perhaps succumbing to gear lust isn’t the best way to go.

Likewise if your plans are to add to an X-T1, and your current X-T1 is satisfying your needs, these two cameras do handle differently enough to make switching back and forth potentially frustrating. I’ve been thumbing for a Focus Stick since I got my X-Pro2 enough as it is, or, after using the X-T1 for a while, forgetting to use the Focus Stick.

For those just getting started, the answer here comes down to budget. You can get and X-T1 with the excellent XF 18-55mm F/2.8-4 “Kit Lens” for $100 more than just an X-T2 body. If you can afford it though, the X-T2 is the way to go. I won’t presume whether or not a camera purchase is “worth it” or not. Frankly, that’s none of my business, or any other reviewers’ for that matter, but the X-T2 is the new hotness and has the best Fuji has to offer in X series.

Switching

Totally depends what you are switching from. I switched from a 12 megapixel D700 way back when to a 16 megapixel X100S and X-E1, and it worked out pretty great. Had I held onto that camera until the X-T1 came out, it would have been an upgrade to both the operation of the camera along with the size and weight benefits; the main reason for my switch.

If you’re coming from something news like a 5D Mark II or III, you are likely going to want the megapixel count of the X-T2 to match what you already have.

Shooting Preferences

As mentioned, if you track moving subjects a lot, you should lean hard towards the X-T2.

Fine art landscaper or portraiture? Well, if you can’t afford one of those fancy GFX bodies, the X-T2 is the next best choice in Fuji Land.

If your style of shooting is more about storytelling and less about exacting visual fidelity, the X-T1 will suit you just fine, unless you happen to do most of your photography at night, where the extra swift EVF refresh rate of the X-T2 could help.

Post Processing and Output Destination

If the computer you do your post processing is aging, or is “mobile,” you will have no problem with the output of Fuji’s previous generation X-T. And if the overwhelming majority of your photos are headed for Instagram, the extra megapixels of the X-T2 will only bog you down. If your intention is to make large prints that will be viewed at close distances (think coffee table books), the X-T2 will get you 20 × 13 inch prints at 300ppi.4

How the X-T2 Fits in My Workflow

Like many other Fuji photographers, I’m lusting after the GFX, but the combination of this site and the price point of getting into Medium Format compelled me to get an X-T2. I have a GFX headed my way for testing, and I’m little afraid that’s going to make me want it even more, but if it remains out of reach, I will be very happy to have a gripped X-T2 for my studio and landscape work. I have little doubt you would be too.

  1. Fiat I can sort of look past, but Mini? It’s your name, FFS. ↩︎
  2. I’m not at all surprised to see the MHG-XT Small go, and I guess the MHG-XT Large sold in few enough numbers relative to the standard MHG-XT to make it not worth making. ↩︎
  3. This assumes the DSLR style suits you and the X-Pro2 isn’t of interest, and you need the weather sealed that’s not offered by the X-T20. ↩︎
  4. If your photos will be viewed from a little further away, say, hanging on a wall, you could easily get away with 240ppi for 25 × 16 inch prints. Your stock will have a big affect on your output resolution as well, so bear that in mind. ↩︎