Is the Fujifilm X-T2 Ready for Professional Use?

Is the Fujifilm X-T2 Ready for Professional Use?

There's a question I've been getting in my inbox every couple of days since the release of the Fujifilm X-T2: Is it ready for professional use? There have been several articles floating about and a lot of opinions in forums, but the honest answer to this is the same as it is for absolutely every camera body and system on the market. It really depends on the type of work you do. 

When choosing which system to work with for a particular job, there are so many things to consider. What types of lenses will you need? What sort of ISO range? Dynamic Range? Mobility? Autofocus? Video capabilities? Ruggedness? So many things go into this decision that "professional use" is not really a valid determiner. However, let's take a look at what the Fujifilm X-T2 brings to the table, what it is capable of, and where you might want to think twice. 

Image Quality

There is no debating that Fujifilm has some of the best image quality in the small sensor market. Not only is their color rendition wonderfully natural, but the dynamic range and ISO performance is among the best. Sharpness is excellent, especially when paired with the gorgeous collection of prime lenses Fujifilm offers. 

Personally, I have no troubles substituting my Nikon D750 with the X-T2 when it comes to image quality. In fact, for many applications, especially portraits and food, I actually prefer the more natural rendering that I get from the Fujifilm X-T2. The gradation of color and transitions from shadow to highlight are more pleasing to my eye. 

Pushing the files to their limits shows where perhaps a full-frame sensor may still have a slight edge. At high ISOs, the Fujifilm X-T2 tends to lose highlight details and produce purple shadows at about 1/2 stop before the Nikon D750 in my testing. Not a huge difference. But, if you're really looking to push the files, perhaps the X-T2 isn't the right choice. 

Lens System

The Fuji lens collection is where the system really shines. There are really no bad lenses from extreme wide angle all the way out to telephoto. As a sports or wildlife shooter, the 50-140mm and 100-400mm are simply spectacular options. For the landscape guys, the 10-24mm f/4 and 16-55mm f/2.8 are both great options, not to mention the primes, which are some of the best on the market. 
 
However, in the specialty lens category, there really aren't many offerings. A single macro lens at an odd focal length and no tilt-shift lenses may turn some shooters away. Architectural shooters for example, would be at a serious loss with the Fujifilm X-T2. That being said, Fuji has taken their lens lineup from 3 lenses to 21 in just 4 years. These additional lenses won't be far off. 

Autofocus

This is the area that Fujifilm has always lagged behind in. However, as you will note from Jason Vinson's review and all the praises being sung after its release, this is no longer. There is very little gap between top-of-the-line DSLRs and the Fujifilm system now. The notorious hunting and low-light misses are a thing of the past. Autofocus performance is second to none. 
 
Although it can take a bit of time to get used to the new tracking system and switch between its modes, once you have it set up, there is really nothing to complain about. It hits every frame, and I mean every frame. The closed loop focus system of mirrorless cameras has the potential to outdo even the best DSLR focusing system, and Fujifilm has realized this in the X-T2. 
 

Build Quality

Unlike Fujifilm's lower end models, the X-T2 is weather sealed, built like a tank, and feels ready for anything you can throw at it. On a recent trip to Taiwan during Super Typhoon Meranti, a class 5 storm, I shot portraits in front of a waterfall, and in lashing rain out on the seaside. Possibly not the smartest move on my part, but the X-T2 did not miss a beat. It was simply a battle to see how quickly I could clean the lens. 
 
The new memory card door and port covers are far improved over the previous models and actually feel like they might repel a little adverse weather now. Honestly, I can't see a situation where you might choose a larger camera based on build quality. The X-T2 is built to an excellent standard.

Flash

One of the things that may turn some wedding or event shooters away is the lack of a full flash ecosystem at this point. Sure, you there are some flash options and non-brand-specific remote triggers still work, giving you full manual control if that's your style. But for run and gun flash work, it's still not there. The X-T2 has all the options and technologies built in, but there aren't enough flash choices or remote triggers that support the system yet. That being said, with an ND filter in the bag and the new shutter supporting 1/250 s sync speed, it is just fine for most applications. 

Dual Card Slots

This was a great step forward for Fuji this time around. Many pros like to have redundant copies as they shoot or shoot raw to one card and JPEG to the other. All the usual options are available, and both slots support fast UHS-II cards. It's great to see that the body really didn't increase in size, despite the additional slot. 

Tethering

Here we have the major complaint for a lot of people. Fuji's tethering support is, well, rubbish. A paid plugin for Adobe Lightroom is hardly tethering support. What about studio shooters who want to use Capture One? How about the fact that all the major players have tethering support by default? This one is a real let-down on Fuji's end. Personally, I would love to be shooting food from above while getting the raw files delivered straight to my laptop. For now, I am only able to see JPEG previews through the Camera Remote app. 

In Conclusion

Like all camera bodies, there are pros and cons for different types of work. Depending on your requirements, the Fujifilm X-T2 may be ready for your professional work, or it may not be. Only you can decide that based on your own needs. I'd love to hear thoughts from others who use the camera on what they feel is fit for professional use and where the camera is lacking. Fire away in the comments!
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28 Comments

Spy Black's picture

A camera becomes a professional camera the moment you put it in the hands of a professional...

If only more people thought this way. ;)

Christian Santiago's picture

Can you make money shooting with it? I think so. So yea it's ready for pro use.

And you didn't even talk about the video features!

Leigh Miller's picture

There is no "professional" camera. Not anymore.

In my condo there are many high end cars...Jags, Porsches, Ferraris...all driven by everyday people who typically go less than 5 miles each day. They buy them because they can and they look good. Cameras are the same now. There are those who will buy what they want, and those who buy what they need. At the end of the day any camera can be used for professional work.

At an event I shot last night, the "Professional" videographer was using his iPhone for B-Roll footage. I asked him about it and his answer was "meh, why not. It's small, light and decent enough for 2 to 3 second cut-aways between speakers".

Henry Louey's picture

"At an event I shot last night, the "Professional" videographer was using his iPhone for B-Roll footage. I asked him about it and his answer was "meh, why not. It's small, light and decent enough for 2 to 3 second cut-aways between speakers"."

Well its good enough for Fstoppers. Actually pretty sure Lee did a review of the 4k video in an iphone 6s vs DSLR bodies

JUSTIN SISSON's picture

I agree with this entire article! Proud Fuji XT2 user and prior XT1 owner. I used to shoot canon and I absolutely love everything that fuji is doing. If you are reading this article and in the middle of the road like I was a few months ago, now is the time for mirrorless. Rent one and ALLOW yourself to learn a new system.

Fuji XT2 is 95% professionally ready, but the lack of tethering system is a BIG flaw. As a studio photographer who mainly does food and portrait work I can contest that not having tethering to capture one is a huge problem. However, fuji is releasing a tethering update on the 8th of this month. Two concerns with this for me is 1) it's to lightroom which in my opinion doesn't handle fuji files as nicely as CaptureOne. 2.) The program cost $79 and there is a different cord required than the XT1.

That being said I am very happy with my XT2 and the system does what I need it to do for the most part. I will give this new tethering system that's coming out soon a chance, but if it doesn't meet my standards I will be purchasing a second body that can tether to Capture One. Fuji don't make me spend money with someone else, thanks!

Anonymous's picture

I agree with the entire article as well but, for me and my work, it's gotta be (preferably FF) dSLR.

Pedro Pulido's picture

Hi Dylan. i would kindly ask you to elaborate a bit on this "The closed loop focus system of mirrorless cameras has the potential to outdo even the best DSLR ". can you explain what this means and why mirrorless smaller sensors have an edge on full frame? i honestly don't know. cheers

What I mean by this is that the imaging sensor and focusing sensor are one and the same. This should allow for much higher accuracy and speed than the traditional DSLR style focusing system (in which the imaging sensor and focusing sensor are separate - meaning greater room for error and latency) as the technology develops. I hope that helps.

Thanks Dylan for a nice write up on Fuji XT2. I have been waiting for nearly two years now to have a parallel mirrorless gear and I found this camera to be the ideal one for me. No Olympus OM5 or OM1 or not even Sony a6300 or 6500.
It may lack 5 axis image stabilization but it has the ultimate image quality compared to other two. I just moved over from Nikon (25 years) to present Canon (4 years) for the real skin tone but Fuji has out done even Canon too. The only issue for person like me is the non existence of after sales service in India, if I purchase the kit in USA or Singapore with their local warranty. Being a mirrorless, it needs to be nurtured and cajoled like a new born baby to extend its life time. Keeping my fingers crossed

That was a well written article.

I am a big Fuji fan despite still being in the Canon camp.

As you noted there are scant options for TS lenses for architectural shooting that is my only obstacle in dumping my Canon gear.
In all honesty, tabletop shooting with a smaller sensor makes all sorts of sense to me as the additional DOF is welcome.
I too wish there were better tethering options. I currently use CamRanger and it is brilliant. I love being able to have control and show the clients images but I don't need PP capability of RAW files.

As for flash, I am one of the all manual people but I would note that for run 'n' gun shooting TTL is profoundly erratic IME. I have shot a ton of weddings full manual since the '80s (way easier with film) and I still find my keeper rate much higher on manual.

The other characteristic of a pro system for me is the support that the brand offers. This is a real differentiator for the working pro and is a reason that Canon and Nikon have the following they have (their fully fleshed out systems notwithstanding).
I don't know what Fuji is like in this regard but so far they and Olympus are the only manufacturers that seem to be hinting at better pro support.

Fuji seems to have quite good support in Japan, the US, and Europe. Perhaps residents of those regions can answer better. Honestly, it really boils down to where you are. Support is very efficient, but not particularly high quality for all brands here in Korea, Nikon and Canon included.

How is the 60/2.4 an odd focal length? 90mm FF equivalent makes it pretty standard. And don't forget the Zeiss 50/2.8 Macro.

I have moved from Canon to the Fuji XT-2 and I have used it for several different shoots for assignments (I'm still at school) and one professional shoot for a client.
However, I have found that although it takes a while to get used to, it has always got my back and is very good in all ways.
Even though battery life is said to last about 300 shots, I shot a shoot of about 600 shots and still had half of my battery left which left me VERY impressed!

Ciaran McGrenera's picture

Yeah, I consistently find the battery life on my XT1 better than advertised.

Korey Napier's picture

It can be an opened ended and somewhat subjective topic. My X-T1 is completely usable for my professional work (weddings, family sessions, real estate) and not only is it usable, but it thrives. Now, I will grant you that it doesn't have some "professional" features like other cameras have that most would consider a professional camera (single card slot, lackluster AF, low MP count, poor video quality, etc.). I know lots of wedding photographers that have 30, 40, 50 weddings a year using X-Pro 1's, X-T1's, and even X100S and X100T's. I think the Fuji X system before the X-T2 and X-Pro 2 was ready for professional use, especially considering Fuji's excellent glass. This system isn't for everyone though, I freely admit that.

All that being said, In my opinion, the X-T2 is a fantastic professional camera. It has duel card slots, a fantastic AF system, high FPS, great resolution, VERY improved video quality, is weather resistant, etc. Like was stated in the article, it depends on your needs as a professional. It may be a professional camera, but it might not be the RIGHT camera for all professionals. Just like a Nikon D5 would not be the right camera for me.

i've been using Fuji's professionally since the advent of the 1st X100. Once the X-pro came out and I began to use them almost exclusively for my documentary (non-lit-portrait) work. Despite their extremely (!!!) frustrating quirks, I haven't had so much fun with a camera since my old Contax rangefinder days. Of course fuji is ready.

Can you elaborate on these quirks?

In terms of portrait photography, which of the limited lenses would you recommend? Currently shooting with a Canon 6D, but absolutely hating the focus system, as it constantly misses the mark and makes me miss my old 600D, which was amazing for portraits!

Without knowing what sort of portraits you shoot, that's an impossible question to answer. They're all great. Pick your favourite focal length and away you go. :)

Weddings and babies, mostly. Thanks for the advice :)

Joe Black's picture

I recently jumped from Nikon to Fuji. Had an X-T1 and now an X-T2. There is very little I don't like about this camera.

A few gripes though:

Bracketing is only 1 EV over and under. This was the same issue on the XT1. Not even near what I had with the Nikon. Many have complained but no change yet.

The flash Hot Shoe doesn't trigger if you are on continuous burst mode. I might be using it wrong (if someone know how to make it work please help!). So for flash work I currently can only do one shot at a time.

I found it hard to believe that I had easier time with geotagging photos on my D3s than I do with this camera. Nikon had its on GPS unit and also there was the AMAZING Unleashed by https://www.foolography.com which just made the process completely seamless. I wish there is an easy way to tag photos that doesn't require me to continuously update the location from the app or need an external software that adds the location in post.

Otherwise love the camera :)

Geotagging: do you use Lightroom? If yes I find it super easy in LR - record a GPX track with your phone, import it in LR, 2 clicks later all your images are geotagged?!

Joe Black's picture

Nothing beats having the information already in the file itself. The Nikon GPS option or Unleashed by foolography were seamless.

Also remember than in today's world only not all pictures end up in lightroom. There is a good amount of pictures that go directly to the phone for editing. You can use apps like GeotagPhotos but they aren't great apps and your phone's battery won't last long.

I just liked the set it up and forget idea vs. having to actively do something to maintain geotagging.

Horses for courses.

not sure what u mean by macro lens at an odd focal length 60mm is like 90 on FF. It`s pretty close to 100-105 which are the most popular macro lenses or same focal length equivalent to tamron 90mm.

I am seeing the aging of my 5d Mark II and am considering selling it for the Xt-2. Was really concerned that the images would look nosier and more flat when going to FUJI (not color) but details. Seems you guys think other wise, I see some folks leaving the 5D Mark IIIs for XT-2.

Karlon, it's a really different system. I'd consider renting or borrowing one before you buy. I'm actually putting together an article addressing some of these concerns for this week. Look out for it over the weekend.