Fujifilm fans were no doubt excited by last week’s announcement of the X-T2. The new flagship mirrorless camera brings significant improvements over the X-T1, but the most surprising new features come from the beefed-up video mode. This is the first Fujifilm mirrorless camera that will appeal to video professionals, for reasons that go far beyond its 4K resolution.
Oversampled 4K and HD
By now, 4K video is nothing new. It’s available on many consumer cameras; there’s a good chance it’s even on your phone. But not all 4K is created equal. Some cameras crop the sensor to record just the pixels needed for 4K. This yields sharp results, but sacrifices some field of view.
In order to maximize resolution and take advantage of nearly the entire frame, the X-T2 records a 6K region of the sensor and downscales that to 4K, similar to Sony’s A6300. That results in a slight 1.17x crop. What’s more, the camera processor also oversamples Full HD video, apparently recording 3K resolution to produce crisp, 1080p footage (which is about 2K), according to a report in The Video Mode.
Whether you need 4K or want to stick to 1080p for smaller file sizes, the X-T2 will theoretically give you the sharpest results possible for each.
HDMI output with F-Log
The X-T2 can also output a clean HDMI video signal suitable for recording by an external unit, such as those from Blackmagic Design or Atomos. This, alone, is good news, but Fujifilm has taken it a step further, by offering a log profile – the first time ever in an X-series camera.
Log profiles create a flat tone curve, which maximizes dynamic range and provides greater flexibility for color grading. Simply, it’s the closest a video camera can get to realizing the full potential of its sensor without offering RAW video (which eats up an enormous amount of memory).
The inclusion of F-Log shows that Fujifilm is serious about attracting the video professional.
Usability and physical improvements
Fujifilm has included a standard, 3.5mm microphone jack on the the X-T2, another first for the X-series. A headphone jack is not present on the camera body, but can be added with the optional Power Booster battery grip. The Power Booster also holds an additional two batteries. Furthermore, it boosts the continuous recording limit from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.
The LCD screen now cleverly tilts horizontally as well as vertically, which could help when filming in close quarters. The camera’s dual SD card slots will also come in handy for long shoots, especially if the camera is rigged in such a way as to make changing out cards difficult.
On the software side, users now have access to both focus peaking and zebra stripes. Again, like F-Log, these are features that target the high-end videographer.
What’s not to like?
Very little, it would seem. Although, at this time, there’s still much that remains to be seen. How bad will rolling shutter be, for example?
The only evident downside is that F-Log is only available when recording over HDMI. When recording internally to an SD card, users will have to make do with one of Fujifilm’s standard color profiles. It is possible that the company could add F-Log to internal recording via a firmware update in the future, but to be clear, there has been no official word on this.
Overall, Fujifilm seems to have caught up to the competition with regard to video. Quite frankly, that’s a little astounding. High-end video features are par for the course for companies like Sony and Panasonic, but Fujifilm is best known for its still photo capabilities. The company hasn’t been as respected in the video space, and the general assumption has been that it simply didn’t care to compete there (aside from the very high-end, with its Fujinon CINE lenses).
The X-T2 changes this in a big way. At the X-T2’s launch event in New York City, the company clearly touted the camera’s filmmaking attributes. It even set one up on a special rig with a Fujinon lens. Although real world performance is yet to be fully tested, the specs look very good. Filmmakers who liked the look of XF lenses, but who avoided X-series cameras due to the lack of video features, may finally have the solution they’ve been waiting for.