If this seems like a rather odd comparison, well, that’s because it is. The X-T2 and D810 aren’t exactly direct competitors, and neither is designed specifically for action photography. Still, it makes for some very interesting conclusions about both the benefits and detriments of Fujifilm’s latest mirrorless powerhouse.
Surprisingly, the X-T2 seemed to have a slight edge in AF performance over the D810. This isn’t just impressive for Fujifilm, it’s impressive for mirrorless cameras in general. The X-T2 also benefited from the much higher continuous shooting rate of eight frames per second compared to five for the Nikon.
Where the X-T2 fell behind was with its electronic viewfinder (EVF). Both photographers complained about how it felt like “watching a 10 frames per second” movie due to the lag between each frame. That lag made it difficult to keep pace with the horses. With the optical viewfinder on the D810, that simply wasn’t an issue. Even with the Nikon’s slower burst rate, it was easier to get usable shots because the optical viewfinder simplified the process of keeping the subject in the frame.
It’s worth keeping in mind that other DSLRs are better suited for this type of work than the D810. Nikon’s D500, for example, is closer in cost to the Fujifilm, uses a similar APS-C sensor, has an improved AF module compared to the D810, and shoots up to 10 frames per second.
What this video really illustrates is that the X-T2 is an exceptionally well-rounded camera, suitable for a variety of uses, including more casual action photography. However, if you’re a professional sports shooter, you’ll likely want to stick with a DSLR, at least for now.