photography workshop

The Fujifilm X-T2 – Hands On Review by Amr Tahtawi

I’m proud to be among the few photographers in the world that have the opportunity to field test the X-T2 over the past month for Fujifilm Middle East, I’ve traveled through Spain, Portugal, and France, to put this camera to the test, watching the results, taking notes and capture the quality of it all as i roam.

Felt excited to receive two kits from my friends at Fujifilm ME for this review and more excited to enjoy the amazing results of the Fujifilm X-T2. It felt so good exploring cities, islands and off the beaten bath locations on this beautiful earth for interesting and sometimes challenging photos while leading tours through Europe with my company Olé Travels.

This reviews is more about my actual experience in-the-field rather than detailed technical camera round. so don't expect to see charts, tables of comparisons and f-stops differences. For me the real world, on-location test is everything i trust and fortunately my passion for Travel takes me far enough to capture unique moments happily with the X-T2 and that's what i'll share plenty of, in here.

My main aim from the photographs i create is to connect with the viewer's experiences, memories and emotions and that's the reason i focus most of the time on sharing how my visual journey felt like, more than recording how it simply looked, unless of course im shooting a very dramatic scene by nature and since this approach in landscape and outdoors photography is more of a creative art form that have a Soul, there is no need to be perfectly real. Yet the capabilities of my tool is very important to deliver this artistic vision while not getting in the way of my creative process and that's where X-T2 fits in.

Fujifilm Cameras and Lenses as my main Travel / Daily kit

When i first got my hand on X-T1 I loved everything about it, then having the X-T10, and using it consistently for almost a year without using my DSLR, made it clear i am deeply satisfied and in love. From using X-T10, X-T1, to the point I was handed the brand new X-T2, that camera has never left my side till now even as i write this review.

X-T2 is the Champion!

First thing i would like to share here is that the X-T2 is a game changer, as it’s the first mirrorless camera in the market that can truly and fully compete with DSLRs in terms of performance. If you loved the X-T1, you’ll love the X-T2. It feels like a faster, better version of the X-T1 that I love.

Now before i go further with the photos, for those of you reading and looking for the  tech specs, here are some of the most important feature specifications of the new Fujifilm X-T2:

X-T2 Camera Specification:

  • 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III Sensor
  • X-Processor Pro image processing engine
  • Magnesium alloy body with improved (lock and release) dials.
  • Dust and water sealed at 63 points
  • Compact and lightweight at 507g (including memory card and battery)
  • Ability to operate at low temperatures of -10 degrees celsius
  • 14bit RAW lossless compression
  • Various video shooting options 4K (3840×2160) 30fps and Full HD / 60fps
  • 100Mbps video bit rate at both 4k and full HD video
  • Clean HDMI 4K output as well as “F-Log” shooting mode (F-log is basicly flat footages)
  • Maximum shutter speed of 1/8000 seconds. 1/32000 electronic shutter
  • Flash synchro speed of 1/250 seconds
  • Auto Focus up to 325 points
  • EVF is 2.36 million dots. Refresh rate up to 100fps
  • 3-direction tilting LCD screen
  • Dual UHS-II SD Card Slots
  • Improved Standard ISO range 200-12800. Can extend to 100/25600/51200.
  • Wi-Fi built-in. Remote shooting correspondence. Instax Share printer support
  • Normal / boost mode switching
  • Exposure compensation +/- 5EV
  • 256-segment metering (multi-spot average, spot, center-weighted)
  • Built in Interval Shooting
  • 3.5mm microphone jack. 2.5mm remote terminal. USB3.0 terminal. Micro HDMI terminal
  • Support of all of Fujinon X mount lenses

X-T2 Vertical Power Booster Grip Specifications:

  • Dust-resistant, water-resistant and capable of operating at temperatures as low as -10°C. It fits two batteries, bringing the total number of batteries to three, including the one on the camera, to increase the maximum number of frames that can be taken per charge to approx. 1,000 (Normal mode). In the Boost mode, multiple batteries can operate at the same time to give a boost to camera performance in continuous shooting, shooting interval, shutter release time lag and blackout time, while also extending the duration of 4K video recording to approx. 30 minutes. It is an accessory that can maximize the performance of the X-T2.
  • The Grip features the shutter release button, focus lever, AE-L button, AF-L button, command dials, Q button and Fn button to provide the same level of excellent operability in vertical shooting as you get in horizontal operation.
  • The Grip also features a headphone jack to enable audio monitoring during video recording.
  • The Grip itself has battery-charging functionality. Using the AC adapter supplied (AC-9VS), you can fully charge two batteries at the same time in approx. 2 hours.

                                     Panorama mode work perfectly with smooth results ( click for bigger view )

Hands On Impressions With The Fujifilm X-T2

Let me cut things down for you with the most important updates for me personally:

Bigger updated 24.3MP X-Trans CMOS III APS-C sensor for Fujifilm X-T2 is just beautiful, clean and crisp and with fast processor, new menu system (similar to the X-Pro2), 3 way articulating LCD screen, improved ISO performance and full 4k video support, It's a trusted tank!

Excellent High ISO Performance allows me to shoot starry night with confidence now as well as any low light/night shots situation. In scenarios where I’d need 3200 ISO, i get a very good quality at 12800 ISO (expandable to 51200). Super Fast focusing with 91/325 focus points is handy for me, to be more in control of how my subject shows precisely in my the story. Faster Burst Mode is mind blowing with up to 1/32,000 of a second and 14 FPS. Updated EVC to +/- 5 stops, on the dial it’s -/+3EV in either direction but 2 more stops are available in a separate ‘C’ setting. I mostly use manual but when I use AV mode I use exposure compensation for every shot. Having 10 stops of compensation is a big deal for me.

The autofocus system in the X-T2 is fast and precise as lightning.
It’s the best autofocus on any camera I’ve ever used. Period.
— Amr Tahtawi

The controls on the Fuji system are wonderful as well as powerful. There’s no touchscreen yet, but the film-camera-inspired buttons are well thought of and in my humble opinion better than any other system in the market now. The only issue with the controls on the X-T1 was having to press a button before the four-way selector could be used to control which focus point was active. No more! Fuji released a joystick for the X-PRO2 and they’ve brought it to the X-T2! and let me tell you, the tiny little joystick feels more intuitive to play around with focus points. It just feels Awesome to switch between the silly number of focus points quickly and easily. Happily enough The autofocus system in the X-T2 is fast and precise as lightning. It’s the best autofocus on any camera I’ve ever used. Period.

There are also many little ergonomic updates that excites me, Things that makes my life as a photographer easier on the road, like Dual Card Slots, Bigger Viewfinder, Tilt Screen... For those upgrading from X-T1 to X-T2 will definitely feel comfortable, and happy with the updates.

                           (Stitched Pano of 3 horizontal images, X-T2, XF 18-55 at 18mm, f/8, 1/500 seconds, ISO 200)

Spain

                                                          (X-T2, XF 18-55mm, f/5.6, 1/250 seconds, ISO 200)

                                                             (X-T2, XF 18-55mm, f/4, 1/180 seconds, ISO 200)

Portugal

                                                           (X-T2, XC 16-55mm, f/8, 1/500 seconds, ISO 200)

September was beautiful in Portugal and i enjoyed shooting those cloudy epic skies that we don't have often in Dubai. My favourite part was the crazy beautiful sunset that that allowed me to push the X-T2 to it's limit, and the result was more than satisfying. Specially with the amazing dynamic range reserved by Fujifilm RAW files (RAF) that truly gave me instant happiness from the back LED screen, and standing on top of a sleeping volcano with a turquoise lake view and clouds passing through you was the perfect situation to test the power of the new 24MP sensor and humidity sealing.

If you’re interested in visiting Portugal, I highly recommend staying tuned for a soon-to-be-released trip with Olé Travels at www.oletravels.com. Whether you’re into photography, hiking, or just cultural happiness, we know all the best spots and can make your visit a wonderful experience

                                                          (X-T2, XF 56mm R APD, f/1.2, 1/1000 seconds, ISO 250)

The magnesium alloy body is weather-proof and capable of operating in temperatures as low as -10C which was best demonstrated in a high humidity top of the Volcano in Lago do Fogo, Azores.

                                                            (X-T2, XC 16-50mm, f/8, 1/400 seconds, ISO 200)

France

                                                          (X-T2, XF 56mm R APD, f/4, 1/1000 seconds, ISO 200)

                                                          (X-T2, XF 56mm R APD, f/4, 1/4000 seconds, ISO 200)

Post-Processing With The Fujifilm X-T2

Raw image processing is a very important part of my final vision and over workflow. With the amazing new X-Trans Sensor, i simply feel more confident with the superb dynamic range even when shooting in extreme light contrast scenes. Take a look at this before and after sunset image shooting. The final result was created from a 11 RAW exposures, edited in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop.

Click left & right arrows to see before & after

The Result from a single RAW are very powerful as well. In the photo below, i pushed the sliders too far inside Lightroom and finished it up with Nik Color Efex Pro filter to get this result.

Click left & right arrows to see before & after

If you’re interested in learning how I shoot and post-process my photos, as well as learning how I use Lightroom and photoshop as my main workflow, Join my VIP Photographers Club to receive Lightroom & Photoshop tutorials, on-location videos and freebies.

Fujifilm X-T2 video

Fuji now is a super performer in the video aspect. The XT2 delivers full 4k video, on the SD card and that alone is a big news for me since i shoot and edit video more often lately, but wait there's more. If you want to know more, you can watch the Hands on Review video below (Entirely shot with X-T2) i created while traveling through Europe.

The Future is Fujifilm

I have been shooting with Fujifilm X-Series Cameras and Lenses full-time for a long while now and my experience have always been incredibly satisfying and seeing their tremendous progress of their compact mirrorless cameras and lenses I’m consistently impressed with the incredible attention to details and how Fuji truly listens to it's users while providing the best ergonomics, portability and top notch imaging and optics.

I can confidently say that the future is Fujifilm, I know it's my future to start with!
If you have any further questions, post them below or buzz me on social media
and i'll get to you as soon as i can.

And, if you’re interested in buying a Fujifilm X-T2 for yourself, 
You can order it from B&H, Amazon and they ship worldwide.

About the authore

2014 stands.. by Amr Tahtawi

Land, Sea & Air ( click the photo above for a close-up experience )

Looking back at 2014 as it ended few days ago I stand in gratefulness of how beautiful, creative, inspiring and fun this year was for me!

I stood 1200 time to briefly capture a memory i’d like to keep for myself and it turned out i have plenty that i decided to share some ( 50 images ) with the world as a motivating vibe to a more awesome year ahead. I’m very excited to see the adventures, happiness and inspiration 2015 has to offer me and my loved ones and of course to announce several great news soon (stay tuned travellers. you'll love it ;). 

Some of my Brief captured moments :

1- Eating French-made dessert in a french park early morning.
2- Riding an old vintage bike while cycling around SIWA.
3- The moment i bought La Alhambra tickets and held them in my hands with awe.
4- Happiness rush moment while mountaineering on "Sefsafa" mountain.
5- Standing in front of that ALIVE sunflower bouquet in my walk around Paris.
6- Enjoying a quiet moment in a boat alone in the Nile river.
7- Stepping inside Euro Disney with excitement and freedom.
8- Getting ready for Egypt Photo Summit 2014 event 4 hours before opening.
9- Enjoying unreal landscapes in white desert, Egypt
10- Mentoring some of my favorite students inside a very oriental timeless location in Old Cairo.

A big THANK YOU to all my friends and fans who gave me positive vibes and helped me be more creative and be part of the amazing Egyptian and global photography community.

Happy byebye to 2014. WELCOME 2015!

6 UNTOLD TIPS FOR BETTER TRAVEL PHOTOGRAPHY by Amr Tahtawi

I’ve read many lists online giving “traveling photographer tips” that didn’t appear to be written by real practicing traveling photographers for passionate, aspiring travellers and photographers. Here’s some personal tips learned from my 6 years of travel experience on the road. I hope they work for you: 

1- Experience life itself, first!

Shot by my partner  Bassi Hamid  while scouting Spanish coast of  Malaga .

Shot by my partner Bassi Hamid while scouting Spanish coast of Malaga.

It's a common misuse of our artistic skills as traveling photographers to just start firing the shutter once you've reached a new destination instead of experiencing it in the first place, understanding it and enjoying it. One way to help you kill this habit is to Scout any given location for a better, fresh angles and moods that gives your photographs a unique, fresh look and feel.

2- Connect and make new friends as a person, not as a camera

Photographing people in far away foreign countries brings some challenges, tension, language barriers, and unfamiliar customs. But when you’re abroad, it’s most important just as at home to gain trust of others and this will allow you to photograph Local people rather than tourists as they really are in their shops, favorite hangouts, and even their homes. Always emit a positive vibe and approach your subjects not as a camera but as a person - Let your smiling face be the first thing they see and ask permission to shoot when you feel it’s right.

It's always a good idea to Learn a few complimentary words like "beautiful", "wonderful" and "Thank you" to help people feel comfortable and look natural in front of a camera.

3- Shoot in "Themes"

"Downtown Cairo" is a series of themed shots i took for Cairo's amazing downtown architecture. Click on thumbnails above for the full story behind each shot

"Themes" will improve your story-telling skill through the lens and help you focus on what interest you as a traveling photographer and you won’t feel overwhelmed by wanting to capture it all at once.

Themes can be created daily with a fresh one everyday or per the whole trip duration and you can change it anytime. So, if you are shooting architectural beauty in Andalusia and the perfect street portrait came up, shoot that too. My point is that when you discover a new place, it’s impossible to absorb everything in a few days and that's where "Themes" help.

4- Travel Light

light.jpg

If it's a country you're visiting for the first time with no photo plans in mind, never pack everything you "think" you need. Take only the essentials, two lenses: 1 zoom + 1 prime lens or 1 wide + 1 zoom. This extremely comes handy if you plan to do some hiking or trekking and it help you focus and live the moment more than you think.

5- Keep it Natural

One of the most influential and inspiring photographers of all time, Henri Cartier Bresson never used flash in his photographs. A practice he saw “impolite…like going to a concert with a pistol in your hand” learn how to use the beauty of natural light and enjoy it before you jump to buy that latest expensive flash.

6- Don’t stop Traveling

dontstop.jpg

A good travel photographer must keep his/her portfolio alive. Keep on traveling, and you don’t have to travel far away for “good” travel photography. Try to bring the beauty of your own local town. Travel to the other side of your city or attend the next music/Art festival to keep your craft and imagination fresh.