Back in early April I wrote an article about what we might see on the next, somewhat overdue, Fuji roadmap. I made the point at the time that my predictions were based upon a logical extrapolation of known facts, NOT rumours.
I’m pleased to see that in Fuji’s new roadmap, announced today, that “two out of three ain’t bad”. It actually wasn’t hard to predict the new 23mm f/2 R WR, since it answers a very clear need, particularly for travelling photographers. The 50mm f/2 R WR that I also predicted is now a reality too. They are joined by an 80mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Macro that replaces the previously-forecast 120mm.
I think this last is a very smart move on Fuji’s part—it makes more sense in a range that is increasingly both convincingly comprehensive and also angled towards the travelling (light) photographer, particularly in the area of primes. We’ll see the 23 later this year but we will have to wait until the first half of 2017 for the 50 and the 80. The 23 and 50, together with the recent 35, form what Fuji is referring to as a “compact prime trio”—what I am more used to calling a “holy trinity”—a la Leica full-frame 35-50-90mm.
Of course you need a camera body to put all this nice new glass on, and in what could be called the worst kept secret ever, Fuji have also taken the wraps off the X-T2. The new camera brings the new 24.3mp sensor first seen on the X-Pro2 to the SLR form factor and adds 4k video recording in a first for the X-Series. Like the X-Pro2, the X-T2 raises the bar in terms of performance and handling. There is not a lot that hasn’t been tweaked by Fuji’s magicians in bringing the brand new body to market. It’s weather-resistant, of course, and takes a brand-new vertical grip with two additional batteries—all sensible carry-over from its well thought out predecessor.
Fuji are adopting a deliberate and sensible policy of elevating the X-T2 to what it refers to as “double flagship” status, giving photographers a clear choice of form factor with no penalty, but with design cues and handling and some functional differences to set the two apart.
One of the obvious differences is that the X-T2 keeps, and improves upon (if it’s your cup of tea) the tilty screen of its predecessor. It also takes the focus lever concept from the X-Pro2 which will be a boon to handling both when shooting and in review. Pro photographers will appreciate the increased emphasis upon their needs with tethering and enhanced wireless operation.
Fuji are also bringing out a new vertical grip to match the new camera that adds two batteries for high performance shooting; just as well given that another carry-over from the X-Pro2 is the twin SD slots. Sports and motorsport photographers will feel well catered for.
So all in all a big improvement over the already capable and well-regarded X-T1. And all at a UK SRP of £1,399 body only—I’m not sure how Fuji does it, but we should all be glad they do.
Today’s goodies announcements don’t stop there. There’s the welcome announcement of a new and more powerful flash, the EF-X500, and a firmware upgrade for the X-Pro2 which not only gives compatibility with that flash but is said to improve the already snappy autofocus performance and the accuracy of parallax correction in the optical viewfinder.
All in all it’s a good day to be a Fuji user!