Saturday 8 August 2020

First Real Hike With The X-T2

Sun over Seaton

Fujifilm X-T2, 7Artisans 12mm f2.8

Today was the first time I  got a chance to do a real hike with the X-T2, for the last 3 weeks I've only been shooting in the neighbourhood aside from one trip up to Torrance Barrens for Comet Neowise. Today I got out to the Seaton Hiking Tail in Pickering to hike the second segment (Whitevale to Taunton Rd). I did take all 3 Fuji bodies, but only because I was intending to do a family shot of my basic Fuji shooting kit

 Aside from that, I packed the X-T1 also as a backup/second body but ended up shooting everything on the X-T2.

And I shot a lot with the X-T2. 526 shots in fact, on the high side of average for me when hiking. Yes, I shoot a lot. I also edit ruthlessly afterwards. I'm not one of those folks who spends 8 hours hiking and comes home with 5 frames, more the opposite. Of course most of my shots are the nature shots, where I tend to take a lot of similar frames and pick the best, for landscape shots I took maybe 40 frames all day.

That puts the X-T2 well over 1000 frames and well into my comfort zone. Well, to be frank it went pretty much directly from 'New Toy' to 'Comfort' somewhere around 3-400 shots in, with no 'Equivocation' stage. (the stages of camera ownership are from my 1101 Shots In post from 2018). In fact at this point, with 1400+ shots on it, I've shot more with the X-T2 than with any of the Fuji bodies I've owned aside from the X-T1's.

Overall, the X-T2 is really an X-T1 with most of the annoyances solved. And I already like the X-T1 a lot.

For today, I was pleasantly surprised to only use 1 battery all day. Now I pretty much ran it all the way down, but 526 shots is better than I typically got with the A7II and I wasn't doing anything to manage battery beyond turning the camera off when I wasn't using it. Having a properly sized on/off around the shutter helps, making this as easy as on the Sony or Nikon bodies, and better than the X-T1 or X-E2 (which have too small a switch) and far better than the Oly's (which put the switch on the left where it's unreachable). It's not D750 battery life, but this is the second time I've been favourably impressed by the battery life on this body, after the good impression it left at Torrance Barrens a couple weeks ago.

In terms of IQ, I'm finding three things. First off it doesn't expose hot like the 16MP bodies do. So I don't have to worry nearly as much about holding the highlights as I do with them. Secondly I have more recovery room than the 16MP bodies, especially in the highlights but also in the shadows. Third, while the colour signature is very distinctly Fuji, I can get a landscape rendering I like out of it fairly easily, which I never quite nailed with the X-T1 or X-E2. Add to that the fact that CaptureOne natively supports the Film Simulations on the X-T2, unlike on the older bodies (only the 24MP & 26MP Fuji's have Film Simulation support in C1) and my processing goes from more laborious than the Nikons to less so. That's a win overall as it means that rather than having to choose between easy to carry and easy to process, I get all in one package.

In terms of glass, I took the 7Artisans 12mm f2.8, the Laowa 15mm 4 Macro, the Neewer 25mm f1.8, the Fujinon XC 35mm f2, the Micro-Nikkor 55mm f3.5 AI and the Vivitar 70-150mm f3.8 C/Y. I used all the lenses except the Laowa, although the XC35 got barely any use. I should have left the Vivitar at home and carried either the Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6D or the Nikkor 50-135mm f3.5 AI-S. I'm not happy with the Vivitar's performance on 24MP APS-C. It does fine on the A7II, but just isn't up to the higher pixel density APS-C sensors unless I stop down to f8, which eliminates the reason to carry it over the 70-300D. For the first half of the walk, I used the 12mm, 25mm and 70-150. On the way back I used the 12mm, 35mm and 55mm, but mostly just the 55mm as I'd got most of the good 12mm shots on the way out.

The takeaways from lens usage is that I could largely get away with the 12mm, another 16-50 and a 50-230 or 55-200 for Hiking, eventually going to the 10-24/55-200 pair (or a 10-24/70-300 pair with a 35-55mm prime in there too, once the XF70-300 arrives). That would let me cut down significant on lens count, which also means I might be able to get away with using my light hydration pack over a camera pack, allowing me more water and a cooler carry (that pack has a mesh section which keeps the main pack away from the back).

I didn't carry a tripod today, knowing it would get no use. I did have the Platypod just in case but didn't need it. I do like having it so I know I have a support system if needed, but without the size & weight penalty of even my smaller tripod.

For next time, I'll carry the 12, 25 and 55, plus either the 50-135 or the Nikkor 105mm f2.5 AI-S. I'm slowly getting the kit down to something truly manageable for longer hikes.


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