After the release of the X-T2 and all the talk about how much better the AF is, I wanted to take it out for a test drive myself. First of, let me just say, I am not a sports or action photographer, so this was purely for my own interested. I roped my brother - a motocross hobbyist - into this little project and we headed to the track for some testing and experimenting. It didn't take much convincing to get him to come along; anything for an excuse to ride.
Armed with an X-T2 + battery grip, the 50-140mm and the "boost mode" on. At the first corner I was able track the bike and get 3 shot in a row done and dusted without even trying. I tested for the next hour or so and discovered that I could completely focus on getting the composition and timing, while the autofocus never even came up as a distraction.
With the improved autofocus confirmed, I had sudden visions of grandeur: this camera can do 4k video and I can just imagine some amazing MX footage.
Once again with my brother and 3 other riders in tow, we set out to give this 4k thing a go.
Click on the link below to see the video that was the result, and scroll down for more info on my experience using the X-T2 to create it.
This is my first real video I have ever made, so my experience was hours of learning, frustration, figuring things out and watching YouTube videos on settings, rigs, sound and the whole shebang. A bunch of new stuff to learn that I have never had to use for my photography.
As it is my very first video, I can only give my take on what it was like to shoot video with the X-T2, and can't compare it to using other cameras.
What I did find very cool, was that the film simulations carry over to the film side. So if you want to shoot in Acros B/W, for example, you can. I did this for the trailer to the video above, and it can save you a lot of time in colour grading if it's not your cup of tea.
Editing the video was another massive learning curve for me, but with the help of YouTube and a great free software called DaVinci Resolve, I was able to edit and colour grade my video once I got the hang of it.
Rigging and stabilising the camera was another thing to consider and a big thanks to Graham Robertson Photographic for loaning me some gear that I was able to use for the shoot. Sadly due to rain on the day of the shoot, I ran out of time to really give all the rigs a good go.
I learnt a lot on this little adventure, and I'm not going to lie - this video thing has got me a little hooked.
Couple of things that worked for me on the shoot when shooting some stills:
- Use Boost Mode
- Custom AF-C Option 3.
- Zone AF worked like a charm.
- All 3 Batteries lasted through the shoot.
- The camera is not shy of rain and mud.
- The buffer wasn't too much of an issue, but best you get the fastest card your budget can handle.
Setting the camera to 8fs on CH was more than enough for the bikes, 14fps was an overkill. I was able to just tap the shutter release every few seconds and had no issue tracking the bikes passing me by.
Boost Mode take away any lag in the EVF when tracking or panning.
The images below were all taken with XF 50-140mm.
Credit to my wife for these shots below. She was taking the stills while I was busy with the video.
We also mounted a GoPro on the hot-shoe and recorded the experience. The GoPro video quality is not the greatest, but will give you some idea of the autofocus in action.
Now that I had all the video footage I needed, I could focus a bit on some photos again.
There was an upcoming race at a track not too far from me and I wanted to test the camera with more than 4 people on the track. There would also be some very skilled riders, as this was the nationals.
The juniors were as little as 6, as I understood. And these awesome little guys have no fear, they just go for it.
When the big guys came on the track, that's when the action really started. Moving really fast and having to shoot between other spectators and very excited dads or managers, I was able to get the shots using the same settings as mentioned above. I found it worked well and the only time I switched to single point, was when the bike did not fill the frame much. The Zone AF would then struggle a bit. Luckily I had set the front fn button for this, so it was quick and easy to switch between the two.
While black and white is my go-to for just about anything, I did find the Classic Chrome film simulation worked very well for the harsh light conditions of noon. Again my experience with the fast moving subjects were great. Make sure the Boost Mode is on, with the battery grip and you will not run into any problems.
With both shoots, by the end of the shoot I had ± 1300 images. The batteries had gone down half way, so 1.5 of the 3 batteries where flat. This was with the Boost Mode on. I experienced no EVF blackouts in between shots.
I was able to get the action without any AF hunting.
Part of the test or experiment was to try the 100-400mm, which I had never used before. It ended up being to long for the most part, but did come in handy with one or two shots.