How Useful are the Fujifilm X-T2’s High ISO Settings in Real-World Shooting?

Wondering how useful the Fujifilm X-T2’s high-ISO settings are that go all the way up to ISO 51200? I shot some images to find out.

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The advances in sensor technology in recent years have opened up incredible opportunities for low-light photography. And when you’re doing travel photography, being able to shoot in low light is a must. The quality you can get out of ISO 3200 in today’s cameras, for example, is leaps and bounds better than what it was just 5 years ago. But that doesn’t mean that every ISO setting on a camera is equal.

There’s always some cost. The best all-around image quality is generally around a camera’s lowest native ISO setting. As you go higher up the scale, you lose dynamic, gain noise (or mottling), and can end up with color shifts. Those issues become particularly pronounced as you get up to the top end of the ISO settings. Those are often in what’s known as an “extended” range, where software takes over from the native limits of the sensor hardware to push things that bit further. These extended numbers can make for good marketing copy, but it’s not always clear how useful they are.

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera
  • Graphite Silver Edition boasts a beautiful multi-layer coating that is triple baked to produce an elegant...
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The question then becomes: how steep is the cost? Do the downsides become too much to make shooting at the high ISO settings worth the reductions in image quality? The answer varies camera to camera; some cameras have much better high-ISO performance than others. The answer can also vary shot to shot and is an entirely subjective judgment from photographer to photographer. You might be more willing to overlook noise and color shifts in an urban street scene at night than you would with a portrait session at dusk, for example. One photographer might tolerate quite a lot of image noise, while another (or a stock agency) will reject any visible noise.

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera

High ISO on the Fujifilm X-T2

There’s a lot to like about the Fujifilm X-T2, and it’s an excellent all-around choice for travel photography (and lots of other types of photography, for that matter). But I wanted to take a closer look specifically at its high-ISO performance to see how it performs in low-light situations.

The Fujifilm X-T2 has a native ISO range from 200 through 12800, but when you’re shooting still images, it also has some extended options at the high end of 25600 and 51200. I’ve previously posted some sample images shot throughout the X-T2’s ISO range, but here I’m focusing only on the top end, from 6400 up to 51200. I’m sharing them here in case someone else is interested to see some real-world examples of the X-T2’s high-ISO performance.

I shot these all in RAW. Other settings were image size (L / 3:2), grain effect (off), film simulation (Provia/Standard), dynamic range (100), white balance (auto), colorspace (AdobeRGB), and processing options such as shadow town, color, sharpness, and noise reduction all at 0. Normally, I’d do some processing in Lightroom, but the versions you can see embedded in the page here are essentially untouched. If you’d like a closer look, there are two options. You can click on each image to open a full-size JPG version. You can also use the link in each caption to download the original RAW (.arf) file (be warned that they’re approx. 50 MB each).

Examples of the Native High ISO of the Fujifilm X-T2

ISO 6400 – ISO 10000

Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 6400 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 6400 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 6400 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 6400 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 6400 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 8000 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 8000 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 8000 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 10000 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 10000 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)

ISO 12800

Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 12800 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)

Examples of the Extended High ISO of the Fujifilm X-T2

ISO 25600

Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 25600 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)

ISO 51200

Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)
Fujifilm X-T2 Sample Image High ISO
Fujifilm X-T2 @ ISO 51200 | Download: Original RAW (.arf)

Wrap-Up

I’ve found the performance is really impressive throughout the X-T2’s native ISO range, including 12800. Once you step beyond that into the extended range, as you’d expect, the quality starts to drop off markedly. ISO 25600 is also quite usable, but by 51200 things are heading downhill fast, and it’s not a setting I’d use in everyday shooting. Converting the black and white can hide some of the flaws, but even then it’s more a break-glass-in-emergency type of setting. But that you can get very good quality even up to ISO 12800 is itself impressive.

Price & Availability

Now that newer models have replaced it, the Fujifilm X-T2 has become harder to find new in stores. But you can sometimes find them at some of the larger camera retailers.

Check current price and availability at:

They also quite often turn up used at places like KEH and eBay.

Fujifilm X-T2 Mirrorless Camera
  • Graphite Silver Edition boasts a beautiful multi-layer coating that is triple baked to produce an elegant...
  • Graphite Silver Edition comes supplied with tailor-made Accessories including a Premium leather strap,...

Images and product information from Amazon PA-API were last updated on 2022-03-05 at 20:12. Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on Amazon Site at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

David Coleman / Photographer
by David Coleman

I'm a professional freelance travel photographer based in Washington DC. Seven continents, up mountains, underwater, and a bunch of places in between. My images have appeared in numerous publications, and you can check out some of my travel photography here. More »