How the Fujifilm X-T1 Shocked Me: A Quick Hands-On Overview
When Fuji announced the Fuji X-T1, it didn’t take long to get my attention. Just as the camera went on sale, the lovely people at Fujifilm asked me if I wanted to have a look. I have used the X-T1 as a day camera for a while now and here is my little report on how this camera shocked me.
At first, I was unsure if I liked the design, the button placements or even the smaller size and weight. Pre X-T1, I was a huge fan of the Fujifilm X-Pro. I am still thinking the X-Pro is the right camera for me, but I was pleasantly surprised at just how good the X-T1 is.
The Camera Body
All things are subjective and especially so when it comes to buying a new camera. As a Fuji Photographer and a total lover of the X-Pro, I was a little hesitant if this lighter, slimmer, leaner and faster camera would still have the charm of the larger camera.
At the core, the X-T1 is new and does have many updates over the X-Pro. Although I still prefer the body design of the X-Pro, internally this new camera is nothing short of beautiful. Progress is being made on near every single level. The updated X-Trans CMOS II sensor is wonderful and provides you with the lovely Fuji finish we are used to with the X100s.
EVF- Electronic Viewfinder
For me, the EVF is the biggest step forward and really makes shooting with the XT-1 wonderful. It is maybe the best EVF (electronic viewfinder) on any camera on the market today and feels fast, responsive and accurate to the image results. Fuji has coined this the Multi-Mode viewfinder. Fuji says it is the largest and fastest high-resolution 2.36 million dot OLED display on the market. The focus aids are just wonderful. Shooting with the display in B&W, then using the Red Focus Peaking Highlights is just super amazing and makes shooting manual fast and fun. The way the screen rotates when shooting in a portrait position is a nice touch.
WiFi works well, battery life is getting better, the focus is fast, the lens line up is just beyond amazing. Read & Write speeds are getting faster, the manual dials give good access (not keen on the ISO being a dial on the left though – it makes single hand use tough due to the locking system they use on the dials). The fold out screen is a fun touch to use when out and about.
Low Light and ISO
Low light shooting is super amazing and the ISO performance is also amazing. In fact, many of these images have been shot using a 10 stop filter. I boosted the ISO to very high levels, leaving me open to shoot wide open in bright sunshine mid-day. The image below is shot at 3200 iso.
The rest of the images here are all shot on the Fujifilm X-T1. I had a fun trip to Reading via London and these are the results of my little day trip out. I brought the XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 Lens and the Fujifilm XF 35mm F1.4 Lens. I used the Lee Filter Seven5 System for the filters and the Brian 3 Legged Tripod for the long exposure shots.
The write speed of the X-T1 is getting quicker and is faster than the X-Pro, but I still like to use the super zippy Lexar 600x cards to make sure they are fast and safe.
Photoshop was used to edit the black and white conversions. I just used a simple B&W Gradient mask with a curve tweak at the low end. The color images are straight out of the camera with zero editing.
Most of the ‘problems’ that have been reported seem like things that updates will take care of – issues like only being able to shoot 999 images on time-lapse and other very minor worries. There are so many things right about this camera, that you really have to look hard to find any real worries. When you add the battery pack on, I guess this makes the camera more stable. The added weather proofing is nice to have, but to be totally honest, the X-Pro I have has seen more abuse than any camera should have. It stands up super well with no weather proofing. They must have made the X-T1 super tough.
Something that is worth pointing out when it comes to the ergonomics of the camera is that I shoot with my right hand and left eye, meaning most of my face is behind the camera. It does make it very awkward when so many key controls are thumb-based on smaller cameras. The OM-D is a total no-no for me as I just keep poking my eye out. The X-T1 one is better, but still is something that is a little tiresome after a while. The design of the X-Pro and X100s is still the best option over all when it comes to compact system cameras. The range finder style is great when wanting to keep the cameras small and giving great balance to the camera. If the we are using EVF, why do we have to have them in the middle?
Note: there has been widely publicized issues with possible light leaks. When shooting very long exposures, if you leave the memory card door open to use an intervalometer such as the iO Shutter, this might leak light into the sensor. This X-T1 issue is limited to certain serial numbers. If you have a cameras with serial numbers between 41002001 and 41006000. Fuji will correct the light leak problem. You can get in touch with your local dealer to fix.
After more shooting and testing, I will come back with a longer, more in-depth review, but for now – enjoy these images and check my good friend Kevin Mullin’s review of the X-T1.