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.

Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-19

The Learning Curve

The learning curve was rough as many learning curves can be. Switching to an entirely manual dial to adjust the shutter, ISO and aperture took some getting used to. Many times, I found myself wanting the option to being able to automatically dial in my settings via the command dial. But as time went on, and I began getting used to the knobs and dials, the process got faster and I began to like the quirkiness (if you will) of having to bring the camera off my face and set the exposure methodically.

Along with the Fuji X-T1(GSE) body, B&H sent me the XF 56mm and the XF 10-24mm and I also briefly tried the very sexy XF 50-140mm.

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.


The Look

Confession: If they didn’t come out with the Silver Graphite Edition, I probably would never have given the Fuji a second glance. Call me vain (and I’ll admit that I am), I am one of those people that like to have trendy things that make me look cool (honestly, I need all the help I can get). The regular Fuji X-T1 was nice, but nothing I would write home about, but the Silver Graphite, that’s like looking across a dark, smoky club, the DJ spinning the latest pounding beat, people dancing all around and having the room stand still.

It’s all a matter of taste, I suppose. I’ve read in some reviews of this camera that the Silver Graphite makes the camera look “flat and plasticky.” Those same people probably wear Uggs with shorts, but personally I think the matte finish against the magnesium body makes it stand out from many of the camera options out there.

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.

Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-20

The Dials and the Knobs

The knobs on the top required some getting used to. In fact, I would venture to say that it made me a better photographer. It made me stop and think about my settings, the basics of photography and what I was trying to accomplish with my shot. This is a benefit in portrait situations, where you have time to consider your shot, but in the case of wedding or sports photography, if you stop to think, you may miss an all important moment. More time with the camera should help in this area.

One major issue I had was that I kept bumping the exposure compensation dial accidentally and switching it. I also found the D pad buttons in the back a bit on the small side.

The Size

Pffffttt…of course size matters. Anyone telling you differently is lying. The X-T1 is small and I was never really concerned with the grip (I have small Asian hands after all) until I held it. I’m used to a Canon DSLR with a hand strap; it’s bulky, but it feels secure. With my long fingers though, the X-T1 was almost too small. Almost. The small size is both a blessing and a curse, but if you have big hands, you might want to buy the battery grip too.

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.

Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-16
1/15th – f1.4 – iso3200 – 35mm + 10stop ND Filter

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.

Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-1
1/350th sec – f1.4 – iso200 – 35mm
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-14
1/30th – f1.4 – iso400 – 35mm + 10stop ND Filter
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-13
1/30th – f1.4 – iso400 – 35mm + 10stop ND Filter
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-12
1/30th – f1.4 – iso400 – 35mm + 10stop ND Filter
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-2
1/40th – f1.4 – iso800 – 35mm
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-9
8.0sec – f16 – iso400 – 35mm

Silent Mode

You have the option of turning off the sound on this camera, making it virtually a ninja. It is completely silent; so quiet that I found myself missing the sound of the shutter and turning the sound back on. It’s a great feature for a wedding ceremony, though; or if you’re a super spy.

The Tilting LCD

At first, I thought this was super cool, until I returned the camera and realized I never had the opportunity to use it. I can see it being very useful in tight spaces where you need to contort your body and practice your photo-yoga poses to get the shot or perhaps at XS on the dance to get cool angles in a crowd of shimmying bodies.

Video Capabilities

I use video maybe .05% of the time, so having solid video capabilities is of no real concern for me. For those that do use video seriously, I definitely would not recommend the X-T1. It is definitely not a strength on this camera and people looking to do video would fare better looking at the GH4 or the A7s.


The viewfinder is ginormous and lovely. It’s fast. The images are clear and detailed. It’s everything I never knew I wanted in an EVF. The EVF has a few options including, Portrait Orientation View and Dual View. In Portrait Orientation View, the camera setting can be located at the top and bottom when you rotate the camera. It’s a small feature, but more handy than you would think. Dual View shows you the image and in a smaller window on the side, which magnifies your image. Both handy.

WiFi Capabilities

I thought I would really love this feature and use it all the time. I did not. For the first 2 weeks, I could not connect the camera with the wifi no matter how hard I tried. Turns out, there are numerous Fujifilm apps, three that look very similar – both green with camera icons on them. The one you need is FUJIFILM Camera Remote. Once I downloaded the correct app, and updated the firmware to 3.0 (2.0 was still a bit touch and go), the wifi features worked wonderfully. I was able to selfie the heck out of it, without having the ugly selfie stick. :)

I still found that if I wanted something instant, I used my iPhone though, where I didn’t need to mess with knobs and dials and finding something stable to sit my very expensive camera on.

Cons – Some ‘Problems’

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. 

Battery Life

The battery life is an issue with the X-T1. I don’t have the confidence that it will last a full wedding day. Also, the battery gave almost no warning. One minute I was shooting, the other minute, the entire system shut off. You might want to look into buying the battery grip and additional back up batteries if you’re going to be using this camera for lengthy periods of time. It lasted just fine through an hour long portrait session. One last thing about the battery, the charger itself was bulky. It had the actual charger which was connected to a cord, which then connected to another cord…I know, I know, it’s a small thing that has nothing to do with the camera, but worth a mention.

Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-7
1/15th – f2.5 – iso400 – 35mm + 10stop ND Filter
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-5
1/7th – f1.4 – iso800 – 35mm
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-4
1/20th – f1.4 – iso800 – 35mm
Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-3
1/40th – f1.4 – iso800 – 35mm