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Gear & Apps

How the Fujifilm X-T1 Shocked Me: A Quick Hands-On Overview

By Dave Kai Piper on March 28th 2014

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 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.

Dave Kai Piper Fuji XT1-20

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

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. 

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.

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

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Founder of Ideas & images Dave Kai Piper is a fashion based imagemaker and retoucher from the UK.

Ideas and Images works with small to large businesses in the photographic & fashion markets. Fuji X-Photographer & Adobe Community Pro.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Stéphane Rodriguez

    Here are some X-T1 aesthetical issues I get, and how Fujifilm France and Belgium Customer Care refuse to accept them under warranty.

    Share as much as possible, as it could happen to you. Bad customer care ! That’s sad because the X-T1 is a great camera.

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  2. Ian Moss

    Perhaps it’s time that SLR Lounge interviewed Mr Piper again. You could ask him why he sold out his ex to a tabloid newspaper.

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  3. Jacob Jexmark

    Love the XT-1. At the moment I’m trying to convince the wife that we absolutely need one. Essential for increased life quality ;)

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    • Dave Kai Piper

      haa haa.. how did that work out ?

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    • Jacob Jexmark

      I promised her a vacation trip and the deal was done ;) The rumours of a small upgrade to the house does however make me hesitant to go all in right now. Holding off with the purchase for a while. At least until my gear lust takes over hand :P

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  4. Miguel Rozsas

    Hi Dave !

    Great review. I agree with you in every aspect. I am a very recent owner of a X-T1 (20 days or so) and I am reading reviews like yours just to learn something else that is not in the manual.

    BTW, you mentioned that taking photos with the display in B&W and focus peaking in red…Well, can you help me in this setting, please ? I figure out how to use red in focus peaking, but not how to display the EVF in B&W ?!?! (I am not talking about taking photos in B&W of course). How I do that ?

    And what software do you use to post-process your photos ? I like to taking photos in RAW, but the demosaicing and noise-control of FinePix Raw converter is horrible, isn’t ? The built-in noise-control and JPEG conversion is far better than that crappy software, don’t you agree ?

    In the “Some Problems” section I would add that ISO locker button. At least they could use the same behavior of the Aperture dial where you just need to press it to leave the Auto position, isn’t ?

    Thanks god, for this exist a relief: I already pre-order mine.

    I aprreciate your comments,
    best regards from Brazil !

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  5. Jimbo

    “I boosted the ISO to very high levels, leaving me open to shoot wide open in bright sunshine mid-day.”

    Ridiculous. You’re combatting a 10 stop ND with 4 Stops of ISO & both introducing noise and blur with the low shutter speed… Anyhoo, time for a latte & watch the x-t1 searches hit my blog.

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  6. Russ

    You say, “You have a slight point, but, if you have a play with different filters you will see that you get toning effects and the softer feeling.” Nope – that actually makes no sense at all unless you want the colour cast inherent in some filters. And if you do, then there are easier ways of doing it!

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  7. Fabio Riccardi

    Why did you use the ND filter? All your exposure times are very low already. You could have just increased the exposure time from 1/30 to 1/200 and it would have achieved the same effect.
    – Fabio

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    • Dave Kai Piper

      Hello Fabio , You have a slight point, but, if you have a play with different filters you will see that you get toning effects and the softer feeling. Here I am using the shutter timing to let me more creative with the shots. Very often I only go out with one filter in my pocket and it is a 10 stop mostly. I find this gives a nice tone.

      But, exposure for exposure, yes… I guess you could, but having slower shutter speeds lets you be creative too –

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  8. Karin Gottschalk

    Thanks for your review. I agree with you – the X-Pro1 and X100S form factors and dual OVF/EVF suits me better too. If FujiFilm can update both with the XT-1 internals they will have real winners there, the cameras I have been looking for so long.

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    • Dave Kai Piper

      Totally !! The X-T1 is an amazing camera, but , the best is not always the best in some needs…


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    I know that many reviewers are primarily focused on the the amazing photographic talents of the x-t1, however you should note that the video from the X-T1 will not sync with external audio or other cameras.
    I’m not sure why this issue has not gotten the same attention as the light leak issue. This is a basic need of professionals from Video bloggers to wedding photographers.
    Fuji has confirmed the issue, however they have frustratingly avoided any public comment to date.
    Had I known I could have saved a week in studio time. This is not the way to build brand loyalty.
    I just wanted to tell your readers to prevent other fuji owners from losing as much time as I did.

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    • Dave Kai Piper

      How do you mean it will not sync external Audio ? When you time line it you can move it about to fit ? Are you meaning that it has no time-code functions ?

      I am pretty sure at the moment Fuji are not selling this camera into the Pro Video market and not looking to at anypoint either. The rolling shutter problems would have to be fixed before you would be worried about timecode problems.. However.. if you wanted to use this camera – Maybe at Atomos would solve your troubles ?

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    • Zig

      After reading every review and test performed on the xt-1 and although currently owning an x100, nex 6, sony A65 and a HX9v all of which produce excellent images, I new this camera was going to be something special, so I decided to take the plunge and buy the XT-1.
      Waiting nearly a month and phoning every camera shop all waiting for stock I finally managed to get one.
      This was the best decision I could ever make, as a stills camera this is a close to a perfect camera as is probably possible, anyone who complains about the shortfalls in its video options is totally missing the point! If the video function is that important then go and buy one of the many video cameras available, the hx9v although a compact stills camera has fantastic video quality and controls! At a fraction of the price…and is a tool used by many professionals…creating adverts and short films…

      When you pickup the XT-1 you know your holding something special, the build quality, the weight, all the controls at you finger tips, the size of the view finder, the list could go on, and this is before switching it on!
      Performance is nothing short of spectacular, who cares about pixel peeping, number crunching unrealistic comparisons, I’m talking about real life photography! I can now take pictures in near darkness without a flash!, the auto focus tracking captures the grandchildren playing with the dog without missing a beat!
      The nex 6 and the A65 both have quick auto focus systems but nowhere near as quick and accurate as the Xt-1…
      Even the WiFi remote control app on a phone or tablet is fantastic, put the camera on the tripod and use your phone to view what the camera is seeing with the ability to change ISO, aperture shutter speed and take a picture all in real time, no delays….

      Similar to Apple, I have found that with the fuji x series camera’s your not only buying a camera, your buying an experience… And I can’t wait for their next release!

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  10. Dave Kai Piper

    -Thank you SFPhoto – Sure.. they have moved a few buttons about. I am a very heavy user of the X-Pro, and I do love the button placement on the X-pro. This being said, you quickly get used to these changes. The design of the X-Pro for me though is just so far ahead of the X-T1 – yet, the X-T1 is the better camera.

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  11. SFphoto

    Thanks for your review – I was especially interested in your comparison to the X-Pro1. One thing I noticed is that the playback button has been moved to the left (like on some of the other recent Fujifilm bodies). I am used to pressing the playback button on my X-Pro1 from time to time with my right thumb to check the image. I would think it is annoying if you need to do this now with your left thumb while looking through the EVF. Any comments on that?

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  12. Hanssie

    I’m in the market for a new, everyday camera. This might make it to the top of my list!

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  13. Rebecca Litchfield

    Great article Dave, great review of a great camera and some awesome images

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