PetaPixel

Hands-Off First Impressions of the Fuji X-T1

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Well, well. Fuji’s done it again. They’ve simultaneously wowed fans and foes with the newly announced X-T1. There’s a lot to learn here and a lot to discuss. Let’s take a look at some of the details and perhaps more subtle or overlooked points.

Firstly, Fujifilm maintains the roll out of the X Trans II, packing 16mp into the APS-C-sized CMOS sensor. The new X Trans II doesn’t receive enough attention and it’s not going to here either, but we have good reason: The X-T1 is much more than a new sensor.

fujixt1-evf

The EVF on paper is amazing. The ability to do picture-in-picture real time in an EVF that Fujifilm claims has a 54fps refresh rate is frigging amazing. You can maintain a perfect view of your composition while viewing a smaller 100% crop to confirm focus. This may come to represent a shift in how we as users can expect to use our viewfinders in the future. What else can they cram into the viewfinder?

Couple that impressively clear 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder (likely made by Sony) with the dual view mode and I suspect there’s many a manual focus lens shooter drooling just a little at the sight of this new X-T1.

But there’s more.

The EVF will rotate right along with your camera orientation. The days of reading your meter, settings and info sideways are gone!

fujixt1-gif

The EVF and the tech inside of it are downright impressive from Fuji and they’re continuing to push the expectations of what photographers can do and see through their viewfinder. On to the weather resistance.

The fact that this thing is dust and water repellant with 75 points of weather sealing and a freezing resistance of up to -14°F makes the X-T1 perfect for getting down and dirty. I live in a windy, cold and rainy part of the world. It’s a paramount concern of mine when purchasing a camera of whether or not it’s going to be ruined a week into shooting.

Fuji even went so far as to remove the button function of the rear wheel to improve weather sealing (Not that this makes a great deal of difference. as I found that wheel-button almost impossible to press without also jogging the wheel to the left).

Users should also know that the threaded shutter release is now gone. Your grandfather’s plunger release once again rendered obsolete.

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Another under-the-radar feature the X-T1 boasts is a small, folding hot shoe flash, and this is actually a pretty cool and thoughtful inclusion. It’s an indication of Fujifilm’s realization that less and less users are making use of the built-in flash with any great regularity, but it doesn’t force the users that might want some occasional pop to do without.

As someone who will make use of his camera to make family memories in horribly lit restaurants, a flash is key. Of note: It draws its power from the camera’s battery, meaning that when I slip the lightweight flash into my coat pocket and forget about it, I will never be concerned about batteries.

The tripod socket looks awfully close to the battery port. Given that they’re specifying 350 shots per battery cycle, there’s going to be many out there who will have several batteries and will swap them frequently. If you’re someone who perma-mounts their tripod plate to the camera on day one, the odds of what you have now overlapping with the battery door are pretty good.

Unless, of course, you buy the available MHG-XT Hand Grip with battery door access and built-in Arca Swiss compatible plate. In my opinion you’re likely going to want the MHG-XT grip. No price has been announced  yet.

They have also moved the memory card from inside the battery bay to the hand grip. Great news.

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All of this might come in handy when you’re using the X-T1’s built-in intervalometer, becoming the first Fuji X mount camera to allow time lapse photography without an attachment.

The ISO dial will bother some. It’s auto-locked. Personally I’m not sold on the left of viewfinder ISO dial. I’ve a feeling most will be leaving the ISO dial on the big red “A” for automatic. Nice that it locks but that lock might have been better served on the exposure compensation dial. Which they say has greater resistance to accidental adjustments that previous X series cameras were prone to. Further addressing this issue, new firmware will alert when it isn’t on zero.

On top of all of that, Fuji is patting themselves on the back with a much-lauded “worlds fastest” 0.08 second auto focus time. Now I’ve no doubts the auto focus on the X-T1 will be mighty snappy still I feel the need to point out they performed this test on the XF 14mm f/2.8 R lens set to “High Performance” mode.

A wide angle like the 14mm has a very deep depth of field at f/2.8 AND has much less internal distance to move the glass to achieve an in-focus picture. Therefore a wide angle like the 14mm (effective 21mm) is always going to be quick to focus. They didn’t perform these tests on any other lens in their lineup. Heads up: your mileage my vary on this claim.

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Keeping in step with the rest of the mirrorless industry, Fujifilm X-T1 now has an app that allows for wireless communication to shoot images remotely via your smartphone or tablet. You can do AF, shutter release, exposure adjustments and timer. Oh, yay.

Maximum shutter speed is 1/4000th of a second. This is a bit meh when using the 23mm f/1.4 or the 56 f/1.2 in broad daylight. If you’ve ever shot in the middle of the day at f/1.4 you’ll quickly realize that even at ISO100, 1/8000th of a second comes in handy.

Flash sync is 1/180 of a second. Again, not the standard 250th of a second most people are used to.

The viewfinder’s rubber eye cup is removable and The Fuji Guys state that there are plans for an alternate, more comfortable, eye cup. Fist bump to that!

Conclusion

The elephant in the room is that it’s not full-frame. At this point, one has to wonder if Fujifilm ever intends on making a full-frame sensor. Personally, I’d speculate that given the X-T1 obvious advantages and similarities to the X-Pro1 (OVF aside), that the only way they make an X-Pro2 — that would be expected to sell, that is — is if it’s full-frame… which is impossible to do with the current X mount.

My bet — pure speculation — is that we see a full frame X200 35mm f/2.8 first, but no X-Mount full-frame for at least 4-5 years, with a slew of new lenses, the most desirable of which we’ll need to wait 2 years before getting our mitts on…  **cough cough** 56mm.

Am I excited for the X-T1? Yes. Very. The advancements in the viewfinder’s user interface alone have me more than excited. Besides, this camera just looks good — and I know that’s a hipster point of view, but find me someone who uses a camera they don’t on some level enjoy the aesthetics of? You can’t. Do you think Leicas would be anywhere near as popular if they were shaped like an old shoe and painted neon green?

Part of photography, for better or worse, is how it feels as a user to take a picture. The shutter sound, the viewfinder, the touch and the look of the camera all factor into this. Fujifilm’s been doing this successfully since we first saw the X100 back in 2010, and the X-T1 doesn’t appear to miss a beat.


 
  • BLFarnsworth

    Would you kindly post links to your 500px and/or Flickr gallery? I would love to see your professional photographs.

    Thank you!

  • BLFarnsworth

    Well, some people *need* a “full frame” camera to convince themselves that they’re taking great photographs.

    IMO, many of the same people that smile proudly when someone says “you must have a *great camera* to take that photo” — and actually believe that statement. ;-)

  • BLFarnsworth

    I agree wholeheartedly. The “it must be full-frame” statement is like when people thought a car “must have a V12 / V8 / whatever big engine” to win in LeMans. Last year the winning car was the Audi R18 e-tron Quattro — a V6 hybrid. It’s the combination all of the elements that made it the winning car… similar to the camera elements your pointed out above.

    Here, however, there is no “winning camera.” All good photographers (professional and amateur) care about is if the camera/tool can enable beautiful photos. Besides, we all (well, the ones that matter) know that at least ~90% (or higher) of what makes beautiful photos is the person behind the lens.

  • BrokenHelix79

    And open himself up to the same vile criticism that he spews on these forums? Good luck with that request.

  • DanCarr

    I find it hard to invest into an APS-C system when it will obviously be killed off at some point in favor of a full frame system. I don’t mind about the camera, it’s the lenses……. spending thousands of dollars on lenses that you KNOW will be obsolete soon just doesn’t make sense for me. I think if they really waited 4-5 years to do it then they would lose huge ground to Sony.

  • LeoDb

    > also have a Sony 55′ 4K screen

    That’s how everyone should appreciate their photos!

    I think I would delete 99% of my shots if I had such a setup! :D

  • Rob S

    @micko – Come on no pro uses a mono block. Certainly no one who is “pro” uses Alien Bees or CyberSync. Nope its speed lights or bust! And never mind that my $70 YN560 do just fine…..

  • highfructosecorn

    the price difference between an xe2 and a 5d mk iii are also nothing to sneeze at. my point is if sensor area is your go to metric for image quality then why bother settling for a midway point?

  • Rob S

    Go to Pentax Photo Gallery

    http://www.pentaxphotogallery.com

    Not a single “full frame” image there.

    Now you show yours.

  • Sir Stewart Wallace

    You’d settle for a midway point due to cost and effectiveness. It depends on what you’re looking to get out of your camera. Are you looking for top tier low-light noise eliminating capabilities? You’re going to want full-frame or better. Always. And that is 100% pure sensor size issues. You’re not going to be shooting ISO6400 and getting almost no noise on a crop sensor. Perhaps future technologies and such will allow It, but not currently.

  • Michael Mierzejewski

    You all dont understand. It’s not about aps-c. It’s not about sony a7, a7r. It’s not about innovative ovf. It’s about the photos and jpegs the camera churns out. And in this it seems fuji is superior. I have a canon, several, i have a sony. I had a fuji and it always had this nice air. The photos were just nice. It’s the reason x100s churns out nice photos. For some time it’s not about megapixels when the best glass maxes out at 15 Mpx in ideal conditions. Truth is 8Mpx can be enlarged to the size of a truck. Sonys jpegs and canons are not that nice. Also i know that the photos i like are not a representation of reality. But I want something pleasing. So this fast little camera might be something people like. And it seems to be a success.

  • alfred smith

    Im not sure what you mean by “serious photographers only using 35mm//FF” I’m assuming you’re a wedding, events photographer or something of that nature–thats precious… It all depends on your spectrum– in the professional realm that I work in it’s Phase One/medium format/645 end of story– Very few people NEED more then what this camera provides– IT IS NOT ABOUT SPECS- ITS ABOUT RESULTS– No one including myself could look at any photo and tell that it was shot with ff or crop sensor…. Once you understand that then you will become a better photographer..

  • kecaj.kerugo

    the bests shoot outside w/o any flash…the real best…rest, like you, “pros” need the artificial light to make your high quality but boring pictures

  • kecaj.kerugo

    really serious do not use 35 mm….country wedding “pros” do
    And remember: we want to carry light stuff for fun and for good quality pictures- I do not want to rent a donkey to be able to carry a FF mirror box. Can you accept that and stop advertising the heavy elephants?

  • fstop

    How DOES the Shutter sound? In particular, is there a Silent or Quiet mode setting??

  • Moronerator

    Actually… =).. That is not true at all, unless, in your hypothesis, the 35mm sensor is never being advanced with the same technology.
    If the same technology is used in the ~35mm sensor as used in the futuristic ~24mm sensors you propose, the 35mm sensor would still provide greater resolve, dr, and color than the smaller sensor – it is a matter of physics, not technology.
    Now that is not to say that APS-C sensors will not eventually match the output current 35mm sensors provide, they certainly will, but when that same technology is applied in the design of the larger sensors they will still retain all of the measurable advantages they do currently…

  • Moronerator

    Well, all ego and equipeen aside, the effect of the larger sensor area and lenses producing larger image circles do give a different look to an image that cannot be duplicated by simply picking up the equivalent cropped fov lens on a smaller sensor. The difference is just the technical aspect of the equipment though, it is not something that automatically equates to a better looking image – as that is and will always be subjective – it does change the way the image looks all else being equal.
    If that is something the photographer is looking for in their creative expression, then there is no other choice than a larger sensor than whatever is not providing that imagery. The difference is not so subtle that one can finitely state someone does not need it, nor is it so significant that one can finitely state one cannot do without it – it is simply as valid a preference as any other aspect of photography.

  • Moronerator

    Wow, and all this time I thought I was getting paid for something called natural light photography…
    (something continuously enhanced through equipment with stellar ISO performance)
    …but alas, as has been declared by ignorance, I have simply been an amateur without a speedlight.. =(

  • Robert Mark

    My primary point was the generally incorrect use of the term full frame, as somehow exclusively a reference to the 35mm format. The term applies to many formats.

  • Moronerator

    I understood the perspective of your comment implicitly, and in a different context is accurate. However to most of the photography industry, and certainly in the context of this thread, the term ‘full frame’ is being used to reference the comparative size of a sensor against the standard 35mm film slide, which is considered ‘full frame’ in the context of 35mm camera equipment, and the classification most of these cameras fall in by utilizing lenses designed for the 35mm film platform and/or based on lens geometry over the last 100+ years for the same 35mm platform.

    Additionally, in the context you have referenced where ‘full frame’ refers to coverage of the sensor by the lens – regardless of any specific size – a larger sensor and lens providing a larger image circle to feed the sensor, will still provide measurable benefits over a smaller sensor and lens combination when the technology benefiting the smaller sensor is equally applied to a larger sensor. That is universal regardless of the film or sensor size being discussed, so any additional contextual meaning of the term ‘full frame’ in this context is irrelevant.

  • Robert Mark

    You win. You’re the smartest guy in the room.

  • Moronerator

    I merely offered clarification of the context the term was being used in this thread, and just about every other discussion where one sees the term used, no attack or offense intended..
    I am sorry if if I offended.
    =)

  • lord eels

    I laugh in your face

  • BrokenHelix79

    Then you’ve met all my expectations for someone with your level of intelligence. Thank you for proving all of my points correct.