Kai Very Impressed with the Fujifilm X-T1 in DigitalRev’s Hands-On Review

It seems as though with each passing day the eagerly anticipated and highly touted Fujifilm X-T1 is garnering more and more attention. We’ve already shared The Camera Store’s thoughts after they got some hands-on time with it, and today it’s our favorite face from DigitalRev, Kai, taking the X-T1 for a spin.

Now, it’s not unusual for Kai of to get his hands on the latest camera gear and give it his signature walk-through review. It is unusual, however, for Kai to lavish this level of praise on a piece of gear, with only one or two trivial complaints.

In the video review, Kai takes his usual stroll through the streets Hong Kong, making sure to put the X-T1 through its paces, hitting on the points we’ve all been wanting to hear about. Taking into account his rather stiff critiques, it’s safe to say the X-T1 impressed him more than expected.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.58.19 AM

The list of attributes that Kai found impressive is fairly long. He was fond of the build quality — with the exception of the memory card door, which seemed a bit flimsy compared to the rest of the build — and the high-res electronic viewfinder really struck a chord with him as well, leaving him to marvel at the dual-screen mode, quality of image, and the orientation-dedicated view modes.

The most surprising of Kai’s praises though were two areas where Fujifilm has struggled in the past: autofocus and overall performance speed. Using an X-series lens throughout the review, his impressions were good, noting that only in darker situations does it struggle, and even then it’s a vast improvement over past Fujifilm cameras.

The performance speed, both in terms of star-up time and shutter response (an impressive .05 seconds) also managed to grab some praise from the X-T1’s oft-strict reviewer.

Screen Shot 2014-02-20 at 11.58.37 AM

The review didn’t come without a few pain-points, though. On a few occasions, Kai struggled with the placement of the “focus assist” button, accidentally hitting it while trying to press the shutter. Also hit on, albeit briefly, is the fact that while video features are included, you shouldn’t expect any overly impressive footage out of it (we heard the same thing from The Camera Store).

Overall, this is probably one of Kai’s most positive reviews of a camera that we’ve ever seen. Fujifilm may not be at the top in terms of market share, but they’re certainly making an impression on consumers. In closing, I’ll leave you with a quote from the video that seems to sum up Kai’s review.

“You have to hand it to Fujifilm,” opines Kai. “They’re not just making cameras for trendy people, they really want to go straight for the balls of the mid-range DSLRs.”

(via Reddit)

  • lord eels

    why is this petapixel news? geez these Fuji fanboys are insane. let’s focus how he said it can’t AF well in low light despite all the HYPE, which is pretty much the worst thing about all mirrorless cameras. until that is fixed I don’t care about yet another enthusiast APS-C mirrorless.

  • harumph

    Of course the last time I remember Kai giving a rave review was for the Nikon D600, a camera people love to hate on these days. So as always, let’s let the dust settle (pun intended) before getting too excited.

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    Kai….you’re not very good at this

  • Fed Up with weirdos like you

    good job

  • Stan B.

    Don’t need him to realize this is the one digital camera that combines: optimum performance, build, size, image quality and system access at a reasonable price into one clever innovative package! What the OM1 was to 35mm.

  • Wright

    unfortunately crap Raw cause watercolor artifacts
    and No FF for fuji :-(

  • BDWT

    Where did you see raw samples, could you share the link?

  • BDWT

    As someone who occasionally still shoots with a Nikon FT2, seeing more cameras with this sized body (as opposed to the fatter DSLR bodies) is super intriguing. One of Kai’s better reviews too, he got right to the point instead of goofing around as I’ve seen him do in the past.

  • Paul Fan

    Always enjoy watching and listen to Kai’s presentation. Without
    Kai’s present or voice over, its not DigitalRev.

  • AAA

    Quite sure he said “gonads”…

  • Fernando Callo

    Why everyone is obsessed with FF sensors? Really people, you don’t need them. Technology is evolving so fast nowadays.

  • Omar Salgado

    Pixel pitch, ISO, angle of view (which relates to DoF), etc.

    I mean, every cam has its purpose, but overall, every photographer knows what they want from a photo.

    “A round peg for a round hole.”

  • Mabasa

    take a fuji xe2 and you’ll have them

  • Giampi

    if you say this, probably you never used one

  • D.G. Brown

    Pixel pitch (and therefore ISO) is a misnomer, though. The X-T1 has roughly the same pixel pitch as the D800/a7R. What you’re really getting with FF is less compromise between detail and light performance.

    With FoV/DoF, that also depends a lot on the system. If you’re shooting Canikon and pairing a crop sensor with a FF lens, you’re just not going to get that same sexy DoF and look that you’d get on the FF that lens is truly meant for.

    But some of these compact crop systems have some amazing glass. You stick that Fuji 23mm f/1.4 on there and you’re getting glass that goes nose to nose with the Canon 35mm f/2L with roughly the same FoV and DoF.

    And really I’m just playing devil’s advocate since I see a lot of people drawing a line in the sand when it comes to crop vs FF. Truth be told, though, I only shoot FF (often with very wide aperture primes). I still think that the X-T1 is an exciting camera and a sign that the gap between crop and FF isn’t what it used to be, though.

  • Wright

    technology is not optical laws, so MF>FF>APSC

  • alealeale ale

    I’m sure everyone read that last quote with kai’s voice

  • Omar Salgado

    I think, aside all those considerations you made, the real gap is not sensor size, not anymore, but optical vs electronic viewfinder. And I deem this to be so not because of mechanical or electronic superiority, but on a level of perception and imagination.

    While I may not need an FF or cropped sensor (no one nowadays in the digital world talks about film), I prefer an OVF over an EVF. I’ve tried both and it is not the detail in the screens or the refresh rate, it is how it makes me conceive what I see.

  • Leamos


  • Daniel Hine

    Very well written, man

  • Broseph of Arimathea

    Guy who makes money from selling new camera equipment praises new camera equipment; suggests everyone should buy it.

  • Manoman

    never. I just bought one. Beats majority of DSLRs.

  • JezSullivan

    Its interesting how he said it reminded him of a Contax SLR, I bought the X Pro 1 and as a former Contax G2 owner the similarity in feel is remarkable. I wonder if Fuji s design team has any ex Contax bods in it?

  • Manoman

    exactly. Fit camera to your needs, or oposite. There is no PERFECT CAMERA anyway.

  • Mannock

    Sorry, even the X-Pro1 can take on a D800, especially in the high ISOs. I tried both. Nothing beats the X for me.

  • sinhtruong

    Depending on what your shooting, DoF is overrated. I have shot with everything and it’s nice to be able to shoot wide open and have more in focus. For example… Macro photography is best with smaller sensors and I would say a lot of product photography as well if you want more detail. I have a PhaseOne IQ260 in the studio as well as an a7r, 1Dx, and 7D and I’ll pop out the 7D most of the time for full detail shots since I can get the whole product focused because of the smaller sensor and less DoF (this is shooting at f11+ too).

  • sinhtruong

    Having said that… fashion and portrait work is best on larger sensors. ;)

  • Omar Salgado

    I agree with you.

    I try to slightly blur the background, not to render it unrecognisable. But you know that depending on the focal length, what kicks in is not DoF, but the magnification of the background, thus giving the illusion of extremely out of focus; DoF depends on distance to subject everything else being equal. That’s why you have the same DoF no matter your focal length if your subject is to the same distance. But if you want to frame it in the same proportions in respect to the frame, you will move, thus affecting DoF.

    In the end, it is your needs that dictate which tools will be the most appropriate to get the job done.