My take on the Fujifilm X-T1

Let me say up front, this is not a review. This is just my own subjective opinion about a camera body that I have had a chance to use now since about a week after it was available. Maybe 6 months now? I pre-ordered this camera after hearing of it's announcement. I owned and still own two other Fuji camera's, the X100 (not the newer X100s) with fixed lens and the X-Pro1 which takes interchangeable lenses. I figured the X-T1 with its upgrades and innovations might just be the ticket to make a smaller travel system better, which is why I bought into the Fuji X system in the first place. I use Nikon equipment for work in and out of the studio, and a slew of lenses that weigh what seems like a few tons. I literally have several bags to carry it all and store it all away including a large Think Tank Airport Security roller. I wanted something smaller yet something that still maintained really good image quality (IQ) and didn't take a hand cart to haul it all around. My X-Pro1 is good, very good in fact but I felt Fuji could step up and build something different. So they did. I wasn't dissatisfied with the X-Pro1, and I wasn't holding out for anything new. But when the X-T1 was announced I was hooked and wanted to try it. 

So right off, the good stuff. The X-T1 is a great travel camera. It's lighter than the X-Pro1, to me it doesn't feel as solid but maybe thats because the X-T1 is so much lighter. In use it can take about the same pounding as the X-Pro1. I've so far shot several experimental projects with it in studio and outdoors, I've shot the major portion of a multi day bicycle race with it, and I lugged it around  Ireland recently for 10 days while on vacation. I use the Fuji XF lens group consisting of the 14mm/2.8, the 23mm/1.4, the 35mm/1.4, the 56mm/1.2, the 60mm/2.4 macro, the 18-55mm OIS/2.8-4, and the 55-200mm OIS/3.5-4.8 zooms. By the way, all that plus my camera bodies and "other stuff" fit into a Gura Gear Kiboko+ 22L backpack. With room left over - should I want to pack it all at one once and I never do. See? Great travel system. I use my X-T1 with the Fuji battery grip because it gives me double the battery life, which is needed - more on that in a bit, and it makes the camera's size perfect for my hands. I like the controls too for vertical shots. Even with the grip it still is small, smaller than my D7100. I'm just going to make this easy and contrast some of the features which I like or issues I found with bullet points rather than make this post look like a book. 

  • EVF - I rate it an 8. Maybe a 7 but today its an 8. I prefer optical but can live with the EVF on the X-T1. It's not as good as hyped, to me. It lags in display, it freezes with the 18-55 (only) at a focal length in use and stays there until the camera is cycled on and off. I'm not sure why and plan to contact Fuji support about it. Is it a killer? No way. Just a pain and all my cameras have some pain. The way it changes the display info in vertical is sweet. Nicely done. The image provided is good, but the EVF as a whole could just be a bit better. 
  • X-Trans sensor and image quality - I love the sensor and the IQ. I see no downside. I do shoot in RAW only, and I use Iridient Developer to convert my RAW files. My files are sharp and color is perfect. No complaints. 
  • High ISO, low noise - I have no idea how Fuji does this but I can easily shoot to ISO 6400 and my images clean up like they are ISO 400. Or ISO 200. They make auto ISO usable. Coupled with the auto DR function this is the most perfect system like this I have used. 
  • Battery life - Worst of any camera I can remember owning. Buy more batteries. Charge them EVERY night. You will need four with the grip; two will die mid day, the others will be in the camera while you charge the dead ones. 
  • AF and tracking- I like the auto focus. I think it is quick with all my lenses, maybe not as quick as some of my Nikon lenses but I'm splitting hairs in finding a difference. I have shot birds in flight, bicycle racers going by me, panned bicycle shots, panned car shots, you can name it and I've managed to get the pics. Sharp pics too. I don't get the negative stuff about the focus. 
  • Tilting LCD - I rate it a 9 because it doesn't articulate fully. I wish it did. I thought this was a gimmick at first but its very useful in practice. Love it. 
  • Build and handling - Top notch build. Feels light but its well made. I love the controls and can use them so much easier although I actually use the Q menu and make any changes there. Really though, all I change is WB and exposure comp most times. I'm also a focus recompose guy so the 4 pad buttons being recessed are perfect. I love shooting with the camera. I love having an aperture ring, marked or unmarked, both rock. Shutter is easily changed; I like the ISO dial versus it being in a menu. 
  • Wi-Fi - It takes a bit of thought to "learn" the way it works but its pretty cool once you do work with it. 
  • Nasty things I don't care for 
    • Format buried in the menu. I hate this. Hate, hate, hate it. Give me a button. 
    • Flash support - X-sync speed at 180th/sec. WTF? You put a camera like this out and kill it with no flash support? I have an old Panasonic point and shoot that does a better job with flash. Ever hear of Strobist Fuji? 
    • Shutter speed - Topping out at 1/4000th is stupid for a camera like this. Even with ND filters in hand. 
    • This is sort of semi nasty only but I wish it had support for 2 SD cards. I have done fine with one slot, but two would be better. 

Thats about it. Those are the most negative things I can say along with what I like and some observations about its features. I plan to use the X-T1 for weddings that are coming up, more landscapes, and in short more of everything. The lenses all produce great bokeh, and are very sharp. I'm hoping to add the new 10-24mm/4 soon. The Fuji X system is my APS-C crop sensor system, even over my D7100 Nikon. Period. I will say that I sort of still do prefer the handling of the X-Pro1 or maybe its just that they are so different, when I shoot with the X-Pro1 I really like the experience. I like both cameras but still like to slow things down and spend time with the X-Pro1. 

If I could afford it, I could see me buying a new Pentax 645z with three lenses for studio and crucial landscape work and use the Fuji for everything else. Sell the D800, D7100 and Df. I'd miss my Nikon's for their flash system features like HSS (Auto/FP) for sure but I think I could make a go of it. Thats a dream people. The work I do wouldn't support that scenario but its nice to dream. The Fuji is capable and can replace my Nikons to an extent, but thats on vacation. When it comes to earning money, I have no problem using the Fuji's - as long as my Nikons are within reach too. I'm just more comfortable with both. 






Wally KilburgComment