Fuji X-T1 first impressions
Having owned my Fuji X-T1 for a couple of days I thought I’d write a brief post on the features I find most outstanding in my limited experience.
First, for those unfamiliar with the X-T1, it’s an APS-C sensor mirror-less camera with interchangeable lens, electronic viewfinder, a good level of configurability, full weather sealing and excellent controls reminiscent of a 1970s film camera. It’s also true to say that it is made by one of the original camera manufacturers who have been in the business of making cameras for many years, and the quality of the unit is obvious as soon as you pick it up.
Although not a big camera by any means, it is slightly bigger than the Nex 6 I’m replacing, but it’s still a much easier camera to carry around than a full size DSLR.
These pictures can also be viewed full size here.
So the things I believe are the stand out features from my first few days with the X-T1 are:
I had read quite a bit about the size and clarity of the EVF on the X-T1 before I first picked the camera up and it was one of the first things I wanted to check. Since I first bought my Sony Nex 6 a few years ago I’ve come to like using an EVF because of the addition of useful aids like focus peaking to when using manual focus lenses.
Well, the X-T1 is a step up from the Nex 6 for a number of reasons. For a start the size if very big, certainly the biggest viewfinder I’ve ever used on a mirror-less camera. Now admittedly I don’t have a great deal of experience of different mirror-less cameras, but it is certainly the biggest and best defined I’ve used.
If you are a user of vintage lenses then there are some real advantages with this camera. I find the focus peaking implementation the best I’ve used (better than the Ricoh GXR which was my previous favourite), much better defined than the Sony version. But the real ‘blow away’ focus assist aid in my view is the split rangefinder. This is an electronic version of the device used in many old film cameras where the picture is split along a horizontal line and as the focus is moved away from the optimum point the two halves of the picture moves away from each other horizontally. The camera can display this in the centre of the display, and because of the size of the viewfinder can also display it as a completely separate image next to the main view. This is shown in one of the pictures above, in that case on the back LCD because it was easier to photograph but it’s exactly the same in the viewfinder.
I also find the data display very comprehensive, covering everything you could need to know. I particularly like the focus display at the bottom of the screen which not only shows the distance the camera is focused on but also the depth of field, and the fact that the display rotates when the camera is moved to portrait mode. Note that in the picture above the F0 display is simply because a manual focus, M42 lens is fitted to the camera – with a native lens the aperture is displayed.
The ability to control the camera via wifi using an app on a mobile device was something I had not really thought about prior to owning the camera, but is now one of the things I think makes the camera a real winner. Using the remote app it’s possible to control all the settings necessary to take pictures and the image displayed on the remote device allows you to select focus points by touch. An immediate use I can think of is to set up the camera on a tripod in the garden pointing at our bird feeder and then being able to remotely take pictures from inside the house. I haven’t yet tried this, but I’m assuming it will work as long as the signal will work over the distance of a few meters.
It also seems to be possible to browse and transfer pictures from the camera using the remote app, although I haven’t yet tried that.
The other stand out feature for me is the control layout of the X-T1. I like the inclusion of individual controls for shutter speed, iso, exposure compensation, metering, drive mode etc and find the camera much easier to use without needing to press softkeys set these functions. The X-T1 also has a good arrangement of configurable buttons to allow the secondary functions to be easily accessible – admittedly, it’s still early days since and I haven’t yet decided exactly how I want these set up, but there are enough of them to expect it to be easy to get the camera set up how I like.
Other things which I’ve liked since first trying the camera are:
- A nice comfortable grip so the camera feels secure in the hand
- A tilt LCD panel which is good for shots when the camera is held low or high
- The memory card is in a compartment on the side and not in the bottom. This makes it easy to change the card without taking the camera off a tripod for example.
- Separate switch for auto/manual focus – particularly good for vintage lens users
- Finally one hugely important factor – the picture quality seems to be superb.