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My Photography with the Fuji X-T1
March 8, 2014
I can't keep doing this....
I have to say this in every "review" I do on any camera. I am not a reviewer.. I am a user. I am an amateur photographer. I do not pixel peep at 300% magnification. I use my cameras to produce photography that I enjoy.. and so this will not be an in-depth review of the nuts and bolts of this camera or all the technical aspects of the camera which, apparently to some, is a driving obsession.
I am not obsessed with pixel counts and all the other technical specs you can find on the commercial review sites. I don't buy gear to test it.. I buy it to use it for myself. And I never ask you to buy a camera through my website by clicking on a link. I have no connection with any camera maker nor do I place ads on my site. We all get enough of that elsewhere.
What follows are my opinions and observations and nothing more. I am not an authority. I am just a guy with a deep love for photography.
Ok... that's out of the way....
As it turns out I have discovered that the X-E2 is the perfect camera to keep the 18mm on for quick outings without a bag so.. it's all good.
The Fuji X-T1 is outstanding in many ways.
Let me count the ways...
It looks like a DSLR.. for those who do not care for the rangefinder form factor of the X-Pro 1 and other cameras in the Fuji X line. For me, I am comfortable with both form factors.
The EVF of the Fuji X-T1 is the best I have ever used. I have been hoping that the EVFs offered by camera makers would get better and offer more functions... Fuji has produced one of the best available.
Focus Peaking.. it's all there with the ability to change the color of the peaking halo.. outstanding.
Faux Split Image Focusing.. it's there and while I am not a fan of this method it works quite well.
Dual image with magnification.. it's there and is a very cool feature. You see a smaller version of the full image AND a magnified section of your focus point for critical focus.
Auto-Focus is improved.. it's faster and more accurate. Is it a huge leap? Is it a Biblical improvement? No but it is better than all previous X cameras and should satisfy the majority of those who buy the X-T1.
Auto-Focus tracking.. ah.. much better and works very well. Is it perfect? No.. but then even high end cameras are not always perfect in this area either. It's better than any previous implementation from Fuji.
Fuji colors.. yeah, you knew they would be there and they are as beautiful as ever. I've not noticed any strange colors casts unless shooting under very strange lighting situations in which there is a mixture of daylight, incandescent and fluorescent lights involved in the scene.. and even then it does a good job.
Ergonomics.. ISO, shutter speed and EVF adjustment knobs are all on top of the camera.. no menus to dig through. I love it. Small switches/levers also allow you to select bracketing, burst and other shooting modes.
Speaking of Burst Mode.. 8 frames per second. What's not to like about that if you need it?
Built in intervalometer for time lapse and long exposures.
Tilt screen... at last. I needed that for very low and high angle shots... but I wish it was articulated.
Fuji's build quality is very good. The body is well built, weather sealed and works as advertised. Fuji lenses are outstanding. I have yet to buy a Fuji lens that I would consider a dog. Some are better than others but that is not the point.. they are all good.
Like the X-E2, the ability to see EXACTLY what you will get in the EVF is very welcome. There is nothing like adjusting the aperture ring or shutter speed and seeing exactly how the shot will look in that wonderful EVF or LCD.
Shutter lag? Haven't run into that with the X-T1. Your needs and/or perception may differ.
The little flash that comes with the X-T1 will not win any awards but it works when you need a little flash and a nice touch by Fuji to include it.
I'm beginning to sound like a Fan Boy so let me make myself clear.. I use cameras like I would use a tool. I use the right tool for the job at hand. I can't always buy the most expensive/best tool due to economic restraints and the watchful eye of my wife... so, I look for the best bang for the buck.. the most cost effective solution.. and of course quality. Fuji, for me, delivers what I need at an affordable price with an excellent build and quality photographic output.
But It's Not ALL perfect...
I find the buttons on the four-way controller to be a bit too recessed but I will adjust to this.
The EVF, while outstanding and probably class leading, has one issue that I find troublesome on very rare occasions. When shooting in extremely dark (almost pitch black) situations in manual focus mode with a lens wide open and focus peaking turned on the EVF and LCD will "sparkle". I call it Fireflies. If you have ever used night vision devices you know that some of them produce a firefly effect... sparkles of light in the viewfinder. It is very important to understand that the X-T1 does this ONLY under extreme circumstances using manual focusing and focus peaking... Turn off focus peaking and the Fireflies go away. Having said all that you might also say that the Fuji X-T1 can see in the dark.
If you have really large hands you may find the diminutive size of the X-T1 to be troublesome. It is a small camera and that is what I wanted.
There have been reports of light leakage from the side panel that covers the mic jack and HDMI connector. I put my X-T1 to the test by using a very bright LED flashlight and yes.. there is light leakage in my X-T1...but this will not impact the average user of this camera. I would say that 99% of X-T1 users will never encounter a problem from this flaw. It's not the huge issue that some might have you believe if you read some of the forums online. The main culprit is the mic jack and when a mic is plugged in or a remote release.. the hole is plugged and there is no light leakage. Note that when the compartment door is shut there is no light leak. I tried it in bright sunlight and with a 3 megawatt LED flash light pointed at the jack. It's just not a real problem... and I do long exposures in bright sunlight as well as at night.
Should Fuji have caught this design flaw?
Speaking of remote releases.. you can't use a mechanical cable release on the X-T1. Unlike the X-Pro 1 the X-T1 does not have a screw in cable release in the shutter button. You can use the mic/shutter release on the side compartment. I do this with no problem and actually prefer it to a mechanical release.
The tripod mount is still not centered with the lens as it should be. You will need the accessory grip to achieve that.
I hear the video is not all that impressive. I wouldn't know. I don't do video and don't care about it.
RAW support. It's still an issue but I feel it is getting better all the time... but let me add that the Fuji JPGs are so good that many don't even bother with the RAW/RAF files. All of the photos currently on this page are JPGs as my current version of Lightroom does not support the X-T1 RAF files.
High ISO Overly Aggressive Noise Reduction. Yes, there is a problem with smoothing of details or waxy skin when shooting at very high ISO setting with the Fuji X-T1. I know that Fuji is aware of this issue and my belief is that a firmware update will address the issue... eventually. This is not a deal-breaker for me.
The Missing Accessory.... A Real Eyecup. Fuji was nice enough to include a small accessory flash but they should have included a true to life, real, light blocking, eyecup. That would come in very handy under some shooting conditions. As great as the EVF is there will always be a problem with bright, harsh ambient light making the EVF a bit difficult to see. This happens all the time. A true eyecup would block such light and you would see that EVF in its full glory on those bright, sunny days. Fuji or a third party should produce a replacement for the one that is standard on the X-T1...and in my opinion, ALL of their X series cameras.
The Fuji X-T1 is a serious, well thought out mirror-less camera. If you want great IQ and a truly amazing EVF and feature set, the X-T1 will check a lot boxes on your requirements list.
But know this... it's not perfect.. no camera is... but it is small, lightweight and is capable of producing some pretty amazing and detailed photographs at a price that most can afford. It holds its own against many more expensive cameras.
The most important thing is this.. it is fun to use and you will never have an aching back or neck at the end of the day from carrying it with you... and you will have some outstanding photos to show for your efforts. Fuji's lens lineup keeps getting better and you will be hard pressed to find lenses of Fuji's quality at Fuji prices.
By the way, speaking of lenses, the Fuji 18-55mm is knocked for being a "kit lens" but it is a very good lens. Most of the photos you see here were taken with that lens. It is an excelent first lens for any of the Fuji X cameras. I have the 18, 35, 60 and 18-55 with the 56 on order. I will post photos using all of them in the future.
That's my take on the Fuji X-T1 thus far. I will add more info regarding the camera as I get the opportunity to use it more.
I'll post more photos as I have the time to do so. Most of what you see now are photos taken in the first week of use of the Fuji X-T1 in New Orleans. All are JPG. No RAW shots yet.
To View The Photos
May 3, 2014 - Two months of use...
I am becoming spoiled...
One of the side effects of using the X-T1 is that when I switch to my Pentax K5 IIs I really miss seeing exactly what I will get in the Pentax OVF compared to the EVF of the X-T1. It really is a downer looking through an optical viewfinder that shows me the view of the scene but not what I will actually capture when I release the shutter. The X-T1 EVF is simply outstanding and I have found that I am much more productive (read as keepers) with it and there is a lot less chimping going on these days as well. Also, that tilt screen has come in very handy on a number of occasions.
1 Hour at 1 Bridge
Seldom Seen Places - Alley Work