There’s a new camera in my bag. First I had a loaner from Fuji for a few weeks for testing. Then, this past Saturday, Charlene and I co-hosted and ran a workshop at a great FUJI ambassadors event in Copenhagen (more info and pictures coming). Arriving a bit tired and frozen in the morning, the Fuji Nordic guys welcomed me with an amazing present – the Fuji XT1.
The Fuji XT1 is my 3rd FUJI camera, in addition to my 3 year old X100 and 2 year old X-pro1. The Xpro1 and I have traveled around the world together and I love it to bits, the XT1 has some tough shoes to fill.
I immediately took the XT1 to a tech rave with bone rattling sub-bass, set in a night club in a large industrial basement, lit only by strobe lights and a projector. Settings called for f/1.4 on the 23mm and 35mm lenses and iso 5000 at 1/30 of a second. Dark and loud. My favourite environment. I also took the XT1 to Copenhagen’s ‘Hipster’ bridge and I used it for an artist shoot for Red Bull Studios Copenhagen – and I got to use it with the 56mm lens for a week.
It is early days in our relationship, I have only used the XT1 for two weeks, but here are some of my thoughts and a few early snapshots. I am not a reviewer, just a photographer who has used the X-series cameras professionally for 3 years. I am an official Fuji X-photographer, but these thoughts are purely my own sillyness!
What I like about the Fuji XT1
- The viewfinder. Holy time vortex timey-wimey all kinds of magic in a big blue box. There is nothing like this, it is absolutely stunning. A massive, huge, bright EVF with no lag. And this is coming from yours truly, the grumpy old man who loves the optical viewfinders of the X100 and X-pro1s and proclaimed I would never use an EVF. Well this grumpy old skool camera user reserves the right to be silly and say one thing and do another! (One massive advantage of the optical viewfinder though, it does not go dark in-between shots)
- The viewfinder. Seriously. So. Awesome.
- Did I mention the viewfinder? In a nightclub, pitch black, looking through the viewfinder is having night googles. Unbelievable. I can see in the dark.
- The viewfi…, ok there are other great features. XT1 is very fast and responsive, I am sure it does the Kessel Run in close to 12 parsecs, this camera just flies when you operate it.
- The sensor is the same as the XE2 producing wonderful detailed high quality images with extremely low noise at high iso.
- Screen is rather fantastic, hi res and it can be tilted. A nice feature, although I am also worried I will break it.
- View mode button. Nice to see this back after the mysterious disappearance on the XE2. It is indispensable Fuji!
- Autofocus, I have not used it enough to really comment on it, but it is fast! I will leave it up to other much more competent reviewers to talk about it and the tracking as I never use that.
- I like the iso dial, it is really good addition although the locking mechanism bothers me.
What I do not like about the Fuji XT1
Design and ergonomics. This is subjective, and in part due to me having big hands and fingers, let me explain:
- I much prefer the rangefinder design of the X-pro1, black rectangle with a viewfinder on the left side. Just my preference. X-pro1 feels better in my hands and to my eye and face. Give the X-pro1s the X-pro1 body and buttons etc. and XT1 viewfinder, sensor and screen and speed and it will be the X-series masterpiece! (for me).
- Buttons. Overall, the buttons on the X-pro1 are much easier to operate for me. I find the menu buttons on the XT1 to be near impossible to use, far too recessed.
- Movie record button, I want to chop this button off. Why is this placed where the iso button is on EVERY other Fuji camera? Please make it customizable.
- Dials for scene mode and metering. I change these so rarely I do not need dials for this. Especially not buttons that I tend to accidentally change (big fingers) every time I turn the ISO and exposure dials.
- I use back button focus 80% of the time, manual focus the other 20% and there is a rubber grip thing preventing easy thumb access to the AF-L button (actually the AE-L button would be a lot more suitable for this).
- I still feel Fuji do not really understand the use of back button focus, the X-pro1 is not optimal for this either, none of the Fuji cameras are (at least with my hands).
- I really do not like the lock on the iso dial, I want to easily be able to rotate this without taking my eye out of the viewfinder.
In conclusion, there is no conclusion. It is an amazing camera with a truly outstanding viewfinder – and some other pros and cons. I shall be traveling the world and working the upcoming Copenhagen Summer festivals with both my X-pro1 and XT1 and post much more. Stay tuned.
Thank you so much to the great team at Fuji Nordic.