Review | Fuji X-T1

Some Background

A couple of years back I purchased the X-Pro 1 and then later on the X-E1 and the X100s. I really liked these cameras and they worked very well...most of the time. Every once in awhile I would need some fast focusing and shooting and they just didn't quite keep up. 

I have also always been curious about the "magic" of full-frame so I sold the X-E1 and the X100s and bought a Nikon D600. I have absolutely nothing to complain about the D600. It was incredibly fast and the image quality was fantastic. I had fun using this camera for awhile. One thing it didn't' have any of though, was personality. It had no "feel" or specialness to it. It was just a DSLR. A few months later I pulled out my X-Pro 1 again and rememberd how much I love that camera. 

About that time the X-T1 was about to be released. Based on early reviews it seemed like many of the speed issues I had with the earlier X-cameras might be fixed with this one. So, on hope, I sold the D600 and pre-ordered an X-T1. So far it has not dissappointed. 

Some Thoughts on the Fuji X-Series

Before we get started on the review I have some quick thoughts about the X-Series. There is something about these cameras to me that goes beyond the typical review. There is a feel and a style to them that is hard to quantify. I have the same problem when talking about Apple computers. It isn't just the stats that make them great., there is an art to their design that you just feel and get.

Yeah, I think Apple is a good comparison.

They are not always the fastest or "best" by the numbers, but they are always a joy to use and their fans are probably fans for life...myself included. 

The X-T1

Feel and Controls (AKA What the Nikon DF Should Have Been)

The X-T1 has a much more SLR-like look to it. Fujufilm moved away from the rangefinder style of the earlier X-Series cameras. The viewfinder is in the middle and it even has the little bump where the pentaprism would go. I was a little worried that in doing this the X-T1 would lose the specialness of the X-Series. This isn't true at all. This camera feels great in the hand, feels very tough, and feels more like the pro camera that it is. It reminds me a lot of holding an 80's era SLR.

 Image from  X-T1 Special Site

The controls are amazing. This really is the best part about this camera and what makes it the perfect camera for me. Almost every important thing is accessible from a switch or dial on the outside of the camera, and what isn't can be set to a function button for easy access. Also every control is where it should be. I never feel like I have to hunt for a button or dial. It is nearly perfect. 

Can Be Controlled from Outside:

  • ISO

  • Drive Mode

  • Shutter Speed

  • Aperture

  • Metering Mode

  • Exposure Comp

  • Focus Mode

My only complaint is the little buttons on the back. It is probably because of the weather sealing in this body, but the controls on the back feel kinda squishy and hard to push. They are also pretty small. I can get used to this though. Not a big deal.

This camera is what the Nikon DF should have been. I wanted so badly to like that camera. I have a soft spot in my heart for Nikon still and I want them to do well. But the DF is pretty much a joke. The sensor is beautiful and the look of it is quite nice, but the controls are so confusing...I think they made it worse. If you don't believe me, check out this hilarious review of it from F-Stoppers

Image Quality

I don't have too much to say here. It's great. If you have ever shot with or seen pictures from an X-Pro 1, X-E2, or an X100s, than you know what to expect. JPEG's out of camera are amazing and it gives really nice RAW files to work with as well. 

Here is a few samples. I will have quite a few more up in a new blog post on Thursday. 


Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.45.21 AM.png

This is where this camera shines a bit over the other X cameras. They added a new autofocus system in this camera that is pretty baller. It is quick and accurate and almost as good as my D600. I have to be honest. The Nikon was better, but I can totally work with this one. Everything else that is great about this camera makes me overlook this one slight difference. 

One thing the X-T1 has that the D600 did not is face-recognition auto-focus which I think might be very useful. If I turn face-recognition on and set the autofocus to continuous, this should make photographing fast moving kids very easy. I am excited to give this a try. 

Overall the camera is plenty fast for the kind of shooting aI do. 

Electronic Viewfinder

In one sentence, my initial thoughts on the Fujifilm X-T1: You know it’s an EVF but you won’t care.
— Ryan Katsanes

He is right. The EVF has gotten a ton of praise and it really is wonderful. But it is still an EVF. I don't mind this at all. I like shooting with EVF, but if you really love your OVF, than you still might not love this camera. 

 Image from  X-T1 Special Site

Image from X-T1 Special Site

Final Thoughts

There is no such thing as a perfect camera. This one isn't either, but it is getting much closer. I wish it was faster, and I wish it had better battery life. Other than that, I love this camera. The control layout and size are exactly what I would have designed for myself if I made this camera. The image quality is excellent.

There is very very little I would change about this camera. 

It fits in my hand perfectly and I can already feel myself growing attached to it. I plan on making a lot of art over the next few years with my little X-T1.