X-T1- how do I love thee? Let me count five ways…

X-T1- how do I love thee? Let me count five ways...

  Bumblebee in red hot pokers. Fujifilm X-T1, 60mm/2.4. 1/160s @ f2.4


Kia ora tatou;

After less than 48 hours with Fujifilm New Zealand’s pre-production X-T1 DSLR, I am excited and, given the emails and phone calls I have been receiving, I have decided to put up a super-first look. I have it for another few days, until Fuji send the Big Guy to break my fingers and take it back.

Rather than do a full review which I am beginning to write for f11 magazine, to be published in the March issue, I thought I would share five things I love as a photographer.  After all, we buy cameras to help us express ourselves photographically (well, most of us do), and having a tool we can attune to is part of the joy and an important part of our process. So, in no particular order…

Depth-of-field preview you can see.

With most DSLR cameras, stopping down to say, f11, and then using the depth-of-field preview button is a fraught process, to say the least. Getting a clear sense of what is in and out of focus is quite difficult, because your viewfinder is so dark. Most of the time it is hardly worth bothering at smaller apertures. In manual focus, which is when you tend to want to use this function most, the X-T1 offers a different way of doing things. Because you are using an EVF, it is able to tweak your view in quite a different way. When you select an aperture and then half-depress the shutter button, it shows you the depth of field for that aperture without darkening the viewfinder. That is, you are able to check depth of field for a given aperture at the light levels of the widest one. Brilliant. Literally.

Colour that really does channel film.

It is a long time since I have used film, but in my head there is a clear memory of the luminous colours rendered by colour transparency film. Fujifilm has stated quite publicly that one of their goals is to reproduce the “look” of their slide films, and in this camera they have somehow done it. Out-of-the-sensor, the colour has that luminosity and delicately-separated saturation characteristic of working with Provia or Velvia. The files have the same three-dimensional, spatial quality to them which, until now, you have only been able to get from film.

DE leaves-1

Double exposure that works.

Because you can work directly off the LCD, you do not have to continually bend down to the viewfinder to see what is happening. When you use multiple exposure (only 2 exposures are possible at the moment), after you have made the first exposure, it prompts you to move on to the second by pressing the OK button, and then holds the first exposure in the background where you can see it, while making the second exposure translucent to enable you to better position your camera. When you have made the second exposure, it prompts you to ask if you want to retry or lock it in. You choose. What is really cool is that you can change aperture, or point of focus, or framing (assuming you are using a zoom lens). The image at right is a double exposure direct from the camera, made by focusing well past the leaves for the first exposure, then bringing the point of focus onto the surface of the leaves for the second. Completely in-camera, with no added Photoshop!

Control by remote control

If you have an Android or iOS smartphone, you can download a free app which allows you to control the camera via its inbuilt Wi-Fi function. This has to be of great use to geriatric fungi photographers, who have come to hate the thought of lying on the cold damp forest floor. Because the camera also has a screen which flips out to 90°, it is rather like using a waist level viewfinder. It also means you do not have to stand behind the camera when you are shooting a portrait. You can simply stand back and direct proceedings from a distance.

The viewfinder

The viewfinder is bright and involving, the best I have used yet. It has a high eyepoint and there are options to have it with information around the sides, with no information, or withdual screens ( I haven’t figured out why you want that yet!) but it is big and beautiful. That said, it is still an EVF, and not an optical viewfinder killer!

Interval timer

You can program the camera to shoot a given number of exposures at a predetermined interval and choose when it will begin. Set up your camera to shoot the aurora australis, make sure everything is working, then go to bed. No more standing out in the darkness shivering.

Oh, and one last thing. There is already support for the files, which are 14-bit raw. Photo Ninja has already included X-T1 support in the latest pre-release, 1.2.2a.

And one last thing. Again. Peak focusing has now been improved to include a tricolore of options. You can have blue, red or white in one of two strengths. This makes critical focusing a breeze, especially when you are working with the 60/2.4 macro lens.

Sorry, that was eight ways.

Seriously, if you have thought about heading down this road, you may want to join the queue fairly promptly.

It would seem that global interest is enormous.




14 Responses

  1. Robert Catto says:

    Isn’t the point of dual-screens so you can see the whole scene at once, plus have a magnified view for manual focus (with focus peaking) in the smaller window?

  2. Tony Bridge says:

    That must be it, Robert! The camera came with no manual or body cap. Having to figure it out as i go… Given the quality, i can quite a few pros going this way. Trouble is, the clients may query such a small camera…

  3. Pascal says:

    What about AF speed, especially tracking AF? For me, that would be the decisive factor in choosing this camera. I don’t expect it to rival my D300, but getting close to the OM-Ds would be great!

  4. I’m still using the X-E1 as my travel camera, but your review of the X-T1 has me seriously considering an upgrade.

  5. […] X-T1- how do I love thee? Let me count five ways… at thistonybridge here: “The viewfinder is bright and involving, the best I have used yet. It has a high eyepoint […]

  6. Dennis says:

    Does the viewfinder image reflect changes in exposure, by getting brighter or dimmer, in all modes? For example, in aperture priority mode and adjusting the exposure compensation dial to fine tune exposure, does the viewfinder reflect those changes by getting brighter or dimmer? I think it will do it in manual mode, but will it do it in the other modes? Does the histogram also change?

    Thank you for the evaluation. Nicely done.

  7. Rob K says:

    I am curious about the focus tracking and whether it will be effective for covering sports??? Did you have a chance to assess the focus tracking and if so, what did you find??

  8. Tony Bridge says:

    Hi Rob:
    Curious that you ask me that. A friend did it only yesterday. No, I haven’t. with only a week to play, it is kind of a once over lightly thing…That said, if the weather clears, I will give it a try. My sens is that it will cope, but serious sport is probably the province of cameras like the D4s…

  9. Tony Bridge says:

    Let me get back to you, Pascal

  10. Tony Bridge says:

    You are so correct, Robert!

  11. Tony Bridge says:

    Hi Pascal:
    I had an opportunity to test the X-T1 yesterday on contiuous autofocus with an approaching truck. It performed semlessly. Apparently it has a very clever predictive mode, and it certainly worked. Yep! I would even consider it for sport.. ( not that I shoot sport).

  12. Mike says:

    I’m seriously tempted as an upgrade from the X-E1. The quicker autofocus/tracking, improved viewfinder and tilting screen are all great improvements.

  13. Tony Bridge says:

    I would agree with that, Mike.

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