Friday, February 21, 2014

First Impression: Fuji X-T1 Has Landed!

The Fujifilm X-T1 has finally arrived! The last time I was this excited about reviewing a camera was when I first received the Leica M Monochrom in the summer... it's been a while. What makes this camera so special? Why is everyone so excited about this new X-series camera body from Fuji? Because it's the best value-performance-quality mirrorless system camera body on the market today. The best image quality mirrorless belongs to the Sony A7R, but the AF is just ok and the price is more than many full-frame DSLRs. The best overall performing and featured mirrorless is the Olympus OM-D EM-1, but the sensor is smallish (not too small for most but a bit too small for working pros). 

The new Fujifilm X-T1 lies right in the sweet spot of the market: large-enough-for-pro APS-C sensor, well priced (cheaper than the Olympus!), well featured, and performs as good or even better than it's APS-C sensored DSLR competition. At $1299 USD body only, it's reasonably priced for what you get, and cheaper than going full-frame mirrorless. To top it off, the X-series is a mature system with lots of lenses (both zooms and primes), accessories, and camera body options. Some complain its a shameless copy of the Olympus OM-D EM-1 (no pop-flash, weather-sealed, articulating screen, large EVF, lots of custom buttons and DSLR-ish form-factor and handling, etc.); but Fuji has done their homework, put their own twist to this new X-series camera and has done some innovating and improvements of their own. How good is good?

As the title post says, this is a first impression (literally), so I won't go into too much detail yet, since I've only shot with it for a day. What I will share with you are some quick notes, although after a few days my opinion might change as I get more familiar with the camera. Ok, here we go:

-solid build quality (feels more solid than the X-E2, about the same as the X-Pro 1)
-weather-sealed body is nice, but very little button travel. The 4 way controller is too small and not enough travel to use with gloves on
-shutter button isn't threaded (can't add button) and travel is shallow (again, probably due to weather-sealing)
-EVF is amazing! I don't like EVFs, but I think this is the first one I actually enjoy using. Yes, it's that good.
-ISO dial is perfect (good-bye useless pop-up flash), but the lower DRIVE dial moves too easily. I keep accidentally shifting into continuous or bracketing mode.
-much improved focus peaking (choose brightness and colors: white, red, blue) and focus confirmation in manual focus mode (although I can see the X-E2 getting firmware update to get same features)
-blazing fast and quiet AF and shutter release. I felt like I was shooting with a DSLR!

That's it for now. I have a lot more to say but I'll save it for the upcoming preview. Some of my above opinions may change over the next few days, but this is my impression so far. I also have both the standard XF 18-55mm lens and the new 10-24mm F/4 lens. I only took the new 10-24mm with me today, and I have a lot to say about this lens too (both good, and a few small complaints). My biggest complaint is that the aperture ring doesn't have marked apertures like some of the other lenses. Since the aperture is a constant F/4, they could have put dedicated markings for each aperture, with enough travel to put half or third stops. I know why they did this, but I'll explain in my full review.

For now, let's just say the new X-T1 is the game changer for Fujifilm and the X-series. Many who were hesitant to switch to mirrorless or from M43 into APS-C mirrorless may switch because of this camera. It may have a few things I don't like (weather-sealing makes button control harder) but I know the reason behind every change. Fuji engineers are smart, and they listen to what people ask for (thanks for an iso dial!!). 

Preview up in a few days. Thanks for visiting. Extra pics and tips on Twitter and Instagram. Happy shooting!

Preview is now posted here!

Full Review is now posted here!




BHT

2 comments:

  1. Great preview.
    Is this 10-24 mm you've got on it? How well does it autofocus on XT1?

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    Replies
    1. Yes, the 10-24mm lens is of very high quality and design. It's a non-telescoping, internal zoom and focus lens. 72mm front filter and lots of glass makes it a heavy lens (here's an Instagram post of it from top-view: http://instagram.com/p/k8UY2ahYko/) and makes it front heavy. For street photography, I would prefer the 14mm F/2.8 because its smaller and lighter, but having that zoom really helped in certain situations. I'll have full review of lens and body soon.

      As for focusing, because it's a wide-angle zoom, it's not really a fair comparison to the standard 18-55mm zoom. It's minimum to maximum focus is very narrow, and because it's an internal focusing lens, it focuses very quickly for sure. However, when it's wide, it sometimes hunts, not knowing what its suppose to focus on. The focus scale along the bottom helps though. Overall, highly recommended lens. I have both the 10-24 and 18-55 so I'm going to run some quick focusing tests this week. I'll keep you posted. Check back soon for a full review.

      Thanks for your comment and. ask more questions anytime.

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