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Fujifilm X-T1: First Look


Fujifilm X-T1: First Look

Well, not long after the announcement and release of the X-E2 comes the official launch of yet another mirrorless camera in the wonderful Fufjifilm X-series: the Fujifilm X-T1. We’ve been hearing quite a bit about this camera over the last few weeks, including a lot of teaser photos and stuff, but I didn’t expect an official announcement just yet – a pleasant surprise, I guess. Anyway, it’s official, and it’s slated for a March release – but until then, let’s have a quick look at it and let me share my first impressions on this new beast

Looking at the expected price, and the model number, and the spec list of the camera, at first I wasn’t quite sure where it fits in the X-series. So far, the series line-up was pretty clear: there’s the X-Pro1 flagship, the X-E1/X-E-2 next, followed by the lower-end model of the X-M1 and the entry-level X-A1. Where does the X-T1 come in? But then you look a bit deeper, and you realize that this is a really high-end camera – the first high-end camera Fujifilm has released since the X-Pro1 in the X-series line – which, if you ask me, makes it their new flagship – which puts it right on top of the bunch. So that’s where it fits. I suppose this means there’s definitely no X-Pro2 coming any time soon – there will be, although not just yet – but that doesn’t matter: the X-T1 really looks quite stunning. Fujifilm’s current King of the X-series

Image from B&H Photo

Image from B&H Photo

It comes with basically the same innards as the X-E2: The X-Trans II CMOS sensor and the EXR II processor, with very similar firmware that makes it operate basically the same way, but it comes packed in a beautifully designed, SLR-inspired, weather-sealed body that definitely looks superior to the X-E2. It also has a super-large, high-res electronic viewfinder, which claims to be the ‘world’s fastest’ Real Time viewfinder with a lag of just 0.005 seconds and the world’s highest magnification ratio in an EVF (of 0.77x) – meaning this is probably the best EVF ever made, and if you think you might miss the OVF of the X-Pro1, you probably won’t: the X-T1’s EVF will probably look just like an optical ‘finder

On top of that, the AF system has got a much-needed improvement, resulting in what Fujifilm yet again claims to be the ‘world’s fastest AF system’, with a bunch of notes at the end of the paragraph to clarify that claim. They’ve claimed this before so I’m not sure how fast it’ll be in real life, but I expect it to be significantly quicker than the other X-series models. I hope so

The body is a vintage-inspired, SLR-type body which looks quite unlike the other bodies in the X-series, and it looks like it’ll be just as fun to use. I already mentioned it’s weather-sealed, didn’t I? It also works at temperatures as low as -40°C!

All told, it looks very impressive overall. It’s Fujifilm’s first high-end model since their first X-series model, the X-Pro1 – the rest of the models were all cheaper, even though they were top cameras – and it certainly looks the part: the weather-sealed body, the class-leading EVF, fast burst-shooting, plenty of manual buttons and dials; it’s got it all

Buy the Fujifilm X-T1 from Amazon

Or Buy the Fujifilm X-T1 from B&H Photo

I can’t wait to get my hands on it. And if it’s really this good, I don’t mind shelling out and upgrading my X-E1! And if you’re getting one, you know the drill: please use the above links to pre-order (or, later, buy) yours. Pixelogist needs you!

Specifications You Would Want To Know

  • Body: SLR-style mirrorless body, magnesium alloy
  • Lens Mount: Fujifilm X Mount
  • Image Stabilization: No (lens-based IS)
  • Resolution: 16 million pixels
  • Sensor Size: APS-C (22.3 x 14.9mm)
  • Sensor Type: X-Trans II CMOS
  • Shutter Speeds: Max 1/4000 sec, Min 30 sec
  • ISO Range: 200-6400 (expandable to 100-51200)
  • White Balance: Auto, Custom, Color Temperature, Presets
  • Video: 1080p @ 30fps
  • Video Format: H.264
  • Metering Modes: Multi-Area, Average, Spot
  • Exposure Modes: P, A, S, M
  • Built-in Flash: No (external EF-X8 flash included)
  • Flash modes: Auto, Forced, Slow Sync, Suppressed, Rear curtain, Commander
  • Flash Range: 8m (at ISO 100)
  • Flash Sync: 1/180 sec
  • Hot-shoe: Yes
  • Autofocus: Hybrid AF System (PDAF/CDAF Hybrid)
  • AF Modes: Single (multi-area, single-area), Continous, Manual
  • Number of AF Points: 49 areas
  • Manual Focus: Yes
  • Screen: 3.0” LCD, 1,040k-dot
  • Articulation: Tilting
  • Touchscreen: No
  • Optical/Electronic Viewfinder: Yes, EVF, approximately 0.5” wide
  • Viewfinder Details: 2.360k-dot OLED EVF, 100% coverage, 0.77x magnification, 0.005 sec lag
  • Max Drive Speed: 8fps
  • File Formats: JPEG, RAW
  • Connections: USB 2.0, HDMI Mini, WiFi
  • Memory Card Types: SD/SDHC/SDXC
  • Dimensions: 440g (including batteries)
  • Weight: 129 x 90 x 47mm

First Thoughts

Alright, this camera looks beautiful. Yes, all cameras in this line by Fujifilm look great, but this just might be the best-looking one out of the bunch. More SLR than rangefinder, it’s a weather-sealed body, it’s got a whole bunch of manual controls – more than the X-E1/X-Pro1 by the looks of it – and it’s super-retro. Classic

It’s Fujifilm’s first weather-sealed camera body (in the X-series, at least) – it also is capable of operating at temperatures as low as -40°C – and being their new flagship of sorts, it’s fitting. And knowing their standards in terms of build quality, I can feel quite assured that the magnesium alloy body will be very, very solid

The insides of the camera – namely, the sensor and processor – are the same as the X-E2. The X-Trans II CMOS sensor, which performs really well on whatever camera it’s been used on so far, is a fantastic one, and I’m sure it’ll do nothing but impress in this camera too. Combined with the EXR II processor, image quality and speed should be right up there with the best. Some might be disappointed that there’s nothing new in this area with the X-T1, but when something works as well as this, why replace it? There’s no use upgrading just for the sake of upgrading

The AF system is the first of the major improvements over the other models of the X-series. It is largely based off the new X-Trans II sensor and its phase-detect elements, but while it wasn’t that effective on the X-E2, the entire AF system of the X-T1 has been improved and even though people wouldn’t really believe the Fujifilm claim of ‘world’s fastest AF’ anymore, I feel the X-T1 will actually sport a very good (and fast) focusing system. That’s something that is really missing in all X-series cameras, to be honest, so it’s an improvement that everybody really expects from Fuji today. This, however, remains to be seen

Probably the fanciest piece of gear built into the X-T1 is the all-new electronic viewfinder. This EVF is half an inch wide – that’s huge – and it’s got a super-high resolution of 2.36 million dots – but what’s really impressive about it is its refresh rate. Fujifilm makes the bold claim of “world’s fastest” yet again, this time in regard to the EVF refresh rate, with a lag of just 0.005 sec, and also in regard to the magnification ratio, an unprecedented 0.77x. I can’t say I’d notice a huge difference in magnification, but the refresh rate will be something I’d welcome. On the X-E1, especially at night, the refresh rate is slow, and everything appears a tad blurry. The X-T1 should look, in my opinion, just like an optical viewfinder, thanks to this

The EVF also has a few different modes, such as the Normal and Full modes, where Normal is what you’d get on something like the X-E2, while the Full mode makes use of the higher magnification of this EVF. Like the X-E2, it also features a digital split-screen, which makes manual focusing really easy; but new on the X-T1 is the Dual view mode, which places a normal VF screen beside a separate window that shows a magnified image with your choice of focus assist: focus peaking or split-image. Sounds handy. I can’t say how practical it’d be to use, as both images in this mode would be smaller so as to fit the EVF space, but it could work, and it’s an interesting option

The LCD is a high-rest 3.0″ one, similar to the one found on the X-E2, and is tilt-articulated. Nothing really special to talk about because it’s nothing new, but rest assured it’s a very good screen you have here

Image from B&H Photo

Image from B&H Photo

What else? Oh yeah, there’s no built-in flash. Instead, like with the OM-Ds, you get an external flash – the Fujifilm EF-X8 – which looks nice. It adds to the size of the camera, but the X-T1 isn’t really meant to be all that compact, so adding the flash shouldn’t be an issue for potential users of this camera. It looks like it has a flexible head – nice

Lastly, the control layout has changed. The X-series is known for sporting one of the most comprehensive control layouts and the X-T1 actually expands on that, featuring no less than 6 customizable buttons, new controls and dials on the top panel, and well…it just looks great. Read the next section for more on this

And that’s about it. With the weather-sealed magnesium alloy body, the X-Trans II and EXR II inside, the superbly fast EVF, the faster AF system, and the extremely comprehensive and customizable control system, the Fujifilm X-T1 certainly makes a statement


Controls & Handling

I can’t say much for handling without actually handling one, but going by looks, dimensions, and my experience with the other X-series cameras, this should feel great in the hand. With the XF 18-55mm (or any other XF lens) attached, it should fit right in your hand, with all the controls placed just where you’d reach for them

And the controls! There are quite a few. Let me get started already. I usually start with the top because there are fewer on top, but I think most of the stuff on the X-T1 is placed on the top panel. Anyway, here we go

On the top, you have two sets of controls separated by the hot-shoe. On the right side of the hot-shoe you have: A new ISO sensitivity dial, a dial lock in the middle, another dial around it that selects the Drive mode, and the diopter adjustment dial beside it

Image from B&H Photo

Image from B&H Photo

On the left side of the hot-shoe, you have: the shutter speed dial, a dial lock in the middle, another dial around it that selects the Metering mode; there’s also a View Mode dial (that goes between EVF and LCD) on the side of the hot-shoe hump, there’s the exposure compensation dial, there’s the movie record button, there’s the Fn2/WiFi button, and of course the shutter release button. The power switch is in front of the shutter button. And I think that covers the top panel

On the back are the rest of the main controls. Next to the EVF, there are two buttons: Delete and Playback. On the right of the EVF, there are three more: AE Lock, AF Lock, and the rear command dial

Image from B&H Photo

Image from B&H Photo

On the right side of the LCD, there are: Focus Assist; the Q menu button, which opens the Q menu, but can also open a custom menu by doing a press/hold; the Display/Back button; the Selector buttons, all of which can be customized; and the Menu/OK button in the middle

Job done!

Oh wait, there’s the front! And there’s more here. Just in front of the shutter button/power switch, on the front, is where the main command dial is. Nicely placed for your right forefinger. Just below that is the Fn1 button. And below that is the lens release button. On the opposite side of the lens, there’s the focus selector switch. And NOW I’m done

Performance

Well, I think, being the new flagship of the X-series, the X-T1 should be a fine performer. Sure, it has the same sensor and processor as the X-E2, and while that performs well in most areas, the AF speed wasn’t that stunning; but the X-T1 is supposed to do a lot of things faster than the X-E2 even with the same processor/sensor – maybe there’s more to it than what meets the eye!

But yeah, the X-T1 does claim very fast focusing. Yes, Fujifilm has claimed this sort of thing before – setting up perfect test circumstances, getting super-fast focus in these circumstances, and claiming this sort of speeds in all circumstances – but I think this time they really mean it. I don’t know why but I’m confidently expecting fast focusing with the X-T1. It just looks the part, doesn’t it? Let’s see

The processor – yes, the same EXR II – seems to be faster on the X-T1 – so expect shutter lag and power-on times to be very short

Burst shooting is rated at 8fps, which is extremely rapid. DSLR-like, if you ask me

And that’s about it. Overall, it looks to be a very good performer. I can’t tell you this for sure, not until I try it out, but everything sounds like it’ll be very quick. From power-on time to shutter lag, from the refresh rate of the EVF to the AF system, from the burst rate to shot-to-shot speed, it all looks really snappy. Let’s hope it actually is. I’m expecting big things from the X-T1

NOTE: As usual, I don’t discuss image quality because there’s nothing to go by at this time. That’s what I do in my full reviews. But from what the X-Trans II and EXR II and the XF lenses have done in the past, I’m expecting nothing short of stellar image quality. As good as the X-E1/X-E2/X-Pro1 or possibly better

Conclusion

And yeah, that’s the new flagship of the X-series – the Fujifilm X-T1 – in a nutshell. What do you all think about it?

Me, I think it looks amazing. It’s weather-sealed. It’s probably built like a tank. It’s got this amazing, large, FAST EVF. It’s supposed to be fast – in every way. It looks beautiful. The controls are complete, comprehensive, and very customizable. I didn’t mention it much earlier, but it does have built-in WiFi. And most importantly, it’s not THAT expensive (for a top-of-the-line camera, at least). What’s not to like?!

Of course, this is mostly on paper – specs and photographs. Nothing more. But knowing Fujifilm, apart from the performance aspect, which slightly disappoints when comparing specs to reality, everything is usually as good as it looks. So that’s what I’m expecting. I’m also hoping that Fuji finally comes good in the AF department and gives us something that focuses rapidly. That’s the only area I still have my doubts, although I feel fairly good it, for some reason, and I’m excited about it overall

Buy the Fujifilm X-T1 from Amazon

Or Buy the Fujifilm X-T1 from B&H Photo


Yeah – that’s all I have for you on the brand-new Fujifilm X-T1. If you have anything to add, please leave a comment. Questions? Comment! And of course, please use my links when pre-ordering/buying this, or any other, camera – it always makes a difference. Thanks for reading. Until next time

By Heshan Jayakody
All content in this post is my own, except where noted. Images from B&H Photo and Fujifilm
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Discussion

9 Responses to “Fujifilm X-T1: First Look”

  1. It is a great looking retro style camera. The best from Fujifilm at the moment

    Posted by Torben Christiansen | January 29, 2014, 16:31
  2. klasse kamera ziemlich beeindruckend.Ich hoffe, es führt so gut wie es aussieht

    Posted by nikolas | January 31, 2014, 03:47
  3. That looks pretty awesome! Which lens comes with it, is it a new one or the same XF zoom? Either way it looks very nice. A bit pricey but I guess worth it :))

    Posted by Jude | February 2, 2014, 16:56
    • Yeah, it does look awesome, doesn’t it? I guess it’s not cheap, but for what it is – Fuji’s current flagship, in my opinion – it’s not a bad price…the X-Pro1 cost a lot more when it was new! It comes with the same XF 18-55mm lens, or body-only. No new standard zoom – yet

      Posted by pixelogist | February 3, 2014, 10:04
  4. Looks good. But I wonder how the sub-dials (is that what they can be called) how they work? Looks to be a bit fiddly to me, being under another dial, will it be easy to use? Maybe it’ll be better if it were a touchscreen without all these complex dials and stuff. Easier to use. Still, looks quite nice

    Posted by Andrew Booth | February 4, 2014, 15:47
    • The dials you’re talking about actually look rather easy to use. In front of the main dial, there’s a little tab that you move with your forefinger. It’s not like you need to turn the second dial with two fingers or something. I feel it’ll be pretty practical. And I always prefer physical controls to touchscreen

      Posted by pixelogist | February 4, 2014, 18:58

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