Robin Schimko | Hochzeitsfotograf | Heidelberg |Mannheim | Stuttgart | Heilbronn | Süddeutschland | bundesweit | Schweiz » Blog zum Thema Fotografie, Technik und meiner Hochzeitsfotografie und meinen Hochzeitsreportagen

Fuji X-T1 Review

Since Fuji came out with their X100, the retro styling has become very popular and other manufacturers have followed them. Cameras like the X100(s), X-Pro1 and of course the X-E series had the look and feel of old-school rangefinder bodies. Fuji did their homework quite well and photographers all over the world gave them credit for trying something new and I am pretty sure there are many people out there who just bought a Fuji camera because of their design.

Then Olympus took that same approach but put it in a different package. Their OM-D E-M5 was the first digital interchangeable lens camera that looked like a classic SLR back from the days where photography was all about selecting the right film rather than pixel peeping and complaining about autofocus issues.Because of its popularity, Olympus extended their OM-D camera line-up, and there are now three models available.

Now the originator of the retro trend strikes back with their brand new X-T1. But what are the pros and cons of the new Fuji and is it worth buying? Initial reviews have been very positive and it looked like the perfect camera, but I am not buying that until I get my own hands on one.

So, here is my take on the Fuji X-T1 after using it for 10 days now. The following review is not about telling you what the specs of this camera are, it’s more about usability and what to expect when taking it out on the streets. All words written here are reflecting my opinion only and that might not fit your style of shooting, please keep that in mind. Of course, I am going to try to be as objective as possible.

Fuji X-T1

 Fuji X-T1 + 23mm f/1.4 in my eyes a very well balanced combo.

Design & Build:

Well, the first moment I took the camera out of the box it felt solid and well-built and it absolutely is. The design is very straight forward with no buttons or dials where you don’t need them. In my eyes Fuji definitely nailed it when it comes to SLR-like retro design. The body is small, but at the same time fits nicely in the hands. The grip could be a little bigger, but they sell an additional one that gives it a little more depth and, more importantly, a place for the pinky to rest on. I like that approach, because not everyone wants a bigger grip and if you do, there’s an option for you.

The dials and buttons give you direct access to the most important adjustments, so you won’t need to go to the menu that often. And the dials on top feel very sturdy and well made, something I can’t say about the buttons nor the front- and rear wheels. They feel absolutely cheap and I don’t like them at all. Further below I’ll will explain my complaints more detailed.

Also the Fn/Wi-Fi button, which is positioned just next to the exposure compensation dial, is very tough to reach during a shooting session. For me that’s no big deal, but that might not be the case for someone else.

Of course, the Fuji X-T1 doesn’t set a new standard for build-quality, but overall I would consider it to be pretty decent. Nevertheless, the design is absolutely gorgeous even though I am more the rangerfinder-type of guy and would love to see a X-E3 with the guts of the X-T1.

Fuji X-T1 Review (5)

Here is the new X-T1 next to the rangefinder styled X-E1. The new beast looks nice, but I still prefer the rangefinder look of the X-E line-up.

Things I do not like:

Fuji X-T1 Review (2)

All the buttons are fairly small and feel kind of mushy when pressed. That is something I really don’t understand since Fuji was able to make better ones on previous cameras. Especially for someone with large hands this could be a bummer.

Fuji X-T1 Review (3)

Front and rear dials are poorly designed, could stick out a little more, are slippery and feel very plasticky.

Fuji X-T1 Review (4)

The four way controller on the X-T1 (left) doesn’t meet the quality standard of a camera at this price point, the one on the X-E1 (right) is much better even though it’s made of plastic too.

Features:

The biggest improvement and one of the killer-features is the newly designed high-res viewfinder, which of course is an EVF, but it’s huge and a joy to use. Set it side by side to a previous Fuji camera and you will see a huge difference, but compared to an Olympus E-M1 the difference is only subtle. I will do an in-depth comparison between those two cameras in my next blog-post. The Fuji’s EVF has a very high refresh rate and in good lighting conditions you won’t notice any lag. In low light the refresh rate drops dramatically and the displayed image becomes somewhat grainy. What I like the most about this EVF is not its sheer size, it’s the fact that you can change the view mode to a magnified loupe view while retaining the full image next to it. Especially for manual focus this is absolutely gorgeous and makes legacy glass a joy to use on the X-T1. Obviously the same feature is available for the display as well.

Usually, on mirrorless cameras there is the option to use either the EVF or the rear screen and most cameras also feature an eye-sensor that will switch between both options. On the X-T1 it’s also possible to use the EVF only and let the eye-sensor decide when to turn it on or off. This feature will help you save power and that is a good thing since the battery life is only average.

Besides the EVF there is one particular thing I absolutely love and that is the shutter sound. I know it’s not important, but it sounds very muted and I just love it. On the downside Fuji wasn’t kind enough to give us 1/8000 of a second, which absolutely makes no sense at all, especially if you take into consideration all the fast primes they offer. Even in the winter I have to bring a neutral density filter with me all the time, if I want to shoot with a wide open aperture during daytime.

On older X-Bodies it was very inconvenient to change the autofocus points. You always needed to press a certain button before switching to a different point. Unfortunately they kept that flaw, but at least you are now able to configure each button on the four way controller separately. That being said, if you don’t need fast access to “macro mode”, “white balance” etc. just assign “focus area” to each of them and you’re good to go. You’ll still have to press one button first to change the focus point, but at least you can press the one you would use anyway. I would love to see Fuji giving us the option of direct control over the focus area via firmware-update.

Autofocus:

Fuji x-cameras are not famous for their autofocus performance and their competition was always at least one step ahead. Coming from an X100s I was totally shocked the first time I used a micro four thirds camera and it was hard to believe how quickly these cameras are able to focus. Now with their X-T1, Fuji says that it has the world’s fastest AF among digital cameras equipped with an APS-C or larger sensor. That’s a very bold statement and it would mean that the X-T1 plays in the same league as high end DSLR Bodies.  It’s hard to believe, isn’t it?

Personally I don’t care much about AF-C, for me all that matters is AF-S performance. Since I got the X-T1 I have mainly used it with the 23/1.4 and I would say AF speed is decent and it seems a little faster than the X100s but it’s certainly not the world’s fastest autofocus. To speed things up, you can use a larger focus area, but for my style of shooting it’s not suitable. Of course, the results differ depending on the lens you use. The 18/2 or 27/2.8 are much more snappy and I guess the 18-55 will be quicker too, but don’t expect lightning fast AF like you get when using a Olympus OM-D E-M1 for instance.

In low light the AF will slow down and it will hunt from time to time, but overall it seems to be accurate.

I have to say that I need to use the X-T1 a little longer to give a proper verdict on the AF performance.

Image Quality:

Well, it’s the same sensor as in the X100s which I reviewed last year, so the image quality is on par with that one. The only exception is the sharpness of the images, which is determined by the lens in front of the camera. Therefore a good prime should give you better resolution and sharpness over the X100s with its fixed lens, which already delivers very good results. Other than that, the quality this sensors delivers is as good as it gets. The dynamic range is very useful and pushing files up to three stops can be done without a major loss in quality. Only highlight recovery is just average, but that’s rather standard with modern camera sensors. The colors the x-trans sensor delivers are gorgeous and especially the skin-tones are to fall in love with.

If you’re wondering about the video quality of the X-T1, let me tell you that it’s not good. Actually it’s so bad that serious video shooters shouldn’t even consider the X-T1 or any other resent Fuji X-Camera!

Using Flash:

The X100s is a joy to use with flash, you’re able to sync up to 1/4000 of a second which makes it a really powerful tool for flash shooters. The Fuji X-T1 will give you only 1/180 since it has no leaf-shutter. You can go up to 1/250, but the exposure won’t be even which isn’t that bad and can be fixed in post-production. Unfortunately there are no TTL capable wireless transmitters available to date.

Final Thoughts:

Well, it’s fairly simple to summarize my findings about the X-T1. In the end it’s rather an evolution of the X-E2, wrapped in a different body, than a game changer taking over the camera world. For me, the biggest advantage is the new high-res viewfinder, which I would love to see in a X-E3. The autofocus is improved, but still lacks responsiveness compared to the competition. This might not be true for AF-C performance, but that is something I don’t care much about. The image quality hasn’t changed at all and is still very good. Video quality is still poor, so nothing has changed there either.

Even though it’s not a game changer, I really like the X-T1 and I am looking forward to using it more often this year.

 This is how I would love to see the X-T1:

– new sensor, 24MP, improved ISO performance and dynamic range

– 1/8000 fastest shutter speed

– native ISO100

– better quality buttons and dials

– direct AF area selection

– 1/320 (or faster) flash sync

– much quicker AF-S

– longer battery life

Since I also have an Olympus OM-D E-M1 I will do an in depth comparison between those two cameras in my next blogpost next week.

 

Image Gallery:

Fuji X-T1 Review

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-800, 30s, tripod

1-3

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/4000, with polarizer to cut down the light

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(25)

58mm (Voigtlaender 58/1.4), f/2.0, ISO-200, 1/250, nd-filter, studio strobe

Fuji X-T1 Review (7)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/4000

Fuji X-T1 Review (8)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/250, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (9)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/160, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (10)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/750, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (6)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-800, 1/80s

Fuji X-T1 Review (11)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/2000, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (12)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/640, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (13)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/320, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (14)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/280, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (15)

23mm, f/1.6, ISO-200, 1/280, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (24)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/800, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (16)

23mm, f/1.6, ISO-200, 1/400, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (18)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/320, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (19)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/90, nd-filter

Fuji X-T1 Review (20)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/120, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(25)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/750, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(26)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/950, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(27)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/680, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(28)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/850, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(29)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/950, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(30)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/900, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(31)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/640, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(32)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/320, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(33)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/180, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(34)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-640, 1/80

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(35)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-1600, 1/80

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(36)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-3200, 1/50

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(37)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/1600, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(38)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/1250, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(39)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/500, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(40)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/1500, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(41)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/250, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(42)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/850, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(43)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/2000, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(44)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/950, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(45)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/1000, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(46)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/750, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(47)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/4000, nd-filter

Fuji-X-T1-Review-(48)

23mm, f/1.4, ISO-200, 1/250, nd-filter




I hope you enjoyed my review. If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I will try to answer them as soon as possible. And of course smack the like button!

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  • Leigh Miller - März 4, 2014 - 20:53

    Thanks for the quick review!ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 5, 2014 - 14:51

      Thank you Leigh! :)ReplyCancel

  • Michael - März 5, 2014 - 07:31

    Sehr schöne Bilder. Da sieht man mal, dass man auch bei trübem deutschen Wetter und selbst mit griesgrämigen Menschen tolle Fotos machen kann. Wie machst Du das mit den Strassenfotos? Fragst Du die Leute vorher? Ich trau mich da nie. Wie sind denn die Reaktionen?ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 5, 2014 - 14:52

      Hallo Michael, freut mich, dass dir die Fotos gefallen. :) Frage so gut wie nie, da sonst die Spontanität des Momentes verloren gehen würde. In der Regel gibts aber keine Probleme, viele merken es auch nicht mal.ReplyCancel

  • Chen - März 5, 2014 - 12:42

    Fantastic images!!!
    You managed to create an atmosphere that make me want to create a background story for these characters, where they come from and where they are going. Very rare treat!

    love the ND images especially.

    May i ask about the post processing you used to get these colours?
    Are these some stock presets for Lightroom or your own tweaks?

    ChenReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 5, 2014 - 15:01

      Thanks for your kind words Chen! The post was all done in Lightroom after converting the files in Camera RAW. (That’s no native RAW support in LR yet)
      The presets I use are my own tweaks.ReplyCancel

  • Aaron - März 5, 2014 - 13:27

    Great images there with the 23mm lens. Could you let me know what strength ND filter you’re using? I need to get a couple for my set up and interested to know what people are using.ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 5, 2014 - 15:02

      Hey Aaron, I used a ND8 Filter.ReplyCancel

  • Rainer - März 5, 2014 - 20:49

    Sehr schöne Bilder! Derzeit stehe ich vor der Entscheidung, zwischen der Olympus OM-D E-M1 und der Fuji X-T1 wählen zu müssen. Beide haben ihre Vor- und Nachteile. Freue mich deshalb auf den Vergleich. Beim ersten Anschauen eines Vorführmodells der X-T1 im Geschäft ist mir aufgefallen, dass der Bildschirm beim Speichern längere Zeit dunkel bleibt. Ist das “normal” oder hat nur die Einstellung nicht gestimmt? Der Verkäufer wusste leider keine Antwort…ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 6, 2014 - 09:21

      Hallo Rainer, danke für deinen Kommentar! Kann ich mir nicht erklären, vielleicht war eine langsame Speicherkarte drin?ReplyCancel

  • Howard - März 6, 2014 - 06:11

    Amazing images!ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 6, 2014 - 09:21

      Thank you Howard!ReplyCancel

  • […] Review at fotodesign here: “Well, it’s fairly simple to summarize my findings about the X-T1. In the end it’s […]ReplyCancel

  • V. Opoku - März 6, 2014 - 09:22

    Lovely set of images Robin, that’ first image is amazing!!
    V.ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 6, 2014 - 09:25

      Thank you Vincent. Nice work on your website!ReplyCancel

  • matt - März 7, 2014 - 11:40

    Beautiful photos.ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 15, 2014 - 15:39

      Thanks Matt!ReplyCancel

  • Jason - März 8, 2014 - 04:32

    Lovely images. Do you use an in-camera film simulation?ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 15, 2014 - 15:40

      Hey Jason, I shoot RAW only!ReplyCancel

  • Andrew - März 11, 2014 - 08:51

    Hi Robin,

    Love your review! I myself use an Olympus EM1 and I love your review for both cameras.

    I am loving the street images you have taken with the XT-1, especially the colors and dynamic range!

    May I ask how did you PP your images? Also what software are you using to do so? Love post processing that brings out a lot of detail (almost HDR-like) especially seen in the following images:

    5 guys in safety vests overlooking the town
    Sailor cap guy holding a tissue
    Guy in blue jacket checking his phone
    Kid with a flag during a parade.ReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 15, 2014 - 15:43

      Thanks Andrew! The X-T1 images were processed in LR after hacking the EXIF Data, since there is still no native support for the X-T1 files.ReplyCancel

      • Marco - April 8, 2014 - 09:24

        Did you use a editor like Nik Colorefex or VSCO or did you do all the post processing in LR ?ReplyCancel

        • Robin - April 8, 2014 - 11:16

          Hi Marco, I did it all in Lightroom.ReplyCancel

  • Joakim Lloyd Raboff - März 26, 2014 - 03:51

    Thanks for the well-balanced review. Everyone in the review space is raving about this camera. Too much hype.

    I’ve really enjoyed about a year with x100s for documentary shoots. AF is still way to slow and I was thinking that there might be a firmware update around the corner that would hopefully increase speed a bit.

    I’m considering the X-T1 for the faster and continous AF. Would love to hear what your experience is with moving subjects and action shots.

    In regards to speed, the X-T1 will of course never comapare with the 5D3 that I use for commerical work. But for personal projects and editorial assignments, it would be a substantial improvement with a smaller pack of gear to lug around.

    Thanks,
    JoakimReplyCancel

    • Robin - März 26, 2014 - 11:23

      Hi Joakim, the XT-1 seem to have an improved af over the x100s but not by much. When it comes to single af my Olympus E-M1 is much faster and more reliable. Haven’t tried c-af yet since
      I usually don’t use it. But I am still happy with the results I get out of the Fuji and I am looking forward to use for weddings and other stuff that is in the pipeline.ReplyCancel

  • Jesper Lind - April 4, 2014 - 05:28

    Hi Robin…

    Thank you for the review, I currently use the OMD-em5 and have been thinking about upgrading to either the Fuji or then going all the way to the OMD-EM1. So will await your future comparison of those two :)

    Your review was well balanced so that you for that and then a bigger thanks for all those great shots, hard not to admire your “eye”.

    Since im still a beginner big time I would like to ask about the use of the Nd-Filter, im surprised to find it being used in quite a large share of your photos, may I ask the strength, to get some further inspiration.

    All that being said I just want to say thank you once again and please continue with these lovely shots :DReplyCancel

    • Robin - April 4, 2014 - 10:30

      Thank you Jesper! :)ReplyCancel

  • Mark S photography - April 4, 2014 - 23:37

    Dude,

    Great photos here. But in regards to the AF, I can say it’s pretty darn fast man. You have to turn on the “high performance mode” in the power settings (see menu). Cheers!ReplyCancel

    • Robin - April 5, 2014 - 09:55

      Thank you Mark! High performance mode is enabled since the first day, but it’s still no match for the E-M1.ReplyCancel

  • gromit - Juli 5, 2014 - 07:21

    Moin Robin,

    hier isr der gromit aus dem DSLR- und Nikonforum.

    Tolle Bilder sind das, und zudem schön, manche Ecken wiederzuerkennen.

    Hab mir jetzt als Ablösung für die S5pro die X-T1 geholt, bin aber noch nicht sicher, ob ich sie behalte. Olympus ist leider bisher keine Alternative für mich, deren Farbdarstellung gefällt mir überhaupt nicht. Bei der X-T1 bin ich auf Pro Neg. Std. und Farbe auf -2 gegangen, dann sehen die Farben gefällig aus, aber ob man die Olys auch so einstellen kann? AF und Handling sind nicht schlecht, selbst die kleine E-M10 gefiel mir da gut.ReplyCancel

    • Robin - Juli 7, 2014 - 20:20

      Hey Gromit, schön dich hier zu treffen. :)
      Du fotografierst ausschließlich in JPEG? Verwende selbst nur RAW und die Farben sind da kein Problem. Mit Lightroom geht das mittlerweile sehr gut und wenn man sich Presets erstellt, dann
      geht das alles auch sehr schnell.ReplyCancel

  • Andrej - August 3, 2014 - 18:31

    Hi! When we can expect X-t1 vs. E-M1 review? Or maybe I missed your post on your blog? Thx!ReplyCancel

    • Robin - September 14, 2014 - 09:54

      Hi Andrej, I haven’t posted it yet since I am really busy these days, but I am still planing to do so!ReplyCancel

  • Frank - August 11, 2014 - 13:09

    Hallo Robin,
    bin seit heute ebenfalls stolzer Besitzer einer X-T1 und beim Recherchieren auf Dein Review gestoßen. Die von Dir erstellten Fotos sind sehr beeindruckend. Ich gehe mal davon aus die sind nicht ooc sondern mit Lightroom bearbeitet? Welchen ND-Filter setzt du denn ein und hat dieser große Bedeutung für die Art der Farbwiedergabe (habe noch nie mit ND-Filter gearbeitet)?ReplyCancel

    • Robin - September 14, 2014 - 09:57

      Hi Frank! Als ND Filter setze ich einen 8x (ND 0.9) Filter. Die Farbwiedergabe resultiert hauptsächlich aus meiner Bearbeitung in Lightroom. Der ND Filter in dieser Stärke hat keine so großen Auswirkungen darauf.ReplyCancel

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