Fujifilm X-T1 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-T1|
|Kit Lens:||3.06x zoom
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Dimensions:||5.1 x 3.5 x 1.8 in.
(129 x 90 x 47 mm)
|Weight:||27.2 oz (770 g)
includes batteries, kit lens
Fuji X-T1 Review -- Now Shooting
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted: 01/27/2014
If you've been holding off on buying a Fujifilm X-series mirrorless camera because you weren't a fan of the rangefinder-like form factor, it may be time to reevaluate your decision. The 16.3-megapixel Fuji X-T1 compact system camera takes the X-series in a brand-new direction, ergonomically speaking, and it's aimed at SLR shooters who've so far not made the jump to mirrorless.
Until now, whether they've been based around a hybrid viewfinder, an electronic viewfinder, or no viewfinder at all, Fuji's X-series cameras have all shared a fairly similar, street shooter-friendly form factor and ergonomics. The Fuji T1 takes a different tack, aiming to bring SLR fans into the mirrorless fold with styling that makes them feel more at home -- right down to the pentaprism-esque hump on the top deck.
Look inside the X-T1, though, and you won't find a pentaprism. This is a mirrorless camera through and through; your framing will be done either on the LCD monitor, or on the built-in electronic viewfinder. And oh, what an EVF it is!
Fujifilm clearly recognized that if it wanted to make converts of SLR owners, it needed to provide a compelling argument for the death of the optical viewfinder. Sitting nearer the horizontal center of the body than in the company's rangefinder-like X-series models, the Fuji X-T1's newly-developed, Organic LED-based finder provides both the highest-magnification and the shortest update lag of any compact system camera to date, according to Fujifilm.
As well as the viewfinder, the Fuji X-T1's magnesium body plays host to a profusion of external, manual controls that will doubtless draw comparisons to the Nikon Df, a full-frame digital SLR with a similarly retro aesthetic. And like that camera -- but unlike all of its X-series mirrorless brethren -- the Fuji T1 is fully weather-sealed. It's also freeze and dust-resistant.
At the heart of the Fujifilm X-T1, right behind its X-mount, sits much the same 16.3-megapixel, X-Trans image sensor complete with on-chip phase detection autofocus pixels seen previously in the Fuji X-E2. That yields the same incredibly swift, manufacturer-claimed 0.08-second autofocus response time, but the ISO sensitivity range is even greater than before, thanks to refined circuitry. The X-T1 is capable of shooting at sensitivities from ISO 100 to 51,200 equivalents. It's not just AF that's fast, either: The X-T1 is able to shoot at a whopping eight frames per second.
It's also the first compact system camera that's compatible with UHS-II flash cards, which are even faster than their UHS-I SD predecessors. And Fujifilm has worked on its Wi-Fi connectivity, improving it with support for remote shooting and the ability to adjust most settings remotely as well.
In many respects, the Fuji X-T1 could be seen as a new flagship for the X-series. As you can see, it sports many new features not seen in the X-series before now. Fujifilm tells us that X-Pro1 continues as flagship of the line, though, even if in some ways it's bested by the young upstart. The X-T1, we're told, slots into Fuji's lineup directly above the X-E2.
Available from February 2014, the Fujifilm X-T1 is priced at around US$1,300 body-only. A kit version bundling a non-weather sealed 18-55mm XF lens will be available at the same time, priced at around US$1,700.
A variety of new accessories are also promised, including a weather-sealed vertical battery grip with duplicate controls for portrait-orientation shooting, a hand grip, an all-leather case, and more. Pricing and availability for the accessories hadn't been disclosed at press time.
Without any further ado, let's take a look around the Fuji X-T1's brand-new body.
Walkaround. As mentioned, the Fujifilm X-T1's body is comprehensively sealed for water and dust resistance, and is also freezeproof to -14°F. Constructed from die-cast magnesium and aluminum alloy, the body includes a total of some 75 weather seals throughout. The top deck is covered by an array of dials, two of them double-decked, and CNC-milled from aluminum. On the rear, the LCD monitor is overlaid by a tempered glass panel for added protection.
Seen from the front, controls include a dial tucked into the top of the hand grip, as well as a programmable function button -- one of six found on the body -- plus the lens-mount release button and focus mode selector switch.
There's also an autofocus assist lamp adjacent to the top of the handgrip, and directly across the top of the lens mount, a flash sync terminal.
Moving to the top deck, we get a better look at all those many dials, which make it quick and easy to confirm the camera's setup without needing to resort to a power-hungry LCD monitor.
On the left shoulder sits an ISO sensitivity dial, above a drive mode dial which we'll see better from the rear of the camera, momentarily. Note that as well as positions from ISO 200 to 6400 equivalents, plus L (100), H1 (12,800), and H2 (25,600) positions, an A (Auto) position lets the camera take control of this variable.
Moving right a little, there's a diopter correction dial on the left flank of the viewfinder housing, and at its top sits a flash hot shoe. The other side of the viewfinder housing is home to a viewfinder button, used to switch between the electronic viewfinder and LCD monitor. Viewfinder switching can also be accomplished automatically, as we'll see in a moment.
Finally, the right shoulder of the Fuji X-T1 is jam-packed with controls. Starting just right of the viewfinder hump, we have the shutter speed control, offering everything from 1/4,000 to one second plus Time, Bulb, and Auto. (There's also a specific marking for the 1/180 second flash sync speed.) This dial sits wedding-cake style above a metering mode dial, and just to its right are a function button and a +/-3.0 EV exposure compensation dial with fixed 1/3 EV steps.
In front of the exposure compensation dial is a movie record button, and just left of that is the shutter button encircled by an on/off switch.
From the rear, first of all note the drive mode and metering mode dials, mentioned previously and sitting beneath other top-deck dials.
Moving down onto the rear of the camera proper, and starting at left above the LCD, we have the delete and playback buttons just left of the viewfinder, as well as the auto-exposure lock button to its right. There's then a second control dial, and the autofocus lock button sits at very top right.
Lining the rightmost side of the LCD monitor are the focus assist and quick menu buttons, the four-way control pad with central menu / OK button, and the display / back button.
There's also a nicely protruding thumbgrip at top right, helping to give a solid purchase on the camera when shooting single-handed.
There's not a whole lot to see at left which we haven't already covered, but this shot nicely shows off the tilting LCD monitor, which can face upwards or downwards, but can't be seen from in front of the camera for self-portraits.
You can also better see the diopter correction dial on the left of the viewfinder hump, and the access panel for the connectivity compartment lines the left side of the camera body.
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Fuji X-T1 Review -- Technical Info
by Mike Tomkins
Sensor. At the heart of the Fujifilm X-T1 compact system camera sits the very same 16.3-megapixel, APS-C sized, X-Trans CMOS II image sensor seen previously in the Fuji X-E2. Total resolution is 16.7 megapixels, and the chip has dimensions of 23.6 x 15.6mm.
Compared to a standard CMOS imager with Bayer color filter array, X-Trans chips better resist moiré and false color artifacts, allowing Fujifilm to remove the resolution-robbing optical low-pass filter. The latest-generation X-Trans CMOS II sensors add on-chip phase detection pixels, improving autofocus performance in the process.
An ultrasonic vibration system is included to remove dust from the image sensor.
Processor. Output from the image sensor is handled by Fuji's EXR Processor II, which is also featured in the X-E2.
Performance. Performance of the pairing is, according to Fujifilm, just a little faster than in that camera, however. The Fuji X-T1 is said to be capable of shooting eight full-resolution frames per second with motion-predictive, tracking autofocus, up from 7 fps in the X-E2.
Autofocus is also swift, with a manufacturer-rated response time of just 0.08 seconds when using the XF14mm F2.8 R lens in High Performance mode, a figure that's unchanged from the earlier camera. Shutter lag is rated at 0.05 seconds, and startup time is said to be 0.5 seconds with the XF27mm F2.8 lens in High Performance mode.
It's worth noting, though, that in this mode the camera isn't truly "starting up", but rather awakening from sleep. Assuming the same timing as in earlier models, the X-T1 will continue to burn through its battery -- albeit at a reduced rate -- for as long as 24 minutes after it is switched off. If the threshold is exceeded, the camera will not continue to drain its battery, but will take a longer, unspecified time to start up.
ISO. Although both sensor and processor are unchanged, the Fujifilm X-T1 extracts better high-ISO performance than does the X-E2, according to its maker. This is said to have been achieved thanks to a redesigned circuit board which, presumably, induces lower noise during readout.
The result is a sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 6400 equivalents, expandable to encompass everything from ISO 100 to 51,200 equivalents.
There's also an Auto ISO function, and you can specify an upper limit on sensitivity between ISO 400 and 6400 equivalents.
Electronic viewfinder. The huge news about the Fuji X-T1 -- literally -- is its electronic viewfinder.
For one thing, it has the highest magnification seen on any digital camera to date, besting even the Olympus E-M1. That camera, by way of comparison, has a 0.74x magnification, whereas the Fuji X-T1's finder boasts 0.77x magnification. (The figure is said to be measured with a 50mm-equivalent lens set to infinity at -1 diopters.)
For another, it's not just big but also fast. According to Fujifilm, it has a viewfinder lag of just 0.005 seconds, a figure our inner geeks are already getting excited about verifying in the lab. ;-) According to Fujifilm, that's less than 1/10th the lag of existing models, and is achieved by displaying the live view feed on the viewfinder at the same time that subsequent pixels are being read from the sensor.
The viewfinder is based around an Organic LED monitor with a resolution of some 2.36 million dots. (That equates to roughly a 1,024 x 768 pixel array, with separate red, green, and blue dots for each pixel.) Angle of view is 38 degrees diagonally, and 31 degrees horizontally.
User interface. To make best advantage of the new electronic viewfinder, Fuji has also reworked its graphical user interface. There are, depending upon how you look at these things, somewhere between three and five operating modes.
In Full mode, the viewfinder shows shooting information above and below the live view image, to avoid distraction when framing. Normal mode shows more shooting information, but some of this is overlaid on the live view image. Dual mode adds a second, smaller display that is zoomed in to show focus peaking highlights or a digital split-image effect at the point of manual focus, helping you get your subject sharp while keeping tabs on framing. And finally, both full and normal modes can rearrange themselves appropriately during portrait framing.
Monitor. Having a great electronic viewfinder is a big deal for DSLR shooters making the leap to mirrorless, but there will always be times when you'll need to use the LCD instead, whether it's shooting from an awkward angle, or just chimping your shots with family and friends.
The Fuji X-T1 has a 3.0-inch LCD monitor with 1.04-million dot resolution, equating to some 720 x 480 pixels with three dots per pixel.
The display is overlaid with tempered glass to help protect from minor knocks and scratches. That's harder and more scratch-resistant than plastic and non-tempered glass, but not as strong as the Gorilla Glass or Sapphire Glass used in a handful of cameras.
Tilting mechanism. The Fuji X-T1's display is articulated, and can tilt upwards or downwards. We don't have a precise spec for either direction, as yet, but do know that the screen can't be viewed from in front of the camera, and nor can it be folded inwards for protection as in some tilt/swivel designs.
Optics. Fuji's X-mount lens lineup is quickly maturing, with quite a generous selection of very nice optics already on offer -- especially if you're a prime shooter -- and much more promised over the next couple of years. Ten lenses are already available, with two more expected to arrive imminently. Among those are seven primes (six shipping), and five zooms (four shipping.)
And if that's not enough to get you going, another five optics (four zooms and a prime) were recently promised on Fuji's X-mount lens roadmap, which covers the next two years or thereabouts. More details about three of these lenses were revealed alongside the Fujifilm X-T1, and all are promised during 2014. These include the XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, XF16-55mm F2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mm F2.8 R OIS WR -- the first three weather-sealed X-mount optics on offer.
Clearly, given the weather-sealed body, these three optics represent the most versatile pairing, but if you don't need weather sealing, you have (or will soon have) around 16 lenses to choose from.
In-camera Lens Modulation Optimizer technology will, says Fuji, maximize each lens’ performance.
Focusing. We've already touched on the Fuji X-T1's autofocus system, but briefly, this is much the same as in the previous X-E2. It's a hybrid system coupling both contrast detection and phase detection, with the latter using information derived from PDAF pixels on the image sensor itself.
Fuji rates the system as capable of a 0.08 second autofocus response time with the XF14mm F2.8 R lens in High Performance mode, and claims it to be the fastest in its market segment.
You can, of course, focus manually too -- and should you choose to do so, Fuji includes both focus peaking and its clever digital split image function to help you get the shot with focus where you want it.
Exposure. Available exposure modes in the Fuji X-T1 include Program, Aperture-priority, Shutter-priority, and Manual. As befits a camera aimed at enthusiasts and experienced photographers, there are no hand-holding scene or Auto modes here.
Metering. Metering modes are selected with a physical dial on the X-T1's top deck, and include 256-zone TTL Multi, Average, and Spot.
Shutter. Shutter speeds range from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, and are set with a physical dial. They're controlled with a focal plane shutter, and in addition to these speeds, you can also opt for Time or Bulb exposures, with the latter confined to a one-hour exposure or less.
X-sync is at 1/180 second or slower.
Flash. The Fuji X-T1 doesn't include a built-in flash, but again, that's not surprising given the target market. (And nor is there really space for one.)
What it does feature is a hot shoe and sync terminal, and an included EF-X8 flash strobe sits in that hot shoe. It has a guide number of 8 meters at ISO 100.
Flash modes include Auto, On, Off, Slow-sync (first / second curtain), and commander. A red-eye reduction function is available.
Creative. Among the X-T1's creative options are an interval timer function, a selection of ten film simulation modes that recreate the look of various Fujifilm and generic film types on JPEG images, eight different digital filters, and a dynamic range control. You can also process raw images in-camera.
The interval timer function allows intervals between one second and 24 hours, and has a maximum limit of 999 frames.
Movies. The Fuji X-T1 can shoot Full HD 1080p (1920x1080) or HD 720p (1280x720) movies, both at frame rates of 60fps or 30fps using H.264 video compression with linear PCM stereo audio in a MOV container. To maximize creative expression, Fujifilm's classic film simulation settings can be applied during movie recording, and so can exposure compensation of ±2 EV.
Wireless networking. Fujifilm has included 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi wireless networking connectivity in the X-T1 compact system camera, and this allows remote live view and control from a compatible smartphone or tablet using the Fujifilm Camera Remote app.
The updated Wi-Fi functionality will now allow remote capture and settings control for most functions, including exposure (shutter, aperture, ISO sensitivity), white balance, flash mode, macro, and self-timer functions.
You can also transfer images to your smartphone or tablet, automatically save them to your PC, and piggyback off your phone's GPS to geotag images with their capture location. (The latter will, however, drain your phone's battery life.)
Connectivity. Fujifilm has also included several wired connectivity options in the X-T1 camera body. These include a Micro USB 2.0 High Speed data connection (also compatible with the optional RR-90 remote release cable), a Type-C Mini HDMI connector, and a 2.5mm stereo microphone jack. The latter also acts as a shutter release input.
Storage. An interesting first for the Fuji X-T1 is that it supports the latest UHS-II Secure Digital cards, which offer even higher transfer rates than the existing UHS-I high-speed cards. According to Fuji, no other compact system camera to date has included UHS-II support.
Fuji says transfer rates with UHS-II cards are approximately double those of conventional cards, and allow the X-T1 to review images simultaneously with writing the buffer memory to flash, so you don't have to hang around waiting to see your shots. Very cool!
Of course, higher-capacity SDHC and SDXC cards are also supported.
Power. The Fuji X-T1 draws power from an NP-W126 lithium-ion rechargeable battery, said to be good for 350 shots on a charge.
If you need longer -- or want better ergonomics for portrait-orientation shooting -- then an optional VG-XT1 vertical battery grip should be on your wishlist. With this installed, you'll be able to shoot 700 shots before needing to change batteries. Importantly, the grip is weather-sealed to the same standard as the X-T1 camera body.
Accessories. A variety of other accessories will be offered for the Fuji X-T1 camera. These include a non-powered MHG-XT hand grip, a dedicated all-leather BLC-XT1 case, a CP-W126 DC coupler, an AC-9V AC adapter, an MIC-ST1 stereo microphone, and a variety of flash strobes, filters, and adapters.
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