Fujifilm X-T1 Review
|Full model name:||Fujifilm X-T1|
(23.6mm x 15.6mm)
|Viewfinder:||EVF / LCD|
|Native ISO:||200 - 6400|
|Extended ISO:||100 - 51,200|
|Shutter:||1/32000 - 30 sec|
|Max Aperture:||2.8 (kit lens)|
5.1 x 3.5 x 1.8 in.
(129 x 90 x 47 mm)
includes batteries, kit lens
|Full specs:||Fujifilm X-T1 specifications|
The Fuji X-T1 is a great example of the retro genre. Don't let its surprisingly compact, vintage-styled body fool you, though: It's wrapped around cutting-edge technology, including a class-leading electronic viewfinder and Fuji's exclusive X-Trans sensor technology. The Fuji X-T1 also boasts blazing-fast performance and top-notch image quality, but is it the right camera for you? We roamed the continents in search of our answer. Read our in-depth Fuji X-T1 review, and find out if it's finally time to shelve your DSLR and join the mirrorless crowd!Pros
Excellent image quality; Solid, weather-sealed body; Retro design that actually makes sense in a digital camera; Very low viewfinder lag for single-servo shooting; Fast burst shooting with great buffer depths; In-camera Wi-Fi connectivityCons
Exposure compensation dial is easily bumped; Four-way controller buttons are hard to press; Significant viewfinder lag for burst shooting; No raw files above ISO 6,400; Default settings strongly limit JPEG dynamic rangePrice and availability
Available since 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 debuted at the same time, priced at around US$1,700. A variety of new accessories are also available, including a weather-sealed vertical battery grip with duplicate controls for portrait-orientation shooting, three hand grips of different sizes, a grip strap, an all-leather case, and more. From September 2014, the Fuji X-T1 is available in one additional kit, bundling Fujifilm's XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens for a total price of US$1,900, about US$300 below the combined list pricing for both lens and camera body when purchased separately. From December 2014, the X-T1 will also be offered body-only in a new color choice. The Fuji X-T1 Graphite Silver will also include a leather strap and aluminum hot-shoe cover to the kit bundle. It will also offer a high-speed electronic shutter function up to 1/32,000 second, a Natural Live View mode that will help with low-light framing by disabling exposure preview and film effects in the electronic viewfinder image, and a new Classic Chrome film simulation. (It isn't yet clear if these features will be added to the Black version at the same time.) List pricing for the Fuji X-T1 Graphite Silver is set at US$1,500, a premium of US$200 over the standard Black version.Imaging Resource rating
4.0 out of 5.0
From the Firmware Files: Stopped by our review to refamiliarize yourself with the X-T1 after a break, or just bought yourself a second-hand one? If so, you'll want to check to be sure that your firmware is up to date. There have been more than a few firmware updates since the Fuji X-T1 launched, the most recent of them just a couple of months ago (as of May 2017).
Want your whistle wetted with some of the new features you may find after upgrading? You can expect to gain access to a raft of brand-new functionality and tweaks, including dramatically improved autofocus with eye detection, both electronic shutter and intervalometer functions, user interface improvements, and support for new lenses and flash strobes. And that's just the start: There have been many dozens of new features added in the X-T1's life, not to mention a fair few bug fixes as well.
You'll find the full change log described in past Firmware Friday roundups, which you can find most easily by researching past Fuji X-T1 stories on Imaging Resource here. And be sure to watch our Firmware Friday series in future to keep up to date with all the latest firmware news!
Fuji X-T1 Review
by Mike Tomkins, Zig Weidelich and Dave Pardue
Preview posted: 01/27/2014
Last updated: 05/23/2017
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 X-T1 compact system camera takes the X-series in a brand-new direction, ergonomically speaking, with a design aimed at SLR shooters who've not yet made the jump to mirrorless.
Until the X-T1, 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 X-T1's newly-developed, Organic LED-based finder provides both the highest-magnification and the shortest update lag of any compact system camera before it, according to Fujifilm.
As well as the viewfinder, the 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 autofocus response time -- Fujifilm claims around 0.08-seconds, and our in-house testing was in the region of 0.14-0.15 seconds -- 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 just slightly more than a whopping eight frames per second.
The Fuji T1 is 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 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 an X-series camera 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.
Without any further ado, let's take a look around the 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 freeze-proof 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 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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Fujifilm X-T1 Field Test Part I
Bright lights, big city
To accompany the X-T1 body, I selected three lenses: the Fujinon XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS and Fujinon XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8 R LM OIS zooms, as well as the Fujinon XF35mmF1.4 R prime. The two zooms touched the bases for a broad coverage from wide-angle to telephoto, while the prime seemed ideal as a walkaround, street shooter lens.
Fujifilm X-T1 Field Test Part II
When the sun goes down...
My first introduction to low-light shooting with the X-T1, though, was something of an accident. Shortly before my trip, a sizeable Vietnamese cargo ship called the Sunrise Orient was wrecked on the island of Cheung Chau after its crew, fearing an imminent capsizing, abandoned ship with the engines still running. It struck me as a pretty unusual photo opportunity, and I set off in search of the wreck with an idea of what I wanted to shoot, but with no knowledge of precisely where the unmanned ship had eventually beached itself.
Fujifilm X-T1 Field Test Part III
Of hot rods and blimps...
And then my PC died, leaving me scrambling to repair it, and causing me to miss my planned sports shoot -- but fortunately there was a car show in town once I was done with the hassle of resurrecting Windows.
The Hot Rod Power Tour in Knoxville's Chilhowee Park promised lots of color and visual interest, but at first blush, not a lot of action. As it happened, though, I found a good spot from which to shoot near the exit to the car park as all the hot rods, classics, and not-quite-so-classics (including everything right down to the infamous Chevy Nova) were leaving for the day.
Fujifilm X-T1 Technical Insights
Let's have a look under the hood
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.
Fujifilm X-T1 Image Quality Comparison
See how the X-T1's IQ compares to similarly priced rivals
NOTE: These images are best quality JPEGs straight out of the camera, at default settings including noise reduction and using the camera's actual base ISO (not extended ISO settings). All cameras in this comparison were shot with our very sharp reference lenses.
Fujifilm X-T1 Print Quality Analysis
But how does it look on paper?
The Fujifilm X-T1 performs admirably in the print quality department, as expected. Base sensitivity (ISO 200) and the extended setting of 100 each make very nice prints at 24 x 36 inches, and even larger for wall display purposes. And at ISO 1600, 16 x 20 inches is still a very respectable size. The remaining 1EV step settings all turn in solid performances until the highest two, which are best avoided. But all-in-all, the X-T1 delivers the goods here for sound print quality.
Fujifilm X-T1 Conclusion
Is the X-T1 merely a good retro camera, or is it an instant classic?
With the X-T1, Fujifilm has a clear goal in mind. The company wants to persuade DSLR shooters to move to a more compact mirrorless camera, and it's put forth a very strong reason for doing so. Unlike some of its retro rivals, the X-T1 manages to blend old and new very successfully, putting an extremely intuitive control system into a body that's much more compact than the typical enthusiast or professional DSLR. The lenses, too, are less bulky than their mirror-oriented rivals.
Once you pick up the X-T1, you can't help but smile -- almost everything about its physical design simply screams "high-quality photographic device". This doesn't feel like a modern, plasticky camera or a computer with a lens. It feels like something you want your hands on, want to shoot photos with, and just don't want to put down. But perhaps the biggest argument for the X-T1 is its viewfinder, which has incredibly minimal lag. Bring it to your eye, and you're not faced with the delay that you would with most EVFs. You feel at one with your subject, and that's how a great camera should make you feel.
In the Box
The Fuji X-T1 retail box ships with the following items:
- Fuji X-T1 camera body
- Fuji XF18-55mmF2.8-4 R LM OIS lens (not weather sealed) if purchased as a kit
- Front and rear lens caps (if lens included)
- Lens hood (if lens included)
- Body cap
- NP-W126 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack
- BC-W126 battery charger
- EF-X8 shoe-mounted popup flash
- Hot shoe cover
- Eyepiece cup
- Shoulder strap
- Metal strap clips with leatherette protective covers
- Clip attaching tool
- Battery grip connector cover
- Sync terminal cap
- Instruction manual
- Software CD-ROM with Viewer software, RAW File Converter etc.
- Extra NP-W126 lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack for extended outings
- VG-XT1 vertical battery grip (if you want portrait-orientation controls, and extended battery life with a second pack)
- MHG-XT, MHG-XT Small, or MHG-XT Large Hand Grip if you don't want the extra controls and battery slot. These differ solely in the side of the hand grip.
- GB-001 grip belt if you're concerned about dropping the camera while shooting.
- Large capacity SDHC/SDXC memory cards. Given the high resolution and large file sizes of the X-T1, 32GB is a good tradeoff between cost and capacity. If you plan to capture HD movie clips, shoot image bursts, or shoot in RAW format, look for cards with UHS-I or UHS-II markings. UHS-II cards will be the fastest option.
- M mount adapter (to use Carl Zeiss, Leica, Voigtland and Ricoh M-mount lenses)
- External shoe mount flash (EF-X20, EF-42 or EF-20) or other accessory flash
- CP-W126 DC coupler with AC-9V power adapter
- MIC-ST1 external stereo microphone
- RR90 wired remote release
- EC-XT L eye cup for a deeper, more padded eyepiece cup that better blocks ambient light
- CVR-XT cover kit if you lose your hot shoe, accessory grip or PC sync socket covers
- BLC-XT1 leather case or other camera case
- Medium to large camera bag
Buy the Fujifilm X-T1
$499.00 (85% more)
24.2 MP (33% more)
Also has viewfinder
$698.77 (89% more)
19.61 MP (17% more)
Also has viewfinder