Fuji X-T1 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. In our lab, we found that claim accurate, with speeds of 8.1 to 8.3 fps, depending on file type. (We've not tested the X-E2, though, so can't draw a comparison ourselves.)

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. Our in-house testing found a time of 0.14 or 0.15 second, depending on the number of AF points used, but this also includes the time taken to set exposure and white balance.

Shutter lag is manufacturer-rated at 0.05 seconds, which agrees with the 0.051 seconds measured by our lab very nicely, 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 un unspecified length of time after it is switched off. (In earlier cameras, Fuji listed the time as being as long as 24 minutes, but there's no figure provided in the X-T1 user manual.)

If the power-off threshold time is exceeded in High Performance mode, the camera will not continue to drain its battery, but will take a longer time to start up. Fuji doesn't provide a full startup time, but we found the X-T1's power on to first shot time to be 1.4 seconds in our testing, with a pre-press penalty. (That is, if you press the shutter button too soon, it actually takes longer to get the first shot.)

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 less 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 earlier digital camera, 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, and while we didn't have the chance to verify that figure in the lab, we can certainly agree that lag is very minimal indeed! (At least, when framing single shots -- lag is actually quite significant for high-speed burst shooting.)

According to Fujifilm, the X-T1 has less than 1/10th the lag of prior models, a feat 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. Fuji doesn't provide a precise spec for either direction, but the range is such that you can tilt the screen upwards a little beyond 90 degrees, and downwards by about 45 degrees. The screen can't be viewed from in front of the camera, though, 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. 14 lenses are already available, with five more on the roadmap in the next year or two. Among those are eight primes (seven shipping), and nine zooms (five shipping).

The sixth zoom, arriving imminently in July 2014, is particularly interesting, because it's the first weather-sealed optic, important given that this is a weather-sealed body. The XF18-135mm F3.5-5.6 R OIS WR lens will be followed by two more sealed optics, the XF16-55mm F2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mm F2.8 R OIS WR, but we don't have dates for these.

Clearly, these three optics represent the most versatile pairing with the X-T1, but if you don't need weather sealing, you have (or will soon have) around 16 lenses to choose from. And 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. We don't separate autofocus timing from exposure and white balance timing in our own testing, as we don't feel that figure to be significant. Our test counts everything from when the shutter button is pressed until the photo is captured, assuming that the lens is already in focus (in other words, no focus adjustment is needed, but the camera has to take the time to understand that it's already in focus.) With that methodology, we get a time of 0.14 to 0.15 seconds to take a shot, depending on the number of AF points involved.

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 (compensation, aperture, ISO sensitivity, but sadly not shutter speed), 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 previous compact system camera 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. In our own testing, we found an improvement in speed of about 30% over our fastest UHS-I card, but we only had access to a single UHS-II card, and so it's possible a different card might have shown a greater advantage.

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 are offered for the Fuji X-T1 camera. These include three non-powered MHG-XT hand grips in different sizes, a grip strap, a dedicated all-leather BLC-XT1 case, a CP-W126 DC coupler, an AC-9V AC adapter, an MIC-ST1 stereo microphone, an extended eyecup, and a variety of flash strobes, filters, and adapters.

[We recently featured the X-T1 in a primer for capturing good indoor sports shots on a budget. Click here to see how it fared!]

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