Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Fujifilm introduces the new X-T1 mirrorless camera

One thing you have to hand to Fujifilm: They don't give up on improvements and additions to their X camera lineup. The X-T1 -- a DSLR-styled design that initially took many of us by surprise -- is a divergence from the retro-rangefinder look that has popularized the X series and made it something of a cult camera. For obvious reasons, Fuji could not fit such a sophisticated finder into a body like the X-E2 or X-Pro1. I am a big fan of rangefinder cameras and love the X-Pro1 design, but realize the lack of more sophisticated finder options when work requires a quicker, larger finder. For convenience and speed, many pro photographers like to carry at least two camera bodies when shooting. Fortunately, the X-T1 is reasonably priced at $1299 making it a bit easier to add it as an extra body along with one of the other X cameras. So we don't have to give up our rangefinders just yet. And lest we forget, there is still an X-Pro2 model lurking somewhere in the future of the Fuji lineup.

Fujifilm's latest addition to the X camera lineup is the X-T1 with a new EVF finder that takes optical viewing to a higher, more practical level.  Eyeglass wearers are going to be extremely pleased with the view finder stats. At .77x magnification and with a speedy lag time of only .005 seconds (as opposed to .05 second on an X-E2), it boasts the highest magnification and quickest refresh rate of any digital camera finder, and moves mirrorless cameras one step closer to closing the gap between them and pro level DSLR's. In comparison, a Nikon D7100 has a finder magnification of .63x.  Eyeglass wearers will by happy to hear that the viewfinder eyepoint is an impressive 23mm.

The ISO range is 200-6400 with AUTO control up to 6400, and an extended sensitivity range up to 51200. It can shoot continuously at 8fps up to 47 frames (in jpg), or 3fps continuously until the card is full.  The X-T1 is the first camera to capable of using the ultra high speed UHS II SD cards. 

The X-T1 maintains its retro styling that is bristling with dual function dials (a la the Nikon Df) on a weather sealed body. The left dial set controls ISO and continuous drive options. The middle dial to the right of the finder controls shutter speed, as it always has, and adds finder meter choices. On the far right is larger, re-designed exposure compensation knob. In keeping with the new weather-sealing, the screw-in cable release that used to be on the shutter button has been replaced for a usb type socket elsewhere on the body. Personally, I am sad to see this convenient feature go, but understand the trade off for better weather protection. 

The body itself -- approximately the same size as the X-E2 -- is die-case magnesium with 80-point weather-sealing and functionality down to -10. An optional battery pack (shown in the top photo) extends the shooting life from 350 to 700 shots. 

Fujifilm has introduced a new lens roadmap that includes mid-range and long-range, pro-quality f/2.8 zooms, a 16-55mm and 50-140mm. These lenses will also be weather sealed and are expected to come out later this year. Such sophisticated lens support coupled with the new finder and continuous shooting features of the X-T1 should help boost this camera into the pro-level major leagues. 

The X-T1 does not have a built-in flash, but does come with an auxiliary, folding flash that fits in the hot shoe, and of course still accepts the other available Fujifilm flash options.

WiFi is built-in and has been raised to a new level of sophistication. You can control the focus point and take a picture using a smartphone with a remote camera APP, but, more importantly, many camera controls, such as aperture, shutter speed, ISO, etc. can also be controlled directly from the mobile device. 

Key features of the Fujifilm X-T1
Evolved electronic viewfinder
  1. 1.High-precision 2.36 million dot OLED viewfinder
  2. 2.Highest viewfinder magnification for digital cameras of 0.77x*
  3. 3.Wide viewing angle (diagonal 38° and horizontal 31°)
  4. 4.Ultra fast Real Time Viewfiner with a lag-time of 0.005sec** (less than 1/10 of existing models)***
  5. 5.Four different display modes: Full, Normal, Dual and Vertical.
    • Full mode: Displays shooting information at the top and bottom of the screen to avoid obstruction of the view.
    • Dual mode: Adds a small second screen for checking focus point with Focus Peak Highlight or Digital Split Image*4.
    • Normal mode: Lets you concentrate on framing the shot in Auto Focus mode while keeping you aware of how the shooting conditions are changing, making it the perfect setting for sports and action photography
    • Portrait mode: When in Full or Normal modes, it rotates the shooting information interface when the camera is turned vertically.
Ultimate high-speed responses, including the world's fastest AF
  • World's fastest AF of 0.08 seconds*5 is achieved with Fujifilm's proprietary imaging area phase-detection. Startup time of 0.5 seconds*6, shutter time lag of 0.05 seconds and shooting interval of 0.5 seconds*7have been achieved with the image processing engine EXR Processor II — with more than twice as fast a processing speed as the previous processor.
  • Phase detection AF and motion predictive AF for continuous shooting up to 8 frames per second*8.
  • World's first compatibility with Ultra High Speed UHS-II SD memory cards.
Weather resistant structure
  • Dust and water-resistant body with approximately 80 points of weather sealing. Freeze resistance to -10℃.
  • Vertical battery grip VG-XT1 and three new zoom lenses offer the same weather resistance to secure the entire system.
High resolution, low noise and unique color reproduction
  • 16.3 megapixel APS-C size X-Trans™ CMOS II*4 sensor with original color array to control moirĂ© and false colors without a optical low path filter.
  • Resolution and low noise comparable to that of models with ‘full-frame’ sensors.
  • Proprietary image design technology reproduces true-to-life colors.
  • Redesigned circuit board design enables high ISO 51200 setting*10.
  • Lens Modulation Optimizer technology maximizes each lens' performance.

The X-T1 can be ordered from B&H here: Fujifilm X-T1 Mirrorless Digital Camera (Body Only)


  1. Do you think this camera can replace something like a D800? I need a second smaller megapixel camera but the DF is to expensive for what it is. Fuji looks great but you have to buy lens and then you have two systems to support. I really wish Nikon would give us what photographers what... The Fuji X-T1 with an F-mount.

    Sincerely rock and hard place.

  2. The D800 is a really specialized camera that is not going to be easy to replace with any 16mp sensor especially in an APS-C size. That said, it really depends upon how someone plans to use the camera that counts most -- one of the reasons some of us bite the bullet and add that extra system. If you are a wedding photographer, travel photographer, shoot portaits, stock photography, or something similar, the X-T1 is going to be more than capable.

    While it would be nice if Nikon gave us something like this to take advantage of the lenses we already own, an APS sensor is going to require some different focal lengths to be comparably useful.

    There is an old photographer's adage: You can never be too rich, too thin, or have too much photo gear.

  3. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)