Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Accessorizing the Fuji X-T1 and other X cameras

A major appeal of mirrorless cameras has always been their small size. Adding accessories that bulk the camera up could be considered as going against the grain. On the other hand, a camera like the X-T1 has moved the X system into a serious professional usage category, and certain accompanying accessories are going to be necessary in order to extend its usefulness.

SD UHS II card $74.95(16GB), $129.95 (32GB), $244.95(64GB):

High on my list of definite accessories is the new, faster UHS II SD cards. The X-T1 is the first camera that can take advantage of the speed increase this card offers, and the increase is considerable. If shooting fast is important to you, then you really need to consider this card. I won't say any more about it here because you can read more about this card and how it works with the X-T1 in my previous blog post about it here.

Fujifilm M Mount Adapter $199:

This adapter comes in handy if you have Leica M lenses or lenses, such as Voigtlander with Leica mounts. There are less expensive adapters out there, but the one by Fuji is much better made. Plus when the camera body recognizes the signal contacts of this adapter, the "Shoot Without Lens" mode is activated automatically.

Focus peaking is the manual focus miracle that has made these EVF finders so convenient when handing manual lenses. In fact, I sometimes prefer to use manual lenses because the focus peaking shows me exactly what is in focus.

Before the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 portrait lens came out I used to use a Leica Summilux 50mm with the Fuji adapter as my portrait lens. The results were exceptional, and focus peaking made it a snap to focus.

Gariz case $109.99:

I haven't tried these cases, but they sure do look nice, and come in several colors, including black, brown, orange, and camel (shown here). The Gariz case is made from leather with a metal bottom that attaches easily, allows access to the battery compartment, and has its own tripod socket. There are some less expensive cases I found, but this one appears to be made better and with more thought to the features.  A matching strap is also available.

The case comes in several colors: Camel Brown (shown above), Brown, Black, and Orange.

Yongnuo RF-603 NII $32-45 for a pair:

This  pair of wireless transmitters work on the Fuji X-T1 to trigger most remote flash units, including professional strobes. Each unit can be set to either transmit or receive. They will trigger the Fuji flashes, but will also connect your X-T1 to set off your Nikon or Canon flash units, a convenience if you already have these. If you plan to use them with your Canon or Nikon cameras, be sure to get the correct model. It will be designated as "C" for Canon or "N" for Nikon.

You can also use these transmitters with Yongnuo's own flash units, which are modeled on those by Canon and Nikon, but are much less expensive.  That is a story for another blog post.

You have to remember to turn these units off. Otherwise they will burn out the batteries. I always store mine with batteries removed.

The triggers only allow for manual operation of the flash units. With the instant visual feedback of digital camera systems today, that is all you really need. I almost never use TTL anymore with any camera/flash system.

You can buy these on Ebay, but then they come from China and you'll have to wait. I prefer picking them up on Amazon where shipping is much quicker.

Any of these units will work with the X-T1 or any other Fuji X-camera, but only designated units can also be controlled by a Nikon or Canon camera. It gets confusing and the prices vary slightly, but here is a list:

For pro Nikon cameras and the X-T1:
Yongnuo RF-603NII-N1 Wireless Flash Trigger Kit for Nikon D700 D800 D1 D2 D3 D4

For amateur Nikon cameras and D600 series, and the X-T1:
Yongnuo RF-603NII-N3 Wireless Flash Trigger Kit for Nikon Nikon D90 / D7000 / D7100 / D5000 / D5100 / D5200 / D3100 / D3200 / D600

For pro Canon cameras and the X-T1:
Yongnuo RF-603 C3 Wireless Flash Trigger for Canon 1D 1DS 5D 5DII LF239

For amateur Canon cameras and the X-T1:
Yongnuo RF-603 C1 Trigger/Wireless Shutter Release Transceiver Kit for Canon Rebel 300D/350D/400D/450D/500D/550D/1000D Series

Fujifilm EF-20 Shoe Mount Flash $99

The X-T1 already comes with its little accessory flash so why would you want another one? You may wonder why get another small flash when the X-T1 already comes with a small flash accessory. There are three reasons: First, the kit flash called the EF-X8 has a guide number of 8 at ISO 100 compared to that of 20' for the EF-20. Second, the EF-20 can tilt up for bounce lighting. Third, the EF-20 could be used off camera using something like the Yongnuo wireless transmitters mentioned above. Plus, I don't know about you, but I've already misplaced the tiny EF-X8 that came with my X-T1.

I've owned the EF-20 ever since it came out and really like it. Of all the X-cameras, it seems to suit the X-T1 best of all.

Fujifilm RR-90 Remote Release $44.95

It was while using this release at sunrise I first discovered the light leak problem with the X-T1. I do miss the traditional release that screws into the shutter button, but understand why, for reasons of weather-proofing, Fuji had to switch over to the mini-USB connection.

Hand grip and battery grip:

There are two original grips made by Fuji for the X-T1, and two more introduced later. One of the originals is the VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip, and the other the MHG-XT Metal Hand Grip.  The vertical battery grip is the first such grip made for a Fuji X camera. It effectively doubles the battery life of the X-T1. I'm not really a fan of battery grips that simple provide an extra battery because I find it less cumbersome to simply carry a few spare batteries in my pocket. On the X-T1, however, the battery grip does add some substance to an otherwise small camera. Additionally, the grip is equipped with a shutter release button, twin command dials, AE-L, AF-L, and Focus Assist buttons. 

The simpler metal hand grip has an opening for access to the battery compartment and also has a lip that allows it to be mounted on any Arca-Swiss type tripod grip, which is a plus for me. I did a full review of the hand grips for the X-E2 and X-Pro1 here.

The battery grip itself does not have an Arca-Swiss type tripod plate built-in, but I did find a very small plate along with a tripod head adapter to use on it.  A new Fuji MHG-XT small plate introduced for the X-T1 simply provides the Arca-Swiss plate adapter when mounted either on the camera or on the battery grip.

The small plate can fit directly onto the camera and provides an Arca-Swiss type tripod mount with access to the battery compartment.. 

X series Grip strap: GB-001

The hand grip strap allows secure, comfortable, single handed hold of the camera and mounts onto any of the grip plates. It can also be used at the same time as the shoulder strap.

X-T1 Extended eyecup: EC-XT L

The extended eyecup is dome-shaped to effectively shield light, and make it easier to see the viewfinder. The material is soft and flexible enough to accommodate eye glass wearers, while providing a comfortable fit for people without glasses also.

Tripod head and plate to use with the X-T1:

Both of these items are made by Sunwayfoto and can be found on Amazon or Ebay. They are sometimes sold under the name Desmond. The DP-26 plate for $19 has the Arca-Swiss style mount and is only 39 x 26mm in size. The Sunwayfoto or Desmond DAC-25 is a very small tripod clamp with the Arca-Swiss grip 25 x 77mm in size and costing $19.95. It comes with a thread adapter allowing conversion from 3/8" to 1/4" thread size so it to be screwed onto most tripods. It also has three bosses for making other secure attachments using straps.

This is the smallest, full duty tripod I was able to find for my X-T1. It is small enough to fit comfortably in a backpack or large camera bag, yet sturdy and big enough to offer solid, full-size support when open. The Sirui T-025X tripod folds downs to just 11.8", but can open to 54.5" when fully extended. Its support load of 13.2lbs for the carbon and 8.8 for the aluminum version is more than sufficient to hold an X-T1 with 55-200mm zoom weighing only 2.48lb.

My complete review of the Sirui T-025X tripod can be read here.

If you are planning on purchasing any of these accessories, you can help support this site at no extra cost to you by purchasing from one of our affiliate sellers listed below -- and thanks for your support.

You can order the new Sandisk 16GB SD UHS-II card here:   BH-photo
You can order the new Sandisk  32GB SD UHS-II card here:   BH-photo
You can order the new Sandisk  64GB SD UHS-II card here:   BH-photo

Gariz Genuine Leather/Metal Half Case in camel brown can be ordered from:  Amazon   
Gariz Genuine Leather/Metal Half Case in brown can be ordered from:  Amazon
Gariz Genuine Leather/Metal Half Case in black can be ordered from:   Amazon
Gariz Genuine Leather/Metal Half Case in black can be ordered from:   Amazon

Fujifilm M Mount Lens Adapter can be ordered from:  BHPhoto    Amazon

Fujifilm EF-20 Shoe Mount Flash can be ordered from:  BHPhoto   Amazon

Fujifilm RR-90 Remote Release can be ordered from: BHPhoto   Amazon

The VG-XT1 Vertical Battery Grip can be ordered from: BHPhoto   Amazon
The MHG-XT Metal Hand Grip can be ordered from: BHPhoto   Amazon
The MHG-XT Large Metal Hand Grip can be ordered from: BHPhoto   Amazon
The MHG-XT Base Plate can be ordered from: BHPhoto   Amazon

Sunwayfoto or Desmond DAC-25 clamp can be ordered from: BHPhoto  Amazon
The Sunwayfoto DP-26 plate can be ordered from BHPhoto   Amazon

Order the Sirui T-025X carbon tripod for $239: BHPhoto  Amazon
Order Sirui T-025X aluminum tripod for $139:  BHPhoto  Amazon


  1. Thank you for sharing! For me that particular Sandisk is overkill becasue I never shoot burst and I'm happy with the Sony SDHC UHS-1 ($27 for a 32Gb)

    Did you tried the Yongnuo's 603 as a wireless remote release ? I know those came with a cable to do that. But I'm not sure if you can plug into a Fuji.

  2. Nice Blog :-) Have you tried the Nissin i40 for Fuji X System? I have one and is amazing!!!

  3. Another great accessory are the DEADCAMERAS straps from www.afshoot.com/shop