Summary of First Impressions of the Fujifilm X-T1
The Fujifilm X-T1 is probably positioned near the top of the X-series, just short of the flagship X-Pro1… speculation would next be the successor to the flagship model. The X-T1 incorporates improvements since the X-Pro1 was launched almost 2 years ago, notably i) the improved AF speed, ii) the second generation X-Trans CMOS sensor & EXR processor, and iii) better EVF, and fits them all in a new retro-DSLR-like styled weather resistant body.
Given that it uses the same sensor, the image quality would be very similar to the Fujifilm X-E2. But for those who are not familiar with the X-Trans CMOS sensor, Fujifilm has done away with the need of an optical low pass (or 'anti-aliasing') filter over the senor. While the anti-aliasing filter is used to help remove the effects of moiré from the image, it inevitable leads to some loss of resolution. To get around the moiré, Fujifilm has revamped the sensor to a 6x6 colour filter array pattern, moving away from the traditional 2x2 Bayer pattern… this is the genesis of the Fujifilm's X-Trans CMOS sensor. Because of the more complex demands of the 6x6, Fujifilm coupled this with the EXR Processor Pro. The X-E2 and now the X-T1, feature the second generation of the sensor and processor.
Here are some features that I like on the Fujifilm X-T1,
Retro-Styling and the Dials – Many cameras have already gone down this route, including Fujifilm with their X-Pro1. The X-T1 probably takes the cake for me, at this time. Okay, maybe the retro look is a fad… but the you cannot deny the convenience of 5 top plate dials, two command dials, and number of programmable function buttons! The shutter speed, exposure compensation, ISO (and Drive) dials on the top-plate add to the retro look, but also provides easy access for more immediate control on key shooting parameters, without having to go through the menu. Front and rear command dials, and programmable function buttons make it easier for you to customise and control your camera, without having to keep scrolling through the menu.
Large high-resolution EVF - there is nothing like looking through a large viewfinder to see the world through your camera lens, and the X-T1 certainly has just that. At x0.77 magnification, it is simply wonderful to look through the viewfinder. Of course, an optical viewfinder would be more true, but the X-T1 has its 2.36million dot OLED "Multi Mode Viewfinder", and boast the “the world's fastest display with a lag-time of just 0.005 sec… of course, I have no way to verify that, but if you were around during the X-Pro1 days, you would have a smoother experience with the X-T1. This “bump” in the middle may have made it difficult to incorporate a built-in flash into this camera, but I think that it’s worth the trade. Not that it’s a full trade-off, Fujifilm also included a small external flash (EF-X8) as part of the X-T1 package.
Improved AF speed – High-speed responses from the on-sensor phase detection has help Fujifilm leapfrog ahead from the X-Pro1 days. AF was zippy… but I had no way to confirm the 0.08 sec claim.
The ISO performance is not surprising from Fujifilm X-series. ISO3200 and ISO6400 images are very usable, retaining a good amount detail and contrast in the image.
MF assist comes in the form of focus-peaking and “digital split-image”, adjustable view magnification is also available. Many cameras brands already incorporate focus-peaking into their MF assist, but from my SLR days, I just love the split prism focusing for manual focusing. This feature is available both native and adapted lenses. This feature is not new for Fujifilm, having been incorporated into the X-E2 and firmware updates to the others, and personally preferred over contrast peaking.
Manual exposure mode now has a working exposure preview!
Weather-Resistance and Die-cast magnesium body – At 440g (including battery and memory card), the Fujifilm X-T1 is not the lightest camera around, but it feels solid and comfortable in my hands. I recall the old criticism of the small compact mirrorless or even some DSLRs, “my old film camera could smack a mugger, and without a dent, still be used to take more pictures”… I think the X-T1 may be able to dispel that about mirrorless cameras. As far as the weather sealing goes, I’m looking forward to Fujifilm to release weather sealed lenses that can match the X-T1’s weather-resistance. Come to think of it, the weight of the X-T1, together with the optional VG-XT1 vertical grip, may well weigh nicely with the upcoming XF 16-55mm f/2.8 R OIS and the XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R OIS lenses.
Other neat features include the inclusion of Wifi, Face Detection, Lens Modulation Optimizer, Time-lapse feature, compatible with UHS-II format SD memory cards, and Fujifilm Colour Filters (PROVIA, Velvia, ASTIA, PRO Neg.Std, PRO Neg.Hi, Monochrome, Sepia).
Other not so neat things Fujifilm hasn’t made much headway on the video recording, but your mileage may vary on this point, as with comments on fully articulated touch-screen, or a built-in flash. But for excellent image quality in a body that is solid, rugged, and appealing, with a range of nice lenses, with more to come, the Fujifilm X-T1 will be hard to ignore.
RRP is expected to be S$1999