Nearly Fuji, Nearly… A personal review of the Fujifilm X-T1

June 10, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Nearly Fuji, nearly…

A personal review of the Fujifilm X-T1

Firstly, this is a very personal review of the above Camera that I was lucky enough to try out for a few weeks this spring, the views expressed are my own and pertain to me and me alone. Always remember that, your mileage may vary considerably from mine…

Ok then, what are we talking about here, let’s start with a couple of piccies of the beastie in question, instead of a detailed run down or spec sheet which is available pretty much everywhere on the internet, since this camera is oh so hot at the moment!

http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_t1/

highres-Fujifilm-X-T1-18-55m-Kit-Lens-2_1390819461highres-Fujifilm-X-T1-18-55m-Kit-Lens-2_1390819461

 

So then we are looking at a CSC, (Compact System Camera) with a huge lovely viewfinder, a flappy screen an alloy Uni-body which you could mug people with! Looking pretty good then so far…

Disclaimer: I buy my kit, I have no affiliation with any Camera company, if I did I would sing their praises on the highest level as I’m skint but an out and out capitalist!

Onward...

Out of the box impressions

Very good, lovely build quality all the knobs switches and dials are clearly labelled and stiff but not too stiff, some lock others do not, there has been a lot of internet chatter about this and even a kick-starter campaign for an ISO Dial cover to obviate the lock but generally I have to agree with Fuji’s choice here.                                                                                                                                http://isounlocker.com/

highres-Fujifilm-X-T1-Body-5_1390819557highres-Fujifilm-X-T1-Body-5_1390819557

I don’t spend a lot of time polishing my camera’s and tend to unbox them and leave then leave well alone until the battery has charged before I make any rash decisions as to whether I like them or not. 2 hr, interlude and were charged!

Switch on for an almost instantaneous start up and were ready to go, first look thru the EVF (Electronic Viewfinder) is a revelation, clear bright detailed and big, like a Full Frame DSLR, lovely.

The clicky dials on the top plate tug at the heart strings a bit and I can’t help but feel the designers of the Nikon Df, (Doesn’t function) http://imaging.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/df/  Should be forced to spend a bit of time at the Fuji design labs for a refresher course (Just Sayin).

So off out for the first bash in the field, shooting Jpeg and just generally having a play, all good fun, and really just shooting Landscapes for fun, rather than my portfolio. Using neutral density filters like I do a great deal is marvellous with a CSC, as the EVF ups the gain when you put on a ten stop filter and you can still see what you are doing unlike a DSLR when it all goes dark in there! Despite all the fun I get the first irk…

After the first day in the field I am left with a painful cramp in the right palm, takes me a while to figure out what it is but in the end, it’s down to the size and shape of the rear of the camera, I’m involuntarily holding the damn thing so tight I’m getting muscle spasms in the palm area of my hand, leaving my poor right paw like a claw! It’s not a DSLR, it feels different, and it takes getting used to, the other thing was every time I picked the X-T1 up, I hit the FN1 (Function) button on the front of the camera blocking out the viewfinder with the AF options instead of a view of the shot I was lining up in my head, to the rescue came the MHG-XT grip plate.                                  http://www.fujifilm.com/products/digital_cameras/accessories/camera_cases/#handgrip One of several now available for the X-T1, helped relax my grip a little and gave my forefinger somewhere to rest that wasn’t directly on the FN1 button. The pain in my palm still has not completely gone, I may need surgery but is far more manageable than before, so the moral is… Get a Grip! Getting back home, I was excited to see the results from my new toy (To call the X-T1 a toy is a bit cheeky it’s a very serious camera!) Second problem and for me the killer, I am a Landscape shooter and every shot I took on my first outing was of Bluebells and other vegetation, I blame myself for not doing enough research here because the X Trans array on a Fuji Sensor apparently, (No apparently about it!) has real problems with Lightroom and you guessed it, vegitation! I’m an avid fan of Lightroom, I have invested a lot of time effort and indeed money on Lightroom and various filter packages for my post processing workflow, it did not take me long to see that I had a real problem here. I’m not going to delve into it too much here but it’s all over the internet if you look hard enough, and there is some pretty hurtful ranting and raving going on, on the same subject, so let’s leave it there shall we? It appears to be partly the de-mosaicing of the RAW file in Photoshop and Lightroom and the way the files are sharpened. A lot of time spent searching the net brought me here.

http://blog.thomasfitzgeraldphotography.com/2014/03/sharpening-finishing-fuji-x-trans-files-photoshop-lightroom/

http://blog.thomasfitzgeraldphotography.com/2014/02/updated-x-trans-sharpening-presets-lightroom/

The man is a bit of a genius and has forgotten more about post processing than I’ll ever know, hats off to Thomas!  His settings mitigate the problem somewhat but never take it away entirely and I’m not investing all over again in a new workflow, just for the sake of one camera, in the end that was the killer for my relationship with the X-T1 but I hung in there for around two months trying to learn other convertors and Processing Software but in the end I just don’t like them, I like Lightroom and thats that really!

                                                                                                                                                       

There is one other problem that has been quite well documented regarding the X-T1 and that is the rear four way control D-Pad. It is just a tad too small and a little squidgy, you have to take the camera away from your eye in order to ensure that you have operated it successfully, with the camera to your eye, you miss changing focus point or whatever you have the controls configured to, just a little too often, just something to be aware of, I contacted Fuji UK about this and the grip problem, this was their response…

"Thank you for contacting Fujifilm UK, I am very sorry to hear of the problems you are having with your new camera. I think the best thing to do is to get the camera in and get it checked over, and we can ensure that you buttons are as good as they can be. I can confirm that we do not have a 'new' set of buttons like forums suggest but we can check that they are aligned properly etc.

I hope this information helps."

I have to say throughout my ownership of the X-T1 Fujifilm UK were nothing less than brilliant, there are plenty of Camera companies out there that could learn a thing or two here! (Nikon are you listening?) Well no their not but onward…

So despite what everyone seems to think there is no new magic set of rear control buttons for the camera but there must be a little room for jiggling the alignment in order to get the best fit, if you’re worried give Fujifilm a call, they are fab!

I have deliberately got the bad bits out of the way so I can end this ramble thru my thoughts on the X-T1 on a high, if you buy a grip there are only two things wrong and only one with the camera! The other I suspect lies firmly in the court of the Adobe Lightroom developers! So in the end the only thing wrong with the Fujifilm X-T1 is that the D-pad is a little small! Lets get that into a bit of real perspective, the camera is small. it's trying to be small, so maybe you need to compromise just a little? It's like buying a Fiat 500 and then complaining because it's not as roomy as a Range Rover! Everything else from the lovely viewfinder, build quality, autofocus (nearly on par with a Pro DSLR!), metering are truly top class. The real tour de force however is the colour, it's beautiful, like nothing else I have ever seen, for this alone you owe it to yourself to try a Fuji!

Caveat: You’ll need a few batteries as basically your using live view all the time just like any CSC, it’s a bit heavy on the juice!

So in the end, Nearly Fuji Nearly, the deal breaker for me was the compatability with Lightroom or rather the lack of it, I'm sure that will work itself out but I need to be able to work my files now, not sometime in the future. However in the future It will not take much for me to give up DSLR’s for one of these beautiful little CSC’s, the time of the DSLR is nearly done, maybe next time Fuji…

 

Cheers Jules...


 


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