Hands on with the Fujifilm X-T1

Getting more tempting every time I read hands-on reviews of the X-T1.

The Fujifilm Blog

Fujifilm X-T1 hands on blog

Sometimes I love my job…

Fujifilm X-T1 BoxAbout two weeks ago a special package arrived from head office in Japan. The special package contained a bunch of pre-production X-T1 cameras and was duly raided by the team. Being part of the initial raiding party, I managed to bag one to play with – I mean, thoroughly test – for a few days. This post will take you through my first thoughts as I got to grips with this lovely new camera.

As it’s a pre-production camera, it’s hard to judge the image quality itself so that’s not really covered here. What is covered is how it feels to use it, and my opinion on the new features that are unique to the X-T1 compared to the other cameras in the X series range.

First impressions – look and feel

I’d seen plenty of pictures of the camera before this point, and even…

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Tempting Fujifilm X-T1



Mostly during the second semester of 2013, I was contemplating on getting a Fujifilm X-series camera. I have been watching fuji lately and these things they’re coming up in the x-series line are really great. When I heard the buzz about X-T1 last year, I started checking fujirumors frequently. Looks like this is the one I am waiting for…

X-T1 Front

I have used an x100 and it was great even with the short time that I tried it and it was still a bit too expensive that time. Last December, I had a bit of good time trying out my brothers x20. It was fast and intuitive. He hasn’t given me the images I shot yet in the beaches with the kids and Mimbalot Falls in Iligan. Hehe

X-T1 Back

I really liked the pictures being produced by Fuji, I like how the way it handles and I think it is somewhat attuned to what I shoot. People and places, more street and at times I have to be discrete. I just hope this one will be as fast as dslrs, I sometimes feel it’s cumbersome to bring the 7d around or at times you can’t get it out of the bag fast enough due to its size/weight.

X-T1 with Grip

Now how I wish I can try the X-T1 with the 35mm. I also hope I can review one here in the Philippines. Please Fujifilm Philippines, have mercy on me! I think this will be something that can make me ditch the DSLR. I have been lugging around primes lately, my 24-105L is gathering dust – I think having 23mm, 35mm and 56mm Fujinons will do it for me, plus the 18-55 f/2.8-f/4 so that my wife can use it.

XF lens roadmap

I think Fuji did an awesome job within the APS-C category. Why? Unlike the big two, Canon and Nikon – Fuji doesn’t have any full-frame. Thus their lenses are optimized for their sensors. Yes, the big two have developed awesome 17-55’s in f/2.8 but that’s it, primes and telezooms would have to be their FF counterparts – thus heavy. And what’s great is that they already have a lens roadmap – something other manufacturers are shy about in sharing.

Hmmm, Fuji do you accept trade-ins?

Toying with the 28mm

Toying with the 28mm

Got a chance to use a Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 lens – this is the old one without IS. The shot above was taken inside a McDonalds restaurant while I was passing some time (you know Manila traffic).

Breakfast at Laguindingan Airportlantern

This lens been with me for about a month now and it’s somewhat glued to my EOS 7D for the whole time being. The focal length is somewhat amazing for the 7D, not too wide nor not too narrow (the case with the 50mm wherein I made a post awhile back) – it’s 45mm on Canon’s APS-C cameras meaning almost normal (50ish mm on 135).

Church of the Gesu
This lens had its fair share of both positive and negative reviews, more of a love it or hate it affair with photographers. If you want technical data, that’s something I don’t do which you may find elsewhere as with my review with the 50, its about using the lens with the camera. In the photo above, I shot it handheld and wide open in Ateneo de Manila University while waiting for my niece.

Batch '98 @ 15
The challenge though was for the 7D’s autofocus system to achieve the right focus under low light and low contrast environment like the one above for our High School Reunion. Honestly, I shifted to live view with this one and used manual focus on such situations. But for me the lens is plenty sharp when it hits focus – I won’t lie to you too, this lens might get a bit soft on corners too on some occasions coupled with some CA’s and purple fringing.

San Miguel PBA Teams Auction for a Cause
I pretty much made use of it, shot an event with Filipino basketball cagers in a charity event, inside a mall at night, a fire drill on a cloudy noontime, a park, beach, etc. And it performed very well, sunlight, low light, bright lights, strobes or anything you throw at it.

Sendong Housing - Iligan City
Outdoors even on crop I made a few shot of houses for Typhoon Washi/Sendong survivors above in Iligan City. At f/2.0 and above – this lens is pretty good. It also solves the issue of soft corners on images as well as chromatic aberrations or purple fringing. Two of my previous post, about my trip in Iligan and Christmas eve were all shot with this lens. And it was the only lens in my cam and bag (you always decide to bring lenses or milk if you have two kids with you on a trip).

For APS-C shooters this is one lens you can have for so many uses and I felt this is more versatile than the 50 on crop frames. You can really see how good this is but I won’t dump my 50mm for this though, cos that one is quite better for portraits and there’s something magical about it. Even with that said regarding the 50, this lens is still capable in handling portraits like the image of my daughter above. Just be careful not to be so close as you will distort your subject – unless that’s your intention.

I’m not sure how this would feel on full-frame though I’ve shot a 24mm on film (pic above was shot using a Nikon FM10 with a Nikon 24mm f/2.8D and Fuji C200 film). Well if someone have some 5d’s or 6d’s lying around doing nothing then you can loan me one and send me an email, I’ll write about it – hehehe.

Batch '98 @ 15 - Brader
I failed to mention that this lens also handles bokeh pretty well. Yes, bokeh is subjective and I love the way it blurs the background like the one above. Another thing neat about the Canon EF 28mm f/1.8 is that it came with the lens hood and pouch right out of the box – you don’t see that too often on Canon lenses except if it’s an L, or this one I’m using might be one of the early ones (no date code inside the lens therefore no information regarding the production year of this one). So if got yours without one, leave a comment so that I can update this information.

Basically this lens will be glued on my 7d, it will become a general purpose lens for me. Light, solid feel (better than 50mm), front element stays in plays when focusing (unlike the 50) and great at low light.

For other photos of this set. Click on the links below. Feel free to leave comments, share or re-blog this page!

McDonaldslanternChurch of the GesuChurch of the GesuLampFire Drill
San Miguel PBA Teams Auction for a CauseCentrio Mall - Merry ChristmasCentrio MallBreakfast at Laguindingan AirportLexBatch '98 @ 15 - Brader
Batch '98 @ 15Batch '98 @ 15NikkaNikkaSendong Housing - Iligan City

tumblr-28, a Slide Show of this set on Flickr.