Fuji X-T1: Hands-on First Impression Preview

by Reads (970)

I am very excited about the newest announcement from Fujifilm, the weather-resistant ILC with a 16.3-megapixel sensor and a beautiful OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF). For me, this camera is the epitome of Fuji’s mirrorless camera lineup. I dare say that this camera feels way better in my hands than the Fuji X-Pro 1 (which still stands proudly at the top of Fuji ILC cameras). The new X-T1 keeps many of the same features of the X-E2, like the 16MP X-Trans APS-C CMOS sensor and the EXR Processor II. It also shoots up to 8 frames per second, has a maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 sec, and shoots RAW image files. But unlike the X-E2, the X-T1 is weather resistant (against dust, water and cold temperatures to -14 degrees F) and has the option of being sold with or without an 18-55mm f/2.8-4 weather resistant lens.   

The X-T1 offers a beautiful looking 2.36m dot resolution OLED viewfinder. It currently has the world’s highest magnification (0.77x) for a digital camera and shortest display lag-time. Trust me when I tell you that the viewfinder was fantastic. Every generation of EVFs get better than the last and I am the first to be disappointed when an EVF cannot perform quickly. The lack of lag was impressive, yet still slightly visible. The viewfinder has a new interface that gives you automatic feedback of your imagery including a Dual Mode for manual focusing. I am impressed with the ability to see both the original image and the manual focus are due to a split screen view. It was very nice to be able to see both viewpoints at the same time. In fact, both were clearly visible with great clarity. In addition to this mode, the EVF also includes a Full Mode, Normal Mode, and Portrait Mode (the displayed information rotates with the camera is held vertically).

The camera also offers a 3-inch tilting LCD screen. The screen of the camera is crisp and clear. It is bright and has a great amount of detail.

The camera offers a high ISO setting of 51200, although ISO 200-6400 is the standard range. I did not test the camera’s ability to shoot at an extreme ISO. This will have to be properly tested when we receive the camera as a review unit. In addition to the high ISO, the camera offers in-camera RAW converter and a lens modulation optimizer that promises to maximize each lens’ capability. Time lapse photography is also an option with the X-T1. It will shoot with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours for up to 999 frames.

One of the most important features to me is how the camera feels when it is in your hands. The X-T1 was a pleasure to hold due to the nice hand grip. This grip is larger than the X-Pro 1 and would make the camera more comfortable over longer usage. The camera has a solid feel with tons of physical buttons for a joyous tactile experience. The top deck offers two command dials, six customizable buttons, a dedicated shutter dial, a dedicated ISO dial and an exposure compensation dial. This camera was designed for the serious photographer that knows what he/she is doing.

The camera is also equipped with Wi-Fi. Images can be transferred to a smartphone or tablet by way of the Fujifilm Camera Remote app.

But don’t be worried about Fuji not having enough weather resistant lenses for this camera. In 2014, Fuji is introducing three more weather-resistant lenses, including the XF18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, XF16-55mm f/2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mm f/2.8 R OIS WR.

Also, an additional battery grip will be available for the X-T1.

Overall I was really impressed by this new Fuji X-series camera. I really loved the feel of the camera and the profuse amount of physical buttons. I enjoyed being able to change the ISO and shutter speed so quickly. It was completely second nature to use this camera within a few seconds of holding it in my hands. The nice size hand grip made the X-T1 a great option for a serious photographic tool. Although I only took a limited number of pictures, the camera performed quickly and assuredly. I really can’t wait to get the camera as a review unit.

The FUJIFILM X-T1 (body only) will be available for $1,299.95, and the X-T1 with the XF18mm-55mm (27-84mm) F2.8-4 lens (kit) will be available for $1699.95, both in February 2014.

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