Performance

Overall Performance

The X-T1 is, overall, an impressively quick camera. It powers up and is ready to start shooting in less than a second, and then responds quickly to any control input. One quirk, though, is that the X-T1 won't wake up from auto power-off with a quick press of any button or spin of a dial, in the way that most cameras do; instead you have to half-press and hold the shutter button for a second or so. It's a small thing, and you get used to it over time, but it can occasionally result in missed shots.

The X-T1 is significantly improved compared to older Fujifilm cameras in terms of its behavior when writing images to card. You can now do almost anything you might reasonably want to when the camera is clearing its buffer, for example enter playback and browse images, or change camera settings. There are still a couple of restrictions though, but they're mostly entirely rational (although the camera's refusal to shoot in any bracketing mode seems slightly odd). The ones we've spotted are listed below.

Functions unavailable while X-T1 is writing images to card
 • Image deletion in playback
 • Activation of Wi-Fi function
 • Initiation of movie recording
 • Shooting in BKT mode
 • Shooting with 'Advanced Filters'
 • Panorama shooting

If there's an overall take-home message here, it's that the days when Fujifilm cameras could be considered 'slow' have well and truly gone. The X-T1 is, in the overwhelming majority of everyday shooting situations, as slick in operation as almost any of its peers.

Continuous Shooting and Buffering

The X-T1 has a choice of two continuous drive speeds, labeled CH and CL on the drive mode lever, and rated at 8 fps and 3 fps respectively. We found that it comfortably met, or even slightly exceeded, these specified rates. Its buffering is pretty impressive too; it can shoot at least 20 Raw files at full speed before slowing down, or 40 JPEGs. What happens next, though, depends substantially on the memory card. The X-T1 is the first camera to support the latest SDXC UHS-II cards, and you'll need to use one to get the very best continuous shooting performance from it. The reason behind this is simple; its Raw files are enormous, at approximately 32MB each. Most other cameras use compression to keep file sizes down, which is designed to be either mathematically or visually lossless (for example, the Sony Alpha 7's 24MP tend to be ~24MB in size). In contrast, Fujifilm's Raw files are actually larger then they strictly need to be.

If you use a UHS-II card, the X-T1 can write those huge Raw files to disk very much more quickly, and this has a significant impact on extended continuous shooting. You get both faster framerates, and shorter write times before the buffer is cleared. Of course if you shoot Raw as a matter of course, you'll probably also want to invest in a large-capacity card; as a rough guide, an 8GB card will hold about 200 Raws.

We tested the camera with two cards: a Toshiba Exceria Pro 16GB SDHC II (rated 240MB/s write), and a Panasonic 8GB SDHC I Class 10 (25MB/sec write), which in the grand scheme if things is still respectably fast.

Continuous High

Toshiba Exceria Pro 16GB SD-HC II (240 MB/sec)
File format
Rate
Buffer
Buffer full rate
Write Time
RAW + LF JPEG
8.2 fps
22 frames
2.2 fps
22 sec
RAW
8.2 fps
23 frames
2.8 fps
22 sec
Large / Fine JPEG
8.3 fps
44 frames
5.3 fps
11 sec

Panasonic SD-HC I Class 10 (25 MB/sec)
File format
Rate
Buffer
Buffer full rate
Write Time
RAW + LF JPEG
8.3 fps
20 frames
0.5 fps
50 sec
RAW
8.3 fps
20 frames
0.7 fps
40 sec
Large / Fine JPEG
8.4 fps
41 frames
5.1 fps
28 sec

If you're shooting JPEG only in Continuous High, the card has relatively little impact. The camera will shoot at 8 fps for about 5 seconds, then drop down to about 5 fps, and keep shooting at this speed indefinitely. It's difficult to imagine many users being disappointed by this sort of capability.

However if you're shooting Raw, performance is usefully improved by using an SD-HC II card. The X-T1 will still shoot at 8fps for at least 20 frames, but then it slows down. However with the SD-HC II card the camera will shoot about four times faster at this point, and it'll clear a full buffer in about 40% of the time time too.

It's worth noting that if you use the X-T1 with an older, slower SDHC card, the buffer full rates slow down even further, and write times can get very long indeed. But this is only likely to be a problem in practice if you shoot large bursts of images.

Continuous Low

Toshiba Exceria Pro 16GB SD-HC II (240 MB/sec)
File format
Rate
Buffer
Buffer full rate
Write Time
RAW + LF JPEG
3.0 fps
58 frames
2.2 fps
32 sec
RAW
3.0 fps
>100 frames
n/a
15 sec
Large / Fine JPEG
3.1 fps
>100 frames
n/a
<2 sec

Panasonic SD-HC I Class 10 (25 MB/sec)
File format
Rate
Buffer
Buffer full rate
Write Time
RAW + LF JPEG
3.1 fps
23 frames
0.6 fps
50 sec
RAW
3.1 fps
24 frames
0.7 fps
40 sec
Large / Fine JPEG
3.0 fps
>100 frames
n/a
28 sec

The faster card also offers clear benefits when shooting in Continuous Low mode (3 fps). When shooting JPEG only the camera will maintain this rate indefinitely, but it will clear the buffer much more quickly with the SD-HC II card. However the big improvements come when shooting Raw. Not only can you shoot many more frames before the camera slows down, its buffer full rates are faster too. Indeed if you're shooting only Raw, the camera will continue to shoot at 3fps indefinitely with the SD-HC II card.

Autofocus, metering and live view

The X-T1 offers a new trick during continuous shooting: it can track focus on a moving subject and adjust the metering, even when shooting at full speed. This is because it's now capable of taking focus and meter readings at the same time as taking a picture. Older Fujifilm models (and most mirrorless cameras in general) can only adjust focus and metering when shooting at slower speeds. The subject has to be held in kept in the central PDAF region for the focusing to work properly, but even so this is a big step forward.

What the X-T1 can't offer, though, is live view at full speed. Instead, like other mirrorless cameras, it plays-back recently-taken frames between shots, which helps you to keep track of your composition. This works reasonably well, indeed we suspect many users won't notice much practical difference compared to shooting with an SLR. But it doesn't necessarily work perfectly when trying to follow a subject moving across the frame, as the display is always a fraction of a second behind what's going on in front of the camera.

At 3 fps the X-T1 can offer live view between frames, but slightly surprisingly, will only do so when set to Continuous Autofocus. In Single AF or Manual Focus modes it reverts to showing your last shot in the viewfinder, which isn't the best possible user experience.

Battery life

The X-T1 uses the same NP-W126 battery as other X-system cameras, offering a capacity of 8.7Wh. Fujifilm quotes a CIPA battery life figure of 350 shots, and this doesn't seem completely unreasonable. If this isn't enough for you, then adding the vertical grip allows the use of a second battery, doubling the camera's stamina before you have to swap one out.

It's worth noting, though, that certain features do have a negative impact on battery life. These include turning on 'High Performance' mode for the very fastest focusing, or turning up the LCD or EVF brightness for increased visibility in bright light. One positive observation, though, is that the X-T1 does seem to give you more warning of when your battery is fading compared to previous Fujifilm models such as the X100S, which could go through 'part full' to 'empty' seemingly in the blink of an eye.