Another first impression of the X-T1 (From X-Pro1 User) - a bit longer

Started Feb 22, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Daniel from Bavaria Contributing Member • Posts: 861
Another first impression of the X-T1 (From X-Pro1 User) - a bit longer


I would like to give you my first impressions of the X-T1. This is no test and nothing I worked hard on. I am just writing down my thoughts in one shot and add some pictures, mainly to show the C-AF performance.

So let's start: Yesterday I was able to pick up one X-T1 Body at a local, very small, camera store here in Penang. My thanks to Fuji-Malaysia who helped me to find a shop were X-T1s has been delivered - great service. The more well known shops had some, but all were pre-oredered. "My" little shop got one kit and one body only - I took the body.

I also got a custome made display-foil with anti smudge and anti-glare installed - I love and appreciate this kind of service as I am able to repair and build a lot, but when it comes to this flimsy stuff like decently cutting a foil so that it fits perfectly and does not look like a crafts project from a three year old kit, yeah, then I am totally loss.

1. Body, Ergonomics and stuff

First of all: That camera is really small and really well made. Compared to my X-Pro1 with Grip and Thumbs-up it looks kind of neat. It sits very well in my big hands, but I have to admit that by the first feeling the pimped-up X-Pro1 fits better - like an old well beloved glove . For sure that is something of tactile memory, but also shows what great camera the X-P1 still is.

However, the X-T1 is as well made as it is possible for a camera that size and that prize - kudos Fuji.

Anyhow my fingers are able to easily find every knob and dial and after some minutes of chimping I was able to do the major adjustments with the camera at my eye. Really great.

But I think that for big hands, like I have, the MHG-XT is a must and I'll get one as soon as it is available here. I have held the MHG-XP from the X-Pro1 for a test at the X-T1 - and then it feels much better. But I think I'll skip the vertical grip, as this will make the camera substantial bigger, nice for holding, not so nice for storing and transportation.

Now some words about the buttons and dials. The stiffness and also the placement of the dials is for me just right. The four-way buttons are a mixed bag and something I have to get used to.

Here I mainly meen the four direction button at the back. They are really, and I mean REALLY, flushed into the body. On one site that for sure helps to prevent accidently pressing these buttons and changing settings on the run. In fact that happened every now an then to me with the X-Pro 1, especially when I've slunged the neck-strap arround my wrist what have lead to some iso6400 shots where iso200 would have been suitable . Anyhow, during normal usage I'd say that the X-Pro1 buttons are nearly perfect and the X-T1 four-way buttons are something I have to get used to. The good thing is, that for sure no accidently pressing in the future will happen. Also do the X-Pro1 buttons have a clear "click", what makes glove operations more comfortable. The four-way buttons of the X-T1 do not have that "click". Funnily, all other buttons on the X-T1 do have the "click", especially the buttons you need for camera operations like the AF-L button - they have avery clear "click". Therefore I asume Fuji did this on purpose.

Of course the possibility to customize the camera buttons is great. I, for example, put the AF-change to the front "Grip"-Button (typical depth of field) and this is just perfect and very convinient to use - after I lost the good position of the Fn-Button beside the Release-Button ....

Ah, btw. I don't care about video and the video button is a royal pain in the ass. Already two times it happened accidently while turning the EV-Comp that I accidently pressed that button and the camera started to take a video - yeah, THIS button really should be flushed or at least, Fuji, please let me configure or just turn it off in the menue. If I really want to make a video, what is very seldom the case, then I would prefer to go to the menue to activate this ridiculous button with the red dot.

I've heard some complaints for the flimsiness of the card-door, and that is something I cannot confirm. In fact the card door does have a really nice and very effective mechanism, especially in the view of longivity of the sealings. Well done engineering.

The much discussed Iso-dial is a also a pleasure to use and it's really no problem to press and turn. I really think that the locking of the Iso-dial was the absolute right decision, as most of the time we are not changing the Iso constantly, but if it changes by it's self and I mess up a shot, than it is really annoying. For further flexibility is the now quite well implemented Auto-Iso function - now, please give me another parameter that takes the focal-length into consideration (for zooms) and I am 100% happy.

Ah, one great little change regarding robustness. When I've fastend my Artisan Neckstrap (yes, the X-Pro 1 is now looking a bit disappointed as it looses it) I saw that the fastening eyes are now reinforced with a bushing. My X-Pro 1 fastening eyes are already oval from abbrasion, so this is a welcome change.

Talking about ergonomics, noses, left and right eye shooter and .... the hump. I am a left eye shooter, so it is not a big deal for me. What I really like with the X-Pro1 is the fact that I have plenty of space between my face and my right hand. With the X-T1 that is more stuffed again. But that's something you only recognize when you really concentrate on that in particular. The biggest change for me with the viewfinder in the middle is: Less nose-prints on the display - and that is something really obvious and welcomed. Right eye shooters may evaluate that differently. For me this is not a big deal and I don't really care.

One last thing about the buttons: Bless the exposure-mode dial and the drive-mode dial - I love it. To be able to go to spot metering within in a split-second is very convinient - something I never really got into my fingers with the X-Pro1. Now give me Spot-Metering attached to the AF-point and I am the happiest man ever.

Overall the X-T1 is responding much faster on nearly everything.

What I also recognized is that the X-T1 is getting a bit warm during operations, something I've never experinced with the X-P1 - I assume that is the price we pay for the faster processors and the small body.

Terminatory to the body: The X-T1 feels like real premium product and makes a really robust impression to me.

2. The Viewfinder (and display):

What should I write what others haven't written already. Yes it is great, yes it is huge and no it is no OVF . I would not say it 's worse than a huge DSLR-VF, but it's different. No chance to mistake one for the other - except your name is Steve Wonder. But yes, it is the best EVF I've ever looked through and something which starts to be a real substitute for Optical-VF. When I look through the VF of my Canon 5dmkII, than it's different but not coactive better.

And when you start to use the possibilities of that VF beside just framing, yes then this VF really starts to be superior. For example the well known things like electronic horizontal line, exposure simulation, film simulation etc. pp. All very nice stuff - but now I would like to come to the really great stuff:

Beside these nice things, the X-T1 offers some focus aids like magnifying, focus peeking etc. All very nice and helpful, but the one really great thing is the picture in picture screen, where you have the scene and than beside that a smaller magnified view where you can have the digital focus split or focus-peeking in white, red or blue (for me red works best) and you can just choose according to your preferences or the situational needs. I tried this several times now with my 1.4 23, and it's usable on the fly and focus was always dead on. Extremely convinient and the best Focus-Aid beside Leica's RF-System I've ever used.

These focus-aids can be used either in the VF or the display. For me they work better in the VF.
And there we come to the display. I think, it is as good as it can be nowadays. Definitely a bit better than the one from the X-Pro1. The flip-mechanism is also easy to use and makes a sufficent robust impression to me. And finally I can use my "Neck-Strap-Flip-Screen-image-stabilization"-technic again - something I loved to use with the Olympus E-330 and which is good for 3-4 stops .

3. The AF:

For some the biggest questionmark in the room. Also for me, as I plan to further reduce my FF-DSLR stuff if the AF is and in particular the C-AF has been improved dramatically.

I can stop here and just say "Yes, it has"

It's too early to come to some final conclusion here, but the AF is in deed very snappy, definetly faster than the X-Pro1, which is meanwhile fast enough under most circumstances. S-AF seldomly was an issue for me, but sometimes, e.g. at the Thaipusam Festival the X-Pro1 hunts or is just too slow to make the shot, why I prefer using my DSLR there - on the other hand I prefer the X-Pro1 because the DSLR is extremly obstrusive on such occasions.
That's something I have to test with the X-T1, but at first glance I tend to say that is has also improved the S-AF tremendously under challenging conditions - but no final judgement yet.

For the C-AF I can already give a first judgement and I think it will not change much in the future. Yes! That one really works as promised by Fuji. AF-Tracking is working very well.

But beware: The X-T1s factory settings are at release priority for S-AF and C-AF - that may cause some bafflements when the AF-System is first being tried-out in the beginning. I've changed both to Focus-priority what helped me to get much more consistence results.

And no, the X-T1 is no 5dmkIII or Eos X, but still it is very, very capable. So far, I just tested it in my garden with the cat and the dogs and yesterday early evening when I took the dogs for walk with one the worst task: A dog running with good speed directly towards me, accelerating and deaccelerating randomly.

It was already a bit gloomy as the sun already was gone. So no harsh and nice contrasts and not really bright light (as you can see on the ISO-numbers in the shots I've attached. Most of the shots were in focus, not all, but the keeper rate was really high. Under these circumstances the 5dmkIII is not doing much better - of course it can do some other tricks like tracking the subject over multiple AF-Points - something the X-T1 is not capable to do at the moment - maybe that comes later with some FW-updates.

Concluding I can say that the AF is really good and especially the C-AF is compared to the X-Pro1 from a different planet and also compared to DSLRs it is now kind of competitive but not on the "Super-Pro"-Class

One more: The X-T1 is also speeding up the 2.4 60mm, I've never heard this lens making such sound when driving from near to infinity. The motor is really working hard to try to be as fast as possible

Terminatory, I can say that so far I am very pleased. The X-T1 really seems to be a photographers tool. Well thought and well executed and as I already mentioned, the one and only real annoyance for me is the Video-Button, gosh, that one is really dispensable - at least for me.

Attached you can find some pictures, mainly to show the C-AF performance as I think this is major point of interest for many.

As mentioned, the light was already really bad but neverthleless, the camera did very well.

In lack of RAW-support at the moment, all pictures are Jpegs.

Hope this first impression was not too long and boring for you and interested buyers are getting something out of it.



X-T1 Velvia - S-AF

X-T1 C-AF with 55-200 during dawn

X-T1 C-AF with 55-200 during dawn

X-T1 C-AF with 55-200 during dawn

X-T1 C-AF with 55-200 during dawn

X-T1 and 55-200

X-T1 C-AF in the afternoon, cat on the hunt. Not really challenging

 Daniel from Bavaria's gear list:Daniel from Bavaria's gear list
Leica M Typ 240 Leica Summilux-M 50mm f/1.4 ASPH Leica Super-Elmar-M 21mm f/3.4 ASPH Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 1,4/35 ZM +1 more
Canon EOS 5D Fujifilm X-Pro1 Fujifilm X-T1 Olympus E-3
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