Controls

There's no shortage of buttons or dials on the X-T1, which is pretty much what you'd expect on a camera in this class. While the dials work as you'd expect, you my find you need to remove your eye from the viewfinder to make some adjustments.

Virtually every button and dial on the X-T1 is visible in this shot. As you can see, there's no shortage of either.

One of the features that sets the X-T1 apart from other enthusiast mirrorless cameras are the three dials on its top plate, covering ISO, shutter speed, and exposure compensation. Under the first two are switches for drive mode and metering.

The ISO dial has a range of 200 - 6400 in 1/3-step increments. There are also Auto, Low (ISO 100), and High 1/2 (customizable, ISO 12800 - 51600) options.

In order to rotate the dial, the lock at its center must be held down.

You'll need to move your hand away from under the lens in order to rotate the dial.
The shutter speed dial has a range of 1 - 4000 sec, along with bulb and time modes. The dial locks but you'll only need to press it to leave the Auto position.

The 1/180x option matches the camera's flash X-sync speed.

Intermediate shutter speeds between the marked positions, and timed speeds up to 30sec in 'T', are set with the front dial.
The exposure compensation dial covers a range of ±3EV. The dial is surprisingly large, and distinctly stiff. This means that you're unlikely to jog it accidentally (which is definitely a good thing), but need to turn it using both forefinger and thumb.

The X-T1 has no fewer than six customizable function buttons. One is on the front, handily placed for operation by your second finger. The second is on the top, not-quite-so-accessibly-positioned between the exposure compensation and shutter speed dials. The four buttons that comprise the four-way controller complete the set. You can change their assigned functions by holding any of them down for a couple of seconds, until the settings menu shows, which is a nice touch. Alternatively, holding down the 'DISP/BACK' button takes you to a screen from which you can configure them all.

This screen - accessible from the setup menu or by holding down the DISP/BACK button, allows you to adjust each of the six customizable buttons.

Alternatively, holding down one of the customizable buttons lets you reconfigure that specific button.

The table below shows the options available (which are the same for all six). The default settings of the various buttons are indicated in green text.

Fujifilm X-T1 custom button options
• Bkt/Adv setting Fn1 (front)
• Macro Fn3 (up)
• Preview Depth of Field
• ISO Auto Setting
• Self Timer
• Image size
• Image Quality
• Dynamic range
• Film Simulation Fn4 (left)
• White Balance Fn5 (right)
• AF mode
• Focus Area Fn6 (down)
• Select Custom Setting
• Face detection
• Raw
• Aperture setting (for XC lenses)
• Wireless Communication Fn2 (top)

You can assign the same function to multiple buttons. In particular you can set all of the buttons on the four-way controller to Focus Area selection, which makes the X-T1 behave more like its closest competitors (which use the controller to move AF area directly). There's still an extra button press to activate AF area selection mode, but the point is that this can always be the button you're going to use to move the AF point.

In addition to customizable buttons, the functions of the front and rear electronic dials can be switched too. One fine-tunes shutter speed when it's being set from the dedicated dial, and the other changes the aperture when shooting with XC lenses, but it's your choice which way round.

Auto ISO Settings

The X-T1 has configurable Auto ISO: you can set the minimum and maximum sensitivity the camera will use, and a minimum shutter speed. Note though that there's no way to tie this minimum shutter speed to the focal length in use (which is particularly useful with telephoto zooms) - we'd like to see something more like Nikon's implementation, with Auto programs which can be biased towards selecting faster or slower shutter speeds. It's also worth noting that the highest minimum shutter speed you can define is 1/500 sec, which is also a bit too slow to reliably stop action when shooting with a telezoom (obviously in good light the camera will happily use faster shutter speeds than this).

Fujifilm X-T1 Auto ISO Settings
Default sensitivity (minimum) ISO 200 - 6400, 1/3 EV steps
Max sensitivity ISO 400-6400, 1 EV steps
Min shutter speed 1/4 sec - 1/500 sec

Auto ISO is available in manual exposure mode, but as with previous Fujifilm cameras, you still can't use the exposure compensation dial to set the desired image brightness. This makes it less useful than it should be.

'Rear-button' AF improvements

The X-T1, like Fujifilm's previous X-system cameras, allows AF to be disconnected from the shutter button by switching the camera to MF mode and then using the AF-L button for focusing. However it offers a couple of refinements compared to older models.

It's now possible to select the focus mode between single and continuous (Shooting Menu 1 - Autofocus Setting - Instant AF Setting). Set this to AF-S and the camera will track focus for as long as the AF-L button is depressed, which can be useful for sports and action work. The X-T1 has also (finally) gained visual confirmation of focus when using the AF-L button in single AF mode, with the on-screen focus confirm dot lighting up green when correct focus is achieved.

These are welcome improvements, but we're less enthused about the AF-L button itself. Like the other back buttons it's quite small, and not especially positive in action. It's also slightly awkwardly placed, in a position that forces to you to reach over the 'thumb hook' on the back of the camera.

Quick Menu and Face Detection

The X-T1's Quick (shortcut) Menu looks the same as its predecessors, but there are a few changes worth noting. The camera's ISO dial means it can't be set from the Q menu, which frees up space for Face Detection.

Fujifilm has removed the ISO option from the Quick Menu, which makes sense, given the existence of a dedicated ISO dial. It's been replaced by Face Detection.

The Face Detection option is added at the bottom of the page, while 'AF area mode' moves to the top. Fujifilm's implementation of Face Detection is rather restrictive; it locks the camera into pattern metering mode, and prevents you from manually selecting a focus point even when the camera can't detect a face in the scene, instead limiting the focus area to the centre of the frame. In contrast, most other cameras are smart enough to give control of focus area and metering back to the user in such situations. (Oddly, if for some reason you're letting the camera choose the AF area for itself, it's still quite happy to select an off-centre point.)

The upshot of this is that you'll probably want to turn Face Detection off when you're not specifically photographing people. The X-T1 does at least make this much easier than the X-E2, which demands a trip into the menus. But given the restriction Face Detection places on AF mode, we think it might be more logical if it were considered to be one, and set from the same place.

Intervalometer

The X-T1 gains a built-in intervalometer for time-lapse shooting. You can set the number of shots, the interval between them, and a delay before they start:

Fujifilm X-T1 intervalometer options
Interval 1 sec - 24 hrs, settable in 1 second increments
Number of shots 0 - 999
Delay before starting 1 min - 24 hrs, settable in 1 minute increments

One notable quirk is that the intervalometer isn't triggered by the shutter button - instead it simply starts the moment you press the 'OK' button to confirm your programming. This is very odd indeed, and practically guarantees that the first frame will be blurred unless you're using either a fast shutter speed, or a delay before starting. If you do set a delay, though, it has to be at least a minute. You might think you'd be able to get round this by using the self-timer to introduce a 2- or 10-second delay, but no: the camera simply ignores it.

Unlike several recent cameras, the X-T1 won't make a time-lapse movie for you when the process is finished, but it's still a nice feature to have on-board.