new Fuji X-T1 camera with best in class viewfinder and weather sealing

Fuji X-T1 camera view from front
Fuji X-T1 camera view from front, showing external controls (including the new ISO dial) and the large EVF.

Celebrating the 80th anniversary this year, Fuji announced the new Fuji X-T1 camera. The new body has a distinct classic SLR look (similar with the Nikon Df). Previous Fuji X cameras (like the X-Pro1, X-E1, X-M1 and so on) had a clear resemblance with classic rangefinders. This change should make professional shooters happy, as it makes the new Fuji X-T1 to look and feel like a DSLR.

The Fuji X-T1 official micro-site has a lot of information and a list of full camera specifications.

main features of the new Fuji X-T1

  • Fuji X-T1 front and back views
    Fuji X-T1 front and back views

    weather resistant body
    water and dust resistant and operation down to -10 degrees C
    in adverse conditions the Fuji X-T1 needs a weather resistant lens, with two announced: the 18-135 f4-5.6 and the one I am most enthusiastic about Fuji XF 16-55 f2.8

  • new tilt LCD (3 inch and 1 million dots)
    useful for shooting from waist-level, when doing close-up work or when trying to photograph over the head of a crowd
  • new 0.77x EVF with 2.36 million dots
    the 0.77x magnification is a very strong feature, and Fuji presents the new EVF as the first feature of the new camera
    with a lag of just 0.005s, and combined with the improved AF, the Fuji X-T1 should do a very good job in capturing action shots
    although I like the viewfinder on my X-E1, I cannot wait to try an X-T1.
  • more physical controls with a better layout
    ISO dial with A mode for auto, and a very useful locking mechanism (a small button in the center of the dial). The X-T1 can shoot up to ISO 51200, which means that at least up to 6400 and 12800 the camera will deliver great detailed results.
    the shutter dial, such as my X-E1, also has a locking mechanism. I wonder why there is no such lock for the exposure compensation? I often manage to bump the dial from the 0 setting and notice only afterward.
  • external flash included in the package
    the Fuji X-T1 has no internal flash, however it comes in the box with an EF-X8 unit that plugs in the hot-shoe.
Fuji X-T1 camera top view with new EVF "hump", tilt LCD and ISO dial
Fuji X-T1 camera top view: the most visible change is the EVF housing (like the hump of a traditional SLR design), the ISO dial, locking mechanisms for the controls, Wi-Fi/Fn and the drive mode surrounding the ISO dial

inside the Fuji X-T1: sensor and autofocus

Although not new, the Fuji X-T1 uses the acclaimed APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor found in the Fuji X100s and the X-E2. With 16mp, no anti-alias filter (which helps a lot with preserving micro-contrast) and phase-detection AF the X-T1 will be able to capture beautiful detailed images at very high autofocus speeds.

In the past Fuji X cameras were berated for sluggish autofocus speed and non-standard sensors. Even my (already old) Fuji X-E1 was greatly improved speed wise by several firmware iterations and the newer bodies (like the X-E2) have autofocus speeds in the same ballpark as top mirrorless cameras. The one area where the Fuji X-T1 still has to convince is sport / action shooting. The X-T1 promises 8fps shooting with continuous AF and this should make everyone happy.

Fuji X-T1 front view showing the sensor
Fuji X-T1 front view showing the lens mount and sensor

A non-standard sensor design (compared to most other cameras conventional Bayer pattern) means less support when processing RAW images. As Fuji designed the X-Trans sensor (and they have a history with non-standard yet very capable sensors like the EXR in the old Fuji X10) the jpeg files look already gorgeous. But until the main raw converters – Lightroom and Aperture – had good support for Fuji raw files this was a problem.

While I do not have Aperture, I use Lightroom every day and I have to say that in the last year the support for Fuji raw files increased to a level where I feel this is no longer a problem.

pricing and packages

The Fuji X-T1 body only will retail for 1300 usd, and as kit with the wonderful XF 18-55 F2.8-4 it will cost 1700 usd.

It will be interesting to see the pricing for the announced 18-125 and 16-55 lenses, as both will offer weather sealing.

conclusion

Fuji X system has very quickly evolved from a new entrant with no lens choice and a quirky body to a pretty mature system. It has 5 current camera bodies – X-A1, X-M1, X-E2, the venerable X-PRO1 and the just announced X-T1.

The lens road map shows the two professional lens workhorses – 24-80 f2.8 and 70-200 f2.8 equivalent – for second half 2014. Fuji has quality hi-speed fixed lenses and good zooms. What do you feel is lacking from the Fuji X system to call it a full-fledged one?

 

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