With the Fuji X-T1 now being delivered to customers in Japan, it is only a matter of days until I will be holding one in my grubby little hands. I cannot review one right now because as a lowly hobby photographer with an unknown blog, nobody will send me a production model and I will have to wait my turn to give you my opinion on the camera. But, while I am waiting, I can tell you what I hope this camera will be, compared to the cameras I owned so far.
The main reason I turned my back on DSLR cameras was their size. Even the small-ish Nikon D3300 is still mighty big. While the X-T1 and then D3300 have both about the same width, without a lens, the D3300 is 38% thicker than the Fuji X-T1 and - despite the X-T1's funny penta-prism look - still a wee bit taller. But put one of the big Nikon lenses on, and you realize how much weight and volume you won't be carrying with a mirrorless system. And despite the fact that Fuji uses metal for their lens bodies, all Fuji lenses are much smaller and lighter than their Nikon counter parts.
The Fuji X-T1 delivers the same great image quality I enjoyed with all my cameras so far, from the D60, to the D90, the X-100 to the X-E1. Ultimately, I don't buy a camera for it's size - otherwise I would use a point 'n shoot. I choose a camera for its size AND great image quality. And that's where the Fuji shines. So, since size matters, I'm glad to report that Fuji X-T1 is only a bit bigger and about 90 g heavier than my X-E1, but the magnesium-alloy body has a nice grip and the proper heft for stable handling.
2. Fast Focus
Once you owned a Fuji mirrorless camera, be it the X100, the X-PRO1 or the X-E2, you realize how important fast focusing has become. 'Cause with the Fuji X series so far, you have got none of that. Speed is where the X series cameras are lacking. I told myself, 'If you want a camera for football games, you should have stuck with your DSLR', and concentrated on slow or non-moving subjects. But every once it a while it would have been nice to be able to take a picture of that running child, that football player, that bunny rabbit hopping along. Alas, not with mirrorless.
However, the Fuji X-T1 seems to be changing all that. With predictive autofocus and superfast rapid fire, you seem to be able to focus on your subject and - while it is moving- still get sharp results. What I've seen so far on the interwebz gives me hope that this camera may give me some of that variety of subjects back that I have been missing with my X-E1.
3. WIFI & GPS
Every lowly point and shoot has built in WIFI these days. I know. Well, so does the X-T1 now. But the X-T1 has a couple of more features up its sleeve (its sleeve? Really?). The first one is remote control through WIFI - download the free app on your smartphone or your tablet, and you get a live feed of what you would see on the viewfinder. You can adjust the settings, and fire remotely. Selfies will never be the same. I actually won't have to move from my position to see if the picture turned out ok or now. Yay! The same way, I can now shoot on location and then post the SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) pictures via my iPhone onto the various social media sites. And the cherry on top is the fact that once you paired the X-T1 with your GPS enabled smartphone, your images on the X-T1 will be geotagged automatically! No more guessing where a certain picture was taken. Does it all work? I don't know. The first reviews are in and they are positive. So, my hopes are high.
4. Weather Sealing
Oh my. A camera that can withstand light rain, dust and grime? Hoozzah! Now, if you know me, you also know that I'm not one of those crazy climbing-hiking-skydiving-big-backpack-outdoorsy kinda type. I don't get my electronic equipment in wet or dusty situations very often. But there have been times I wished I would be able to use my camera without having to worry about wrecking it, be it while taking a picture of a waterfall, or in a snow storm, or at the beach. With this new and weather sealed body there shouldn't be any more of those times when I wish I could have taken a picture but didn't. And if the camera fails despite the weather protection, there's always that two-year warranty from Fuji.
5. Manual Controls Galore
No more menu diving to change certain settings! The X-T1 even has a manual ISO wheel on the top of the camera. In addition with the aperture selector on the lens, the speed selector and the exposure compensation dial on the top of the housing, the X-T1 now also boats selectors for the various shooting modes (panorama, bracketing, etc.) and metering modes in dials on top of the camera. Together with the smart Q button for the most important settings at hand that I am already familiar with from the X-E1, this camera promises to be one that can let me do most of the work without having to press the menu button once.
6. Only one colour
No more agonizing over which colour to pick. Silver, or black. Black or silver. Silver? There is no silver. The X-T1 (for now) only comes in black. Considering that scratches on the silver top- and bottom plates of the X-E1 were black, I should have chosen a black model this time around anyway. But I know myself. I would have gone for the silver again and then hated the scratches afterwards. Sometimes, no choice is a good thing.
7. All the Rest
A flappy screen? Meh. I don't like flappy screens. They have a tendency to break. They may come in useful, but I'm worried how it will hold up with constant use. First reviews are in and the buzz says that the built is solid and not nearly as wobbly as the screen on the Sony (don't ask me which Sony, I didn't write it down).
Only 16 megapixels? Bonus. I don't need more. I have yet to feel the need for anything more than 16 megapixels. I feel the same about Full Frame. Sure, it's the thing to have in these days of full frame frenzy. Time will tell, but so far, I am not missing something I have never experienced.
A battery grip? I never thought I'd need a battery grip, but as it happens, I will be getting a battery grip for free with my pre-order. I am not familiar with battery grips, but this one is called a "vertical grip", because it's supposed to help with portrait photography. It will give you a new shutter release button on the left side of the camera, as well as programmable function buttons. As all battery grips, it will use up the grip battery first, and only then drain the camera battery. Who knows, I may become a battery grip aficionado...
What is the Fuji X-T1 still missing?
- A flash sync speed of more than 1/180s. I think this is what I'm missing most. Maybe one day, with a firmware update. Don't diss Fuji's firmware updates. They have implemented so many improvements in recent years, just by letting users download and install updates to the camera bodies and lenses.
- Lock focus by half-depressing the shutter release. Yeah, that's a big one. You think it's fundamental in cameras these days. Not for Fuji. They still insist that you use a different button to lock focus, or move your focus point around before hand. Oh well. I guess I've gotten used to it by now. Still...
- Nikon's TTL flash implementation? Yes, one can dream, right?
Other than that, I'm perfectly happy.