12 Months With The Fujifilm X-T1
In April 2014 I bought a Fujifilm X-T1 CSC to compliment the X-Pro1 and X100 I already owned and within three months I had sold my Nikon D800, D700 and associated pro lenses.
One year on, and 35,000 frames later, did I make the right decision? Well the short answer is 'yes' but not everything is perfect in the Fujifilm garden - but then I never expected it to be.
The X100 and X-Pro1 put the pleasure back into taking images and the quality of the X-Trans sensor and the XF lenses produce images that rival and sometimes exceed the more established pro brands. When the X-T1 was announced I wasn't convinced that it was good enough to replace the Nikon D800 but on trying it I knew I had to move fully to the Fujifilm X-Series system.
The other big item that has made the move to Fujifilm a lot easier is the customer service and the fact that the Japanese company listens to the photographers that use the cameras and lenses to make improvements. These improvements usually come as a firmware update and these are free of charge.
The biggest improvement for X-T1 users came in December when the company released a software update to give the camera a top electronic shutter speed of 1/32000 second. For me this is a huge plus point as it allows the use of the fast 1.2 and 1.4 lenses to be used wide open in sunny conditions without having to resort to ND filters. The other big improvement was the Manual Focus override when using Auto Focus.
The biggest downside for the X-T1 is the life of the battery, this is an area that needs to be sorted out. I do use the vertical grip with the extra battery but the main problem I have is the camera shutting down when shooting video when the battery in the grip is exhausted, even though the battery in the camera is fully charged. This happened to me last weekend while shooting a press conference at Silverstone and it cut off one of the driver interviews.
The other problem I, and many other X-T1 users have experienced is the wear on the rubber coating on the camera and it is starting to lift away from the camera body. This is not good for a £1200 camera.
However aside from these two problems I have nothing but praise for this camera. The Electronic View Finder is second to none, I have to remind myself that I am not shooting with an Optical View Finder, it is that good.
The advantage of using the EVF is you get to preview the image you are about to take in real time. I can make adjustments to the exposure BEFORE I take the image. When shooting with my Nikons I would shoot the image, review the result and then adjust the exposure if necessary. With the Fujifilm's EVF I can see the exposure before I press the shutter release.
There have been some complaints about the Auto Focus system. While I agree that it is not as good as the systems used by Nikon or Canon I have not found any major problems when using, except in low light. Again the MF system comes into its own in these conditions.
The Fujifilm App is also a BIG plus for taking remote images. When I have the camera strapped to a suction clamp for car photography, I can see exactly what the camera is 'seeing' on my phone or tablet. I can also adjust the exposure remotely, alter the aperture or shutter speed and switch between stills and video. I also used it during my visit to Bass Rock to get the camera close to the nesting gannets. A brilliant addition to the system and again completely free.
I've also seen complaints that the X-Trans sensor is 'only' 16 megapixels. This is so much BS! Not long ago we were all shooting on 6pm and 12mp cameras. I find this complaint is usually made by people who think the more megapixels equals better quality images, which is complete twaddle. There is also the myth that you can't make big prints from smaller sensors. Well I have 75cm x 50cm prints on my wall from the 16mp found in the X-T1 and X-Pro1and from 12mp sensors found in the X100 and the older Nikon D300S.
With any camera system you have to work out the strengths and weaknesses and work around those weak points. The Fujifilm X-T1 system has a lot more strengths than it has weaknesses but the camera is certainly not perfect. But after 12 months and 35000 images shot on the camera I think I am in a good position to report that the X-T1 is one of the best, if not THE best, digital camera I have ever owned and used professionally.
For my style of photography, and the way I take pictures, the X-Series compact system camera is the best tool for my work. It has been around the world and never faltered once, and that for me is the mark of a professional camera.
Would I recommend someone to buy an X-T1? Definitely and I have on several occasions. Would I buy another one? Of course I would, without hesitation!
CLICK HERE for a sample of images taken on the Fujifilm X-T1