After a year spent expanding the X-series with enthusiast models, Fujifilm has returned to the premium arena by launching the X-T1. Is it the best X-series model to date? Read the Fujifilm X-T1 review...
Fujifilm X-T1 at a glance:
- 16.3-million-pixel, APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS sensor
- EXR Processor II
- ISO 200-6400 (extended to ISO 100-51,200)
- Fujifilm X mount
- 2.36-million-dot OLED EVF
- 3in, 1.04-million-dot LCD screen
- Street price £1,049 body only or £1,399 with 18-55mm f/2.8-4 lens
- See sample images taken with the Fujifilm X-T1
- See product shots of the Fujifilm X-T1
Fujifilm X-T1 review – Introduction
Before we cast our eyes over Fujifilm’s latest creation, let’s refresh ourselves with the relatively swift expansion of the firm’s X-series models. In early 2011, Fujifilm launched the X100 with its fixed 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens, followed around a year later by what was considered the game changer, the X-Pro1. As the first interchangeable X-series model with its own XF-mount system of lenses, it marked an evolution that set out to target enthusiasts and professionals craving outstanding image quality from a more conveniently sized system, inspired by the classic styling of long-departed film cameras. Since 2012, Fujifilm’s objective has focused on expanding the X-series with slimmed-down versions of the X-Pro1, such as the X-E1 and the more recent X-E2. Other releases included the X-M1 and X-A1, which have made inroads into the consumer end of the market, rivalling Sony’s Alpha (formerly NEX) range of compact system cameras and Olympus’s Pen series.
It was only a matter of time before Fujifilm refocused on its premium range, and with many expecting the rumoured X-Pro2 to be next off the production line, the launch of the Fujifilm X-T1 has caught some by surprise. Sitting between the X-Pro1 and X-E2, the X-T1 breaks away from the rangefinder design we’re used to seeing and marks the company’s first attempt at an SLR-shaped body within the X series. It’s hard not to be impressed by its styling and panache – and combined with these are a host of features adopted from the company’s stunning X-E2.
Fujifilm X-T1 review – Features
The APS-C-sized, X-Trans CMOS II sensor in the X-T1 has a 16.3-million-pixel effective resolution, and is the same sensor as that used in the recent X-E2. With a structure more akin to film, the X-Trans CMOS II chip is proven at keeping moiré and false colour to a minimum, eliminating the need for an anti-aliasing filter. The dimensions of the sensor (23.6×15.6mm) place it between the micro four thirds sensors used on cameras such as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX7, and full-frame sensors like that found in the Sony Alpha 7 and Nikon’s Df DSLR.
The Fujifilm X-T1’s sensor also incorporates more than 100,000 phase-detection pixels to provide it with an ultra-fast hybrid AF system, which switches between phase-detection and contrast-detection AF for optimal focusing speed, quoted as being as fast as 0.08secs. We shouldn’t forget the excellent AF performance on the X-E2, which was the result of a new AF algorithm introduced to improve accuracy in low light, so it’s good to see Fujifilm implementing this latest technology in the X-T1.
Fast and effective processing power is left in the capable hands of Fujifilm’s EXR Processor II. Claimed to be twice as quick as the previous generation, with a reported start-up time of 0.5secs and a shutter time lag of just 0.05secs, it’s another example of the X-T1 being similar to the X-E2.
The Fujifilm X-T1 provides a modest ISO range of 200-6400, and while this might seem more limiting than some of the X-T1’s rivals, it can be expanded to the equivalent of ISO 12,800, 25,600 and 51,200 at the high end, and ISO 100 at the low end. You’ll want to bear in mind, however, that these expanded settings only allow images to be recorded as JPEGs, not as raw files.
When shooting, the X-T1 is no slouch. Capable of 8fps with continuous AF, or 3fps with live view, it shoots 1fps faster than the X-E2 and 2fps faster than the X-Pro1. As with previous Fujifilm models, the X-T1 draws on the company’s heritage to provide a selection of film-simulation modes to mimic old film emulations. These include Astia, Velvia and Provia in addition to four monochrome modes.
The stand-out features are at the rear of the camera, with a large 0.77x electronic viewfinder positioned above a 3:2-aspect, 1.04-million-dot tilt screen. The central positioning of the 2.36-million-dot EVF is more akin to that of a DSLR than other X-series models, and having the option to pull out the screen makes it well suited to those who experience difficulties shooting from high or low angles with a fixed screen.
Wi-Fi is included for wireless image transfer and remote shooting, which ties in with Fujifilm’s new app that enables more functions to be controlled, including the positioning of AF points. An optional vertical battery grip (VG-XT1) is available, in addition to a slightly smaller optional metal grip that is designed to provide additional support during long periods.
While full HD video is included, an in-built flash is not. However, Fujifilm has provided a clip-on external flash and a standard hotshoe for external flashguns.