Field Testing the Fujifilm X-T1

_DSF5375For sometime, I’ve been thinking about the mirror-less cameras.  I like the smaller sizes that are available.  Actually, every time I take my Canon 70-200 f/2.8 three pounds+ lens for a hike, I think about the mirror-less cameras even more.  But, which one?  After looking into them for some time, I decided to try out one or two and see how I like them.

My first tryout is the Fujifilm X-T1.  You can read all the specs here.   The ‘kit’ lens is 18-55mm; f/2.8-4 so that’s what I’m testing. These are my first impressions – I may add/change some things later.  My overall impression of the camera is very good.  With the kit lens it is small, light but still fits my hand well.  Image quality is very good.   The EVF is impressive; large and great resolution.  Almost like the mirror in my 7D.  Notice the “almost” there.

The picture above was taken at ISO 2000, handheld.  I made only slight noise adjustments in Lightroom.  While I haven’t made an exact comparison – stay tuned – I suspect the noise characteristics are better than my Canon 7D.  For manual focus, the ‘focus peaking’ feature is extremely good.   This is also the first camera I’ve had my hands on that has wifi and that’s really useful – think remote control.  Of course, the image on my iPod is smaller than the image on the back of the camera.

I like the fact all the controls are available via dials and buttons on the camera.  But, that means that I often hit the wrong button/dial since the camera is so small.  The 18-55 lens has an aperture ring and that’s convenient but I often change aperture just carrying the camera around.  Because of a ‘quirk’ in the way Canon arranges things, I use manual exposure in the 7D all the time.  With the X-T1, I use aperture mode most of the time.

Manual mode in the X-T1 has it’s own quirk.  The dial on the top of the camera can be used to set shutter speed to one of the “standard” values; say 1/60 or 1/500 …  But if I want to tweak the exposure, then I have to turn the control wheel on the front of the camera – that gives me +/- 2/3 of a stop.  So adjusting shutter speed seems to be a ‘two knob’ effort every time.  Not good.  Again, this is in manual mode.  And the aperture adjustment doesn’t work the same way – I can get 1/3 stop settings with the aperture ring.  The aperture ring is not labeled but the display is easy to see so that’s not a big deal.

The controls – in particular the dials – on the camera I have are very stiff.  I have to put the camera down to change ISO.  And, about that display.  I tend to use the histogram to adjust exposure and would prefer to see RGB, not just luminance.   The histogram on the X-T1 is very small and only marginally useful; it only does luminance.

So far, the battery life appears to be a little on the short side.  While I haven’t filled up a 8Gig card yet, it appears that I could only get around 200 to 250 images out of a fully charged battery.  Still working with that and it may be better but I’ll have to wait and see.  Also – this is a real nitpicking thing – I shoot raw.  The raw images are uncompressed taking 32 megabytes each.  That’s for a 16 megapixel camera.  My Canon 7D is 18 megapixels and images take from 21 megabytes up to 30 megabytes depending upon the settings.  Most seem to be closer to the 21 meg number, however. Given the battery life, that doesn’t matter much and I convert everything to DNGs anyway – which takes about 24 meg per image – so I don’t see it has a show stopper.

If you made it this far, you can see some examples of images I’ve taken with the camera here.