Fuji X-T1 Photographer Experience
Fuji took the premium camera market by storm with their X100 fixed-lens camera. This particular model offers a 23mm F/2 lens with leaf shutter and introduced Fuji's exclusive X-Trans CMOS technology. Fuji followed with a high-end offering which was their first mirrorless. The X-Pro1, based on the same mechanical design of the X100S.
The X-Pro1 received great praise for targeting professional photographers. Most mirrorless cameras until then were designed towards people upgrading from a fixed-lens camera. Fuji expanded their lineup, producing the more-affordable X-E1, X-M1 and X-A1, each one more basic than the previous. After upgrading their mid-range model with the X-E2, Fuji launched their ultimate professional model, the X-T1.
The X-T1 introduced a new modern-classic hybrid design and became the only weather-sealed and freezeproof Fuji mirrorless. Although the lens lineup did not offer any weather-sealed lenses at the time, this changed with the advent of the Fujinon XF18-135mm F/3.5-5.6R LM OIS WR.
The flagship Fuji is one of the most compelling mirrorless on the market. Its combination of excellent image-quality, performance and control fit well together. With its huge 0.77X magnification 2.4 megapixels EVF, it delivers a high-end photography experience. Controls are mostly intuitive and easily accessible, unless one is wearing gloves, as we noted in its full-review this January.
Usability is not without flaws though. Even after 7 months, we still think that Fuji did not perform enough user testing. Controls on the back are too flush with the body, which makes them hard to press. Dials on the top-plate have the opposite problem in that they are too easy to turn accidentally. The Drive Mode dial is particularly prone to this but so is the Metering one.
Ending up with 6 dials to control 3 exposure parameters is overly complex which makes the camera look more intimidating than it could be. Precise control over parameters takes more steps than normal and changing modes is unusually long, depending on current settings.
The key component Fuji got almost perfect is the EVF. It is so incredibly sharp that it is easy to confuse with reality. Like reality, it unfortunately does not fully preview exposure which it could. Contrast is more limited than what the camera can handle, so some scenes appear over-exposed in the EVF or LCD when in-fact they are not.
The EVF updates quickly and shows no perceptible lag. These were serious limitations when EVF were initially developed. It is clear now that the gap between OVF and EVF is coming to an end, with the latter delivering a great number of advantages. The overlaid level and HUD improve usability, as does the Eye-Start sensor which instantly switches between the EVF and LCD.
Manual Focus is finally better with an EVF than an OVF. Not only is the resolution so why that focus can be seen just as easily, this EVF offers a number of focus aids. Most effective is magnification which can be invoked with a quick press of the FOCUS ASSIST button o the back of the X-T1.
This superb camera handles nearly all photographic opportunities well. It keeps managing to produce a high-ratio of keepers compared to other advanced digital cameras, proving that this mirrorless than can hold its own against modern DSLRs. The fact that the EVF is so large lets photographers compose images with great care. It also keeps up well with different lighting and motion.
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