Fujifilm X-T1 review: An elegantly designed camera that gets most things right!

We finally got our hands on the Fujifilm X-series' flagship camera. Although it sports the same sensor as the X-E2, handling and design are different.

₹110,999

tech2 rating

4.5/5

avg. user rating

2.8/5




Couple of months ago we had come away impressed with the Fujifilm X-E2. This time around we got its elder sibling - the Fujifilm X-T1. Sporting the same image sensor, but a completely different design, the X-T1 is the new flagship as far as Fujifilm’s X-series mirrorless line up goes.

 

Build and Design

Fujifilm X-T1 review: An elegantly designed camera that gets most things right!

Fujifilm X-T1 houses a 16.3MP APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor with EXR II image processor

From a high end mirrorless camera, you expect flawless build quality. The Fujifilm X-T1 delivers that and more. Let’s start with the body which is made of die-cast magnesium with a textured rubber finish. Not only does the die-cast magnesium give the X-T1 a sturdy build but also keeps the weight under check. The palm grip and thumb rest are beautifully sculpted to provide ample grip when holding the camera. Control dials are present for the index finger as well as the thumb rest behind. The front portion of the camera is pretty clean, with just the focus notch present on the bottom left hand side, a function button beside the palm grip.

 

The top portion of the Fujifilm X-T1 is has a variety of metallic dials for ISO, shutter speed, metering, exposure and drive mode

The top portion of the Fujifilm X-T1 is has a variety of metallic dials for ISO, shutter speed, metering, exposure and drive mode

The top portion of the X-T1 is where all the action is. It is chock-a-block with aluminium dials. Starting from the left, you have the ISO dial which is placed atop the drive mode dial. On the right hand side you have the shutter speed dial placed atop the metering mode dial. Exposure control dial is present on the extreme right hand side. This double-decker-dial arrangement is quite similar to what you get on high end DSLRs. The drive mode dial and the metering mode dial have a projected metallic handle in the front portion which eases rotation. ISO dial comes with a lock mechanism, as does the shutter speed dial. All settings on the dials are etched and you hear and audible click when you rotate the dial to a different setting.

 

The central portion has the electronic viewfinder which is surrounded by a rubber eye-grip. On the top right hand side of the tapered side of the EVF is a View mode button. This helps you select the viewing mode: EVF only, LCD only, EVF + Eye sensor and Eye sensor, which switches between EVF and LCD.

 

Fujifilm XT1 has a 3-inch 1040k-dot tilting LCD monitor

Fujifilm XT1 has a 3-inch 1040k-dot tilting LCD monitor

On the rear side you have a 3-inch LCD screen which can tilt allowing you to capture low angle as well as over-the-shoulder photographs. Buttons on the rear side a bit too recessed for our liking. Fujifilm X-T1 comes with weather resistant sealing. It is water and dust-proof, and you can even use it in freezing conditions of up to -10 degrees C. But you need to ensure that the lens you are adding on is weather-sealed as well.

 

Features

Fujifilm X-T1 houses a APS-C sized 16.1MP X Trans CMOS II sensor which was also seen in the Fujifilm X-E2 and the Fujifilm X100S. It supports both contrast detection as well as has some phase-detection pixels on the sensor. The hybrid focus mechanism helps in acquiring focus quickly, which not only helps in making still photographs, but also helps with focus acquisition while shooting videos.

 

The X Trans CMOS II sensor is complemented by a dual-core EXR II image processor. This definitely helps improve overall operational speed of the camera. The APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor has an array of 6×6 pixel units and it bypasses the need for an optical low pass filter.

 

The EVF on the Fujifilm X-T1 has a 2.36k dot resolution which changes orientation along with the camera and also supports digital split image dual-view

The EVF on the Fujifilm X-T1 has a 2.36k dot resolution which changes orientation along with the camera and also supports digital split image dual-view

Fujifilm X-T1 supports digital split image, which basically helps you compose image with precise focus. This makes use of the phase detection pixels for focussing. In your EVF or the viewfinder, you will get the framed image on one side, with a monochrome portion along side, which gives a zoomed in view of the area you are trying to focus on. This area is divided into four strips and as you adjust the manual focus ring, you will notice those strips moving and your area is under focus only when those strips align properly. Other manual focus modes include the Standard mode which can be used along with the Focus assist button, which brings up a zoomed in view of the area you are trying to focus. The focus peak highlighter gives you multiple colours such as red and blue along with white.

 

Bracketing is available with auto exposure, ISO, film simulation, dynamic range and white balance. You will also come across the Advanced filters under the Bracketing option. There are 13 advanced filters including toy camera, high-key, low-key, selective colours and so on.

 

For speeding up operations, Fujifilm X-T1 provides as many as six function buttons - one button beside the palm grip, one button beside the exposure dial and the four buttons which make up the directional pad. Select the right functions and when paired with the ones accessible via the Quick menu button, you will rarely need to get inside the Menu screen of the X-T1. Even in the quick menu mode, you get up to 7 custom setting options (C1-C7), so you can set various controls such as noise reduction, highlight tone, shadow tone, film simulation mode at your preferred setting. That way if you are using a particular setting for a particular kind of composition, you can activate it by just selecting the right mode. In short, you can set your own presets.

 

You can shoot the Fujifilm X-T1 remotely using the Fujifilm Camera Remote application

You can shoot the Fujifilm X-T1 remotely using the Fujifilm Camera Remote application

As has become a norm these days, the Fujifilm X-T1 comes with an in-built Wi-Fi adapter. You can transfer images as well as shoot remotely using the Fijifilm Camera Remote app. Fujifilm offers in-camera RAW conversion and you can also edit your images after the fact. For pictures already on your card, you can crop, resize, wirelessly transfer, mark for upload to social networking sites, right from the camera itself.

 

Performance

Studio ISO Performance

The X Trans CMOS II sensor has been impressive in the past, and we were expecting the goodies from the X-T1 when it came to ISO performance. As expected, the noise levels are controlled quite well. From ISO 100 to ISO 1600, there is barely any noticeable noise even at 100 percent crops. The thin current lines on the circuit board are distinctly visible, threads have great definition and so on. As you move from ISO 1600 to ISO 3200, you will notice the noise reducing algorithms kick in. But noise at this level appears as fine grain and being luminance noise, does not affect the overall image. At 100 percent crop the noise is noticeable only if you are swapping from ISO 1600 to 3200. The image is still printable at ISO 3200 though. At ISO 6400, there is a marked increase is noise as compared to ISO 1600. You can print images at this ISO level, but we wouldn’t bet on a great image. Beyond ISO 6400, the noise level is quite prominent, with the image having patchy areas and overall waxy look to it. Definitely not recommended to shoot beyond ISO 6400.

 

Note: All images shown below have been resized. In order to see the full resolution images, click on the image. To see the complete image samples gallery visit our Fujifilm X-T1 album on Flickr.

ISO 100

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 800

ISO 1600

ISO 1600

ISO 3200

ISO 3200

ISO 6400

ISO 6400

ISO 12800

ISO 12800

ISO 25600

ISO 25600

Image Quality

We tested the Fujifim X-T1 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 lens

We tested the Fujifim X-T1 with a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 lens

This is one area where the Fujifilm X-T1 is excellent. The X Trans II CMOS sensor on the X-T1 paired with a Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 lens is able to handle most situations well, giving accurate colours. The lens performs beautifully, giving sharp images with great control over barrel distortion and chromatic aberrations. Between f/2.0 and f/8.0 images not only have great centre-sharpness but impressive edge-sharpness as well. Vignetting at f/1.4 is barely noticeable.

The one area where we found issues with the camera was when we were shooting against bright lights behind the subject. Even with the metering mode switched to Spot metering, we couldn’t get the desired results. There is a slight discrepancy between what you see through the EVF and the final captured image.

The film simulation modes on the Fujifilm cameras are another plus point. The Film bracketing mode allows you to set up to three simulation modes if you aren’t sure which mode to go with. We liked the Velvia mode which gives vivid colour photographs. The quick menu mode also offers up to 7 custom modes, and provision for tonal control with shadow and highlight control. The panorama mode requires you to just swipe the camera in the direction of the arrow and all the photo-stitching happens internally. X-T1 offers internal RAW conversion.

 

Note: All images shown below have been resized. In order to see the full resolution images, click on the image. To see the complete image samples gallery visit our Fujifilm X-T1 album on Flickr.

 

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/4000th sec

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/4000th sec

ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/85th sec

ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/85th sec

ISO 2500, f/2.8, 1/17th sec

ISO 2500, f/2.8, 1/17th sec

We also examined the RAW images which naturally shows more grain as compared to their JPEG counterparts. as seen in the images below. But with Lightroom 5.4 (which supports Fujifilm X-T1's RAF format) we were able to reduce the noise on the RAW file to acceptable levels. Either way, even with the luminance noise in the higher ISO images, you can get a great grainy film aesthetic in your photographs.

You can see the luminance noise in the RAW image above as compared to the JPEG

You can see the luminance noise in the RAW image above as compared to the JPEG

Before After NR

We were able to reduce noise in RAW images significantly using Lightroom 5.4

Focus

The X-T1 has 49 AF points arranged in a 7x7 grid. The AF speed on the X-T1 is quick and while shooting on the streets, it locked focus quickly for capturing those decisive moments. It offers modes such as single-point, multi-point, tracking AF, face detect, among others. A notch present beside the lens barrel on the lower left hand side in the front allows you to switch between single, continuous and manual focus modes. Manual focus allows you to focus using, digital split imaging or focus peaking. The Focus assist button zooms into the focus area for quicker manual focussing. Barring macro shots, there weren’t many situations where we found focus hunting, and this includes shooting post sunset. Focussing is fast and accurate.

 

Note: All images shown below have been resized. In order to see the full resolution images, click on the image. To see the complete image samples gallery visit our Fujifilm X-T1 album on Flickr.

 

ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/300th sec

ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/300th sec

ISO 800, f/5, 1/140th sec

ISO 800, f/5, 1/140th sec

ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/6th sec

ISO 800, f/1.4, 1/6th sec

Handling

With an army of dials and buttons and great ergonomics, handling is one area where the Fujifilm X-T1 excels. With strategically placed function buttons, as many as 7 custom modes in the quick menu, tilting LCD screen, dials within easy reach, makes shooting on the X-T1 a whole lot of fun. Some of you may take time getting used to the double-decker dials as at times you accidentally tend to rotate the bottom dial as well along with the top dial. We liked the fact that the SD card slot is on the right hand side, which makes it much easier to switch cards when the camera is attached to a tripod. Weather sealing on the XT1 is another plus point, but you need to ensure that the lens attached to it also comes with weather sealing.

 

Note: All images shown below have been resized. In order to see the full resolution images, click on the image. To see the complete image samples gallery visit our Fujifilm X-T1 album on Flickr.

 

ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/250th sec with Monochrome mode w/o any filter

ISO 800, f/5.6, 1/250th sec with Monochrome mode w/o any filter

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/4000th sec.  This trianglular roof with the statue of top looked like a silhouette within the EVF, but the final output wasn't so

ISO 1600, f/6.4, 1/4000th sec. This trianglular roof with the statue on top looked like a silhouette within the EVF, but the final output wasn't so

The XF 23mm f/1.4 lens (35mm equivalent) which we got with the camera also has great handling features with a well marked aperture dial. The manual focus ring when pulled towards the camera (free mode) switches the camera to manual focus mode and when pushed away from the camera (lock mode) switches to autofocus mode. The manual focus ring has distance markers which allows you to set hyperfocal distances if you want to pre-focus. Comes in particularly handy when shooting on the streets with manual focus. Unfortunately this lens does not have weather sealing.

 

The OLED viewfinder offers great resolution and features such as the Viewfinder mode really help you save on battery life. When you are shooting in the vertical mode, the viewfinder frame also switches to the vertical mode. Visibility of the LCD screen in bright sunlight is quite good.

 

Video

Video quality is good for shooting casual videos. As neither the camera nor the lens has any sort of image stabilisation, handheld video output is shaky and quite average. The focus acquisition is quick as can be seen in the video. Like the X-E2, the X-T1 video output suffers from moire patterns as can be seen on the buses in the video. You can change the aperture, but the clicking sound of rotating ring is audible. To get better video quality, it is best to keep the camera steady and use subject tracking along with continuous AF.

 

Verdict and Price in India

Fujifilm X-T1 is without doubt the best mirrorless camera we have tested so far. It satisfies on all fronts: build quality, ergonomics, handling, ISO performance, image quality, low light performance and AF performance. One thing is crystal clear: Fujifilm is out not just to woo mirrorless users, but make semi-pro DSLRs give it a thought as well. The ergonomics and handling, while managing to keep the weight of the X-T1 down, is appealing to anyone who is tired of lugging around bulky DSLRs.

 

Barring the issue with backlit subjects, there was barely any noticeable fault. The high resolution OLED viewfinder is particularly impressive with its big bright display. Paired with the wonderful Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4, the X-T1 one gives great results. The battery life is rated at 350 shots and we could easily get over 300 shots.

 

Sure, at Rs 1.2 lakh for the X-T1 with 18-55mm kit lens, you have to pay a high price. If you plan to go for the Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 lens you will have to shell out Rs 70,000 more. The camera is clearly aimed at enthusiasts who want the best image quality along with great handling. As compared to similarly priced DSLRs, the X-T1 offers less bulk. This makes it a great choice for those leaning towards street photography or documentary photography work.

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Fujifilm X-T1 (with 18-55mm kit lens) Specifications

With its high-resolution 2.36million dot OLED display, and the world's highest magnification ratio of 0.77x, the FUJIFILM X-T1's Real Time Viewfinder allows a true connection to your subject and a purely immersive shooting experience. The viewfinder achieves a wide angle of view of 31, and with the display's lag time of just 0.005 sec — less that a tenth of conventional cameras — you'll immediately see any changes to your composition, keeping you in touch with whatever you're shooting. The FUJIFILM X-T1's large APS-C-sized 16M X-Trans CMOS II sensor features an original color filter array that minimizes moire and color aberrations, and also includes embedded phase detection pixels. The result is image quality that rivals a full-frame sensor.

Basic

Type of CameraSLR
Effective Resolution16.3MP
Sensor TypeX-Trans CMOS II
Image StabilizerYes

Screen

LCD Size3
Resolution1040K
Aspect Ratio3:2

Shooting Specs

ISO Sensitivity RangeISO 100, 12800, 25600 and 51200
White BalanceAutomatic Scene Recognition, Custom, Color Temperature Selection, Preset: Fine / Shade / Fluorescent Light (Daylight) / Fluorescent Light (Warm White) / Fluorescent Light (Cool White) / Incandescent Light / Underwater
Shutter Speed1/4-1/4000
Burst Mode8.0 fps
Shooting mode (PSAM)Program AE, Shutter priority AE, Aperture priority AE, Manual Exposure

Video

Maximum Resolution1920 x 1080
Maximum Frame rate60fps

Media

StorageSD, SDHC, SDXC
File formats supportedJPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG

Connectivity

USB CableYes
HDMIYes
MicrophoneYes
PictBridgeYes

Battery

Type of BatteryLi-Ion

Dimensions

Dimensions (W x D x H)129 x 46.7 x 89.8 mm
Weight440 grams

After Sales Service

Warranty Period1 Year

Price

Warranty Period1 Year




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