Fuji has been pushing out some interesting interchangeable lens cameras (ILCs) or mirrorless models for a few generations now, but the new X-T1 sees the brand finally making some bold moves in the space. As has been the trend for some time, the X-T1 takes inspiration from cameras of yesteryear, equipping a digital body with bells, whistles and dials that look like they are lifted straight from a film model.
The X-T1 was announced a few weeks ago and got its first proper outing at the CP+ photo expo in Japan. We finally got some hands-on time with the camera: here's what to expect.
(Credit: Lexy Savvides/CNET)
There is a little bit of a twist with the X-T1 compared to earlier X-series cameras. Rather than a traditional mode dial, the X-T1 takes the retro nod one step further by controlling all exposure modes using the dials. At the top of the camera is an exposure compensation, shutter speed and ISO dial. Some of the XF lenses also come with an aperture ring around the lens for the full nostalgia hit. If you want to stay in automatic or program exposure mode, just leave the aperture ring on A (if applicable) and the same for the shutter and ISO dials. To stay in shutter priority mode, select your desired speed and leave the ISO and aperture ring on A. Rinse and repeat for aperture priority and manual modes.
Solidly built, the X-T1 features a full magnesium body, with aluminium dials. The camera is weather-sealed to moisture and dust, though the lenses aren't manufactured to match just yet — a range of weather-resistant lenses are coming soon including an 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6, 16-55mm f/2.8 and 50-140mm f/2.8. Though not as rugged as the fully waterproof and shockproof Nikon Coolpix AW1, the X-T1 can be used in temperatures down to -10°C.
Behind all the bells and whistles of the serious exterior sits Fuji's X-Trans CMOS II sensor. For the uninitiated, you can read up on how it differs from regular Bayer array sensors here. In short, Fujifilm claims that its sensor array helps to prevent moire, therefore removing the need for an anti-aliasing or optical low-pass filter, which should result in sharper photos.
The pitfall of many ILCs has been the electronic viewfinder (EVF). Without a mirror and pentaprism arrangement as found in a traditional SLR, you rely on the image beamed direct from the sensor rather than that as seen reflected from the lens. Fortunately, the electronic viewfinder on the X-T1 is a bright spark in an otherwise dull EVF landscape. It has a high resolution of 2.36-million dots, but the best praise we can give it is that it felt as intuitive and as responsive as an optical viewfinder in a high-end SLR — we didn't even notice it was an electronic unit.
Like other Fujifilm cameras, the company's legacy in film stock shines through in a range of selectable film emulation filters, from Astia through to Velvia. There is a built-in interval timer for time-lapse aficionados.
Wireless capabilities are included, with a one-touch button to connect the camera to the Android or iOS app. This allows for features like remote viewfinder and offers full exposure control of the camera from a smartphone or tablet. Unfortunately, video recording is limited to 720/30p when using the app, though you can record in full HD at 60/30p from the camera directly. There is a 2.5mm microphone jack that doubles as the shutter release input for an external trigger.
Fujifilm is also touting the X-T1's speedy credentials. Start-up time is 0.5 second (with high performance mode set to on), while continuous shooting hits 8 frames per second, with AF between each shot.
But all these specs don't mean much if the photos don't live up to the hype. Though we were only able to fire off around 85 frames under the same lighting conditions during our hands-on time, the X-T1 produced some tack-sharp images. Bokeh also appeared pleasing thanks to the XF 18mm f/2 lens.
The X-T1 will arrive in Australia in March, and pricing will run around the AU$1799 mark for the body only. The new XF 56mm and 10-24mm will be AU$1299 each.