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Fuji Camera Reviews

Date: 28/01/2014 | By: Mathieu

Fujifilm Raises the Bar! – Hands-On Review of the new Fujifilm X-T1

X-T1, 1/250, f/ 24/10, ISO 6400

Fujifilm Raises the Bar! – Hands-On Review of the new Fujifilm X-T1

The new Fujifilm X-T1 is probably one of the most rumoured and leaked cameras we’ve seen in the past couple of years. We basically knew everything about the camera before the official release, and the rumours surrounding it have contributed to making it one of the most exciting camera releases by Fujifilm to date. Was all this fanfare worth the wait?

The Fuji X-T1 Main Specs
Sensor: 16.3 million pixels – 23.6mm x 15.6mm (APS-C) X-Trans II CMOS
Lens System: interchangeable lens system – Fujifilm X Mount
ISO Sensitivity: 200 – 6400, extendable to 100, 12800, 25600 and 51200 (JPG only)
Continuous shooting: max 8 fps
Autofocus: Hybrid contrast/phase AF
Internal Stabilization: No
Viewfinder: 2,360k electronic Oled VF with 0,77x magnification
LCD Screen: 3.0-inch LCD monitor, approx. 1,040k dots

Movie recording: 1920 x 1080 pixels (60p/30p) with stereo sound
Picture Profiles: Film Simulation modes
Water, dust and freeze proof: Yes
Sensor Cleaner: Yes

Manual focusing: peaking, digital split image, dual view

Built-in Flash: No
Extras: Motion Panorama, Multiple Exposure modes
Dimensions: 129.5 (W) x 89.8 (H) x 46.7 (D) mm
Weight: Approx. 440 g / 15.4 oz. (including battery and memory card)

The feel of a great SLR camera in a compact body

The design of the X-T1 is the perfect fusion of simplicity and elegance. It is slightly taller and thicker than the X-E2 but when you hold it, the grip is pretty darn comfortable. Its weight is also very reasonable. In fact, one the first things I felt when I picked it up was that it is better-suited than an X-Pro1 or X-E2 to zoom lenses, especially telephoto lenses like the XF 55-200mm, because of its improved grip.

X100S, 1/20, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200
The X-T1 with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and the new EF-X8 flash

For those who want perfect handling, there is also a new grip specifically designed for the X-T1, which will thankfully allow you to access the battery compartment even when you’re using the camera. And of course, there is the battery grip which, while adding considerable volume to the camera, also enhances its professional appearance and usability.

X-T1, 1/125, f/ 4/1, ISO 6400
X-T1 top view

In the case of the X-T1, Fujifilm has demonstrated its affection for traditional controls on a classic body by adding more dials for the main settings of the camera. In addition to the shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dial, you will also find an ISO sensitivity dial and two sub-dials under the main ISO/shutter speed dials. These two sub-dials control the drive (shooting mode) and metering settings. If you mount one of the many Fuji X lenses that have an aperture ring on the X-T1, you will definitely get a very good feeling when using this camera. As one of the Fujifilm managers pointed out during the press conference, you can tweak all the settings to your liking even before turning the camera on.

X-T1, 1/40, f/ 4/1, ISO 6400
The ISO dial and Drive sub-dial
X-T1, 1/60, f/ 4/1, ISO 6400
The ISO dial and Drive sub-dial

Personally, I have to say that the addition of these physical dials is certainly welcome but they aren’t essential, as today we are so used to buttons that adjust ISO and burst mode.

This said, you cannot help but feel that there is a perfect sense of order to the X-T1. Not only is everything is flawlessly placed, but your fingers naturally gravitate to the most important buttons and dials right from the word ‘go’.

This is something that many photographers will appreciate.

X-T1, 1/30, f/ 4/1, ISO 6400
The Metering sub-dial

Though every dial and button is well-placed, I did find that the sub-dials, especially the one on the right (attached to the shutter speed dial) isn’t very comfortable to turn. The camera also has front and rear command dials that can be used for different actions such as controlling the aperture with lenses lacking an aperture ring, but they a little on the small side. Yes, we have two very minor negative points, but I would still say they are worth mentioning.

X100S, 1/180, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200
X-T1 rear view

The button layout on the rear is also very simple yet organised. The playback button and the delete button sit on the left, while the arrow pad and Q button stay on the right-side of the rear. I liked how how the metering and autofocus lock buttons are placed at a distance from one another. This positioning avoids the possibility of mixing them up when you reach for them with your thumb while you are looking through the EVF.

Oh, and just so you know, there is only one SD card slot. Apparently Fujifilm never considered including a second one.

A state-of-the-art EVF

According to Fujifilm, the SLR-like design of the camera was neither an aesthetic decision nor an imitation of products produced by its competitors in the mirrorless sector or DSLRs. Rather, there is a specific reason for it, and that is the electronic viewfinder. (In fact, if technology had allowed for it, Fujifilm stated that they would have done away with the “EVF hump” altogether.) Even more interestingly, the X-T1 has apparently been in Fujifilm’s program since the beginning of the X series. It was to have one goal: to possess the best electronic viewfinder on the market at the time of release. And Fuji achieved just that.

X100S, 1/250, f/ 2/1, ISO 3200
The X-T1 EVF is the best EVF to date.

The X-T1 has the most beautiful EVF I have ever laid eyes on. While I didn’t have the chance to make a direct comparison apart from that derived by looking at the specs, my gut feeling tells me that it is even better than the OM-D E-M1’s EVF. With a time lag of only 0,005s and a magnification of 0.77x with 100% field coverage, it is bright, big and blows most other EVFs out of the water. Its 2.36 million dots make it perfectly sharp and with an EVF that wide, I surprisingly didn’t have any problem focussing manually with the 23mm f/1.4 or the new 56mm f/1.2 without the use of focus peaking or other manual focus assist functions.

X-T1, 1/125, f/ 14/10, ISO 320
X-T1, 1/125, f/ 1.4, ISO 320
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.
X-T1, 1/125, f/ 14/10, ISO 800
X-T1, 1/125, f/ 1.4, ISO 800
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.
X-T1, 1/140, f/ 12/10, ISO 200
X-T1, 1/140, f/ 1.2, ISO 200
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.

The EVF also keeps a constant frame rate (54fps) even in low light conditions. While I couldn’t specifically check its reactivity in low light, I had the feeling that it was behaving smoothly in both light and dark areas.

Visually speaking, the gap between this EVF and an optical viewfinder has been reduced. Characteristics such as real-time exposure and depth-of-field aside, there is one new feature in particular that will change the way we focus manually with the EVF, and it is called Dual View.

Dual View gives you a normal frame on the left, while on the right there is a smaller frame that shows an 100% magnification of the focus point area. This allows you to compose your frame while simultaneously checking for focus accuracy. You don’t have to press a button to get the magnification because you can have both images in front of you at the same time. I found it more straightforward to use than the focus peaking (now with three colours) and the digital split image found on Fuji cameras because you can concentrate more on the frame. I can only congratulate Fujifilm for continuing to add new ways to facilitate manual focusing.


Certainly, there are still some limits that can show up, not because the viewfinder is bad but because it is electronic. I did notice some flickering depending on the artificial light source, and some noise when using it in low-light conditions at extreme ISO settings (at least from what little I saw). But this is maybe even more important to mention as the X-T1 EVF seems to handle those limits way better than any other EVF, which might show a poorer image in the same conditions.

Autofocus: as good as the X-E2 or better?

X100S, 1/120, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200

On paper, the X-T1 has the same 16mp sensor, EXR II processor and hybrid AF system as the X-E2 (contrast and phase detection with 49 target areas). Many, including myself, were hoping for a redesigned autofocus system, but it wasn’t to be. However, there is something new on the X-T1 called Motion Predictive AF. When using the camera in AF-C mode, it calculates speed, acceleration and deceleration in order to predict the distance of a moving subject from the camera at the time of exposure. Simply put, the camera can guess how far away the subject will be when you press the shutter button.

Since we were indoors in a room full of journalists and photographers, we didn’t have the opportunity to conduct a proper test. In AF-S mode, the autofocus’ reactiveness and accuracy felt a lot like the X-E2. As such, we can say that it is fast for most situations but not lightning fast (or OM-D fast as we often say :D).

In AF-C mode, I did perform a very quick test asking Heather to walk towards me. What I saw was encouraging, but before reaching any conclusion, I need to test the camera in the proper conditions. The Motion Predictive AF can be activate or deactivate and apparently depending on the situation it can either be a benefit or a hindrance. So, while I didn’t feel that there was a huge improvement over the X-E2, I do have the feeling that the X-T1 offers way more potential than any other Fuji X camera regarding this aspect. It is also important to highlight that the camera can shoot up to 8fps in continuos AF mode and that its buffer capacity is very good.

I did feel that the camera’s AF would change in speed depending on the lens I was using. I found it very fast with the 18-55mm and the 27mm, but a little less so with the 56mm f/1.2 and the 55-200mm. However, this is just an impression, also because I don’t know if the lenses I was using had the latest firmware update. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fujifilm decided to release new firmware updates to improve the compatibility of its lenses with the new camera.

Image Quality, something we already know and love

I never hide my enthusiasm for the quality of the Fujifilm X-Trans sensor. The X-T1 shares the same sensor as the X100s and the X-E2, so I will only tell you that image quality is great and up to professional standards.

I do have something to share with you and that is a couple of shots taken at 51200 ISO, which is the new extended level that Fujifilm implemented on the X-T1. The native ISO range doesn’t change, as extended ISO levels are JPG only. It is a small improvement as it is unlikely you will find yourself in a situation where you need 51200 ISO. (I never go beyond 6400 on my X100s.)

Note that the ISO dial only has two notches for extended ISO values: H1 and H2 which by default correspond to 12800 and 25600 ISO. You will have to set one or the other to 51200 ISO using the menu. You’ll never have access to all three at the same time on the dial.

Exciting lenses to come

X100S, 1/25, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200
The X-T1 next to several XF lenses.

We also had the chance to take some sample images with the new 56mm f/1.2 and the 10-24mm f/4. The wide zoom lens wasn’t a finalised version and the Fujfilm staff told me that the final version of the lens will have less distortion.

X100S, 1/25, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200
X-T1 with the XF 56mm f/1.2

Regarding the Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2, it seems very promising. I really like the lens system Fujifilm is building. Quality has always been its most valuable aspect and I am also glad to see that the system can remain very compact despite the fast apertures of many lenses. Even the 56mm looked reasonably compact especially when using it with the X-T1. It might feel slightly bigger on an X-E2.

X-T1, 1/120, f/ 12/10, ISO 200
X-T1, 1/120, f/ 1.2, ISO 200
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.
X-T1, 1/120, f/ 12/10, ISO 200
X-T1, 1/120, f/ 1.2, ISO 200
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.
X-T1, 1/220, f/ 12/10, ISO 200
X-T1, 1/220, f/ 1.2, ISO 200
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.
X-T1, 1/60, f/ 45/10, ISO 640
X-T1, 1/60, f/ 4.5, ISO 640
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.
X-T1, 1/60, f/ 4/1, ISO 640
X-T1, 1/60, f/ 4, ISO 640
Click to view the picture at its full resolution.

Unfortunately, we didn’t see the new zoom lenses. The new weather-sealed 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 will be released shortly after the X-T1, but as for the new weather-sealed f/2.8 constant zooms, we will have to wait a little bit longer. I hope Fujifilm will release them in April at the latest.

In my opinion, it will be essential to test the X-T1 with the two f/2.8 zoom lenses in order to understand how far the camera can go regarding its performance and if it can become, along with the OM-D E-M1, a great alternative to DSLRs for professional use.

Conclusion: 2014 couldn’t have begun better for Fujifilm

X-T1, 1/60, f/ 24/10, ISO 2000
The new Fujifilm X-T1

The Fujifilm X-T1 is set to be released in March, at least in Italy, so we have to play the waiting game for a little bit longer. I can already say that the X-T1 is the Fuji X mount camera that I am currently the most interested in and this is mainly because of its superb EVF. I thought that AF would be my main concern but that incredible viewfinder changed my perspective.

I need to further test the autofocus before reaching any conclusions. What I saw was definitely promising, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the OM-D E-M1 retains its place as the king among mirrorless cameras for autofocus speed and accuracy. This said, I am confident that the X-T1 can expand its AF capabilities across the X camera line and that its performance might eventually be enough for most professional situations.

As for everything else, the X-T1 packs lots of features that make it a very desirable camera. More advanced and (finally) manual control WiFi capabilities and a splash/dust/freeze proof body that is also very robust thanks to its magnesium body are two worth mentioning.

The body price is set at €1299 and it goes up to €1649 with the 18-55mm f/2.8-4 kit lens.

There couldn’t have been a better camera to trigger our 2014 G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). I guess I should say: Thank you, Fujifilm…(but please, stop making such beautiful cameras, at least until my bank account recuperates!) 😉

What do you think of the new Fujifilm X-T1? Share your thoughts and feel free to ask any questions. We’ll do our best to answer them!

X100S, 1/40, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200
X100S, 1/40, f/ 4/1, ISO 3200

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About the author: Mathieu Gasquet

Mathieu Gasquet is a professional photographer with French and Italian origins. Besides running his own video and photography studio 3Dit Lab, he is also the official photographer for the National Cinema Museum in Turin. You can follow him on Google+, Twitter or Facebook!

  • Brent Ross

    One of the best testaments to the weather sealing on the X-T1 that I have seen is this photographer in Oman who got a review model from FujiFilm in that region. He really punished the camera in extreme temperatures and even got it completely soaked shooting in water. It even got licked by a camel! While I don’t think the X-T1 is up to the standard of something like a Pentax K-3 in terms of sealing, it’s got some good seals nonetheless.

  • Mathieu

    Well since you already use a Sony system I would choose the A7. I imagine that you already own an e-mount adapter for all your third party lenses so it makes more sense also because with the A7 you will keep the original angle of view of those lenses. The only thing to check is if you own wide angles lenses, they might not work all properly on the A7 (it really depends on which lens). Depending on the the kind of photography you like the most, you can also consider the A7s.

  • Alan Thomas

    Since 2012 I have been a Sony Nex user, with the Nex 7 and Nex 6. This Spring I bought the Fuji X100s together with the wide angle and tele conversion lenses. I am totally in love with the camera and the colours it produces, so much so that I am thinking of ditching the Sony and going fo the Fuji X-T1 or X-E 2. Problem is, I have the very spectacular FE 55mm1.8 amongst my lens assortment together with Nikon Ais, Contax G, Contax C/Y, Zeiss ZM and Canon FD lenses. The question is Sony a7 or Fuj X-T1? Image quality is my first priority, what would you suggest? Sorry for the endless rambling.

  • Wolfie

    I have yet to see any review of the WR XT-1 sealing – a major consideration for outdoor sports shooting. Having used Pentax WR and Olympus HG lenses in demanding rainy situations and aswell as exposed to saltwater, the review at admiringlight of the Fujinon18-135 WR zoom does not inspire confidence.

  • Jim Kahnweiler

    I had the XT-1 side by side with my EM-1 and the handling was disappointing. I was ready to ditch of Oly in favor of the Fuji IQ. Alas, the XT-1 shutter release and A/F felt sluggish when compared to the EM-1. The little command wheels on the Fuji were difficult to operate. OK, the IQ may be better, but if you miss the shot the slightly better quality really doesn’t matter.

  • Heather

    Both are great cameras but it all depends on the kind of photography you do. The Fuji X-T1 certainly has more lenses at its disposition and is a more complete system. The A7 is an excellent “first step” in the right direction but you will probably have to wait a couple of years before Sony’s lens range is complete enough to cover all your professional needs.

  • Blake

    I’m looking to use a mirrorless system professionally rather than a standard DSLR. I’m trying to decide whether or not to purchase the Fuji X-T1 or the Sony A7. What would be your suggestion when all is said and done?

  • Heather

    The X-T1 has an X-Trans APS-C sensor whereas the E-M10 has a MFT sensor. The overall IQ and ISO performance is better on the Fuji for that reason, but the difference is marginal.

  • FE

    How do you compare IQ alone between the Oly OMD EM10 and the Xt-1? Never going to print bigger than 11×17 (if even)

  • Mathieu

    Hi Andy, I am not sure about when I’ll have an X-T1 to test. I hope as soon as possible :)

  • Andy

    Mathieu, when do you expect to get production X-T1 on test … to be compared with OMD E-M1?


  • Mathieu

    Well it depends which lens. The primes are very well balanced. And the ergonomics of the X-T1 will make it easier when shooting with telephotos zoom lenses such as the 55-200mm and the announced 55-200mm f/2.8. They are still smaller than the DSLRs versions.



  • Mathieu

    I would need to do a proper comparison test with the two lenses to answer that. The 56mm looked to me very sharp at 1.2 with the same performance wide open that I found on other great XF lenses such as the 23mm or the 35mm. But that’s just an impression :)

  • Mathieu

    That’s a great sentence Carlos and also damn true!

  • Carlos Echenique

    Super-fast and super-sharp are two things that are difficult to combine in a lens design. The hyperfast primes (Leica, Voigtlander, Noktor, etc) which sport a minimum aperture of f/0.95 are notoriously soft outside of center. And remember most of the press samples shot with the lens were done on a tripod. As I tell my students – “the sharpest lens in my bag is my tripod.”

  • plextor

    Thanks for the review.
    I’m used of using the Fuji 35/1.4 and this one seems sharper wide open than the 56/1.2 according to the samples here?
    Do you also have this impression?

  • Lucas

    Thanks so much for the review! I’m really excited about this camera and love seeing the innovation coming out of both Fuji and Olympus with their new mirrorless cams, and I’m happy I have a great choice with either of them. For now my investment in mFT lenses means the new OM makes sense for me, but really excited to see how the Fuii’s continue to evolve and improve.

  • Andy

    Anyway…i still do not know what to pick…hope there will be any additional E-m1 X-t1 comparison soon.

  • Mathieu

    I agree. But the a latency of 0,005s is almost like not having any latency at all.

  • Andy

    0,029 is still really good!

  • Mathieu

    If I remember correctly the E-M1 evf time lag is 0,029s.

  • Mathieu

    Yes but I think that the E-M1 refresh rate decreases more in low light while the Fuji EVF refresh rate remains constant in every light situation.

  • Andy

    So you are saying that EVF refresh rate in E-M1 is faster?

    Actually did not check what is the E-M1 time lag.

  • Mathieu

    Hi Andy.

    In comparison to the E-M1:
    – yes the X-T1 minimum shutter speed is 1/4000s, while the E-M1 is 1/8000s.
    – yes the sync speed isn’t faster than 1/180.
    – yes you have to press the down arrow then one of the 4 arrows to change the focus point. I know you can customise different buttons but I don’t know if you can use the 4 arrows buttons directly to change the focus point.

    I guess that the 16-50mm f/2.8 will be slightly bigger than the Olympus Pro 12-40mm f/2.8, but unfortunately I haven’t see a sample of the Fuji lens yet.

    I forgot to mention that the X-T1 is the first digital camera to accept UHS-II SD card.

    About the refresh rate of the E-M1 evf, I think that the paragraph you extracted comes from Rico’s first impression of the X-T1 on Fujirumors. Now I know that the E-M1 has an high speed mode for the EVF that should bring the frame rate to 120fps. But its time lag is slower than the X-T1 viewfinder.

  • Andy

    Forgot to mention … to bad Fuji did not implement touch screen like E-M1 have it. I think it would be very welcome feature.

    I got this info from other pages:
    The X-T1 supports ultra-fast UHS-II SD cards (there’s a memory card slot on the right side of the body) with write speeds of 240 MB/s, and its expanded buffer can store up to 23 FINE+RAW images. Data transfer is very swift, but you don’t have to wait till the camera has written the buffer contents to the memory card. Instead, you can immediately review the last 19 images of a series while the camera is still writing data to the card (X-E1: one image, E-M1: zero images). Fuji also specifies the shutter lag at 0.05 seconds and claims a startup time of 0.5 seconds.

    With a display lag of only 0.005 seconds (X-E2: 0.05s, Olympus OM-D E-M1: 0.029s), the X-T1 is ready to capture fast action, including moving objects. The camera’s predictive autofocus encompasses the central nine autofocus frames (there’s a total of 49) and works with bursts of either 3 or 8 frames per second (fps) of continuous shooting. The large electronic viewfinder (EVF) is housed in the “hump” and delivers an impressive magnification of 0.77x (E-M1: 0.74x, X-E2: 0.64x) and a refresh rate of 54 fps (E-M1: 60 fps, X-E2: 50 fps). The X-T1 offers this high refresh rate even in low light: At 1.6 EV, it still clocks 54 fps, while the E-M1 slows down to 30 fps and the X-E2 to 20 fps.

  • Andy


    Really happy that fuji did it with this x-t1. Now my only homework would be to select even E-M1 or new X-T1 including lens system available.

    From my perspective looking good but i have few questions what do you think about it compare to E-M1:
    – “only” 1/4000 shutter speed / and in this case only base iso 200 ?
    – sync speed only 1/180 ?
    – manual focus points can not be changed using back 4 way buttons (I think you have to press down arrow first ? (hope this can be included in FW update)

    For AF speed and EVF quality as you mention you have to test more to comment.

    Also there is a question of weight and lens price where Oly have good selection and quite reasionable pricing compare to Fuji lenses. And when 16-50 will came it will be bigger and heavier compare to Oly 12-40?


  • Mathieu

    The X-T1 EVF really gave me a great impression. To fully understand how good it is, I need to test the camera in various situations but I really have the feeling that this might be the best EVF to date. And it is really big, there is a whole world in there :)

  • Torben Christiansen

    Great looking Fujifilm camera in retro style. I agree that looks like the best yet from Fujifilm

  • ohm image

    I am most interested in finding out how fast the EVF really is. That, and finding out the deleterious effects of increased magnification on a low-res screen. I have the A7r, which I adapt for use on tilt-shift and bellows. For slow, indoor work with lots of magnification, it is ideal. For everything else (I use only MF lenses), it is a bother:

    EVF refresh is too slow, resolution is low and therefore, contrast and detail are not present, and the EVF shuts on and off at the bat of an eye.

    I do hope the X-T1 obviates those problems.

  • Carlos Echenique

    While the Olympus E-M1 IBIS is quite amazing (I am finishing off my review), it won’t get you faster shutter speeds in low light conditions. IBIS helps with camera shake, not moving targets. I agree that IBIS would be nice for legacy glass use (the E-M1 excels at this), but the Fuji glass is Zeiss level in IQ, so I find little need to go “off the reservation” lens-wise.

  • Carlos Echenique

    I believe you guys live in Italy, correct? Way smaller than the USA. Attending a press conference here involves a lot more money as air travel is involved (unless you are Phil or Steve and then you get flown to the conference). I asked the FujiUSA marketing team to throw me a bone regarding buying a review sample. Nada.

  • Emanuele.A

    Quasi perfetta, adoro i suoi comandi. Solo vorrei un AF ai massimi livelli e sarebbe già mia.

  • Mathieu

    We didn’t expect that until last week when we were invited to the press conference. Usually we have to wait more after the announcement to try the camera.

  • Mathieu

    I agree Donny, it appears that Olympus still has a big advantage with its 5-axis stabilisation 😉

  • Carlos Echenique

    I am quite jealous that you got a hands-on with the camera. Fujifilm USA is quite stingy with their loaners. I have to sell my E-M1 kit to fund buying a X-T1 so I can review it.

  • Christine

    The pictures are outstanding – so clear and crisp!

  • Sergio Sorrentino

    I can’t wait to hold it…
    Probably the camera that would definitely replace my DSLR Full frame kit.

  • Donny

    From everything that I’ve read, it certainly seems that the X-T1 is a phenomenal camera with many great features. I almost feel bad for mentioning this but, I was hoping this new body would have IBIS. Granted there are several new lenses over the horizon that will have this but. I guess it just would have been nice to have it built-in to the body as the E-M1 does.

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