A Year with the Fuji X-T1
Late in 2014 I decided it was time to for a new camera, I was using a Canon DSLR which I thought was great but it was getting on a bit and lacking some features. I had read online about mirrorless system cameras and customers being pleasantly surprised with the results. At first I didn't pay much attention as the big boys Canon and Nikon weren't really pushing the mirrorless system, and kind wrote them off. However, the more research I did into my next camera, the more references to mirrorless systems used by Sony and FujiFilm seemed to crop up.
What I found was the image quality from these mirrorless cameras was astounding and they were lighter, smaller and in some cases cheaper than the equivalent DSLR - I was convinced! The question now was, which one? In the end for me it came down to Sony and FujiFilm, which system I wanted to spend my photography future with. What won it for me was Fuljifilm’s excellent image quality processing from the X-Trans sensor coupled with the wide range of first party Fujinon lenses. The model I went for was the FujiFilm X-T1, I really fell in love with the old school design and cutting edge features. Oh and the fact that reviewers were raving about this camera didn't hurt things either!
The X-T1 is a joy to hold, it feels solid and their is a weight to it but not heavy. The dimensions are smaller than its rival DSLR’s and the ergonomics are comfortable. You really need to hold the X-T1 in the hand to ‘get it’. The electronic view finder (EVF) is large and bright as is the rear LCD screen. In addition the autofocus is quick and responsive. The lenses I chose to to accompany my new toy were FujiFilm’s own; XF18-55mm, XF35mm and 55-200mm. This covers a wide range of focal lengths and a nice prime that sits somewhere in the middle with a 55mm equivalent. I’m extremely happy with all of my Fujinon lenses, the only trouble now (for my wallet) is that I want more of them! I also decided to pick up two additional batteries, two Lee ND Filters and a shutter release cable for daytime long exposure photography.
So enough about the hardware, what about the photos? - the fun part. Although I tend to shoot most of my of my pictures in RAW format I was pleasantly surprised by the out of camera JPEGs. Images are crisp and colour tones well balanced. In the last 11 or so months I have attempted to get out and shoot as much as possible. I really enjoy the long exposure mono stuff and recently started experimenting with the night sky. I’m looking to document my experiences in a bit more detail so stay tuned for guides and trip reports. Most notable for 2015 were my trips to southern Scotland shooting seascapes and to jetting off to Arizona, USA exploring the canyons. Another personal highlight for me was having one of my pictures (Bridge to Nowhere) featured in FujiFilm’s official ‘X-Magazine’. What an honour!
In summary, I can say my time so far with the FujiFilm X-T1 has been amazing, it’s re-kindled my love for photography and I find myself wanting to shoot more. In the past getting the DSLR out felt like more of a chore, with the X-T1 I just grab and go. The nature of the traditional style manual dials present on the X-T1 allows me to quickly set up and start snapping. In the past time was often spent trawling through menu screens to find settings hidden deep within the camera operating system, not anymore. Another point worth noting is the ongoing software updates from FujiFilm themselves. Rarely do manufacturers continue to add improvements well into the lifecycle of their cameras as Fuji appears to be doing right across the entire range. Above all else though, I’m having fun with my photography and that’s what it’s all about right? Here's to another year.