So after nearly 18 months of using my X pro 1, I decided to purchase a second Fuji mirrorless body. My original choice was the addition of the Xe2, as I had a play with one whilst out on a Landscape tuition day. I had been very impressed with how responsive it was. Then Fuji made the announcement in late January about the new Fuji Xt1. Having read everything there was to read about the new camera, I bought one along with the 18-55 mm zoom.
First impressions are that its a well made piece of kit, as per the usual Fuji standards. It still keeps it's retro coolness, very good build quality, nice weight, great feel, and those dials, wow! super impressed. Startup response is good, the EVF is fantastic, no lag at all. I like the superwide view mode. Perfect dioptre adjustment, something I sadly missed on my X pro 1, where you have to buy screw in dioptres that eventually unscrew and you spend another few pounds replacing it. The viewfinder is really excellent with some excellent tricks up its sleeve, like dual focus zones for manual focus. Shoot in portrait view and the viewfinder changes axis. All good.
The dials I find are ideal, people have compalined about the fact you have to press a button to twist the ISO, no big deal. They would moan even more if it just span round on its own. I also like the stiffness to the exposure compensation dial cannot really knock that out of place, well I haven't so far. Alll in all the top plate setup is very nice, the dials have a nice expensive feel, and a positive feel when you alter them. My one gripe about the top plate setup is the video on button which sits just to the right of the shutter button, is very easy to knock on. Then you realise your shooting video. I suspect a firmware release will hopefully have a disable video in the menu.
Whilst we are talking of buttons, the Xt1 features no less that six programmable buttons so you can assign functions to each one, a tribute to the earlier comments when the X pro1 came out was that the camera didn't have enough. My own view is that while I like the thought of being able to programme a button to do a specific task like alter the WB or preset film type, metering type etc, I also wish that they would allow you to disable them as well.
I find the idea of having a choice of programmable buttons but six I think is a little ott. Surely it would have been better to use the buttons for items not already in the Q menu as this is easy to go into to alter the shooting characteristics of the camera. I have a job remebering whats what at the best of times. I would like to see a programme button to cycle through the custom settings, that way you could make the camera perform differently for a given situation at the touch of one button. These are really minor nitpicks though.
So a big question I have heard alot of people asking, is how is the AF and focus tracking, well put it this way, my Nikon D3 bodies are totally redundant now. The af and focus tracking speed of this camera is fantastic. I shot an event yesterday where fast camera reactions were needed, shooting with the 55-200 zoom I captured frame after frame of in focus shots, its that quick at focus and tracking,I was also shooting the X pro 1 with the 14mm attached, the speed difference is quite amazing, where the X pro 1 has a little think before shooting, the Xt1 is pretty instant. As good as a DSLR maybe not quite but its a smidgen difference. wI saw many photographers yesterday carting great Dslr bodies around with fast glass and I was so glad I had my lighweight gear. Lens firmware updates are available to take into account the new features on the Xt1. I also tested the 18-55 and cannot believe how quickly this lens aquires focus, as quick as an AFS from Nikon. I also noticed how the 35mm struggles its not slow but its a pace behind the zoom, I guess its different motor tech in the zoom, but its so much faster than the prime.
I will be writing another blog entry for the XT1 covering wifi, remote shooting and the IPad. As well as looking at some of the different menu options.
A few images from the Royal Shrovetide game in Ashbourne Fuji Xt1. Shot with 55-200 mm, high performance mode on, face detection on.