For a long time now I have been interested to see how mirrorless cameras compare to a traditional DLSR. I currently shoot with a Nikon D610 but really like the idea of the Fuji X-T1…soon to be replaced with the X-T2. For a while I felt the Fuji couldn’t be used to shoot professionally. I then came across a few wedding photographers who shoot with mirrorless cameras and they all said the same thing. It’s a great camera to shoot with because it’s inconspicuous. But can you shoot other things professionally with it. Can you get away with shooting interiors with the Fuji, or what about landscapes?
Two weeks ago I was asked to assist my friend Shirene on a shoot in town. She’s also a diehard Nikon shooter so was very surprised to see a Fuji X-T1 in her bag (along with her D810 of course!). Shirene very kindly let me play around with the Fuji in between helping her.
She had two lenses with her, the kit 18-55mm and a 70-140mm. Most of the day I spent playing around with the standard 18-55mm lens. Shirene also had the battery grip with the X-T1. I think the battery grip is a must. Firstly the camera without it feels rather small and without it, someone with big hands will find the camera very small. The other problem is the camera goes through batteries like there is no tomorrow, so having two batteries installed is great, because you don’t need to worry about changing batteries when one goes flat.
Below are a few observations on the Fuji X-T1:
Electronic View Finder
I found the electronic view finder great. When you switch to shooting in one of the simulated film modes, the viewfinder changes accordingly so you see what you are shooting in that film mode. Having thins like the histogram in the viewfinder can be useful too, and when you change to shooing in portrait mode, the information changes in the viewfinder so you don’t have to look at it still in landscape mode like a traditional viewfinder. The only thing I found problematic was in bright light outside I battled to see what I photographing in the viewfinder.
Another handy function is you can view the setup menu inside the viewfinder. So you can quickly change things like film modes without taking you eye away from eh viewfinder.
The Fuji X-T1 has a selection of simulated film modes they recreated from some of their films. Some of these include Provia, Velvia and a selection of monochrome options. Each of these film types is available in the profile dropdown under Camera Calibration in Lightroom.
I was enjoying photographing in RAW, in one of the black and white simulated film modes and was interested to see how it works when importing into Lightroom. The images on import came across in colour, but you can change it back to the film mode, under the calibration panel in Lightroom.
After we finished shooting at the Waterfront we went to the food market for a bite to eat. Now would be the time to test the high ISO capabilities of the Fuji X-T1. I know with my Nikon D610 I can shoot at ISO 6400 with not to much noise.
Changing the ISO on the Fuji is done on a dial on the top of the camera. Similar to a traditional film camera. The shutter speed is adjusted on a similar dial. I turned the Fuji up to 6400. Not knowing what to expect. Once imported in Lightroom I was surprised, I had useable images with not too much noise….a pleasant surprise.
Battery consumption in the Fuji X-T1 was a concern. I’m not sure if it was because of the electronic viewfinder, but the Fuji X-T1 eats batteries. I can shoot well over 1000 images with one battery in my D610…in the Fuji I was shooting on and off for about 6 hours and got under 900 images on one battery. Some people say the Fuji is heavy on batteries because of the electronic viewfinder…so it’s a good idea to have a few spare batteries in your bag. Because I was shooting with the extended battery grip I had an extra battery in the grip.
Overall I was pleasantly surprised shooting with the Fuji… to the point where I kept having to tell myself I mustn’t trade in my Nikon gear for the newer Fuji X-T2 which is coming out soon. I loved the size of the camera, and paired with the 18-55mm lens it was perfect for street photography. I did find the 70-140mm just a little too short, and feel a 70-200mm would have been better. In low light the camera performed better than I thought, with good high ISO performance.
I’m excited to see how the Fuji X-T2 compares to the X-T1. The Fuji X-T2 sees dual SD card slots being introduced, 24,3 megapixels, and a few improvements on the shutter speed and ISO dials, as well as extra focus points and a new toggle type button on the back which can be useful for changing focus points. Minor tweaks also see the rear screen being able to move in different angles.