Fujifilm X-T 1 and Fujinon 56mm f1.2: The X Revolution Continues…

Even though we are only a little over one month into 2014, Fujifilm has already had a busy year, having added five new lenses to its roadmap for future release, not to mention having launched the XF 56mm F1.2 R and most recently, the Fujifilm X-T 1.

I am among a handful of photographers who were lucky enough to receive a pre-production model of the camera, and decided to put it through its paces at a solo concert by South African musician Shotgun Tori. This event was ideal to pair the X-T 1 with the XF 56mm F1.2 R, as there was very little light and being a solo concert, I was to focus much on the individual musician. All the images of the evening were shot at 3200 ISO and mostly at f1.2 – demanding conditions indeed!

Shotgun Tori in action.

Shotgun Tori in action.

The traditional manual-style controls of Fujifilm X-Series cameras have gained much popularity. The X-T 1 takes this aspect even further, with a manual knob control for ISO, and manual controls to select frame rate and metering coverage. I have always been very keen on manual style controls, as in my view it is inherently more intuitive to turn a knob, or an aperture ring, than it is to press a button and have to make a selection within an electronic interface. The X-T 1 is undoubtedly the most intuitive digital camera I have ever handled.

XT 1 Photo

On this layout one can see the various manual controls on the camera and lens.

Many websites have billed the X-T 1 as a ‘SLR Style Mirrorless Camera’. It is indeed true that this camera will appeal to those who traditionally shoot wildlife and action sports (areas in which mirrorless cameras have previously not made much of an impact). However, it is important to remember that while the X-T 1 does indeed present many of the advantages of SLRs, it still incorporates all the advantages of mirrorless camera systems, including, size and shutter lag.

The bokeh of the 56mm lens is great - both in front and behind the focus field.

The bokeh of the 56mm lens is great – both in front and behind the focus field.

There is much debate as to whether Fujifilm should enter the full-frame market. Traditionally I have been a great proponent of the 35mm full frame format. However, the advantages of full frame have in my mind been in better high-ISO performance, and the fact that leading SLR manufacturers design their premium lenses for their full frame cameras. The major disadvantage of full frame is increased size of lenses and bodies.

This image was shot in in very low light (the stage lights dimmed), yet the noise levels and image quality (even towards the corners) remains very good.

This image was shot in in very low light (the stage lights dimmed), yet the noise levels and image quality (even towards the corners) remains very good.

The X-T 1 and XF 56mm F1.2 R (which has a comparable angle of view to a 85mm lens on a full frame camera) weigh 440 grams and 405 grams respectively, with a combined weight of 845 grams. A Canon 5D Mark III weighs 860 grams and the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM Lens weighs 1025 grams, giving one a combined weight of 1885 grams – more than double the weight of the Fujifilm combination.

The image quality of the X T-1, particularly at high-ISO is nothing short of remarkable. So too is the quality of the Fujifilm X series lenses (particularly the prime lenses). As such, I am of the view that the X-T 1 is the answer – there is not current need for a full-frame camera in the line-up.

Please also have a look at what my friend JC Crafford thinks of the X-T 1 for wedding photography.

Shotgun Tori 6

Shotgun Tori 4

12 thoughts on “Fujifilm X-T 1 and Fujinon 56mm f1.2: The X Revolution Continues…

  1. Pingback: Fujifilm X-T 1 and Fujinon 56mm f1.2: The X Revolution Continues… | Gus Waschefort › By TOMEN

  2. Pingback: X-T1: “It’s undoubtedly the most intuitive digital camera I have ever handled.” | Fuji Rumors

  3. Pingback: Is this the world’s first Fujifilm X-T1 wedding photographs? » JC Crafford Photography | Professional Photographer and Videographer in Pretoria, Gauteng

  4. Pingback: Shooting a Wedding with the Fujifilm XT1 - The Phoblographer

  5. Waiting for my X-T1 to arrive later this month. I also have Cannon 5DM2 and 5DM3 that I use for weddings. Looking to use the X-T1 for weddings. I think I will LOVE the manual controls. What lens do you recommend for wide? Not real fond of zooms like the 10-24, (Only F4) but there are not many options. There is the 14mm Prime – but I would really like something wider.

    • Hi Carol,

      I agree with you on prime lenses. The 14mm is an equivalent 21mm on your 5Ds, the other alternative is is the 12mm Zeiss Touit lens with the Fujifilm X mount. This is also a prime and gives a comparable angle of view to the 5Ds of about 18mm. I believe the 14mm to be superior in as far as image quality goes, but at this focal distance (ie super wide angle lenses) a few millimeters will do that – and the compromise will always be between angle of view and image quality. Both the 12 and 14mm have a maximum aperture of f2.8, which is also an advantage when compared to the 10-24 zoom’s f4. And more importantly, both the primes are considerably lighter and smaller than the zoom.

      A friend of mine who is also a wedding photographer is busy selling his 5D mk III and 5D Mk II (coincidently) in order to adopt only XT-1s – I have done the same (ie sold my DSLR equipment), but my work is focused more at documentary and photojournalism. It will be interesting to hear your thoughts once you have started using the XT-1!

  6. Nice pics and review! What are your thoughts on AF accuracy and speed in low light such as this? I’m used to using my D3S but I’m really hoping something like this would work for me. Thanks!

  7. Thanks for the review, really interesting. I’ve shot a few gigs on my xe-2 and the 35mm 1.4, but I can’t wait to get hold of the 56mm 1.2 ( XT-1 is arriving tomorrow ). I’m selling my D800 and will be shooting some weddings with the fuji system shortly. My brother, whom I always shoot weddings with, is keeping the nikon gear so hopefully between us we will have all the bases covered:)

  8. Pingback: Big list of XT1 & 56mm f/1.2 reviews + galleries

  9. I’m a musician who loves photographing other musicians. I’m also very curious about your auto and/or manual focus experience with this camera. These results are stunning, and I’m curious how different the workflow would be compared to my DSLR center-point routine.

    Thanks in advance for your insight, I can’t seem to find any other X-T1 concert photographers!

  10. I’m a musician who loves photographing other musicians. I’m also very curious about your auto and/or manual focus experience with this camera. These results are stunning, but I’m not sure how different this workflow will be compared to my classic DSLR center-point routine.

    Thanks in advance for your insight; I can’t find any other XT-1 concert photography posts!

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