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!
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.
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.
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.
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.