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Monday, 07 April 2014


One thing worth mentioning is the Fuji seems a lighter weight than the Olympus - the E-M1 has a noticeable density that the Fuji doesn't... this is, of course, speaking of the body only. The fast-aperture M.Zuiko lenses are remarkably small, smaller than the Fujinons, and the difference may be lost in the camera/lens combo.

The X-T1 feels particularly right-sized to me, too. I was very pleasantly surprised to discover how good it actually felt "in hand"....especially the right-side grip and thumb rest are very nice.

Here's a pic of mine next to my X-Pro1 to provide a sense of scale.


I'm seriously studying both the X-T1 and the X-E2, which are very similar in many respects: similar sensors, similar specs. The X-T1 includes some nice improvements, like a tilting LCD and an improved electronic viewfinder, but it's more expensive and a bit bigger and heavier. And I could do without the dials on top.

Tough call.

Mike - You may be interested in this site that lets you compare camera sizes. Here's the link to compare the X-T1 to the D800 for example: http://camerasize.com/compare/#520,290

This looks like an excellent camera, but I've gotten used to the m4/3 aspect ratio and would hesitate to go back. If I shot landscape, I might...

Seeing how I got a third party (non-battery) grip for my E-M5, I'm inclined to agree, but then I have small hands.

What is that hood on the 20mm lens? I'd be a bit tempted to get one myself.

[Unfortunately, I don't know--it's a no-name 46mm hood from my "bits box." I have dozens of hoods, caps, filters, etc. collected over many years. When I need something I can usually rummage around in the box until I find something that works. --Mike]

Mike, ignoring price for a minute, how would you compare the handling to a Nikon Df?

Is the process of changing camera settings as intuitive and enjoyable on each, given all the knobs and dials etc.?

I'm considering upgrading from my D300 (see, I followed your 5yr+ plan) and this looks tempting, but the Df will allow me to keep my favourite lenses. Particularly the 85mm 1.4, which I know will be a little wider on FF, but still amazing.

What will you do, after you have to return the X-T1 at the end of the month?

I have just returned from four weeks in England (Cornwall and Devon) with a Fuji X-A1 as my only camera. I took three lenses: Fujinon 16-50mm and 50-230mm, and the Rokinon 8mm fisheye in X-mount. This entire kit costs about $200 less than the X-T1 body. I didn't miss the dials, and I don't mind focusing on a screen, especially one which tilts so I can look down on it, like my old Rolleiflex E.

If money is tight, there is this alternative, highly recommended.

Aaaagh. Did you have to remind me of the Nikon EL2, my one and only ever film SLR, still upstairs at the back of a cupboard (just needs the mirror seals replaced). I love it to bits and get it out just to fire the shutter occasionally, but it hasn't had a film through it in about 15 years.
Will be very interested in your DP2M findings - currently have original DP2 as my only camera, which is limiting, but pricing of Merrills makes an upgrade very tempting.

One of the most retro aspects of the design of these two cameras has yet, as far as I know, to be discussed. While the knobs and dials are a welcome throwback to days gone by, the protective hotshoe inserts and plastic/rubber caps over the flash-jack-thingamagig really make me nostalgic. I mean, how many hours of fun did we have trying to figure out where and how we had lost them? Hardly a camera exists from the pre-digital era with these small details still on place. Part of the pleasure of opening the box of a new camera back then was seeing a body with its inserts and miniature rubber caps still in place. The equivalent of the smell of a new car. Losing them was part of being a photographer. If you saw someone with a camera that still had them, you'd view them with suspicion. Surely they were merely a poseur? A proper photographer would have lost them in the throes of photographic passion. Of course, most manufacturers stopped including the hotshoe cover at the dawn of the digital era. It's lovely to see them back. Until we lose them.

Tried that at the local photostore - yes, it's just the right size (for me of course), just like my E-M1 and the E-M5 with grip. I wish Df could be like that :(

The images from the camera are going to be beautiful. The camera is nice but the same size as the X-E2 - too small for my hands. The X-Pro1 is just right(for Me) and I'm hoping for an X-Pro2 one of these days.

The size difference is the only reason I have not purchased an X-T1. Fuji has a winner on their hands.

Try an InfraRed screw on filter with the lens. With mine the 14mm and 35mm lenses work beautifully with IR, the 18-55 has hot spots. These cameras can save you a lot in not having to buy a dedicated IR body.

What I love about the X-T1 size is that it almost perfectly mimics my first 35mm SLR in size with its power winder, the Canon A-1. Ever since that Canon A-1, all of the SLRs and DSLRs I've purchased have gotten progressively larger and heavier.

Its nice to get back to where we were, size-wise... oh, 20 years ago.

Mike, your comparison photo of the Dragoon and the Fuji X-T1 clearly shows the scale of these two cameras. I came into my camera "awareness" 50 years ago and, to my eyes, the X-T1 has about the best "look" of anything out there these days. My favorite 24x36 camera of all time was the Nikon FM3a, and if the deep thinkers at Nikon were to bring out a new full-frame 24- or 36-MP body that size, blending the design and construction of the FM3a with the X-T1, I would happily cash in all my MF and LF gear, and even my D35 Martin for a digital body and (used) three-lens kit.

Got a Nikon FG? That's the size of the X-T1. It's near-perfect with the battery grip.

Maybe it's a stupid comment but...
The iPhone 5's lens is approximately a 35mm equivalent and, well, is smaller, much smaller, than one cubic centimeter and in 90% of the cases, its photos would be indistinguishable (or better?) from Nikon or Fuji's lenses :-)

[Maybe in 10% of cases it would be indistinguishable, but not 90%. And I'll bet I could distinguish.

A big difference would be in the quality, size, and enlargeability of the sensor. I could carefully design optimum conditions under which the iPhone lens could look as good as the Fuji's. But then I could design many situations where the Fuji would give an excellent picture where the iPhone would outright fail.

I wrote an article about this called "How To Stress a Camera Lens" that might be of interest to you. --Mike

P.S. It's not a stupid comment.]

Oh, great. Now I see the Nikon has an insert for the hotshoe. I'm sure we don't get those with Canon though. Or maybe I just lose them straight out if the box.

Hi Mike,

it has been a while since I have made any contribution to TOP.
I wanted to say something about the X-T1, since I just got one too :)
I sold all my Canon lenses and bodies (5D MK*) a couple of years ago. They were just accumulating dust somewhere in a closet. All my recent photos were coming from my iPhone, which gets kind of limited after a while.

I bought a Fuji X100S about a year ago, and I just got a X-T1. Life is fun again, I took countless really fun and interesting photos with the X100S, but I felt I wanted Big Lenses again in my life.

The reason I'm writing this is that I also have recently bought a Sony A7, which in many regards is a very similar animal to the X-T1: similar size, weight, form factor, and IQ promises.

Both cameras have very high quality EVF systems, which at this point I find more useful than the best OVFs: much better to use in low light, and much better focus accuracy (you can magnify the image, on the Sony the focus point magnification is specially impressive).

The issue here is Full Frame versus APSC: Which one makes sense for this camera size?

To make a long story short, I find that the Sony body is better than the Fuji. The Sony is more polished and refined in many ways, the autofocus system and the metering just work better, and the viewfinder is actually better on the Sony. Fuji's viewfinder is optically superior, slightly larger and really crisp from corner to corner. The Sony is a little fuzzier in the corners, and a tad smaller.

The actual "view quality" of the EVF is better on the Sony though: the image is less contrast:, shadows are more open and highlights are never blown out (Sony's less aggressive metering system also makes quite a difference here). Fuji's EVF also becomes significantly more noisy in the shadows and in low light images, with a quality of noise that is more ugly and distracting.

Where the Sony fails is on the lenses. There are only four lenses available at the moment for the A7, and I bought the 35/2.8, 55/1.8, and the 24-70/4.
The 55/1.8 is pretty amazing, the 35/2.8 is OK, and the 24-70/4 is quite disappointing. The issue is really the size of the lenses: to cover a FF sensor and still keep the lenses small is not easy.

In fact the Fuji 18-55/2.8-4 kit zoom lens is optically quite a bit better than the Sony's 24-70/4, it is less than half the size, and half the price.

As an advantage to the Sony, the the sensor is just better: more resolution, comparable noise characteristics (with less color smudge), and better dynamic range (about 1EV more headroom).

I'm not sure which camera I will eventually keep, I've had the A7 for a few weeks already, and I just had the X-T1 a few days ago. I have the impression that I like the pictures coming from the Sony better, but it might just be a matter of getting to know the Fuji better.
I really like them both for different reason, and they both have quirks that irritate me quite a bit.

I'll keep you posted about which one I will eventually keep :)

- Fabio

Thanks for the post on the X-T1. I don't have the X-T1 but I've been using the X-E1 extensively since just after it came out. Your comment about the feel of these cameras matches my experience. They are quite light, but the feeling is not of cheapness but that of lean and efficient bodies.

The lenses are great. I have used the 35mm f/1.4 and the 14mm f/2.8 quite a lot. (I use others, too.) The 35mm, in particular, surprised me with its fine image quality.

I still use my big DSLR system for many things, but I love the Fujifilm system for street photography, travel, and other situations where light weight and unobtrusive shooting are important.

I purchased the xt1 immediately when it became available. After three days I returned it. In my opinion, aside from the superior viewfinder, and better auto focus speed, it did not offer much over my xe1. The EVF, while huge and bright- in good light- still lags behind the Sony and Oly EVFs. Aside from that, its pretty noisy in low light. The dials, while aesthetically pleasing, did not render the camera any easier to use than the EP5 or the Sony NEX 7. The XT1 buttons and thumb wheel were the worst I have ever experienced on any camera. Even with the faster auto focus, its still not close to an SLR. In fact, I am not sure it is any faster than the EP5.

There is no question the JPEG images from the Fuji are superior to M43. On the RAW level, the difference does not seem so stark.

Your size comparison with the EM1 seems almost apologetic (in favor of Fuji) Mike. In truth, if size is a major consideration, I think a fairer comparison is the xt1 vs A7. When one considers size/portability, the whole M43 system, including lenses, wins hands down. No comparison. Consider this, A7 plus 35 2.8 and 55 1.8 is approx $3.1k. The Xt1 plus 23 1.4 and 35 1.4 is approx $3K. The EM1 plus 17 1.8 and 25 1.4 is approx $2.5K. I am thinking the XT1 vs EM1 is not a natural comparison from a size or cost standpoint. Em1/ep5/gx7 are in a class by themselves.

Never have I wanted a camera (xt1) to be, significantly, a cut above everything offered before. If love of the Fuji image is what is driving a purchase, a long look at the xe1 is in order. Especially now that they are at "fire sale" prices.

According to camerasize.com, the Olympus is wider, taller, and deeper, and even heavier than the Fuji.

This despite the fact that the Olympus features a notably smaller sensor format.

However, they are in close competition for being quite pricey.

The D800 would probably dwarf any model, including Nikon's own APS DSLRs.

I'm not sure if you're aware of the site 'Camera Size' but it gives a very good indication of size comparisons.

Here is the Nikon D800 against the Fuji XT1


You can change the camera orientation with the controls on the left side

X-T1 versus a Leica M

Here's the X-T1 wearing the 27mm pancake alongside the Leica M wearing the similarly diminutive 35mm Summacron.

Of course size actually reveals little of practical value. The Leica is much heavier and far less ergonomically designed than the X-T1 (or, for that matter, than the X-E1/X-E2). In brief, the X-T1 is generally funner and more versatile to use than a Leica-style rangefinder.

(But I've discovered that the M240 is the indisputable soul mate for my Leica M lenses.)

At the end of his thoughtful comparison, Fabio states that:
"I really like them both for different reason, and they both have quirks that irritate me quite a bit."
A camera that, as you use it, irritates you at all is not a good thing. A camera that irritates you 'quite a bit' is not acceptable.
My Fujifilm XE1 sits on the line between the those two levels of annoyance. I've learned to accept it's limitations.
The single most intractable problem with all of the EVF-equipped cameras I've examined, including the XT1, is blackout time. All SLR camera finders are briefly blacked out at the moment of exposure. But the EVF cams I've seen have blackouts that seem to last three or four times as long as my Nikon D800. That's bad, really bad, and if they can't fix it may preclude these cameras from ever being as versatile as the conventional DSLRs are now.

@ Roger Overall re: plastic/rubber caps

... how many hours of fun did we have trying to figure out where and how we had lost them?

Roger, you are indeed bringing back memories. "Terminal covers" was the official Nikon term for those thingamajigs. In my disreputable days as a Nikon Rep, I made a habit of buying them in bulk from Nikon Parts. Yes, I had to buy them retail -- for $1.95 ea. (But I put them on my expense account, usually disguised as an expensive lunch with a dealer, so Nikon ended up paying anyway.)

I carried a supply of all different types when I traveled my territory visiting Nikon dealers. When photographers like you would catch me in their favorite camera store and tell me, "man, I keep losing those little things", I'd reach into my briefcase for whatever thingamajig they needed, give a slight bow, and say, "a small gift from Nikon". Made a lot of friends that way. The small moments of a salesman's life.

I love how the XT1 looks. However had the chance to shoot with it for a short spell and the short of it is: it just feels too small in my hands. Side by side comparison with the Oly EM1- was suprising as well. The EM1 seems to fit my hand better due to the more substantial and three-dimensional grip. I think it needs a bit more time to be sure, but at the moment it seems my hands require me to still use the heftier DSLRs. Maybe the vertical grip would help?

Hi Mike,

I got an X-T1 last week and have been shooting gigs with it ever since. I love it. It does what I need and makes great files. The only problem is the #%¥*?&! eyepiece fell off and got lost on the second day.

On one shoot, I client said: "Thanks for not bringing a big camera." I was genuinely surprised by that.

This is the first time I have not had a Nikon since 1982.

Paul Crouse
Kyoto, Japan

The design of the xt-1 reminds me of one beautiful camera from the film days, the oddly named Contax Aria, which was very well regarded in terms of its compactness. I investigated the size specifications:

Aria vs xt-1 (all measures in mm)
137 vs 129
92.5 vs 89.8
53.5 vs 46.7

The xt-1 looks like a little aria, of course not in every sense.

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