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Tuesday, 06 January 2015


I'm with you on the X-T1. I've been dabbling in Fuji since the original X100 came out, but I've felt all their ILC bodies have been kind of half baked affairs. The X-T1 changed that. The 5D III and all my Canon gear finally went. I wasn't sure about adapting to an EVF, but nowadays I barely think about it anymore. I love the files out of the Fuji, and some things I didn't even expect to enjoy such as focus peaking and the tilt screen have proven very nice shooting aids. I am completely satisfied with my little kit.

I agree with you on the crappy SD card door. The little rubber flap that covers the ports on the other side of the body as well. For a body advertised as being weather sealed these strike me as weak spots. They should have spent the extra $2.75 for the good ones. (I personally don't have an issue with the thumb wheel or the multi controller.)

Glad to see the great ranking on my camera. i have had mine since August and fully agree with your opinions.

I am well past middle age and I didn't have any trouble figuring out the WiFi feature and by the way it works great too.

I have two nit-picks; The aforementioned multiway controller is indeed hard to access. I also miss the ability to use a 24 hour clock format that I have used on my previous digital cameras. I hate the AM/PM feature.

Hmm, I think I now see why you are pushing the OL thing, Mike---you haven't bought the 56mm yet! I'm looking forward to you, maybe mid-year, switching to the "wide normal and moderate telephoto from now on" challenge, what I call the OC/WN+MTP/FNO for short.

This is the prime set up-- 40ish and 90ish and nothing else--- that this blog has convinced me is the One True Way.

Seriously though, I do love that lens duo and I thank you for directing me to it. It simplifies my eye's thinking in a world where too many choices abound. I now have a 40mm brain and a 90mm brain and they seem to get along with each other pretty well with only some fussing and fighting every now and then.

When you speak of OC/OL/OY, does that apply only to your personal art work? Will you still be walking around the neighborhood shooting new cameras as they come out? If so, do you think that will affect the OC experiment?


I love the Butters pictures, and this one in black and white is particularly nice!

It's also an excellent example of the dynamic range qualities of the X-T1 (I also bought the OM-D E-M1 in 2014).

Fully agree with your comments that 1) this is the year that mirrorless really came of age. At a recent special event at one of the few remaining brick and mortar camera stores in the Bay Area, Keeble and Schuchat, I would say that 75% of the attendees were at the Olympus, Fuji and Sony counters, and perhaps 25% were at the Canon and Nikon counters; there was very clearly a lot of interest in the fine mirrorless offerings on display. And, as someone who uses three different camera systems (pro Canon, Olympus OM-D and Fuji X), I would estimate I shot with my X-T1 95% of the time.

Regarding the Fuji 23mm f/1.4: I've owned and shot with some pretty stellar optics in my time also, and the Fuji 23mm f/1.4 is one of the finest lenses I have ever used. It's just magical, IMO. The nice thing is that the compact little 14mm f/2.8 prime is just as sweet!

One last note regarding "the project", while my camera will still be a Fuji body and my focal length will still be a Fuji 23mm prime, I just picked up the sweet little Fuji X100T last Friday for use my OC/OL/OY project this year. Changing horses, but as it's only January 6, it only partly in the stream rather than in the middle.

Keep the Butters pictures coming, please. Hoping we'll see more of him in your project for the year.

If you think that a T1 is a better camera than a GH4 --- I mean, it's okay to get *old*, I am too, but the mind doesn't have to fall prey utterly to re-livination. ;) Imagine if Panasonic had issued a GH4 edition in a T1 body and dials -- maybe named it GH4-60s -- how in love would you be?

Any reason you didn't rate Sony for even a mention? After all the camera that really got photographers to sit up and take notice of mirrorless was the A7. Certainly a flawed camera but it's introduction changed the concept of what could be done in a small camera. And in 2014 we got the mark 2 which handles as well as an EM1 and has the IBIS as well.

Sure the Sony has larger lenses but that's compared to m43. If you compare equivalents to the Fuji, in many cases the Sony's are smaller. And it has a reasonable TTL flash system while the Fuji's is somewhat pathetic, really.

I agree with everything you said. I just think you omitted the real player in mirrorless.


[Hi Gordon,
I didn't omit it. See The Ten Best Digital Cameras post, which is linked here. --Mike

How can you even consider a "new" camera which doesn't have in-camera Image Stabilization? You are stuck with whatever lenses they decide to make. Or not.

Another "+1" for the before / after version of the Butters photo. Mike, hopefully we'll get to see more of your photography. Best wishes for 2015!

I'm hoping that one of the reasons there's no OIS in the new Fuji 16-55 f/2.8, is that there will be IBIS in the new Fuji X Pro 2 camera next year. Of course I have no inside information, just hope. I agree that IBIS is a great feature.

Somewhat surprisingly, even to me, the Fuji X-T1 and I haven't really become close buddies. It's an excellent camera and has a world-leading electronic viewfinder. And the selection of Fuji lenses are each very good -to- excellent. But I think an accumulation of little things, from its menus to its button and dial designs, have kept us from hitting it off strongly. I also suspect that it's smaller sensor plays a role. For a camera that size I want a 24x36 sensor image file.

The Sony A7R and A7II have really become my main working cameras during 2014 and now into 2015, followed by the (not new products) Leica M (240) and Phase One IQ160 (somewhat infrequently).

Perhaps I'll find a good opportunity to give the X-T1 more outings soon to discover why it's just not clicking.

I rented an X-T1 and ultimately ended up getting into Fuji with an X-E2; I really loved the X-T1 but seeing as the second in the series has been so amazing(x100s, X-E2), I figured starting a bit cheaper and getting more glass was the way to go - and working up to the X-T2. The Fuji glass is amazing, but M glass is tons of fun to use as well - it's just a fun system, and really excited to see what 2015 is going to bring.

I can't put my finger on one reason why I love my Fuji X-E2, but at least I know I'm not crazy.

I recently had a major clear-out of my LR catalogue. I removed all the 'meh' shots, the slightly missed focus shots and the endless series of 'chimp and repeat' shots.

I noticed two things immediately.

1. I took far fewer shots with my Fuji than I did with any previous camera. There were almost no repeats or retries.

2. I deleted comparatively few of them.

I have developed such a high degree of confidence in the viewfinder (exposure, composition, WB, focus) that I almost never chimp. I know its right or if it wont work before I even press the shutter. (Yes, I know in theory that all EVF cameras can do this, but in my experience they are not as reliable).

Control of primary parameters is immediate and logical and visible at a glance. I never end up shooting in the wrong mode.

Lenses just work - at all apertures. The quality of lenses like the 23 and 14 is superb, but the stand-out feature is consistency - even with the 18-55.

Sure, there are plenty of quirks, but the fundamentals are well judged. As a result its small annoyances just become part of the camera's character.

I don't swear at the Fuji half as much as I do at my Nikon D800. It has no 'character' at all but manages to be intensely annoying. The results are indeed outstanding and objectively better but I have to work about five times harder.

Although a different Fuji camera is involved (an X100S), like Kenneth Tanaka I have never really taken to it in the way I hoped and expected. I cannot get results I like from the files (even in Capture One Pro) and I'm not particularly impressed with the sharpness of the lens. Maybe I have a poor example, but consequently I would be very reluctant to buy another Fuji at the moment, even the X-T1. An additional frustration is the menu system, which I thought I could live with, but cannot. Therefore, although not a permanent solution, I mostly reach for my wonderful 'old' Leica Digilux 2 every time, with it's straightforward menus and excellent zoom lens and the Fuji is left in the bag. Coming from a long line of memorable and enjoyable film equipment, including Hasselblad, Rolleiflex, Leica and Linhof I don't think I'm able to bond with many of the modern digital cameras - they're undoubtedly very good, but just another electronic gadget alongside the phone, tablet and computer. I guess a Leica M240 is the only answer…….lottery win permitting!

What first got me interested in the Fuji MILC was the Pro-1: finally I could try the "almost" rangefinder experience with an affordable digital camera. Then nothing has happened in the Pro series for ages now...

In the end, both Olympus and Fuji only had big hits when they released cameras that clone the design of the 60's and 70's SLRs, while stuffing them with the best the digital age can offer. That is a successful combination indeed, especially with the hipster generation, and middle aged photogs that miss the aforementioned cameras and the experience to shoot with them.

But in the end, once the experience fades, what remains is the fact that for some of my applications (starscapes, and really long exposures), the sensors in these cameras, especially 4/3, can not hold a candle to FF sensors. And this is why I think that Canon must be scared about Sony, and not so much about Fuji...

I also think that as far as MILC are concerned, Olympus, Fuji, and Panasonic, should be really scared about the Samsung NX1.

Having been a "nikon"-guy for the last 30 years or so (going from the FE over F4 and F5 to D3s and D800) i did the step last year and switched completly to the fuji's. (X-T1 and X-Pro1). And i never regreted it for on second...

I am finding this discussion very interesting since I am also looking at the X-T1. One issue on which I'd love to hear comment from Mike and whoever else has experience with the X-T1, is the problem of conversions of X-Trans RAW files (including with Adobe software) which I have been reading about in various places. I cannot tell, given the ways of the internet, whether this is a storm in a tea cup, or a real problem that Fuji users are struggling with. I certainly like photographing green leafy things, not that there are many of those to be seen in the northern climes of the US these days!

I don't know, If the Fuji XT1 is going to get the prize, it is going to be due to the overall gestalt "Fuji." For all practical purposes, the A7/A7II, i.e. the camera itself, offers every advantage of XT1, but with a full frame sensor.

This may be off base or completely wrong,but it is possible that the tilt screen may have something to do with the success of the D750. After all, other than that, it is not a revolutionary DSLR for Nikon. If so, Nikon has produced a winner by adding a feature commonly found on mirroless cameras. It should be neat to see how,if the melding continues.

A commenter in the critique post mentioned figuring out which direction the crowd is going and running in the opposite direction. I guess I've done the same for cameras.

I just sold off my m43 system, and am slowly building a D810-based system. All lenses will be manual focus (Zeiss mostly), and I'm using an LCDVF magnifier on the LCD screen for liveview focusing. It's augmented by the GR and a Sigma DP3M for some focal lengths.

It will be enormous, slow, expensive, and heavy, but we must suffer for our art! And after I had thought about what I want to do with my photography, this was actually an easy decision to make.

IBIS might be nice, and I certainly use the lens-based OIS with my Fuji zooms, but to tell the truth I don't really miss it with those magnificent fast primes. I'm not primarily a 'street photographer' and it's become clear to me over the years that I make better photographs when I use a tripod. Period.

And f/1.2 or 1.4 with a usable ISO of 1600(!) that yields good colour — I'm not hurting.

In my experience with teh X-T1 I feel that the 'foliage issues'are overblown. I don't 'watercolor' issues very often, and when I do see them they look just like details I have seen on non-X-Trans cameras.

For a recent discussion try Ming Thein's blog. He is now using an X-T1 and says that the latest Adobe Camera Raw 8.7 has largely solved any issues.

In short, don't let this stop you. It is a brilliant camera.

Product of the year? Nobody gave you a selfie stick for your iphone?????!!!!!

I understand that these cameras are smaller and weigh less than the current crop of Canon and Nikon. A clear advantage in carrying them around. But the X-T1, for example, is 18 mp and over twice the price (well over twice) of say, a Canon SL1.
I suppose if money doesn't matter then it's a no brainer but other than that? What am I missing? Are the lens THAT much better? Thanks

I've been using 2 x Fuji X-E2 and an X-M1 for work for the last 4 months or so and processing from raw using Lightroom. In my experience the Fuji raw/Lightroom issues are very real due to to the differences between bayer and X-Trans sensors but if you rethink the way you use the sharpening and noise reduction tools it becomes a non-issue to my eyes.

Using the settings described in this blog post made an excellent starting point for me and after further experimentation I'm very satisfied with the results I'm getting.


Forgive me if my science is weak here but essentially turning the details slider up to 100% forces Lightroom to use deconvulution sharpening which is more suited to the X-Trans sensor. When testing I now see very little difference now between my raw output and the excellent SOOC jpegs in terms of sharpness and detail. YMMV of course but for what I shoot (people, events, documentary etc) I'm super happy with the photos I'm delivering to clients. People who aim to deliver pixels rather than photos may have a different viewpoint... [grin]. Or equally, people making super large prints may be able to see a difference between raw conversion techniques that I'm not.

As an aside I reckon that my processing time has halved since switching from DSLR! And I was pretty quick before. I think it's a combination of the evf allowing me to get the exposure I want in camera and the excellent Fuji files and awb. I shoot a lot at the higher limits of iso and although 6400 iso on the Fuji's may *test* very similar to iso 4500 or so in terms of noise to other camera's using the 'same' 16mp Sony sensor the lack of colour shift and shadow banding etc has made a huge difference for me.

Incidentally I've found that noise reduction wise I've been more happy with all sliders much further to the right than I would have ever gone when processing Bayer sensor files. Especially the contrast and detail retention sliders.

Thanks to Ash and Ed Waring above for their useful responses to my question about dealing with Fuji files in Lightroom.

Just got back from the Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2014 exhibit, held at the Natural History Museum here in London. Telling to me was that every photo bar one was taken with either a Canon or Nikon DSLR. The one exception was taken with a Phase One. So much for smaller, lighter cameras.

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