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Thursday, 14 May 2015

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It certainly is a charming camera. For me, it's finally broken through the combination of portability and quality results that I had been hunting for many years. I can snap on a simple, light, and stunning prime lens, walk out the door, and know that I will was always get back excellent results (dubious amounts of talent and vision aside).

And not that quantity is any arbiter of quality, but I took three times as many photos in the past year with my X-T1 than in any prior year with whatever combination of film or digital gear. That to me just shows that the X-T1 has finally become that "take everywhere" camera for me - it feels odd to leave the house without it. Through that consistent use I've really developed that muscle memory level of connection to the camera that's been missing for some time. That level of knowledge and confidence in the gear has allowed me to forget it's even there. It suits me perfectly. I am an unabashed fan, but have thus far avoided teetering into the realm of the fanboy, I hope.

I try to stay disciplined and only buy a new camera every five years or so. I tell myself that shopping equipment takes time away from creating. However, Fuji is really tempting me. X-Trans files look smooth, almost analog. And, the Fuji lenses, I don't care about MTF charts, those lenses just look so cool.

I don't want to be cynic, but I wonder if Fuji will implement proper back-button-focus, among the 140 user-suggestions, like every decent dslr had for the last 10 years. And again without cynicism - among the Pros out there shooting Fujis, doesn't anyone of them miss that feature, does anyone of them focus with the shutter-button? Really?
Then, the X100-Series would be almost perfect, only missing a focus-ring with end-stops and markings.

Looks kinda interesting Mike. Thanks. But you sure do have it bad! Personally mine has been a love/ambivalent relationship with my X-T1 (X-E2, and X-PRO1). It's not quite clicked with me the way my Sony A7s have. The latest: the lcd cover on the X-T1 cracked for no apparent reason. I recall no harsh impact or unusual pressure being inflicted. It just cracked from top to bottom. I've never had that happen to a camera! I've sent it off to a repair center which, after several days, phoned to inform me they can't fix it (because they have no Fuji parts!??) and have to send it to the main Fuji repair HQ. My interpretation: don't count on seeing it back any time soon.

So I've done what any idiot would do: bought a graphite gray model to replace my black body, which I'll sell if it ever comes home.

Like I said, I clearly have a conflicted relationship with my Fuji cameras.

Fuji's comments about pros not caring about the X-T1 sensor size is based on a very active and professionally managed Voice of the Customer program; they should know, they have the data. Larger, "full-frame" sensors just means bigger, heavier cameras, and most notably, larger, heavier lenses, which pros decidedly DO NOT want. I read the blogs of professional photographers using Fuji X-cams every day on the blog aggregator sites, and none of them ever talk about the sensor size. What they talk about is how much they love the image quality and the lenses. Fuji's customer intelligence around this is supported in part by a large and statistically valid survey Thom Hogan did earlier this year, in which "more and more megapixels" were not features respondents wanted, rather more ease and convenience of use (things like built-in WiFi,for example), and improved dynamic range.

TOP readers that found The Verge article of interest may also find this video from Fujifilm on the manufacturing of Fujinon XF lenses of interest as well:

http://fujifilm-x.com/xf-lens/en/

Click on the "Watch the PV" button at the lower right of the page.

Amazing technology and quality. Sorry, when I see companies "get it" like this, it's hard not to be a fanboy.

"very simple, not so ergonomic"

That's so great.

@ Andreas: "I don't want to be cynic, but I wonder if Fuji will implement proper back-button-focus, ..."

Of course I don't have my X-T1 in-hand at the moment but it does offer back-button focus. The AF-L can be set to snap focus when in manual focus mode. It operates essentially just like my other cameras. I wish the button was a bit larger and perhaps protruded a bit but otherwise I've been happy. Ditto with the X-E2, although that button is in a different location.

Am I missing something?

I have to echo Ken Tanaka's comments about back-button focus on the X-T1. I use it all the time for continuous high-speeed predictive tracking focus when shooting motorsports with my X-T1 and 55-140/2.8, exactly in the same manner as I do on my Canon 1D MkIIN, and it works really well.

Maybe I am missing too, though it isn't shots....

"pros don't care about the size of the sensor..." is what a company that either cannot make or doesn't want to make a full frame sensor says. In reality, pros do care about the size of sensors, and this is very obvious. (By the way, I'm big fan of the X-trans sensor Fujifilm cameras and I own one.)

I think that the conclusion that pros don't care about a full frame sensor comes from Fuji's polling of professionals using Fuji cameras. Many pros care about a FF sensor, just not the ones that have chosen Fuji for their work.

Reasons for this include size of gear and current investment in a set of great lenses. Personally, I think FF would be a mistake for Fuji in their interchangeable lens cameras (maybe something like an x100 series camera though) and I hope any larger-sensor developments go bigger. I'd love an X-Trans version of the Sony 50MP sensor in the 645Z and others, in a body resembling some of Fuji's legacy medium format cameras. Couldn't afford it, but I'd love it.

I wish a mix of X Pro 1 with the abilities of the XT1 when I switch to EVF but with more exactitud for the OVF frames. I am a pro and I really don't mind the size of the sensor because Fuji gives those beautiful lenses. I would like they finally accept that pro photographers will like a compact 23 (35) f2 that I suppose they don't produce to not compite with the X 100 but trust me Fuji managers, we are different animals. I really want a lens of that kind. 23 1.4 is an excellent lens but is too big to use with the OVF, the ideal way of work for me with that lens. If I need to do a very close up I will switch to the EVF and all is ok. Perfect solution for ex Leica shooters. And another thing about X Fuji's is the software necessary for the development of the Raw files. Now that Aperture is out and Capture One improved the speed I think is one of the best developers for that kind of files. And obviously we love that the brand producers hear our voice, the next firmware sounds great, specially for eye focus with 1.4 or more. Best

One further input regarding back-button focus: I swapped the function of the AEL and AFL button on my XT-1, because I found the AFL button too close to the edge and that cramped my thumb and thus obstructed my shutter finger. Now I can comfortably do back-button focusing with my shutter finger on the shutter and my thumb on the newly re-functioned AEL button at all times..... Gotta love all those customization....
But on Andrea's comment -- he was referring to the X100s, not the other ILC models. I had a hard time trying to configure that thing too, right now I have the AFL/AEL button configured as AFL. I'll focus with the shutter, press AFL, and fire away as long as I think the focus is still right.... Still have to do that one-time focus and recompose, but no longer need to wait for the auto-focus to snap everytime.

"pros don't care about the size of sensor", probably lost something in "translation" and was meant to indicate they care about more things than just sensor size. Kirk Tuck's recent post about the huge file sizes of his Nikons illustrates this:
"The flipside is that I also sit in the other chair. The editor's chair. The post processing strato-lounger. The Eames chair of file enhancement. And setting there for a long time takes the creative starch right out of you while making your butt bigger. I re-discovered this yet again on Tuesday morning when I sat down to convert about 900 D610 raw files into Jpegs and Tiffs. ...
But dang! Processing those files took longer than I'd like ..."
http://visualsciencelab.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/why-i-keep-olympus-omd-em-52-cameras.html

> I wish the button was a bit larger and perhaps protruded a bit but
> otherwise I've been happy.

Assuming they are self-adhesive, there might be something usable in here ;-)

Or, for the more traditionalists, here.

Or, for the DIY types, here.

I find design of the X-T1 closer to that of the Contax RTS 1.

http://camerapedia.wikia.com/wiki/Contax_RTS

Also a camera with a great design pedigree.

regards


Gijs

I downshifted from Canon full frame to the X-T1 after a brief flirtation with an X100s and couldn't be happier. I shoot more, prefer the files, and love the EVF—something I didn't anticipate at all. For the kinds of gigs I do—PJ, portraits, scenic, and the occasional event—the Fuji system works really well.

Ironically, my biggest challenge with the X-T1 has been learning to trust the electronic viewfinder with regard to white balance and exposure after years of flying blind with OVFs. That, and learning how to turn all of the WYSIWYG stuff off when shooting with strobes.

The next step is to build my business up enough to warrant a medium format system alongside my Fuji stuff—I really don't anticipate a need to return to full frame.

@Ken Tanaka: "The AF-L can be set to snap focus when in manual focus mode. It operates essentially just like my other cameras."

Ken, I know what you mean, tried that on the X100. But the problem (on the X100) is, that in MF mode the focusing rectangle is quite large and focus very inaccurate and unreliable.
The X-T1 I tried at a store some time ago and noticed a similar issue. But meanwhile they seemed to have that fixed with firmware 3. Unfortunately there is no fix for older X cameras, and I can't live without an OVF.
This brings me to another topic (sorry for jumping): The (meanwhile) implicit acceptance of EVFs is a mystery to me. As far as I see it, they are only good in moderate daylight (overcast). In sunlight it is impossible for me to see any detail in darker areas (much worse with sun glasses), and in low light levels they are either grainy and/or slow to refresh. Sometimes I use the hybrid finder of the X100 to reassure me in this regard: look through the EVF and then switch to OVF. So it must feel to wake up from a long coma.
And I don't feel that newer iterations solve the basic shortcomings of EVFs. I tried to Oly EM5 (II), Sony A7 , the Pana GX7 (worst), Fuji X100(S) and the X-T1, and find them very similar in being unpleasant to look through. So I am waiting for the X-Pro2, since the X100T didn't bring proper back button focusing either ... ;-)

Looking through a window finder and exposing a frame without any obstruction is the next best thing to looking at the world without a camera and just remember the moment - and the better thing at the same time.

I have the advantage [sic] of making pictures with a Fuji X-T1 without the background of coming from Canon, Nikon, etc. I simply wanted a capable system to continue on from my film SLR gear.

This means that each learning step in digital picture making is not tinged with "wish they'd included or not included, or improved or not changed ..., etc." Meanwhile the company continues to improve the device with significant firmware advances.

Maybe all photo suppliers do this. I neither know or, so far, care. Bliss is ignorance.

Andreas, I know what you mean about sunlight and EVF's. I find myself using my left hand as a hood, cupping the viewfinder against my face. Makes a big difference, especially with glasses.

As a counterpoint to Andreas' observations about EVFs, I will point out that for the night photography that I prefer, they represent a significant improvement over an OVF. This is also true for IR photography, where EVFs make it possible to use IR cameras handheld.

While it's true that the image one sees is often quite grainy in low light, at least there is an image to be seen! That's not always the case when using an OVF.

Even the very best OVF I ever used (Contax 645 with a screen that was modified to make it even brighter) still required me to carry a large flashlight that I used to light the subject well enough so that I could see it to compose and focus. With today's generation of EVFs, however, I can't recall the last time I had to resort to this.

The larger point here is that everybody's needs are different and people need to remember that outside of dedicated specialty cameras, every camera is a compromise. A feature that is worthless (or worse!) to one person may well be essential to another. I know this all too well, because there are many highly regarded cameras that aren't suitable for my purposes as a result of design choices the manufacturers made or features they added to make them more attractive to other (and presumably larger!) groups of photographers. It stinks, to be sure, but that's commerce in the 21st century...

"It stinks, to be sure, but that's commerce in the 21st century..."
Your are absolutely right, JG, and I really made some implicit assumptions in my comment about EVFs. I must confess that I also use it when I need an exact composition, which the window finder can't provide.
Generally, for me photography is to photograph things of normal size at normal distances in normal light (a definition of the M-Leica from some source I can't remember). By "normal" the human scale is meant, distance-wise about the focusing scale of RF-lenses and dim indoor light to sunlight ;-) The notion of human scale I would extend to comprise a sensual feeling for the subject I photograph (organic or inorganic), which consists of _unobstructed_ and _continuous real time_ (i.e. analogue) view. Which may put me in the smaller group of photographers nowadays ;-)

In that sense the X-Pro series (I hope it will be a series soon) would satisfy the needs of both us - and the big chunk in between at the same time! Of course at a higher price for the window finder, but obviously that did appeal to enough people to bring three iterations of the X100...

@ Andreas: Thank you for clarifying your thoughts. I've found the evf in the X-T1 to be excellent for its clarity, configurability, and near-instantaneous refresh rate. I forget I'm watching tv while looking through it. But I do understand your point of view.

"Looking through a window finder and exposing a frame without any obstruction is the next best thing to looking at the world without a camera..."

Indeed, one of the developments of the digital photography era I most enjoy is being able to take the whole camera away from my face. To that end the articulating, high-resolution, bright LCD has become an essential camera feature for me. It has helped to liberate my photography from the monotonous standing-eye-level pov, not to mention avoiding the camera-to-face gesture.

@ Andreas: I likewise thank you for clarifying your thoughts. And you'll no doubt smile when you read this, but prior to my swap to Sony cameras last fall and earlier this year, I was using a combination of an X-Pro1 and an X100S for most of my photography. I still have 'em, too, and miss working with them (although for my purposes, the larger files of the Sonys [A7R and RX1] were alone sufficient justification for my making the change, as Fuji's 16MP just doesn't do it for me these days.)

@Ken Tanaka I love my X-T1. But coming from a Canon 5D3, the X-T1's back focus button feels like a red-headed stepchild. Firmware 3.0 rectified the fact that you couldn't use PDAF or adjust the size of the focus point in manual with back button focus. You figure, "Fuji finally gets it." But, no. Firmware 4.0 reportedly re-introduces limitations in the form of not being able to use many of the upgraded AF features with back button focus. Very frustrating. Add to that the fact that Fuji did not design full time manual focus into this system despite the fact that it existed in a perfected state long before Fuji started planning out the X-system and you have to wonder if these guys even look at competitors' products.

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