Fuji X-T1 Doubts

I dreamt about this camera for weeks and weeks. Pondered about whether or not to order it. Scoured the internet for sample images and review posts. Everyone was in love with it. People were replacing their DSLRs with this camera. And I wanted that so bad. Like, you have no idea. I absolutely LOVE my X100s and wanted so bad to make the switch from Canon. I haven’t always had the best of luck with focus systems on Canons, and not to mention… they are HEAVY. So the idea of a small, light camera system called to me like a siren song. I told the Mister how I NEEDED it. How it was going to change everything. How it couldn’t wait.

When will I ever learn?

Don’t get me wrong. This camera is great! But there are a few things about it that I didn’t think about before purchasing it – and they’re kind of deal breakers.

The first is that I have the 35mm lens, which from my research is one of the first lenses Fuji came out with for the X system. So it is SLOW. And quite loud. I’m really not a fan. It also does a lot of back and forth trying to focus, even if the focus was basically where it should have been and maybe just needed fine tuning. Yep. Let’s focus all the way to 0.1 m and back again. Unbelievably frustrating.

The other thing is the thing that really caught me off guard. The thing that I wouldn’t have thought about, but really, I should have. This camera is a crop sensor, right? So the 35mm lens on a crop sensor is equal to a 50mm lens on a full frame. Well, even though those focal lengths are essentially equal, not everything else is. Namely: depth of field and background compression. Longer lenses have more compression of the background than wider angle lenses, so the Fuji 35mm lens doesn’t have the same compression as my 50mm on my Canon since it’s wider. I was expecting it to. It’s not a huge difference, but I shoot with very shallow depth of fields and love background compression (and I’m SO spoiled now with my Canon 50mm 1.2L), so I really noticed it. Sure, I could get the 56mm 1.2 lens. I hear that has crazy depth of field. But then I’ll be stuck shooting at an 80-90mm equivalent focal length to get the depth of field I want.

I also only have the one lens for it, which makes it challenging since it’s not really a good focal length for day-to-day stuff for me (I prefer something wider, like my X100s or my Canon 28mm). So I either go without or have to carry two cameras. Kinda defeats the purpose of a smaller camera, and I don’t really want to invest in any more lenses when I’m not 100% sold on the body. Perhaps I will rent one, or perhaps I’ll just give up for now and stick with my trusty X100s.

So my first few times with this camera left me severely disappointed and it sat on my shelf. For a long while. Last night, after going back and forth about whether or not I want to sell it (I have my eye on a new lens for my Canon), I decided to force myself to shoot with it a couple more times. So I took it to the Mister’s softball game, and while it did okay (aside from missing a ton of shots because the lens is soo slow to focus), I really, truly think I prefer my Canon. Or just my X100s. I should probably try to do an actual photo shoot with it, too, but I kinda don’t really want to (if I’m being honest).

Take a look for yourself. The images aren’t bad. They’re just not what I’m used to.

fuji-xt1-sample-images-01fuji-xt1-sample-images-02fuji-xt1-sample-images-03fuji-xt1-sample-images-04fuji-xt1-sample-images-05fuji-xt1-sample-images-06fuji-xt1-sample-images-07fuji-xt1-sample-images-08fuji-xt1-sample-images-09fuji-xt1-sample-images-10fuji-xt1-sample-images-11

PS – Just so we’re clear. Things I do love about this camera: size, weight, look, feel, dials vs buttons, and OMG THE ELECTRIC VIEWFINDER. That EVF keeps me holding on, I tell ya.

 

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  • JJ Semple - In my non-scientific, anecdotal trial of the E-P5 vs. the X-T1, I found the E-P5 (mostly, the same features and specs as the EM-1) produces far superior results and is more enjoyable to use: better auto-focus, no fringing or chromatic aberration, as high-quality lenses, easier to use controls, better RAW conversion, etc.

    What’s more, I don’t think there’s another blend of commerce and technology that stimulates as much psychological hysteria as digital photography – except perhaps professional sports. Digital has put the tools of professional photography in the hands of individuals who might never have had neither the inclination nor the wherewithal to pursue it in analog format. Now, thanks to digital, everyone is an expert; there are millions of very good photographers out there…and, sadly…many bandwagons waiting to be leaped on. One of the most extraordinary is the Fuji bandwagon; it’s a veritable Cape Canaveral, Kentucky Derby of a bandwagon. All the stars are aligned, how could anyone that reads photo blogs not be swept away?

    I’m not saying you can’t capture great images with Fuji gear; you can. Trouble is, that may not be reason enough to eBay all the gear I already own. I’m not the first to say: It’s not the gear; it’s the creative abilities of the individual using it.

    I especially like the E-P5 because I like the VF-4. It gives me two hi-def angles of view with a flip of the EVF. Circumstances dictate a change of angle, either the necessity of being less invasive or because the angle of view is just better. The E-P5 was not a bandwagon item; it got run over by the Panasonic GX7 and the Fuji X-T1. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, I like it better than both of those, just like I like the Nikon V1. I don’t care about the expert opinions. These cameras work for me, almost to the point that when I load the images into LR, the results appear to be better than what I know my level of ability to be. Have you ever felt that way about a camera? That the results are better than what they should be, given my ability?

    Bandwagons are temporal. The next one is just around the corner. What’s more, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon know it. Their marketeers are busy putting the finishing touches on the hype for latest gear items they’re rolling out that they hope will inspire the next hysterical bandwagon craze.ReplyCancel

    • Rachel Ruffer - It’s funny that you mention loading the images into LR and the results seem to be better than what you think you did. I often feel that way when I load photos from my Canon camera. Like this engagement session, I look at those and think “holy crap, did I really create that?” I do feel that way about images from my Fuji X100s sometimes, too, but not so much from the X-T1. I did sorta jump on the bandwagon – BUT, in my defense, a lot of it was based on how much I love and adore my X100s. I’m so glad you found something that works amazing for you! :)ReplyCancel

      • JJ Semple - I have a Sony a6000 that I use for sports, the Nikon v1, and the Olympus E-P5. They more than cover anything I need to post on the web and prints of fairly large sizes.

        As for Fuji, I, too, was swept away, but quickly returned the camera when I saw unacceptable amounts of fringing around trees, flagpoles, signs, etc.

        Their concept is a head of realization, like in the lens situation you mentioned.ReplyCancel

  • JJ Semple - In my non-scientific, anecdotal trial of the E-P5 vs. the X-T1, I found the E-P5 (mostly, the same features and specs as the EM-1) produces far superior results and is more enjoyable to use: better auto-focus, no fringing or chromatic aberration, as high-quality lenses, easier to use controls, better RAW conversion, etc.

    What’s more, I don’t think there’s another blend of commerce and technology that stimulates as much psychological hysteria as digital photography – except perhaps professional sports. Digital has put the tools of professional photography in the hands of individuals who might never have had neither the inclination nor the wherewithal to pursue it in analog format. Now, thanks to digital, everyone is an expert; there are millions of very good photographers out there…and, sadly…many bandwagons waiting to be leaped on. One of the most extraordinary is the Fuji bandwagon; it’s a veritable Cape Canaveral, Kentucky Derby of a bandwagon. All the stars are aligned, how could anyone that reads photo blogs not be swept away?

    I’m not saying you can’t capture great images with Fuji gear; you can. Trouble is, that may not be reason enough to eBay all the gear I already own. I’m not the first to say: It’s not the gear; it’s the creative abilities of the individual using it.

    I especially like the E-P5 because I like the VF-4. It gives me two hi-def angles of view with a flip of the EVF. Circumstances dictate a change of angle, either the necessity of being less invasive or because the angle of view is just better. The E-P5 was not a bandwagon item; it got run over by the Panasonic GX7 and the Fuji X-T1. Nevertheless, at the end of the day, I like it better than both of those, just like I like the Nikon V1. I don’t care about the expert opinions. These cameras work for me, almost to the point that when I load the images into LR, the results appear to be better than what I know my level of ability to be. Have you ever felt that way about a camera? That the results are better than what they should be, given my ability?

    Bandwagons are temporal. The next one is just around the corner. What’s more, Sony, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, Canon, Nikon know it. Their marketeers are busy putting the finishing touches on the hype for latest gear items they’re rolling out that they hope will inspire the next hysterical bandwagon craze.ReplyCancel

  • Alfred Lopez - Rachel,

    I’m a wedding and portrait photographer who recently switched entirely from the Canon system (5D Mk II, 7D, EF 85mm f1.2L, 24-105 f4L, EF-S 60mm f2.8 macro, etc) to the Fujifilm system (X-T1, X-E2, WF 56mm, 35mm, 18mm, etc.). The reasons, besides weight, was my shooting style. I starting comparing the Canon system with the Fuji one, but I find that each serve a different purpose. I agree about the 35mm (my favorite lens at this time) is a bit slow, updating the firmware seemed to help. Though the X-T1 *looks* like it’s geared up to compete with DSLRs, this won’t happen until the newer lenses are released. The 56mm f1.2 is faster than the 35mm (and much quieter), but anything prior to that lens was designed for the rangefinder-esque line of camera which were not intended to compete with the DSLR market. Think “Leica”.

    A Leica M 240 with a Noctilux 50mm f0.92 will set you back about $15,000. Yet, I would never use it for sports. In this regard, you Canon system beats it, because that’s not what it was intended. That’s not to say you cannot try and that’s not to say that you can *actually* get an action shot or two, if you anticipate it. It just means that to accomplish the same thing, your shooting has to adapt to the system.

    I find that even the X-T1 with the 56mm is not entirely adequate for wedding receptions where you need to be quick, in comparison to my former Canon system. Photographers like Jeff Ascough and David Oliver did great with their Leicas and they captured amazing images. So the question is “Do you need to capture EVERYTHING or are key moments enough”? Even with the Canon system you will miss shots, especially if your shooting style is like mine: relaxed and anticipatory, as opposed to hyper and trigger happy, like photographer Joe Buissinks, who takes upwards of 6000 frames for a wedding.

    I too like bokeh and when I used the 85 f1.2 with the 5D or the 50 f1.2 with the 7D (one of my favorite combinations) the images were absolutely dreamy! I still can get close to that look with the Fuji system, but it *is* different. It’s a matter of a paradigm shift or adjustment to the new system. My composition is different now with the Fuji system in order to take advantage of what the camera offers. Here’s are two examples of what I’m referring to (both images were shot by me)…

    Canon 7D/EF 50mm f1.2L –> http://www.artistrendition.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/untitled-20121013-172808-0122-e1374369771941.jpg

    Fujifilm X-T1/XF 56mm f1.2 –> http://fauxtojournalist.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Players-small-020.jpg

    Though the Fuji shot is not as dreamy (I don’t recall if I shot wide open) it still has a nice look to it. It’s a different image altogether and I know I was much closer to the subject with the Canon shot which would produce more bokeh.

    Cheers,

    Alfred LopezReplyCancel

  • Hasi - I’ve read many reviews such as yours since the X-T1 has been out in the world. People come to this camera from using Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Leica, etc.
    How can ONE camera satisfy completely converts from so many various producers? It’s not possible. So Fuji has said, ‘Here’s what we think will make for a pleasurable, inspiring, creative photographic experience. If you like it, great. If not, oh well….. We’re not out to satisfy everybody’.

    So live with and love the X100s for what it can do, and keep on with the rest. Fuji can’t accommodate everything that everyone wants.

    And besides, the always ask me before they make any changes, so you’re outta luck, babe.ReplyCancel

    • Rachel Ruffer - Thanks, Hasi! I definitely think this is a good camera, just not what I’m looking for right now, unfortunately! I am still completely in love with my X100s!! But I use that only for personal stuff…ReplyCancel

  • Jorge Moro - For the majority of images here ANY p&S would have worked for you. I shoot with an X-E1, X-T1 and the 18-55, 35, and 12mm Touit. Yes. The 35 is slow, and yes it is a crop fact so that makes it like a 52mm. You may have been better served going for the 23mm F1.4 which is faster, and is the equivalent of a 35mm.
    Can’t blame the camera for this one… This one is on you. However, once you get a “better/faster” lens I think your impression will change. Right now I’m staring at an image I printed out of a sailboat hanging in my office. Printed it 13 x 19 from the raw file, and I can see each fiber of the rope on the rigging. Sharp, clear. Taken with the 18-55, hanging out a dock window, 1/80th of a second, handheld. I also shoot with a D800 and I must say that I find myself using the X-T1 with the 18-55 a lot more now.
    Hope you work it out!ReplyCancel

  • K. L. Estes - I think by now its obvious it wasn’t the X-T1 that failed you so much as the 35mm, so if possible find a better lens – then let us know about it. Thank you for your article, I hope you find happiness :)ReplyCancel

    • Rachel Ruffer - This is true… I think I would have had a much better experience with the X-T1 and the 56mm!ReplyCancel

  • Stu - Hi Rachel,
    I wanted to comment on your concern with depth of field and background compression on the Fuji. I think the issue you’re having has to do strictly with depth of field and nothing to do with “compression”. The issue is that on a 1.5x crop sensor, F1.4 gives you the equivalent DOF as F2.1 on a full-frame sensor. F1.4 is still F1.4 in terms of the amount of light it lets through no matter the size of the sensor but DOF will vary depending on sensor size at a give aperture. So, there’s no way that the Fuji 35mm F1.4 lens will give you the same bokeh as your 50mm F1.2 on your Canon (I assume it’s a full-frame sensor).

    However, the degree of perspective compression is not affected by the fact that the Fuji lens is 35mm. What affect compression is your field of view and the distance to your subject and the field of view on a 1.5x crop sensor with a 35mm lens is the same as your field of view on a full frame sensor with a 53mm lens so both lenses will render the same degree of background compression.

    Try this out. Use your Canon (only) to take two shots of a subject from the same location with the subject in the centre of your frame. One with a 35mm lens and the other with 50mm lens. Preferably, take a shot of a picket fence or a tunnel or something like that where the vanishing point is in the centre of the frame. Then, on your computer, crop the shot you took with the 35mm lens so it has the same field of view as the shot you took with the 50mm lens. You’ll see that both shots have the same perspective compression. The same thing is happening with the crop sensor camera.
    Cheers,
    StuReplyCancel

  • Bob Reid - With regards to the hunting issue, try making the focus box a little larger. I have the X-T1 now & have sold my x100s, I’m getting much faster & accurate focus now but admittedly I haven’t tried the 35mm.ReplyCancel

  • Brian Rybolt - I don’t understand why you’re moaning about the camera. You should have known better. The X100s is a crop sensor – that’s what Fuji manufactures in its ‘X’ range. If you really did your homework you would have known what you were getting into with format. You can always sell it and go back to Canon.ReplyCancel

  • Bernhard Ess - I guess you may have to learn to use your Fuji X-T1 better, the shown pics – specially the first ones – do not look optimal in terms of colour and exposure. I had the 5d1 & 2 for years, it is a good camera, and thesmall DOF cannot be achieved with an APS system, for obvious reasons. But shallow DOF is not all, and overall (colour, tonality, dynamic range, AF reliability) the X-E1 served me very well for 1,5 years now, and the 35mm was my main lens (till I recently got the 56/1,2). I find it fast enough, but you have to learn how to best use the AF. I think it is adequate for a large range of situations, playing kids included…ReplyCancel

  • Adriel Henderson - Rachel, make sure you have the “macro” function turned off when using your 35mm, it makes a huge difference. With “macro” on it will hunt all the way from extreme to extreme. It’s still a slow lens, I tend to use it in manual focus mode and use the AF-L/AE-L button to grab focus as needed. But… since you already have the X100s with an excellent f2 lens at 23mm, why not sell the 35mm lens and put that 56mm on your X-T1? The two cameras together will still be lighter than your larger setup, and no need to be swapping lenses to change focal length. Add to that the 55-200mm and I would think you have an excellent event setup. A weekend of renting these lenses through BorrowLenses or RentLenses and you might just fall in love with your X-T1! ReplyCancel

  • Luiz Eduardo Barletta Bildzinkas - Rachel, you should try to turn high performance ON. It’ll make the camera focus much faster.ReplyCancel

  • Marcin - So you’ve bought a camera and did not account for crop factor? OMG

    It’s not the camera who failed. You did.

    I’m getting my x-t1 + 14mm + 56mm to replace 5d3 + 24LII + 85LII.

    I don’t care for the full frame when it’s too heavy to have it on me all the time…

    You want a nice OOF pictures? Get a canon fd lens like 50/1,2 and the speed booster.ReplyCancel

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