Fujifilm, who has won lots of plaudits for their X-Series of cameras, has released the X-T1; a dust-resistant, water-resistant nugget that carries a pile of nobs and dials to give you all the manual controls you need right at your fingertips.

 

Last year Nikon became the first manufacturer to  a ‘tough’ mirrorless camera, the AW1, a waterproof, shock-resistant camera that will still operate at temperatures well below zero. An exciting development for those who find their inspiration in the great outdoors.  Well, finally another player has stepped up to the mark.

Now you might have noticed the word ‘water-resistant’ in there; this is not the same as waterproof. I have to admit this was a big disappointment for me right off the bat, because I love the idea of taking a camera swimming and the unique possibilities that would offer. Also, it should be pointed out that while the X-T1 body has all the ‘toughness’ features listed above, there are currently no lenses to match, which seems a bit odd. The WR (weather-resistant) lens series won’t be available until mid 2014.

But let’s park all of that for now, and get on to some of the really exciting features of the X-T1. Without doubt the most eye-catching of these is the BIG electronic viewfinder. It’s located in the top middle of the camera exactly where SLR users will like it. Not only is it the biggest EVF on any mirrorless camera (and most SLRs for that matter), Fujifilm promises almost real-time performance.

Aside from it’s size and speed, the viewfinder has some nice operational features. For example, in vertical (or portrait) orientation, the information displayed at the edges of the frame also changes orientation. In ‘Dual’ mode the X-T1 provides you with an ingenious way to get perfect focus. It displays two panes, one regular view and one zoomed to the middle of the subject. With the second pane you can use either focus peaking or split screen focus to get your sharp spot dialed in.

You can also customize the information that appears in the EVF, which is a big improvement over the X-A1 for example, where it’s all or nothing.

I recently took a look at the new Sony A6000 which claims the world’s fastest autofocus (in the mirrorless category). Fujilfilm are also claiming the world’s fastest autofocus here on the X-T1. Sony doesn’t give an actual number but Fujifilm quotes 8 one hundredths of a second. It’s hard to know who’s claim is valid here, but I’m sure it would be difficult to tell the difference. Suffice to say that autofocus performance, which was initially an area of weakness for mirrorless cameras, has now become a strength.

The X-T1 doesn’t come with an onboard flash, which isn’t too surprising for a high end model like this. However it does have a hot shoe and one of the standard accessories is a hot shoe mounted flash. A protective cover is also included.

Another noteworthy feature is that the X-T1 accepts the new SDXC UHS-II format memory cards which boast a data writing speed that is approximately twice that of a conventional SD card. The X-T1 can shoot an impressive 8 frames per second in continuous mode, with intelligent autofocus tracking, which is great for action photography.

The X-T1 is the first X-Series camera with remote activation capabilities through the Fujifilm Camera Remote app, which allows you to focus and shoot from your smart device, and also change all the important settings like aperture, shutter speed, ISO, and more besides.

One downside of the X-T1 is that Fujifilm has not designed the camera to work easily for those wearing gloves, which obviously you are likely to be doing if you’re shooting in sub-zero conditions. Nikon incorporated a pretty interesting solution into the AW1, and it’s something that Fujifilm might want to consider for future updates.

All in all, the X-T1 looks like a really fantastic addition to the X-Series, and not just for it’s toughness but also the finesse of a host of great new features.

Specs and key features:

  • High-precision 2.36m dot OLED viewfinder
    • Highest viewfinder magnification for digital cameras of 0.77x
    • Wide viewing angle (diagonal 38° and horizontal 31°)
    • Ultra-fast Real Time Viewfinder with a lag-time of 0.005 seconds (less than 1/10 of existing models)
  • Four different display modes: Full, Normal, Dual and Vertical
  • Full mode: Displays shooting information at the top and bottom of the screen to avoid obstruction of the view
  • Dual mode: Adds a small second screen for checking focus point with Focus Peak Highlight or Digital Split Image
  • Normal mode: Lets you concentrate on framing the shot in Auto Focus mode while keeping you aware of how the shooting conditions are changing, making it the perfect setting for sports and action photography
  • Portrait mode: When in Full or Normal modes, it rotates the shooting information interface when the camera is turned vertically
  • 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and EXR Processor II
    • World’s fastest AF of 0.08 seconds
    • Startup time of 0.5 seconds
    • Shutter time lag of 0.05 seconds
    • Shooting interval of 0.5 seconds
    • Phase detection AF and motion predictive AF for continuous shooting up to 8 frames per second
  • Dust and water-resistant body with approximately 80 points of weather sealing. Freeze resistance to -10°C
  • Tempered glass1.04m dot high-precision 3” tilting LCD monitor
  • Digital Split Image and Focus Peak Highlight
  • Interval timer shooting for Time Lapse photography is available with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours and up to 999 frames
  • World’s first compatibility with Ultra High Speed UHS-II SD memory cards
  • Vertical battery grip VG-XT1 and three new zoom lenses offer the same weather resistance to secure the entire system
  • Redesigned circuit board design enables high ISO 51200 setting*9
  • ISO200 – 6400, extended ISO 100, 12800, 25600, Auto (maximum ISO setting from ISO 400 – ISO6400 available)
  • Lens Modulation Optimizer technology maximizes each lens’ performance
  • In-camera RAW converter
  • Die-cast magnesium body design is sturdy and durable yet compact and lightweight
  • Body and grip designed for correct balance when attaching telephoto and large diameter lenses                           
  • Two command dials and six Function buttons for instant control and customization