The Internet has been buzzing with details about the new Fujifilm X-T1 mirrorless camera, yet we are still excited to see it officially unveiled. Slotting between the flagship X-Pro1 (see our review) and the capable X-E2 (see our review), the new model takes a formerly vacant spot in the line-up of attractively designed, innovative cameras from the Japanese manufacturer. But it is not just the price tag of $1,299 that differentiates the X-T1 from its siblings. Its design and ergonomics also hint at, possibly, new priorities.
1) Key Specifications and Overview
Fujifilm X-T1 combines the strengths of both X-Pro1 and X-E2, but also adds a few of its own. Starting with what we’ve come to expect from Fujifilm, the X-T1 is made from high quality materials and should feel as robust in hands as the X-Pro1. It is also the third camera in the line-up to use the updated 16 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor that sports built-in phase detection autofocus points. The user can choose from 49 autofocus points. The ISO range is also the usual 200-6400, whilst the shutter speed ranges from 1/4000s to 30 seconds. X-T1 can shoot up to eight frames per second (which so far is the fastest continuous frame rate on the X-series cameras offered by the company). On the back of the X-T1 there is a 3.2″ tilt-able LCD screen with 1.04m dots. It has an aspect ratio of 3:2, as many recent cameras do, making better use of the display’s real estate during image review.
So far, so unsurprising, but here comes the better part – the EVF used in this new camera trumps all those of its older siblings. You might have gotten that impression just by looking at it, it’s so enormous. It might have the same resolution as X-E2 at 2.36 million dots, but the 0.77x equivalent magnification really is good as one might ever hope and makes it even bigger than that of the Canon 1DX, let alone all of X-T1’s direct competitors! Surely a welcome advancement a lot of photographers will soon appreciate. The EVF is half-an-inch in size and, crucially, sports -4 to +2 diopter adjustment. If you are the kind of person who shoots with his glasses taken off, built-in diopter adjustment is a very, very important feature. On top of the viewfinder hump is a standard hot-shoe. There is no pop-up flash, but a small external unit comes as part of the package.
No less impressive than the upgraded EVF is X-T1’s comprehensive control layout. Traditionally, Fujifilm X-series cameras sport two dials – one for exposure compensation, and another for shutter speed. X-T1 goes three better and adds an ISO dial, shooting mode and metering mode dials. With the help of the first you can set ISO in 1/3 step increments or even set it to Auto (A). Both ISO and shutter speed dials are lockable. It is a bit strange that the exposure compensation dial misses on the lock, though, as it has been quite easy to inadvertently turn with older Fuji cameras. Let’s hope this time around it is a little stiffer. There is also a dedicated Focus Assist button. Sadly, the shutter release button is no longer threaded, so it does not support old-fashioned remote release. In any case, the number of easily-accessible external controls on the new X-T1 is very impressive. This might well be the fastest Fujifilm to work with, as all the main functions have their dedicated switches, dials and buttons. Less time spent in the menu is always a good thing!
The Fuji X-T1 comes with a built-in WiFi transmitter and is compatible with the IEEE 802.11 b/g/n wireless protocols. The good news is, unlike previous poor implementations of WiFi, you will be able to remotely control the X-T1 in addition to being able to wirelessly send photos to devices, so it is now much more usable.
The most important feature of the X-T1, without a doubt, is its weather sealing. This is the first Fuji camera that has a weather-resistant design, which means that you can use it in a wide range of challenging environments. With more than 75 points of weather sealing, the camera is both dust and water resistant. It is freezeproof to -14°F, which is very impressive. The 3″ LCD screen is made of tempered glass for additional protection.
Fuji is also launching three weather-sealed lenses with the X-T1: Fujinon XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, XF16-55mmF2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mmF2.8 R OIS WR. The “WR” label at the end of the lenses indicates their weather resistant properties.
Here is a short list of Fujifilm X-T1’s key specifications:
- 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor
- Fujifilm X Mount
- Hybrid contrast- and phase-detect AF system with, as claimed, fastest AF in its class at 0.08s
- EXR Processor II promises start-up time of 0.5, shutter lag time of 0.05, shooting interval time of 0.7
- Single SD memory card slot compatible with SDHC and SDXC (UHS-II) memory standards
- Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) for improved image quality
- High-res 2.36 million dot OLED electronic viewfinder with a whopping 0.77x equivalent magnification
- Diopter adjustment ranging from -4 to +2
- 3” (1.04 million dot) tiltable 3:2 aspect ration LCD at the back with high contrast and viewing angles
- ISO range of 200 – 6400, extended ISO 100, 12800, 25600, Auto (maximum ISO setting from ISO 400 – ISO 6400 can be selected, as well as minimum shutter speed – finally!)
- Up to 8 frames per second, with a buffer that can fit 47 full-size JPEG images. Camera slows down to 3 fps once the buffer fills
- Motion Panorama mode for panoramic shooting/stitching
- Shutter speed range of 30s-1/4000s
- Dedicated ISO dial with 1/3 stop increments
- Shooting mode and metering mode dials
- Q Menu shortcut button
- Focus Assist button
- In-camera RAW converter
- Full HD movie recording at up to 1920×1080 at 60p
- Approximately 350 shots per battery charge
- Built-in WiFi connectivity, geotagging
- Measures in at 129.0mm (5″)x 89.8mm (3.5″)x 46.7mm (1.8″)
- Weighs approximately 440g with battery and memory card
- Priced at $1,299 body only
2) Main Competition
Fujifilm X-T1 is not the first DSLR-like mirrorless camera on the market, nor the only one with ambitions to rival DSLR cameras with its ergonomics and snappy performance. It faces stiff competition from the likes of Olympus OM-D E-M5 (read our review), E-M1, Panasonic G6 and GH3. And those are only the most direct rivals, too – forget some of the specifications and suddenly X-T1 is surrounded even by its own siblings, such as the X-E2, which offers a lot of the same for quite a bit less money (minus weather-sealing, of course). Out of everything on the market though, the primary rival of the Fuji X-T1 is the Olympus OM-D E-M1, since it also comes with a weather-resistant body. Stay tuned for our specification-based comparison articles, where we will compare the new X-T1 to all of its main rivals.
3) Official Press Release
Here is the official press release by Fujifilm:
Valhalla, N.Y., January 27, 2014 – As a leader in advanced digital camera technology and outstanding image resolution, FUJIFILM North America Corporation today announced the new FUJIFILM X-T1, a weather-resistant premium interchangeable lens camera with a large OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) that delivers a near-instant image preview, the latest generation 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and the segment’s fastest autofocus of 0.08 seconds for a truly remarkable photographic experience anywhere.
The FUJIFILM X-T1 now gives professional and enthusiast photographers the award-winning imaging power of the X-Series in a water, dust and temperature resistant body that braves outdoor challenges like never before.
OLED viewfinder perfection
The FUJIFILM X-T1 combines a unique wide-angle 2.36m dot resolution OLED view with the world’s highest magnification (0.77x) for a digital camera and shortest display lag-time of just 0.005sec to react as quickly as you need in any environment.
The OLED viewfinder also includes cutting-edge technology to bring users even closer to their subjects. The X-T1’s viewfinder uses a newly designed Graphic User Interface that provides an exciting shooting experience with clear details and a comfortable at-a-glance view of your settings.
The X-T1 has four OLED EVF Display Modes:
- “FULL” mode takes full advantage of the high magnification ratio of the X-T1’s viewfinder to give an unrivalled view of the scene
- “NORMAL” provides an optimum view, including shooting settings
- “DUAL” is specially designed for manual focusing with a clever split view. The regular view and manual focus area can be simultaneously checked (with Digital Split Image™ or Focus Peak Highlight)
- “PORTRAIT” view in “NORMAL” and “FULL” modes automatically rotates the displayed information when the camera is held vertically
Award-winning 16.3 Megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II
The FUJIFILM X-T1 uses the award-wining EXR Processor II and X-Trans™ CMOS II sensor with built in phase detection that delivers an astonishing response time of just 0.08 seconds and a super-fast 0.5 second start-up time, along with a 0.05 second shutter time lag and a 0.5 second shooting interval.
The X-T1 can also shoot up to 8 frames per second with tracking AF and is the first-ever CSC to be compatible with SDXC UHS-II format memory cards for data writing speed (in Continuous Mode) that is approximately twice that of a conventional SD card.
Tough, weather-resistant design
The FUJIFILM X-T1 is the first weather-resistant X-Series CSC (when used with a weather-resistant lens) that performs in a wide range of challenging environments. The X-T1 uses more than 75 points of weather sealing, and the camera body is dust-resistant and water-resistant. The X-T1 is also freezeproof to -14°F for full-fledged field photography work, while the premium clear 3” LCD screen with 1.04 million dot resolution is made of tempered glass for additional outdoor protection.
Traditional handling, modern response
With five mechanical dials on the top-plate, two command dials; one on the front and one on the rear, and six fully customizable function buttons, the FUJIFILM X-T1 feels and functions like a proper photographic tool in the hand. The top-plate includes two machined-aluminum double-deck dials for the shutter speed and metering, and the ISO sensitivity and drive modes, and each is designed to turn with a reassuring click, while their textured surfaces gives a firm confirmation when setting up a shot.
With their exposure values clearly marked, the X-T1’s settings can be checked at a glance without using the rear LCD and the dials are perfectly arranged so that functions can be changed without removing your eye from the viewfinder. The six customizable function buttons and two command-dials arranged on the front and rear complete the picture, ensuring instant setting satisfaction.
WiFi and remote camera operation
The X-T1 one-touch WiFi connectivity lets you easily share images to your smartphone or tablet – pictures that these devices cannot capture – and remote shooting via smartphone or tablet using the Fujifilm Camera Remote app for unique capture opportunities.
Additional grip and weather resistant lenses
The optional vertical battery grip (VG-XT1) has the same hardy structure as the X-T1, so when added to the body, it is completely secured against the elements.
Fujifilm is launching three weather-resistant zoom lenses to complement the X-T1 camera in 2014, including the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, XF16-55mmF2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mmF2.8 R OIS WR.