The Fuji X-T1 Review. Fuji creates the Best X to date!
What a way to blow a review! I pretty much say right there in the title that yes indeed this X-T1 is the BEST Fuji X to date, even surpassing the X100 and X100s for me..finally! Many of you know that I was never a huge fan of the X-Pro 1, X-E1, X-E2, etc. I just never felt that they were mature..in fact, on more than one occasion I called them “Beta” products and we, the consumers, were the testers as we shelled out thousands for the bodies and lenses.
Well, the good thing about all of this is that Fuji seems to finally figured out everything (almost) and have now created the Body that the X-Pro 1 should have been as the X-T1 beats the Pro 1 all over and down the block and the “T” stands for “Tough”. Yes, the X-T1 is now weather sealed!
All images in this review were shot JPEG. Click on ANY image in this review for a larger version.
14mm at ISO 250 – f/2.8
So do I prefer the X-T1 to the E-M1?
As many here know. I have been a HUGE fan of the Olympus Micro 4/3 offerings for years and the E-M1 has been my daily “goto” camera since launch for its build, speed, response, feel, control and lenses. The IQ is also quite fantastic though many dismiss it due to the sensor size. With this new Fuji many have asked if the X-T1 will unseat my E-M1 for my new “goto” camera.
To that I say…NO. As much as the Fuji is an improvement over the previous Fuji bodies, and by a large margin it does not have enough for me to buy it over an E-M1. I have a Leica M 240 which is my premium IQ camera and the Fuji does not come close in IQ, feel rendering, etc to my M, so I have no need for the Fuji. I also have a Nikon V1, J1, and new stuff on the way soon. If I bought the Fuji I would still prefer to shoot the E-M1 for its faster speed, better build, better JPEG output, 5-Axis IS and the gorgeous lenses. IQ is a draw besides some shallow DOF effects, but for that I have my Leica which beats them both easily.
The Fuji X-T1 surprised me because when the review sample arrived I expected more of the same..which means, big claims and underperformance. BUT, I was shocked to see that this time, the new Fuji lived up to the hype and then some. While not perfect, it is one hell of a camera and the one to beat for APS-C out of the cameras I have shot with to date (NON DSLR).
If I had NO CAMERA and was starting from scratch, the X-T1 would be under serious consideration along with the 14, 23, 35 and 56 lenses. You can buy it here.
Direct from camera color – JPEG – 35 1.4 at ISO 500
For the 1st week that I had the review sample from B&H Photo I also rented a couple of lenses. The 14 2.8 and the oh so popular 35 1.4. I also had the 18-55 Kit Zoom that I never did get to try, so it was nice to see and verify that yes indeed, this 18-55 is the nicest kit zoom I have ever shot with. It is a quality Zoom for sure.
So with all of that out of the way, let me get to the meat and potatoes. How does the camera feel, perform, respond, and how are the controls and build? Before you read, and in case you missed it..you can see my very 1st impression video review below:
The Build and Feel of the Fuji X-T1
This X-T1 feels very good. Better than the Pro-1, X-E1, X-E2. It feels ergonomically correct, for my hands at least. While not as solid or hefty as the Olympus E-M1, the grip feels just right. There is less of the “Fuji Hollowness” that I noticed with previous bodies. The bottom line? I have no complaints on the build and ergonomics. It could have been better, but it also could have been worse.
One thing I love is the manual dials and controls which remind me of the Nikon Df (review here). On the top of the body we have controls and dials to set the ISO (love this), the metering (love this) and the Exposure Compensation (love this as well). You can also twist a dial and set up bracketing or continuous shooting, etc. It is all right there at your fingertips.
On the back of the camera we have the trash button, the play button, the AE-L button, the AF-L button, a thumb dial, focus assist button (which is nice), the Q button and display button. The heart of the back is the thumb pad and MENU/OK button.
My ONE issue with the design of the back is that damn thumb pad. It sucks. Plain and simple. The thumb pad buttons for top, left, right and bottom do not feel good at all. They do not stick out enough or give any kind of tactile feedback. They are “mushy” and “soft”. If I buy this camera I will be sticking some little buttons on each directional pad. Not sure why Fuji designed it like that but this is ONE area where they dropped the design ball.
Is it bad enough to not buy the camera? No, it is just something you will wish they had designed better.
18-55 at 55mm and ISO 200 – f/4
Pull up your eyeball to the big EVF and you may feel like you are at a drive in theater. Yes, the EVF will spoil you with the HUGE size. It is the largest looking EVF I have ever had the pleasure to peep through and it is pretty bad ass. I LOVE EVF’s and have preferred them to OVF’s for a couple of years now. When the Olympus E-M1 was released, that EVF was AMAZING. The Fuji is even more WOW and AMAZING to look through but it does have some quirks. Still, it puts the E-M1 EVF in 2nd place.
When shooting in low light or going from light to dark the EVF will lag for a bit and then catch up. It also gets grainy at night. BUT, for me, it does not take away from the experience. At all. I can still frame my shots and fire away. I love this EVF. Again, not perfect but so much better than ANY other Fuji EVF to date. Makes me wonder though..why did the not use their OVF/EVF design of the X100 but make it large? Would have been even better to have the choice as many prefer an OVF over the EVF. This would have covered everyones tastes.
Still, the EVF is beautiful to look through. HUGE and almost rear LCD like. Some may even prefer to use the EVF over the LCD to view their images! I like that the camera can be set up to use the EVF without the LCD. So turn on eye detection and the rear LCD will stay off and the EVF will pop on when your face is put up to it. This is how I shot the camera, no chimping.
14mm at f/2.8 and ISO 200
35 1.4 at ISO 200 and f/1.4
35 1.4 at ISO 200 and f/1.4
The SD card door, battery compartment and LCD…
The SD card door feels good and is one of those pull back and slide out designs. It locks back into place with a nice click and I encountered zero issues. The Battery door is just like 90% of cameras with the flick of the switch to open. No issues. The other side of the camera with the HDMI port felt a little sloppy though and I thought that out could have been made to be more like the SD card door, so it would lock into place. Instead you just push it in and it feels a little mushy. But most cameras are like this.
The LCD is a swivel LCD and looks good. No complaints as it is your run of the mill 2013/2014 LCD in quality and size. I much prefer to use that massive EVF. 🙂
35 1.4 – ISO 640 – A creepy crawly critter found in my kitchen 🙂
14mm ISO 800
The speed of the Fuji X-T1.
The Fuji X-T1 had to be faster than the previous X bodies. If it was not it would be an immediate fail for me. This was my #1 worry about the camera. With that E-M1 I speak so highly of..well, it is just such a JOY to use due to the speed, response, IS, etc. So I was a bit worried about the Fuji because I knew there was no way for it to compete in this area with the E-M1.
So how did it do?
Well, when using newer lenses like the 14 2.8 it was very fast. I had no issues with AF at all. Speed was great AND accuracy was superb! This started to get me excited because my #1 main niggle with these Fuji’s has been the AF speed AND accuracy! These have both been remedied it seemed. When I put on the older 35 1.4 is when I saw the AF slow down. Faster than previous bodies but I think it is a lens limitation instead of the camera limitation. It was easily usable but the Olympus 25 1.8 smoked it on my E-M1 for speed. Still, it was not annoyingly slow or anything, just not as fast as that 14 2.8. The Kit Zoom hunted from time to time in lower light and was also not the fastest but still acceptable.
So overall I would give the X-T1 high marks just for the improvements made on the speed and response. Speaking of response, gone are the Fuji days of slow, sluggish menus and response. The X-T1 is up there with the competition when it comes to response and offers better response and speed than the Sony A7 and A7r.
So Fuji created this camera to make a statement I think. To send a message to guys like me..“WE CAN make a fast and responsive camera”!
18-55 at f/4 and ISO 200
Compared to the Olympus E-M1. High ISO and Detail.
Some have asked me to include this in the review since many are debating between the E-M1 and X-T1. To be honest, I also feel Fuji released the X-T1 in response to the E-M1. Same shape, design, etc. They HAD to answer to the E-M1 as it has been wildly successful. So how does the X-T1 compare?
Speed and Response vs the E-M1
The E-M1 still wins for speed, response and overall quality of build. But it’s closer now than with previous Fuji camera bodies. With the new X lenses such as the 14mm some will not even notice a difference. When it coms to continuous AF though the Fuji fails and is way behind the Olympus. For CAF, the Olympus E-M1 wins the battle.
I prefer the Fuji. It is larger, more vibrant, and looks like you are viewing a large LCD up close. It is a nice effect. With that said, the Olympus E-M1 EVF is 2nd best in the market.
Controls and Dials
The Olympus dials feel more substantial but the Fuji control scheme..I much prefer. So for real world usage, I prefer the Fuji as it has the right controls in the right places. They just do not feel as solid and well made as the Olympus. I hate the Fuji rear thumb pad with a passion though.
Olympus. Easy. No contest. Period. Until you have experienced that 5-Axis IS you have not experienced IS.
NOW it is getting close. With the Fuji 14 2.8, 23 1.4, 35 1.4, and new 56 1.2 as well as the nice Kit Zoom Fuji is about equal with Olympus. Almost. I prefer the Olympus 60 Macro to the Fuji Macro and I love the little jewel like Oly lenses like the 12mm, 25 1.8, 75 1.8, etc. Still Fuji has caught up and makes Sony appear to be lagging behind in the high quality fast prime arena. I am giving this one a tie because Fuji has released quite a few superb lenses in a short time.
Here is where it gets tricky. Now, all of you Fuji guys and gals will tell me NO CONTEST! Fuji! But not so fast. The Olympus is amazing in the IQ department and some of my favorite photos that I have seen last year in 2013 were shot on an E-M1. It has no shortcomings in the IQ department when using it with the superb prime lenses. I have always preferred the Olympus IQ to the Fuji and Sony APS-C offerings. With the X-T1 still using the X-T1 sensor let us see how it goes..
1st up, just a normal snapshot to check for tonality and color out of camera (JPEG). To me the Fuji looks more vibrant (the Fuji colors) and the Olympus is more muted and natural. The Olympus was closer to reality but which is more pleasing? Many will say “Fuji”. You can also see the depth of field differences. The Fuji was using the 35 1.4 at 1.8 and the Olympus the new 25 1.8 at 1.8. The Fuji will give you a more shallow DOF here as it is using a 35mm lens and the Olympus a 25mm lens. The longer the lens the more shallow DOF. While both are “equivalent 50mm” in field of view, they will not give you the same DOF. The Fuji focused decently with the 35 here and the Olympus was instant.
100% crops from JPEG. This is where the Fuji X-Trans shows some issues with JPEG. The image of the tree below looks nice. Vibrant, sharp, pleasing. When looking at the 100% crop of each camera, the X-T1 and E-M1 you can see the Fuji has a watercolor effect going on which is NOT pleasant. The E-M1 does NOT have this effect. This is straight from camera on each. The E-M1 wins on this one easily, that is, the 100% crop detail test. Trees are always a nice torture test for detail and the E-M1 won this one easily. These are JPEGS as Adobe, at the time of this review, will not process the X-T1 RAW files. To be fair though, in the past using Adobe with the Fuji X-Trans RAW files yielded watercolor effects as well. Here, to me, the Oly wins.
High ISO. Most claim the Fuji;s as the king of high ISO but this is not really true. Fuji always applies some level of noise reduction as you can not turn it off, which really sucks. I always turn off NR on all of my cameras as NR makes the details look smeared no matter how much is used. It does not look natural at all. SO how does the X-T1 and E-M1 stand up at ISO 3200? We would expect the Fuji to wipe the floor and leave the Olympus in tears, but again, not the case. The Fuji is better but the Olympus crop with ZERO NR does not look bad. The Fuji is still applying some NR, the Olympus is NOT.
So there you have it, even when the E-m1 has the NR turned OFF it is not far behind the Fuji which as NR on the lowest setting. The Oly is also sharper showing more detail in the crop. I prefer the Olympus here for the 100% JPEG crop and the high ISO comparison at 3200. I also prefer Oly color as you can see from the shots here that are all with the E-M1. Also, proof that the E-M1 can be used and is used for Pro work that looks AMAZINGLY beautiful in color, DR and sharpness. SO many discount the Olympus just because they own a Fuji or Sony without any valid reasons. All of them are great in their own ways. What you choose is up to you for your own tastes.
ISO 1250 with 18-55 Kit Lens
More about the X-T1
The Fuji X-T1 has the same menu style as previous Fuji bodies including all of the different JPEG color filters such as Velvia, Astia and Provia film simulations. Do they look like the film counterparts? No, but they can be nice for those who want to shoot JPEG as they give vibrant, contrasty and more punch to the files if that is what you seek. Basically this is like an X-E2 on steroids in an all new body shape. It shares the same sensor as the X-E2 so we still have the X-Trans “Look” that many love and some do not love so much 🙂
The Battery life is good, the EVF rocks, the control scheme/layout is fantastic and everything is right there on the camera to control. NO MORE menu diving. If you decide to go for the one with the kit zoom it is indeed a great Kit Zoom. Not as sharp as the primes and not as fast, but still…for an 18-55 Kit Zooom it is the best I have tried even including Image Stabilisation.
Below are some images shot with the kit zoom, exif is embedded on each but most were shot wide open between 18-55.
The X-T1 specs and features:
16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II Sensor
A large 16.3MP APS-C CMOS image sensor is integrated into the X-T1 to provide high image quality and detail. Using Fujifilm’s unique X-Trans bespoke pixel array, the sensor is designed with a randomized pixel pattern to eliminate the need of an optical low-pass filter for reducing moiré and aliasing. By removing this filter from the design, higher image sharpness is possible. Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) factors are also taken into account using the EXR Processor II, which helps to automatically compensate for aberrations and diffraction blur in order to produce images with the utmost inherent sharpness.
The X-Trans sensor also works to provide highly effective noise reduction and a clean signal-to-noise ratio. This enables smoother-looking imagery that becomes especially apparent when photographing in low-light situations with an expanded sensitivity range of ISO 100-51200. Additionally, a top continuous shooting rate of 8 fps is possible, for up to 47 consecutive frames, to benefit working with moving subject matter.
EXR Processor II
Aside from benefitting low-light performance, the EXR Processor II also provides quick performance throughout the entire camera system. The camera start-up time is about 0.5 seconds, shutter lag is about 0.05 seconds, and the shooting interval time is about 0.5 seconds. A fast autofocus performance speed of 0.08 seconds is also enabled using the advanced Intelligent Hybrid AF system using both contrast and phase-detection focusing methods.
Intelligent Hybrid AF and Enhanced Manual Focus
Intelligent Hybrid AF is a quick, responsive autofocus system that employs both contrast and phase-detection methods to acquire focus quickly in a wide variety of lighting conditions and shooting situations. Clear focus can quickly be attained to aid in catching fast-paced movement more easily. Three focus modes are available (AF-S, AF-C, and M) for greater control over how the X-T1 achieves sharp focus. When working with autofocus, the AF area is divided into a 49-point matrix in order to gain clear focus of any type of subject matter. Additionally, a built-in AF assist lamp is available for aiding the focus system when photographing in low-light situations.
When working with manual focus, two additional features can be employed for enhanced critical focusing in a more controllable manner. By using the phase-detection pixels located on the imaging sensor, Digital Split Image technology is able to assist in acquiring precise focus through the implementation of four striped focusing aids; akin to a rangefinder focusing method, once these stripes have been lined up, sharp focus can be ensured. Also contributing to manual focus accuracy, Focus Peak Highlight has been integrated and enables a more objective system of focusing by way of highlighting sharp edges and lines of contrast, using one of three colors, once they are in focus.
Multi Mode Real Time Viewfinder
An advanced electronic viewfinder has been incorporated into the X-T1’s design to support clear eye-level monitoring along with a host of unique viewing features to better support a more efficient overall workflow. The Real Time Viewfinder is comprised of a 2,360k-dot OLED display and features an exceptionally high magnification of 0.77x, along with a 31° angle of view. This perspective is further complemented by the 0.005 sec. lag time, which smoothly and seamlessly renders scenes and moving subjects.
Beyond the technical aspects of the viewfinder, an adaptable graphical user interface has also been designed to increase efficiency during shooting. Four different viewing modes are available:
FULL: This mode takes advantage of the high magnification ratio of the viewfinder and produces an image that fills the majority of the viewfinder in an unobstructed manner. Shooting information is presented at the top and bottom edges and does not interfere with the image frame itself.
NORMAL: This mode enables you to focus on the composition at hand while still having an in-depth understanding of camera settings and shooting conditions.
VERTICAL: When the camera is held in a vertical orientation, the information display automatically rotates so it is facing upright for easier reading of camera settings. When working in this mode, images can also be reviewed in the vertical orientation.
DUAL: Serving to benefit those working with manual focus, this mode presents a split screen view of the scene where you see both a regular view as well as the Focus Assist View (Focus Highlight Peaking and Digital Split Image) at the same time, allowing you to concentrate on the image composition as well as critical focus accuracy.
In addition to the four viewing modes, the shooting information displayed within the viewfinder can also be customized to suit one’s needs. 19 different settings can be toggled on or off depending on preference.
Classic Camera Design
Featuring a body design reminiscent of SLR film cameras, the X-T1 exhibits a meshing of both analog exposure controls along with intelligent automated technologies. The clean and functional body design incorporates physical shutter speed, ISO, drive mode, AF mode, and +/- 3 EV exposure compensation double-deck precision-milled aluminum alloy dials that pair well with the manual aperture rings found on many of the XF lenses for intuitive exposure setting selection. Depending on individual needs, six customizable buttons, dual command dials, and an easily-accessible Q Menu provide an efficient solution for modifying some of the most frequently used camera settings, such as ISO, white balance, and file settings. For more extensive menu navigation, as well as live view monitoring and image review, a 3.0″ 1,040k-dot LCD monitor is available and features a tilting design to better support working from high and low angles.
Furthermore, the magnesium alloy body also features approximately 80 points of weather sealing to protect itself from dust and moisture, as well as temperatures as low as 14°F, for confident use in trying conditions.
Full HD Movie Recording
Full HD 1080p video recording is supported up to 60 fps, with other frame rates and formats also available. Full-time AF tracking is available during recording with subject tracking capabilities for ensured sharpness when either the subject is moving or if the camera is moving, panning, or zooming. +/- 2 EV exposure compensation is available during recording as well as the use of Film Simulation settings.
An HDMI port enables high definition playback of movies to an HDTV and the inclusion of a 2.5mm input supports the use of an optional external microphone for enhanced sound quality.
Built-In Wi-Fi Connectivity
Wireless connectivity is built into the camera and allows for instant sharing of images directly to an Android or iOS mobile device. The Fujifilm Camera Remote app allows you to browse the image contents of your camera from your mobile device and transfer both videos and photos, and the entire sharing process is further expedited by simply pressing and holding the dedicated Wi-Fi button to begin transferring immediately. Remote camera control and monitoring is also supported through the use of the app, which enables Touch AF, shutter release, exposure settings adjustment, Film Simulation modes, white balance modes, macro, timer, and flash controls to all be adjusted from the linked mobile device. Location data can also be embedded into image file’s metadata for geotagging.
Film Simulation Mode and Advanced Filters
Taking advantage of Fujifilm’s vast history in traditional film-based photography, the X-T1 integrates several Film Simulation modes to mimic the look and feel of some Fujifilm’s classic film types. Pulling from their line of transparency films, PROVIA offers natural-looking tones for everyday shooting, VELVIA produces a more dramatic and rich tonality with deeper color saturation, and ASTIA gives less contrast for a softer depiction of skin tones. Mimicking their negative films, PRO Neg. Std. gives smooth image tones that are suitable for accurate color renditions, while PRO Neg. Hi produces a more dramatic feel with the ability to draw color out of a variety of lighting conditions. In addition to the colorful benefits of these Film Simulation modes, there are also monochrome modes that simulate the look of traditional yellow, green, and red black and white contrast filters. A sepia mode is also available for producing an inherently nostalgic look.
Eight Advanced Filters are also available to creatively enhance the look of imagery, and include: High Key, Low Key, Soft Focus, Toy Camera, Miniature, Pop Color, Dynamic Tone, and Partial Color (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple).
Other Camera Features
An in-camera RAW converter lets you record your images in 14-bit RAW and process them prior to computer-based editing procedures. This process enables you to modify the exposure, white balance, and other controls directly through the menu interface. Additionally, for more thorough processing of files, RAW File Converter software is included for RAW image processing on your computer.
Interval shooting is possible with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours for up to 999 frames.
Compatible with UHS-II memory cards for fast transfer speeds during shooting.
Multiple exposure mode gives you the ability to overlay imagery in-camera. When working in this mode, subsequent exposures can be paired and the final appearance can be previewed on the LCD or in the EVF before making the final exposure.
Motion panorama mode allows you to record expansive views up to 360° wide in a seamless, sweeping manner.
The included EF-X8 shoe-mount flash has a guide number of 26.2′ at ISO 100 and provides additional illumination to imagery for photographing in dark conditions. A sync terminal is also available for use of additional optional external flashes.
Four different auto bracketing modes are available: Dynamic Range, Film Simulation, AE, and ISO Sensitivity.
The included NP-W126 battery enables approximately 350 frames to be recorded per charge.
Blown Highlights? As with previous Fuji cameras I find them easier to blow highlights than my Leica M, my E-M1 or the Sony A7 or RX1. The 1st image below shows this. I had Exposure Comp dialed back to help avoid the blown highlights. The rest of the image is exposed correctly (face) yet his shirt is blown as is the background walkway. This was with the Kit Zoom in the harsh Mid Day AZ sun.
ISO 200 – 18-55 at 55mm
14mm at ISO 200
14mm at ISO 640
35 1.4 at f/1.4 and ISO 200
14mm at f/2.8 and ISO 200
Pros and Cons of the Fuji X-T1
- The ergonomics and feel are great
- The EVF is the best I have used to date
- The Body is weather sealed
- The AF is now pretty fast and is the fastest AF of any Fuji body to date
- Many fast primes are now available for the X system
- Fuji colors!
- Controls are just as I like them. Available and easily found. including ISO dial.
- Direct button for Manual Focus aid when using manual lenses
- Swivel LCD
- 350 shots per battery charge
- T stands for “tough” but body does not feel as tough as the Olympus E-M1
- EVF gets grainy at night/low light
- JPEG’s are not so hot, especially at 100%
- AF speed depends on lens used, 35 1.4 still on the slow side
- Back thumb pad is horrible – mushy and not very tactile
- Movie/video quality not so hot, Fuji still lags behind here
- No way to turn off Noise Reduction which causes issues
- Skin tones could be better
My Bottom Line Real World No BS Conclusion on the Fuji X-T1!
Here we go..the final word..MY final word. Not all will agree with me here but I always tell it like it is, regardless of politics, favoritism, or any nonsense. In the past I have been hard on Fuji X Bodies. I have loved the X100 and X100s, and still do but was never a fan of the X-Pro, X-E1, X-E2, etc. They were and are good cameras that can make beautiful images in the right hands but I always saw something in the files that did not draw me in and I never was a fan of the lackluster body performance. I remember saying back in the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 days that Fuji will one day release a camera that will put those to shame in the handling, speed and control department.
Is the X-T1 “that camera”?
I feel it is. While not perfect, it is THE Fuii X Body to get if you love Fuji and want a responsive, fast, easy to control and set up body that feels great in the hand and is super high on the usability factor. The EVF rocks, the LCD rocks, the feel and handling rock and the IQ is the same as the previous X Bodies. If that is your thing, the X-T1 will feel like a masterpiece to you.
I do have to say that I had a couple of issues with the review sample. On three occasions on my last day with it it would not wake out of sleep. I had to turn it off and on again to get it to wake up. Also, my friend Ashwin Rao purchased one after seeing my video about it and it died after 2 or 3 shots. DEAD. The store had to take it back and order him another.
So there may be some buggy X-T1’s shipping but as usual, I am sure Fuji will be on any issues with Firmware updates as they are the best when it comes to this. Without question.
I own a Leica M 240 with a 15 and 50mm lens. Love it to death. The IQ can not be reckoned with by anything I have seen but one camera, the Sony RX1. I also still own one E-M1 (had two) and a couple of lenses. I have a Nikon V1 and J1 and something new on the way in April/May. I will not be buying the X-T1 as it does not fit in to my kit anywhere. I can not justify spending $3000 on an X-T1 and 2-3 good lenses when I already own amazing cameras. I just would not use it and I prefer the skin tones out of the Olympus over the Fuji sensor.
If I were starting new with NOTHING, the X-T1 would be high on my audition list with a 23 1.4, 35 1.4 and 56 1.2.
The X-T1 is a beautiful but not perfect camera, but then again, NO CAMERA is perfect and I do not think one will ever exist. I have to hand it to Fuji, they kicked ass with this release and to me, it is the best APS-C camera solution on the market today. if you are a Fuji fan, this one is a no brainer.
WHERE TO BUY
You can buy the Fuji X-T1 and BH Photo at this link HERE
You can buy the Fuji X-T1 at Amazon HERE
You can buy the Fuji X-T1 at PopFlash.com HERE
I also recommend the 14 2.8, 23 1.4, 35 1.4 and 56 1.2 lenses for this camera. The 55-200 is also a nice telephoto zoom to have if you own one of these cameras.
35 1.4 at ISO 200 and 1.4
35 1.4 at ISO 1250
ISO 2500 – 18-55
More thoughts from Brad Husick who tested his Fuji X-T1 to shoot indoor Lacrosse:
I took the Fuji X-T1 and the Fuji 55-200 lens to shoot an indoor lacrosse game. I was the team photographer for the Washington Stealth for three years, logging tens of thousands of shots on Nikon and Canon DSLRs. I have seen some promising results on the web of the X-T1 shooting horses and car races, so I was hopeful the X-T1 could stand in for these large DLSRs on game day.
Exposures at this arena were metered at ISO 3200, f/4.5 and 1/160 sec, so the lighting wasn’t ideal by any means. The camera/lens combo had some difficulty locking on focus initially and also had some problems keeping up with moving players. Shot speed was quick, but not anywhere near delivering 8 frames per second. This maximum spec speed can only be achieved under ideal bright lighting conditions. Image stabilization in the lens worked quite well. With a 90Mb/sec. SDXC card the camera had no trouble saving short bursts of images. I did not try to fill the buffer as that doesn’t match my shooting style for indoor lacrosse.
In my analysis of the X-T1 as a sports shooter, I must conclude that the Nikon D4 (my primary sports camera) and the Nikon 70-200 f/4 lens have nothing to worry about. I won’t be selling my Nikon kit any time soon if I continue to shoot sports. Full size Canon outfits also measure up significantly higher than the Fuji. It’s hard to be too disappointed with this result as Fuji has designed a superb all around system at an affordable price. They weren’t gunning for the D4 or 1DX (at $5000 and up) so the results are not a surprise. For slower sports or more predictable positions of the players I think the X-T1 will be a fine tool, and is significantly lighter than the pro DSLRs.
One surprising and pleasing experience I had in this test was the normally difficult white balance setting under a mixture of mercury vapor lamps. Depending on the age and condition of the individual lamps the color temperature they output can very quite widely. This presents most cameras I have used with a real challenge. The Fuji X-T1 shows you the effect of WB choice on the fly, full frame, and also lets you tune the settings on a 2×2 grid. In short order I could match the gray color of the concrete floor on the camera’s screen to what my eyes were seeing. I have never before been able to so easily and quickly get the right WB settings in indoor sports arenas.
Based on what I see in the X-T1 I believe if Fuji set out to compete with the likes of the full size DSLRs for sports shooting they have the expertise and technology to do so with a future product, but this would be a huge mountain for them to climb as Canon and Nikon are so deeply entrenched in the pro sports shooting world. I don’t expect them to put their money into this battle any time soon.
I’ll be keeping the X-T1 for many reasons but the days aren’t numbered for my D4.-Brad
35 1.4 at ISO 200 – click all images for larger, sharper and better versions!
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i like the Fuji’s cause they have some kind of depth (3D) and glance. I also find my pictures of landscapes or objects sometimes a bit boring. I experimented with the Xe2, and now bought the Oly EM10 mark2. How much is the iQ of the EM10-2 comparable to EM1? and how far is IQ comparable to X-T1? regardless of size, ergonomics or technical possibilities. My street photos are easy and snappy, and good with EM10-2. Have to say that Fuji looks more natural and less digital, especially wonderful on portraits, but still maybe a bit dull overall.
But why did you consider Xe2 as beta. Where is difference between X-1 concerning IQ. I find handling (menu and finding buttons and functions) much more intuitive on Xe2.
Next to these im considering buying a X100s or maybe a6000. Just to compare and then in the end maybe keeping two.
I might opt for the x100s and …either Xe2/EM10-2/A6000. It seems that A6000 makes more 3D pictures than Oly but also more detailed like Fuji?
So could you Steve or anyone else maybe give me some insights or views that could help me a bit.
I have tried all kinds of cameras and I ended up buying a Fujifilm X-T1. The images from Micro Four Thirds cameras have a digital look and feel. Even at base ISO there is some noise. I guess the sensor is just too small. Images (especially black and white) from the X-T1 look very realistic and I love the skin tones it produces. You can shoot up to ISO 3200 with no problems at all. Yeah, there’s noise of course, but it’s good looking noise. Right now you can pick up an X-T1 for about 699,00 euro in the UK. The X-E2 has the same image quality as the X-T1, but the X-T1 obviously is a better camera (grip, speed, controls). Forget about Sony. Good luck!
Hi, does anyone know how the XT-1 compare to the A7II? I love the colors on the XT-1 however some of the A7II shots are impressive.
Great review Steve, I’ve been shooting with a dual X-T1 set up for nearly a year, love it.
….what a comprehensive review. Thanks Steve!
I am going to by the XT 1 and sell my X Pro 1. I like the XP1 but…. It is so slow. to slow for me, I am a fast shooter. but a camera with soul.
Hey Steve, love your reviews and just so you know, we walk in similar paths on the arc of equipment and photography.
That being said, I respectfully disagree on your assessment of the XT-1 ergonomics. The XT-1 is my fifth X camera (x100, x-Pro 1, x100s x 2 came before it). The rear button layout makes it almost unusable for me. The buttons are flat, and flush with the body. My callused thumb has no chance of finding the AF-L, Focus Assist, D-pad or Q buttons without looking. And Fuji has no rhyme or reason to how the buttons are labeled: Trash, Q, Menu/OK and Playback are on top of the buttons, AE-L is to the left, AF-L and Disp/Back are to the right, Focus Assist is below. The buttons are indiscernible in the dark. I could live with the inconsistent UI/UX if I could just FEEL the dang buttons. All other things are great with the camera, but I find it the most frustrating of the all the X’s to use.
We all have different hand sizes and finger sizes. For me, it was the best X to date in all areas. Still, I prefer the X100 series over any of the IC lens Fuji Bodies.
Ok so I almost pulled the trigger on the A6000 until I read this. As far as IQ is concerned, who’s ahead with a good prime attached? I’m after a camera that will make me want to carry a camera around again. I lost that love with my Canon 5D2. Too big and heavy. iPhone does the majority of my walk around work now and a Sony RX100. Thoughts?
27 mm is fast enough, small & cheap price! Bb
Hello Steve thanks for the review and your whole website. Love the Wotancraft Ryker bag – just what I have been looking for!!
Question about Fujifilm X-T1, which I go with the kit len 18-55, I’m looking to get other lenses and the more I read the more I change my mind. I’m looking for a lens for street photography with fast sharp focus. In your test you talked about the 14mm being that, but didn’t recommend “If I were starting new with NOTHING, the X-T1 would be high on my audition list with a 23 1.4, 35 1.4 and 56 1.2”
Which lens would you recommend for street photography as a fast sharp focus?
Steve, I enjoyed your review as a Leica lover like you. What are your thoughts regarding the overall IQ of the XT-1 compared to the Leica M9(p) since the M has an imporved IQ over the M9?
M9 will beat the Fuji in every way. It’s no contest from an M9 with a Lecia lens to an X-T1. I have done comparisons like this before, I think in my Voigtlander 50 Nokton ASPH review.
I own fuji X E1 and it is a great camera for family holidays but the X t1 could be the turning point for me to gee up DSLR. Thanks for the info 🙂
This is a good review, but I’m sure I’m not alone in having my choice narrowed down to the Olympus E-M1 and Fujifilm X-T1 with CAF being the deciding factor. I respect your opinion, but there are those who have found the CAF of the Fujifilm to be superior, i.e., commenter Florence Griffith (above, no. 100) and Tony Northrup (here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXAzUsvCmZY).
I’d like to see an exhaustive re-test of each body, with a view towards reconciling the disparate opinions that are afloat, and determining the best CAF settings for each body.
hey Steve, great in depth review! You made a comment about the viewfinder, wondering why Fuji didn’t make a hybrid OVF/EVF for the XT-1 like the X100/X100s? Wouldn’t that require a traditional prism SLR viewfinder, which would require a totally different camera design? I would love to see someone like Fuji make a real full frame SLR with EVF option, what a killer camera that would be!
Steve, I have written you other times; you have always been very helpful. Thanks!
As a result of medical issues (pulmonary – I walk around with an oxygen machine in a backpack) I will be limiting my shooting to street with occasional landscapes/seascapes. Currently I have the EM1&5 and Pana lenses: 12-35 and 35-100. Neither is fast enough. While I have loved my EM-1 if I had to pick one complaint – it is noisy bother when you activate the shutter and when you shoot high ISO.
So I am considering the switch to the XT1 with some fast primes; suggestions for the fast primes other than Fuji glass.
I think the trend in this article is that since you have the Em-1 and love it, and you have your Leica, no need for the XT1.
However, the question you didn’t ask that I am asking – and it was answered by a few others, if you didn’t have any small body and it was time to dump the bricks and big glass: EM-1, ST1, or A7s.
I definitely want a quiet street camera with a couple of fast primes.
As always, thanks in advance for your insight and assistance.
I just finished shooting an extensive series of comparisons between my Fuji X-T1 and Leica M240, using lenses ranging between 35mm and 360mm (or 35mm equivalent). All photos of he same subjects taken tripod-mounted using a self-timer. Same ISOs, f-stops, focal lengths, etc. Results obtained with the Leica were predictably better — but in most cases not by very much at all. The comparisons are forcing me to rethink the whole Leica thing, especially in view of the high cost of Leica gear, and the ease of use and other advantages of the Fuji X-T1 system.
I have had a Fuji X-T1 and several XF lenses for about one month now. In that time, I have sold all of my Canon 6D and Canon lens gear. I discovered the two systems were essentially redundant, so one had to go. I chose the lighter, smaller, more nimble Fuji system — which I have found produces results that at least match, and in some cases exceed, those provided by the Canon system. I also have a Leica M240 and several Leica M lenses. IMHO, the Fuji X-T1 even gives the Leica M240 a run for its money in terms of image quality (but does not quite get there). Like the M240, the X-T1 is small, portable, and can be taken almost anywhere. Unlike the M240, the X-T1 is not eye-poppingly expensive, provides a built-in high-resolution EVF, has a well-developed system of auto-focus and often image-stabilized lenses (including zoom lenses), excellent focus peaking, and other features not found in the M240 system. The X-T1 will not replace my Lecia M240, but it comes really close. In fact, if I did not already own a Leica M240 system and lenses, I wouldn’t bother with them. I’d just buy a Fuji X-T1 and a bunch of that excellent Fuji glass. The Fuji XF lenses are outstanding, and IMHO rival Leica glass.
After working with the XT-1 files for several months now, I’ve decided to sell my EM-1. It’s a fantastic camera in its own right, but the IQ of the Fuji is just better in every way. There’s just a clarity to the shots that I can’t get with EM-1, or mu other m4/3s bodies. For lack of a better way to explain it, there’s just more “air” around the elements with the Fuji. When I look at the shots, everything is more defined. If you’ve ever been fitted for eyeglasses, it’s a similar process…the technician keeps turning the dials until your vision is crystal clear. One setting may appear perfectly clear, but then the next one really snaps things together. That’s the way it is between these two cameras….for me anyway. The Fuji 27mm pancake is killer, by the way. I shoot with prime lenses and have most of the better m/43s one, and the Fuji 27/2.8 is right there with them.
For me it’s a toss up on the ergonomics of both bodies…I have little niggles with both of them. But there will never be a single camera that pleases everyone.
I think it would have been wiser to compare the XT-1 to other APS-C bodies. While the EM-1 is a technological marvel and a superb camera, it can’t escape its smaller sensor. And while sensor size really isn’t an issue, that doesn’t mean differences don’t exist.
I’m keeping my m4/3 lenses (and my Panasonic GX-7 for video)…who knows what marvels will come next.
I sold my Fujifilm (X E2 and Lenses) equipment for the same reasons, i.e. …..
1. images lacks 3-D pop,
2. greenery and dense vegetation looks mushy and unnatural,
3. shadows are way too dark, almost black,
4. strange watercolor effects when shooting brightly colored greenery,
5. not consistent iq, can vary greatly under the same conditions,
6. unnatural colors,
first time for me on your forum. 🙂
I have one problem!
I have the oly em5 but does not work better for me, in racing motorcycle impossible to take shot, all photos out of focus, 20% good.
Have you tried tracking autofocus xt1 and em1? Which is better?
Has been improved focus tracking with the em1? or better xt1? or wait for improvements performance of oly and fuji and I continue to use olympus em5?!
E-M1 is good, E-M5 is the worst of the three. X-T1 is good but not fantastic. The Sony A-6000 has the best tracking I have found in a mirror less.
I’m still completely lost, so this camera is good, but not good enough, I know you love the olympus, but I want something smaller (body), like the x-pro1 or x-e1, but with viewfinder and exchangeable lens, and I like the manual control of this x-t1, and with the black-silver old fashion style 😀 and I cannot afford the Leica… and don’t like the Nikon D after reading your review 🙂 and I prefer canon brand… ha ha ha… and want to take long exposures for shooting stars… what will you recommend me?, I want to start this seriously and it will be my first camera that is not a powershot 🙂
And for helping you on amazon, works for amazon.fr??
If I can help you… I have the Oly E-M1, and I’ve tried for some time the X-T1. BOTH are extremely capable cameras. I love external manual controls, but more the configurable type on the Olympus and less the type on the Fuji. I also like Olympus colors more than Fuji – but this is personal taste. One other reason is that I shoot with many old manual focus lenses, and you have many types of adapters to choose from. I think you can safely choose one or the other, no regrets.
Hey, thanks a lot… the colors are really important, I will check more the and also as you say, removing the option for NR is important… 🙂
Hey Steve, can you tell me what is the camera strap you got on the X-T1 in your first look video? I’ve been looking for a round strap for a long time. Great review and I can see you really like the new cam.
That is the street strap, available on Amazon.
Hi Steve, all my compliments for your site and reviews, certainly among the best in the web. I find them always really useful and appropriate. Well…I’m asking for an advice! I’m undecided between Olympus EM1 (with Voigtlander 25 0.95 and Olympus 75 1.8) and Fuji XT1 (with Fujinon XF 23mm f/1.4 R and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R). My first need is optical quality. I usually work with a Canon 5D Mark III with Zeiss lenses 35mm f1,4 and a 100mm f2 mainly and other Canon lenses, 50mm 1,2 and 24-70. I’m really happy with all of them, (especially Zeiss and Canon, they are simply amazing) but my back doesn’t like them a lot! I love Leica M and especially Monochrome but they’re not affordable for me:( So I was thinking to sell my Canon 50 mm to help me take a mirror less
Well, I am partial to the E-M1 and I would go for the 17 1.8 and Nocticron. Add the 75 is you can. All three beautiful lenses. For me, this would beat the X-T1 in every way. Use, speed, build, versatility, and yes, even IQ. Ive used them all and can own whatever system I want. For me, the E-M1 is still the best overall mirror less camera made today. The lenses are the icing on the cake. But others will say I am nuts to choose that over the Fuji. Remember, I have used them all extensively.
I have been using the E-M1 since Oct 2013. I have been using the Fuji X-T1 for about 3 months. I will be selling the Fuji. To me, the E-M1 just feels and responds better. The top feature being the E-M1’s Viewfinder. I just can see better, brighter and clearer in all lighting conditions. It is hard for me to see in bright light outside with the X-T1. I still get frustrated with the Olympus Menus, but the dials are smother and better placed. One for aperture, one for Exposure Comp. I have the Fuji 35mm f1.4, 18-55 kit lens, and the 55-200mm zoom. They are beautiful, but they are heavier and larger than the micro four-third equivalents. I like the button lock on the EM-1’s PASM dial and I really don’t use the ISO dial on the Fuji enough to matter to me. The EM-1 lets me bracket 7 shots, and the Fuji only 3. Finally, I like the JPEG colors better from the Olympus. I have no special connection to either brand.
Thank you very much for your answer. I trust you;) I’m used to work with manual focus lenses, but especially when working in the wide open aperture manual focus with the Canon is quite difficult. You have to trust that unpleasant…green dot. Personally I think manual focus with a Leica is so exciting instead. Do you think is easier with the Olympus than Canon 5D? Between Nocticron 25mm and 25mm Olympus which one do you prefer? I often use aperture wide open and known among other things that the Fuji stops at 1/4000. This is another point in favor of Olympus;)
Well Steve…I always respect your opinion….and over the years you have swayed me to buy a Nikon 1 V1…which I still love…it is a great street shooter….and I love my E-M1 as well…I recently got an X-T1 and after playing with the settings on it…for continuous auto focus…focus tracking …the X-T1 is head and shoulders above the E-M1 in keepers in my experience in shooting sports . Keep up the great work…your reviews and insights are very valuable to me .
Thank you very much for your review.
I still have one question remaining. Is really the AF speed on the xt-1 that much better than on the ex-2 ?
If the answer is yes, is there any concrete reason for that giving the fact that the two cameras are sharing the same sensor and processor ? If it’s the firmware which is involved, will a new firmware on the xe-2 be enough to catch up the xt-1 AF speed ?
Thank you very much!
Great review mate….. But I have a question….. I have a number of 1960’s Super Tak lenses in which I was wondering which camera would be the better camera to use with these lenses.
I currently use a Nikon D7000, and without the correct adapter, using these M42 lenses is quite restricted…. But in using the correct adapter (which has cheap glass), picture quality is reduced quite a bit. When purchasing these lenses, I was advised to change to Canon, as the distance from the mount to the sensor is slightly different which means the adapter needed does not require that cheap glass for unlimited focusing distances. As I am pretty sure you would be well aware of these restrictions, I will just assume you know what I am trying to convey.
So… The question….. Should I change to canon, or is the Fuji XT1, Oly EM1, Sony a7/a7r a better option???
My personal favorite is the EM1 due to it’s 5 axis stabilization, and it’s image quality is actually very good, but these 7 primes I own may dictate the choice of camera. Or the other option is to start fresh and sell off what I already own….. I’m assuming that the new glass from Fuji, Olympus, Sony, and whoever else makes glass is of a better standard than these solid, all metal Super Tak’s….. although the old stuff may give the pictures character???? EVF or OVF ??? I’m guessing EVF as I can’t see a bl##dy thing when I stop them down… about f8.
As I am really only a newbie to getting adventurous with photography, I would appreciate absolutely any advise, both good and bad.
Thanks in advance 🙂
IIRC the M42 to M4/3 adapters are without a lens, differently from the speedboosters that reduces the crop factors and give you an extra f/stop (but the good ones are not cheap). So, if you can live with a x2 FoV and no f/stop gain, you can buy an M4/3 adapter for cheap. IQ will not reduced.
Thanks blaufeld66….. But what are these speedboosters you speak of ??? I have searched for such things, but with no success 🙁
The first brand to do that was the Metabones. They have an optical lens group inside. Go to their site and take a look 🙂
By far, the biggest Olympus E-M1 homer I have ever seen.
Full Frame >>> APS-C >>> M43 >>> 1″
This will ALWAYS be the case. It is physics. The larger sensor always wins.
Sometimes I wonder if Olympus pays you to praise the camera so much and do back flips every time you mention it?
Same old stale comment from a fanboy.
Same old M43 user thinking their smaller sensors are superior.
Same old ‘big sensor user’, thinking photography is all about sensors and pixels.
Eddie, don’t waste time feeding the trolls. They spend time on forums, we go out and make photos…
Same old ‘smaller sensor user’, trying to convince themselves that their cameras are better in image quality and high ISO….to justify their incredibly over-priced purchase.
If sensor size and pixels isn’t everything, then why don’t you go buy a little point and shoot?
I did not come here to bash your review or anyone”s reviews. Tell me where have I bashed your review ? I am merely stating the difference between your review and what some others have found. I have never said that you were wrong wither. I could be wrong and I hope I am. I said I have difficulty digesting some of your statements does not imply you are wrong. Anyway, this is my last post in your site. Good luck and grow up.
I also looked at the youtube video of tony northrup comparing fuji and Oly and they say that fuji is over two stops better in terms of IQ at high ISO and they were able to recover over 2.2 stops of highlights from fuji as compared to OLY. They hated many other aspects of Fuji such as autofocus (Terrible, bad d-pad, bad dial designs etc), however, steve thinks that autofocus with the right lens is stellar and accurate. I also think that Steve’s comment on better dynamic range on OMD than fuji, and similar high iso performance between the two are rather difficult to digest when everyone else thinks otherwise. I have a Pentax K-01 and I love it. I think it smokes both these cameras for high ISO and dynamic range and it cost me a fifth of the price with the lens. So then when Pentax comes with their first real mirror less camera with fast primes that has K-3 like specs, who wants to join in ?
What most others fail to do is A: Take off the fanboy blinders – B: Turn off the Fuji Noise Reduction, oh wait, you can’t. I show a sample here, shot in low light with BOTH cameras at the same high ISO of 3200. The Oly has more noise but the Oly has NR turned off 100%. The Fuji does not as it can not. I base my reviews on real shooting, not nonsense lab tests that mean absolutely nothing. What you see is what you get. The Fuji, with certain lenses has fast AF. With other lenses it is slow as Fuji always has been. I can always spot a Fuji X-Trans image no matter where it is online. It has a character, one that I am not a fan of. Doesn’t mean you will not be a fan of it. If I wanted to make money I would rave on and on about the Fuji’s as I could sell a ton of them through affiliate links, but I do not lie or make up nonsense. I speak the truth from the heart after vast experience with everything I review. If you do not like what I say, do not come here to read it. Simple solution.
You are too sensitive my friend. Please read my comments one more time. Nowhere did I mention that I did not like what you had to say. I said, I find it difficult to digest your statements. They do not mean the same do they. Believe me, if I did not like what you have to say, I won’t waste my time here. I have a good life and much better things to do with it as well. However, I love photography and cameras. If you say that you are either with me or against me, then I am out of here because like many people in these forums, I also have an opinion and mere expressing it. If you cannot digest it then that is too bad. You can do better than that.
I am not sensitive in the least but when someone comes here to bash what I write or say that I am wrong I correct their statements and let them know how I review cameras. If you find it hard to “digest my statements” then you should not read my reviews! Plain and simple. Will save you the trouble of coming here to complain. Easy squeezy. 😉
Steve, since you are talking about low light performance here, I’d like you to respond to my comment above – one above this one.
I am confused as to why I see such a major difference between the RAW files on the X-T1 and the EM-1 when looking at the DPReview comparison tool.
To my eye, the X-T1 has much lower noise levels, better than many of the high end DSLR’s when comparing the RAW files.
Are you finding the same thing? If you are, then it might be worth mentioning when comparing the two camera’s in regards to low light and noise levels. I do realize that when you did the review you were not processing RAW files so maybe you plan to add that to your review later when there is better support for the Fuji RAW files?
Steve says, “So there you have it, even when the E-m1 has the NR turned OFF it is not far behind the Fuji which has NR on the lowest setting,” yet when I use the DPReview comparison tool and select “raw” the comparison isn’t even close. The X-T1 smokes the EM-1 at ISO 3200 and beyond. If you hover over the color palette you can really see the difference in noise levels. However, when looking at the JEPG’s it is much closer.
Where am I going wrong? Is Fuji applying noise reduction to the RAW files?
Olympus NR apply just to in-camera Jpeg shots, not raw ones. Steve was referring to in-camera Jpeg comparisons of the two cameras for the one of us that doesn’t need to shoot raw.
X-A1, which doesn’t have a x-trans sensor, has the same mushines issue as X-T1 (and all other X-trans cameras). How can you explain that? To me, the output from all newer Fujifilm cameras has a unnatural and ugly (sorry, but i can’t find a better word to describe it) look to them.
HF, thank you for the reply, followed your explanation and it makes total sense, you sound like a software guy. Your transfer function explanation with real and imaginary parts brings me back to my math and circuit theory classes. Totally agree, the algorithms will get better in the future, the sensor is still a new piece of technology and the software just needs to catch up. I just thought it was over-simplistic to blame the smearing purely on the JPEG compression.
It’ll be really interesting to see how Fuji’s sensors in the future also render images, as they have some interesting patents for sensors with even more unique color patterns: http://www.whatdigitalcamera.com/news/542169/fujifilm-patents-intriguing-new-sensor-design.html
On DPReview some users are reporting that not they have received X-T1s with slightly taller buttons and with more positive feedback. These are users who returned their first cameras due to some other issue (one was dust under the UV/IR cut filter, one was a light leak) and received back a different unit with a higher serial number.
Fuji denies any changes to the buttons themselves, but the difference has been verified by a user with two cameras and a caliper tool. It could be a manufacturing issue, or one of tolerances, or a stealth fix.
Interesting. It looks likes a “stealth” fix was in order and it will be interesting to see photos of both X-T1’s cameras side-by-side to see if this idea of yours is true. As much as I love Fuji, I feel like they release products too often. Believe me, I am not a Leica fanboy but I wish Fuji would take a page from the Leica playbook and only release cameras when it’s time; just like a fine wine. (Heck, even Leica doesn’t stick to its own rules anymore.)
Which camera do you feel is the most efficient, and most fun when it comes to manual focusing … XT1 or A7?
Respectfully I’d ask, were ANY of these ‘thousands & thousands’ of Fuji images viewed as a double blind test? ie- did you know before hand it was from Fuji X-trans? It’s amazing what one can convince themselves of. Many Pro’s would beg to differ.
I DO NOT deny the 3D pop rendering from certain lens & sensor combos; heck, I can spot an M4/3 render with better than 75% accuracy according to this site- http://guesstheformat.com/photo
It is quite easy to pick a file from a Fuji X-Trans sensor, same with an M 4/3 sensor. They each have characteristics of color, rendering, etc. Same goes for a Leica M9. Would be tougher between an M 240 and Sony A7 or Nikon D800.
Cool website, got 7 out of 10 correct. Interesting how crappy photos can be taken with any format and awesome photos can be taken with any format. 😉 Steve, what’s your hit rate?
I wasn’t trying to deny the existence of the 3D effect, just trying to get information on what exactly the effect is suppose to look like and how exactly it effect composition. And in the grand scheme of things, how important is it really to making great photos.
I’m honestly starting to grow tired of all the technical talk in photography. This recent article on FStoppers really hit the nail on the head for me, maybe it will for some of you too: http://fstoppers.com/subject-matters-kicking-technicalities-for-content
Steve, from the sample above, nicely smooth blur areas and colors, but bit too saturated, the rendering reminds me of X100 files. Sharp is wise but for ultimate sharpness still EM-1 the winner. For pictures which need shallow DOF, XT1 produces very good looking rendering. Still it lacks of 3D looks especially on black cat samples..
Yes, I find the Fuji’s do lack the 3D pop of a Leica or full frame sensor. Something about the X-Trans IMO which is why in the past I called it “flat”. I have yet to see any Fuji file from anyone that I find “rich, 3D, or organic” and I have viewed THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS of X-Trans files. But many do not even notice this (because they are not comparing it side by side to some other offerings) and love the Fuji look, which is cool – it is all about what the owner of the camera likes. They are all good in their own ways, which is a good thing.
Flat? Not rich? Seriously?
I could show sample after sample, but I will say this: the Olympus E-M1 cannot come close to the depth and richness of the X-Trans sensor, both from examples I see online … and from my own personal experience.
Well, I have seen E-M1 shots that meet and exceed these for richness and depth..takes a lot to impress me and the Fuji X Trans does not while the E-M1 does, in a big way.
The “richness”, “3-Dness” and “organicness” are totally SUBJECTIVE terms, and tied to personal experience. . They can be used to describe why we found a picture pleasuring, but NOT to estabilish an universally accepted term of comparison – waht constitutes “rich colors” for you, could be “fake” and “over the top” for me.
What exactly does everyone mean by 3D looks? Just curious. I had a teacher in high school, who was very knowledgeable about art, explain that you can create a 3D effect with black and white film by clever use of composition. Just watch older black and white movies (1945 version of Picture of Dorian Gray is a great example) and you can see how this is done. So I sometimes wonder if this 3D characteristic we attribute to cameras and lenses is real or if it’s more a product of the photographer knowing how to manipulate the scene. Just some more thoughts to balance the gear talk.
Photographer Patrick LaRoque doesn’t seem to have any problems getting a 3D effect with his Fuji’s, IMHO: https://patrick-laroque.squarespace.com/blog/ Just to clarify, I don’t own any Fuji’s, I’m more of a fan of the photographers who happen to be using them.
It’s real and some camera/lens/sensor combos create a rich, 3-dimensional file. Some create a more flat look. It’s quite easy to see. The link you supplied still has flat looking files. By 3D I do not mean DOF isolation BTW.
Fair enough Steve, I realize I have not seen anywhere near as many of these 3D files as you have. I did ask for an explanation of what that means and I still haven’t received an explanation. Can you give me a concrete example of what you are talking about from your portfolio? Just trying to educate myself.
If DOF is not a factor in this 3D effect, then what is? When you try these lenses that exhibit this 3D effect on different formats (m43, APS-C, FF) via adapters, does the 3D effect carry over?
Finally got an answer to my 3D question via Chris Marquardt: http://www.tipsfromthetopfloor.com/2014/03/28/tfttf631-the-adapter-matte/
A note to those who blame the Fuji (and earlier models) for clipped highlights: if this is something you found as a reality (for you) and it is annoying to you note that it has nothing to do with the excellent X-trans sensor capabilities. It is just default approach Fuji chose and set on their cameras. Like less contrasty picture? Go into the menu and set up your own characteristic, save it and use it on daily basis! Different tone curves are awaiting you. Combine than with shadow compensation options (or use them separately) And stop blaming Fuji but rather learn, learn …it does not hurt. Does it?
Common Sense Advice… Be a Photographer… Learn your Equipment, Inside and Out… there is so many great Files Ready to be Captured and Fine Tuned out there!
Seriously, what I see is the result of NOT pursuing any semblance of ‘scientific’ testing – which is your right.
X-trans users can get razor sharp & artifact free results using Photo Ninja, or Iridiemt & C1Pro7 second.
What is see is excessive NR as stated but it is implied it is the X-trans sensor. I’ve seen the same ‘mushiness’ from Sony jpegs. NO, it is the conversion to jpeg in camera. The image may ‘be what it is’ but AT LEAST use the same DOF & backlighting so the result doesn’t look blown out & swirly soft.
Steve your passion is commensdable & highly valued by me as well, but PLEASE don’t use such a lame example to conflate one ‘issue’ with another!
Lol. It is all about REAL WORLD USE, always has been. Scientific testing is so silly when it comes to photography..I mean, VERY silly. It is for gearheads and pixel peepers only. If you can see a flaw when taking real world photos then there is a flaw. The fact that one has to use different and special raw converters to get a decent Fuji file says it all for me. Too much hassle. I am one who is not a huge huge fan of the Fuji rendering. Even with the new 56 1.2 lens, files are flat. I am not talking about DOF or Bokeh..but a flat image in general. They are not “rich” or “hearty” or “organic” – but that is the Fuji look. After using ALL cameras from mirrorless to DSLR to the Leica S2, the worst OOC JPEG’s I have seen come from Fuji. With that said, if we PRINT these images no one would ever notice! It is all when looking at 100% and pixel peeping, which is silly. I do these 100% crops as I have been asked for them over the years. But there was no trickery in the Fuji shot..as I said..it is what it is. I make no excuses for any camera brand, I just present what is reality. The only way to do it.
“The fact one had to spend $10,0000 on a Leica body & Leica lenses to get a magical 3D Leica pop says it all” – there, fixed it for you LOL.
“With that said, if we PRINT these images no one would ever notice!”
& in one sentence you’ve contradicted everything you’ve been claiming.
OK, I’m putting my snark-raygun down now.
Thanks for your review Steve.
I must take issue with your jpeg examples of the ‘watercolour effect’ on the X-T1
The 2 examples are NOT equal in demonstrating the quality of one over the other. Almost nothing in the X-T1 crop appears to be in focus, creating blurred/smeary overlapping surrounding edges; & the backlight blows out the leaf detail compared with the E-M1- further giving the impression of smearing artefacts that could be achieved with almost any similar camera.
I have owned the E-M5 & currently the X-E1; I have NOT seen the ‘watercolour effect’ in jpegs of leaf detail- only with the crappy LR decoding of RAW files.
Sorry, but I really believe your example is poor. (& I’m NOT a fanboi for Fuji jpegs anyway as I find the colour rendition inaccurate!)
Sorry but that is IN FOCUS 100%, it is what it is. You can take issue with whatever you like but the shot is what it is. It appears blurred due to the crappy JPEG rendering of the Fuji. See the smaller version of the full scene? That is the image where the crop is taken from. X-t1 JPEGS are a bit mushy at 100%. All Fuji cameras are except the X100 original.
Steve, don’t you think this mushiness is more of a result of the X-trans sensor, rather than the JPEG rendering? You just wrote that all Fuji cameras exhibit the mushiness except for the original X100, which uses a conventional bayer pattern sensor. JPEG rendering is pretty standard nowadays among all manufacturers, and Fuji just uses a different white balance in their JPEGs (http://photo.rwboyer.com/2014/02/03/color-bokeh-rendering-and-other-crap/), which for some reason makes professionals like Zack Arias and David Hobby go gaga.
As I mentioned in a previous comment, the Fuji’s exaggerate their high ISO performance http://photo.rwboyer.com/2014/01/05/fuji-x100s-vs-nikon-d600/), probably due to the X-trans. This is probably also the reason Fuji won’t allow the NR to be turned off completely, as their X-trans sensor is probably pretty noisy. It’s newer technology and nowhere near as mature as regular bayer pattern sensors in every other camera out there. All of this seems to add up to the mushiness you are seeing, so I don’t think you can blame the JPEG rendering completely.
But photographer Rick Sammon says, if you notice the noise in a photo, then your photos isn’t good enough. I would say the same about the mushiness, if you notice it in your photos, than you need to improve your photography, not the camera.
Everyone makes excuses for the Fuji it seems. So if a sensor has “mushiness” and causes your photos to look like mush in large prints…it is the photographer not the camera or sensor. Interesting. lol. No one needs perfection in a sensor to take a great photo. No one needs super clean and detailed results to make a good photo. A good photo has nothing to do with ANY of that (sharpness, detail, etc) but when working with a tool that costs thousands of dollars yet has issues that creep up, why deal with it when you do not have to? It’s all personal preference as I always say. What one prefers another may not. Me, I prefer to have a sensor that gives me nice color, great JPEGS, nice RAW, great DR, great low light and trouble free operation. Only then can one realize their vision as the tool is not holding them back. There are many cameras that offer this level of convenience these days. I have no idea who Rick Sammon is (just took a look at his site but was underwhelmed by the fake looking HDR and processing) but he is correct, noise will not ruin a photo unless you are specifically needing a clean image for a certain reason. All depends on the look you want, the feel, etc. Again, having a tool that can deliver what YOU want is the key..with the least amount of hassle.
Steve, wasn’t trying to make excuses for Fuji, I’m an electrical engineer and being an analytic type, I was just trying to point out that JPEG encoding is so good nowadays with the fast processors in cameras that it’s really a non-issue. It’s easier for me, from a technical engineering standpoint, to believe the sensor is probably the cause of the mushiness.
I agree with you, no one needs perfect equipment to take a great photo. I just think being picky about JPEGs, RAW, DR, high ISO, etc. can distract from more important skills photographers should be worrying about. Zack Arias and David Hobby love Fuji so much, even through the cameras aren’t perfect. They use Fuji because they like the feel of the cameras and the cameras have forced them to take photos in a different way, perhaps due to the technical limitations. Sure, they believe some of the hype of Fuji’s (like the mythical high ISO performance and magical JPEGs), but as you can see on the DigitalRev show on Youtube (http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL7ECB90D96DF59DE5), they can take awesome photos with ANY camera.
Rick Sammon is a wonderful photographer and I’m surprised you didn’t know who he was, being the “Godfather” of photography and a Canon explorer of light. Kind of unfair to judge him on the HDR’s, since those are such a small part of his repertoire, don’t you think? He can teach us all a thing or two about photography.
I think the interpolation algorithms are the reason for some of the blur. Just some technical gossip from a numerics guy, having to use similar techniques all the time.
Having a different setup than Bayer sensors, colours need to be interpolated over larger distances in certain(!) circumstances with the xtrans sensor. If you consider fine detail like hair oriented in a certain way, it is possible that at some point you don’t have the interpolation points two pixel pitches apart, but six. The error grows with the distance to some power, usually two for second order algorithms. This means the error can be a factor of 9 larger. As Fuji sees the color to be arranged in 6×6 blocks (Fuji website) you need to use so-called biased interpolation. Technically speaking (ignore the terms if this sounds too complicated) you have an imaginary and real part in your transfer function and therefore numerical dissipation = smearing of detail. This is a consequence unavoidable when using these kind of algorithms.
So Raw converters need to use fancy algorithms for interpolation and, when using biased interpolation result in smearing details, exactly what we see in many Fuji files (this could be the reason for not being able to switch off noise reductio in raw). This is recognisable at 100% mostly, so no point of concern and algorithms will improve in the future. This doesn’t take away the great idea Fuji came up with, as well as their great cameras and lenses.
Hey Jonathanh I have given away, sold about 20 film cameras (rangefinder, slr, point n shoot) : Rolleiflex, Yashica, Minolta, Olympus, Canon.
Sold about fourty digital cameras (dslrs, brige, point n shoot, mirrorless) : from early days of Canon 1d, Nikon D1H, Olympus E1, Sigma SD9, Fuji S1 & S2, Kodak SLRc, to Leica Digilux2, Olympus 8080, to Sigma DP1, DP2, to Olympus Ep1, Nex5.
Just these days I prefer to be camera less.
My potential kit list always changing as I like technology.
dgd, nice analog camera list! Wish I could’ve bought the Rolleiflex from you. I’ve gotten more into analog photography over the past couple years and really loving it. I have a Canon QL17 GIII rangefinder, Mamiya DTL1000 SLR, Welmy-Six folding medium format camera, Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 that was my dad’s, and a Nikonos IV-A waterproof SLR. For my analog stuff, check out my lomography page: http://www.lomography.com/homes/jvacierto
Thank you for the great review. I appreciate your unbiased approach, and in particular the image comparisons with the EM1. I think you just saved me $3000.
I’ve owned the RX1 and EM1 for awhile, but picked up the Nikon Df about 2 months ago, and bought the XT1 about a week ago. I got the DF b/c I thought I 1) needed a DSLR again, and 2) needed the high ISO capabilities, but now it’s clear to me that I don’t. I figured the XT1 would be my Df replacement, but I’m finding myself not using it much. I was literally in London for a week for work with it and other bodies, and I never took one photo with it.
Anytime I want the best IQ with shallow DOF, I grab the RX1. If I want spectacular operational performance with solid photo and video IQ, I grab the EM1. The RX1 is an IQ triumph that doesn’t get its due. While it isn’t as good at focusing as I would like, I have purchased and sold many other bodies over the last two years but I still go to the RX1 about 80% of the time. Same with the EM1 for portraits (the 75 1.8 is from another planet) and personal video. I know people dislike the codec and the 30p frame rate, but the IBIS is unbeatable for video. A GH3/GX7/Hacked GH2 have better overall quality and features, but chasing around kids without a stabilizer rig but a nicer chip can’t compete with a solid video quality and the 5-axis IBIS. Video professionals will laugh hysterically at that comment, but I’m not getting paid, and I don’t want to look like Robocop while trying to get some decent shallow DOF video of my kids.
So, with your photos above, I’m 99% certain I am going to return the XT1 and lenses, sell off the DF, and ride with the RX1 and the EM1 for awhile. The only other option is to sell off the 23 and 35 fuji lenses and keep the 14 since it’s wider than the EM1 and 12-50. But – that’s a lot of dough for 3mm. We shall see.
Thanks again for the great review.
That’s my plan too. I have the RX1R and I am getting EM10 with a long lens – 42.5 or 75mm. XT1 is still way slower than micro four thirds and IBIS, touch screen are good additions. Also I took pictures with EM10 and XT1 in the shop in the same lighting, the Oly colours looked better and natural when I checked at home. Fuji bumps colors to the unnatural levels, wasn’t the case with X100 when I had that.
I placed this link as a part of my comment elsewhere on this forum but is so great and yet this comes from a real expert in real photography (not pixel peeper) that it is definitely valuable to quote it again (if Steve accept it here)
A great summary of the current state in the business is summarized by one of the real experts at the http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/what_matters.shtml (helpfully Steve agreed to put this link here)
Both these cameras can provide just excellent picture quality of real pictures (not their 100% zoomed representation…..) and there are some areas one is better than the other. The ISO war is clearly won by the Fuji (compared in a dark conditions, not day light and especially compared at magnifications we shall normally use to evaluate real pictures, There are tons of pictures in the net-just look around and do not fool yourself. So called water-colour is just a signature of the Fuji sensor and that signature is loved by numerous enthusiasts. Same way as the Oly colours are loved by the other crowd of people to addition to the yet another group glorying Nicon, Canon, Sony and whatever it can be. Best regards.
I’ve used this this camera for a whole 4 days now. Before i received it i thought about selling my x100s and replacing it with the x-t1 and the 27mm lens. That is not going to happen. the x100s just feels much more casual and i am so used to shooting with it. The leaf shutter, built in ND filter, low minimum focus distance for macro as well as the fast flash sync speed means it’s here to stay. It also has a size advantage.
As far as the x-t1 i really do enjoy the new EVF although i think it may be causing eye fatigue for me. Scotch may have something to do with that as well. I really love the overall feel of the camera. It feels so solid and I am already becoming very accustomed to shooting with it. It does not take long to become proficient with changing all necessary settings. I have to say that so far I have not had any issues at all with the 4 way buttons. Everyone seems to be complaining about them but they seem fine to me and I almost never have to touch them due to all of the dials on top. Seriously what settings do you have to change besides ISO,Shutter, Aperture, Exp comp, drive mode, focus mode, metering? All of this is controlled using dials and switches. No need to go into the menu. Okay that’s not totally true. If you want macro mode or to change focus point you do have to touch them.
I think there is some room for improvement as far as the controls go which could be addressed in a firmware update. FOr example I would love to be able to change how some of the function buttons work. I would prefer to just hit the button once for macro instead of having to hit the button and then select yes or no. Same goes for face detection etc… Being able to shoot long exposures (more than 30 seconds) with the remote app would also be VERY useful. I would like the front dial to allow me to change shutter speed over the entire range not just directly surrounding the area where the top dial is set to. The back dial should work the same way for aperture. This would give you best of both worlds. DSLR like controls as well as physical controls.
I was worried about the AF but I’ve been impressed so far. It locks on very quick even in very low light. The camera never really seems to slow down. You can take 20 pictures in a row, stop and then just start shooting again with no lag.
I also wish i could use the movie record button as another programmable function button.
Without me sounding sanctimonius, holier than thou, if I had that kind of money to burn, I would give it away.
My current kit list has no camera, not even a camera on my phone.
That’s why I wrote potential camera kit list as it will always remain potential.
Which at the moment, reminding myself I hardly ever use evf, prefering to shhot from hip with tilt screen :
XA1 (fuji without xtrans) & Fuji X56mm f1.2 ; RX1R; V3 & 70-300mm (190-810mm equiv), Stylus 1 & Sigma Quattro (either 28mm or or 45mm or 75mm).
dgd, no problem, didn’t realize you were looking to get into your very first camera system. Any camera system (mirrorless or DSLR) nowadays will have image quality light years ahead of what was available even 5 years ago. And honestly, no matter what camera you get at this point, you won’t be able to take full advantage of it until you learn the basics of photography: exposure, composition, lighting, etc. So don’t get too caught up in comparing technical differences between cameras. I would recommend you go to your local camera shop and try out different cameras, then when you’re ready, pick only 1 camera and stick with it for at least a couple years to learn the camera and learn the art of photography. If you start out with too much equipment too soon, you’ll start using the equipment as a crutch rather than tools to fulfill your photographic goals.
I used an EM5 when it first came out and generally liked it, other than preferring a native 3:2 aspect ratio. Stepped down to a Sony NEX-5R and a couple lenses for a lower cost system. Eventually got lured into the Fuji camp. I think m43 still is the snappiest for focusing…. Handy for my typical subject…. My 1 year old daughter. Recently Grabbed an EPL5 with kit lens on sale for $450 at a big box store. Great focusing performance but horrible ergonomics. The OMD series definitely has better ergonomics. But the EPL5 also has far worse indoor auto WB performance than my Fuji X100S, X20, XE1, Canon S120. The major Achilles heel of the EPL5, where it was simply appallingly awful, was the performance of the accessory flash. I’m rarely going to mess with flash settings. Don’t have the time. A flash should just work and should be decent on full auto. Tweaking should be just that… Tweaking, not necessary steps to prevent photographic disaster. The flash attachment on the EPL5 in full auto mode took awful pictures. Subject illuminated, background hopelessly dark. This is in very simple inside the house conditions, typical indoor lighting, small rooms. The Canon S120 is consistently much better. But all the Fuji cameras are amazing. Even with the simple built in flash or using the EF-X20, the Fuji flash pictures looked natural… As if no flash had been used. Fuji nails this almost every time. I don’t recall playing with the flash on the early OMD EM5 but have my doubts it would have been much better. Without dramatically improved automatic flash performance for me Olympus is a non starter. Otherwise I really like the camera. I like the idea of the small, inexpensive, EM10 with built I flash. I will definitely try one when I can get my hands on one. I currently have the Fuji XT1 and while I LOVE the viewfinder, and improved AF performance I’m not convinced its worth the 4 figure upgrade from my XE1.
It’s been about a month now since I got the X-T1 and I feel the same way, Iove this camera for it’s ergonomics and speed but I do also feel the new X-Trans sensor upgrade over the X-E1 actually appears to perform slightly worse than my X-E1 – I can’t be sure whether it’s a slightly different JPG setting because I can’t yet use RAW in LR5.3 and I most probably won’t bother with any detailed testing (because why would I waste my time doing something so useless) but I’m almost certain there is something different there… will see if I still feel the same way after a couple more months in use.
tried an EM-5 with one of my memory cards. I like the camera in general – feels snappier even than the XT-1 which I have now returned. The EM-5 does suffer from the same awful built in flash performance. Fuji nails flash pictures naturally almost every time. The silver lining though is that even a quick push of the “auto” button in lightroom seems to improve the quality of flash pictures from the EM-5, and make them 90% as good as what comes out of a Fuji X series untouched.
My apologies if you’ve already answered this, but was the 35mm upgraded to firmware 3.10 so that it could take advantage of Phase Detect on the X-T1 body?
Hey Jonathan just that V1 & 70-300 for wimbledon, cricket, and if ever I go to Kenya, SAfrica safari.
Stylus 1 : I will take with me pretty much all the time : makerts, cafes, buildings, museums, galleries.
RX1R : Night time.
Sigma Quattro 3 75mm f2.8 : that subtle Foveon look when I want it for anything takes my fancy & apsc shallow dof which at APSC F2.8 (Full Frame F4.2) is plenty shallow for me.
Fair enough, as I wrote before, it’s your money. Any particular reason you don’t just get some more lenses for the V1? It has a bigger sensor than the Stylus 1, so getting shallow DOF at wider focal lengths would be much easier with it. If I had the V1, I would get the 10-30mm lens as that fits my style of shooting, or maybe the 30-110mm lens if you’d rather stand farther back. You could easily get both lenses for the cost of the Stylus 1. If you have both lenses already, great.
The photos I’ve seen from the Stylus 1 with shallow DOF were taken at pretty long focal lengths (200 to 300mm equivalent) due to the tiny sensor, so keep that in mind. My own personal “take everywhere” camera is the Sony RX100, which has a 1″ sensor like the V1, and I find it has acceptable DOF separation even at f/4.9 when zoomed in all the way, which is about 100mm equivalent. I really like the DOF separation at f/1.8 at the widest setting (28mm equivalent). Just 2 more of my cents.
The A7 is exceptional – about your fear of a 16 Mp sensor “not cutting”, I can speak for the E-M1 and when a 30cm x 50cm print can’t be readily told apart from a “full frame”, well, it seems that the Olympus can defend very well its ballpark…
Thanks for the review Steve.. I purchased the XT-1 last week and been for the most part very happy.. a few niggles here & there.. but no camera is perfect.. I stopped looking for that a long time ago.. This is a great release for x100s user who wants play with a few lens options..
Good balanced review. I share your opinion about the selector buttons on the thumb pad. They suck big time! As far as IQ and high ISO goes though IMO the Fuji beats the Olympus.
Except the Fuji’s seem to be exaggerating their high ISO performance. It’s been proven the X100S is actually 1 stop darker than a full frame sensor (http://photo.rwboyer.com/2014/01/05/fuji-x100s-vs-nikon-d600/), and I would venture to guess that is due to the X-trans sensor, meaning all the Fuji cameras probably exhibit this issue. So when a Fuji is getting fantastic photos at ISO 3200, a DSLR would be need only ISO 1600 to get the same exposure.
This is probably also the reason Fuji won’t allow the NR to be turned off completely, as their X-trans sensor is probably pretty noisy. It’s newer technology and nowhere near as mature as those regular bayer pattern sensors from every other camera manufacturer, who have figured out how to push ISO while minimizing noise.
I enjoyed the review. You’re right though, the thumb pad sucks. That was the word I was looking for. I’d be interested in any improvements anyone arrives at with sticky pads or whatever. It’s a shame that’s the camera’s Achilles heel.
Dear Steve, now perhaps Fuji company will ask you again to review their cameras !!! LOL…. Honesty pays at the end. Yes, this camer ais good. Others were lacking things. FUJI needs to accept that fact and improve by reading and watching reviews like yours ! Criticism helps ! But people get too emotional about criticism, and now I see companies get emotional too. Ridicilous humans.
Steve, thanks for the nice review. I’m considering the X-T1. The supposed issue with the “watercolor” effect leaves me a bit worried, though and I haven’t found any comparison samples to play with.
In your review, you don’t seem to show a fair comparison. The crops are not from the same areas in the picture. It could be that the Fuji crop is out of focus where as the Olympus crop seems to show a focused part. Also:
– did you shoot the cameras with a tripod to make sure you get the same composition?
– did you manually focus the cameras to ensure that the DOF is similar?
– which ISO was used?
– which aperture/speed were used?
Could you perhaps update the review with new samples that demonstrate the watercolor effect and address the points above for the new samples?
What are your thoughts on the XT-1 being a poorman’s Leica setup? What with the official fuji m to x mount adapter and the manual lens control capabilities. Do you think it’d be viable option to shoot alongside a monochrome? (Mostly trying not to spend another 10 grand on a second Leica body).
Let me see if I get that right. So there are people on this forum complaining about a company being innovative and bringing out new models too quickly because they feel they always need the latest equipment, which, obviously, is expensive. And this is because the older model is automatically not sufficient anymore (which it must have been at the time of purchase) just because there is a newer model available? Seriously?!?!
it’s a funny old world isn’t it
I actually do not understand watercolor effect since am I comparing your images from Oly and Fuji. I notice that exposure was not the same on both. Could be that this is actually movement of tree (wind condition) and you get this effect? Could be lens issue?
Even if I am attending to buy E-M1 I can not agree that EM1 produce better high iso images compare to X-T1. Looking all the tests from reviewers I can not see this , so I am wondering how you can come to this decision? Could you post more samples proving it also at 3200, 6400,…
interesting to read about processing Fuji files:
Steve are you going to review Olympus Stylus 1.
Shallow dof, 3d pop, DR, are covered by RX1/r & Leica M
Stylus 1 (1/1.7″ constant f2.8, fast AF) covers EM1, XT1 without changing lenses
in situations where shalow dof, 3d pop, dr are unrequired.
I tried the Stylus 1. Great physical design, very solid and compact. Images were trash. Noisy, blurred, not really usable. Returned it.
Strange. With that camera, Robin Wong took excellent images:
Yep Stylus 1 is one heck of a camera
I have narrowed down my potential kitbag to:
Stylus 1, V1 & 70-300 (190-810mm), RX1r, Sigma Quattro 3 (75mm f2.8)
dgd, what do you mean by “potential” kitbag? What’s in your kitbag now? And why exactly would you need 4 different cameras? You’re free to spend your money as you wish and it seems you have plenty to burn. Henri Cartier-Bresson was able to master and change photography with one Leica and a couple lenses, so you might want to try concentrating on mastering exposure, composition, lighting, etc. first with 1 camera before deciding you need more cameras. Just my 2 cents.
He did but nothing to show how poor the lens is at the wide end.
Sure, whatever… 🙂
Agreed. I took some test shots and was disappointed.
Great times we live in, where a 1.500$ camera holds its reasonable ground compared to 3.500-7.000$ (Sony R1X, Leica M) cameras, and 1.000$ lenses (mot expensive Fuji lens) hold their reasonable ground compared to 2.000$-10.000$ lenses.
And of course it is great to have a choice between Oly, Fuji and Sony A7 for roughly the same amount of money. Steve, thank you for putting out the differences, strenghts and weaknesses of those. Don’t forget though: nothing beats handling them in person.
Having said that, it puzzles me why people keep insisting on pointing out that their huge, heavy and very expensive Nikon/Canon single digit D cameras (4.000-6.000$) plus 70-200/2.8’s (at least 2.000$) are better at sports photography. They are just very different cameras (and systems), a very different design philosophy and a price tag to match.
Also, as being from Europe, we always pay a HUGE price premium (think: 800$ versus 1200€ for comparable items, be it (kit) cameras or lenses), without a change of any of the nice super deals. The absolute (versus relative) depreciation on a Fuji camera (or anything in that price range) is much smaller than on any of the mentioned (much) more expensive cameras (and lenses).
And don’t forget: about each and every camera we can buy today is extremely good. As has always been the case: some are better here, some are better there. Pick what suits you best and don’t loose yourself in small differences in image stabilization, high ISO noise, AF speed or whatever. Just handle the camera, pick the one that suits your needs best and go out shooting, traveling, visiting interesting places, whatever.
Unless of course photography means the latest and greatest gear, Gear, GEAR to you (nothing wrong with that).
Karel, totally agree. I think with the internet nowadays, so much information (tech specs, reviews, photo blogs, etc.) is readily available, and people tend to put too much emphasis on this information to make a decision on what camera to buy. I know I’ve fallen into this trap.
I also think that there has been a real de-emphasis on the artist side of photography and more of an emphasis on the science and technology ever since the advent of digital. I think this is a cultural phenomenon that has also happened in other arts (I’m a musician and it’s definitely happened there too). While people like Steve Huff mean well and need to make a living by doing reviews and analyzing technical merits of cameras, people reading his website can put too much weight on this information. IMHO, modern photographers in general need to let go of all the technical aspects at some point and just get out there and learn how to make art.
I always enjoy ready your reviews Steve. I bought the XT1 with kit and a 56 mm after playing with it in the weekend. The 56 f1.2 is gorgeous albeit quite a bit bigger than my oly 45. Loving it so far (em5 before which I also loved). I was wondering if you had tried the
M adapter fuji are offering? I wonder how the 35 leica m would perform. The XT1 seens quite manual focus friendly.
As always a great review Steve! Having owned an X-100 and X-E 1, I was one of the peons you speak of who helped finance Fuji’s R&D department – by purchasing their practice cameras. (I’m sure there is a ‘thank you’ card in the mail from Fuji thanking me for helping them perfect the X-line on my dime 🙂
Unfortunately Fuji has lost me as a customer – and it will take a LOT more than the XT-1 to win me back.
The reason for that, I placed my X-E 1 order so early I was on a waiting list to get the camera – and finally paid $200 over retail to by one on e-Bay. I think I had the XE-1 for about five months when Fuji proudly announced it’s replacement the X-E2. So, my $1,700 Fuji X-E 1 was instantly worth half of what I paid for it.
I sold my camera and lens for $900, took my lumps, and moved on to Sony.
I’m aware that all camera makers come out with new & improved models all the time, but Fuji irked me with this one.
So for me, I am absolutely blown away by the images I’m getting with the first compact/mirrorless/full frame/ non AA filter camera from Sony (A7R) … and no, I’m not a Sony fanboy.
Steve, I know you mentioned how the RX1 rivals your M240 in IQ … I believe the A7R with either of the two Zeiss lenses Sony made for the cameras would give the M240 a run for it’s money as well.
Fuji is kind of funny in that what their flacks say is not necessarily what they practice.
They say they are not like other companies, and want their customers to keep their bodies for the long run. They are not about product proliferation, but about product excellence, and long term ‘investment’ protection.
Yet they seem to spew out new models (and slash the prices of old ones) right up there with the best of them.
And yet they still support the older models… didn’t they recently updated the X PRO 1 firmware?
Fuji is the leader of supporting older models. Stop spewing fud.
Isn’t Sony the same? RX1R a year later with the RX1 selling used for 1800 (1000 less than original price). Also, It’s not Fuji’s fault you were willing to plunk 200 extra just to get it faster.
Nearly 3 years on and my X100 still rocks (and is still slightly frustrating). Love the way it renders. The images in this review are the nicest I have seen from X-trans.
X100 is bayer not X-trans. I wish they just put and updated body with exact x100 sensor and be able to turn off that damn NR.
I know that. Never said it was. How could it be? Because it is not is why I prefer it!
Really nice review,Steve. How do you compare OCC JPEG form Fuji X-T1 and from combo sony a7 + Carl zeiss lenses?which one is better?i am tired to think about sony a7 or X-t1,i will listen to your words.Thanks, Steve
Can any body help me???
Louis, what exactly do you mean by “better”? I think you’re asking the wrong question. Any camera’s JPEG converter is good nowadays, the differences are minimal. Even Fuji’s much hyped JPEG’s are not that much “better” (Robert W. Boyer proves it: http://photo.rwboyer.com/2014/02/03/color-bokeh-rendering-and-other-crap/). All cameras allow you to adjust the JPEG rendering that happens in camera, I think most photographers are just too lazy to take advantage of the customization. I have a couple JPEG presets that I have customized in my Canon 6D for different feels (such as high contrast).
As for the X-T1 vs. A7, I bet most photographers wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the photos from each camera. I would love to see Steve Huff do a “blind” test to see if he could pick out photos from each of the cameras he has reviewed. More important than the camera is your ability to make the correct exposure for the feel you want in the photo, your use of lighting, the way you compose, etc.
There has been a lot of commentary around the X-T1 vs everything else, there’s also a lot of ‘when the next big thing comes out…’ talk.
I just wanted to comment to say I’m happy. I know for a fact my 35mm needs are sorted with the RX1 – what will it take to make me dump the RX1 and spend more money on an ‘upgrade’? Currently I can’t think of any reasonable scenario that will make me do that.
X-T1, I also think even with the short time I have spent with it, that this is another camera I’m going to be using for a long while. Fuji has sorted it with this one for me. 24MP X-Trans? not interested – it wouldn’t be of any benefit anyway and would cost more money for not much discernible increase in quality (which is why I skipped the X-E2 update). FF X-Trans? And the need to upgrade all my gear again? besides I have the RX1 and A7R for the high resolution work. The only way I would contemplate upgrading at this point is if they released the current 16MP X-trans with the low light gathering ability and DR of a Nikon D4s – not implausible but probably improbable.
I’m all set for the next 5 years or so – and I really don’t see why I need to upgrade anymore to be honest as any tangible increase in benefit vs cost is tiny at this point. This combination works for me and I don’t see the need to upgrade unless it improves upon the shooting experience. IQ is moot. The Sony A7R would be the only camera I can see my self spending any money on to upgrade only if the shooting experience is drastically improved. Otherwise I’m happy and I’m guessing so should all of you lot. E-M1, X-T1, A7R? – pick your weapon because at the end of the day it’s the user that counts.
“E-M1, X-T1, A7R? – pick your weapon because at the end of the day it’s the user that counts.”
IMHO is better saying “Pick the weapon that suits the user needs” – what camera helps YOU better to obtain the end result you are aiming for? One day it could be my medium format film camera. The next, my E-M1 with a plastic Holga lens sticked on it. The next, my 35mm russian rangefinder… And on, and on…
FIRST, think about what do you want to achieve. THEN, choose the camera.
Steve, another great review ! I really appreciate your effort and real life reviews. I recently upgraded to EM1 (from EM5) after reading your review and I am glad I did.
EM1 feels and performs just about right in every dimension for my needs. I mostly shoot family and kids and Em1 w/ 75mm is the combo I LOVE. Period. My only complain is 75mm is such a great lens that there is no substitute for me. I tried 17mm f1.8, Panasonic 25mm f1.4 and Nokton 17.5mm. All are great lenses, esp. Nokton 17.5mm. But I always found myself putting 75mm back to my EM1.
what will be your 12mm to 25mm range (m4/3) pick for one additional lens to complement Oly 75mm?
If you dont mind manual focus, The Voigtlander 17.5mm and 25mm are amazing. IMO the IQ coming out of these 2 lenses will surpass any APSC offering. Looks almost full frame.
Thank you for the great review (as usually).
I am curious what you are shooting with with Nikon 1 J1. If I had both J1 and OMD1 and I saw something deserving attention, I would probably regret that that I did not reach for OMD1 and get a better picture. My daughter has J1 and loves it.
Just wanted to find out how you decide between those two cameras when you need to take a shot.
Thank you in advance.
I must agree with Steve. I’ve been shooting the XT1 in Japan for the past week. It’s a great unit and the best of Fuji. I’ve owned them all except the XE2. Sold the XE1 and XPro1 and will keep the XT1. I just hope they can get performance of the focus improved. Maybe firmware updates. Maybe their next unit. And if they can meet that of the Olympus and combine 5 axis IBIS like that of Olympus, I’ll be more sold. If I can’t see better IQ on my Fuji over the Olympus, like Steve suggests, then the fuji will get less use. I’ll do my own comparisons soon.
Fuji needs to slow down R&D. They are coming out with cameras too fast. The Fuji engineers and designers need to listen to the top photographers in the world and then work on prototype after prototype that is field tested and tweaked according to feedback. The suits at Fuji need to sit back and let the brains of the operation do their work. Yes, I too wish Fuji would come out with 5 axis IBIS, a hybrid viewfinder (like the one on the X100/S), better IQ, faster auto-focus, better build quality, and better ergonomics. In addition, what happened to Fuji’s “organic” sensor technology?
” In addition, what happened to Fuji’s “organic” sensor technology?”
Fuji is a great brand when it comes to innovations, but I fear that sensor met the usual “But it haz lessen megapixxelz!” comment from the mindless flock so they abandoned it… 🙁
Well, if indeed Fuji abandoned their organic sensor technology (any proof?) because they couldn’t compete with the megapixel crowd, then Fuji was foolish. Just as Apple came out with the brilliant idea of a “retina” display Macbook Pro as a euphemism for “high-definition”, surely Fuji could’ve brushed aside the megapixel card and coined their new sensor “organic” in a way that woooed the public. In addition, if the sensor were truly superior, sites such as SteveHuff and DxOMark would laud its superiority and the masses would be quick to jump on it. I doubt Fuji could’ve spent all this money researching organic sensor technology and then just abandon it because it couldn’t compete with megapixel terminology.
Yes, every new model has new features. This is not unique to Fuji, it is standard operating procedure for all consumer product manufacturers: you must feel inadequate with your current product so that you can jettison it and pay all over again for the new one.
I’m reading through this discussion, though, about Fuji engineers and features and such and how this is the bestest Fuji body ever. But not really discussed is if this actually takes better pictures than the previous Fuji X models.
Because of the lack of this topic and the focus on minor features, reading between the lines it seems the output of this new model is indistinguishable from prior models. Is that the case?
The color becomes more neutral than X-Pro1 and X-E1 generation, but I’m not still convinced 100%.
Great review as always, Steve. I have been following your site for a couple years now and I was considering getting a mirrorless system to compliment my Canon DSLR system and lenses, but to be honest, I have grown tired of all the hype about mirrorless system cameras. I was brought back down to earth by R.W. Boyer’s blog (http://photo.rwboyer.com/). He dispels a lot of the myths out there about the “superiority” of mirrorless system cameras compared to those “crappy” and “outdated” DSLR’s. Robert had an excellent series of posts recently about image quality and the pitfalls modern photographers get into looking for that ultimate image quality. I would highly recommend visitors of this site go there and read the posts, just to get a counterbalance to all the IQ talk on Steve’s (and most other photographer’s) sites and blogs.
But in any case, I do still enjoy reading your site and I appreciate the reviews and opinions. I ended up getting a Canon 6D to replace my crop sensor Canon bodies. I sold all but 1 of my zooms (kept the 24-105mm f/4L IS), kept my primes (28mm f/1.8, 40mm f/2.8 pancake, and 50mm f/1.4), and for everyday shooting, got the awesome Sony RX100 (version 1, Steve’s review was really helpful in making that decision). Maybe in the future I’ll look again at mirrorless system cameras when my 6D dies, but until then, I’m happy to get back to concentrating on the art rather than the tech of photography.
Funny how everyone that I know or have read of, abandoned the so-called “full frame” and switched to mirrirless because could not care less for the “ultimate image quality” preferring to focus on the experience of taking photos… 😉
A. Costa, touché. I was thinking along the same lines before too with mirrorless being “good enough,” but I went with the 6D so I could keep my favorite Canon glass. I had planned on going full frame for years now, but the mirrorless system would have just been another system to spend time and money on. I have no illusions about full frame, in good light my photos with the crop sensor DSLR’s (and I would include mirrorless cameras) are equal to the photos from the 6D. But the 6D still has the biggest advantage in low light, and that’s really the main reason I went full frame. Mirrorless cameras will catch up eventually, but for now, full frame still has the leg up.
I f you have a good body, good lenses, and don’t want to make the switch selling everything at loss, I’m PERFECTLY in line with you. Me too have to balance needs and wants, I’m not and will never be a gear-head, it is best to think if a camera helps you to attain the photos YOU wants. The rest is just unnecessary GAS.
So now we have TWO excellent cameras that proves the point that CaNikon APS-C offering is just a dead horse…
Unless you have a bunch of $$ invested in CaNikon glass, then their APS-C cameras make more sense. Also, Canon’s newer technologies (like on chip phase detection) are intriguing. If Canon would get over the fact that they’ll need to make a truly great mirrorless camera (the EOS M cameras don’t count) or else continue to loose DSLR business to the mirrorless cameras, they could actually make some of the best mirrorless cameras. Just think how well a mirrorless EOS Rebel would do, with on chip phase detection, and compatible with all the Canon glass available. I’ll give them another couple years to get their act together before I consider them a truly dead horse.
As brilliant as the XT-1 looks, I couldn’t call it the best Fuji X camera to date without an OVF, which is what brought me over to Fuji in the first place.
Well, in my opinion it is easily the best Fuji X body yet. Easily beats the Pro 1, X-E1, X-E2, etc for speed, handling, usability, etc. All areas. The LARGE EVF also kills the previous EVF’s in Fuji bodies. NO contest. While it would have been great to have the OVF/EVF (as I stated in the review) it does not have it. Even without it, it is the best of the Fuji bodies to date where it matters, in use. It really is a night and day IMO.
What is nice is that BOTH the TX1 and EM1 are excellent cameras. While the EM1 has some amazing tech, it is not for me. For me it has the same problems that caused me to stop using my Canon camera – it feels too much like I am shooting with a computer – it makes too many decisions, few of which I like. I want to slow down and THINK about what I am shooting.
Now I also shoot the Leica M9 – the 240 is not for me either. The image quality on the 240 is a step back IMHO from the M9 and showed little difference from my Canon gear – video? In a Leica? Live View? Not for me.
I have a strong preference for the XT1 over the EM1 – simply because it is more of a camera designed for a photographer – it’s layout, dials, MANUAL focusing aids, etc. It just works more the way I want to work. Using the Fuji adapter I can more easily use the Leica lenses on it – and they work much better here than my experience with any micro 4/3 body.
Don’t get me wrong, both are excellent cameras, but it has got to stop being about wiz-bang features, snappy auto-focus, and film modes and start to be about quality glass and work-flow. I would say if you are a more casual shooter and want a small, light camera you can take anywhere, the EM1 might be your best bet. If you are and old-time shooter looking two move from an SLR to a new system and are more interested in taking your time to get the shot – then the XT1 currently can’t be beat (except by Leica 😉
My E-M1 does not make any decisions for me at all and I never ever have to menu dive as all dials are set to what I need and I still feel, after a year, that the M 240 is a huge leap in IQ over the M9. The m9 has limited DR, high ISO noise, limited color, crushed blacks, etc. I went back and shot an M9 3 months ago and had to stop..the IQ from the M 240 is so much richer, more depth, better color, much better low light, and just as sharp but with a MUCH nicer body in every way. Strange how so many feel so different about cameras. As for quality glass, the best there is next to Leica is from Olympus and Panasonic in build, speed and optical quality. Then Fuji. Then Sony. (Talking mirrorless only). I am going to do one more side by side with an E-M10 and X-T1 this week along with a video (yes, E-M10) to go along with it. The Fuji is great for those who love Fuji and is the best Fuji option to date, but it does not beat the E-M1 for me.
To each their own.
If the game is about tech specs, DR, ISO noise, AF speed, megapixels, and the like! then yes! I could agree with you. However, looking back on the history of photography, for me at least, it is not. I like the look of the M9 the same way I like the look of old, flawed Leica glass. The M240 I think lost some of that Leica “soul”.
There is far too much “pixel-peeping” and chimping and over-analysis for me of the tech. When I used the EM1 it felt a bit “robotic” for lack of a better word. It felt to me like “everyone using this camera will have ‘perfect’ shots that all look the same.” That is not what I am after. I want my photos to look like MY photos and not the camera’s. That said, for the casual shooter, it is an excellent camera.
For me, I prefer the Fuji. There is just something about it that screams – not made for everyone. It is a bit more the photographer’s camera, just a bit mind you – but that is enough for me.
As far as glass goes though, let me disagree, if just on a niggly point. Making lenses for m 4/3 is much easier than APS-C or full frame for that matter. The image circle is tiny and as we know the issues with lenses are almost always the corners, thus they are eliminated.
Fuji has been extremely well-regarded in professional circle (mainly video) for decades. In the world of mirrorless – frankly Sony’s lenses have a long way to catch up. I would rank them as follows:
Leica, Voigtlander, Zeiss, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, Samsung, Panasonic……………….Sony. ;-). (Just to be more complete)
In other words, it is not about all the tech and which camera has better NR or DR or ISO, it is about mating the equipment to the photographer and to the style of shooting.
” the EM1 it felt a bit “robotic” for lack of a better word. It felt to me like “everyone using this camera will have ‘perfect’ shots that all look the same.” ”
Sorry but I have to disagree, I have shot film SLRs for 15 years and with the E-M1 I found back the pleasure to decide by myself how photos will look in the end. I agree with Steve with his E-M1 experience.
@psils it doesn’t really matter if it is “easier” to make good lenses or not for one format or another- the only thing that matters is the quality of the pictures. Further your assertion is only correct if the imaging circle is is sized to cover a larger sensor (ie FX lens on a DX sensor). Dedicated APS-C lens and micro 4/3 lenses still have corners.
Second that. But when all is said and done I think Olympus have done the best job with the lenses. Kudos to Fuji though for doing a better job than Nikon at making a retro body.
The t1 uses an oled evf while the em1 uses a TFT LCD evf. The oled gives you more saturated results but will be horrible in harsh daylight, you won’t see greys, just crushed blacks. Since evfs will be most useful in super bright conditions, it’s confusing why they went with an oled with almost no eye cup. Olympus made the right decision here and it shows they know better than fuji how to build an ergonomic camera.
Steve, I don’t get how you think this camera looks much like the OMD EM1 not even when you put them side by side. This camera looks for all the world like a Contax film camera body. Right down to the top view. Not a bad thing at all in my book, as they used to have some of the best body ergonomics out there.
Good review Steve but am a little confused, unless I’ve missed it, there doesn’t seem to be any mention of the ratchet noise similar to the one the XPro1 was plagued with when you selected a particular f-stop.
I encountered this with an XT-1 in my local store. I tried the camera with a 23mm & a 35mm lens both had the same issue, I’m assuming it’s the camera and not the lens. When you select f1.4 or whatever fstop you decide to, on pressing the shutter button to obtain focus confirmation the lens iris grinds/chatters/Judders to close or open the iris to the selected fstop before focusing!!!
It is the most annoying phenomenon I have encountered on any camera. This slowwwwwws focus acquisition to practically a crawl and would most definitely lose you a shot in that oh so “decisive moment”.
I currently own an M9 and 28 Cron and 50 Lux, after going through your site and fine combing very one of your reviews and daily posts from guests I decided to take the plunge last year. My eyesights not getting any better and I need reading glasses and with this in mind I decided I also wanted a great autofocus camera system to use alongside the M9. I was spoilt by the Leica systems size though. Cut a long story short after the glowing reviews the EM1 received elsewhere and in your review, I purchased one with a 17 & 45 with a view that I could use the Leica glass on it if ever I wanted to in the future, and everything would be image stabilised too!
I’m also a gear junky, and after a month of owning the EM1 and loving the size image build lens system etc etc the XT-1 comes along!!! Like yourself Steve, I think the dial placement on top is a far better execution of controls than the EM-1 layout, although the customisation is welcome, I still much prefer the XT-1 layout.
So I thought I’d rush to a local store and see for myself whether Fujis claims stacked up about the cameras autofocus being faster. On picking up the camera it felt right, but I thought the size of the lenses negated the size advantage back to the EM1. Cut to the chase, the focusing and issue with the closing and opening of the iris, and the noise which accompanied it before focus lock was too annoying, amongst other considerations such as size of lenses, weight, image stabilisation. All in comparison to the EM1 I hasten to add.
I decided that the EM1 was indeed a well rounded camera, with a few quirks that I CAN live with and one that I am looking to keep for a long while.
Apologies for what sounds like a mini review in itself.
Love the site keep the content coming, although I always go back and read over your old Leica reviews 😉
That Ratchet noise is part of the lenses and has been there with every Fuji body, just figured it was a known thing. It is not something that will change, the Fuji lenses grind and make noise when focusing as they do not have the silent motors like the oLy lenses or better DSLR lenses.
Steve, I appreciate the lack of silent motor, but what I’m talking about is that you can physically see the iris close down or open up FIRST, then focus is acquired, then you take the shot, it’s like your watching everything in slow motion(slight exaggeration), it seems like a design flaw, but I’m definitely no expert in this regard. I’ve not noticed the Fuji X100s do this.
On all previous cameras i’ve used Nikon D300/D700/D3/Canon1Ds/5Dmk3 and now E-M1, as everybody knows, at half press of the shutter button you get focus lock and the shot is taken by fully pressing the shutter, the iris opens or closes down to the relevant f-stop as the shot is taken. It’s a rapid sequence.
The Fuji works, in part, as if a manual lens is attached, you turn the aperture ring to select f-stop, but nothing happens until you half press the shutter, when you can physically see and hear the chatter and judder of the aperture open or close down and ready for you to take the shot. But unlike a manual lens where the aperture stays put unless you select another, the Fuji aperture resets itself wide open only to start chattering again on half depress of the shutter to open itself or close down again to the last chosen f-stop.
A bizzare and unnecessary way to do things. Is there a reason why Fuji have engineered their system this way??!!
Steve, did you have AF in high performance mode or left to default during your evaluation? It speeds up the AF at the expense of the battery. Also, PhotoNinja renders RAW fom Fuji brilliantly, with no issues with watercolor and insane detail – ACR/Lightroom is still a mess.
yes, Doug! Any reviewer who hasn’t used PhotoNinja for conversions is not fit to discuss FujiX IQ or must make it clear that the discussions are only about JPEGs (which actually don’t necessarily say much about IQ anyway). I have switched from an E-M5 to Fuji as my main camera because the files simply combine more detail and a more natural rendering than the Oly. I have not once seen this so-called watercolour effect. Processed with PN, the files are close to FF if not quite matching latest gen. cameras such as the D800 or A7r. The Fuji lenses also have no small role in play in all this.
By the way, I’m certainly not anti Olympus. I’m likely to hold on to my E-M5 for the great IBIS, focus speed, weathersealing etc. However, as far as I’m aware every single person who has tried to process Fuji raws properly which means PN (or probably even Capture One or Irident for that matter) would agree that Fuji does have a clear IQ edge using equivalent lenses. I’ve compared for instance directly the Panny 25mm 1.4 to the Fuji 35mm 1.4. For situations where flexibility, speed or long handheld exposures with fast primes are paramount then probably the E-M5 or E-M1 is the more complete package, esp. compared to the earlier Fujis like my X-E1.
looking at my previous comment, it might come across as a bit abrasive which was not at all my intention, far less was any personal attack against you, Steve, intended. In fact it’s simply a bit of frustration that so many FujiX commentators and reviewers don’t seem to have time to choose the right RAW converter for the job. Some say, well ACR is the industry standard and it shouldn’t be necessary to try out anything else. After all, DP Review among others are quite guilty of this as well! To me though, changing a camera system means a new learning curve anyway and a few hours (and a relatively small amount of money compared to the overall cost) spent finding a suitable preset for a new RAW converter –actually with Photo Ninja I don’t find you even need to do that as results are so often fine at default– should be factored into the workflow if you want to get the best out of your camera
One other thing in this in general perfectly fair and decent review which has also already been commented on is the question of blown highlights. Interestingly, I found in quite a number of shots recently that I had problems in recovering the clouds and thought perhaps that really the DR is not all it’s cracked out to be. I ran a series of comparisons of slightly tricky lighting situations against the E-M5 (I don’t have an E-M1 but assume in this respect they are similar). Results were in the end pretty similar with a slight edge to Fuji. I looked in LR as well as PN so as not to restrict myself to just one converter. One thing that should be noted is that Fuji generally brings up under-exposed shots with very little noise and although the OMD is far better than any of the previous m43 sensors and easily good enough for most purposes, it’s not quite as clean. My previous shots, I realised were too often in backlit situations which would have challenged even my old D700 so I was perhaps expecting miracles. However, it may well be true that JPEGs recover better with Oly than Fuji. I wouldn’t dream of shooting JPEG in a landscape situation but I would be interested in more clarification on this one, Steve
as much I would like to agree with you, there’s no way my X-E1 or X-T1 files are anywhere close to the A7R or RX1 files. Just let sleeping dogs lie and not stir up a hornets nest; it’s not a myth, you do get what you pay for and there’s a reason why FF still rules the roost and cost a kidney or two. Although the advantages are closing, FF files from the A7R and RX1 are in IQ terms are currently still better.
Yes, I love my Fuji’s but for critical work I use a D800. Overall it can’t be beat, but for a lot of stuff or smaller prints the Fuji is just fine. I love the colors and the lens are brilliant. But 16 vs 36MP is too much overcome detail wise. However, I love using the Fuji’s – Nikon not so much.
not disputing, Raymond, that the bigger the sensor, the better the IQ should be. Really just common sense! In that respect we’d all get MF if we could afford it. My point is simply that FujiX, when correctly processed, punches above its weight for its sensor size. Many have said that the IQ is closer to FF than m43. Others disagree and I suspect the main reason is the choice of RAW developer.
No argument anyway that 36mp gives much more detail than 16.
Agreed. But I’d also like to add that focusing on MP as a proxy for IQ is a shouldn’t be relied upon as in my opinion, the DR, noise characteristics and colour characteristic of images in post are far more important when trying to create great images as opposed to just capturing shots.
I went from an EM1 to an XT1 and couldn’t be more pleased. In my opinion, M43 is overpriced for what it is, if everything was half priced it would make sense, but I find the image quality closer to an RX100 than to aps-c. There is very noticeable noise at iso200 even, and highlights and shadows clip sharply and don’t have the smooth roll off that a bigger sensor affords. I am probably the only person in the world that thinks olympus has the most unappealing JPEG output, right next to panasonic. I have to tweak a lot in raw to get them to my liking, which for the most part works well.
History will repeat itself soon, 43rds was a good system until the lenses were getting bigger and more expensive than aps-c, and now we see m43rds is in a situation where the the competitions lenses are getting smaller and it seems you get better performance for your money. Fuji has closed the gap with AF, and it’s a matter of time before the rest figure it out, and by then everyone’s lens line up will be more complete, and hopefully won’t have so many duplicate primes and zoom ranges that make up the bulk of the m43 line up.
Example of relative value for money:
Panasonic 25 1.4 vs zeiss 55 1.8 – pay double get class leading performance
Oly 17 1.8 vs zeiss 35 2.8 – pay just a bit more to get excellent vs semi-decent performance
Fuji 56 1.2 vs panasonic 42 0.95 – pay a few hundred less for even better image quality and more shallow dof
Heck, even Fujis cheap kit zoom can match oly and panas pro zoom for IQ and dof. And the IS on fuji lenses isn’t that far off from olympus 5 axis ….
And build quality on m43 lenses … Apart from the 12-40 2.8 and 75 1.8, I don’t really feel anything is of exceptional quality for the “tax” you pay for going smaller.
Also, personally I found CAF on the XT1 to be better than the EM1, which I could not get consistent results with, and also surprisingly in daylight I found a few situations where an A7R focused more accurately even though it was much slower and dof was shallower.
The EM1 was actually my third experience with m43, I had a GH1 a few years ago and I used the EM5 for over half a year and I really do want to like the system, but with the advent of cameras like the XT1 and A7R, I don’t see the need to consider using M43 for serious work again ….
“43rds was a good system until the lenses were getting bigger and more expensive than aps-c”
How a 50mm-equivalent with f1.8 costing around 400€ can be bigger and more expensive than the aps-c equivalent?
As nice as the EM1 image quality can be, I can’t agree with this review that it’s just about the same. No, it’s not. The Fuji has 14-bit raw- better color gradation, better ISO noise performance (even counting that Fuji is running 0.75-1ev behind the usual, as the E-M1 is also running ab it behind- about 0.25-0.5 ev).
The JPEGS are just vibrant with color and if you use Capture One 7 from RAW, the including Fuji RAW (special Silky Pix) or Iridient with care, you do not get the water color effects you describe in the review.
The EM1 is definitively noisier. Even at ISO 200 I have seen noise.
Of course, whether this difference is enough/matters for someone’s photography is up on the air.
The blown highlights with the Fuji scares me for wedding work.
Seeing how the Leica M, the Fujifilm cameras and now the Nikon DF are the only ones that offer physical “always on” controls lending themselves to a more involved and focused process, I am curious to how the XT1 compares to the DF? I held off on digital cameras until now (that’s how important these focused ergonomics are to me) and got the DF. But I was considering the XT1 very much as well. Full frame image quality and full integration with my Nikon FM and lenses made my decision clear in the end, but what would you say to someone starting from scratch? How does the XT1 and DF compare?
I haven’t used both cameras. Steve would be the one to answer you’re question about how the XT1 compares to the DF. I think that the DF is an incredible camera. The images from the DF are terrific and better than my Fuji X100, especially at iso’s above 800. I just love using it with manual legacy lenses.
Yeah, the main reason I bought the DF is the ergonomics. Sure, the image quality is fantastic but to be perfectly honest I would be more than satisfied with the image quality of a D7100 or D5300. The main thing for me far and away is ergonomics – how a camera feels to use, how the design works honestly with me. In today’s discussion everyone is completely hung up on image quality, even Steve is hung up on this: the NEW CAMERA, what’s the low light like? resolution? et c. Back in the day people used to talk about how a camera felt to use, if it inspired, if it had the mojo and made you feel like you could actually extract the best from yourself as a photographer. Any of these cameras can make pictures that look absolutely incredible, yet people are hung up on various degrees of “IQ” (a very ironic acronym if you ask me). Another thing that gets me is how people have ridiculous double standards. Don’t get me wrong, I love the X100s, but it’s shocking to me how people are awed by the newness of these mirrorless cameras and turn a blind side to things like that they have pathetic battery life (it’s not unusual for me to hike for 7-10 days and if I took anything like the XT1 or EM1 I would have to have another backpack full of batteries, it would be ridiculous!!) the flow of most of these things is pathetic to any offering from Canon or Nikon. A D5300 will run rings around an Xpro or any of its siblings when it comes to everyday things like entering a menu, looking at a picture, turning on the camera – the general flow of things.
Yet I dislike the soulless black blobs as much as anyone. I absolutely, passionately, loathe the 90’s control dogma of the two control wheels for aperture and shutter, press hold buttons while changing ISO, look at display, look at screen, look at digits in viewfinder, absolutely hate that interface, and firmly believe that it was one of the biggest mistakes in camera interface design. The trend brought back by Fuji isn’t “retro” its a direct control method that will help people become better photographers.
So a DF it is. It isn’t perfect (the FM2 is) but it’s a hell of a lot closer than any other camera out there right now. The XT1 seems great but EVF’s have to become a lot, a lot, better before I would consider an EVF only camera.
In the end, the entire discussion, all these review sites and the whole driving force behind the discussion on cameras is consumption, not image making.
I also purchased the DF for it’s user interface, traditionnal dials that I have always enjoyed using on older slr’s. I think that this camera offers the best of both worlds with it’s dual interface.
It is true. The DF is a camera that truly can adapt to the photographer and this is one of the reasons why for example Nikon legend Bjorn Rorslett thinks the DF is the best Nikon since the original F.
Me personally I embrace limitation. My perfect DF would have been basically a digital FM3a. No autofocus and less functions and buttons.
If I had more money the Leica Monochrom is the dream. It is perfection. I can’t help but feel the DF is something of a compromise, they could have opted for purity, but at the same time, I like the camera a lot and feel I will grow to love it. Used only together with manual lenses, in Manual with lens aperture ring and shutter dial, is a great experience. The feel when pressing the DF’s shutter release is the best I ever felt, much better than an FM2 and aeons ahead of any D800 or Canon. The shutter sound is delicious.
The last time I bought a camera was over 8 years ago. I want to love my cameras and be inspired by them.
Yes, the shutter is extremely well dampted and it feels and sounds terrific. This alone says a lot about the quality of this product.
Great review. My take: if you want the best body get the EM1. For the best IQ go for an a7 and if funds allow buy both of them. And as a compromise and the only system, the X-t1 could be it. I don`t like compromises and enjoy a mix of a7 and Sigma DP Merrills, quirks and warts included. For x-trans sensor owners, I have a great marketing idea :): To every X-t1 buyer Fuji should hand out a Sigma DP Merrill for free for smearing/watercoloring free landscape shots.
Please take a look at my following fuji photos and point out where the mushy bits are ruining my shots so I can try and fix them. I’ve probably been a fuji guy for for too long and have blinkers over my eyes. Much appreciated. Thanks
As stated, the “MUSH” comes from JPEG’s when viewing full size, not resized and not RAW processed in a special RAW processor. 🙂
I know, just playing devil’s advocate 😉 I’m not a big user of special RAW processors either, just good ol’ LR5.3 for me (probably to the distain of PN and C-something-or-other-name software users – I can’t see the difference when printed in a book, on my blog or on a large prints anyway)
I do think that however that people are unnecessarily prejudiced where there is no real need these days. I don’t think I have given a negative opinion on any camera as I feel that none is warranted in this day and age. All cameras now-a-days are perfectly fine for the vast majority of people reading this and the only differences I find are personal preference and workflow, I was still using a 350D in mid-2013.
Personally the E-M5 didn’t work for me, the X-E1 eventually did and the A7R is riddled with issues but more than makes up for it in IQ – that’s me and I like it that way. When my brother asked for a suggestion last year, I told him to go Oly because at that time, I felt it was the better choice; even though I preferred X-E1, I knew it was an odd device that would’ve just frustrated him. He’s a proud E-M5 user and loves it. If he asked me the same question now i’d say the X-T1 but that’s okay, i’ll tell you a little secret – both Oly and Fuji both make great cameras 🙂
If you show me a real landscape shot of yours I`ll show you the smearing. I have not seen one single landscape with green (leaves/grass) in your flickr account. The x -trans sensor is simply not competitive for landsacape shooting.
Apologies. I live in the middle Hong Kong and before that London. We only have fake landscapes here. Sorry to disappoint you, I’ll correct my mistake and stop shooting until I find some real landscapes. Cheers
Ok, that’s it, time to get a Nikon D4! 😉
D800 will do… 😉
Steve, loved your real world review and I find your reviews to be the most useful and interesting of any on-line reviews always. That said, in my opinion having owned the E-M1 with some of the best M/4 primes also had the Oly Pro- zoom…The X-T1 wins on IQ hands down “In my opinion”. The E-M1 is a fantastic camera NO DOUBT. I was pretty amazed that the E-M1 was so competent in SO many different types of situations. You almost have to go out of you way to take a BAD picture with the E-M1 it is nearly that perfect, AGREED!!, BUT one thing about the E-M1 and the E-M5 eventually drove me to part with each of them was the limited dynamic range of the smaller M4 sensor. I don’t care what Sensor test sites may say, I found the E-M1 could/WOULD! clip highlights and DID way too easily. Also using raw there was MUCH less latitude to the files in light and shadows with the Micro Four sensors. This is not just my opinion, these are my results in all too many situations. The E-M1 is a highlight blower/clipper machine. Of course you can meter so you are not going to blow highlights obviously..but I found doing that the shadows were usually WAY too dark and there usually wasn’t enough latitude in the files to get a decent picture. The X-T1 to my eyes has beautiful almost film like IQ on the overall. NO I am NOT a Fuji Fanboy!! though it may sound like that. I own or have owned pretty much every brand from Leica to Sony to Ricoh to a Polaroid, LOL ok that’s when I was about 10 years old. To be serious though, YES the E-M1 is fantastic in so many ways, built like a tank..but almost all my E-M1 pictures were at best just OK, virtually no pop at all nothing special..just VERY good and lots of keepers though mostly had boring IQ. The X-T1 in the couple weeks I’ve owned it already has me saying WOW to many pictures I have taken. I can see why some JUST like Fuji…it DOES have a look, I suppose some may like that look, some may not. But to my eyes the camera takes some beautiful pictures, SPECIAL pictures. I can’t say THAT about almost any pictures I have taken with my former E-M1 for the most part. I will say the Fuji is not going to give you THE most detailed pictures in the world, I think the E-M1 can beat the X-T1 as to detail using similar type primes and focal lengths..but I lost so many pictures to blown highlights on my E-M1 I just had to sell it. I guess to each his own. I find the X-T1’s auto focus to be VERY fast, NOT E-M1 fast but THE most accurate focus of just about any camera I have ever owned, which TOTALLY surprised me!. I happen to own an RX1R as well…GREAT camera..but if you are not pixel peeping the X-T1 to my eyes can stand toe to toe with the Sony on IQ, again NOT to pixel peeping detail though. Also maybe just my preference I disliked the E-M1’s native 4:3 aspect ratio..Hated the square like pictures unless I cropped them. Anyway to sum up we all have opinions I guess. If we all thought the same, maybe we’d all be married to the same woman and drive the same red car LOL..Just saying. But for ME, the X-T1 takes much nicer looking pictures than the EM1 and I’ll probably get bashed here for saying that. But as to fact at least in my world, the E-M1 has a much smaller dynamic range and that is LARGE especially if you shoot in bright sunshine. Thanks for letting others share different opinions than yours here Steve, Best to you.
Thats the beauty of it, we all have our own likes, dislikes and opinions. What works for me, may not work for you. With that said, the M 4/3 sensor in the E-M1 has a HUGE DR. I can’t blow out a highlight with it, yet with the XT1 I was blowing them all over, even when dialing in heavy EV comp. When I look back at me E-m1 shots over the year and then the X Trans sensor shots from any X body it is no contest as to what looks better, nicer, and richer. The E-M1. But again, that is me, my situations and shooting. The E-M1 has a large DR and files, even if blown out are easily recoverable. I could not do such a thing with the X-T1 files, and I tried.The way to look ay it is easy. Take a look at the files in this Fuji review, and then look at the E-M1 samples in that review. To my eye, it is no contest..I easily prefer the E-M1 files, and there are no blow outs either 🙂
Steve, I gotta love you. Wow I have had the TOTALLY opposite happen to me as stated, E-M1 vs X-T1. Weird. I have TONS of pictures from my E-M1 with blown highlights. Just this weekend my wife and I took a little trip out of town. Ok so SHE is not Miss Photographer head. Being I’m very light skinned with her at the helm taking the photos after I set the camera up, I had no blown highlights at all of my face which normally looks like I’m on fire as we took lots of shots in very bright sunshine. In the past after I set up my E-M1 handed the camera to her, I have so many ruined pictures of ME, cause part of my face especially the sun on my far head looks so blown out in so many E-M1 pics I have and I could not recover those blown highlights.
Oh well this is interesting…enjoy your E-M1 guess I’ll enjoy my Fuji…it’s all good. 🙂 Thanks for this great site you have here Steve. 🙂
I’d say there was something set wrong or something wrong with your camera. Just does not happen..ever, for me with the E-m1. In Fact, I have posted a few images showing just how amazing the DR is from the E-M1. With the Sony RX1, E-M1 or Leica M it is tough to blow highlights. With the Fuji it was quite simple and unavoidable in the harsh phoenix mid day sun on a few occasions. This made me go “Hmmmmm”…where is this Fuji DR they speak of? I could not find it.
Steve, surely “blowing the highlights” is often another way of saying “getting the exposure wrong”. I’m not defending Fuji, but your comment about the exposure compensation makes me wonder if you – possibly – had some misconfiguration of the metering ? Also, DR isn’t just about highlights – I’m certain if you spot meter on a deep shadow with the E-M1 on a bright sunny day with sky in the farm you’ll have no problem finding blown highlights. As a long time Olympus user I’m hardly closed to hearing that the X-T1 isn’t better than the E-M1, but still, “DR” has never been qualified as “amazing” by any serious reviewer, for any 4/3 or m4/3 camera…
I use the Fuji just as I do my Leica, My Olympus, My Sony RX1..I dial in Exposure Comp when needed and it does not stop blown highlights nor are they recoverable as they are with the other cameras. I have tried, tested, done side by sides, etc. When you have all cameras side by side it becomes clear as to which one does what best. Of the Olympus, Sony, Fuji and Leica my least fave IQ is the Fuji, but to others it may be their favorite. There are loads of Fuji fans and that is why I say that if you are one of them, THIS is your body 100% as it is the best they have made to date. Still, the sensor they use has weakness. You need a special raw converter to process raws correctly, JPEGS are average with odd effects, low light images get ruddy and muddy (prob due to not being able to turn off NR)..I still prefer the original X100 sensor above all Fuji sensors. I am with the crowd who feels the X-Trans is not a great sensor, and I am not alone. If Fuji went back to the X100 sensor there would be zero issues and I would own the X-T1 for myself. As for the E-M1 DR, it has been qualified as “amazing” by quite a few as it beats many APS-C cameras. It does not beat full frame, but go take a look at the numbers. When it was released it beat cameras with larger sensors, and to me, that is Amazing for Micro 4/3. Again, never a blow out with my Olympus E-M1, E-M5 or E-P5. Fatastic sensors with color depth, sharpness, and tonality that matches the Leica M (yes, there are side by side portrait tests on this very blog showing such a thing).
Steve, potentially both you and Sol are correct, depending on the ISO setting you are shooting with. In daylight, it is normal to use the lowest ISO possible (LOW, which a ISO exposure push of 200 to get a ISO 100 equivalent). With the XT-1, you cannot shoot in RAW in the LOW setting whereas you can with the OM-D E-M1. However, if you are shooting on ISO 100 in the OM-D you will get significantly lower DR and probably more susceptibility to blown highlights. The Fuji kind of “idiot proofs” this setting by disabling RAW capture at extended ISO setting.
Anyway just my thoughts.
See my point below to Steve. Generally there is an explanation (beyond fan-boyism) for different experiences.
Is it possible you were shooting the OM-D on the ISO100 (Low) setting (or Auto ISO with too low a shutter and wide aperture)? If you are on the extended range it would significantly reduce the dynamic range of the sensor. I think with a 1/8000 shutter it should be almost impossible to clip highlights on the E-M1, in a normal picture (I am sure it is possible in an extreme lighting situation) whereas I think it is more possible with the Fuji because of the way they meter their ISO ratings and the 1/4000 max shutter speed (especially if you shoot in aperture priority).
OTOH the Fuji disables the extended ISO settings when you shoot in RAW so you would never dip into the extended range where the DR would be impacted (probably because they expect you to alter exposure in post). So in a way the Fuji has a safety net to protect you from yourself whereas the Olympus expects you to know the limits. Again different philosophies in camera design and S/W logic.
The difference may even come down to whether you shoot in shutter or aperture priority.
Anyway, I just bought an OM-D E-M1 but for completely different reasons (I hate dials!)
I think perceived differences in IQ between the two come down more to the photographer in question than the camera >> http://buchangrant.com/blog/?p=1979
While I agree that the Fuji’s have better native high ISO quality, in every other respect you really have to go from m4/3 to full frame to see a significant difference. Full frame will give you a better range of tonal gradations (e.g. less sharp fall off from highlights to shadows) and the ability to enlarge further, but even here there are reported workarounds (e.g. Perfect Photo Suite 8’s Resize module…previously known as Genuine Fractals).
Firstly thanks for a wonderful review Steve.
I use a d800 due to professional commitments and sold a full Oly system a few months ago. It’s true there’s a big difference when pixel peeping but at reasonable sizes no one could tell which camera I shot what on. What I did notice was the oly RAW files were lovely and as you say you could recover a lot of detail. Like a mini d800 with its dynamic range. And Olympus colors were always superb, particularly skin tones and blues. With the new pro zooms from Oly it might be time to sell off the Nikon gear.
This is exactly my experience with the EM1 and EM5, I shoot a lot of harsh backlight and the M43 sensors fall apart like crazy compared to apsc and full frame. Expose for the face and highlights clip like mad and tonal gradation is terrible, underexpose the face and try to pull it up in post and you will get horrible shadow noise at iso200….
Thanks Hosek. Well I KNOW Steve certainly knows what he’s doing is a heck of a great photographer, and has no reason to lie. But yeah I ONLY sold my E-M1 beause of the way it clipped highlights so easily and often. End of summer I did a day of shooting in an arboretum with the E-M1 with a couple different primes. If I wanted to shoot a nice flower or an exotic tree almost always the sky got completely blown out over and over again. If I metered more to the sky THAT tree was now SO dark…in post I really couldn’t get the tree to look right. It really seemed to me the E-M1 had a very limited dynamic range. Steve said maybe it was something I did setting wise. But I did a mix of aperture priority, manual..even a few on program cause I thought I WAS doing something wrong. I’d say I had a bad E-M1 but as you said my e-m5 was similar…anyway..life goes on. 🙂 Yet Steve never had this problem so I’m stumped..but happier with the X-T1 what else can I say…
Offhand I can’t think of a camera that would handle the arboretum situation you describe without the help of f.i. a reflector screen. My D800 would certainly blow out the sky, but it would almost always be recoverable in post. I have trouble believing Steve’s claim that the EM-1 would never have the same.
Sol, you want (3d) pop? Get a full frame camera. You’ll be amazed. Happy shooting!
…or buy a nice 80-300mm (equiv. FoV) for your m4/3 camera and you will be amazed the same, with 1/3 the price and 1/4 the weight. 😉
So that would be a ……………….. 40-150. Maximum aperture? What would you actually photograph with that cannon (slowly ripping the lens mount out of the body)? Offhand I can’t think of any situation where a focal length longer than 85 (and I’m not even using that one much) would come in handy for me (not much wildlife in Amsterdam, though no shortage of birds).
So no, I have to disagree.
It sometimes amazes me how many people post here( and on other websites) about how even the most advanced and up to date cameras aren’t good enough for them because of…sensor size..blown highlights…the other camera is better,, newer, prettier and therefore more desirable than the one you already have at home,, can do high ISO and make tea …whatever! you must be AMAZING photographers that you keep griping about the limits and deficiencies of your tools instead of getting out there and producing something.
Sol, you were DRIVEN to part with the EM-1 because it didn’t meet your standards. Incredible. your images must be out of this world if the EM-1 can’t keep up with you.
Some people are a bit TOO wrapped up in equipment specs.
Your antidote is to go out and buy a used Nikon film body, or Olympus or whatever, a few tolls of film. Take a deep breath, clear your mind, relax and take pictures.
Ahhhhhhh! That’s better!
+1, wholeheartedly! That would take a basic knowledge of photography of course, but there are books (books?) for that.
Hey Steve J, seriously I hear you and you are NOT wrong. I wasn’t bashing the E-M1 it’s an overall INCREDIBLE camera I miss it actually! I only brought the E-M1 up cause Steve kept comparing it to the X-T1 and I was getting the complete opposite conclusion. We all know a great photographer can make an iphone shine no doubt. But I admit to loving gadgets and gear almost as much as I love photography. 🙂 There will always be a better camera coming out, it never ends. But all I was saying was E-M1 vs X-T1, in my mind and to my eyes,the X-T1 has better IQ “for ME”. I think many people who read Steve’s site are also a mix of at least some gear heads and perhaps good or great photographers. I’m a better gear head than a photographer being honest…but I know what I’m doing as far as using a camera and I was just commenting on the review, as I thought somebody else here may share this highlight M/F clipping scenario. Best to you…:)
Please stop patronizing people …. It’s more like people are parting with their “insert camera” because for the same money they can get better image quality. At base iso a nikon d200 has better image quality and AF than most of the mirrorless cameras released so far, why don’t we scrap releasing new cameras altogether since what was released almost a decade is still far better than what everyone here can achieve? For the money, the EM1 has the lowest value in terms of dollar to pixel, you can sell it, take a 20 percent hit on what you paid and still buy a brand new XT1 kit or maybe even an A7 kit if you shop around.
I agree with Sol O’Riley, I bought the EM-1 after reading Steve’s (and other’s) reviews of the camera. It felt great, build quality was every bit as good as they said, image quality was good and it was an excellent instrument. When I bought the Ricoh GR later it I thought the images were more pleasing and much more malleable in post processing. Shadows were easier to lift, dull colors could be finessed to pop more and the end resulting images were just nicer than that of the m4/3 sensor. This caused me to sell the EM-1 and get the XT-1. I agree that the build quality, while excellent, is still not up to the level of the EM-1 and it does not feel as perfect in my hands. The image quality on the other hand is improved. The colors have more pop, the high ISO performance is clearly greater, and the files are more malleable in post processing. I can lift shadows and brighten photos to a reasonable extent without them looking grainy. I may not be a professional photographer but I am still learning and this does not preclude me from wanting the best possible equipment that meets my budget/needs. On the contrary professionals could do much more with a less forgiving sensor because they better understand how to manipulate lighting conditions, identify more opportune photo opportunities, often have assistants, etc. Also in my mind my “big, high quality camera” (before it was the EM-1 and now the XT-1) needs to have better image quality compared to my small, compact take everywhere camera. Otherwise I was passing on taking out my EM-1 in favor for my Ricoh GR
One thing I will say is that I will miss the Olympus IBIS. I just got finished looking through my old EM-1 shots and I have a ton of sharp pictures shot at 1/10 and 1/8 of a sec… unbelievable!
i am not sure what is happening with your olympus to get blown highlights. it’s very difficult to blow highlights on either the em5 or the em1. the raw file processing gives you nearly the same, if not the same lattitude as the sony nex7 raw’s, which is a lot of headroom.
there have only been 2 instances where i had to go to great extreme to recover highlights. one was when someone blew a flash just as i shot a frame at a wedding. it blew out my shot nearly entirely, but even then, i was able to recover in raw processing. the second situation was in daylight against harsh mid day sun reflecting off my wife’s shoulder. i could not recover that blown portion but having been shpoting long enough, that would have defeated anything less than a full frame sensor.
both very extreme cases. in general shooting you should not ever really be blowing highlights. i just finished a 3000 frame set from a beach shoot from noon to sunset. not a single blown shot, with many where i purposely overexposed to bring out more detail from the harsh lighting. fully recovered in ACR.
i would check your camera settings to make sure you havent got it set wrongly. it may be as simple as clipping from using iso 100 in a high contrast scene. 100 is an extended iso.
Hi Steve! Hi everybody!
I have read almost everything about the X-T1 since its annoucement and I am happy to read this no bs review (I would like to buy this camera at the end of the year or maybe next year).
But there is one thing I want to ask here : will you suggest to buy the kit zoom when the 16-55 f/2.8 WS will be available, considering its probably high IQ and bulkiness?
I love all kind of photography and I won’t be able to afford 3 primes : this 16-55 zoom lens appears to me at a good compromise (even if the price haven’t been revealed).
What do you think about that?
I’m not sure I’d put auto focus as a “con” because based on your review, it sounds like a lens issue and not an actual issue with the camera. I think saying the auto focus is a con is unfair.
I said “AF speed spends on lens used” – not “AF speed in general is a con”. Af speed DOES depend on lens used. The 35 1.4, 60 Macro, etc will not focus FAST on the camera when compared to the new lenses.
Hi Steve and thank you very much for sharing your experiences with XT1, I have two Fuji, the X100 and the Pro1 and I’m going to buy the XT1 next weak (Body Only) after I see your photos!, I love the sharpness and contrast of the images and I think because of those three Fuji lenses I have the X T1 could be a perfect companion for them.
Next week!! sorry!,no way to correct it.
Steve, I’m still sitting on the fence about which camera to buy(I want to downgrade the weight with the 5d MarkIII and lots of lenses). I was waiting for this review and it still looks like the EM-1 wins it. I’ve been an enthusiast for over ten years now ,but at this point I just want to take lots of photos of my fast moving toddler and new baby. I’m sure you have a lot of kid photographer fans like myself, which one is going to get the shot?
Krp, have you considered just getting a Canon SL1? It’s small, much cheaper than a XT-1 or OMD, will easily keep up focus with your toddler, and is compatible with all your glass. Photographer Chris Marquardt was in the same boat as you and was looking at mirrorless, but ended up with the SL1. With a prime lens, it will be a much smaller kit than the 5D III with a zoom. I’ve sold off most of my zooms and use mostly primes nowadays, which aren’t that big (especially the 40mm f/2.8 STM pancake lens). Just wanted you to consider this option first before you replace your Canon system with mirrorless, because switching systems costs a heck of a lot of money. And speaking as a fellow parent, I know that money will be needed for other things!
Thanks for your idea! I’m really looking for wifi though :(. Also, I’m ready to sell my larger lenses anyway. I really can’t make up my mind!
You could get an Eye-fi card, then you’ll have wifi no matter which camera you use. I’ve got wifi in my 6D but honestly, I’ve used it only 1 time. Maybe you’ll use wi-fi more than I do, it just depends on what your use case is for wanting wifi. If you just want to download photos without a wire, the Eye-fi will do. If you want to do things like control the camera from an iPhone, the 6D or 70D are the only Canon DSLR options at this point with that capability.
The other thing you could do is rent the cameras you’re considering and really try them out to see which ones will meet your needs. Borrowlenses (http://www.borrowlenses.com/) is an excellent service I’ve used. It would be interesting to rent the Canon SL1 and the Olympus EM-1 and see which one really will keep up with your kids. For selling gear, I’ve sold a bunch of mine to KEH (http://www.keh.com/), as they seem to pay the most, and I’ve also bought gear from them. Their service is excellent and their used gear ratings are spot on.
I have had the Fujifilm X10, x100s, x-pro1 and now the X-T1. I am very happy with the X-T1. I loved the X-Pro, though I also hated it at times for its slowness. It was perfect for posed and thoughtful work, but for anything that was on the fly, especially candid moments, it was very difficult to capture, unless the moment lingered, or I somehow got lucky. The X-T1 on the other hand is a totally different animal. It turns out in an instant, focuses fast, and even tracks well. It focuses in every lighting condition that I’ve thrown at it without hesitation. The only real shame is in this system is that I love the 35mm, but it’s slow to focus, noticeably slower than the 23 as you have noted. I think that the X-T1 can cope with any shooting situation it finds itself in, dare I say even sports. I’ve often considered adopting the E-M1, but have chosen not to because have so much fuji glass, plus I didn’t want to “hear it” from the wife 🙂 It is a shame about the water color effect though…I don’t run into it, but every once in a blue moon I get it and it really pisses me off.
I handled the X-T1 for a couple of hours thru a friend who bought one. I didn’t like it. I also think the X-Trans sensor renders awfully. I had an X-PRO1 and was glad to get rid of it. Of course, it’s not a bad camera. Or is it? Actually, yes. I think it’s total rubbish and not worth the money. The E-M1 is far better. Seriously.
yes, do not even look into the Fuji…it can bite you!
yeah…after your comment I believe nobody even consider it —the whole countries will by the oly …….
Does the higher ISOs on the fuji significantly outperform the EM1 (from 6400)? But more importantly, are any images from ISO 6400 actually useable?
Thanks for the review.
The four way buttons seem to be the ONE thing that EVERYONE can agree on as the most horrible of buttons.
question: Can one set up the Q button as a work around so that one never has to delve into the menu using the four way?
That four way button (don’t worry, I’ve tried it) is just one way where the limitations of a small camera shows. You want a small camera? Prepare yourself for miniature controls. The “real estate” just isn’t there, whatever people may tell you.
Agreed…I don’t get the current infatuation with trying to miniaturize everything. Hey, I’m all for a mirrorless solution that is smaller than a DSLR….but the A7 as an example is ridiculously tiny and hard to hold. The XT1 is also too small…the XPro was for me the perfect size. It comes down to basic ergonomics…once you go small enough it’s uncomfortable to hold the camera and manipulate the controls.
What is ergonomically comfortable for you is not what is comfortable for me. It is relative. I am 6′ tall and 160 pounds and I have thin fingers. The controls on my Fuji have never been an issue for me whereas some big guy with hands like baseball mitts might have a problem. I don’t think I would have a problem with the four way button either. These are Japanese cameras and I applaud miniaturization. I would rather have this than what happened to a company like Porsche which now makes supersize-me sports cars for guys with big macs.
My 5D with a 50mm f1.8 lens is a surprisingly light walk around setup.
My 6D with the 40mm f/2.8 pancake lens is even lighter. 😉
Do you rate the 40mm pancake jonathan? I have a 5D mkIII with 50 f1.4 (i have big monkey hands) and have been considering the 40mm as a walk around lens.
Sure, smaller cameras have smaller real estate, but these aren’t that small.. comparing X-T1 & E-M1, again.
X-T1 & E-M1, they are practically the same size camera, a mm or so is insignificant difference. The X-T1 should have been able to implement the same control size and tactile feel if the E-M1 can, but it didn’t and doesn’t.
Some may find it usable still, but personally I don’t think it will be (I can see it always bugging me), one of the reason I move from the E-M5 is because it seems like it probably has the same feel.. at least with the button squishiness, though at least the buttons still were raised high enough so you could feel them better than what’s on the back of the X-T1.
I’m not trying to bash the X-T1, there are many great things about it (and Fuji X cameras overall), but it just doesn’t seem like they refined and made it the best it could be.. a lot of “..what if…” and “…I really wished this and that could have been better…” And I think Fuji will pick up on user feedback like they always do and make improvements and get it right and closer to being what I think it should have been at this point which is the best X camera to date.. but it isn’t that yet.
I think they took like 4 steps forward and 2 steps back with the X-T1. Most good, but not completely where they could or should be or at least I’d like them to be. They are still figuring things out.. note they always move buttons around still and end up getting them not exactly in the same place between cameras…why put a non-customizable rec button that will probably never be seriously used?
If I did not have an E-M1 and a decent lens group and very happy with the Oly performance and greater feature set, I’d probably might just lean towards getting another Fuji again with the X-T1.. figure out ways to make it work despite it’s limitations, but that not being the case, I think hanging on and using the E-M1 with it’s great performance paired with great lenses can yield equal, if not better, overall results… with less yearning for more in those few, but key, areas if I were to get a X-T1… it’s all about the details here and I personally feel the X-T1 needs to cover a lot of the things that just feel less than what it should be.
Squishy buttons, light leakage, low max high (& low) shutter speeds, eye cup dust/dirt magnet, missing full range of possible ISO settings (e.g. 3 extended High ISO, but only 2 assignable spots, H1 & H2, huh? If they had thought it out, that shouldn’t have even been needing to be an option and just have it on the ISO dial already) & inability to save RAW files for a number of settings, etc… those are some of my top what if’s and wishes for the next X-T and perhaps the next X-Pro.
Yes, I’m griping a bit and have basically made up my mind on which camera system I like… and it’s my opinion, but this is a discussion and all about opinions and experiences that cumulatively will help anybody make their own choice for whatever works best for him or her.
… and I’m trying to state what’s in my head and what I wish so strongly just because I REALLY REALLY wanted to fully like and own this camera and system.. a lot of great things about it, the EVF, very nice X-Trans Sensor & retro form factor was almost enough by itself to make it worth it. But, unfortunately, for me, a bit too much little things have surfaced after reading reviews & user experiences that make me not want it so much any more.
I was so ready and set to post pics of my E-M1 and gear during the past few weeks and get some $$ back to afford the X-T1 and a nice lens or two and accessories to start, but there’s just enough lacking for me that make me re-think and it is not such a wise decision to go from my E-M1 to X-T1.. Gotta be patient & hold off & get a camera and system that fully satisfies what I want instead of well… settling in a number of key areas I’m sure to be too picky to live with. I’m sure it’ll get better and worth the sell and trade up later down the line.. and I don’t think it’ll be a long wait, either.
Transparant narrative Wing. Wouldn’t you rather have a camera with well thought out, near perfect ergonomics and handling?
I read one article where a guy put the small stick on silicone dots on the buttons to make them work better for him. Not ideal, but creative.
Both E-M1 and the X-T1 are great cameras, with some differences mainly in ergonomic area and the shallow/deep DOF area (which is a plus or cons , depending on ones needs). But there are some statements in this review I cannot agree at all e.g high ISO capability was said is comparable at ISO 3200 but the comparison was made in a da light which is pointless for modern cameras of that class (and Steve has been talking this point for years….). \In the night the Fuji is clear winner and there are tons of pictures showing this (even for the earlier Fuji models were clear winner in this area, not only above m43 but also APS-C and also some FF cameras…yes, there are visible evidences of this, this is just fact).
So called hollowness is another misconception: engineers just would say it is lighter (providing it is equally sturdy,.., impossible to be evaluated by just keeping it in hand). So the Fuji is lighter camera, which is clear advantage over the Oly, not a drawback!
Both are great though and the choice can be made purely based on personal preferences rather then technical performance (unless somebody needs HIGH ISO (Fuji) or super fast shutter (1/8000 sec-Oly)
Thanks for the hard work doing these less or more crazy comparisons.
The differences between the two at high ISO in dark conditions may be a bit moot, however. I agree that the X-Trans sensor has superior performance at high ISO to any m4/3 sensor; seen it for myself having owned both.
BUT—and here’s the significant bit—you can easily claw back 3 (sometimes 4) full stops with the Olympus IBIS. So in dark conditions where you might require ISO 6400 with the Fuji, you can shoot at ISO 800 with the Olympus, thereby roughly equalizing IQ from both sensors. Now, admittedly, if you’re shooting significant motion or any action in that same low light, IBIS is useless, and the advantage shifts back to having high ISO. The only trouble with THAT, is that traditionally the Fuji’s have been very poor at quickly focusing in low light. Advantage Olympus once again.
At the end of the day, neither of these cameras are ideal for shooting motion or action in reduced light. For the time being at least, that capability remains the realm of cameras like the D3s/D4/D4s/Df.
Robert, nobody will stops you and you can carry your tank like Nikon cameras but people on the forum typically looking for something really lighter and smaller….and quite a few pros found that do not really need the CANONIK big boys heavy duty stuff.
And some of them use the “traditionally” poor focusing Fujis (the tradition seems to be over with this model)
Brilliant review as usual. I too have the Leica M (9P) and the Em-1 and was really curios about the XT1, esp. because of the top control layout. As for your Fuji “hollow feel” explanation, that’s fits perfectly! In addition I think the primes are to big compared to m4/3 or Leica M.
But now for your review. I think you nailed it with the exception on the lens part. It’s not the primes, but the Zooms where Fuji lacks and probably will never come close. With the announced 7-14 F2.8, the 12-40 F2.8, the soon to be released 40-150 F2.8 and the announced 300 F4 , which are not just weather sealed but very well build to withstand a lot of abuse a Em1 with the power grip attached would be a tank like system which is build for being out there, to with stand professional abuse… no matter where.. amazon, rainforest, himalayas, desert, arctic or at a local studio.
And from the photos available I think the F2.8 Fuji zoom will be considerable larger.
On a side note the control layout of the EM1 is typical for Olympus and shouldn’t surprise anyone who used their 4/3 Pro stuff. It’s very close and for me the real E1 successor!
Hi Steve, I shoot wedding and events, using Nikon equipment. I am considering switching to either the E-M1 or the X-T1. Do you have any suggestions on which might work better for weddings or events. Thanks
Well, all up to what you are comfy shooting with. I know a few wedding pros using the E-M1 and I know of a couple using Fuji. All depends on what you like. Me, I would use the Olympus with the best primes and 12-40 pro zoom.
Stick with the Nikon. I shoot weddings too (Canon) and if you read all the comments and reviews about mirrorless cameras, they still have a little ways to go before they are equal to DSLR’s in fast action + low light situations, which is exactly the situation you run into with weddings (especially receptions, just about focusing in the reception hall with nothing but candle light).
But if you’re getting a mirrorless in addition to having your Nikon kit, then it sounds like just about any mirrorless system will do. They’re all good nowadays, and my own observation is that any perceived IQ differences between them won’t be noticeable to your clients.
Revisit the situation in a couple of years, IMHO.
Great review, Steve.
I know many have been anticipating your full review on the X-T1 and especially how it compares to the E-M1. I know I have because I have been contemplating whether to try and get an X-T1 as an additional camera or trading in my E-M1 to fund for just 1 camera system to own.
I think your review here has really helped me make what was seemingly a very long back and forth decision in my head on which system I wanted and wanted to commit to at this time… E-M1 or X-T1?
No doubt, I think the X cameras have a slight edge over IQ, but I’ve been skeptical if it would be that much more for me to switch back to Fuji from Olympus (having previously owned Fuji X cameras prior to the OM-D’s currently used). The overall features are lacking and I feel the fluidity and ease of use is actually better in the OM-D’s.. in particular the E-M1 which is my current camera. For a lot of your main no-nonsense shooting, I can see how the Fuji has everything a photographer could want or need on the outside with the dials and customization it has, but from other user experiences & reviews, there are definitely some performance and customizing limitations that you still have to menu dive to adjust.. a step or more than what is more readily available for adjusting and customizing from the E-M1’s design.
The X-T1 HAD been very tempting for me, but looking at the pros and cons since its announcement and release, I personally could not justify there are enough pros in the X-T1 (or any other current Fuji X camera) to make me leave my E-M1 and MFT system at this time.
On the X-T1, be as it may the cool dials that you can see on the outside of the camera, the front & rear command dials seem a bit too recessed.. as a matter of fact, a lot of buttons either seem to small or recessed or still not quite placed in the best location… the FN & Movie Rec button which movie is the worst capability of this camera.. really need to allow customization to reassign rec button to something actually good and useful on the camera with future firmware update which I’m sure should be addressed. And those direction buttons?! again, a bit small, recessed, lacking feedback.. and they are things which I’m sure many photographers will want to use and access for primarily focus point selection. Not so easy.. the E-M1 had these types of tactile design issues fixed since the E-M5 and it’s very easy to press and even clicky so you know you’ve pressed what you wanted.
The E-M1 simply has the best ergonomics and well thought out controls in the right places and with the right feel, responsiveness and ease of use. Sure you have dials on the X-T1, but they are primarily fixed function.. some may be fine with this, but I think the fact you can customize and switch the dials and more custom buttons to be whatever you want and they can serve multiple functions at a flip of a switch is a much better usability factor for the E-M1… not to forget to mention that almost all can be performed on 1 side of the camera with basically one hand (right) and without removing your eye from the viewfinder to feel for different controls around the camera unlike what you may have to do more so on the X-T1.
I feel stronger than ever that the E-M1 has way more advantages over the X-T1 to make me comfortable on holding off on purchasing one in the near future.
X-T1 is the best X camera to date with design and performance, and true no camera is perfect, but I think Fuji will learn from this first iteration of the X-T and make an even better one… better ISO & RAW options, EVEN BETTER Controls (with none that will annoy and make for wanting for yet better), more pro abilities such as 1/8000 & 1/320 shutter speeds (at least 1/250, right?), why not make an ISO dial that includes ALL ISO settings (why pick and choose highest ISO settings?, cause they probably collaborate together completely and left out a space for 1 last ISO spot), Lower shutter settings for longer exposures seem to not connect and overlap in odd way (see Cameralabs review on this and a number of function/performance quirks)… There are a number of things that come already that can’t be solved with firmware as they are simply more physical engineering issues. And, I’d like to see a silver version, too!
If you desire a camera with slightly better IQ for a bit more high ISO & shallow DOF, then sure this (and other X cameras) can fit the bill and should be included in your bag of photographic tools, but personally I don’t see this is what I need for what it is… I still want something even more capable.
Yes, I already want a better X-T camera as it still doesn’t quite have as much together as I think it could and should. If I’m not waiting for a better X-T, then I want a better X-Pro that will no longer make me wish for more.
Until then, I’m happy to keep using my E-M1 as my main one and main camera for both work and personal use.
Thanks again Steve for writing great reviews, providing useable insight, and keeping it real.
Thanks for reading!
I was in the boat to pick my first mirrorless cam: buy X-T1 or E-M1? Steve just prove my inside feelings that E-M1 is a right choice.;)
Steve thank you for your effort and great open mind review. Keep going with excellent work!
With the nice primes from Oly and Panasonic, the E-M1 is a powerful tool capable of anything really. I can own whatever I want, period and I choose what works the best for me. For me, the Oly beats the Fuji in all areas except ISO 6400 shooting, which I do 12- images a year with. For speed, lenses, build, IS, color, DR, IQ…Oly takes it. For body and control, I do love the Fuji style on the X-T1.
Hi Steve, I wonder if you could only have ONE camera what it would be?
I am in the same boat and was hoping the review would compare the A7 and X-T1 closer. It seems like most don’t clump the A7’s full frame with these cameras. I am very impressed with the IQ and sharpness I’ve seen with the X-T1, but am worried the 16mp sensor won’t cut it when cropping and post processing.
The A7 and A7r are in another league with IQ over ANY Fuji, period. As is the RX1, Leica M, and most full frame cameras. The A7 has better DR, a more rich file, more depth and more 3D pop. Also prefer the colors from the A7.
First of all: you run a fantastic site, I really appreciate the great work you do. Thanks for that!!
Coming from a Canon 7d that I will be selling soon I am looking at a mirror less camera right now to replace it and the options I narrowed down to an Olympus ep 5 with vf 4 and 17 mm, an em1 or the Fuji xt1. How is the situation with the Fuji for run and gun video (kids/holiday etc.) Is the quality satisfying compared to the two olympus bodies, how is the focusing during video etc.?
Thanks for a reaction.
I’ve never used either camera and it was tough to decide between the two. I wish to have been able to try both before making the final decision. I read pretty much all the reviews out there. Out of those you are the first to say that the x-t1 is not as good at continuous AF. The others seem to think the opposite.Now you’re making me second guess my decision. I ordered the x-t1 last week and should have it tomorrow. Once I have it I will go to the local camera store to compare the tracking capabilities.
Well, the X-T1 is great. Just not perfect. Neither camera is. I just enjoy the Olympus a bit more and still feel it is the more polished camera. But the X-t1 has a fantastic body and controls. As for AF-C, all depends on lens used. As long as you do not use the 35 1.4 or 60 Macro for AF-C you will be fine 🙂
Steve thanks for all the hard work you put into this. I love your site and visit it daily. Sometimes multiple times a day =).
After reading your review my inner pixel peeper came out of the closet and i started to look at test charts of the 2 cameras in lightroom. I have to say the E-M1 is very impressive. I almost canceled my order of the x-t1. I couldn’t believe that to my eyes the E-M1 could retain more detail than the x-trans sensor. (I was comparing files from the X-E2 since LR does not yet support X-T1 files.)
I then opened the files in photo ninja and the opposite was true. The fuji file had much more detail than the olympus at the same settings and was much cleaner.
Does this mean adobe just doesn’t know how to work with the x-trans files? Somehow the fuji files looked much better in this software than they do in LR.
Yes, Adobe sucks for raw conversions.
Excellent review, Steve! Despite your preference for Olympus, for the type of stock photography I do plus making poster prints, I opted for the Fuji XT-1, and a few of their superb Fujinon lenses!
Thus far, I notice two things:
1. Using good shooting technique (rigid tripod, exposure appropriate to the subject, remote shutter release, etc.), I find that the resulting images (jpegs) are so sharp OOC, that sharpening in post is now “optional”! (And I come from years of DSLR experience with various brands.)
I attribute this to the stellar optics, the X-Trans sensor, and perhaps most importantly, the absence of AF front/back focus issues.
2. Has anyone else seen this “minor” issue when using the XT-1 with a flash like the Nissin i40: When shooting at the recommended flash sync speed of 1/180 sec, every few frames has a black (underexposed) edge at the bottom, reminiscent of using too fast a shutter speed for flash synchronization.
Other than this issue, I haven’t found fault with this system.
Steve, great review. I just want to add on to your comment re the grip. I feel it too small & odd as well. But when I attach the battery grip, it changes the whole world. The whole setup feels completely different. I have the 56/1.2 attached, which is a big heavy beast (relatively to the body). Without the battery grip, the whole setup is so unbalanced and difficult to hold steady. But with the grip on, fantastic! Try & test it if you would. Cheers. Gary
So you could just as well get a full frame DSLR. D610, probably about the same size and weight as the X-T1 with the grip, and then the increase in image quality…
Try it before yelling nonsense! Yes, it’s bigger than your shxt face!
Try it before yelling nonsense, dixkhead!
From having seen an X-T1 side by side with a D600, I think you’re quite correct. But Gary has already decided how he’s going to spend his pocket money and now you’ve upset him. Poor, poor liddle Gary 🙂
Wouldn’t want to upset Gary, but there I went and did it anyhow… I thought it was quite clever how he managed to circumvent the software that’s supposed to fend off expletives.
What is up with the watercolor effect? I thought that was a problem that only early X-cameras had, and only with Lightroom.
Anyway, thanks for the review! I’m actually in the market right now for a smaller camera to replace my 60D, and all three of the cameras you’ve mentioned (A7, E-M1, and X-T1) basically ARE the shortlist. I’m not really considering much else.
So you’ve extensively compared the E-M1 and X-T1, but what about the A7 vs the X-T1? More specifically, between the A7 + Zeiss 55/1.8 and the X-T1 + XF35/1.4? Also, what do you think of Sony’s lens design approach of going for physically smaller lenses instead of large apertures? Is there still an advantage to the A7’s full frame sensor compared to the X-T1 and E-M1?
I’m really torn between getting an A7 + slower and more expensive lenses, or X-T1/E-M1 + faster and cheaper lenses.
Also wondering about this watercolor effect.
Enjoyed the review.
One of the thing I’ve noticed many people complain about is the 4-way button on the back. I’m actually quite happy that it is not easy to press. Wish the video button had been the same way or could be assigned to something else. I always press it with my index finger when adjusting EV…
Steve, again a gray review! Thanks for this. I’m selling some of my Leica Stuff to get one of these newbies, P6000 or EM1 to this one. Could you have a look at the diopter adjuster for the view finder, what range does it have? I’m on minus 4.5, and normally those go only from -3 to +3 diopter. I hate shooting with my glasses on!
Thanks for reporting this
Keep up the good work!
sorry, not a gray review but a great review. Just to avoid misunderstandings 🙂
Great revue again. Many thanks.
In another hand, I do hate you more!!!
I am on the verge to buy a new camera to go in my bag with my NEX7 for street photo.
I also have an Alpha77 that is a good camera, but what a heavy piece for walking around the streets…
So I use it time to time, just to use it again (with interest but not really with pleasure).
Now, hesitating between the EM1 and the XT1, I was longing and waiting for your revue.
As I know that you really love your EM1, I was somewhere expecting to read how the Fuji is far to compare with the Oly. But it seems that it is not so far, and low light seems to give it an extra bonus.
Please tell me, if you were in my terrible situation, what could push you to one side rather than to the other? 😉
I went to Big Camera in Bangkok on Sunday and got my hands for few minutes on both cameras.
As they are quite close technically, I wanted to let my body and feeling talk to me (like if you are chosing a beautiful ink pen for those who like writting).
I have to say that even blind eyes, the EM1 gave me some more (very) good vibrations.
The grip first. This is like you shake hands with a new sport partner and you know that this will be OK.
I consider that the first feeling when taking the camera is very important. It is a tool. It can be a fantastic or very basic tool, but a tool. If you feel it good, right in your hand, surely it is a good start.
Second feeling test wast to bring it up to my eye and focus.
I have again to say that the EM1 was just THE one to make me feel that it will be OK for some fast shooting in the street. The Oly EVF is perfectly feeting with my eye, and even second to the Fuji, it is a great EVF.
Then, started some few settings and manipulation before the other customers asked me if I was going to buy or to go back home, hahahaha…
Told them that I will surely go back home, but still didn’t know with which new friend…
And today, I read your revue… It is nearly 01:00 AM here in Bangkok and I cannot sleep….
Thank you Steve!!!!
I think you answered your own question without realizing it! Sounds like you fell for the E-m1 after handling them both 🙂
Yes Steve. Just testing you to know If you were going to tell it…
I do think the EM1 is the matching for me. Maybe with some regrets not to be able to afford both as XT1 is a nice piece as well.
But surely, I am confident in EM1 for my kind of photos.
Again, such an excellent and straight forward review. Always bang on with my experience with both Fuji and Olympus.Thanks so much for doing this.
Great review steve! For me using the xt1 was like being in a happy marriage then finding out your wife cheated on you. The first heartbreak was the tbumbpad then the final blow was the autofocus and coming to the realization I’m never going to have blazing autofocus. So its a new day and after using x cameras for over a year its time to get my groove back with the sexy em1! Thanks Steve for all your articles and helping see the light!
I thought you do “real world reviews”, in which 100% crops wouldn’t matter as much.. so wouldn’t your argument that the oly has better 100% crops compared to the x-t1 not be a relative argument? Just playing devils advocate.
Sorry, I think people colors are excellent and Jpegs are perhaps one of their better strong points. But very one has their opions.
This was THE review I have been anticipating for a while now. It did not disappoint but I feel as if Fuji was too hasty again in its race to compete with the Olympus EM-1. This is also the first review that questioned Fuji for not including the hybrid OVF/EVF in the X-T1. Every other reviewer seems snowed by Fuji’s brilliant EVF that they don’t question why Fuji left out the OVF option. Not Steve. He calls it like he sees it. The hybrid viewfinder is one of the few areas that make a Fuji camera so special. So why not include it here? It’s because Fuji’s X-T1 is trying to hard to be a clone of the Olympus E-M1. Mimicry is the best form of flattery.
Of all Steve’s user-centric, no-BS reviews to date, this is the one I’ve appreciated the most.
Since ditching DSLRs to get more mobility, I’ve gradually settled on an Olympus system as my all-around best compromise (while keeping my previous Panasonic GH2 for video.) As Steve says, the image stabilization (which has made a huge difference for me) and stellar fixed-focal-length lens lineup are hard to beat.
But I’ve sometimes wished for better high-ISO performance — and the X-T 1’s rave reviews on Fuji fan websites, plus slightly smoother-looking example pictures in comparative reviews, made me wonder if I might need to bite the bullet and switch.
But it was a highly fraught question because of the Fuji system’s downsides — for example: no stabilization, except on a couple of zooms; no wireless TTL flash; occasional weirdness associated with the X-Tran sensor; and the fact that Fuji doesn’t have a lens comparable to the Olympus 75/1.8, which I use a lot. Oh, yeah, and the fact that a bare-bones Fuji system (body, grip, two lenses) would be on the far side of US $3000. Which would be the better tradeoff?
Now, thanks to Steve’s insight, I’m ready to conclude that the X-T 1 would be a great choice for someone who likes Fuji JPEG colors and prefers cameras with lots of knobs. But I’m not that someone, so I can keep my money in my pocket. Whew, that’s a relief! Thanks…
How do you like Oly 75mm lens for portraits? Have been thinking about getting one and it gets great reviews on Olympus fan sites but don’t quite trust them. Wondering if I should add it to my E-M5-kit though.
The Olympus 75 is an amazing lens, one of Olympus’s best lenses, period. If 150mm is ok with you, the 75 is fantastic. Superb build, feel and speed.
The 75mm is a stellar razor sharp lens without color problems ( I use it on a em5 ). I’m not fond off 150mm focal length but the super IQ make me using it a lot!
Be carefull, avoid holding the oly 75mm without gloves, it’s so sharp you will cut your fingers.
( I own both a fuji and an oly camera, I am not a fanboy off one or another brand. I like the fuji for their ovf and direct control, I like the oly because it’s so easy to use )
Duke – I gotta second what Steve said.
The M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8 is actually being universally praised as one of the best lenses made today, perhaps not quite as good as the Zeiss 55mm f/1.4 Otus Distagon T* (which many are calling the best lens on the planet right now), but every bit as good as the legendary AF-S Nikkor 200mm f/2G ED VR II.
DxO rates the 75mm as the best m4/3 lens on the market. Full stop.
Re Duke’s question: I usually use the Olympus 45 for posed portraits, rather than the 75, simply because the 45 lets me stay close enough to converse easily with the subject. The 75 is ideal for “documentary” portraiture, when you want tightly-composed images of people’s facial expressions without intruding on their activities, and it’s also great for photographing performers onstage etc.
Fuji would need to add something along the lines of a 90mm f/1.8 or 100mm f/2 lens to get similar capability, and a lens with these specs could still be compact enough to handle nicely on the X-T 1 body. But to get the most out of such a lens in low-light shooting, I feel image stabilization is a necessity — something Fuji doesn’t seem to “get” yet.
Get the 75mm. Together with the 12mm it is one of the must-have lenses for micro four thirds in my opinion. To have such a stellar 150mm eq. lens in such a small package is priceless.
Your comment on continuous AF was a bit puzzling. While I don’t have the EM-1, I don’t recall any reviews raving about its low light AF tracking ability. Fast AF yes. In shooting at the beach with people walking toward me, running toward me, running away, etc. the CAF got every shot but one in 36 shots. This was in good light so I don’t know yet how well it tracks in low light. None-the-less, amazing performance for an APS-C.
The E-M1 has better continuous AF than the Fuji. Take it for what it is, the truth 🙂 I had no issues with CAF on the E-M1, then again, depends on the lens you are using.
The X-T1 video review from the Camera Store said the Continuous AF works very well with a “Predictive AF” in their system. Fast forward to the 6:10 Mark, it seems to hold up well.
Here’s also the E-M1 Continuous AF, FF to the 8:20 Mark.
In my opinion, the X-T1 is better. more frames plus more keepers. I’m sure lens selection and brightness plays a part too, but the X-T1 has 8 frames to the E-M1’s 6.
Large car kinda close vs a bike further away at a skate park ?
Not equal comparison IMHO 🙂
This is the one place you diverge from pretty much all of the other reviewers – they’re pretty much unanimous in saying the XT1 has the best tracking AF in continuous / burst mode of any mirrorless camera yet (other than the Nikon V1 / J1). I have the EM1 and the XT1 but I never really shoot continuous so I can’t really be the judge, but this is a pretty universal finding other than your review.
I agree with you on the very small difference between Fuji and Olympus IQ – I love ’em both but they’re very different and I don’t find one with a clear advantage over the other except in the qualitative (non-measurable) look of the files.
Steve, it seems that we are going from “in your opinion” to “matter of fact” statements … the claim that EM1 has better CAF is as bad as your claim in these comments that it has “huge” DR and you can’t get the highlights to blowout … this statement regarding dynamic range is of Rockwell proportions. I would like to see you defend your statement, how about taking a simple test of shooting your hand against a blown out white sky …. lets see the JPEG and RAW results between the EM1 and a few different cameras …. for the record, I already know what the results will look like but I just want to see you put your claim to the test for all your readers to see …
I like the way you review cameras and the nature of this site, but if you’re going to make statements like these then you really need to back them up.
I speak from facts and experience, period. Even the E-M5 handily beat the X-Pro 1 (and others) in DR:
I have yet to blow out anything with an E-M1, just does not want to happen (though I have done it purposely to test recovery), even in the blistering Phoenix mid day sun. I am not lying or making it up, it comes from real life shooting experience, period.
I’ve backed it up many times with many DR posts on this blog.
But it is not just me showing this, many others have discovered the huge DR of the OM-D series:
You do not have to like what I say, but I always speak the truth and from real experience, not just to write for the sake of writing.
While Michael Reichmann had many good things to say about the X-T1, he decided that it failed to meet his needs because “the lack of precise exposure indication at time of exposure, or even immediately afterwards, is a real limitation. Also, as noted above, because my photography covers a variety of subjects and styles, I often need to switch shooting modes and settings quickly in response to changing situations. The need to do so one control at a time on the X-T1, rather than with a custom setting group on a single custom function button, limits what I can do with the camera for my type of shooting.”
I could swear that’s Michael Reichmann in the ‘blown highlights?’ shot
What Reichman is telling is rubbish.
He means that EVERY camera not having presets (Leica, Hasselblad, you name it) is worthless.
He seems to need a camera that shift lenses itself blazing fast, in case he is doing wide angle photography and suddenly a gorgeous blonde passes by one block away.
“He means that EVERY camera not having presets (Leica, Hasselblad, you name it) is worthless.” – re-read it, he actually used to shoot Hasselblad and Leica, he looked at X-T1 as a competitor to Oly and he is correct, good all-rounder is E-M1.
As an X-Pro1 owner (when it was first released) the XT1 looks like a great camera, with most of the issues of the X-Pro1 sorted out. That said, I’m in no rush to buy one and will be keeping the XPro1. My hope is that there will eventually be an XPro2 with some of the newer tech that is showcased in the XT1. I like the slightly bigger size, the XT1 is just a bit small for me.
I think the biggest reason to fo Fuji is the amazing lenses they have released in a short period of time. The new 23mm is just awesome, and I am hoping to try out the new UW zoom.
The “new thing” you are mentioning on few occasions here coming to you in April/May – new Leica T? 🙂
Pretty much what I was thinking…
I hope Clint’s thinking is correct…
Good review, Steve. I shoot sports, weddings, events, and musicians in clubs. I used to shoot Canon, but when the time came to replace my 1D-Mark III and the choice was a too-expensive 1D-X, I switched to Sony. It was your reports, as well as Kirk Tuck’s, that led me to the Sonys and the EVF, not to mention the high frame rates for a bargain price, compared to Canon and Nikon. I had a Fuji x100 for a while, but the slow focus was a deal killer. Took a detour down NEX lane, and I have to say the CZ 24 is great. But the NEXs had menu issues for me. Even when I was shooting with the settings I wanted, it seemed a brush with the wrong button would change them, and then I was back to menu diving instead of shooting. I recently sold all the NEX stuff, but am still shooting with with the a77 and the great 70-200 and 100-400 Sony G lenses. Enter the Fuji x-T1. I’ve had it about two weeks, used it at a basketball game, in a jazz club, and for general walk-around shooting. I love it! It reminds me of the setup I had years ago, Leica M4 and 21, 35, 50 and 90 lenses. At the basketball game it gave great color and IQ, but there were times, especially with the 55-200, that it just couldn’t keep up with the focus. Bottom line, Fuji not yet a sports shooter, but for everything else, especially those low light clubs, it’s wonderful, and my new favorite.
Great to hear, enjoy it!
Really good review, better than other ones that I’ve seen which seem to gloss over any weaknesses.
Your demonstration of the water fall effect and NR is eye opening for me.
Thanks Huss, glad you enjoyed it.
Aaargh, Steve, what happened to your thumb (first pic)? Can´t see that!
My thumb has the ability to bend far back, ever since I was a child. In pictures it always looks odd.. 🙂
Great review! After recently evaluated Olympus EM-5 vs Fuji XE1 and A1, I must say I don´t like the X-trans algorithm “intelligent smearing”. Printing large (close to A2), and the image get´s a feel like plastic.XA1 is Bayer and it´s files are better. Looking at the m43 of EM5: Yes – more grain but also more detail. And that is 200 ASA and A4 print……
The smaller m43 lenses + the in body IS made me decide for Olympus.
For really great IQ I use Nikon D800, best resolution of all non-MF cameras. And 0.5 kg heavier (0.3 vs Leica) – how heavy is that really? 😉
Per, are you shooting RAW on the X-T1?
I always use RAW! In this case on Fuji XE1/XA1 and Oly EM5
just jumping in here – you’re forgetting Merrills 😉 they are close to MF quality, but just in acuity, there’s nothing like output from good MF back (I have older Aptus 75S and beats D800’s output easily)
Hey Steve, I have been using E-M5 with the Panny 25/1.4 for over a year now but now deciding whether to make a switch to X-T1 just because the Fuji’s controls bring back my good memories of shooting with Nikon FM2.
Do you have any take on E-M5 vs. X-T1 when it comes to:
a. AF speed (the AF on my E-M5 are on when I photographs my 3 years old daughter)
c. Prospect of living without the E-M5’s IS on both photo and video shoots
Thanks so much for your help 🙂
AF speed will be close between the E-M5 and X-T1 with the E-M5 edging it out. The E-M1 and E-M5 are close as it is with better continuous on the E-M1. The XT1 is nice, and is the fastest Fuji in operation and AF but the E-M5 will edge it out most of the time. With some lenses though the Fuji will be even steven. The Fuji is not a camera for video..at least in my opinion.
What about the potential impact of Fuji firmware upgrades that they are famous for on the issues you bring up in the review?
I think I mentioned that…Fuji is the best with FW updates by far so I expect them to bring them on as always. FW can not fix physical limitations (thumb pad) but can possibly fix other things. I think the watercolor effect is part of the X-Trans sensor though.
I have been using the Adobe DNG converter that supports RAW files from the X-T1 and the watercolor issues are not there with RAW files. I think this has something to do with the JPEG processing either in-camera or combined with Lightroom. Soon Lightroom will support RAW files from the X-T1 and I hope Steve updates his review when this happens.
Now this is a Quality and Open Minded Review! I own both the E-M1 and the X-T1 and love both. I keep the 17mm on the E-M1 and the 35mm on the X-T1. I have picked up the Fuji 27mm from B&H for $199. I have not used it much yet to evaluate. The X-T1 has some great looking colors to me. I shoot it in RAW/JPEG Fine Quality with the Film Simulation set to Astia. I set my Bracketing Switch for Film Simulation Bracketing and have picked Astia, B&W Yellow and B&W Green. The B&W Green is great for rendition of skin tones. I have tended to use the X-T1 more, but maybe it is just because it is newer. Outdoors, I use the X-T1 on aperture setting and usually try to leave the ISO at 200 or 400. Indoors the Auto ISO works well for me, set at the limits of 200 and 3200 for the maximum. I shoot the Fuji at as large an aperture as possible taking the very bright Midwestern sun into consideration. The Wi-Fi works smoothly for remote control and getting the pics into my Android Phone and Tablet. I prefer my Android App “Geotag Photos Pro” for geotagging my images. (Because of Low Battery drain on Phone and Camera with this App and there is no time limit on recording the location). I hate the small buttons on the 4-way controller. I have a problem with mistakenly starting the video by touching the “Red” Record Button. (Can this be shut off or designated to perform another task?) The Cover door over the USB and Mic connections is never staying shut well. So I have a little piece of Gaffer Tape over it. I can not complain, I feel that I now have most of the pleasure I had back in 1967 to 1999 using my Pentax, Minolta’s, Hanimex Praktica, and Nikon FM bodies. I am excited to walk around the old towns with this little machine. So… for awhile, I am keeping both the E-M1 and the X-T1. These seem to be the only systems that deliver the types of pictures that I like to make and are very affordable systems to buy into.
Fantastic review Steve…clearly you’ve put the new Fuji through its paces and then some. One comment has me a bit puzzled: You say; “I own a Leica M 240 with a 15 and 50mm lens. Love it to death. The IQ cannot be reckoned with by anything I have seen but one camera, the Sony RX1.” Focal lengths aside, do you really consider the RX1 to be superior to the a7R with the 55 1,8 FE?
I’m going to step in and try to predict what Steve my say. In pure resolution and sharpest terms, the A7R will win, that’s just physics. For IQ, I’m going to go for the RX1.
This is also my personal view too. RX1 is an amazeballs camera.
I disagree with your prediction; I think he’ll quantify the remark as opposed to giving a vague answer.
I don’t think it’s vague. If you want pure painstakingly sharp images, then sure go ahead and pick the A7R and FE55mm as it’s obvious sharpness = better IQ but the RX1 exhibits better DR, better noise characteristic/control and better colour management in post as well has having better micro-contrast. It’s only one man’s opinion but since I have been shooting with both for the past 4/5 months, I understand how each would react in different circumstances and I would, hand on heart, say that the RX1 is the better choice.
It is true and not true. If you have such an high resolution, just like with the D800 and of course also medium format cameras, be prepared to invest in the very best glass, use a sturdy tripod, remote control and take care of anything that might cause vibration to benefit from this resolution. Otherwise, even a 12MP camera might deliver you the same result. Last but not least, I don’t know how it’s with Sony, but for the D800 you’ll never see the true resolution if you’re using LR or Aperture. Only the Nikon RAW conversion tools like View & Capture NX will deliver you the full sharpness an detail. A lot of people go VERY WRONG regarding this approach.
Would you think the difference, if any, would be relevant in “real world” photography terms? I don’t.
Hey Scott, I do feel the RX1 and RX1 has something over the A7 and A7r for IQ and I feel it is due to the lens on the RX1/RX1r. The files are sharper, richer, better color, can be focused closer, etc.
Nice Review but I read your Nikon DF review first and purchased that instead.I use DF and X100S together and still have XE1 and 50mm. So no more room and no more money.
Terrific review, Steve. Even with all the other reviews of the X-T1, I have been looking forward to yours, and you have not disappointed. Thanks for the time and energy you have put into this, and your frank assessment. I appreciate too your comments on the kit zoom and some of the primes. As an X100 and X100s owner, I am already a Fujifilm fan, but my itch for a greater variety of lens lengths is propelling me toward the X-T1 and some of the very lenses you have suggested.
Question: I’m in Japan. Is there a way I can support you from here (e.g. Amazon Japan)?
Thanks Ken! Appreciate it. I do not have an Amazon acct set up for Japan, but that is OK, as long as you enjoy the reviews and reports that is all that matters!
Lovely B&W image of your sunlit partner posing on the couch.
Ok Steve. You keeping it or not. You said you don’t have room for it in your collection of cameras then in the lacrosse part you said you will be keeping it.
That was BRAD HUSICK’s statement in the LaCross Section. He write that little piece, not me. I will not be keeping an X-T1.
Fantastic, comprehensive post as always, Steve. Keep up the good work! Cheers from Ballarat, Australia!