Hands on with the Fujifilm X-T1

Fujifilm X-T1 hands on blog

Sometimes I love my job…

About two weeks ago a special package arrived from head office in Japan. The special package contained a bunch of pre-production X-T1 cameras and was duly raided by the team. Being part of the initial raiding party, I managed to bag one to play with – I mean, thoroughly test – for a few days. This post will take you through my first thoughts as I got to grips with this lovely new camera.

As it’s a pre-production camera, it’s hard to judge the image quality itself so that’s not really covered here. What is covered is how it feels to use it, and my opinion on the new features that are unique to the X-T1 compared to the other cameras in the X series range.

First impressions – look and feel

I’d seen plenty of pictures of the camera before this point, and even a mock-up “real” camera a few months ago, but I was still surprised with how small it was. Even so, my hands fit the grip very well and I felt that all of the controls were laid out in easy to reach places from my fingers with minimal hand readjustment. The grip makes it very comfortable to hold with one hand and being a “lefty” with my eye, having the EVF in the middle rather than on the left makes it feel a bit more comfortable to shoot.

Personally I could live without the ISO dial because I change it fairly infrequently anyway, but no harm in it being there, however moving the “Drive” menu onto a dial at the top is pretty cool and useful for switching between normal and continuous shooting.

I think it’ll take a few more hours of shooting to unlearn my muscle memory that using an X100S for the last few months has given me but obviously the crucial things are still in the right place.


Prepare to be amazed. This thing is seriously good. It was sunny when we got them so I took the camera out into the natural light and was seriously impressed. Yes you can tell it’s an EVF as you move around fast but only because you’re trying to tell. The response is something else and it really is seriously close to an OVF. When you turn the camera vertically, the GUI automatically changes to always display your settings the right way up and the fonts and vectors that make up the display are really clear and legible while not disturbing the view of your subject. And the level of detail is amazing. Definitely get yourself into a camera store and have a go at this thing if you don’t believe me.

The tilting screen

Note: This image is of a pre-production model. The SD slot cover on the final version has the same finish as the rest of the body
“Word up, pops”

I’ve used the X-M1 a few times and although the lack of viewfinder makes certain things difficult, I always seemed to find a use for the tilting screen. Whether I’m shooting kittens skittering around my kitchen floor and don’t fancy laying down there with them (see image to the right), or trying to shoot over the top of a bunch of people’s heads, the tilting LCD is a nice feature and I’m pretty sure it’ll get a lot of use.

Auto Focus

It’s fast. I have an X100S and I’m used to how it focuses. I also have a pair of jet black kittens that don’t exactly sit still and wait for me to shoot them. The X-T1 locks onto the kittens very fast, even in fairly low light and definitely felt better than my X100S, despite on paper being pretty much the same. Could’ve just been my wishful thinking so I’ll keep an eye out to see how other people find the focusing.

Manual Focus – Focus peaking + dual screen mode

Being able to change the colour of the focus peak highlight is a nice option. Hopefully we’ll see it added to previous models via a firmware update. There’s also a nice feature that lets you use dual screen to frame your shot while also accurately focusing. The focus peaking feature still works but obviously it’s not as clear to see as if you were using the full screen with the “focus assist” button pressed. Although my images above are of the screen, the EVF does the same and is more effective.

Here’s a video published by FujifilmGlobal that demonstrates the dual screen:

Continuous shooting

According to the specs, this thing will shoot 47 shots in FINE jpeg mode while in High Speed Shooting mode. According to my rough and ready “see-how-many-times-you-can-count-to-ten-and-start-again” method of trying to count the frames, I think this is pretty darn accurate. Also, in RAW mode it seems to take about 36 shots before it slows down. Impressive stuff.

Setting the multiple function buttons

This is a lovely little UI feature to go with an amazingly good usability feature. The X-T1 has SIX (not one, not two, yes six) function buttons and they can all be customised to do whatever you want (within reason). This lovely little menu system lets you easily see which button you are changing to help you set up exactly how you want. I imagine once you’ve been using this camera a while you won’t need a visual key to show you which button is which, but certainly a nice little touch to help you get to grips with it at first.

Remote shooting

I tried a dev version of the app but this feature is something special. Install an App on your SmartPhone (I was using an Android), link the devices together and you then get a live view of what the camera is looking at on your phone. All of the dials on the camera and then ignored and you change change shutter speed, aperture, sensitivity, white balance and film simulation. Just like on the screen/EVF of the camera when shooting normally, the brightest of the live view image updates to reflect what the exposure is likely to be like based on your settings. You can also touch anywhere on the live view and the camera will use that as the focus point for autofocus – nifty! I can imagine a lot of people will love this feature.

11 / 7

Time lapse photography

You can set the length of interval, number of shots, and how long until it starts to shoot. You then set it on its way and the camera does the rest. The camera powers down after each shot to conserve the battery. It’ll wake up if you press any buttons and display how many frames it has captured and how long until the next frame.

Thanks for reading. If there’s any specific features of the camera that I’ve not covered here and you would like to know more about, please feel free to post a comment or send me a Tweet and I can update the post in the future. Check out the Fujifilm UK website for further product information and specifications.

54 thoughts on “Hands on with the Fujifilm X-T1”

  1. Mike Hardisty – Landscape photography is a very important part of my life. Capturing the ever changing scenery gives me a sense of discovery. Photography in the mountains or on the coast, experiencing changing light and weather conditions, is a continuous learning process and gives me the freedom to think and live.
    Mike Hardisty says:

    Hi Marc. What about auto-bracketing? Is it still -1,0,+1 range? I like the specs of some of the newer cameras but that range is the limiting factor for me as most of my photographs are HDR.

    1. Yes it does only have -1, 0 and +1 (and the same at 1/3s and 2/3s) I’m afraid. Perhaps something that could be altered by a firmware update so we’ll pass on the request and keep our fingers crossed. Marc

      1. It certainly could be fixed in FW. I guess we’ll have to convince our favorite Fuji Reps to suggest this feature request to Japan, again 😉

      2. Mike Hardisty – Landscape photography is a very important part of my life. Capturing the ever changing scenery gives me a sense of discovery. Photography in the mountains or on the coast, experiencing changing light and weather conditions, is a continuous learning process and gives me the freedom to think and live.
        Mike Hardisty says:

        Fuji must me the only camera manufacturer who give such a limited range for auto-bracketing throughout all of their camera range. It’s one of the reasons I had to switch to another manufacturer.

        But if they were to consider implementing a greater range I could be convinced to switch back as I’m looking to replace my DSLR soon.

      3. As a raw shooter I find +/-1 EV provides little benefit over a single frame. In diabolical light and important moments I really miss the safety net of my DSLRs bracketing.
        HDR can be done on a tripod with the app, but my occasional hand held shot is no longer possible.
        A firmware update allowing -3 0 +3 or better would be greatly appreciated.
        And kudos for the firmware feature updates, fuji’s dedication to its existing customers is refreshing

    2. If you know how to expose properly, you will never need more than +/-1 stop of bracketing. And no, HDR is not needed either (especially given Fuji’s excellent 400% dynamic range setting).

      1. So much nonsense. Because you do not see the usefulness of bracketing or HDR doesn’t mean others don’t. Personally I do a lot of panoramic/landscape photography and especially 360 VR panoramas, which cannot be done properly in most cases without multiple exposures. Try that when you have both full sun and shadows at the same time on your pictures. As much as I would love to own a camera like this one, especially with the 10-24mm lens, the limited bracketing option makes it impossible for me to use something like this with the kind of photography I like to do. Not everyone spend their time taking snapshots of strangers in the street. There are *other* types of photography…

      2. We’ve requested selectable 3 / 5 / 7 frames for bracketing. The development team are considering it for future firmware updates / product launches

  2. Thank you for this great hands on review Marc!

    I was really interested if the live view remote WiFi will be included. Awesome feature! ISO wheel, weather sealed, much improved EVF…

    I’ll take a X-T1 in a X-Pro 2 housing 😉

  3. Thanks for this first look Marc. It’s an interesting camera and I hope it will mean there’s no longer a need for a DSLR for any type of photography?

    It looks like the four way pad on the back is now four separate Fn buttons? How does this effect moving the focus points? Are focus points still moved in the same way as the X-Pro1, X-E1/2?


    1. They are unaffected. I’ve got the “down button” (aka Fn6) to “Focus Area”. As soon as you press it the display changes to show the 49 focus points. Now the up, down, left and right keys work as they do on the other cameras to allow you to change it. You can also change the size of the focus box by using either of the command wheels (there’s one on the front as well as the back). Marc

      1. Unfortunately not. The View Mode button is on the side of the “pentaprism block”. Full list of controls that can be set to any of the Fn buttons are:

        • Bracketing / Advanced filters setup
        • Macro
        • Preview Depth of Field
        • ISO Auto setting
        • Self-timer
        • Image size
        • Image quality
        • Dynamic Range
        • Film Simulation
        • White Balance
        • AF Mode
        • Focus Area
        • Select Custom Setting
        • Face Detection
        • RAW
        • Aperture Setting
        • Wireless Communication

        Also, no manual yet I’m afraid. Will let you know when we get one

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  5. Tim Shirey – Switzerland – Illustrator, photographer; multimedia and literature production with Int'l children's mission – CEF European Regional Office.
    Tim S says:

    Thanks for the hands on review …you even addressed my question about left eye viewing. 🙂

    Is the mini flash hinged to allow for tipping up?

  6. Hi Mark, nice hands on!
    How comfortable is to press AF-L button to use it as a back focus button (with focus set to manual), it seems a bit too to the side, but maybe for the small camera size is OK (on a DSLR would be so off from the normal thumb rest position). And can you switch/customize AF-L, AE-L, Focus preview buttons?

    Can you continue to adjust shutter speed with the dial past the next stop? (I believe you can fine tune shutter speed with front dial/wheel in 1/3 stops, but can you move it completely to another setting that what is set on the hardware control/knob?)

    I love hardware controls, but couldn’t you set ISO with the front or back dial/wheel? Changing ISO without taking your eye from the viewfinder would be very weird… if possible.

    A pity to have such a castrated auto AE bracketing again! And sure it’s fixable by firmware, but until now Fuji don’t think X-Camera users shoot HDR. X-Pro, X-E and X-T should have at least 5 exposures of +-2 AE’s (with the 8fps on X-T1 would be great).

    And it would be nice to change focus point directly with directional pads instead of having to press something before (even though losing 4 custom buttons).

    Until all these changes aren’t included, I will keep dreaming of them 😛


    1. > How comfortable is to press AF-L button
      My thumb sits exactly in between the AF-L button and the rear command dial so very comfortable.

      > can you switch/customize AF-L, AE-L, Focus preview buttons
      I do not think you can switch the AF-L, AE-L and Focus Preview buttons

      > adjust shutter speed with the dial past the next stop
      No you can’t. The front command dial adjusts the shutter in 1/3s of a stop, but you cant use it to over-ride the hardware dial. So for example, if the dial is set to 1/500 you can select 1/320, 1/400, 1/500, 1/640 and 1/800.

      > set ISO with the front or back dial
      You can’t currently do that but I agree it would be nice firmware addition (although I doubt it’ll happen)

  7. [Disclaimer: I know Marc from visiting the FujiFilm head office a couple of times but in no way have any association with his cats.]

    Thanks for the post Marc. It’s great to see a networked camera with so many amazing features. I have not net seen it in the flesh and may well eat my words but what’s the screen hinge for? Apart from kittens? 😉
    If you put a hinge on a screen i’d expect it to be articulated enough to be useful outside of kitchen floor shots.

    Now.. If the screen rotated round you could not only use the camera as a video blogging tool, It could be used by the loan journalist wanting to frame interviews from the front of the camera. And remote shooting when you need to view from the side and trigger the shutter from a device. Then of course there is the potential for ‘selfies’ with kittens.

    A camera can not just be a box with a hole in any more. In my opinion it has to compete with the one in our pockets.

    And this does in so many ways. It’s networked, like all smartphones. It’s weatherproof, unlike most smart phones. It has amazing build quality, unlike most smartphones. The sensor takes great photos in low light, like hardly any smartphone. It delivers haptic feedback with accessible controls, like no smartphone I have used. Yet if it enabled photos and video from the front then It would be a total no brainer for all the multimedia bloggers, lightweight photojournalists, citizen reporters and anyone wishing to work with a pocketable multimedia capture device.

    As it stands it’s a 9 out of 10 camera to me. And I am already lusting after it. It’s been a long time since I have been that impressed with first look specs.. With a fully articulated screen it would be a 10 out of 10 and I would not be sat here writing this. I’d be running to the shop.

    This is of course only my humble opinion as a devout user and admirer of the X100s. My everyday carry ..and a camera that gives me immense pleasure despite it being not even networked. Yet. *fingers crossed*

    When it comes to what I want from my tech I am the fussiest bugger I know. And still I find it hard to look at other brands. Fujifilm continue to do great things.

    1. Couldn’t agree more with all Christian’s comments. Especially “.. With a fully articulated screen it would be a 10 out of 10 and I would not be sat here writing this. I’d be running to the shop.”
      Always wanted to do ‘selfies’ with the kittens too 🙂

  8. Hi Marc,

    Many thanks to take time posting such useful and detailled contents!

    This new X-T1 looks like really promising!

    Do you have any input about the weatherproof aspect? tropicalized body? Is that true?

    BTW, what are you thoughts about tropicalized lens? From my understanding, there is no tropicalized XF lens today. 🙁

    All the best!

    1. It does have a weather-sealed body and you are correct, there will not be any weather sealed lenses available at launch.

      We will be launching three weather-resistant zoom lenses during 2014, with the XF18-135mm launching in June. The three lenses are the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, XF16-55mmF2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mmF2.8 R OIS WR.

      1. Ok, thanks for clarification 🙂 Tropicalized lens are coming 🙂 Great!

        Too bad, XF 10-24 F4R OIS is not in this listing 🙁


  9. Hi Marc. how about the evf/lcd behaviour during playback?
    actually with my XP1 and FW 3.10 i can use EFV to compose and LCD for playback, in other words actually on my XP1 is impossible to use EVF for playback (and i like it) but this seem impossible on an XE2.. how the X-T1 works in this regard? is it possible to compose on evf and play the images on LCD or you have to use the eyesensor mode?

  10. Hi Marc. Did you find yourself accidentally pressing the function button on the front of the camera? I heard it gets in the way. Also how did you find the ergonomics of the ev compensation dial? It has been reported to be too stiff to move with the thumb. Did you try AF tracking and if so how well did it work? Finally, how much lag did you experience with the evf, specifically when panning for motion? Thanks.

    1. Hi Brian,

      > Did you find yourself accidentally pressing the function button on the front of the camera?
      Nope. I didn’t notice it

      > how did you find the ergonomics of the ev compensation dial?
      It’s stiff but not unusable. Generally speaking you probably don’t want to be accidentally moving this anyway so I think it’s fine.

      > Did you try AF tracking and if so how well did it work?
      No I didn’t. Will give it a go next time there’s a camera in the office with me.

      > how much lag did you experience with the evf, specifically when panning for motion?
      Very little. You really have to move around fast to notice anything at all. One of the most impressive features of the camera

  11. I LOVE the form factor of the X-T1, and its handling of color and dynamic range.

    Alas, I have to get the Canon 70D because I need in-camera HDR for faster turn-around on real estate shots. Might buy an X-T1 too after I can save a little money.

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