After reading a Fujifilm Xt-1 review from fellow wedding photographer and friend Julian Wainright, I decided to pick up a used Fujifilm XT-1 while I was in Hong Kong to use as my ‘go light’ walking around camera.
Traveling with enough gear to shoot a wedding and an underwater assignment can be daunting at times, and I didn’t want to carry one of my main cameras because of the size and weight. But as a documentarian, and someone who truly loves photojournalism, I know how important it is to always have a camera with me.
So that’s where the Fujifilm XT-1 comes in. I have now shot with this little camera in Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand, Bali and even used it as my primary camera on a pre wedding shoot. Here are my thoughts…
The size of this camera is by far its most advantageous quality – and the main reason that I love it. I don’t ever hesitate to carry this camera, even if I plan to walk around all day. I just sling this lil’ guy over my shoulder and I hardly know it’s there. After using this camera for a few days your DSLR will feel like a tank!
I have only used the Fujifilm 23mm with this camera and I really have no interest to shoot it with anything else. It’s a great piece of glass and the quality is amazing. I do however, wish the lens was shorter and more like some of my old Nikon D primes.
I can’t help but feel like I’m Robert Capa with his Leica when I’m holding this camera. With something this small, it feels like I’m on a top-secret photo mission documenting the social struggle between two warn-torn countries.
I think the files this camera produces are great. Obviously it doesn’t have the same high dynamic range that our pro DSLR’s do, when you bring up the shadows or exposure in post, you will incur a lot more grain, but I don’t really mind. Comparing this to one of my high-end Nikon cameras is like comparing apples to oranges.
I will say that the Fujifilm glass rivals that of Nikon, so when you get a sharp frame it really is a SHARP frame. I also like the color toning of the files that it provides, and I find that I don’t have to fix the reds in peoples’ skin tones as much as I have to with my Nikons. Lastly, the contrast on the files is super nice, I am always impressed with how good things look straight out of the camera.
So this is something that totally bugs me. I just don’t like electric viewfinders, and to save battery life, I have this one set so that it turns on when I bring my eye to the camera (with NO image playback on the LCD). Obviously this means there’s going to be a lag time, but the viewfinder is a major reason why this camera is so compact.
Basically, I learned to just deal with it, and try to make sure I am prepared for the shot before the peaking moment happens. Because I have this camera set to NOT playback the image on the back LCD I am never chimping, and always focused on working the scene.
This was my major problem with the Fujifilm X Pro – 1. To put it bluntly, the AF on the X Pro was complete crap. The Focus on the XT-1 is good and as long as I was shooting it all the time at F1.4 – I found that I rarely missed any shots as a result of focus. I am a focus and recompose shooter at heart, so I try my very best to grab focus and let my subject walk into the frame to get the composition I want.
I do miss some shots due to the “action” on the shutter, but I would miss a lot more shots if I didn’t have a camera on me due to weight issues. I find that I can’t rip of frames with this camera like I can on my Nikons, so I end up waiting for the moment to peak and only grabbing one frame. I never shoot much film anyway so it’s nothing new. I wait to see exactly what I want and then press the shutter, this demands a much more mindful shooting style, which has to be a good thing, right?
Suuuuuuuckkkks!!! I am so spoiled with the battery life on my Nikon cameras. With this camera you must ALWAYS have a backup battery on you. It’s guaranteed you will need it.
I shot this camera when it was pouring rain and it did just fine. I was tromping around in the rice fields of Vietnam, getting frames of field workers with out any problem. I did have a poncho and ball cap to help protect the camera, but it was DUMPING and the camera performed fine plus had no problems the next day.
There are a lot of ways to go about it, but I’ll share with you briefly what has worked for me. Whenever I shoot with this camera, I always start by setting the ISO, it’s the first thing I set and the last thing I change. Then I set my shutter speed and leave it at that speed unless my lighting conditions change dramatically.
Then I use the F-stop focus ring to adjust my aperture and this is how I control my exposure. The functionality of this camera just isn’t that of a DSLR, so this is how I’ve adjusted to become as fast as possible. In theory, I’m not really choosing my depth of field, but letting the lighting conditions choose it for me. However, I am always conscious when I drop my F-stop below 2.8 – because this can have a bearing on my composition. The easy thing with this camera is that the exposure is shown through the electronic viewfinder in real time, so it makes it pretty dummy proof to get what you want. Again I’m mostly in the habit of under-exposing so I can get as much detail out of my files as possible. This little hack or modification has helped me greatly to increase my speed with this camera.
This is powerful little machine is perfect for anyone who’s looking for a lightweight photojournalism camera. I have especially noticed with this camera that I’m a lot less intrusive in peoples’ space, and they seem to forget about me faster because I’m not pointing a big camera at them.
This camera is also very quiet, which helps with being stealthy. Personally I think that the price point on the Fujifilm XT-1 is a little high, but I’m excited to see how the technology for these cameras improves in the years to come, I predict they will become more affordable. Overall, I would recommend this camera to anyone looking for a reliable lightweight travel camera that provides pro-quality images.