Review: FujiFilm X-T1

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I recently had the opportunity to rent the FujiFilm X-T1 to take with me to my sister's wedding. Not wanting, or needing, to travel with my complete camera kit I chose the X-T1 and a single 35mm F1.4 XF R lens for the combo's compact size and the stunning images being produced by the combination on the internet.

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overland travel, DP Review, Digital Photo Magazine, Fuji Love, Mirrorless, AdoramaI am not going to bore you with all of the camera's specifications but these were the ones that drove my interest in testing the camera:
  • Image Sensor: 16.3 effective million pixel X-Trans CMOS II with primary color filter
  • Movie File Format: MOV
  • Movie Video Compression: H.264
  • WiFi Connectivity: Yes
  • Price: $1,299.95
My thoughts:
I must be honest, I have always been a fan of FujiFilm. We have owned a couple of their point and shoot cameras over the years, and I loved how easy they were to use. After I made the jump to DSLR cameras I continued to pack around our FujiFilm Point and Shoot on family trips. There is something about how their sensors and processors render colors that cannot be matched by the other camera companies. Fuji cameras just produce beautiful images. I was pleased to find the X-T1 I rented to have stayed true to what I have come to love about the brand. The controls were intuitive and the sensor, combined with the 35mm F1.4 lens, produced images and video with beautiful colors.

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Now I can go on and on about all of the camera specs, and how well it handles high ISO and how small the camera is but you can read about that in other reviews. To be honest, I wasn't going to take the time to write a review of the camera because there is so much good information out there on it. It wasn't until I had to mail it back that I decided most reviews missed an imperative factor, and that is how the camera made me feel - empowered.

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Image captured using FujiFilm's Camera Remote App and processed through Snapspeed
I was worried that, in getting the camera the day I flew out, I would have a hard time using it but this proved not to be the case. Although I am now used to making all of these adjustments via the scroll wheels on my Nikon cameras, it took no time to transition to the FujiFilm setup. I loved the ability to make all of my exposure adjustments via the dials on top of the camera and the aperture ring on the lens.

Shooting with the X-T1 made me a bit nostalgic, having grown up photographing our family vacations with a Pentax K1000 that (I believe) is older than me. Having the ability to quickly switch from shooting stills to video came in handy on a couple of occasions. Despite having an utter lack of understanding on what settings to use to capture a quality video, I think the camera proved to make up for my deficiencies.

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I mentioned earlier how the camera made me feel empowered. I know this probably sounds silly to you but unlike my DSLRs, which are heavy and bulky, the X-T1 and 35mm never weighed me down, and I wore the combo over my shoulder all morning and throughout the reception. I only took put the setup down for the ceremony and family photos. This, combined with ease of use and quick response time, gave me the confidence to try and capture intimate moments as my family celebrated my sister's wedding.

Not only would I recommend the X-T1 to anyone looking for a compact mirrorless camera but I wouldn't be surprised if I ended up purchasing one within the next year. Overall, I found the camera to be a joy to shoot and was again pleased when I returned home to begin reviewing the images and video I captured. I am so glad I took the time to rent this combination for the wedding. I was able to catch a few of my family's intimate moments during my sister's wedding that I don't think would have been possible while lugging around my D700 and 24-70.

*Update Oct. 2016:
It has been over a year since I rented the X-T1 and I am happy to announce that I recently purchased a used copy to add to my camera kit. Be sure to check back for more FujiFilm equipment reviews in the future.

I will be taking advantage of KEH's 'Sell Your Gear' program to trade in some of my old Nikon gear for new FujiFilm lenses.


Overland Expo, Living Overland, ToyotaBeau Johnston is an engineer, writer, and photographer who is dedicated to proving you can find a balance between work and life. He is the Co-Founder and Publisher of Living Overland and a member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. When he isn't working, you can find him exploring National Parks, fly fishing, and camping with his wife (Krista) and their two dogs.


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