Fujifilm X-T1 review: A great, flexible, but occasionally quirky ILC

The X-T1 shares the same aesthetic as the rest of the X series, with a sturdy feeling body covered in rubberized, textured material and metal. Thankfully, it has a larger, more comfortable grip than its siblings with a pronounced thumb rest. It ups the X-E2 on the dial quotient, with five: ISO sensitivity, shutter speed, exposure compensation, drive-mode and metering. A focus-mode switch sits on the front. Although unlabeled -- they're programmable -- the navigation buttons on the back default to macro, white balance, AF area and film simulation mode. You can access all other frequently needed settings using the Q button, and there are two programmable function buttons, one on top and one on the front right.

Though they don't look it, the navigation buttons are really flat with little travel, making it hard to feel them and press them precisely and quickly. Sarah Tew/CNET

As with the X-E2, you select the 1/3-stop shutter speeds between the full stops by using the back dial. The camera is designed to be used with lenses that have manual aperture rings like the 18-55mm lens that comes in the kit, but it's compatible with the newer (cheaper) no-aperture-ring lenses. If you have the higher-end lenses, you choose between manual or automatic aperture modes by flipping a switch on the lens. All in all, quite the power shooters dream.

The ISO sensitivity dial locks but the drive mode switch doesn't, and it's really easy to accidentally switch settings. Sarah Tew/CNET

There are some improvements over the X-E2, such as the dedicated movie record button and the placement of the SD card slot on the side rather than in the battery compartment, and the large, comfortable eyecup for the EVF, the X-T1 does sacrifice an on-camera flash and the threaded release socket in the shutter button.

Fujifilm X-E2 Fujifilm X-T1 Nikon 1 AW1 Olympus OM-D E-M1 Olympus OM-D E-M5 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH3
Sensor (effective resolution) 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II 14.2MP CMOS
12-bit
16.3MP Live MOS
12 bits
16.1MP Live MOS
12 bits
16.1mp Live MOS
12 bits
23.6 x 15.8mm 23.6 x 15.8mm 13.2 x 8.8mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm 17.3mm x 13mm
Focal- length multiplier 1.5x 1.5x 2.7x 2.0x 2.0x 2.0x
Sensitivity range ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/25600 (exp) ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/51200 (exp) ISO 160 - ISO 6400 ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 25600 ISO 200 - ISO 25600 ISO 180 (exp)/ 200 - ISO 3200/ 12800 (exp)
Burst shooting 3fps
unlimited JPEG/8 raw
(7fps with fixed AF)
8fps
unlimited
47 JPEG/n/a raw
15fps
n/a
(60fps with fixed focus)
6.5fps (with IS off)
unlimited JPEG/60 raw
(10fps with fixed focus and exposure, IS off)
9fps
17 JPEG/11 raw
6fps
29 raw + JPEG
Viewfinder EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
n/a
EVF
0.5-inch
2.4 million dots
100% coverage
1.2x/0.77x
None OLED EVF
n/a-inch
2.36m dots
100% coverage
1.3x - 1.48x/ 0.65x- 0.74x
EVF
n/a-inch
1.44m dots
100% coverage
1.15x/0.58x
OLED EVF
n/a-inch
1.7 million dots
100% coverage
1.42x/0.71x
Autofocus 49-area contrast AF; phase-detection AF 49-area contrast AF; phase-detection AF 73-point phase detection, 135-area Contrast AF 27-point phase detection,
81-point contrast
35-area contrast AF 23-area contrast AF
AF sensitivity range n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a
Shutter speed 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync 30-1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 60 min; 1/180 x-sync 30 - 1/16,000 sec; bulb; 1/160 x-sync 60 - 1/8000 sec; bulb to 30 minutes; 1/320 sec x-sync (Super FP to 1/8000) 60 - 1/4,000 sec.; bulb to 8 minutes; 1/250 sec x-sync (flash-dependent) 60-1/4,000 sec.; bulb
Metering 256 zones 256 zones n/a 324 area 324 area 144 zone
Metering range n/a n/a n/a -2 - 20 EV 0 - 20 EV n/a
Flash Yes Included add-on Yes Included add-on Included add-on Yes
Wireless flash No Yes No Yes Yes Yes
IS Optical Optical Optical Sensor shift Sensor shift Optical
Best video 1080/60p H.264 QuickTime MOV 1080/60p H.264 QuickTime MOV
(14 minutes)
1080/30p H.264; up to 1200fps slow motion at 320 x 120 1080/30p QuickTime MOV @ 24 Mbps 1080/60i QuickTime MOV @ 20, 17Mbps H.264 QuickTime MOV
1080/60p/ 50p @ 50Mbps; 1080/30p/ 25p/24p @ 80, 50Mbps
AVCHD
1080/60p/ 50p @ 28Mbps; 1080/24p @ 24Mbps
Audio Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input Stereo; mic input; headphone jack
LCD size 3-inch fixed LCD
1.04 million dots
3-inch fixed LCD
1.04 million dots
3-inch fixed
920,000 dots
3-inch tilting touch-screen
1.04m dots
3-inch tilting touch-screen OLED
614,000 dots
3-inch tilting touch-screen OLED
610,000 dots
Wireless Wi-Fi Wi-Fi Optional WU-1b
($59.95)
Wi-Fi None Wi-Fi
Battery life (CIPA rating) 350 shots 350 shots 220 shots (est) 350 shots 330 shots 500 shots (est)
Size (inches, WHD) 5.1 x 2.9 x 1.5 5.0 x 3.5 x 1.8 4.0 x 2.4 x 1.1 5.1 x 3.7 x 2.5 4.8 x 3.5 x 1.7 5.2 x 3.7 x 3.2
Body operating weight (ounces) 12.7 15.4 (est) 7.5 (est) 17.5 (est) 15.1 19.4 (est)
Mfr. price $999.95 (body only) $1,299.95 (body only) n/a $1,399 (body only) $949.99 (body only) $1,299.99 (body only)
$1,399.95 (with 18-55mm XF lens) $1,699.95 (with 18-55mm f2.8-4 lens) $749.95 (with 11-27.5mm lens) n/a $1,199.99 (with 12-50mm lens) n/a
n/a n/a $949.95 (with 11-27.5mm and 10mm lenses) n/a $1,099.99 (with 14-42mm lens) n/a
Ship date November 2013 February 2014 October 2013 October 2013 April 2012 September 2012

Except for the missing flash and a wish for NFC -- connecting to my Android phone was more finicky than I'd like, though connecting to my iPad was pretty painless -- I have no complaints about the X-T1's feature set, which also includes an intervalometer mode. Fujifilm's Camera Remote app is one of the more full-featured control and transfer apps available. For a complete accounting of the X-T1's features and operation, download the PDF manual.

The company has three forthcoming weather-resistant lenses on its 2014 roadmap -- the XF18-135mmF3.5-5.6 R OIS WR, XF16-55mmF2.8 R OIS WR and the XF50-140mmF2.8 R OIS WR -- and the 18-135mm lens is slated to ship in May. Keep in mind that the 18-55mm kit lens is not sealed, however.

Shooting speed in seconds
(Shorter bars indicate better performance)
Time to first shot
Raw shot-to-shot time
Typical shot-to-shot time
Shutter lag (dim)
Shutter lag (typical)

Olympus OM-D E-M1
0.8
0.2
0.2
0.2
0.2
Sony Alpha NEX-6
2
0.2
0.2
0.5
0.2
Sony Alpha ILCE-7R
2.2
0.5
0.4
0.9
0.3
Sony Alpha ILCE-7
2.8
0.2
0.2
0.4
0.4
Fujifilm X-E2
1.4
1.1
1
0.4
0.4
Fujifilm X-T1
1.5
0.8
0.8
0.4
0.5

Typical continuous-shooting speed (frames per second)
(Longer bars indicate better performance)
*The X-E2 only supports continuous autofocus and exposure in the low-speed 3fps continuous-shooting mode

Conclusion

If you're going to spend $1,700 on a kit, there's a long list of alternatives available, from full-frame dSLRs and ILCs like the Nikon D610, Canon EOS 6D and Sony Alpha ILCE-7 to fast APS-C models like the Nikon D7100 or the Micro Four Thirds Olympus OM-D E-M1. I think the X-T1 offers the nicest shooting experience without sacrifices, but still like optical viewfinders for fast action, and the E-M1 performs generally faster overall. It's a tough call, but the X-T1 does deserve a place on your short list.

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Quick Specifications See All

  • Optical Zoom 3 x
  • Optical Sensor Type X-Trans CMOS II
  • Sensor Resolution 16.3 Megapixel
  • Image Stabilizer optical
  • Optical Sensor Size 15.6 x 23.6mm