Written by Bob Rose, posted by Dan Havlik
Amid much speculation and many online rumors, Fujifilm finally took the next step in the evolution of its successful X Series professional cameras tonight, introducing the Fujifilm X-T1, a mirrorless camera in a digital SLR-like body. We got a hands-on preview of this sturdy, new, weather-resistant camera at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) and offer the following first impressions of the camera.
Throwback Design, All New Camera
True to the retro-styling first seen in the X100 fixed-lens camera, followed shortly by the mirrorless interchangeable lens bodies (starting with the X-Pro1), the Fuji X-T1 is a professional grade digital camera well adorned with classical analog controls.
According to Fuji, the X-T1 features over 75 points of weather sealing, making the camera body dust-resistant and water-resistant. The X-T1 is also freezeproof to -14°F.
Sharing the same 16.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans II CMOS sensor as the Fujifilm X-E2 virtually guarantees the same image quality of that mirrorless camera. But, other than the X Series lens mount, a few control buttons, and the same battery as the other X pro cameras; the X-T1 is all new.
Fuji says they have improved the real-time viewing performance of their 2.36-megapixel OLED electronic viewfinder (EVF) and placed it just off center on the top, incorporating High Eye Point (23 mm) viewing with .77x magnification, built-in diopters and an eyecup, altogether adding that slight bulge and a standard size hot shoe so reminiscent of the traditional mirror pentaprism of an SLR camera.
Gone is the rangefinder-esque look of Fuji's other X cameras and in it’s place is a well-balanced, compact DSLR-like body. Repositioning the viewfinder made room for a spacious 3-inch, rear mounted, tilt-able 3:2 aspect ratio, 1,040K-dot display, which, like the EVF was designed to show almost 100% accurate viewing.
Top mounted machined aluminum analog dials give direct viewing and access to Shutter speed, EV compensation, ISO, Drive and Metering mode. And electronic controls complement the other extended functions which include more accessible video and Wi-Fi.
It’s worth noting that, unlike many other cameras that seem to randomly place a whole bunch of buttons anywhere they can fit them, we were immediately impressed by how easily our right hand fit the Fuji X-T1's body in such a way that all major controls were easily accessible with just three fingers.
This feel was enhanced by attaching the accessory Hand Grip MHG-XT, which added a nice firm contour to hold, and an Arca-Swiss compatible tripod mount - as well as a conventional ¼”-20 thread which is centered on the optical axis of the camera.
The Vertical Battery Grip VG-XT1 offers similar comfort but with the added benefit of doubling the battery power, while also providing a vertical shutter release and duplicating some other key camera body command controls.
Speaking of vertical, although there are a number of new enhanced viewing and focusing options, one notable feature is Portrait View where the X-T1 senses it’s orientation and flips the exposure and camera data down to the bottom of the vertical frame so you get a nice clean view of the subject and no longer have to look at this camera information sideways.
And to round out the camera performance, Fuji is claiming their fastest focusing camera ever using Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF/TTL phase detection AF). They did demonstrate (using new SDXC/UHS-II memory cards) frame rates of 8 frames per second with Tracking AF, shooting 24 Raw frames before the internal memory buffer is filled.
The camera comes bundled with an External Flash EF-X8 (GN8 @ ISO 100) that will slide directly into the hot shoe.
Price and Shipping
Available at the end of February, the Fuji X-T1 is $1,299.95, camera body only. With an 18-55mm FUJINON lens, the X-T1 camera kit will sell for $1,699.95. Note that Fujifilm claims this camera is dust and weather resistant when used with a weather resistant Fujinon lens, but we’ll have to wait for some of those lenses to be released later this year to see how that works.
Other additional features and details about remote control apps were being firmed up as we were writing this story. We’re definitely looking forward to getting our hands on a production unit for a full review. For more info go to: http://www.FUJIFILM.com/products/digital_cameras/x