The Bottom Line
The Fuji X-T1 can be a great camera for many DSLR users. Set it the way you like it, and it may be a great, like-minded photography partner for you, and hopefully will increase your enjoyment and decrease your labor.
The Long Story
If you are looking for someone to say “DSLR is dead,” you are looking at the wrong place. Mirrorless still has a long way to go, and specialist tools like the Canon 5D Mark III and Canon 1DX have nothing to fear (but sales may plummet as people have more options).
I am an old, long time SLR user. I love the viewfinder. I love the loud, firm sound of my old Nikon FM2, and like many photographers my age, I moved to digital as they became affordable. My first digital cameras were lacking so I slowly upgraded from camera to camera.
I could have saved a lot of money and, more importantly, frustration if Fuji was making X cameras several years ago.
Fast forward to 2015. I’m upgraded all the way up to a Canon 7D and 70-200mm f/4L IS to get soccer, zip lining and musical performances of my kids, but this is a loud camera that produces noisy images in low light.
The next logical upgrade is to a Canon 5D Mark III (the 6D meager 11 focus points would not be enough for sports).
- But not only would this be an expensive $1800 upgrade (refurbished with 20% loyalty discount or $3000 new),
- But would also increase the weight. Yikes!
- Plus, although this would improve about 20% of the photography I do, it would also diminish the 80% of the rest of my photography due to its increased weight.
- *Update* As a result, I would end up feeding my Gear Accusation Syndrome looking for something that performs better than the 5D Mark III but lighter.
- And finally, this would probably not reduce the post-processing time that I was already spending on my DSLR photos.
This was a potential recipe to kill my love of photography.
But what are my options?
Until recently, I disliked all mirrorless cameras. They were all just expensive point-and-shoot cameras designed to sell cameras to the masses (non-photographers). I couldn’t find any that could replace the DSLR I was already using, until I read about the Fuji X-T1.
In terms of design, Fuji is looking out of the box. If every camera maker were building the better car to handle the bumpy roads, then Fuji is building helicopter to go over that road. This includes Sony. (Sorry, Sony. I have already spent plenty on your cameras and the A7’s, though impressive, won’t get me more bang for my buck than Fuji.)
So what will Fuji do for you?
1) The Fuji X-T1 may save you backache
- Canon 7D and 70-200mm f/4L = 3.6lbs
- Canon 5D Mark III (even heavier)
- Fuji X-T1 and 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 = 2.25lbs
2) The Fuji X-T1 may save you some money
- Canon 7D and 70-200mm f/4L = $1900 refurbished + 20% off loyalty
- Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/4L = $3000 refurbished + 20% off loyalty
- Fuji X-T1 and 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 = $1650 new
- (Fuji (pro) prime and zoom lenses are typically less expensive than Canon/Nikon pro lenses. Some may argue it is because of this feature or that feature, but for many users those features may not be as big a deal breaker once you see what Fuji can do)
3) The Fuji X-T1 may save you time, because Fuji comes with:
- Better white balance
- WYSIWYG EVF (so you can see problems before you take the photo)
- Always on virtual level (to help you avoid tilted photos)
- (except in panorama mode — Fuji, can you PLEASE add this in panorama mode??? Pretty please???)
- (also don’t forget to ignore the level if there are visual elements that will influence the perceived horizon of the photo — I had to adjust some photos because of this)
- Pleasant noise (low chromatic noise and noise that looks like film grain)
- Very usable JPEGS (so you don’t have to do post-processing often)
4) The Fuji X-T1 may gain you friends
5) and may get you photos you would normally miss
- It is dang quiet (especially in electronic shutter mode which is silent)
6) The Fuji X-T1 may improve your photography experience
- Less post-processing
(There are tons more reasons that many other people can point out like making you a more thoughtful photographer, but that’s for another post.)