Fuji X-T1 (fw 4.0) – several months later

This is a follow-up to Fuji X-T1 first impressions.

20150626 182158 DSCF2447 XT1_Crop_DCE

After several month’s of shooting including:

  • a vacation to The Grand Canyon and surrounding area
  • kid’s soccer
  • middle school cross country
  • lots of other family photography
  • and lots of evening and other photography

…my X-T1 is still a joy to use for 80% of the photography that I do. Here are some more impressions of the camera. (Spoiler alert: it is still great for family, travel, landscape and everyday photography, but not so much for action photography.)

Watson Duo Charger with Fuji X series batteries

Batteries

Some have reported that batteries drain faster than DSLRs.

Having shot a lot with my Canon DSLRs, and I found that the Fuji only needs slightly more batteries…

If we compare apples to apples:

  • (with high performance mode turned off and camera not kept awake between shooting)
  • After 1 hour of shooting kids soccer
    • and getting 400 JPEG+RAW (400 JPEG and 400 RAW) photos
    • I am usually down one bar (25% on my Watson)
    • (High performance, continuous focus, continuous high)
    • (My Canon 7D would be about the same.)

However, if you compare apples to oranges:

  • If you didn’t take many photos during the same hour, but kept the Fuji awake (or kept waking it up), the Fuji would still be drained to about 25%
  • but the Canon would probably be at 50% or better
  • That’s because
    • the Canon only powers the back display and sensor when you are in live mode
    • to see any image with the Fuji, the sensor has to be active even if you are only displaying to the EVF.

So it does feel like it would need more batteries, but in reality, you need to consider:

  • not only how many photos a battery will take
  • but also how long you keep the camera awake

Warm screen

The screen does get warm, but not any warmer than if I put my Canon’s in Live View mode (which a mirrorless is essentially doing), and if I put the camera away while warm (and off), it (surprise! surprise!) retains warmth in my well padded camera bag, but that is not the camera’s or the bag’s fault.

It seems to get hotter in the sun than my other cameras

  • The camera seems to be barely dissipating heat when it is out in the sun (it is essentially like a DSLR in live view mode all the time) and having the sun on it tips the scales and the camera starts to warm up.
  • This heat appears to aggrivate a hotspot that seems to go away when it is cool.
  • To counter this,
    • I turn it off (it boots as fast as it wakes up)
    • and hide the camera beside me and under my arm (I used a sling strap).
    • (Don’t forget to hold the shutter release a whole second to wake it up)

4100px 20150919 100059 DSCF7213 XT1_Crop_facepixelizer_DCE Fuji X-T1 XC 50-230mm cross country

Small buffer

  • At first, I used an old Sandisk Extreme 45MB/sec Class 10 (black label) SD card and waiting for the buffer to clear was very annoying. The same card on my Canon t2i felt much faster.
  • But once I started using a Sandisk Extreme Pro 95MB/sec card, it was much, much faster.
    • Good enough to shoot kid’s soccer, but not cross country.
  • It seems Fuji (and probably other manufacturers) have shifted the buffer clearing responsibility to the SD card than to the camera. This seems awful, but it does allow for a cheaper camera for those who do not need a faster clearing buffer.
  • I’m definitely getting a Lexar 2000x UHS-II card as soon as I can per Alik Griffin and PhotoFocus to really get the most of my X-T1 in action photography.

20150821 155614 DSCF4484 XT1 230mm 1024th f6.7 ISO200_Crop_DCE midtones128

Slow EVF after you start shooting

  • The delay is enough to make tracking moving subjects more difficult than with a DSLR

Tight zoom ring

  • Both my XF 18-55mm and XC 50-230mm have tight zoom rings. This makes tracking

Sometimes a different look

  • Cloudy skies too dark (at DR 100) (compared to Canon)
    • On closer inspection, the Fuji retained better overall details.
    • When adjusted to +1/3 or +2/3 matched Canon, but also lost as much detail as Canon. (Fuji also went too bright very quickly.)
    • If you must, adjust +1/3 and either allow Auto DR to go to DR 200 or switch to DR 200 will get brighter foreground and retain slightly more sky detail
    • Or do what I do and just enjoy the different, but very nice photo

20151003 181944 IMG_0432 7D_DCE 20151003 182112 DSCF8153 XT1_DCE

  • Sky too dark blue on cloudy day
    • Manual change in white balance did not improve the shot. Fuji’s auto WB was better.
    • Brightening up the exposure was enough.
    • On closer inspection, Canon went way too yellow.

Slightly hard-to-use GPS

  • Can be a little annoying to use
  • The transfer of GPS data from the iOS App to the phone is one time (which makes since since you don’t want the camera draining batteries to stay connected), but would mysteriously disappear after seemingly random timeframes weather the camera is turned on or not. I have looked in the manual and online for reliable info but still can’t predict this behavior.

20150702 195755 DSCF3017 XT1 180th electronic_DCE-P100

Oddities

  • Electronic shutter (vs Mechanical shutter mode) created bands in some artificial light
    • Above is an exaggerated example
    • I didn’t notice the bands in some photos until I viewed a sequence on a computer (quick blink vs flip animation from photo to photo on an iPad).
    • The bands are very slight at slower shutter speeds. I will have to see if the lighting at our school orchestra concerts and plays use standard tungsten lighting (which they should) which shouldn’t affect the electronic shutter (but the fast motion of the conductor might cause funny/hilarious/weird electronic shutter bending).

20150825 210229 IMG_9508 G15_DCE

  • Panorama mode doesn’t display virtual level
    • You can set up the first frame in the adjacent Advanced mode then switch to Panorama but that is an unnecessary pain!
    • HEY, FUJI!!! How about some virtual horizon love in Panorama mode???

cropped-20150625-202056-dscf2181-xt1_dxo-rotated_dce.jpg

  • Panorama mode has limited adjustment options
    • You can change EV and film simulation, but you can adjust Highlight and Shadow Tone or Color
    • What gives? This sunrise panorama could have used a little Highlight Tone and Color love.

Fuji X-T1 panorama

In-camera panoramas are pretty dang good!

  • Not as good as Autostitch in most cases, but much less time consuming
    • If you set it to pan up or down and shoot in portrait orientation (see below), it knows to stitch the photo horizontally for a taller panorama (awesome!)

20150825 210526 IMG_9509 G15_DCE 20150825 210229 IMG_9508 G15_DCE

  • But, it is a little hard to predict where it will crop the end of the panorama
  • The camera keeps shooting even after the sweep is done (so it can be a little awkward at the end). Just keep moving.
  • A monopod does help create better stitches without adding the bulk of a full tripod.
  • It also shoots very nice tall panoramas (I was a little wobbly panning up in this shot)

20150724 081019 DSCF3487 XT1_DCE

Misc tips

  • Don’t rely on the electronic level
    • I have found that your photo may be level, but that may not match what people perceive as level (look for buildings, parking lot poles, etc)
  • Image adjustments
    • After adjusting a lot of photos Screen shows colors less vividly than on iPad and computer monitors – trust that Provia is pretty good, then try out variations later.
    • Stick to Provia if people’s faces are included
    • Use Vivia for outdoors IF you need colors to pop more
    • Avoid +Color or +Shadow unless very, very hazy (or you want a certain look)
      • Shoot RAW if you are not sure so you can reprocess it
    • Avoid +Highlight Tone and +Shadow Tone to avoid comic book look (too much contrast) (unless you want a certain look)
    • DO use -Highlight Tone in very bright, high contrast days to retain more highlight details.
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