In a previous blog post this week I mentioned the Sony A7R was a huge disappointment. The Fuji X-T1 is the opposite. It has been a joy to use and I hope it will become a regular component of my gear system. The Fuji mirrorless system has been around for a few years now, but it seemed to be targeted more towards street shooters than landscape photographers like myself. With the release of a weather sealed body – the X-T1, a true wide-angle zoom – the Fuji XF 10-24mm f/4, and more weather sealed lenses coming before the end of year, Fuji has expanded their potential base and I definitely took notice. They even have a super telephoto lenses coming in 2015 to expand the base to sports and wildlife shooters as well. Take a look at the lens roadmap:
What you are essentially seeing is a complete system. By the time you add the weather sealed lenses and the super telephoto zoom lens, the questions is, what can’t you shoot with this system? This is the opposite of the Sony full-frame mirrorless situation. It will be interesting to see how long it takes Sony to get up to speed. Not only does Fuji have a great collection of glass, they are universally highly rated. Fuji knows how to make lenses. Take the time to read reviews for any of these lenses and you will extremely impressed.
It’s not a perfect first party solution, there a few minor holes. A fisheye lens is missing, and while it’s a niche product, there is a third-party solution via Samyang. They make an excellent 8mm f/2.8 fisheye lens for the Fuji X system. Another nice lens that’s missing is any sort of tilt shift lens. I’m a huge tilt shift lens user, and rely heaving on my Canon 17mm TS-E and Canon 24mm TS-E.
Fortunately, I found workaround for the Fuji system. Kipon makes a tilt shift adapter for the Fuji X series of cameras for $280 that allows you to use Nikon manual focus lenses. I have paired it with the Nikon 18mm f/3.5 (best found on eBay) and Nikon 35mm f/2 to have tilt shift lenses on my Fuji X-T1.
The EVF on the Fuji X-T1 is a step above all the other mirrorless bodies I have used. It’s gorgeous. I especially love it for reviewing images in the field. I rely heavily on my Hoodman Loupe to view images on the LCD of my Canon 6D, but with the EVF for reviewing images I no longer have to carry the loupe. As if the camera system wasn’t light enough, I’m able to leave even more gear behind.
The controls take some getting used it, and I’m still working on it being a natural workflow for me in the field. Back button focus is there, but it’s not ideal. Once you back button focus you don’t have to focus again. Until… you review your image. The focus resets and you must refocus all over again. This should easily be fixed via firmware – please make it happen Fuji! All pro bodies need back button focus!
I’m going to end the blog post for now… plenty more to discuss with the camera but the Palouse is calling! Time to break out the XF 55-200mm for long lens landscapes!