First Impressions: Fuji X-T1 and 18-55mm Fujinon, Leica lenses
A sparkling new Fuji X-T1 and the rather good 18-55 kit lens has arrived for review. I am no stranger to the Fuji X series, having used the X-Pro 1, X-E1, X100 and X100S, but the X-T1 with its retro SLR styling and a button or dial for everything has the makings of the best version yet. Almost any adjustment you need to make on this camera can be done directly, either from the top dials or the five dedicated function buttons.
Currently the Fuji X-T1 is the hottest property in the mirrorless APS-C market. It packs a wondrous selection of controls into a small package, the antithesis of Leica's high-tech T that has gone careering off in pursuit of touch control at the expense of buttons. But the big attraction of the Fuji is the impressive array of high-performance lenses, both prime and zoom, now available. The X system is turning into a very competent presence in the mirrorless world.
Even after a day I am impressed with the build quality, the feel and handling of the X-T1. And I already love the enormous electronic viewfinder with its host of viewing options. The screen is large enough to fit the unique dual mode where the full frame can be viewed in the main screen together with a smaller, magnified focus screen to the right.
I am already very familiar with the 18-55 zoom which really doesn't deserve to be dismissed as a "kit" lens with all the connotations of compromise that brings. This is one of the best medium-range zooms available for APS-C cameras and is capable of great results. I'm now looking forward getting to know it even better over the next few weeks.
Two years ago I reviewed the X-E1 in conjunction with a number of Leica lenses and it turned out to be the most popular article on Macfilos. This shows the level of interest in using third-party manual lenses on modern digitals. The Fujis, like Leica's own T, both with APS-C sensors, have the disadvantage (or, some would say, advantage) of narrowing the field of view of a given lens by a factor of 1.5. So a 35mm full-frame lens becomes a fifty and a fifty becomes a seventy-five. If you regard this as an advantage, using an APS-C camera as a second body gives you a wider range of focal lengths from a smaller number of lenses.
I found that the X-E1 worked well with Leica lenses, even before focus peaking was implemented. One of my favourite combinations was the Fuji with Leica's f/2.8 Elmarit. This 28mm lens shows a 42mm field of view on the Fuji and this is the ideal solution for those of us who vacillate between 35 and 50mm. With the Elmarit on the Fuji you get the best of both worlds.
The Fuji will be a companion for the next few weeks and I will be reporting on my findings.
The Fuji X-T1 and lens was supplied by my favourite Fuji dealer, Chiswick Camera Centre. Speak to Andy or Andrew if you are interested in a Fuji and please mention MacFilos.