Fuji Xt1 and the gorgeous 23 mm f1.4
I have so much to write about how Fujifilm cameras have changed the way I shoot and how DSLRs are starting to feel like strangers to me; indeed it’s no surprise that many people on the Internet are starting to call it the new Leica or Leica for those who are on a budget(or not as rich as Leica owners) 🙂
The interesting(and hateful too!) part about Internet is that as soon as a new gear is released you would see a lot of technical reviews, charts, and performance tests all over the place. Sometimes they do get in the way of our creative minds, so that urge to try new cameras will always kick that mental and emotional areas in your skull and you will keep telling yourself “I want it, I want it, I want it and so on, hahaha”.
Back in May the guys at the grand store Jordan were so generous to give me the Fuji xt1 with a couple of lenses to play with namely the 14mm f2.8 and 23mm 1.4 for about three weeks.
Fuji 23 mm f1.4 mounted on the xt1 (Left) Fuji 14 mm f2.8 (Right)
Having used the x100s for a year now, I just felt right at home (that is for the most part, though!).
The next day I decided to take it with me for a tour in Old Amman to unveil what this new fellow can do.
For the next three weeks it has pretty much become my companion and I’ve enjoyed creating a lot of interesting photos, at the end of the review a group of those photos will be shown. I have already posted a couple of them on my Flickr page; again I say it was a pleasure using it.
Until you complete reading the review I’ll briefly explain the important aspects about this camera(in my opinion), what’s missing and the Pros/Cons of using it. I’ll put more explanation on the photos shoulders, I know they will do it better than I do 😉
The biggest thing that improved the experience and right away captivated my senses was the new huge gorgeous viewfinder, it’s the best!!
I doubt anything on this planet can beat it right now, period!! I believe that with the fast development of such enhanced electronic viewfinders, optical ones will someday be obsolete!
When using it, you will simply get immersed in the experience, and things like composition will feel very natural, and a frustration-free experience too!
Compared to the x100s and xe1 electronic viewfinders, I’d say it’s light ages better than theirs!
Implementing the wifi in a camera like this can sound cheesy (at least for me!), but getting to use it makes a whole lot of difference, that is when you have enough spare batteries, as it eats them like kids do with chocolate cakes! Fuji added a new wifi feature in the xt1 that is the live view on the phone as opposed to only transferring the photos with cameras like xa1, xm1, and xe2. At shooting I was able to tether all my photos to my IPhone in a few clicks, and the live view seemed to work just fine.
One simple confusion that I didn’t run into myself but have seen people going through is that there’s no unified Fuji app for all cameras, this can be very confusing for photographers especially for those who are at my father’s or grandfather’s age. My suggestion is to either make one unified app for all the cameras or give the apps each respective camera’s name right away.
At first glance the IQ felt 100% the same to me, well may be not? ; No, no, no it seemed familiar compared to the x100s & xe1. However I’ve noticed two things: first is its tendency (the camera that is) to smoothen the jpeg files at high iso even more than its older siblings. Second is the fact that the color profiles seemed very different to my naked eyes when imported to Adobe’s Lightroom and I have no idea if it’s Adobe’s or Fuji’s intention to do so.
With this camera you can literally shoot anywhere and under any lighting condition, when photographing the street I tend to put the ISO on auto maxing it at ISO 6400.
Speaking of high ISO it’s an absolutely brilliant performer, you will have a good time shooting as high as ISO 3200 and 6400 without having to get Canon or Nikon hateful color noise (No offense I love ya both!).
What matters the most for me is that when the sun goes down and light starts to get tricky, coupling the xt1 with the 23 mm f1.4 or the 14 mm f2.8 made a lot of sense. I felt like a ninja, enough said 🙂 !!
Auto focusing is cumbersome for many but not me. You can auto-focus anywhere and the camera will grab like 90% of the shots quickly based on the subjects of course, I read that M43 system new cameras are faster but the xt1 is ok for me; compared to my entry-level Nikon DSLR the xt1 feels way faster and more responsive, I know it’s weird but this is how I feel, my DSLR is not faster!!
One problem I’ve faced though was that sometimes the camera would act as if it’s auto-focused correctly but it isn’t which can mean a lost shot that was thought to be a keeper. I’m not saying that the AF is unreliable, NO!!! instead Fuji should be aware of this, it might be my fault it might Fuji’s, either way Fuji has to double check this problem and I’m sure it can be fixed quickly.
Image quality: The only APS-C sized sensor worth comparing to Full frame,
Despite its SLR design, it still feels quite more friendly on the streets than a DSLR,
Fairly fast AF performance,
Fast and responsive,
The body appeals to classic and modern SLR shooters.
The buttons feel kinda flimsy,
Although they feel luxurious; the ISO, drive mode and shutter speed dials can be difficult/sometimes FRUSTRATING to use because of the locks implemented on them.
The titling LCD doesn’t feel secure when tilting.
All in all I was very pleased with what the Fuji xt1 is; indeed it has many advantages over the x100s and the xe1 as far as performance is concerned; however if you are accustomed to shooting with a rangefinder style camera, your experience will drastically change, I understand that Fuji has designed this camera for DSLR oriented shooters and this is why it gets a completely different design compared to its other siblings.
If I were to choose between it and Nikon Df/D7100/610 for example I would have straight away gone with the XT1, it is better, more portable, beautiful and sexier as well.
The photos below were taken form various venues in Amman including Jabal Al-Qalaa’, Rainbow Street, Downtown Amman and Gardens street too.
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Hercules temple shot with the 14 mm f2.8
A downtownish candid shot with the 23 mm f1.4 @ f1.4
Hashemite square celebrating Jordan independence day! Shot using the lovely 14 mm f2.8
The quiet Tea bar in Rainbow street shot using the 23 mm f 1.4
The Hashemite square with the 14 mm f2.8
Al-Abdali Towers, Le Royale and the Jordanian Airlines showing up on the horizon shot with the 23 mm f1.4
A night shot from Jabal Al-Hussein using the 23 mm f1.4
Masjid Al-Husseini door step shot using the 14 mm f2.8
A watch repair technician does his job quite well
The 23 mm 1.4 does help in getting some outstanding environmental portraits
Intriguing look of a tired guy on a bus
Some photos from my university PSUT.
The guy almost had no knowledge of me taking a photo of him, shot using the 23 mm f 1.4
Again Downtown, Amman.
You can get a lot of elements with the 14 mm f 2.8 lens
Shooting from the hip using the 14 mm f 2.8
And now doing some Humus in Gardens Street.
Souq Jara, Rainbow Street.
And finally a candid from Wild Jordan.
Love, Charm, Peace, and Blessings from Allah 🙂