Tracking the Light Tests a Fuji X-T1

Fuji's X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. Exposed using a Panasonic LX7.
Fuji’s X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. Exposed using a Panasonic LX7.

An ideal test of new equipment might include a thorough tutorial, followed by a gradual immersion into the camera’s distinct features in order to be operationally confident prior to making any serious photos.

I didn’t do any of that. It was a sunny day in Philadelphia. Pat Yough and I were following SEPTA’s Route 15 streetcar line (famous for its use of ‘retro’ PCC cars).

“Here’s my X-T1, try that.”

SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 55-200mm zoom. ISO 200 at f7.1 1/640th second.
SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 55-200mm zoom. ISO 200 at f7.1 1/640th second.
SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 55-200mm zoom. ISO 200 at f8.0 1/640th second.
SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Detailed view exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 55-200mm zoom. ISO 200 at f8.0 1/640th second.

This was initially fitted with an older Fuji 55-200 zoom lens. I made a few photos of a static PCC car, but found the lens slow to focus. In back lit situations it didn’t seem to grab a focus point at all and hunted incessantly.

“This doesn’t like glint,” I said, “What other lenses do you have?”

“Try the 18-55mm kit lens”

SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 18-55mm zoom. ISO 200 at f11 1/250th second.
SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 18-55mm zoom. ISO 200 at f11 1/250th second.

This worked vastly better. It focused quickly. And I was soon snapping away.

We drove around Philadelphia, finishing daylight along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor at Prospect Park, Pennsylvania. By the time the sun had set I’d exposed 15 GB of photos!

Whee! There's nothing like something new. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens in South Philadelphia.
Whee! There’s nothing like something new. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens in South Philadelphia.

The X-T1 is a mirror-less camera formatted similar to a SLR but without the ‘reflex’. The viewfinder is digital. The camera has an excellent ergonomic shape—I found it comfortable to hold and easy to use.

On the down side, there’s a lever on the left-hand side of the body beneath the dial to set the ISO, which I kept inadvertently knocking with my thumb. This adjusts the motor-drive and introduces such novel features as ‘autobracket’ and an in-camera filter set.

The details of these features must be programmed by scrolling through fields of menus and making some intelligent selections. All very well, except I didn’t know how to do any of that at first, and suddenly found I was getting bursts of photos everytime I released the shutter.

At one point Pat joined a queue at Tony Luke’s Philly Cheese Steak to procure lunch, while I fiddled with the X-T1’s menu options. This allowed me to finally, tune, and then exit the bracket mode.

Amtrak at sunset, Prospect Park, PA. Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. ISO 200 f6.4 1/950th of a second.
Amtrak at sunset, Prospect Park, PA. Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. ISO 200 f6.4 1/950th of a second.

Along the Northeast Corridor, I was able to test the camera’s ability to work in low light and stop the action at its higher ISO settings.

The rapid fire motor drive is a real boon when picturing Amtrak’s Acela Express at speed. I was able to wind up the ISO to 6400, which impressed me. At lower ISOs, I was able to pull off some creative pans and photographs that incorporated movement.

Amtrak Acela Express blitzes Prospect Park. Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens at ISO 400 f4.0 1/1000 of a second.
Amtrak Acela Express blitzes Prospect Park. Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens at ISO 800 f4.0 1/1000 of a second.
Amtrak AEM-7 928 leads a Washington DC bound train at Prospect Park. Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. ISO 6400 f4.0 1/125th of a second.
Amtrak AEM-7 928 leads a Washington DC bound train at Prospect Park. Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. ISO 6400 f4.0 1/125th of a second.

I walked away from my brief time with the X-T1, very impressed by the camera. It can output both a Jpg and RAW files simultaneously and has an impressive dynamic range. It has color profiles designed to emulate some of my favorite Fuji slide films, and has excellent high ISO response and output.

Pity about the slow focusing zoom, but Pat indicated there’s other options for longer lenses, and I hope to explore that at a later date.

All the X-T1 photos displayed here have been scaled for internet presentation, but are otherwise unaltered. I have not sharpened, cropped, or enhanced the files.

Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. ISO 1600 f4.0 1/15th of a second. Prospect Park station.
Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm lens. ISO 1600 f4.0 1/15th of a second. Prospect Park station.
SEPTA PCC at the Northern Liberties Loop near the Sugar House Casino. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted ISO 400 f3.6 1/4th second
SEPTA at Prospect Park. Pan photo exposed using  a Fuji X-T1 fitted with a 18-55mm lens. ISO 400 f3.6 1/4th second
SEPTA at Prospect Park, PA. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 55-200mm zoom. ISO 400 f3.6 1/15th of a second. I like the metallic look. Reminds me of  . . . 120 size chrome film!
SEPTA at Prospect Park, PA. Exposed with a Fuji X-T1 fitted with 55-200mm zoom. ISO 400 f3.6 1/15th of a second. I like the metallic look. Reminds me of . . . 120 size chrome film!

NEXT: A look at Fuji’s XE-2

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2 thoughts on “Tracking the Light Tests a Fuji X-T1”

  1. These pictures are just astounding, even at web resolution. Thank you, as always, for your generous teaching about how to do these.

    Tom Warger

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