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.”
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”
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!
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.
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.
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.
NEXT: A look at Fuji’s XE-2
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