One of our undoubted highlights from this year’s Photokina was the opportunity to try out a couple of Fuji’s X-Series cameras and lenses thanks to their excellent rental service at the show. Once our slight giddyness at the prospect had subsided, one of the cameras we opted for was their current flagship model, the X-T1, paired with the 56mm f1.2 lens.
As the camera was handed over, one of the first things to notice was the weight; the X-T1 is a fairly chunky piece of gear for a compact system camera but it did not feel too heavy; even with the 56mm attached to the front. Unlike a lot of the Fuji cameras, this one has a well-placed thumb grip which I found useful. One of the biggest complaints I see on the Fuji range is the size of the buttons; as someone with probably freakishly tiny hands I must say I’ve never found this to be an issue (obviously). Something that does frustrate me though is Fuji’s seemingly constant need to change and alter the button layout on the back of the camera; virtually every model is different. I suspect they will eventually hit on a layout that sticks but until that point it is kind of frustrating to switch between models only to find yourself having to stop and think about where particular buttons are.
What Fuji have nailed here though, which sets them apart for me at the moment, is the placement of the external dials for shutter speed and ISO, with the aperture being controlled, as it should be, via the lens ring. This just feels so natural to use and the learning curve is virtually non-existant; if you have any knowledge of how to shoot manually with a camera, you will pick this up in no time.
In terms of the camera itself, I found that the lowlight performance was pretty damn stunning, although completely expected given how well my X100S handles similar conditions. The autofocus was ever so slightly sluggish at times when we were inside the hall but in better light conditions both inside and out it was pretty much razor sharp every time.
Spending a few hours in the company of this camera has placed it very firmly at the top of my gear wishlist, not least because of the stunning 56mm f1.2 lens which would make for an amazing portrait lens.
Patches & Flash