The FUJI X-T1 - Is it the best camera for manual focus ever?


Well, I finally got out the front door with something other than a Sony FE camera and the 55mm f/1.8 lens. And I'm glad I did. Not only did I discover that the Fuji X-T1 is indeed the best camera I've ever used for manual focus, but also that the camera fitted with my Nikon 28mm f/1.8G lens + Metabones Speed Booster and Nikon 85mm + Metabones Nikon > Fuji X passive adapter gives me the sharpest images I've so far seen from any Fuji X-Trans camera I've used.







Like my other Fuji cameras the X-T1 is also a dream to handle. So why is this? Well it seems to me that with their retro design ethic, Fuji are putting together cameras that use past designs that have been around for a long time and actually work. Making camera bodies with a layout that has been road tested by photographers over the decades gives them an advantage. They seem not to need to be 'different' or to have some kind of standout design feature that may get nominated for awards but actually doesn't fulfill the primary goal of any design, that the item in question should be fit for purpose. And the X-T1 is certainly that. It just works for me and using it is non-problematic and therefore a pleasure. 

Returning to the manual focusing it's not that surprising that this should be a superb camera for that. As has been well documented the screen is one of the best, if not the best, EVF's out there. Since manual focusing is dependent on how well we can see the point of focus then this obviously gives the camera a real advantage. Add in the souped up super-contrasty peaking facility and it's not hard to see why this is such a great camera for MF. It's quick, it's accurate and with practice it should take not much longer to focus than using AF.

Finally, on the specific outfit I used. The Nikons are lenses I'm always enthusing about. Not up to the Sony 55mm, which is a special lens, but pretty good none the less. Much as I like the Fuji AF range, I have to concede that these Nikons produce sharper images. The 28mm was particularly impressive via the Speed Booster. The extra stop advantage produced faster shutter speeds, which combined with me being able to use narrower apertures gave me really crisp high-resolution images with lots of depth-of-field. The Speed Booster doesn't just help in low-light situations, it's just as much of a help in bright sunlight as well. 

I used the 85mm without the booster to 'pull in' the images more. On the Fuji, with the passive adapter, this gave me a 35mm approximation of a 127mm lens. As I've always maintained this is one of the sharpest medium telephoto lenses out there and when it's stopped down a bit it is amazingly sharp. 

So, combined with the warm sunny spring weather, a very successful afternoon. With the amount of cameras and lenses I currently own, it is going to take a while to get round all the combinations. Hopefully some of the others I try will be as good as this one, which was pretty special. And the Nikon lenses have certainly earned a reprieve from ebay, not that they were actually in any real danger of being sold, they are far too good and useful to me for that.

For my ongoing owner assessment of the Fuji X-T1 - CLICK HERE

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N.B. to see more on the cameras and lenses featured in this post click on the relevant labels (tags and keywords) at the bottom of this post.



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