Fuji X-T1 - waste of time for video, right?

Fuji X-T1 - 16-50mm OIS lens - ISO 1600 - 1080 - 30 fps -
Full manual focus and exposure - Hand held throughout - 
edited in iMovie.

Now I may be the only person on the planet who thinks that Fuji X cameras can be useful for shooting video. Most reviews don't even bother to shoot any, most dismiss it, those who consider it say it doesn't have this and it doesn't have that. Fuji themselves don't promote it other than say that it exists on their cameras. That's about it.

However, many of the useful prerequisites for shooting decent video exist on the X-T1. There is a mini-jack for an external microphone. OK its a mini mini-jack and I have to use a short adapter lead to use my Rode microphone but it is there. You can shoot using full manual control, both in terms of exposure and focus. It has both 1080 and 720 at 60 and 30 fps. It shoots .mov files. The red record button is actually in a useful place, as is the focus assist button for getting manual focus peaking. Both can be accessed and used with the camera to my eye fitted with my Carry Speed viewing loupe attached the LV screen. It looks good fitted out for video. It's simple and easy to use, you set up the camera as you would want for stills photography and then you press the red button. The video at the top of the page was shot with focus and exposure set to manual.

And the X-T1 has two further advantages. Using Fuji zoom lenses with OIS, it is absolutely the best, most stable, hand held stabilisation on any camera I've ever shot video on. It is absolutely rock solid, as can be seen from the sample at the top of the page, half of which was shot at the 50mm end of the zoom. It also is as noise-free at shooting video as shooting stills. The above sample being shot at ISO 1600 after the sun had set.

It's easily the best Fuji X camera for shooting video with. Now I don't want or need 4K, fancy codecs, raw out and lots of other fancy stuff that I don't really know what it offers me. I want something simple, that's easy to use and gives me decent enough quality to be able to post in full HD on the internet. 

I've mentioned it before, but I'm very involved in setting up a new business involving a world-wide franchise that will be utilising the skills of photographers in many of the worlds premier tourist spots. I'm unable to say much more because it's not finalised yet and I've signed a non disclosure agreement. However, it seems that this may be launched within weeks. And video is a part of it. Not movies, not broadcast video, but as indicated above, something that looks good on the internet in HD and can also be downloaded for viewing on tablets and phones. And yes it is 'professional' video and people will pay for it. And much as I admire what the GH4 and A7s are offering, in both cases it's more than I need and I'm still hoping that I can end up with a exclusively Fuji X only outfit sooner rather than later.

One of the things holding me back from that has been my lack of belief that a camera like the X-T1 can do a job for me in terms of video. Like everybody else I gave it a quick try and moved on. However, yesterday I thought the least I can do is give it a serious test. Who knows, I might be surprised. And indeed I was, pleasantly so. With a bit of thought and care I got something I really liked.

So this morning I decided to take it further and shoot some footage at a lower ISO speed, in this case 100 and use a tripod and my 23mm and 56mm Fuji lenses. 

As you can see, this is actually excellent. Really quite impressive results. Again this was simplicity itself to set up and shoot. So yet again it's another example of internet dogma having little relation to the facts when you actually take the trouble to find out the truth of the situation.

Now I'm fully prepared to believe that cameras like the GH4 and A7s will offer film-makers and wannabee film-makers a lot more. But I'm not one of those. I want some good-looking footage that fits in with my needs and is relatively painless to achieve. And the Fuji X-T1 seems to do that. As I said earlier there aren't that many of us actually working with the X-T1 to see what it can deliver in video terms, at least none that I can find. I also doubt whether there are any others apart from me contemplating using this camera in a 'professional' capacity. But that's exactly what I plan to do. Plus I would have no reservations about using it for commercial non-broadcast work either. 

We are all aware of the number of people who bang on in internet forums about how they need this and that advanced 'professional' feature and then go out and shoot pictures and video of their cat. And the complications of shooting video strikes me as suffering from this even more than stills photography. Lots of people go on about Black Magic cameras for example. Presumably because they shoot raw footage. But then all the examples I see shot with them don't look that impressive. Presumably with serious editing you can get it looking better, but I do get a whiff of the 'kings new clothes' here. And much as I enjoy Phillip Blooms writing and videos, I just wonder how many of those who clamour for all sorts of video features that I really haven't got the faintest idea what they do, will actually use them. Or is a just something else to brag about?

When DSLR and mirrorless video first appeared, I thought it would be ideal for photographers to use alongside shooting stills. I also thought it would be something that could benefit from the different sensibilities of photographers and the way they work. I also hoped it would work well for photo journalists looking for a simple, portable way to add footage to their photographs. But it does seem to have been hijacked by Steven Speilberg wannabes and the gear you see bolted on to these cameras these days makes the idea of portability a joke. I'm much more interested in the kind of video shooting that has two accessories. A microphone and a tripod. Earlier I posted a video shot with a Panasonic GX7 and I thought it was brilliant. For all I know it was shot with god knows what attachments, but I'd like to think it was shot with a pretty basic outfit. 

So I'm really pleased that the X-T1 works so well. If possible I still want to use a Fuji collection of cameras and lenses exclusively and get rid of everything else. This obviously makes that decision and end result somewhat easier. 

Finally I would suggest to Fuji that they really should take video seriously. With the low light capabilities of the X-Trans sensor and the lens range they have, they surely have the capability to produce a seriously impressive video implementation. It's not as if they don't have a video history, they do. When I was working for a TV production company in the 1980's all the pro. Sony Betacam cameras they used had Fuji lenses on them. 

Lets hope the X-T2 offers a lot more on the moving image front. Apart from anything else it will surely mean that they sell more cameras. 

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Please note that opinions expressed in this blog are just that, opinions. What is written here is at no time intended as a recommendation or otherwise of photographic gear or practice. This is a personal blog written 'in the moment' and is primarily intended as an entertainment. I would also point out that this is not a review site and not intended to be so and the Google+ groups where you can post comments are not forums. I am the sole moderator and I will remove any post (and poster) if I think fit. 
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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