The Fuji X-T1 'Professional' Review - Part 2 of 3 - Is the best of Fuji good enough? The lenses.

If a camera is to be regarded as 'professional' then it has to have a quality lens system available to it. And this is where Fuji succeed without reservation. It's not a huge range, but it's packed with quality and at it's worst there is nothing that could be described as less than very good. There are some great zooms, with excellent OIS and decent fastish apertures and some of the primes are spectacular. My two favourites are the 14mm f/2.8 (which I've resolved not to sell but use more) and the 56mm f/1.2. I think the 14mm is very underrated and in fact I prefer it to my 23mm f/1.4 for sharpness. There has been a lot written about the 56mm and the mostly positive reviews are well deserved. Both lenses are also extremely good wide open, which is always a good indicator of how good a lens is.

These days, this is what attracts me to Fuji. Lenses like the 14mm and 56mm are well made, great to handle and optically superb. And it has to be said, reasonably priced as well. I see them as the equal of anything else that's out there. I'm a great Nikon lens fan, but I think these Fuji's are up there with the best of those. 

And of course, this is an important consideration when selecting a camera to undertake a variety of professional assignments. I don't shoot weddings, events and much commercial work any more, but if I did, I'd be using Fuji. Simply because of what the lenses offer me. With the 23mm f/1.4 and the 56mm f/1.2 added to the cameras low noise high ISO attributes, there isn't really much that I couldn't shoot. Admittedly if I needed to produce macro shots then I'd maybe look somewhere else, as my (now departed) 60mm isn't that great. It's optically excellent, but if I needed macro and autofocus then it's not a lens I would choose. I don't actually need that, but some might, so it's a consideration. 

Plus, with any system it's worth thinking about what's coming. The 18-135mm superzoom looks to be very good, with again amazing OIS and of course there is the prospect of the
XF 16-55mm F2.8 R OIS standard zoom, and XF 50-140 F2.8 R OIS. Now I suspect size will be a consideration with these, but they look promising to say the least.

And to a large extent these lens advantages can outweigh the somewhat non-professional aspects of the X-T1. For example, there is no doubt that Canon make rugged, fast, well featured cameras. But despite the fact that I used them a lot for my weddings and other commissioned work, I never liked them. I've never liked what Canon sensors produce and I especially don't like the lenses. I've had some of the expensive L options and I'm not crazy about them either. In fact the 16-35mm f/2.8 zoom I once owned had the worst CA and purple fringing I've ever seen in a lens. And of course these are serious 'big boys.' Personally I'd love to see if a Canon fanboy could tell the difference between a Canon lens and a Fuji lens. Apart from the fact that they might think the Fuji was sharper, since Canon sensors and image rendering aren't known for their biting sharpness either.

So, the X-T1 becomes a more 'professional' camera by association with the Fuji lens range. You'll still need to anticipate battery use and have something else on stanby to shoot video, but the range of classy optics available means that the images produced from any commercial assignment undertaken with a Fuji system will be perfectly satisfactory in terms of picture quality. 

And it's for that reason that Fuji cameras are being used for high level commercial and advertising work these days. Yes, Canon's and Nikons will still dominate the professional world, but that's more to do with history, professional backup and the conservatism of the profession, plus of course the need to turn up to a job with what's expected brand wise. But the more Fuji add to their lens range and the more they continue to produce top optical quality at affordable prices then the more my fellow professionals will see Fuji as a viable and practical alternative. Nobody likes using back breaking camera and lens combinations but if you living depends on it, you have to be sure that your gear is up to job. And as far as Fuji lenses are concerned I've been convinced about that for some time now.

N.B. You may have noticed that the Fujifilm logo isn't visible in the top of the page shots. I was shooting some stock pictures involving some cameras and I put black tape over the logo's for picture library use. However, Iiked it so much that I've decided not to remove the tape. Is it just me or does anyone else think it looks much classier to have cameras brand / logo free? Photographers have been known to do it to avoid 'aquisitive eyes' in outdoor situations, but that's not an issue for me. I just like the anonymity of it. 

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