Hybrid Choices - The Fuji X-T1

fuji XT1

Fuji make nice cameras and even nicer lenses, but as a hybrid camera they are pretty much non-starters, because of the video. As you can see in the example at the top of the page, the footage created from the X-T1 can't really cope with a lot of complex movement. Nice 'dreamy' feel, (I'm being kind!!) but when this level of quality is easily bettered by my smartphones, there's something seriously wrong with any notion that Fuji produce either professional cameras or hybrid cameras.

THINGS I LIKE

  • The retro styling and the 'old school' values.
  • The lens range. They look good, are well made and create great images. Though with the proviso that to get this quality I need extra (and slower) software to my normal preferred Adobe choices.
  • Excellent high(er) ISO performance. Especially for an APS-C sensor camera.
  • Top Class lens stabilisation. Probably the best I've ever used.
  • Good usable design, though again I would qualify this by saying the X-T1 does benefit significantly in terms of handling with the addition of a PhotMadd handgrip.

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

  • The retro styling. It may seem strange to have this as a plus and a minus. But much as like the aesthetics, I suspect this obsession with the past is actually holding Fuji back from turning out the cameras they could.
  • The poor video. If you are going to offer this, it would be a good idea to make an effort. Unfortunately Fuji seemingly, at the moment, can't be bothered to even make it useful.
  • This ridiculous and insulting 'Kaizen' nonsense. Get the cameras right in the first place and stop having to 'improve' them with firmware updates (and of course pretend it's ongoing development! It isn't). It's a con to pretend it's anything else. And though many seem taken in by it, professionals aren't. (At least this one!) One day Fuji will release a finished camera.
  • This obsession with the X-Trans sensor. It eats battery power and results in poor raw file development from all the major and most used software raw conversion programmes. It is apparently a Sony sensor with an extra layer added. This results in better high ISO performance but compromises on sharpness at lower ISO's as a result. The 24MP sensor in the Sony a6000 is a a cracker. Imagine Fuji lenses in front of it. And for me there is little virtue in having a unique sensor if it's put in the shade by one of it's competitors.

So, I won't have Fuji at the top of my list as a great hybrid stills / video camera. And in fact I won't have Fuji at the top of my list for anything any more. My last remaining Fuji gear, the X-T1 and the 16-55mm f/2.8 lens (Top Class) is for sale on ebay. I haven't felt inclined to pick this combination up and use it since February, so I'm cutting my losses and selling. And though I still like handling the camera plus the zoom, I don't seem to have any desire to go out and shoot some images with them. These days video is much more important to me and I'm also less tolerant of the extra time it takes me to process the still files as well. I may return to Fuji in the future if they get their act together, but all the hopes I had for the system and the pleasure I've had using their cameras and lenses mean nothing when they can't give me what more of what I want and cameras like the Olympus OM-D E-M5 II or Leica T (Typ 701) or Sony A7 II can.

And it's a real shame. Because there is no reason for this that I can see, other than some stubborn desire to be different. The company Fuji have been copying for years, Leica, HAVE moved significantly forward, on their own and with Panasonic. And while it's nice to play around with gear that takes it's inspiration from the last century, I have better options to make my living with and finally after being being seduced by the Fuji aesthetic for far longer than I should have been, I'm going to see sense and stop using what are after all, little more than hobbyist playthings as far as I'm concerned. And much as enjoy playing around with Fuji gear like a lot of other photographers, ultimately Fuji aren't moving forward at anywhere near the rate that other manufacturers are and I need them to. And to be honest, I don't have either the time or the inclination to wait around for them to catch up.