Where to start? I was looking for a lighter weight camera, coming from Canon DSLR background.
From Sony to Fuji:
I had owned a Sony Nex 6 since Nov. 2012 and grew increasingly disillusioned by Sony’s non-existent lineup of quality lenses. (This is until late 2013, things in the Sony lens line-up may be slightly different now…)
I held out until late fall of 2013, then traded the Sony Nex-6 for the Fuji x-E1. So far I had used the kit lens, the Fujinon18- 55 f/2.8- 4, which was a great improvement over Sony’s kit lens. Although the Sony lens was compact to the point of almost making the camera and lens pocketable. It’s down side were heavy distortion and massive vignetting.
Lightweight Travel Kit:
In December 2013 traveled through Ecuador, Colombia, later in January 2014 down the Amazon River into the north of Brazil, using the Fuji x-E1 extensively in larger towns and cities like Guayaquil, Bogota, Cartagena, Manaus, Fortaleza and later Rio de Janeiro, enjoying it’s small size and light weight. It did not attract as much attention as a full size DSLR would. I was just fine with that, no need to stick out as a traveler more than needed. The more inconspicuous I am the easier it is to get candid shots of the people. Sticking a big camera in someones face has often the opposite effect, people draw back or become shy…
So on most inner city outings, where I would be walking the streets, looking for photo ops the Canon 5D mk2 and the 7D would stay in the hotel room in favor of the lighter jet quite capable little Fuji. The strong APS-C sensor with great low light performance, was the main deciding factor leading to my purchase. The quality lens line-up and a clearly outlined road-map of new lenses to come are an other key factor.
Traveling through NY City in March I stopped in at Adorama and added a 55-200 f/3.5- 4.8 zoom. It was offered in a Fuji US discount program. I am quite happy with this lens as well. It offers a great zoom range in a relatively compact beautifully crafted lens. The image quality is quite good, the lens is sharp with good contrast, even the bokeh is good for such a lens.
I tried to photograph flying birds with the x-E1 and quickly learned it was beyond the capabilities of this body. I own a Canon 7D since 2010 and that camera with a 70- 200 f/4 is lens or a 300mm f/4 provide a much better success rate for such rapid action.
So I became very curious to find out for myself what all the hype about the Fuji x-T1 was about. I wanted to find out for myself it it would be possible to replace a 7D in a more compact package. So recently, I doubled up with a second body, the x-T1 and the 56mm f/1.2 fixed focal length portrait lens.
I now own the camera and lens for a month and I have done some initial testing, mostly by going out and experimenting, shooting some real life situations. The verdict is not in jet completely, but my initial and subjective impression is that the camera is a good all-round package! I got used to it’s dials and buttons quickly and find it quite intuitive for the most part. At the start I began to shoot without consulting the manual much, but needed to resort to it later to find out more in detail about some of it’s options, like the wi-fi settings, or how to set up custom functions.
Do I believe it is as fast as the original Canon 7D (I know the new Canon 7D mk-2 is about to hit the streets now, likely to be much more capable…)? No, I don’t believe it is as fast, but it’s a great leap forward from the x-E1. It’s rate of success the number of sharp images in a sequence is not as high as with a good DSLR, of any brand. On the other hand the number of critically sharp images, when the tracking works is, surprisingly high.
In a portrait situation the focus is precise. With the 56mm f/1.2 portrait the lens is not lightning fast, may even hunt for a moment, but than it’s precise, spot on, even at 1.2… The way the 56mm lens renders portrait images with large apertures is crisp and magical with great bokeh. I love the way it renders people…
As time goes by, using the x-T1 and the various lenses, I will update this initial review with more reports.
If you are interested in a very detailed review I recommend you to read the Camera Labs Review.