Monday, April 7, 2014

The X-T1 is a "Photographer's Camera"

Seligman, Arizona, USA
Having owned a Fujifilm X-T1, then having sent it back, not because the camera or lenses are deficient in any way, but because of my own unwillingness to change my entire editing workflow to accommodate a raw converter other than, and better than, what is currently available from Adobe, I still want that camera!  I know I am cutting off my nose to spite my face, but so be it, for now.  However, I can still feel the strong pull of that camera.  And–I don't believe it is GAS, or Gear Acquisition Syndrome.  It is more than that.  When you find something that "just works" the way you want it to work, you just want to handle it, use it, admire it and put it to work for you.  The X-T1 is the kind of camera that you just appreciate being available.

That is the rub.  The X-T1 is a "photographer's camera," in my opinion.  It is set up in every way–size, weight, construction, quality, controls, handling–every way, to be very pleasurable to use and experience.  It is like the finely made saw in the hands of a competent carpenter.  It is like the perfect airplane for a pilot who loves to fly.  It is like the sports car that effortlessly does all that is asked by the avid racer.  Using the X-T1 is like the words to a great novel just freely pouring out of you and onto paper.  The camera does everything it is supposed to do in a very competent and smooth way.  It works in one's hands so naturally.

For some balance, the camera is not perfect.  But it does so many things right that one will readily forgive its shortcomings.  As Olympus did with the E-M1, I suspect Fujifilm will take the feedback they get to heart and, when they put out v.2 of the X-T1, the small deficiencies will have been corrected.

As for the lenses, the ones I bought and tried worked as well as any lenses I have owned in the past.  Fujifilm has done a marvelous job in planning, engineering and creating a wonderful set of lenses to compliment the X-T1.

I envy those who are using it now to create the types of images that don't have the issues I saw.  I will wait patiently for the siren song of the X-T1 to call to me again in the future when the demosaicing issues are fully resolved.  And when she does, I will be sending in my hard earned money for another one.  In the mean time, I hope all of you out there that have one appreciate the special camera that Fujifilm has made for you.  I will be practicing patience and biding my time, however impatiently.

Thanks for looking. Enjoy!

Dennis Mook

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  1. I think your decision to send it back was the correct one, especially as you already own the E-M1.

    Recently I have made the decision to NOT buy the first version of any camera. This makes it easy to pass on the X-T1. Or, wait until the second version is announce and then buy the first version for a "song".

    Just food for thought.

    Peter F.

    1. Peter, that philosophy had been the generally accepted philosophy for most items. I learned that early in life, especially about automobiles. However, with modern manufacturing techniques, first versions of various items are much more reliable and defect free than when I was young. You will save money by waiting and I often do that also. Thanks for the comment.

    2. I think the handful of Canon M users would agree. ;)
      (Although paradoxically after the recent firmware upgrade, and it's excellent video capabilities, I am quite tempted, because, let's face it it, Fuji video is crap,,really crap. :( )

    3. Why is the X-T1 a first version? It's a step up from X-E2 and X-Pro1 in many ways, but still X-Trans.

      Is the E-M1 a first version also? :)

    4. I think the argument is one of semantics. I think one could make an argument that the X-T1 as a new model or an evolution of other Fujifilm cameras. They share parts, features, research and design development but also have significantly different parts and features. (For example, the X-Pro1 has the first version of the X-Trans sensor while the X-T1 has the X-Trans II sensor. Phase detection auto focusing sensors were placed on the second version as a result of feedback from users.) Same could be said for the Olympus E-M5 and E-M1. Many parts are shared and they come from the same heritage, but they have significant differences.

      That is the essence of my thoughts when it comes to purchasing the first model of anything that is sold. Often times, the buying public finds shortcomings, features that are left out or are desirable that weren't included, or changes that would be beneficial. The second model may incorporate that feedback and correct flaws or shortcomings in the first model. After using the E-M5 for a couple of years, the E-M1 is a much more user friendly and satisfying camera for me. The little complaints I had about features, placement of controls, etc,, were incorporated into the E-M1.

      When it comes down to it, it is a matter of personal preference and how one chooses to express their thoughts. Thank you for taking time to comment.

    5. Ah well more an issue of personal preference rather than semantics them. I'm way more comfortable with the Fuji dials and their well organised menu system. On the other hand, the bells and whistles on the OMD frustrate me, and feel too much like a consumer orientated experience. Each to their own.

    6. So the problem boils down to not wanting to change your workflow? I'm 62 -- started serious photography in 1966 -- in high school with a Century Graphic (2 1/4 x 3 1/4 press camera) and Tri-X 120 roll film. Earlier this year I bought a Century Graphic for myself. Same camera -- different decades. Is the workflow going to be different than it was in high school? Well, duh.

      I wouldn't want to count the times I've changed my workflow over the decades. I've also had those moments where I had to do a serious rethink about my technique -- like when I got a Horizon 120 degree swing lens camera and realized I had to seriously think about composition with those wide frames. The point is that I don't want to stop learning or stop changing.

      I got serious in digital with a pair of Nikons (D1x and D1h) and have moved through additional systems (Oly 4/3, Leica M8/M9, and now Fujifilm X-Trans). Every step required some level of change for both shooting and PP. The Leicas were perhaps the easiest for PP -- the DNGs seemed to just sail through PhotoShop. Going from Leica DNGs to the Fuji X-Trans DID require an examination and adjustment of my workflow. Photo Ninja has turned out to be the best RAW converter for me, and it integrates nicely with PhotoShop. I knew there was some learnin' to be done with I bought my X100s -- and that learning extended to the X-Pro1 and X-T1. I've had to change. I think the benefits have already far outweighed the costs.

    7. Larry, you and I are the same age. I started in photography seriously in 1970. Not too much difference between us, the cameras we have used and the changes we have had to make in our techniques and workflow (I still dislike that word when referring to photography). I still have a Crown Graphic with a 127mm Wollansak lens!

      I don't disagree with anything you wrote. I have done the same over the years. That said, I have standardized on a particular workflow that works great with both my Nikon D800E system and my M4/3 system. Import, editing, storage, etc. works smoothly. Now, I don't mind changing or adding to my workflow if I decide I want to do that for experimentation purposes, with the result being possibly a permanent change. But I don't want to be forced to change. Also, I don't want to have to engage in multiple processes for essentially the same thing.

      So, there you have it. I guess I'm getting older and am happy with my current gear and process and find having to change it rubbing up against my nature.