Here it folks, in the flesh and pixels, the Fuji X-T1, and NCN is getting the scoop on all the camera sites out there with an exclusive preview of this new DSLNR (Digital Single Lens No-Reflex) from the master purveyors of the retro, Fujifilm. So sit back, steep that Earl Gray tea, and enjoy…
It’s 2014 people, and any camera over a grand is going to be capable of taking some seriously great photos, the “seriously great” being entirely up to you of course. Yeah, it has more than enough megapickles for your Flickr or 500px account and even enough for you to do that one in a hundred print from. Yeah, it’s got low light ISO capabilities up the wazoo. Is it the best? Maybe not, but these days we’re talking about the difference between taking a photo of a canary in a coal mine and taking a photo of a canary in a dark room at night with the blinds drawn.
The X-T1 looks like a Sony A7 at a costume party or an Olympus OM-D EM-1 hit lightly upon the head and shoulders with an ugly chopstick. The X-T1 is for guys that like their Craftsmen toolboxes with that wrinkle black finish, and instead of appealing to those fashion(able) photographers going for that certain je ne sais quois HCB vibe like the Fujifilm X-Pro1, the X-T1 is aimed more at the Nikon FM2 Steve McCurry toting wannabe. It largely succeeds pretending to have a mirror; only a well-informed camera buff will look at the flattened faux prism shape with some suspicion.
The grip tells you everything you need to know about this camera. It’s a toy, not a real working photog’s tool, because if it was, it would have a deeper grip that would earn its keep when hanging a honking F2.8 constant telephoto zoomie on this thing. I can close my eyes and imagine Crocodile Dundee taking one look at the X-T1 and proclaiming, “That’s not a grip….THIS is a grip!” while pulling out a full-bodied Nikon, Canon, or even Pentax K-3 from his LowePro.
Nah, this puppy’s for dilettantes and poseurs shooting with fast primes or limited range short zooms, and the grip is just enough to maintain a firm hold on the thing while sending those brain waves that say, “a grip means that this is a real man’s camera, not some weedy point-and-pray.”
The detachable grip might as well be shaped like a penis, because when attached it announces to the world that the photographer holding the X-T1 is serious about photography but also potent and virile and has more than his share of chest hair. Oh yeah, and it also helps shooting portraits, not that it’s really needed what with that comparatively lightweight prime stuck on there. But after a certain age most penises aren’t needed either, are they, yet they continue to hang around.
No review of the X-T1 would be complete without going on and on about the dials and how dials are the quintessential expression of usability. The X-T1 actually has dials stacked on top of dials like some kind of high-functioning wedding cake and they’ve “dialyzed” nearly every function of the camera that could be dialyzed. I suspect that, had they been able to dialyze formatting the SD card, they would have done so. But they’ve got to plan in some obsolescence, don’t they? And leave room for the inevitable X-T2.
Yeah, so while DSLR camera design has evolved to the point where you can more or less make all the primary and secondary adjustments that you typically need while keeping the camera up to your eye, the X-T2, brings us back to the old days where we’re bringing the camera down away from our eye (now to our waist because of our declining vision) so that we can participate in some dial porn as the subject that we wanted to photograph walks away. And if that’s not slow enough for you, you can switch prime lenses while you’re down there.
Have we spent enough time waxing ergonomic about the frackin’ dials?
So how does this all work? Is the X-T1 a hot mess or a hot knife through butter? Is it the second coming or the second strike? Seriously, does it matter? It certainly is purty.