When I was out at Gulf Photo Plus in Dubai I was fortunate enough to get to meet some of the folks from Fujj ME. The guys were beaming at the release of the new Fuji XT1 – the new 16MP mirrorless camera. Business was brisk, and after a few minutes of chatting w the reps there, I handed over my license to ask to borrow one for the day. I was chomping at the bit to see if this iteration of the camera would live up to the expectation (and desire) I had to check out this form factor.
You see, several years ago I was a pretty vocal critic of some of the limitations of the ( at the time. ) newly released X100. I got my hands on that camera busting w excitement to try out a camera that I stylistically thought was going to be a great fit. Man did I really want to like it.
I found it problematic to focus. When the camera locked a focus- it was razor sharp. It was just that I couldnt get that to do it often for what I was shooting.
When Fuji announced the X100S – you started seeing cameras that included both contrast detect and phase detect focus. As this happened, you were blessed with some sharp shots! I was pumped in that I had been renting (through Borrowlenses) the XPro1, and loved the form factor. Was just waiting for what would technologically come next.
So now I was staring at a camera that spoke to me on several fronts. I -loved- the analog design of it – dials for every major thing i’d want to do.
Tale of the tape? 16 Megapixel – APS-C, small, Lightweight – GREAT viewfinder, weather sealed magnesium alloy body? Oh. And fast to focus. oOnly camera in the space thats shooting to the new UHS-2 SD Cards.. which are really fast.
And accurate. Very accurate. “This is Finally what I was Waiting For” accurate. I have been looking for a system to complement my DSLR – and man, this looked good.
Id love to sit and chat about the technical details of it, but I think Gordon Laing did a great job of digging into all of the tech. I agree with his assessment on almost all parts – you can check out Gordon’s XT1 review on the Cameralabs site. At this point, I just wanted to see how it felt in my hands shooting a couple of different things – put it through its paces (as best I could with the time)
First Night Out
I ran out and tried to shoot a couple of shots with the time I had. Obviously being deep into the 2nd Edition to the #HDR book, that would be the first thing i’d try.
Camera handled very well! The + – on it only hit three frames at 1 stop apart. Easily wished that was more (in steps and frames). I came back and told the folks, who (to their credit) took immediate notes on that. I had been told from the folks in Dubai on how attentive the Fuji group was here.. so that was kinda neat.
This isnt an HDR. Most of the shots that I was able to work on were on JPG. I shot Raw, but Lightroom had not had an update to the Raw processing yet. While I was there, the Adobe Labs site did come up with a Photoshop Release Candidate for Camera Raw 8.4 with support for the XT1 . so that was kind of cool.
Second Time Out: Portraits
Back at GPP, I started playing around with the camera in between classes that I was teaching. My buddy Steve from Phottix was supporting the event there, and I started fiddling around with his lights and modifiers. I figured I had gone out and done some HDR work, I may as well treat my other side of the brain with trying out some portraits. I setup the Phottix Luna Beauty Dish with a 14×56 Strip Softbox on a pair of Phottix Mitros flashes. We setup a black VFlat inside of a storage room and made a mini portrait area – so small we shot the BTS with an Olloclip Fisheye for the iphone.
I totally blanked on switching the camera to RAW and just got to shoot these as JPG. When I went back to Lightroom, I noticed I was a little under.. but other than that… I was pretty pleased. The level of detail and sharpness was awesome! Click on the image above to see the full res shot.
I was so excited about how the setup came out and that I dragged the Fuji folks into the storage closet to make some shots of them. I figured it was the least I could do for taking their camera out on loan. Below I am adding the pictures of them individually. All JPG shots from the camera, with slight crop/exposure to taste. Clicking on them will bring the full size up. What I loved about the shots is that they all had a great look to them. You could tell they were proud of what they were doing. Double bonus!
Kunio Aoyama – Fujifilm Japan
Yuta Kawamura – Fujifilm Middle East
Keitaro So – Fujifilm Middle East
Mohamad Al Moumani – Fujifilm Middle East
Jidal Mouna – Fujifilm Middle East
Eslie – Basson – Fujifilm South Africa
Naturally, I couldnt leave well enough alone. While the detail on screen was nice… I had to check. How well would the file print? I took the opportunity to make a 29” high print of the one of the JPG’s and was very pleased with the quality. Just looked good coming out of this little camera.
As I explore more with the camera, I will post my thoughts- shooting with different lenses.. that sort of thing.
That said, I could not have been happier with the couple of days I spent with it. I wanted to thank the Folks at Fuji for the opportunity..
You guys have a real winner with that XT1 there..