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A Year and Some Change with the Fujifilm X-T1

I can’t believe how fast time has flown by. I remember when I started to slowly sell my special Canon gear after the purchase of my Fujifilm X-T1. Do I miss the Canon? How did my X-T1 hold up? Well the experience has been kind of different, but still positive. If you missed out on why I switched, take a read here.

Do I Miss the Canon?

Honestly, I miss having all my lenses and interchangeability of the lenses with my Canon film bodies. I would say that I miss having security stop me for having a Canon body. I find myself being stopped and criticized more by local photographers for having the X-T1 more than security ever did. They basically give me crap about using such a camera for professional uses, often calling me unprofessional unless I have a Canon or a Nikon. And thats when I laugh.
It brings me back to a time where I was helping my friend interview a lot of talented photographers that I didn’t know. One photographer that worked for Nikon was waiting around as we were getting set up. Since he worked for Nikon and I had my Canon, I thought it’d be fun for him to tell me why I should switch from Canon to Nikon. I remember it being slightly embarrassing as I recall him scoffing at me a bit for asking such a lame question, but now I realize how ridiculous of a question that was to ask.
He told me that of course he’s going to say Nikon, but it honestly didn’t matter. He continued on, basically stating that cameras are tools and that having the right tools for the right job makes things a lot easier.

That wasn’t the first time I’ve heard that, but that was the first time that I’ve taken a beating for asking a question like that. It makes total sense though. My jobs are ones that are at my place or ones that I end up having to travel to on my motorcycle with light gear. I found that the X-T1 still is the right tool for my jobs, and that’s not to discredit any Canon or Nikon camera out there. If I shot more weddings, then perhaps I’d have another Canon body. A year later, I still find that it’s great for what I like to shoot.

How did the X-T1 hold up?

Well, I’ve put this little X-T1 through the wringer and so far the camera has been awesome and hasn’t failed.
There’s a bit of wear on the rubber thumb grip- it’s stretched or something. The activity lights are receded, but I can’t remember if they started that way or not. The texture on the rubber that is on the thumb grip has been smoothing out and has stretched a little bit. Mine isn’t too bad, but one of my other friend’s X-T1 has his grip flopping around. He used his camera more than I do though.

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The finish of the body has been holding up, minus the character I’ve added to it. No screws missing, no button issues. I did have my SD card cover pop off, but it snapped right back on and it wasn’t an issue at all.
I don’t think I’ve dialed all the settings down to the way that I like it quite yet, but I’ve done enough to get pretty comfortable. There are quite a few menus to go through so there’s still a bit of tweaking to be done. What I would like to see is a Favorites menu type thing, where you can save some of your most common menu items in one spot, in the future. I had a peek at Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 and they had that implemented quite nicely. That being said, the buttons that are used to navigate the menus are still pretty dang good. There’s no squishiness or dampening of the buttons that had existed on early models of the X-T1. I haven’t had a chance to clean the camera at all, so there’s definitely grime or sweat or something that accumulated on the rubber on the face of the camera. The LCD is still as crisp as it was out of the box, and that’s to be expected from a year old camera. This thing is quite the little armored tank! I do recall banging it against some things on accident, and a buddy of mine tapped the LCD on something. Although I did have a screen protector on it, I’m sure that the LCD wouldn’t have cracked, albeit a scratch more than likely would’ve been left.

 

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I had expected to use some of the other fun features of the X-T1 more often. Things like the little toy mode, panoramic modes, double exposure modes– but I didn’t at all. It is nice to know that it is available if I ever need to use them though.
I don’t know if it’s me or just my environment, but I’ve been noticing my batteries reporting weird levels. I’ve only been using my Fujifilm branded batteries. I’ll pop in a freshly charged battery, let the camera sit for a day and a half or so, and then take it out to shoot. I’d only get maybe 150 frames before it’s dead, but that could be just wear and tear of the battery I have, since batteries are consumable anyway.

I’ve tried shooting a few weddings with it, and while it works– I think that the 5D3 is a better tool for the job. I’ve found the X-T1 a bit slow in single picture mode. There’s a bit of a delay from when you press the shutter button and the camera takes a picture, to when the camera is ready to take another picture. That could be due to the fact that I have the preview of the picture being displayed (part of those tweaks that I’d like to try and get done).
In my normal shooting conditions, at home, with a strobe and wireless triggers, I find that Fujifilm has been working on my one little complaint, that is that the hot shoe isn’t activated while you’re in continuous shooting mode. Fujifilm released a firmware update to fix that, but they retracted it due to some bugs in it. So they have already taken care of my one little complaint! I’m pretty freakin excited about that. All those jumping pictures I’ve been wanting to take will now come to fruition! — just kidding.

 

A year has passed, what changes have I made?

IMG_2819Well, already, I’ve tried some lenses and narrowed it down to one. That’s a big change for me. I’ve spent all year with Fujifilm’s XF 23mm 1.4, which is a spectacular lens, and my favorite XF 56mm 1.2. I’ve recently sold my XF 23mm, since I found myself rarely using it this past year. I’ll probably regret it a bit later on when I’m needing some versatility. I just figured that if I need a wide shot now, I’ll rely on stitching images together in post processing. I just acquired the XF 90mm WR, which is a pretty intense lens, but that has become my main lens as of late. More to come about that lens at some point.
Strangely enough though, I haven’t made any other changes. I’ve shot with it all year round in different scenarios and found myself happily paired with this camera. Seeing that the new X-Pro2 here, I might move into that for the sake of having that beast of a camera in my hands. But then again, the X-T2 is grabbing my eye.

While the X-T1 does a great job in most conditions, I tend to struggle in the evenings, not because of autofocus or anything, but from the discoloration from high ISO settings. I had the same problem with the 5D3, so I guess the only thing that I’ve changed is when I end up shooting– basically avoiding anything over 800 ISO.

I’ve become a very fair-weather shooter– basically shooting when I know the conditions are perfect for me, or conditions can be made to be perfect for me. It’s been slightly limiting, but it really hasn’t detracted from anything that I’ve noticed.

I’ve changed some accessories that I used previously– mainly the strap that I use on a daily basis. Previously, I used a Rapid Strap on my 5D3. It chewed up the bottom plate of my camera, which didn’t really look very good when I sold the camera off. I replaced the Rapid Strap with a Peak Design Slide, which ultimately did quite a bit more to keep the body of the camera safe. Sadly though, my X-T1 has received some scarring from the times that I quickly shoved the strap and the camera into the bag. The small marks are on the edges of where the prism would be if this was a DSLR. The metal parts of the strap would rub up against my camera causing the damage. It was slightly annoying. I’ll probably change to a hand strap or something. Maybe even a Spider Holster.

I’ve changed how often I use Manual focus– which surprisingly is a lot more! The focus peaking feature of the X-T1 was a great find for those situations where I absolutely needed to nail the focus. I didn’t really do that very often on the 5D3. I think I only switched the lens to manual focus if I wanted it to stop focusing. That was about it. The X-T1’s viewfinder, being as big as it is, really does fit a nice preview of whatever you’re trying to focus on as well (if you choose and switch between the different options). I really really do enjoy it.

Conclusion

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I carry more batteries now, but my kit is overall still lighter. So life is pretty good. I can’t really complain about the X-T1 in terms of camera performance. My only gripe is the rubber texture that really shows wear. It still takes some good freakin pictures, I haven’t had many issues with dust or anything like that. Lens optics have been stellar– and I probably buy additional lenses. Fujifilm has been great with their support, and have been found with increasing presence at some of the trade shows like WPPI. The X-T2 is around the corner, but the X-T1 is a fantastic camera and will remain a great freakin camera… as long as the rubber doesn’t really peel off. I’m still super satisfied with my X-T1 and haven’t regretted switching over from Canon too much at all.

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