Friday, March 28, 2014

Do you like the new Fujifilm X-T1 selector buttons?

X-T1-Selector-Buttons-vs-X-E2
X-T1 Selector Buttons shown up top,
X-E2 shown at the bottom

Never before in my entire history with photography have I ever jumped on the bandwagon and complained about things that the incessant Internet whiners and trolls have complained about for seemingly every camera that gets released.

When I reviewed the X-T1 I found it to be an outstanding camera in many ways – one that is a front runner for my 2014 camera of the year – BUT it has a design feature that I can’t ignore. In fact, the design feature is so problematic in my usage for the camera that I had to give this outstanding camera a not recommended rating. This was extremely painful for me to do because I loved the camera in many other ways, so I hate to discount that over something that on the surface might feel so petty. However, the number of shots I missed because of fighting with these buttons compelled me to face this issue head on for my readers who trust my reviews.

After my review I got a call from my contact at Fujifilm who expressed that the team at Fujifilm was confused by my review because they had not heard of ANY complaints about the new selector button design. In fact, the person I spoke with defended the design as being an improvement over the predecessor and that my subjective opinion was contrary to every other review they had read on the Internet. I was told that it’s not a problem for any real pro photographers. Hum, I didn’t know Zack Arias wasn’t a real pro photographer (see below).

Fujifilm, I do not think that I’m alone in my opinion of the new selector buttons.

I’ve been a straight shooter for this blog for the past 7 years and I’m not about to start sweeping things under the rug anytime soon. What I see on the web are multiple threads about the selector button issues which you can find here:

  1. http://www.fujix-forum.com/index.php/topic/19115-want-to-fix-that-4-way-dial/ – this is my favorite as they hack a fix using electrical tape!
  2. http://www.fujirumors.com/improved-d-pad-buttons-x-t1-yes-according-openbloom-video/ – fast forward to 3 minutes into the video
  3. http://zackarias.com/for-photographers/gear-gadgets/fuji-x-t1-first-impressions/ – (see the Worst parts section at the end) – “I wish the 4 buttons on the d-pad in the back were larger or more pronounced. I’d like them to be identical to the ones on the X-Pro1
  4. http://cameralabs.com/reviews/Fujifilm_X-T1/ – “But the X-T1's buttons are small with shallow presses; the difference is particularly evident when comparing the cross keys on both cameras. They're just too small on the X-T1, and real-estate shouldn't be an excuse as the EM1 squeezes much larger ones into much the same body size. I'd urge you to pick up both cameras and compare the controls for yourself
  5. http://www.fujix-forum.com/index.php/topic/20647-x-t1-selector-q-and-focus-assist-buttons-are-different-on-my-replacement/
  6. http://www.theverge.com/2014/3/11/5492410/fujifilm-x-t1-review - The four-way buttons on the back are small and fiddly,

If you search the web you can find more, but this gets the point across. I’m not really the ONLY one who has this issue.

Video Demonstration of the Issue

Here’s a video where I demonstrate the X-E2 which does things right and the issue I see with the X-T1:

Conclusion

The X-T1 is an excellent camera, and I love it in many ways – but this isn’t one of them. This is my personal opinion, and I just ask those of you who have actually gone out and shot more than a dozen subjects outside of a store with this camerado you agree that this new design is an improvement over the previous selector button design?

I feel it is a disservice to prospective buyers not to be open an honest about the things that can be improved – on any product. With this in mind, I call into question the integrity of ANY reviewer who doesn’t bring up the issue of this new selector button design.

Perhaps I’ve come down too hard on this issue, but my opinion is that – my opinion. In my opinion, I would not purchase this product due to this design. I know I’m not alone as one of my readers has returned TWO X-T1’s he purchased because of this issue.

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6 comments:

Unknown said...

They have not heard that from anyone else huh?

http://feedly.com/k/1matKUO

John Hovius said...

The d-pad buttons on the X-T1 are definitely less than ideal, and also a step back from those on other X series bodies I've used (X100, X-E1). However, for me they are not a deal breaker, although I am holding out hope that Fuji, or even a 3rd party, will offer a fix/solution in the not-too-distant future.

sedohr said...

I'm one of the guys over at the FujiX Forum who went to the extreme of sticking Sugru (a semi-permanent putty) onto my $1300 X-T1 after taking it out shooting for the first time.

I shoot strictly using the EVF and rely heavily on feel when needing to find buttons and dials while shooting. I fell in love the X-E1 button/dial layout and had NO problems learning said layout quickly while keeping my eye to the viewfinder.

With the X-T1 I could NOT quickly find a D-pad button by feel and constantly had to look away from the EVF to eyeball the location. Add a thin pair of gloves during the winter and it was impossible (not so with the X-E1). Also, the mushy, non-tactile feedback that a button IS pushed is terrible.

Luckily my button mod fixed the no-look location issue and I'll just have to live with the lack of tactile response to a button push (not a show stopper).

Fuji got SO MANY things right with the X-T1, but the D-pad design is NOT one of them. In fact, it's a FAIL.

I've heard others say the buttons were designed to aid in weatherproofing, but the shape of the button (on top) has no bearing on the weather seal where the button contacts the camera electronics within the camera body.

After hundreds of frames and many nights shooting the X-T1 in very low light situations I'm very pleased with the camera. However, the d-pad design (as well as ALL of the buttons really) must be addressed in future models.

So far Fuji has been great to listen to their users and respond accordingly. I have no doubt they will in this case as well.

Tom In Real Life said...

I'm getting back into photography after spending all of the digital age (up until now) on the sidelines. Narrowed my choices to the Fujifilm X-E2 or the Nikon D7100 but then a guy at the camera shop put an X-T1 in my hands. It had this great substantial feel like the D7100 but the weight of the X-E2. I also liked the one-hand hold of it over the X-E2, which I find a bit precarious. I'm not a really an experienced shooter so the plethora of dials was a bit intimidating. The sales clerk assured me I would get used to it. What I could not get used to however was the d-pad and function buttons. They felt like trying to thread a needle with mittens on. The sales clerk said that was the first he had heard of that. (Touting the Fuji company line?) Bottom line, I'm going with the X-E2 with the optional handgrip and load up on lenses because this system is going nowhere but up.

Ron Martinsen said...

Tom,

I did the same thing as you. I love the series and my X-E2 is serving me well.

I have noticed that newer X-T1's have resolved this problem, but I'll still wait until the X-T1 replacement before I invest in a different body. I've also enjoyed having the smaller X-E2 body since this is my compact setup whereas I still us my 1D X for sports or scenarios where I can lug the beast around.

Ron

Christian Bommer said...

Ron, I fully agree with you. The D-pad button is just a fail. Even after a long time using the X-T1 I do have to get my eye of the viewfinder to operate these buttons.

Sadly, the local representation of Fujifilm here in Switzerland has no clue about that issue... And they are not able to support customers in solving the problem.

Next week I'll get a new X-T1. My dealer offered me a trade in. I'll loose a lot of money with this deal. But I love the camera and I hope, I'll getting happy with the new version of the D-pad button.

Christian