Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Thoughts on the new Fujifilm X100T, X-T1 Graphite & More announcements

Ok, I’ll admit it – I’m a bit of a Fujifilm fan boy because I’ve had quite a bit of enjoyment out of reviewing and owning X-series cameras. As a result, I get excited to hear about what’s new when new models are released. Amidst all the hoopla around the iPhone 6 announcement, I almost missed this one!

Fujifilm X100T Digital Camera
Fujifilm X100T Digital Camera

The Fujifilm X100s is a very good camera that I enjoyed reviewing quite a bit. I was very surprised when I had discovered a new replacement was already being released. The full press release is here, but the highlights are an improved rear LCD & hybrid viewfinder, finer grain control on things like the aperture ring, exposure compensation dial, and up to 7 programmable buttons. While interesting, I’m not seeing anything here that makes this camera worthy of an upgrade so this one will be lower on my review priority list than the new lenses mentioned later.

When I see the back of this camera I get concerned as it appears they’ve decided to standardize on the X-T1 selector buttons that didn’t work very well on the X-T1 unit I reviewed.

X100T Rear View
X100T Rear View
featuring X-T1 selector buttons :(

Here’s the X100s Rear Screen view which shows a smaller screen than the new X100T but a new button layout which means some relearning for loyal X100 users. While I welcome the new display, I much prefer the x100s rear view design. From what I see everything on top and in front of the camera on the X100T improves for the better, so this may not be an issue for some.

X100s Rear View
X100s Rear View

One thing that perplexes me is why can’t Fujifilm just settle on one design? In my opinion, the best rear panel design in the Fujifilm line up is the X-E2, which is why I bought one myself:

X-E2 Rear View
X-E2 Rear View

This was a good design that worked and people liked it. I’m all for innovation and trying new things, but the new body changes seem to be making things worse rather than better.

New X-T1 Graphite Edition – Now Featuring Hard To Read Controls!

Fujifilm X-T1 (Graphite Silver Edition) - Rear View
Fujifilm X-T1 (Graphite Silver Edition) - Rear View

Pay $200 more to have harder to read controls – hum?

I think one of the things that gets people excited about the Fujifilm X series cameras is their cool retro style, and the silver editions are always a big hit. Over time I’ve discovered that the black ones are infinitely more usable in the real world because they resist scratches better and are easier to read in the bright sunlight. However, I’d still call all of the past silver editions as usable. However, I’m really perplexed by the press photo shown above of the rear of the X-T1 because even in the photo the controls are hard to read. Perhaps it is just a bad photograph, but I can certainly imagine that the black on graphite text is going to be a challenge to read in the real world use.

I’m also saddened to see that in designing a new camera body that they didn’t use the opportunity to come up with a better selector button design like they have in the X-E2.

As a camera, the X-T1 is fantastic – one of my favorite Fujifilm’s – but this edition doesn’t inspire much confidence. My advice is to stick with the black X-T1. At the time of this writing it is $200 cheaper and has easier to read controls.

Now for the really fantastic news – finally the ultimate zoom lens for portrait photographers!

Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens
Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens

Without question, my most beloved lens for real world shooting is my 70-200mm f/2.8 with image stabilization. As a result, I was thrilled to see Fujifilm XF 50-140mm f/2.8 R LM OIS WR Lens which has an 35mm effective focal length of 76 - 213 mm – close enough!

I want this lens big time as it’s the perfect zoom lens for how I enjoy photographing people. Granted, the 56mm f/1.2 I’ve tested has been one of my favorite thus far – it’s tough to live without a zoom in a camera system that is designed to be compact. Of course, some might say that this lens is too big for that reason, but personally I’m glad to see see it added to the line up.

Here’s more info on Fujifilm’s site about this cool new lens.

New 56mm f/1.2R APD – for bokeh junkies who thought the current 56mm f/1.2 wasn’t good enough

Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD Lens
Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD Lens

The still fairly new XF 56mm f/1.2 R is a fantastic lens, so I’m perplexed why a company with so many other needs in the lens department would release a new variant so soon. The answer lies in the APD designation which is supposed to offer much better bokeh than what is possible in the regular version – at a $500 premium. I’ll definitely have to test this lens because I was extremely happy with the bokeh of the non APD version that I tested as shown in the photo below, so I can’t see how the new one will really be $500 better.

However, for some more is better, so it’ll fun to be give it a try and see how it goes. However, it would have to be pretty incredible for me to recommend it over the existing 56mm which is a brilliant lens.

Here’s more info on Fujfilm’s site about APD.

For the record, I saw no problems with the bokeh from the original:


The original XF56mm f/1.2R does NOT have APD,
but I thought its bokeh quality was outstanding

(FUJIFILM X-E2, f/1.2 @ 56 mm, 1/300, ISO 400, No Flash – Unedited)

Conclusion

I’ll definitely get the lenses in for review, but I’ll not bother with the hard to read X-T1. The X100T will be in the queue for when I’m done with the lenses, or sooner if I get enough requests.

Share your thoughts – is this great news or would you have rather seen something else by Fujifilm announced?

[NOTE: Comments are not auto approved due to spam bots, so please only submit once and be patient for the comment to appear – sometimes days later. I do read every one!]

Where to order

Click the links above learn more or order from B&H. My friends at Adorama have a cool landing page for all of the new Fujifilm products featured here as well.

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1 comment:

Sterndal said...

The interesting thing is, too, that the XT1 gets a frimware update with lots of useful options (direct AF-point movement, for example) and 1/32000th electronic shutter!