The Fujifilm X-T1 Review | My favorite camera ever
Updated: Jan 12
Bottom Line: The Fujifilm X-T1 is a classic. Its professional, well built, and still highly capable in 2022. Retro styling, 16 megapixels and the X Trans II sensor are a magical combination that renders a really unique look. If you're flirting with your first Fuji camera or want a second body to go with your main camera its a bargain on the used market.
My photography journey
My photography journey has been a roller-coaster of many cameras and lenses over many years. I tried many Canon, Nikon, Pentax, and settled on Fujifilm as of writing this blog.
There were many different reasons for the list of cameras but it is mainly due to living in a few worlds: The Professional, The Enthusiast, and The Family Man.
In the past I would have cameras to fit in different buckets depending on which world I was in. Ultimately this resulted in having different camera systems, lenses, and accessories. It became confusing and I decided at some point that this is not going to work.
Having all these different systems meant there was inherent neglect. There was no way that all of them will get proper use. So the experiment started to maintain one system for all things.
My first experiment started with Canon. At the time I felt Canon had something going with the EF and EF-M mounts being compatible with an adapter. I used a Canon 5D mark II and 7D for pro work and decided the M series would be good for personal work since they were smaller and more compact.
I picked up the M6, M5 and eventually an M50 and really enjoyed the mirrorless experience. This led me to believe I could use the M series for pro work and I did for some time.
Deep down my hope was that Canon would make professional M series bodies but that never happened. Once the RF mount came along I foreseen the end of the M mount and started my plan to move on.
I toyed with the idea of Micro Four Thirds but felt that the sweet spot for me was APS-C. I think if I was going to want a compact system that can do it all it has to have balance between sensor size performance and the cameras physical size. I do shoot events where light levels can be a concern and although I think I could get away with MFTs, APS-C will do slightly better. And MFTs cameras aren't much cheaper than their APS-C rivals.
The move to Fujifilm
The logical move was to get into Fujifilm. In my opinion there was no true mirrorless professional APS-C system other than Fujifilm. The fact is, most systems treat APS-C as a stepping stone to their full frame system (i.e. Sony, Canon, Nikon).
A great resource to learn for the Fuji first timer is Fujilove Magazine. They have gear reviews, articles, news, and more.
Any other pro systems were going to be DSLRs and I'd rather not invest in something that will be obsolete in a few short years. Mirrorless systems have come a long way and the advantages are clear now over DSLRs.
My first step into Fuji was the OG classic, Fujifilm X-T1. I bought it used on ebay with a battery grip. When I first opened it I knew it was quite a step above the Canon M series. It felt more premium yet retro at the same time.
What I instantly liked about the X-T1 was the ability to be both a small personal street camera as well as a "larger" professional camera (via the inclusion of the battery grip).
On its own the X-T1 is not a large camera and is much smaller than the DSLRs it was made to initial compete with. However, by making the battery grip option you not only get more battery life to make up for the smallish battery but you get the bigger size needed to manage larger lenses when needed. To me, that is a great sweet spot to be in for my needs.
Fujifilm Film Simulations
The film simulations were something that were always raved about among Fuji shooters and I see why. Fuji puts an emphasis on getting your photos right in camera focusing on JPGs. You still have the ability to shoot RAW which I love for pro work but being able to play with JPGs are great for family and social media. Since it does have WIFI you can transfer the photos to your phone.
Each film simulation has it own flavor but I also customized the Q menu to put some of the most used parameters front and center like Tone, Color, and Noise Reduction. Along with white balance this allows you to be able to further tweak to your own liking.
There's a whole community around making film recipes and its a lot of fun. This is a unique offering that some Fuij haters might call a gimmick but when all shooting experience is at the top of your list these things makes a difference.
Fuji X Weekly Film Recipes
I made video explaining some of the reasons why I love the X-T1. It has held a special place in my photography journey.
The Fujifilm X-T1 has 16 megapixels and the X-Trans II Sensor. I believe that combination gives it a certain quality that I have not seen from the other X-Trans sensor after it. Although all are very good the straight out of camera quality is rich.
16 megapixels is more than enough megapixels and I have used the camera for weddings, portraits, travel, and more. Its truly a pro camera that was the springboard for what the X-T models are today.
I regularly pushed the ISO to 6400 with no issues. The kind of grain you get seems more natural and you don't get offended by in the final result. This brings me over to the ISO dial which you have to press down to move. That really annoys me but it was addressed with X-T2 which I also have (see my video below).
One of the things I love the most about Fuji is being able to customize the buttons. You can put some of the most used functions front and center so you can minimize going into the menus. The tactile feeling separates Fuji from the rest in this regard. The shooting experience is what sealed the deal for me.