If you’re reading this hoping for a proper camera review of the X-T1 then you’re probably in the wrong place. Perhaps I can point you to my friend Gordon Laing’s excellent review of the X-T1 on Cameralabs.
A few months ago I started to wonder – “why aren’t I taking as many photographs?”.
Now, I’m not a prolific photographer by any stretch of the imagination. I’m not someone who grew up and was given a camera whilst still teething and has been inseparable from it ever since or feels the need to photograph everything I see (there’s no judgement of others here!). I did however develop a passion for it when I bought my first ‘serious’ camera a few years back. Somewhere along the way, that got lost.
Now there are a variety of reasons for this, most not relevant to this post. However one of them was the practicality of photography. If we rewind back a bit, I’ll explain.
I took up photography somewhat speculatively, I’d always thought it was something I could get into but I wasn’t certain it’d work out for me but I decided to give it a go. I bought a Canon 600D with kit lens and was pretty much hooked from the get go. The 600D served me well but, like most, I then started to feel like I was out growing it. The build quality was good but could be better, the best Canon lenses worked on it but weren’t designed for it. My first serious camera was no longer serious enough – I needed to upgrade. Here is where the problems started.
Canon, like Nikon, is very heavily invested in the DSLR market. Nothing wrong with that, however it means that the only real upgrade path is to buy another DSLR, one that is more serious than the one you have. The problem with this is, it doesn’t matter which route you go, it almost certainly means bigger and heavier.
Whilst I’d primarily consider myself a ‘landscape’ photographer, more than that I’m an opportunist. Photography is often combined with going out to do something else – whether it’s walking the dog or meeting up with people. There’s quite often a decision to be made – “should I take the camera?”.
Last year I took the decision to buy myself a Canon 6D. It seemed the obvious choice, it’s an excellent camera, it suits landscape photography, it’s better made and more durable than the 600D and seemed to have everything going for it. Except, it was bigger and the lenses were bigger and somewhere along the way, photography stopped being fun.
Now some people will read this and think carrying all that weight isn’t a problem and if that’s the case, then I’m not going to argue but for me it was. Too often when the “should I take the camera?” question came up, I ended up thinking it was more hassle than it was worth.
For a while I started to think there had to be something else. Then along came the Fuji X-T1 and a lot of positive comment from people I know who had used or owned one. The feedback continued to increase and eventually I visited my local camera store – Cambrian Photography and promptly left with one (the last one in stock, just before my holiday in Portugal – phew! Thanks Cambrian).
Now I’ve long been a believer that cameras are just tools and there’s a lot of fawning about them that I don’t get. I still feel largely that way other than that I do now get it. Taking photographs with the X-T1 is a joy.
As I said this isn’t a review so I don’t plan to go into all of the functionality but there is so much to like about this camera. It’s size and weight make it an excellent travel companion (and I have it currently teamed up with the 10-24mm lens which is a lot of fun to use). Despite it’s smaller dimensions it feels like a serious piece of kit, it’s clearly well made and lovely to handle. Whether it’s changing the aperture by using the dedicated ring on the lens or making exposure compensation adjustments by turning a dial. As you quickly get used to it, the camera feels very intuitive.
It also returns excellent results. One of the things that’s noticeable about my use of the X-T1 since buying it is that I’m taking a lot more hand held photographs and I’m also finding my artistic preference for black and white severely challenged. It’s purely anecdotal but the X-T1 somehow returns slightly more appealing colours than I was previously used to.
Now one thing that is conspicuous from this post is long exposure photographs. This isn’t a problem with the camera, as stated above, I’m partly enjoying just taking photographs hand held at the moment. It’s also that I’ve yet to finish editing some of the long exposure photographs I have taken. The results that I’ve had from it so far though are pleasing and hopefully they’ll be examples up in the not too distant future.
Whilst it’s possible to read into this that this is just a reflection of the truism – the best camera is the one you have with you (and there is a large element of that) it’s slightly more than that. I am taking my camera out a lot more not just because it’s easier to do but because I also have more confidence it’ll be worth my while. Somehow my X-T1 has made photography fun again and if photography is fun, then I’m more likely to take photographs. Which is, really, how it should be.
Build a rocket