The Fuji X-T1 with Fujinon lenses

img_main01(photo from:  http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_t1/index.html)

I’d like to write for a bit about my move to the Fuji X-T1 system, the decisions I had to make along the way, and why I settled on the kit I now have (with lots of sample images of course that can be clicked to view large).

The Switch:

My gateway into the Fuji X series was through the Fuji X100s.  Like many, I had initially started out looking for a small camera for those times where I didn’t want to carry the backpack full of DSLR gear.  Not for “real shoots”, but for those times where I wanted to have a small camera with me that still delivered quality images.

The X100s sold me on the Fuji sensor and Fuji’s image processing.  I loved it, and soon developed a passion for street photography.  I travelled often with it as my only camera and developed a small “take anywhere” travel kit around it.

It wasn’t long after I purchased the Fuji X100s that I started looking at the possibility of replacing my Nikon gear completely with Fuji.  As much as I loved the X100s, I knew I would need an interchangeable lens system for the portrait and landscape work I love to do.  The timing ended up being perfect as Fuji released what is arguably their flagship model:  The Fuji X-T1.

The X-T1 has a bit more of an SLR feel to it than the rangefinder style the rest of the lineup shares.  The vast majority of its controls are available externally on the body via knobs and switches.  Aperture (on the lens), shutter speed, ISO, drive mode, exposure compensation, etc are all immediately available from the top of the camera:

pic_04(photo from: http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_t1/features/page_03.html)

Most importantly, the Fuji X-T1 uses the same sensor and image processing as the X100s does,  which meant that I would have consistent images from both cameras.

Perfect.

The specs on the Fuji X-T1 can be found on Fuji’s website here:

http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujifilm_x_t1/specifications/index.html

The bottom line is that the X-T1 is a tough, weather sealed, interchangeable lens camera that has excellent ergonomics and delivers the same high image quality I have come to expect from my X100s.  I was sold.

Fujinon Lenses:

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It has long been said (rightfully so) that a camera is only as good as the glass you put in front of it.

I’ll be honest and say that I went through a lot of glass when I was shooting Nikon.  I was still finding my way as a photographer and experimenting.  I think that is an important phase we all go through (and often an expensive one).

When I looked at switching to a Fuji interchangeable lens system I knew I had the following needs:

  1. A brilliant portrait lens.  Portraiture will always be my first love.
  2. A wide angle landscape lens.
  3. Something that would cover the day to day range for when I wanted to travel light, grab shots of the family, etc.

 The first two lenses I purchased were found in a moment of serendipity, when I got great prices on the Fujinon 18-55mm and the 55-200mm lenses:

The Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8 – f/4 lens:

This is Fuji’s “kit” lens.  This description troubles many people though as it truly is a beautiful lens for the price.

Technical specs for this lens can be found here:

http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujinon_lens_xf18_55mmf28_4_r_lm_ois/

For me the value of this lens comes down to the following:

  1. It has excellent image quality for a compact zoom lens.
  2. It has optical image stabilization.
  3. It has a decent f/2.8 – 4 aperture range.
  4. It is small and has a fairly low profile when mounted on the Fuji X-T1.

Initially this was my go to lens for the X-T1, used for portraiture, landscapes, street photography when my X100s was not with me, etc.  18-55mm on a crop sensor is a very useable range, and the image quality from this lens is absolutely fine:

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When I head out and want to bring a camera for general use it is either the Fuji X100s, or the Fuji X-T1 with the 18-55mm lens attached.

The Fujinon 55-200mm f/3.5 – f/4.8:

Along with the 18-55mm, I also received the 55-200 lens.  Here are the tech specs straight from Fuji:

http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujinon_lens_xf55_200mmf35_48_r_lm_ois/

Truth be told I don’t shoot in the telephoto range very often as I much prefer being in close with my subjects.  Having said that, there are always those times where you need something a bit longer (trips to the zoo, shooting your kids playing sports, etc) and I hate not having something in the kit for those occasions.

The Fuji 55-200 fits that bill for me for several reasons:

  1. The range, obviously.
  2. Excellent image quality, also enhanced by the OIS (optical image stabilization).
  3. The cost.  For the image quality it delivers the cost for this lens is VERY reasonable.

If this lens has any downside it is only that it is a large lens on a compact mirrorless system.  I bring it out when I need it and leave it at home when I don’t.

I am always, however, pleased with its performance.  The range is decent and its ability to isolate subjects is excellent:

10269381_10152044880561266_8513055284233290059_n

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The Fujinon 56mm f/1.2:

To borrow (steal) from the Lord of the Rings:  This is truly the one ring (lens) to rule them all.  I love everything about this lens.  Here are the specs:

http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujinon_lens_xf56mmf12_r/

Portraiture is my first love when it comes to photography.  I LOVE working with people and making portraits.  When Fuji released the 56mm f/1.2 I knew this would be the perfect portrait lens for me for the following reasons:

  1. The 56mm focal length on a crop sensor means it is equivalent to an 85mm length on a full frame chip.  This is my favourite focal length:  Long enough to not distort my subject’s features, but not so long that I can’t be close to my subjects during a shoot which is important to the way I work.
  2. It is sharp as glass.
  3. f/1.2.  Enough said.  The ability to isolate a portrait subject from the background is crucial, and this lens delivers in spades:

DSCF3963

DSCF3687

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The Fujinon 10-24mm f/4:

My last need was something wide for landscapes, cityscapes, and architecture.

I’ll be very honest and say I struggled with the decision to purchase this zoom or purchase the 14mm f/2.8 prime lens Fuji also offers.    The following factors came into play:

  1. Image quality.  Awesome in both, but there was something that little extra bit special about the Fuji 14mm lens.  Winner:  Fuji 14mm by a hair.
  2. Focal length:  10-24mm versus a fixed 14mm lens.  I tried both for a long time, but finally decided I occasionally liked the look of images wider than 14mm.  Winner:  Fuji 10-24mm.
  3. Size:  I love the smaller size of some of the Fuji primes, and even of the Fuji 18-55 zoom.  The 10-24mm is not a small lens, it occupies about the same space in my bag as the 55-200mm telephoto does.  Winner:  Fuji 14mm.
  4. OIS:  Only the 10-24mm has optical image stabilization.  Winner:  duh!
  5. Price:  This one was very interesting to me.  I bought my wide lens during rebate season, and at the time the 10-24mm was only $140 more than the 14mm was.  For that $140 though you get a LOT more lens in my opinion.  Winner:  Fuji 10-24mm.

Here are the specs on the Fuji 10-24mm f/4 lens from Fuji’s website:

http://www.fujifilm.ca/products/digital_cameras/x/fujinon_lens_xf10_24mmf4_r_ois/

I love this lens:

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There is just something about that wide focal length!

In summary:

I am now all Fuji.  My Fuji X100s has been replaced by the Fuji X100t, which is now my baby (there is just something about the X100 series), but I now have an interchangeable lens system that offers me:

  • An AMAZING portrait lens, the Fuji 56mm f/1.2.  As a people photographer this lens is my desert island lens if I could only keep one.
  • A focal length range from 10-200mm, covered by three optically stabilized lenses that all have fantastic image quality.  For general purposes I am always covered by these lenses.

The entire rig, plus accessories, fits into a Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag.  Very, very cool.

I hope this helps some of you that may be trying to make some of the same decisions I made!

Cheers,

Ian

23 thoughts on “The Fuji X-T1 with Fujinon lenses

  1. laurin trainer says:

    Good lens choices. I have the x100s(my gateway into Fuji), an x-e2 and the exact same lenses you have. I also have an old manual focus tamron 90 2.5 for macro photography. Your opinions on the Fujinons pretty much mirror mine. Thanks for the write up.

  2. Didier says:

    Pretty good write up, made the same move but started with the xe-1, not the X100
    One lens you want to try too when you get a chance is the 35mm 1.4 it also has “something special”

    A question to you: in the Think Tank Retrospective 5 bag, is there still a bit of space (e.g. would the xe-1 and 35mm fit ? or would it be too tight ) as you can tell I am still struggling – like most of us I guess – with the Big Question : which bag is fine ?

    • Steve McEnroe says:

      I have both Retrospective 5 and 7 bags. The 5 has more than enough room for the XE1 and 35mm plus another lens and other accessories like batteries, charger, notebook, etc. With the 7 I can carry my XE2 and XT1 and at least 3 lenses and accessories.

  3. didiergm says:

    Interesting write up, pretty much mirrors my own experience, except that I tested the water with an x-e1 instead.

    Nice images, one can tell that portraiture is your first love I like them all!!!

    One lens you could have a go at too is the 35mm 1.4 it also has “something special”. I don’t regret it for a minute.

    As I am still debating – like many of us I suspect – with The Big Question aka which bag is best ? I am wondering if you could tell if the Think Tank Retrospective 5 would still accept a X-E1 and 35mm on top of the X-T1, 10-20 and 55-200 or if it would be really too tight.

    Thanks
    Didier

    • Peter Evans says:

      Hi Didier,

      I have the Retrospective 5. I find I can fit my X-Pro1 and the 35, 18 and 56 or in a squeeze the X-Pro1 and the 35, 18 and the X100. I think unfortunately that bundle would be a little too tight, although there’s a chance if you kept two cameras with the two lens mounted on their own, and left say the 55-200 at home.

  4. laurin trainer says:

    Thanks for the writeup. I have the same lens and fully agree with your thoughts. I was also introduced to Fuji by the x100s. Soon after an x-e2 showed up along with the lenses. Fuji lenses, fuji colors are a hard combination to beat. You have some very nice photos here.

  5. m says:

    is it possible to post full res images(jpeg and raw) of xf 10-24 @10mm and @14mm at f-4-5.6-8 so that both focal length give the same view i.e you have to adjust you position.(it would be a Merical if you can do this test with x-pro2)
    i really need this comparison

  6. Paul Szilard (@remektek) says:

    Me too, me too. Same path into X land. Just bought 90mm and it is so much nicer than the 56mm I am gob smacked. Struggling about selling the 56mm, however I already have 4 zooms and another prime in that focal range, so I think the 56mm will have to go.

    Now the dilemma of the X-PRO2 or waiting for the X-T2? THAT is the question!

    • Ian says:

      That will definitely be an individual question for each of us, and I think it is going to come down to form factor. Love the feel of a rangefinder? X-Pro2. Love the feel of a “DSLR Like” camera, and the tilt screen? X-T2.

      But, that’s a total guess on my part.

  7. tscholent (@tscholent) says:

    Amazed about all these lens opinions because honestly there has never been a bad one made by Fuji…Also surprised nobody uses the larger of the two ThinkTank Turnstyle bags (20) because it can accommodate a XT1with 23/1.4 attached, a14,35/2,56 or a 90 plus a 18-135 underneath the camera.How you ask? Every lens is in a LowePro container!After all this you still have approx.3/4 of a liter in space left for small stuff like a battery pack,ND’s,CP,etc.I vouch for this set-up (I travel a lot) and yes it fits underneath and becomes a pedestal for you tired feet in the aircraft.Will occasionally leave the 23 and 90 at home in lieu of the X100F,FlashQ’s and of camera Flash (of any Make).

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