Fuji X-T1 vs Fuji X-E1

I have wrote many times on this blog how I’m not going to upgrade to a new camera. I am anti G.A.S. But I recently ran into a deal where a X-T1 was $400 off. I could not pass that up so I decided to get it.

When you shoot a lot, you know when you need to upgrade. I was getting to that point with my X-E1. I was shooting about 5000 photos a month. The X-E1 felt sluggish. I knew I had to upgrade, but the prices felt too high for me.

I remember upgrading from a X100 to a X100s. That was a mistake.  The X100s did not seem like a big upgrade to the X100. I felt like I wasted my money.

How is the X-T1 compared to a X-E1? It’s a huge difference. It seems like a worthy upgrade to me. I could not believe how fast it was. Everything felt lighting quick.

When I first turned on my X-T1, my mouth dropped when I experienced how fast the AF was. I realized I didn’t even have High Performance mode on. I also didn’t get the latest lens firmware to take advantage of the Phase Detection pixels. Once I did those, the AF became even faster.

So if you have an older Fuji model, like the X-E1 or X-Pro 1, and are wondering if it’s worth it to upgrade to the X-T1, it is. It is absolutely worth it.

However, there are some cons about upgrading to the X-T1:

  • The AF is too fast. When I’m shooting models, sometimes I worry if I’ll get the shot at the right moment. Now, I don’t even have to worry. Shooting seems more mechanical for me instead of a challenge. Now I have no excuse of missing a shot.
  • The RAW files are bigger. I notice I run out of space fast on my SD cards.
  • The batteries drain fast. I never had to replace a battery during my shoots, but with the X-T1, I had to. I now have to carry batteries and charge them often.
  • It’s a bit heavier. Oh well, I guess I’ll just get bigger muscles.
  • I thought I would like the ISO dial, but I don’t. It’s not really needed. Using the fn button to change felt faster in my opinion. But it is a nice to have though.

That’s about all the negatives I can think of with the X-T1. But in the end, it’s a great camera. I love it.

Here are some photos I took with my X-T1:

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The Fuji 60mm 2.4 in Real World Situations

I’m a cheap frugal photographer. I don’t do this as a day job. I do it for fun, as a hobby. So when I buy something, it comes out of my pocket. I can’t write it off or anything. Therefore, I have to watch what I spend on gear.

I was chomping at the bit for a good portrait lens for the Fuji X series. I waited for the 56mm f/1.2, but when I saw how expensive it was, I looked for a cheaper alternative.

There was the 60mm f/2.4. I heard horror stories about the slow autofocus. However, when Fuji gave the discount for their lenses, the 60mm looked too cheap to pass up. So I decided to get it. But first, here are some photos I did with the 60mm:

 

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So do I like this lens? Yes and no. But first, let’s talk about lens and perspective in general.

As you know, you don’t buy the lens to “zoom in” or to “get more reach.” You buy lens for their perspective. As of right now, for fashion or portraits, the 35mm focal length on an APSC sensor is my favorite focal length (50mm on a full frame sensor). If I go any wider, the person starts to look too distorted for me. If I go longer, the person may look too compressed in certain poses.

I have shot with a 23mm (APSC) lens before with my Fuji X100s. I did a lot of full body and environmental shots. The closest I got was half body. I have done head shots with that lens, but the distortion looked too noticeable. So I usually did a half body and cropped. But that was a lot of wasted pixels.

With my 35mm (APSC) lens, head shots looked better. But I felt I needed a longer focal length. So I got the 60mm.

I got the 60mm not just for head shots. I also got it to separate the subject from the background. I shoot it wide open and try to bokeh out the background. Also, the longer perspective helps to remove more of the background.

I bring my 60mm with my gear now. So, how did it work during photo shoots with models when they won’t hold still? It was quite frustrating. With my Fuji X-E1, the 35mm felt a lot snappier compared to the 60mm. I actually needed the models to slow down or hold their positions longer with my 60mm. If the subject holds still, it’s not bad. But when you try to keep up with a moving target, the 60mm breaks down.

I do love the quality that comes out of the 60mm. It is freaking sharp. It is a nice lens.

If you shoot stationary objects, the 60mm is a great, cheap, mid-telephoto lens. If you need to chase something or shoot something that moves, this will frustrate you. It is possible, but you will say some cuss words trying to get it to work.

Right now, I’m not sure if I’ll buy the 56mm, even though that might make my life easier if I need the longer perspective. Since I rarely use the 60mm, I’m not sure if I want to spend $1000 for a lens I might not use too much.

Quick Fuji 60mm f/2.4 Review

I just got my Fuji 60mm lens. Thank goodness for the current lens rebates. I got a used one for super cheap. 

From snapping random things around my house, I noticed a few things. The AF speed isn’t that bad. Maybe I’m too used to the Fuji X-E1’s sluggish AF. There were some times where it felt dreadful. But most of the time, it felt fine. I think I can manage in model shoots. But I’ll see when I use this one on a model moving and posing. 

The sharpness is shocking. It is one sharp lens. I was shooting it wide open all the time, and I couldn’t believe how sharp it was. 

Hopefully, this lens will perform adequately. If it does, it could be one of my favorite value lens. 

Fuji 27mm f/2.8 First Impressions

I got the Fuji 27mm. Why? Because it was on sale now for only $200! Also, after reading the comparison between the X100s and the 27mm at FujivsFuji, the 27mm seemed like a more economical choice for me.

The X100s is my baby, and I love that camera. The X100 was my first “real” camera, and I cut my teeth on it. I mainly do portraiture now. My Fuji X-E1 with the 35mm is my main system for that. My X100s is now used for events, snapshots, travel, etc.

I compared the size between the X-E1 with the 27mm and X100s. The X-E1 seemed a tad bit bigger. I think they both can fit into my coat pocket with ease.

What do I lose if I decide to go with the 27mm and sell my X100s? I would lose the leaf shutter, the quietness, ND Filter, phase detect pixels, OVF, aperture ring, and a stop of light. Honestly, none of those matter to me.

Leaf Shutter and ND Filter. 

The benefits of the Leaf Shutter is the quiet shutter and the fast sync speed. I rarely use my flash outside in the desert at high noon. 1/180 second sync speed is enough for me at the studio. So I have no need for the leaf shutter or the ND filter.

Phase Detect and Autofocus Speed

I did a bunch of AF tests with my Fuji X100s, and the X-E1 with the 27mm. Using the middle focus point with the biggest focus window, the X100s blew away the X-E1. But I rarely use it that way. I move my focus points around a lot, and I use a smaller window for critical focus.

When I use the outer AF portions and a smaller AF window, the AF speed seemed about the same. Sometimes, it felt like the X-E1 was faster. For my use, the AF doesn’t seem improved with the X100s.

OVF

It’s been months since I used the OVF for the X100s. I use the back LCD most of the time anyway. Heh, maybe I should just get the X-M1 instead. So the OVF isn’t important for me. I won’t even miss it. In fact, I find it a gimmick in the X-Series cameras.

Aperture Ring and One Extra Stop of Light

Okay, I’ll  miss those. I love the aperture ring. But using the wheel on the back isn’t too bad. I can get used to it.

The One Extra Stop of Light is what I’ll miss the most. Then again, with the X100s, the softness at 2.0 annoys me at times. So I stop up to 2.8 or higher anyway. I only go to 2.0 if the venue is dark. Also, the X-E1 has a pop up flash. I’ll just use that if I need to illuminate the scene.

What Will I Do Now?

I’ll put the 27mm through its paces and see if it performs as well as my X100s. I’m sure it will. I’ll be selling my X100s soon. I’ll miss it.

What Improvements Can Fuji Make After the X-T1?

Since I’m a Fuji fanboy, I’ve been reading a lot of reviews about the X-T1. This camera has got as much hype as the x100s when x100s came out. From all the reviews I’ve read, it sounds like the perfect Fuji X-Camera.

Unfortunately for Fuji, I can control my G.A.S. because I bought the hype of the X100s. When I finally got the X100s, it underwhelmed me. The image quality didn’t look  better. The AF didn’t seem faster, only at the center point in good light. The only good thing was the manual focus. That experienced helped me to save my money and control my G.A.S.

Let’s say the Fuji X-T1 is as good as the hype. Lets say the autofocus is super fast with all lenses and all points. Lets say the EVF is magical. And so on. What more can Fuji do for its future cameras? What would make me want to buy a new Fuji camera even though I have a perfectly good X-E1?

The X-Trans Sensor

I don’t think it can be improved much. Sure, they can increase the megapixels, but why? That’s a worthless improvement. I describe why here. Fuji needs to come out with a sensor breakthrough to get  noticeable improvement.

In the short term, if I was Fuji, I would work with the popular RAW processors like Adobe, Capture One, etc. Fuji should work with them to get the best RAW processing for the X-Trans sensor. I think that can improve the image quality alone for us RAW shooters.

I don’t care about Full Frame. I want Fuji to be the best APSC system. I don’t want them to be distracted by Full Frame before they solidify their APSC lineup. Olympus and Panasonic are committed to their m43. Fuji should be committed to their APSC system and squeeze as much as possible they can from it.

Autofocus

I don’t care if they have the fastest AF with only a particular type of lens at good light with the center point AF. It should have fast AF at all AF points in any light with any lens. In addition, the PDAF pixels only covers the center part of the sensor. They should cover the 100% of the sensor.

Also, if they need to release version 2 of the lenses to get the AF faster, then so be it. If it gives a huge improvement in AF, then I know most people will switch.

For example, I would buy the 60mm f/2.5 if it had faster AF. I don’t need a 1.2 for the 56mm. With that much depth of field, I’ll lose focus every time I breathe.

While I’m on the topic of AF, I would like to have back-button focus for all AF box size. So in the MF mode, I should be able to change the size of the AF to the smallest size.

Also, I would like more AF points. The amount they have now seems pathetic to me.

Camera Meter

Why is Fuji’s  meter is only at the center AF point? It should be at whatever AF point we choose. This is one big thing they should change.

Tethering

I have no idea if the WiFi allows Fuji to tether to Lightroom or Capture One. If it can’t, it should. Or they should allow some sort of tethering using a USB cable.

Fuji did a good job to be more “pro” by offering weather sealing with the X-T1. Now they should allow real tethering.

1/3 or 1/2 Stops on the Shutter Dial

Just make the dial bigger and make it go 1/3 stops (or 1/2 stops) for shutter speed. I don’t know why they made the exposure compensation dial bigger instead of the shutter dial. I hate using a different dial to adjust the shutter speed in 1/3 stops. That makes no sense.

 

You Must Follow The Rules!

In Photography, there are a lot of rules, especially in portraiture. I used to be a strict rule follower. Never crop her at her feet! Place her at the exact thirds of the picture! Make sure her eyes are above the upper thirds! Make sure to get that catch light in her eyes! And so on.

Even though I followed those rules, I noticed pros who I admire rarely followed them.  I began to realize that the rules weren’t always to be followed. In fact, if the content is solid, the rules don’t matter. They’re  minor distractions.

Before, I would critique other photos based on those rules. I now cringe at the stuff I said. Nitpicking photos on those rules isn’t constructive. It’s just an ego booster. But that’s another post.

Other clueless photographers  critiqued me with those nitpicky rules as well. Over time, no matter how perfect I try to make the photo, someone has something irrelevant to say to boost their ego. I got tired of it and decided to just break the rules.

You Can’t Have Shadows In the Eyes, That is Unflattering

A common rule in portraiture is to have catchlight in the eyes. That is supposed bring soul and life into the eyes.  In fact, they hate shadows in eyes. They say it make women look unflattering. These girls look ugly don’t they?

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You Must Always Point the Face Towards the Light

In addition to the rule above, you should just have the model face the light. These images below are crappy since the light isn’t shone on the face.

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Don’t Crop At Fingers, Toes, Feet, Under Elbows, Tip of Heads, etc.

We all know the proper body cropping rules. Don’t chop off the limbs. But this is the rule that all top photographers break.

Honestly, if you control the contrast at the crop, it isn’t as bad. Also if the brightest part of the image draws the eyes away from the  crop, it’s okay too. Heck some top photographers blatantly do it. It’s like they don’t even know about this rule.

So here are my crappy images since I break cropping rules:

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The Eyes Must Be Razor Sharp

The eyes are the soul. You must focus on them and have them razor sharp.

I used to follow this rule pretty religiously. Lately, I’ve been lazy about keeping this rule. One reason is because I have heard one photographer  blurs his pics! You don’t need to have a super sharp picture. Would my pictures be any better if the eyes were razor sharp?

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Flashlight

As you can see, some of these break more than 1 rule. These aren’t the best photos I’ve taken. But I don’t think they’re that bad. Would they’ve been better if I followed the rules? I don’t know. Maybe.

Also, I know there are photographers out there reading this post cringing at my photos above. Oh well, I can’t win them all.

I’m not saying we should not follow the rules. I try to follow them most of the time. In fact, getting a good photo becomes easier when you follow the rules.   However, I will break them when it requires me to have the right expression, feeling, and emotion at that moment.

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