A friend of mine mentioned that some Fujifilm X-T1 cameras were susceptible to light leaks when the side access port cover is open. I honestly don’t spend a lot of time scrubbing through all the online babble to worry myself with such things, but in this case I figured I’d check my camera. It turns out that the problem occurs if you have the left side access cover open in bright conditions. That’s important to me, because you need to have this particular cover open to use the remote release for long-exposures. I put my 15-stops of ND filtration on, grabbed a 2-minute exposure, and sure enough there were purple and orange streaks in the image; the classic sign of a light leak.
It turns out that Fujifilm has not only publicly acknowledged this issue, but they are fixing it for free. I checked Fuji’s support site and they offered this very clear bulletin on the issue. I called the repair hotline, I got connected to a live human within 30 seconds, and he immediately acknowledged the issue. Fuji is sending a pre-paid shipping label, and promised a 7-day turnaround time on the fix. If you’re keeping score at home, this is how you handle a technical issue!
In the meantime, I found that by simply putting a couple layers of carefully placed gaffer’s tape over the microphone and HDMI ports, I can eliminate the light leak in the X-T1 entirely. That will tide me over until I send the camera in for the free repair. In the shot below, I made a 170s exposure with the sun directly coming in from the left side of the camera; a worst-case scenario.
A few quick points on the X-T1 light leak issue:
- This is only a potential problem in bodies with serial #s ending in numbers lower than 410A05201. My camera had a serial number in this range.
- It will only occur if you’re shooting in bright conditions with the left access cover opened (as with a remote release)
- Fujifilm will fix the issue free of charge. If you aren’t sure about whether your camera is affected, you can send it to Fuji for a no questions asked evaluation and they will repair it if necessary.
- Contact Fujifilm USA at 1-800-659-3854 and select option #2 for the repair department