Spring break is upon us, and that often means family vacations. I took my son to Seattle for a short weekend adventure, and I brought the Fujifilm X-T1 and two lenses; the 18-55mm f/2.8-4.0 and 14mm f/2.8. Yes, a very small kit. Because I was with my son, I knew I’d be mostly taking snapshots, so I figured this very small kit would do. The first thing I noticed was how easy it was to put everything underneath the seat in front of me on the plane, which was a CR-J regional jet.
Walking around Seattle with such a small camera was very easy. I never felt encumbered by it, and nobody really cared that I had a camera. The small form-factor of the X-T1 was useful in the crowded museums and Pike Place Market. I also took advantage of the Fuji’s WiFi hotspot and mobile app to quickly download images to my phone and iPad, where I was able to tweak them with Snapseed and quickly send them to friends and relatives. This one feature alone makes traveling with the Fuji very nice, as I’m not worrying about bringing a laptop along.
I found that both lenses performed very well, and the autofocus system handled moving subjects nicely. One thing I’ve discovered is that when using continuous AF, the camera never feels like it’s locking focus. However, when I reviewed my shots, I found them to be in-focus the majority of the time. I used the X-T1 indoors in dark museums, outdoors, and on moving subjects like aircraft and the sea otters at the Seattle Aquarium. In just about every instance, I got images that I’m very happy with. From an image quality standpoint, I was very pleased, indeed. The quality of the Fuji sensor is such that I did not miss my Nikon DSLR.
From a usability standpoint, I’m still just getting used to the control dial ergonomics. That’s something you need to do with any new camera so that you can quickly change modes or apply exposure compensation without having to think too hard on it. Now that I’ve had a chance to go through my images, I’m really happy with what I got. And my neck and shoulders are very happy to not have had to carry a heavy camera kit around!
Here are a few things I would suggest for new Fuji users traveling with the X-T1 (or similar).
- Consider shooting RAW+JPEG (normal). This allows you to zoom in on your images to 100% on the camera LCD. The RAW files themselves only embed a small JPEG preview.
- A 32GB SD card is ideal. I captured over 500 RAW+JPEG images and had plenty of room to spare.
- Learn to use Manual Focus. In certain situations, it’s actually easier to focus manually and then recompose the shot. This is especially true in dark or dim conditions.
- Use the tilt-LCD to help get low-angle shots that would be difficult with a normal DSLR. It can be really useful for capturing images from a different perspective.