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4th Edition - What X-Series Camera Should I Buy?

Posted by Leigh Diprose

4th_Edition_-_Which_X-Series_Camera_Should_I_Buy_001

With Fujifilm releasing three new X Series cameras; the X-T1 Graphite Silver, X100T and X30, I thought it would be a great opportunity to update the 'What X-Series Camera Should I Buy' article I have written previously. 

Hopefully in this guide I can offer some insight to your questions. I will also link to a few articles around the net to help offer some insight into these new cameras. I don't intend this guide to be a full spec write up, instead I would like to offer you a 'real world' user opinion based on my vast experience in the imaging industry.

 

 

FUJIFILM X-T1 & X-T1 GRAPHITE SILVER

fujifilm-x-t1-camera-side-viewFujifilm_XT1_Graphite

The X-T1 Graphite Silver edition is Fujifilm's latest release and an almost identical remake of the black X-T1 model. The X-T1 Graphite Silver edition now features an electronic shutter, classic chrome film simulation mode and a 'natural live view' mode that enables the photographer to disable the film mode effects when looking through the huge electronic viewfinder.

The new electronic shutter is said to be a huge benefit to those photographing with the XF 56mm f1.2 (or newly announced XF 56mm f1.2 APD lens) in daylight or bright conditions, due to the maximum electronic shutter speed of 1/32,000 second. Also the classic chrome film simulation will be a welcome colour grade for wedding or portrait photographers who used to shoot on 'similar' yellow boxed film back in the old days.

Whistles and bells aside, the X-T1 black and graphite silver certainly have got everyone talking. Why? Well it's really simple actually, this is the camera that every serious Fujifilm photographer has been asking for. Let me explain, firstly there were many people who wanted a X-Series camera that would survive rain, hail or shine, Fujifilm answered in the form of this magnesium alloy, weather sealed body. Secondly the buttons and dials have been developed to put all of the controls in front of the photographer. One of these changes has been the additional ISO dial, which not only frees up the function button on the top of the camera but also allows the photographer to change their drive modes underneath the ISO control (on a separate dial). Photographers will also be seeing more clearly thanks to the massive, and I mean massive, electronic viewfinder which you only have to look through once to fall in love with. 

Photographing with the Fujifilm X-T1 black is simply a joy. One feature you'll appreciate is camera's ability to photograph in low light situations, personally I've found the image quality to be superb at ISO 3200. Images are clean with minimal noise. The X-T1's auto focus for fast moving subjects is spot on, coming from previous X-Series models this hasn't been the case. The 8-frames-per-second high speed continuous shooting mode doesn't miss a beat with the newly developed UHS-II SDHC memory cards and what's even better is the camera maintains focus in between each individual frame. I really think this has opened the doors to the sports and wildlife photographers out there who need fast focus and a high frame rate.

I almost forgot to mention one of the most important elements of this camera, the accessories! One stand out accessory which I think every landscape photographer will need will be the optional Fujifilm XT1 Battery Grip. Let me explain why, I'll have to take you back to the X-E2 for the full explanation. The Fujifilm X-E2 is a great camera, there's no doubt about it, but it does have a problem if you're a landscape photographer. When a landscape photographer goes out on a shoot they will typically have a tripod quick release plate screwed into the base of the camera. The disadvantage is the tripod quick release plate blocks both the battery and the memory card, making it quite frustrating and time consuming for the photographer to change either of these....not anymore....enter the X-T1. The Fujifilm development team have been working hard on a solution and now the X-T1 is here their work is done! The X-T1 now has the SD memory card slot on the side of the camera and when the XT1 battery grip is in place it also has a side loading battery! Now landscape photographers can leave their quick released plates mounted permanently! Problem solved!

Okay, to sum up. I myself would buy this camera, firstly for the image quality and secondly for the weather resistant body. I would highly recommend this camera for the professional landscape, wedding, commercial and street photographers. You'll find this camera a joy to use and I could confidently say you will be amazed by the image quality, especially at high ISO's like 3200, so I challenge you to get one of these cameras into your hands and have a play around and decide for yourself. The X-T1 is a revolution. 

 

 

FUJIFILM X-PRO 1

 Fujifilm_X-Pro1

Are you a professional photographer who earns an income from your craft or are you an enthusiast photographer who simply wants the best image possible?  If you fit into any of there categories then the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is for you. Not only will this camera create a beautifully sharp image due to its new X-Trans CMOS sensor, it will also look great in your hands! Built to an incredible quality this die-cast magnesium alloy body has been crafted by some of Fujifilm Japan’s finest.

The hybrid viewfinder in my opinion is an understated tool. Used correctly the professional photographer can gain fantastic insight into a previous capture by opting for a quick review within the viewfinders frame. The ability to set the viewfinder up independently is a sure winner for the landscape photographer too as a horizon level is only a few clicks away.

Fujifilm’s history with film photography is legendary. Landscape photographers may remember the film Velvia which gave a vibrant tonality and beautiful saturated colour, while fashion or portrait photographers may recall Astia which enriched a soft silky look to skin tones. These films have not been forgotten. Fujifilm have brought back these colour and tonal qualities by reproducing the photo film expression by way of the film simulation mode. Not only can you choose individual film simulation modes to relive the past, but you can also bracket them too!

The above mentions only form a small part of the X-Pro 1 arsenal. In my view the Fujifilm X-Pro 1 is well suited for the experienced professional photographer who appreciates quality and craftsmanship.  This great tool isn’t just for the elite though, I would highly recommend it to any photographer who may call themselves an enthusiast. The X-Pro 1 is well suited for low light situations as well as landscape, macro, street, travel, portrait, studio and fashion photography.

 

 

FUJIFILM X-E2

X-E2_Black_Front_CMOS

Bound by precision and class, the Fujifilm X-E2 is everything you were ever hoping a high end camera should be. Not only does the new Fujifilm X-E2 look great but it also delivers exceptional image quality thanks to some clever gadgetry. Found within the inner workings lies a second generation X-Trans CMOS sensor, which performs effortlessly when capturing a scene, and coupled with the second generation processor this combination is simply unstoppable. In my opinion this camera is a work horse, offering faster focus, better video and more operational versatility, it's like the Fujifilm X-E1 put on a black dinner jacket and said 'shaken, not stirred'.

Some notable features also include the same Lens Modulation Optimiser (LMO) found in the X20 & X100s. Explained: This clever feature knows every characteristic of the lens and camera so if there is any diffraction which may occur within the image, the LMO removes it leaving just the perfect optical data in your photo! Ultra cool! Fujifilm have also added a few buttons, which you can customise to a specific function. This feature gives the controls back to the photographer so they can conjure up their own shooting solution - the result smiles all round :)

It should also be noted due to phase detection pixels found in the newer sensor, focus modes have been improved. Digital Split Image, Focus Peaking Highlight and Manual Focus form the new 'focus arsenal'. So now the result should be a smoother, faster, and more accurate focus. 

Based on my experience with this camera, I would certainly stack the X-E2's image quality up against a more expensive full frame digital SLR from other brands. I see Fujifilm's latest release providing some of the highest image quality to date. This camera would be the perfect travel camera, street shooter or just general workhorse, whether it's capturing weddings, studio portraits or commercial jobs, the X-E2 should handle it. 

I know of many photographers who fell in love with the X-E1 due to the incredible sharpness the camera offered, now the X-E2 is out, the love story will continue.

 

 

FUJIFILM X100T

Fujifilm_X100T

The newly announced Fujifilm X100T is almost physically identically to the previous X100s, however it's on the inside where most of the changes have taken place. After listening to photography community around the world Fujifilm updated the old Hybrid Viewfinder to a new one, the photographer now has the option to adjust brightness as well as select a new electronic rangefinder mode. Looking at the final image results on the back of the X100T should be much easier, the camera now features a larger 3.0 inch 1.04 million dot LCD screen. 

The X100T has also had some adoptions from other models in the X-Series range like the ±3 stop exposure compensation dial found on the X-T1. There has also been an electronic shutter added (also found on the X-T1 Graphite Silver) which allows the photographer to shoot at 1/32,000 of a second. Additonally many of the Fujinon XF lenses featured a 1/3 step aperture ring, Fujifilm updated the X100T to feature the same increments on the 23mm f2 lens, which I'm sure will make many photographers quite happy.

The film simulation modes where also added to with the new "Classic Chrome' mode, which was also introduced to the X-T1 Graphite Silver. When this mode is selected it will certainly take many photographers back to the days of shooting 'classic films' which were normally associated with wedding or portrait photography.

Lastly the X100T now features 7 customizable function (Fn) buttons which enables the user to assign multiple functions. I find these function buttons really handy when photographing. Having used various systems in the past, I'm now able to customise my shooting setup so I don't miss a shot. It's like I can have my own personal setup which is unique to me. What's even better is the team who developed the X100T have gone a step further to allow the user to change what is displayed in the Quick (Q) menu, making it really easy for a photographer to personalise their own shooting menu.

Overall this camera has been highly praised by the photography community due to it's features. It would be safe to say that this camera would be finding it's way to many X-Series owners and new users bags toward the end of the year.

 

 

FUJIFILM X100s

 

Fujifilm_X100s

 

 

The two features which stand out are on the X100s are the X-Trans CMOS II & EXR Processor II. Combine these with an Optical Low Pass Filter-less system and optimize every image with a Lens Modulation Optimizer and you have the perfect image. I’m not going to go into the technical side here so I suggest you do some online research and ask your photography sales professional about these features. To sum it up though some people are questioning why you even need to shoot in RAW because the quality from a JPEG on this camera is that good! I’m a believer....that said...does anyone want to buy me one?

Something else which is worth noting is the new focus modes; Digital Split Image, Focus Peaking Highlight and Manual Focus. These focus modes all benefit from the phase detection pixels integrated in the X-Trans CMOS II sensor. The result is a faster, pin point and sharper focus.

In my opinion the world would look better if everyone owned this camera. However I understand this is a highly advanced camera which should benefit all professional photographers, enthusiast and those who experience GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome). My advice, if you can get your hands on one of these cameras – don’t let go!

  

 

FUJIFILM X-M1

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The X-M1 is a little camera with a huge appetite for great image quality.  If the sensor from the X-Pro 1 and X-E1 were combined the X-M1 would be the identical triplet. Separated by its chiseling looks and iconic X-Series design, the X-M1 has also been made to very high Japanese standard.

This is the first of the interchangeable X-Series cameras, which has the consumer or first time photographer in mind. The camera includes a turn dial which includes some great features like portrait and landscape modes, SR Auto (scene recognition) and a custom setting which you can assign your own settings to.

You may also notice due to its small size the X-M1 lacks a view finder, not a problem they said – “we’ll put a high resolution LCD tilt screen on the back of it!”....and they did! If you ever come across an incredible innovation to the photography world the high resolution tilt screen on the X-M1 would be it! I have found the tilt screen fantastic to use. Getting on the ground to look at the screen is a thing of the past!

Don’t be fooled by the size though - great things come in small packages. The X-M1 has been made small for a reason. You can pick the camera up in one hand and still change the shutter speed and aperture settings with ease making it the perfect travel companion.

Did you know about the new WiFi feature? Not many do so I’m glad you are reading this. Let me say this, your Facebook photos will never look the same again! You don’t ever have to put up with terrible quality photos from your smart phone again. Simply capture a great image with the X-M1, transfer it to your phone using the free Fujifilm app and snap – upload your image to Facebook or your preferred social platform for instant connectivity.

I would certainly recommend this camera to the professional, enthusiastic, budding photographer and beginner. The X-M1 covers all bases by featuring automatic and manual modes which will inspire the entry level photographer to improve their craft whilst appealing to the professional who typically like to control the camera. I foresee this camera to cover the basic photography environments like landscape, portrait, fashion, macro, travel, street and fashion photography.

 

 

 

FUJIFILM X-A1

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Forged from the bigger sibling, this almost identical camera is a wanna-be X-M1. It's not on the outside where you will notice the difference, it's the inner beauty where the differences lie. Instead of featuring the X-Trans CMOS sensor the X-A1 has a CMOS sensor, which still manages to bring home the bacon. You should expect great image quality, but when pixel peeping, compared with the X-M1 the colour reproduction and image quality won't be as good, although it's very hard to tell in my opinion. 

Apart from those two things you will save some dollars as the X-A1 is positioned lower than the X-M1. So what do I think? Well, you can have a read about my thoughts and see my sample images on the Fujifilm global website here. 

The camera also features WiFi so you can easily transfer your favourite image to your phablet, phone or tablet. So now, there are no excuses for bad quality Facebook photos, simply shoot your image on the X-A1, transfer to your device and hey presto you have great images to share to your social networks!

The X-A1 has arrived and is here to serve you at lightning speed, well not lightning, but it's really quick. It's said the start up time is half a second and with a shutter lag of 0.05 seconds (50 milliseconds), the time it takes a picture is actually twice as fast as the interval between gear changes on a Ferrari FXX - 100 milliseconds (according to Wikipedia). Oh and yes the camera does come in red to reflect this amazing speed ;). Not your colour? Well maybe blue or black would be better suited?

Overall I would recommend this camera to anyone who is wanting to take their photography to the next level. This camera would be well suited for the mum's and dad's, who really just want a camera, which takes great photos. The X-A1 has been made easy to use with modes like SR+ Auto; translated, Scene Recognition Plus can detect up to 58 different scenes and combine the settings found within those scenes to create the best picture. In other words it takes the guess work out for the point and shoot photographer.

Be sure to head into your local camera store to check out this little camera for yourself. 

 

 

FUJIFILM X30

Fujifilm_X30

 

If I were to buy a small compact pro camera this would be it. Why?

Let me tell you, the Fujifilm X30 has been built on top of the popular X20 with lots of added bonuses. Bonuses like a Real Time Viewfinder, a finder which is said to be the largest, fastest and brightest in its class at the time of release. I know if I was looking through a camera I wouldn't want the best view, wouldn't you?

The battery life is now approximately 1.8x longer than the X20 thanks to the bigger NP-95 battery so you won't have to spend your life looking for a wall socket to charge your battery. Another bonus is the X30 features the same remote camera shooting found on the X-T1. Using the Wifi to remote shoot is a great way to share your photos when you're out and about, I personally love this feature.  The Wifi will also allow you to geotag, transfer images wirelessly, view and obtain images, print to an instax printer and PC save, not bad for a compact hey?

You may have already read about the new 'Classic Chrome' film simulation mode? If you haven't this mode is also found on the X-T1 Graphite Silver and X100T. It will allow the photographer to replicate the 'classic' slide films you may have used in the past. The Classic Chrome look is very pleasing look if you're taking portraits or just want to have a bit of fun. The new X30 also features a control ring around the lens that can be turned to change your shutter speed or aperture and various other settings.

There are a host of many other new features found on this camera, too many to write here, so if you would like to know more about the camera I would recommend watching Billy's video from the Fuji Guys. He's an expert when it comes to talking about X-Series cameras.

My personal view of the camera is that it's been well thought out. With the history of X-Series cameras I think Fujifilm have really learned from the community and created this new range of cameras with much thought and attention to detail. You can tell Fujifilm are a great company to photograph with due to their continually growing community of photographers, I think the X30 will be a welcome model for many professional, enthusiast and amateur photographers. If you're going to take a camera out and about this would be it.

 

 

FUJIFILM X20

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If you want a fast, stylish compact then this is the camera for you.  The optical technology is highly advanced due to combination of the revolutionary X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and EXR Processor II...sound technical?....all you need to know is this camera shares the similar technology in the award winning Fujifilm X100s camera. I can write about the incredible image quality and superb Japanese design all day but I won’t, instead I’ll challenge you to pick up the camera and experiment for yourself.

When experimenting with the X20, be sure to check the 12 frames per second high speed shooting. With this setting the chances of missing the moment are almost canceled out due to the new improved focus system.

Have you ever been out at night and noticed your images look really dark? Chances are the darkness of an image relates back to your lens. Well you guessed it...with the Fujifilm X20 you shouldn’t have dark images problems. The bright lens (f2.0 – f2.8 for those spec hunters) will make sure you have every chance of capturing your night portraits professionally with style. The end result should be bright enough to hang on your wall for everyone to see!

The X20 has really borrowed many of the features from the X-Pro 1, X-E1 and X100s and combined them into a small camera which you can carry around with ease. Be sure to check out the array of accessories for this camera which include a leather case, multiple external flash units, lens hood and filter set and external microphone for video recording.

I see the Fujifilm X20 as a camera for everyone as the size, image quality and weight could well surpass many of its competitors. I recommend using this camera for all aspects of photography – it’s the great all rounder.

 

 

FUJIFILM XQ1

X-Q1_Black_Front_Wide_Package

The Fujifilm XQ1 is one of Fujifilm's newest. The black or silver finish certainly turns heads when using this palm sized camera. The XQ1 is a similar size to the Fujifilm X-F1 but is a completely different camera. Boasting a stylish control ring located around the lens, the operation of this camera has been well thought out. The ring can control some of your favourite settings, like exposure compensation, shutter speed or aperture making it an awesome feature for many photographers.  

I would recommend this camera if you are after something lightweight and portable. When held in the hand, this camera feels like it should be explored, the high resolution large 3 inch LCD provides a window into a photographic world of opportunity. Owners will be able to use the stabilised 4x optical zoom to become close with their subjects, while maintaining a clear sharp image. With a remarkable aperture range of f1.8 - f4.9, the lens itself has been designed by Fujinon to withstand low light situations, especially at the wider angle of 25mm. This camera is a must have for any photographer wanting a point and shoot compact. 

 

I hope you found this edition helpful. Let me know what X-Series camera you are interested in. If you have any questions about any of the cameras mentioned let me know in the comments section below and be sure to answer when I can. Also feel free to sign up to this blog for more updates and articles.

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