After being asked on Instagram which I prefer, the X-T1 with the XF 23mm f1.4 R or the X100T, it got me thinking – do I like one over the other? If I could only have one, which would it be? My response at the time was – “It’s like asking a parent who their favourite child is haha. I’ve only had them a few weeks but they both have their advantages. I love the electronic viewfinder, the slightly faster autofocus and the extra stops of light on the X-T1. But I love the size of the X100T and the optical viewfinder finder makes it so quick to compose an image. In saying that, the X100T goes with me everywhere…hope that helps!”. I think that pretty much sums it up, but I’ll go into it all a little more.SENSOR
Both cameras have the same incredible 16MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor, and when I say incredible, I mean it. Coming from previously shooting with a Canon 5D Mark III and a 6D with an assortment of L-series lenses, I wasn’t expecting the Fuji gear to compete, I thought I’d be compromising in image quality for a lightweight kit, but man was I wrong! The sensor on this camera in my opinion smashes that of Canon in regards to dynamic range and colour. The last six months or so I’ve been purely shooting film as this is what I was struggling with when shooting digital. Since we’ve got our Fuji kit I’ve probably shot two frames on my Leica!
It’s evident that Fuji has come from a film background as their jpegs definitely simulate what you can achieve with film in regards to dynamic range, colour, grain and sharpness straight out of camera. I find myself leaving the camera on my new favourite film simulator, ‘classic chrome’ which is just one of the 11 simulators built into both cameras. The raws are great to work with in post-production – drop them into Lightroom and you can recover the darkest shadows with minimal loss of quality. You’re also able to pick any of the film simulators that are built into the camera in Lightroom to speed up your workflow, and other than shadows, contrast and sharpening, I’ve found I’m doing minimal editing.
For all you Instagram addicts, both the cameras allow you to shoot in square format – saving the jpeg as square but keeping the raw at 3:2 if you change your mind later. There’s also the option of 16:9 if that’s your preferred ratio, or if you’re planning on integrating stills into a movie later on. Both cameras feature Wi-Fi making it easy to transfer images on the go!ISO
The low-light performance and the way both cameras render high ISO is somewhat filmic, without the horrible patchy and colourful shadow areas that you often come across with digital photography. Both the X-T1 and X100T have a native ISO of 200, but in saying this they also both have electronic shutters with each being capable of shooting at 1/32,000 which allows for low aperture use in full sunlight.
Coming from shooting with a Leica M7 with a 35mm lens, I’ve found that the X100T with its optical viewfinder is just like a smaller, digital, autofocus equivalent. I love being able to shoot with no distractions or tunnel vision, and wandering around the street with the camera off, saving battery while still being able to frame up an image is very beneficial to the way I shoot.
Then you pick up the X-T1, turn it on and look through that glorious, massive viewfinder with every bit of information you could want right there! The X-T1 doesn’t feature an optical viewfinder, however I find the electronic viewfinder to be extremely accurate unlike the X100T. With all those manual dials everywhere and a conveniently placed exposure compensation dial right at your thumb, it’s a pleasure to use.
I don’t have massive man hands but I do find still find the X100T a tad small when shooting. The X-T1 feels comfortable in the hand and has a good weight to it, especially with the added vertical battery grip. Both cameras have 3”, 1040k-dot screen which are great for use on live view when shooting from a high or low angle. This is made even easier with the X-T1’s tilt screen.
Lastly, the lenses. How does the 23mm f2 on the X100T compare to the 23mm f1.4 on the X-T1? After solidly shooting with both for the last two months of travelling, I’ve found a few distinct differences.
– Sharpness: XF23mm is noticeably sharper at f2-2.8
– Contrast: XF23mm produces higher contrast photographs, particularly at larger apertures
– Bokeh: XF23mm’s bokeh is smoother at f2-2.8
– Distortion: X100T has slightly more distortion. It is particularly noticeable in the last photograph below.
So back to the question that began this blog, what do I prefer – the X-T1 with the XF23mm or the X100T?
I have to say I’m a big fan of seeing the world at 35mm. I own five cameras with fixed 35mm lenses or equivalent (I did have more but I was just being crazy so I sold them off to fund more travels), and it’s by far my most used focal length, especially when travelling. So in conclusion, my pick for the perfect walk-around, everyday camera would definitely be the X100T. It hasn’t left my side since it came into my possession because of its size, optical viewfinder and great compatibility to the way I shoot. Could I return my XF23mm? No chance, I love it!
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