Having recently upgraded from the X-Pro1 to the X-T1, I thought I’d take the opportunity to give both it and the 18-55mm f/2.8-f/4.0 lens a road test when we took a short break in Tenerife recently.
I was really pleased with the results from this pairing, with only a couple of minor niggles (one to do with the body, the other with the lens although its partly the way I use it).
Lets get the niggles out of the way first.
What needs improving – Fuji X-T1
The only thing I had an issue with was the placement of the movie record button – it’s right next to the exposure compensation dial and I kept accidentally pressing it whenever I tried to turn the dial. In Tenerife I was constantly fighting the light, with sudden changes between light and shade so I was using it a lot more than I do in the UK.
This is something which I’m sure Fuji will ‘fix’ in a future firmware update, turning it into a custom function button which will, I hope, include a ‘null’ setting which makes it do nothing if pressed (no point changing to something else as it would still become an annoyance, although not as bad as suddenly finding you’ve got 17 recordings of your feet at the end of the day!).
The aperture ring – 18-55mm lens
Now I’ll be honest with you – this is more to do with how I use my camera and not so much a lens issue. This is what I’m talking about…
I mainly use prime lenses (my 35mm or 60mm mainly) and the beauty of these are the aperture ring which has markings on it so you can set your aperture without even turning the camera on. With the zoom lens you don’t have a fixed aperture which means at 18mm your max aperture is f/2.8 but when you zoom to 55mm that changes to f/4.0. Because of this there are no markings on the aperture ring. This doesn’t affect the way it handles but it did result in me missing some shots, mainly because of the way I work. This is because when I see a shot in the making I tend to lift the camera (which I have on a wrist strap) and at the same time select the aperture (I normally keep the camera in aperture priority so the camera works out the shutter and the ISO). By the time the camera has reached my eye, the aperture is set, the camera is turned on, my finger is on the button and I’ve planned my framing. Then I get my shot.
With the 18-55mm lens however, because there are no markings on the aperture ring I can’t always remember what I recently used, so by the time I get the viewfinder to my eye I have to hunt around the viewfinder to see what aperture I’m on and adjust accordingly. This takes my mind off my framing and I’ve by the time I’ve got everything set up I’ve found the shot has been missed.
So as I say, this isn’t a flaw with the lens but its something which has caused me to miss what would have been good shots. Saying that, its a lens I’m glad I had with me as the positives far outweigh the negatives (which are really just minor niggles).
Now that the niggles are over and done with, here’s my thoughts on how good a combination this pairing is.
Together they’re a great combination
One of the things about the X-Pro1 and X-E1 was the speed of auto focus and the continuous shooting speed. The X-T1 is able to capture 8 frames per second and it came in handy when I was out for a dolphin watching trip.
The skies were clear and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky, so I was able to go manual and set the ISO to 200 and the shutter speed pretty high at 1/1000 sec. Aperture was around f/5.6.
Our first meeting with the dolphins was amazing but they were mainly swimming next to us which, whilst a great sight, didn’t get me many good pictures – there’s only so many pictures of a fin you can take.
Oddly enough, I got my best pictures on the way back when two appeared on the horizon. Keeping in mind I was in a boat which was rocking a fair bit, the combination of my fast shutter speed and the lens’ built-in optical stabilisation did a wonderful job and I was able to get a series of shots of the dolphins as they suddenly leapt from the water.
Mighty impressive. Especially since it was taken in JPEG (I actually forgot to set the camera to RAW + JPEG!). Detail and quality is amazing.
This is the set of six images I caught when grabbing this shot…
Fuji’s colours are as great as ever – here’s some landscape shots as well as some ‘macro’ shots…
As you can see, throughout our trip I was able to get a variety of shots from small closeups to landscapes and this ‘kit’ lens performed incredibly well without any degradation in quality. I think that as a travel lens it is certainly hard to beat and is a wonderful combination with the X-T1.
I’d highly recommend this setup to anyone making the change to Fuji but who maybe can’t afford several prime lenses. As I’ve learned over the past couple of years, you can’t go far wrong with Fuji.