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Fujifilm X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition (pre-production) Review | Dubai, U.A.E.

Michael R. Cruz - Dubai Photographer

xt1_box

 

So, Fujifilm Middle East here in Dubai sent me a pre-production unit of X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition and I have playing with it for more than a week now.  What’s the difference between the older X-T1? Is it better? So let’s get started…

 

Looks and other physical differences

The main difference with this camera is the color, in Fujfilm film terms, it is graphite silver.  To me it looks a bit like that gun metal finish which is very popular in car rims/wheels.  I have to admit, if I haven’t own the black X-T1, I would definitely go with this one.  I might even sell my black X-T1 and get this one, that’s how much I like the Graphite Silver, but that’s purely subjective.   This color is so much sleeker and it gives the X-T1 a more retro look.  I felt like the black one is not “retro” enough, compared to X-Pro1 or X100s, but the “graphite silver” color gives the X-T1 that retro kick it lacks.  To me, it is gorgeous!  I was never a fan of how the X-T1 look/form, I much prefer the rangefinder style, but I think, the Graphite Edition changed that.

Upon using the X-T1 Graphite Silver, I immediately noticed the directional pads at the back of the camera.  It is definitely better than the black X-T1 that I have.  It is more tactile and it gives that satisfying click that I want, none of that mushy buttons like the older X-T1 has.

Another thing I noticed is that it comes with a metallic flash hotshoe cover.  Which is at this point, I can’t remember where I put it (ooops!).  So, the takeaway here is to put it in a safe place, so you don’t end up like me.  I hope I could find it before I return it back to Fujifilm Middle East.

Here is side by side comparison with the Black X-T1 and the Graphite Silver X-T1_DSF2452 as Smart Object-1 copy

_DSF2454 as Smart Object-1 copy

  Here is the X-T1 Graphite Silver compared to the Silver X100S
_DSF2457 as Smart Object-1 copy

 

Electronic Shutter

Ok, here is the main feature.  To be honest, when I first heard about it, I was like wow! 1/32,000 shutter speed that’s just insane!  And then I realized, when will I use 1/32,000?  I never really put much thought into it until I used the camera with the Fujinon 56mm f1.2.  As it turns out, it is actually quite useful!

Shooting outside in mid-day here in Dubai, the sun is very bright, switch the camera to Electronic Shutter and set the 56mm aperture to wide open which is f1.2, and shoot!  Getting exposures at 1/14,000 at f1.2! No ND filters required!  I think that is the most practical use of the electronic shutter.  At least for now.

Here are some outdoor shots of my friend Sam Tring, a singer / songwriter / model based here in Dubai, UAE, you can check her Facebook page here.

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2  | f1.2 | 1/10,500 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome Film Simulation
sam_street_4_blog

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2  | f1.2 | 1/11,000 | ISO 200
sam_street_3v3_blog

The camera have 3 shutter modes now, Mechanical Shutter, Electronic Shutter and Electronic Shutter + Mechanical Shutter.  So we know the mechanical shutter is limited to 1/4000 and the Electronic Shutter can go as far as 1/32,000; The Electronic + Mechanical shutter simply combines them.  When selected, the camera will shoot shutter speed 1/4000 and below with mechanical shutter and anything above 1/4000 will be on Electronic shutter.

With the Electronic + Mechanical Shutter enabled, when the shutter is 1/4,000 and below, it will use Mechanical Shutter.  If its on Electronic Shutter only, it will use electronic shutter in any shutter speed.   Here’s another photo of Sam with Electronic + Mechanical Shutter; on this exposure, the camera uses the Mechanical shutter since it is below 1/4,000.  Electronic Shutter will kick in if the exposure is 1/5,000 and above.

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2  | f1.2 | 1/1,300 | ISO 200
sam_street1_blog2

It’s not all rainbows and butterflies when it comes to Electronic Shutter Mode.  There’s a few quirks that I found, when using Electronic shutter or even the mixed Electronic + Mechanical shutter, you can’t fire up a strobe.  If you use a pocket wizard or any flash triggers, it won’t fire unless you are in Mechanical Shutter.  It is possible that this will changed in the final version, since what I have is a pre-production model.

Another quirk about the electronic shutter is the “jello effect” or “rolling shutter effect”.  And I am not referring to video, this is on stills.  I noticed some of the photos I took with high shutter speed of 1/10,000 and above have some distortion. However as advised by a Fujifilm Engineer, the Image Quality is not final.  This is probably one of the Pre-Production quirks.

I was not able to take advantage of the silent shooting mode when using the Electronic shutter, as advised by a Fujifilm Engineer, the pre-production unit doesn’t have the ability to turn off the Electronic Shutter Sound, but the final production will have it.  I think, this will be very useful when shooting in silent places and street photography.  I also have the Fujifilm X100T and the electronic shutter is dead silent.

 

Classic Chrome Film Simulation

I think this is by far my favorite film simulation from Fuji.  It gives a nice contrast and somehow have that de-saturated look.  I think, it gives a nice pop on the skin tones too.   It also changes the look from picture to picture, some of the pictures appear to have more cyan and some are with warmer tones.  Like other film simulation, it might not be useful for every scenes, but that’s why there are other film simulation to pick from.  I shoot primarily in raw format, but from time to time, I use jpegs for photowalks and other casual photos and I can see myself using Classic Chrome all the time, except maybe for shooting food, where I’ll go with Velvia.

Here are samples of Classic Chrome Film Simulation straight from the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition (No Post Processing has been done except for cropping and re sizing)

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 10-24mm | f4.0 | 1/1,100 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome 

DSCF1401 copy

X-T1 Graphite Silver  + 10-24mm | f4.0 | 1/1,400 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome
DSCF1407 copy

X-T1 Graphite Silver + 56mm f1.2 | f1.2 | 1/280 | ISO 200 | Classic Chrome
DSCF1983 copy

 

 

Final Thoughts:

The X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition is a great camera just like the Black X-T1 before it.  It is even better in regards with the menu buttons being more tactile and responsive.  Come December, the new firmware for X-T1 will give both the black X-T1 and the Graphite Silver edition some additional features.   The older X-T1 will get the Classic chrome and the electronic shutter feature as well (as far as I know).  Knowing that the features are pretty much the same as the black X-T1 after the firmware upgrade, it will all come down to color preference.

The X-T1 is probably the best camera Fujifilm has to offer, the Graphite Silver Edition is no exception.  I generally  like black cameras because it makes it easier to blend in with the crowd, it is “stealthier” compared to silver ones.  However, I love the retro design of cameras and this is one reason why I got attracted in Fujifilm X-series in the first place; the Graphite Silver edition adds that missing retro flare on the X-T1.

For those who have not tried the Fuji X-Series system and if you are looking on getting the X-T1, which almost all reviewers and photographers are raving about; This is a good time to get one.  And in case you decide to get the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition, not only you will own one of the best mirrorless camera in existence, you’ll also get to own one of best looking cameras around.

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12 Responses

  1. Nice review, thanks!

    The electronic shutter in the XT1 scans the image sequentially, line by line, which is what prevents flash use and causes jello in moving subjects. Panasonic has used the same shutter type in 3 generations of camera bodies now, so the limitations are fairly well-known.

    Flash synch isn’t possible with this type of electronic shutter, so Fuji will not be able to implement this in production XT1s. And though they may be able to minimize jello, it is also impossible to eliminate with this electronic shutter. I would guess it won’t change substantially from what you’re seeing now. We need to wait for a true global shutter, which captures all the data at each pixel site simultaneously, to allow flash synch and eliminate jello.

    • Thanks PCB, I haven’t used any electronic shutter before; but the jello effect I got from the pre-production is more of a warped “S”; it is so warped that it looks like an abstract painting. And I barely moved the camera; in fact, when I shoot in bracket mode, there are a few distorted ones in a single bracket, i.e. in 3 brackets, 1 or 2 images are distorted and I barely moved the camera from 3 bracketed shots. I’ll searched for that image and post it here…

  2. Did they improve the jpeg engine? I read it was improved on the X30. Xe2 and Xt1 jpeg high iso’s are not so good compared to the Xpro1 or Xe1, I hope they went back to that.

    • I didn’t dwell too much on the jpeg quality since they told me that the Image Quality of this preproduction unit is not final.

      I have been using the X-T1 for along time but I mainly shoot in RAW; so I am not so familiar with JPEG output in high-iso; but in RAW, I find them to be all the same (Xpro1, XE2, XT1, XM1).

  3. great review and so nice to hear that Fujifilm Middle East was so kind enough to send you a pre-production XT1 Graphite Silver Edition, i remember when i first saw this camera, i fell in love with its design and ergonomics, very intuitive to use and so compact. i’ve been shooting with a DSLR for almost 4 years now and its really a pain in a neck to carry especially during events, up until I saw this sexy beast and how i’ve wish that i could lay my hands on it but its way too expensive here.

    But anyway this review help me to decide to take chance on changing my system, hope to read more of your reviews and shoots.

  4. Hi Michael

    Am from India but am visiting Dubai between the 29th October and the 1st Novemberf 2014. I want to purchase the XT-1 silver graphite edition. Could you kindly let me know if it is available in Dubai and if so where can I buy one. There is no talk of its release yet in Mumbai, India. Will be grateful for an early reply….
    Cheers
    Raj

    • Raj the distributor of Fujifilm here in the uae is Grandstores you can find them in al major malls here. However i am not sure about the availabity if the graphite silver at the time you visit.

  5. Hi Michael,

    very nice walk-through and presentation of the X-T1 Graphite Silver, which I’ve purchased a few days ago. I agree with all of your comments and observations and I also believe the new silver coating gives the X-T1 a much more retro look, while also enhancing – somehow – the impression of good build quality… which leads me to the real point of this post!
    I’m generally satisfied with the sturdiness and good assembly of the X-T1 Graphite Silver, with the only exception of the SD Card compartment door, which I believe does not really compare well with the rest of the camera body. On my unit, the SD card door emits a sort of subtle creaking noise, whenever handling the camera by the grip with one hand, or if gently pushing on it with one finger.
    Although admittedly a very minor issue, it still lower the overall impression of high quality build and I would have preferred to have a camera that does not “squeak” whenever I’m handling it.
    Did you notice anything similar on your copy, if you still have one available, or maybe on the black X-T1, since they anyway share the very same hardware/parts with the only exception of the external coating.
    Many thanks in advance! Cheers!

    • Hi Marco..

      This is one of the first feedback I gave to Fuji. The SD card door is kind of flimsy compared to the rest of the camera. However, I don’t find it squeaking when I’m holding the camera.

      The SD card door is the same for the black and silver. Both flimsy but not squeaky.

      /Mike

  6. Hi Michael,

    thank you very much for the super fast response!

    There’s certainly some degree of production variation between the different cameras leaving the Fujifilm factory! I’m inclined to believe and accept that my X-T1 GS is unfortunately affected by a substandard component used for the SD compartment door, which causes the reported creaking sound. As explained it’s kind of subtle but still definitely audible, even though it probably does not justify to keep mourning too much about it.

    I’d wish – however – that I could still fix it to further increase my shooting experience and the perception of quality shining out from the X-T1 GS!

    Thanks again! Cheers, Marco

    • Marco,

      If there’s anything squeaking in my camera, I’ll return it to the store; because the X-T1 should be weather-sealed; if there’s a gap on your sd card door, it might affect the weather sealing of the camera. I suggest to have it checked by the service center..

      /Mike

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