My New Video For FUJIFILM MIDDLE EAST
I got only 4 days to shoot a 5 minute video using the new Fujifilm X-T1 before it’s official release in Muscat, Oman! This was the perfect opportunity Fujifilm X-T1 Review, as I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this already famous camera from Fuji.
All the press and gear heads have been pouring over the Fujifilm X-T1 specs and performance, since it’s worldwide release, but I had yet to see it in action.
With Fuji now stepping up into the weathered sealed “pro” camera arena, I just had to put it through an official Omani test.
Fujifilm X-T1 Review: Mirrorless Camera VS Oman
Here in Oman, we have ENVIRONMENT, not just any old wimpy environment either. We have desserts with temperatures reaching over 50˚C and daily sand storms that blow microscopic particles of sand into every conceivable crack.
But thats not it, Oman has variation.
In the same day you can drive from the super-heated desserts to high altitude mountains ranges with freezing temperatures. And if you hadn’t got enough environmental shock, then finish your days trip off with a evening at the beach, dipping in salt, with a pinch of ocean, and water as warm as the average high.
Skyler + Oman VS Fujifilm X-T1
Not only did the Fujifilm X-T1 have to stand up against Oman and it’s camera eating landscape, it had to stand up against ME! As soon as I saw that the Fujifilm X-T1 was reportedly weather sealed, had a built-in intervalometer and shot full-HD 1920×1080 at 60fps, I knew what I was going to do.
I had to make a video.
But not just any video. I had to make a video that would put all these features (and lenes) to the test. So I pitched this idea to the guys over at Fujifilm Middle East and well…… Here it is.
4 DAYS IN OMAN WITH THE FUJIFILM X-T1
How Did The Fujifilm X-T1 Hold Up?
In the course of making this video, I really put the camera through the ringer. Not only was it constantly shooting for 4 days straight, it got wet, hot, cold, covered in sand, even munched on by a camel. To say the least, I wasn’t gentle. But hey thats what you’d expect from a user when you market it as a weather-sealed body, right? So let me break the video down with a play by play for this Fujifilm X-T1 review and describe how the camera preformed in each scenario.
(note: the following is personal experience and by no means meant as recommended use for your camera, I don’t baby my gear, I use cameras as tools, if they don’t hold up, I buy something else)
The First Big Scare
When I initially pitched the idea to create a video, I didn’t plan to test the Fujifilm X-T1’s weather-sealed build. But with Oman’s environment and my run-and-gun style of shooting, I guess it was only inevitable.
My first big scare came when I decided to hang the Fujifilm X-T1 off the side of a fishing boat zooming around Muscat’s coast. Dangling overboard from my tripod, I felt the boat dip as a salty wave engulfed the black body of camera.
Shockwaves ran through me as I pondered the cost of my loaner Fujifilm X-T1 and due to the death of the camera, the end of my video on the first day of filming. I quickly wiped it dry with my shirt and lens cloth, acting calm, but inside my gut told me that death was coming for this poor little camera.
As I went to turn it on again, I expected my fears to come true, but the Fujifilm X-T1 fired up like nothing happened. It took that wave like a champ, and I spent the rest of the day shooting slightly above water, splashes here and there, but not a complaint from the camera in the least.
Next Came The Heat
Fujifilm advertises as one of the X-T1’s selling points, that the camera can operate at a low of -10˚C. I guess they didn’t try to market the camera’s maximum operating temperature because not to many people live on the surface of the SUN!
Although not as hot, Oman’s daily average right now, according to my mercury thermometer, is above 40˚C. Just yesterday it was 48˚C and for you Americans thats a scorching 118.4˚F.
I had the camera out all day, for 3 of the four consecutive days shooting, sometimes sitting in the direct sunlight for hours at these temperatures waiting for the perfect shot. Nothing happened. Camera didn’t melt, no sensor death, battery didn’t explode. Nothing! The only thing to change was my tan, which now I’m slightly off-white.
Enter Camel Breath and Lots of Sand!
I am happy to report, despite rumours circulating on the fan pages, that camel breath in no way affects the operation of the Fujifilm X-T1.
Now thats out of the way, sand also seems to have little effect. I spent the greater part of the day filming the camel races of Bidiyah. Camels kick up a lot of dust, and again I put the camera in the middle of the action. No problems there. Wipe it down and continue on shooting.
Later that day I took it to the Wahiba Sands, (a very large sand dune dessert, like you see in the movies) during a small sand storm. Normally I bring plastic bags to cover my cameras and lenses, but alas after scouring my truck, none were to be found. When the shooting was finished my mouth, eyes, and just about every part of me and the X-T1 were coved in gritty pink sand.
Normally after a event like this, I would immediately regret it. The teeth scraping sound of sand inside the focus ring, brings any photographer to tears. I heard not a twitch from the lenses and after brushing the camera clean, I could see no particles on the inside of the ports. All the sweet dials for manual control turned like normal.
Weather-sealed Like the Pros
All in all, I’m incredibly happy with the weather-proofing on the Fujifilm X-T1. I even took it up to enjoy some high altitude mountain ranges, but the cold wasn’t enough to kill the batteries. What can I say, one point for the Fujifilm X-T1, zero for Oman.
Autofocus for Video and Stills
Out of the thousands of stills, I used to create the video nearly half were taken with autofocus. Now for those of you who follow We Eat Together, you probably know I’m not a big fan of AF. For this project, it was necessary.
All the stop-motion of my feet moving across Oman were captured using AF-S on the Fujifilm X-T1 and the 14mm f2.8 Lens. I think I got one blurry AF miss in the whole bunch!
It was fast and reliable, just what I needed, because I didn’t want to give people too much time to think about how weird I was for purposely taking pictures of my feet.
Autofocus for video was good as well, although I noticed that the 14mm was better than the other lenses I had when it came AF with video. I used manual focus for a lot of the video, so I’ll have to do a more in-depth test in that area later. From what I’ve seen so far, I don’t expect anything too negative to come.
The video function of the Fujifilm X-T1 is pretty simple and easy to use. You set the aperture and the camera seems to control the rest of exposure. Downside? Maybe, but you can change the exposure, bringing it up and down, using the exposure shift dial. The Fujifilm X-T1 also shoots full HD 1920×1080 at 60fps, meaning you can do some sweet slow-motion shots. I tried this out as you can see from the video and I am really pleased.
In fact, since shooting video, I’ve used multiple different camera systems and the Fujifilm X-T1 is really not that much different.
It’s easy to use, quick to start and has all the benefits that comes from shooting video with a dSLR camera. There are a lot of examples of X-T1’s video capabilities in the movie above, so I’ll let the work speak for itself.
When I first heard that a built-in intervalometer was to be included in the Fujifilm X-T1, I jumped for joy. This was the selling point for me. No more remotes, no more pain in my ASS! I do a lot of time-lapse photography. A built-in intervalometer is a must and should have always been included in every camera (hint-hint Canon!) For those nay-sayers out there, who spout on forums that, “it’s watered down compared to a real intervalometer…” What? I personally used it for thousands of frames and it’s all I’ll need to get the job done.
I can take 999 frames – thats more than 40 seconds of time-lapse at 24fps. Who needs more? After 10 seconds, peoples brains turn to mush.
I can set the interval easily – on my other remotes I have to calculate shutter speed time plus interval time to set the correct interval for my buffer, the Fujifilm X-T1 does this for me. Sweet! It also displays how many frames I’ve taken as well, pretty cool.
The only thing it doesn’t do is ramping and bulb-ramping – Well you can’t win them all, but hey thats what other remotes are for (i.e. trigger trap) I’m just happy it has the intervalometer in the first place!
What About Photography?
Oh-yah, I almost forgot 😉 I really wanted to see how the Fujifilm X-T1 handled noise, the X-E2 and X-E1 were performed so great in this area I was hoping for more of the same from Fuji. So I cranked the ISO up to 3200 for almost all of the star time-lapse you see in this video.
All I have to say is, “What noise?” Seriously.
Fuji is whipping up some magical ISO noise reduction in this area. But really, the X-T1 handled great in all the traditional photography areas; noise, color reproduction, sharpness and dynamic range are all superb.
Check out some of the stills I took during the project!
Just to let let you know, I’m an X-Photographer for Fujifilm, but that doesn’t mean they pay me, it just means they happen to like my work. There are however some affiliate links to amazon where you can click over to buy some of the great gear you see on this site which really helps to keep this ship sailing. Thanks!
In the Muscat area? I got my gear over at Photocentre, they are the official dealers of Fujifilm cameras and lenses. They have some great staff and a huge selection of camera equipment plus other geeky photo gadgetry.