Fujifilm has announced the X-T1, the Japanese company’s weather-sealed and fast-shooting addition to its line of APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras. Sitting at the top of the food chain in Fujifilm’s X-series camera lineup, the 16MP X-T1 – like its stablemates – evokes a retro 70′s era design, but drops the rangefinder aesthetic in favor of the company’s film-era Fujica SLR design. Much like Nikon's throwback Df model, the X-T1 would be right at home in Ron Burgundy’s leatherette camera bag.
A rugged, weather-sealed body helps keep dust and moisture at bay and a top burst rate of 8 fps with continuous autofocus makes the X-T1 the fastest shooter in Fujifilm’s APS-C lineup. For those who hate composing via the rear screen, the 16MP X-T1 offers a new high-resolution OLED viewfinder that offers, according to Fujifilm, “the world’s highest magnification ratio” – in other words, a very big image to look at, along with the ability to rotate the info display when you hold the camera in portrait orientation. For those who crave the tactile feedback of manual controls, the X-T1 offers dials and levers to control shutter speed, ISO, exposure compensation, drive mode and metering mode, as well as separate exposure and focus lock buttons.
The X-T1 will be available in February with a list price of $1,300 for the body only and $1,700 with the 18-55mm kit lens. Also available will be an optional battery grip with duplicate shutter button and exposure controls for more ergonomic shooting in portrait orientation.
Fujifilm also announced three weather-resistant zoom lenses, the XF 18-135mm F3.5-5.6, XF 16-55mmF2.8, and the XF 50-140mmF2.8, all to be available later this year.
Here’s a list of the X-T1′s main features:
- 16MP APS-C X-Trans II sensor
- Weather-sealed magnesium alloy body
- OLED EVF with .77x viewfinder magnification
- 8fps shooting rate with continuous AF
- 51,200 max ISO
- Tilting rear LCD
- Built-in WiFi
The X-T1 is the latest example of Fujifilm’s aggressive push into the prosumer/enthusiast market. Fujifilm rarely gives a public breakdown of its camera division performance, so we can only speculate about whether customer sales have matched the overwhelmingly positive response by journalists and bloggers to Fujifilm’s X-series lineup. But only four years ago, the company had zero presence in the enthusiast camera market until the launch in 2010 of the X100 – a fixed-lens mirrorless camera with retro styling. Today, Fujifilm can boast of five interchangeable lens APS-C models with 15 lenses.
Fujifilm’s move towards the hobbyist photographer reflects a new reality for camera makers. The low-margin, high volume business model that made point-and-shoot cameras a reliable revenue stream has been obliterated by the rise of smartphone cameras. Companies have been forced to turn their sights elsewhere for sales. “Today’s reality for camera makers is less about scale and market share and more about gross margin and net profit,” says IDC analyst Christopher Chute. “The traditional photo market is becoming more about the hobbyist, so Fujifilm’s focus on higher margin interchangeable lens cameras is a smart play. It’s where the camera market is heading.” And with signs pointing to Fujifilm exiting the budget camera market altogether, Chute notes that the company has even more incentive to aggressively expand its higher-end lineup.
The good news for photo hobbyists is that cameras like the X-T1, sporting features and controls that were once limited to top-of-the line DSLRs, are not just becoming more common – Sony and Olympus also offer DSLR-like capability in small sized cameras – but are in fact the new normal in the photo industry.