Monday, 5 April 2021

Walking with the X-T1

X-T1, 7Artisans 18mm f6.3 UFO

I've been quite thoroughly enjoying the combo of the X-T1 and the 7Artisans 18mm f6.3 UFO lens. The lens is tiny, surprisingly good and so simple that it takes a lot of complexity out of shooting. You can't focus, anything past 1m is in focus. Aperture is fixed at f6.3, which is great for walking around. No close focusing, kinda sucky corners and really weird flaring are the downsides, but the plus side is a nice rendering, good colour and a really useful focal length. 

The X-T1is a little unique in my bag, it's a very good camera with two issues. The first is my copy has the common issue with the control dials, they pretty much don't work. That has less impact than you might think, the only real uses of the control dials on the X-T1 are setting aperture on XC lenses and changing settings in the Q menu. The second issue is it's just got a lot of rough edges, from being a very early X series body and the first SLR-style body Fuji did. So the controls aren't as well laid out as the X-T2 and there's a number of UI and system oddities that would slowly go away as the X series evolved, most notably the somewhat limited focus peaking implementation. 

Because of the former limited the X-T1 is best suited to working with lenses that have an aperture ring or are fixed aperture. The latter makes the use of manual focus somewhat more challenging than on the X-T2. So combining the X-T1 with a fixed focus and fixed aperture lens is pretty idea. 18mm works better for me than other options because it's a nice moderate wide (28mm-e), a 10mm like the Pergear f8 could be fun but is too wide for everyday use while a 35mm like the 7Artisans f5.6 needs to be focused because of DoF limitations and is too tight to hipshoot with unless you're an absolute god of the hipshot. 

As such, I mostly just leave the camera in a variant of B&W+R with boosted contrast, although occasionally I will change up and shoot either Velvia when I have a really colourful scene or Classic Chrome when I just want colour. Classic Chrome I find really pairs well with these Chinese lenses and their somewhat muted colour due to limited coating.

So the X-T1 is now a point & shoot for me, ideally suited for walkabout. 

I do have to admit that an X-Pro1 would be an even better choice with the 18mm UFO if I can get 18mm framelines active in the OVF. I've been keeping my eye out for a cheap X-Pro1 anyways and I think the 18 would be the perfect combination with the X-Pro1 as it pretty much eliminates all of the X-Pro1's real weaknesses, namely lousy AF and lousy MF assists. 

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