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cgeorges

X-T1 as outdoor/hiking camera

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cgeorges

X-T1 looks like a very good outdoor camera for hiking, backpacking. I'm sure there are other cameras out there with similar features, but this one strikes a nice balance. Here are my thoughts:

The good:

- Dedicated switches for Shutter Speed, Exposure Compensation, ISO, and the Aperture setting on the lens. Having these dedicated switches is (for me) the most important since I do not want to turn on the camera to see or change the settings. Also, it feels good to have the manual zoom on the lens and not the zoom-by-wire control on the camera like many compact cameras, which is slow and annoying.

- Good quality image: there are smaller cameras are out there but they also have smaller sensors. Other APS-C sensor cameras (mostly SLRs) are heavier and full-frame cameras are heavier and/or way more expensive.

- Reasonable selection of lenses: Some excellent primes, but also a few zooms with constant 2.8 aperture coming soon (also weather sealed and OIS). And Fuji lenses come with hoods (hello Canon!).

- Small size: a smaller camera and smaller lenses than an SLR. Probably half the size and weight of a similar SLR system.

- Weather Resistant (dust-resistant, water-resistant and -10°C low-temperature operation). I find the low-temperature operation especially relevant since that can make a normal camera freeze and stop operating. Lenses have to be weather resistant too, to have full protection, but I think that camera protection is more important.

- Tilting screen: comes in handy for macro shots, or for shots from unusual positions and angles (like taking a picture pointing down from the edge of a steep ravine).

- Manual focus: much more usable than the manual focus on compact cameras like Canon G12.

- The extra Fuji MHG-XT hand-grip with a built-in Arca Swiss style plate tripod mount: it's nice to have the extra grip for carrying the camera in one hand while scrambling on the trail. This is expensive though, probably on par with what a similar offering from RRS would be.

- The Time Lapse feature is nice - no need for an extra time lapse controller device.

The not so good:

- Battery life: the Battery does not last long, probably because of the small battery size and also because the EVF/LCD uses more energy. One needs to carry 3 batteries where 1 would have been enough for an SLR camera with an OVF. For a multi-day backpacking I'd end up taking a small bag of extra batteries :). Maybe turning off the LCD and using just the EVF might help.

- The buttons on the back are not so easy to use, especially with gloves. The the 4-way controls around the menu button are annoyingly small and do not protrude enough to "feel them".

- No built-in flash... OK, the flash is not needed for landscape, but it's useful for back-lit portraits. There is a very nice and small flash that comes with the camera, but it seems rather fragile for leaving it on the the camera while hiking.

Everyone has different usage pattern and shooting style so some of the pros/cons above might have different weight.

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Guest

I am happy to find that the X-T1 has a new View Mode option to use the EVF only with proximity sensor, so it turns off the EVF when your eye it not to the camera. I am curious if that will ultimately offer much of an improved run time over other options.

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DanBailey

I keep the proximity sensor on all the time on the EVF, and auto-playback off. Depending on the situation, I've managed to get up to 1,000 shots on a single battery charge. This is mostly when shooting CH mode, though.

On other days, I've run through 3 batteries in a single day of heavy shooting. I agree, this is still the weak link with these kinds of cameras. Having extras is essential for backcountry trips, but I hope that as with the early DSLRs, battery life will keep improving with each new generation. That said, even with a small handful of extra batteries, it's still a pretty lightweight setup.

Yes, the buttons are small. I wish they were a little bigger, but my gloved fingers have learned to go where they need to. On the plus side, I don't hit them accidentally nearly as much as I did with the X-E1. From what I read, this was a big concern with the design of the X-T1.

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K1W1_Mk2

but I hope that as with the early DSLRs, battery life will keep improving with each new generation.

It's a technology issue not a Fuji issue basically.

Small cameras = small batteries. Small batteries = less battery life. If people want small then they need to accept the consequences of small.

Build a X-T1 the size of a D4s and put a D4s battery into it and the battery life will be phenomenal.

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DanBailey

True, but it's also a software issue. My first Nikon D200 would only manage about 300 RAW shots per charge. The D300 and D700 both use the very same battery as the D200 and they were remarkably better in terms of battery performance. With my D700, I can get least 1,000 RAW shots per charge on an average day.

The main thing with mirrorless cameras is that they're always operating in "live view" mode, which is a big draw on batteries, so limiting the use of the LCD makes a difference. Also, it would seem that using dials to quickly change settings and not having to go into the menu each time you change something would improve performance.

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K1W1_Mk2

D200 = CCD sensor

D300/700 = CMOS sensor

Huge difference in power consumption. Also whilst the EN=EL3 battery was physically the same size there was a considerable difference in capacity and technology between the early EN-EL3/a of the D50/70/200 and the EN-EL3e that the D300 and later used.

I will grant you that one big improvement in the D300 and later was the battery metering. That is where Fuji suck big time. Having more than 2 or 3 shots warning of battery death would be very handy.

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phrehdd

If there is someone out there who wants to be a bit innovative, perhaps they can make a "cover" for the 4-way control that creates raised surfaces for each button. Rubber or silicon come to mind. If someone gets a half case, they would be able to attach to the case rather than the camera.

Or something like these might be handy, though I suspect they would have to be replaced often enough...

http://www.amazon.com/Rubber-Bumper-Protect-Cushion-Surfaces/dp/B000JLD7LO

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phrehdd

Way way back, I had a friend that was into electronics and helped me create for my Nikon cameras a special camera strap that housed 12 batteries that connected to my Nikon motor drive. They were AA batteries if I recall correctly along with a couple of small electronic items that handled the power output (to match the camera/drive). The batteries lined up like bullets in their weatherproof sleeves.

It seems a similar notion might work well for the X-T1 to add longer life and not be cumbersome. Perhaps there are some hobbyists that like taking on projects like these or perhaps turn it into a side business.

There is no genius in the idea, but genius in those that can make it come to fruition. Any geniuses out there?

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Owtafocus

Three batteries for a day of heavy shooting seems reasonable to me. Look at the size of them, there're tiny. That contributes largely to the compact size and weight of the X series cameras. I can fit four spares in my camera bag's side pocket or in my pants pocket. I don't mind.

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K1W1_Mk2

Way way back, I had a friend that was into electronics and helped me create for my Nikon cameras a special camera strap that housed 12 batteries that connected to my Nikon motor drive. They were AA batteries

My Nikon MD-!0 for my D300 has 8 x AA batteries in it plus the standard EN-EL3e in the camera. The combined weight of the batteries alone would drive most Fuji users insane. They left DSLR land to save weight not add it.

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K1W1_Mk2

Three batteries for a day of heavy shooting seems reasonable to me.

+1

I don't recall actually using three in a day but I carry three and the weight is negligible.

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arnold_w

I have 9 batteries now, that must do for a 3 or 4 day hiking without charging possibilities. Turning off the back LCD and IOS will help a lot.

When I used my 5D mark II & III with a big stopper for long exposures I used the LCD for live view also, draining down the battery in no time with only 300 shots per charge.

So there's nothing extraordinary about the Fuji batteries, it's just a matter of design and the fact that you're using LCD of EVF constantly.

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DanBailey

Having more than 2 or 3 shots warning of battery death would be very handy.

Totally. I'd be all over that. As soon as you see that dreaded red icon, you're lucky if you can get even one or two more shots out the battery. It should be like the low fuel light on your car when you know you have at least 20-30 miles left on the tank and can at least limp to the next gas station.

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Thumbs_up

I have one extra battery with me only, see how long these two batteries can last

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dmward

Three X batteries are about the size and weight of one 5DIII battery. I have one is each camera and three extra. Will probably get a couple more extras just for peace of mind.

On a recent trip to Panama one battery tended to last the day in X Pro1. With XT1 I expect higher consumption, partly because I change the Hi Pro setting to On. :-)

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arnold_w

Will the battery last longer when you turn off AF or is the EVF consuming more power because you have to focus longer in MF? In the Canon days I shot my landscapes in MF because it spared me some power over the day, the OVF doesn't consume power, only the lightmeter does. But with the X-T1 EVF it's a different story.

For landscape photograpy you don't need AF or Hi Pro settings and if you are serious about landscape photography you use a tripod and can turn off OIS as well.

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pominpocket

I would be interested to see the size of a ST1 with the motor drive and some more extras compared with the Nikon DF. The battery for the DF is tiny and lasts for days.

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