Fujifilm X-T1, the More Compact Nikon Df?

Within not even two years, Fujifilm’s X series of retro-styled cameras with a film feel and manual controls was able to build up a loyal following among photographers. Quite a few Leica users left the German’s boutique camera maker camp while newbies and established photographers looking for a compact system camera with state-of-the-art imaging technology came into the fold of the Japanese camera maker that has a long history in photography. Today, the X series consists of several lineups — but there’s always room for innovation. On January 28, 2014, Fujifilm will introduce its latest X addition. Expect a blazing fast new flagship camera of premium built quality offering full and quicker manual controls: the Fujifilm X-T1. Is this the camera the Nikon Df should have been?

Great, another camera officially leaking and preannouncing a camera announcement -- voilà the X-T1, Fujifilm's likely new X series flagship. | Fujifilm
Great, another camera officially leaking and preannouncing a camera announcement — voilà the X-T1, Fujifilm’s likely new X series flagship. | Fujifilm

Fujifilm finally nails it. That’s the X body many have been waiting for. The X-T1, a digital Fujica ST replica (hello OM-D…), will basically be the convergence of all X series cameras so far and the result of feedback given by photographers — or does any other camera maker listen more attentively to user feedback? Just think firmware…

Fujifilm X-T1
Fujifilm X-T1

The X-T1 will very likely

  • be perfect in size (smaller than X-Pro1 and slightly smaller than X-E2), with all the dials you need: for ISO, shutter and compensation (hello OM-D…),
  • be weather sealed (an X series first),
  • be fast (8 fps AF tracking, faster than the already blazing fast X-E2),
  • have the X series’ most advanced, high performance EVF,
  • have a maximum ISO sensitivity of 51,200 (another X series first),
  • have an improved 16MP X-Trans II CMOS sensor,
  • have full Wi-Fi connectivity,
  • have class leading UHS-II writing speed,
  • introduce a roadmap of weather sealed lenses.

Nikon Df -- spotting some Fujifilm X-T1 similarities, do ya?
Nikon Df — spotting some Fujifilm X-T1 similarities, do ya?
Now what does this all have to do with the Nikon Df? The Nikon with its prominent pentaprism bulk and focus on “pure” manual controls comes the closest to this latest Fujifilm X sibling.

The Nikon Df, a marvel of a camera with a sensor churning out velvet smooth images, could run into some serious competition. Fujifilm won’t close the gap between sensor sizes. Despite rumors that Fujifilm might go full-frame they recently made clear their optics are made for the current APS-C sensor lineup and that’s not about to change.

Fujifilm’s unique X-Trans imager technology mimicking the structure of silver halide film is close on the heels of Nikon’s D4 sensor in the Df. Apart from the two sensor sizes’ different optical and therefore shooting characteristics I reckon this X-T1 package is the closest thing to the “handcrafted” Df experience…

The Fujifilm’s much closer flange focal distance of just 17.7mm (compared to Nikon FX’s 46.5mm) not only allows for a more compact design of body and lenses. The advantage of a short back focal length enables the light that comes through the lens to reach the sensor at a right angle, avoiding poor incidence angle.

Fujifilm X-T1
Fujifilm X-T1

Reduced size, full manual controls, most likely a more premium finish than the Df’s slightly plasticky feel and a full range of compact prime lenses, what more you want?

Fujifilm X-T1
Fujifilm X-T1

Or to name the obvious: with Fujifilm aiming that the X series should “make you fall in love with photography all over again,” with this mantra Fujifilm takes a full page from the Df’s book — or the other way round?

So far the Nikon Df is certainly one of the most pleasing cameras I’ve ever worked with. The sensor’s just stellar. As is Fujifilm’s X-Trans II. And I wouldn’t mind the minor enhancements mentioned above.

Still, say what you want, to this day nothing beats a big clear crisp good old optical viewfinder…

The X-T1 is expected in stores by mid-February for $1,800.

(X-T1 images via Digicame-Info)

  • OneCut

    The gestalt is more Contax RTS than Fujica. After the Contax G2 likeness of the X-pro1 and the Leica M3 looks of the X100, I am curious to see what other gems Fujifilm will give us! Bravo.

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  • One More Thought

    According to the rumors, the body only is expected to be around $1200…and the kit with an 18-135 weather sealed lens is going to be around $1800. This would be great pricing.

  • Jason Schultz

    I’m very excited about this camera. Rumours of the 2 SD card slots are very attractive for professional work. This is “the” major Df oversight in my estimation. Thanks for this article!