Why the Fujifilm X-T1 Still Rocks in 2020

It could just be the YouTube algorithms playing a trick on me, or it could actually be a thing, but I’ve been getting a lot of videos telling me why the Fujifilm X-T1 is still an awesome camera in 2020, despite being six years old. And you know what? It actually is still pretty awesome.

I have had the chance to use and own a lot of cameras in my jobs over the years, but the one that sees the most daily use from me is probably my own Fujifilm X-T1. This, despite not having a touch screen, a joystick to move focus points, dual card slots, or most other modern niceties. But that’s OK. It just plain works. It feels great in the hand and is just a plain joy to use — and photographer and YouTuber Korey Napier seems to agree with me.

A lot of it comes down to the general tactile feel of the Fujifilm X-T series cameras. Fstoppers’ own Christopher Malcolm describes the very similar X-T2 by saying, “The darn thing is just fun.” For many, that’s a matter of perspective and the size of their hands, but to Napier and Malcolm, I’ll also add that there’s the magic of Fuji colors. It’s not just the pleasing raw files that Napier describes, but also Fuji’s color simulations. There’s no other camera where I feel comfortable using JPEG files straight out of the camera, but there’s been more than one X-T1 file set to classic chrome that I’ve definitely used untouched on my social media feeds.

While weather sealing is usually relegated to large, 70-200mm and other pro-grade lenses on full frame systems, Fujifilm seems to stick that onto small, light, and relatively inexpensive lenses such as the XF 35mm f/2 R WR lens. It all makes for a great walk-around package to capture scenes such as this one in inclement weather:

A Fujifilm X-T1 and 35mm f/2 R WR lens is a cheap way to get a stellar small, weather-sealed package for not a lot of money.

While autofocus is a bit pokey by today’s standards, it is incredibly accurate. When shooting DSLRs, I found f/1.2 lenses almost unusable wide open because phase detection systems in those cameras were often just off enough to not work perfectly with that shallow depth of field. You could spend hours micro-adjusting (and boy, did I spend hours) and still not have it down. The Fujifilm X-T1 nails focus at f/1.2 with my XF 56mm f/1.2 R Lens all day without a complaint, and I’ve never had to calibrate anything. This was a revelation for someone used to DSLRS.

And finally let’s not forget the other touches that were ahead of its time: the design scheme that eschewed mode dials for faster controls on rings for the body and lens, the still-excellent viewfinder, the tilt screen, and WiFi that still works better than most major models on the market today.

I’ve had the chance to use and review much newer Fujifilm models, such as the X-T3 and X-T30 and they’re in every technical way better than an X-T1, but none of them have pulled at the heartstrings enough to make me upgrade. So if you see a used X-T1 sitting on a shelf looking for a home, it’s probably worth the price.

Do you have an old camera that you’re still shooting in 2020? Share why in the comments below.

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Wasim Ahmad is an assistant teaching professor teaching journalism at Quinnipiac University. He's worked at newspapers in Minnesota, Florida and upstate New York, and has previously taught multimedia journalism at Stony Brook University and Syracuse University. He's also worked as a technical specialist at Canon USA for Still/Cinema EOS cameras.

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Here I am still using it, I still love it and the image quality is good but the reason why I'm still using it is that I can't afford a new one at the moment

I think the X-Trans I and II colors are still wonderful. Actually the JPEG colors are nicer than on the newer cameras (different white balance algorithm, I think).

I recently bought an X-T1 in excellent condition for £150. Brilliant camera. My fave cam is my Leica M (TYP 240), there is just something wonderful just holding and shooting with it.

£150? Could you tell me where you got it from please? Everywhere I'm looking they're at least £270-ish which is annoying.

Mine is one of the early model ones where the super-soft rubber has expanded and came off. Now I just use it without anything and it's fine. Favorite lens pairing with is the 23/1.4. I like it fine, but my favorite X-Trans I camera still is the x-e2, especially with the 18 on it. Funny enough, I feel like the AF is a bit better on the E2 vs the T1, even though they're pretty much identical spec-wise.
With the improved LR and CaptureOne raw conversions for Fuji, it's like the image quality has received a slight upgrade.

I've replaced the skin on mine THREE times and it's coming off again.

I agree with the article, honestly, but I'm trying not to hear it as I had convinced myself to go for the X-T4. Ssshhhhhhhh.

That IBIS is probably the one major draw for me. The x-t3, as much as it's a great camera, has been relegated to video-only, currently playing webcam duties.

Still using a Nikon d750, which came out also in 2014. However, the d750 is still amazingly competitive in all ways for stills photography (other than live view af).

Oh, wow. I'm just now seeing this! Thanks for the shout out, Wasim! Glad you liked the video!

I found myself nodding in agreement with everything you said - all good points and great photos with your X-T1!

Thank you! Also, I completely agree about focusing with lenses like the 56mm. Nailing focus at 1.2 is a breeze!

My first DSLR was a Canon 5D Classic. I bought it a mere three years ago and I love it (especially paired with my Sigma 50mm Art lens). But two months ago I got the Fuji X-T1 (with a Fujinon 16mm f/2.8) and darn if it hasn't become my new main camera. You might think it's the size and weight, but it's actually how it handles dim light much better.