Fujifilm X-T1…. Back to basics

After watching My D700 lying in my camera bag almost unused after purchasing the D800, I felt i could spend my money otherwise. The D700 had to go, as i really don’t need 2 pro cameras. I was after something useful for everyday shooting, holidays and portraits. Tired of lugging around heavy equipment, I was really excited when I heard rumors about the Nikon Df. Hoping for something small, retro and with a full frame sensor. But the camera was not what I hoped for. To “Big”, expensive, and not that intuitive in the control layout that I hoping for.

But then the Fujifilm X-T1 was released. Just what I was waiting for….. except the sensor size. Having stepped up from APS-C sized sensors some years ago, I was so thrilled I never thought I would look back again. Full frame sensors provide an exceptional picture quality at high ISO. But after much reading, and a small test run at a local Fuji dealer, it was clear that this camera could deliver very good picture quality. The JPEG’s from this camera is gorgeous straight out of the camera. The skin tones are exceptionally well. But then again, Fujifilm is known for their great colors in both traditional film and digital cameras. The X-T1 sensor measures 23.6 x 15.6 mm  (APS-C / 1.5 crop), and is the same size as most entry level dslr’s, up to enthusiast/pro cameras like the Nikon D300/Canon 7d. The X-T1 sensor is a X-Trans CMOS sensor that doesn’t use the conventional Bayer color filter (With it’s repeated RGB pattern). The X-Trans sensor have the RGB color filters spread out in a random manner. This eliminates the need for an anti-aliasing filter to reduce moire, that is used in most cameras that have the Bayer color filter (Some new cameras don’t have this, but it can lead to moire in repeated patterns). The X-Trans technology is claimed to produce excellent color rendering. The sensor resolution is 4896 x 3264 (16 megapixels), that is more than sufficient, unless you’re printing bigger than A2.

Being a Lightroom user, I was without a decent Raw converter for this camera until Adobe released the update to Lightroom April 7’th this year (Lightroom update to 5.4, which supports the X-T1) Many of the other Raw converter programs integrated the XT-1 compatibility very early on. So my experience so far is mostly based on JPEG’s and looking at RAW’s in the not so great Silkypix Raw converter that is bundled with the camera. Shooting with high color saturation  (Like the Velvia preset) can render color and/or texture a bit to “water colored” or “smoothed” for my taste. Especially in fine details like trees and grass this is visable. (But then again we are Pixel peeping at 100% 🙂 For optimal control, choose JPEG’s+RAW.


“Reflections” (slightly processed JPEG)

DSCF0713-Edit kkm smalMy header says back to basic. Well, the looks, and the basic usability are retro. The rest of the camera is high tech, and has some great functions. The retro part consists (Except the very retro look and feel) of manual adjustment wheels for ISO, Shutter speed, and exposure compensation. The “sub command dial” under the ISO button is for bracketing, continuous high, continuous low, single, double exposure, advanced and panorama. The “sub command dial” under the shutter speed dial is the metering options (Multi, Average and Spot). The probably most retro, and welcomed for “the old boys”, is the aperture adjustment ring on the Fujinon lenses. Works great, and is a big thumbs up from me 🙂

_KKM0389-Edit-2 smalBringing us to the high tech stuff on this camera, has to start with the viewfinder. It’s huge. Maybe not that huge as people hype all over the internet, but its bigger than the full frame cameras like Canon 1Dx (0,76x) with its 0,77x size. There are 3 options how the EVF (Electronic view finder) can display the image. Being a mirrorless camera, there is no optical view finder. The picture below is the full image. This looks great, but if you wear glasses, you can have some problems seeing the absolute edges. Then i recommend the “normal”, that is just a little smaller.A lot of information is at your disposal in the viewfinder. The great thing being a mirrorless camera, is that all your adjustments are instantly shown in the viewfinder. This is a great way to check you exposure, and is a great way if you are trying to experiment or be creative with your exposures. DOF is diplayed as in the final image when you half press the shutter. The shooting info also rotates in the viewfinder when turning the camera in portrait orientation, that’s a great feature.full viewIf you switch to manual focus, there is the option to use “dual mode”. Here you see an enlarged portion of the area where the focus point is. You can then also select focus peaking or digital split image to further help you focus. This works great when manually focusing. (Sorry for the crappy iPhone pictures thru the viewfinder 🙂 )

ok dual fra iphone ok cs5

triangle” (slightly processed JPEG)

DSCF0707-Edit kkm smalThe back of the camera is quite basic. The focus assist button, gives you a 100% crop when in shooting mode (Great for checking focus). In playback mode, it zooms in 100% to where the focus point was when taking the picture. The “Q” button takes you to the quick menu, where you find the most used settings. Unfortunately, its not customizable to your own favorites. (Did i hear a software change Fuji?) (*Changed in firmware 3.0)

_KKM0415-Edit-2 smalJPEG, Fuji Velvia preset, slightly processed.

DSCF0740-Edit kkmsmalThere is a great App for your phone or tablet. (iOs and Android). There is built inn WiFi in the camera. This lets you transfer your images real easy and quick (3 megapixel, or full resolution based on your in menu settings), or shoot with it as a remote. The remote function lets you adjust the most settings like exposure compensation, shutter speed, aperture, ISO, white balance, macro, film simulation, self timer, switch to video, and also a great feature tap in the picture where to focus. There is also the possibility to use the phones GPS to Geotag you shots.

Screen III doubleHere is a quick snapshot, transferred to my iPhone over the App, slapped on a cheesy filter in the phone, and its ready to go on Facebook or wherever.

EThe 23 mm f1,4 lens is a very versatile lens (equivalent to a 35mm lens on full frame ). Can’t figure out why i newer bought one before (Only having 24, 50, 85 and 200mm primes to my Nikon system)

_KKM0411-Edit smalThe push-pull focus ring works great from my point of view. The lens is also crazy sharp wide open. And It also looks and feels great on the X-T1. It’s my only lens so far to this system (Still waiting for my back-ordered 56 f1,2) Still in doubt if I’m to go the 14, 23 and 56 prime route, or the 23, 56 and 16-55 f2,8 when its launched.  I passed on the 18-55 kit, as i hate variable apertures (f2,8 to f4). But still its a great kit lens from what i hear.

The 35mm equivalent field of view is relay versatile

DSCF0680-Editkkm smalNikon D800 (With 24 f1,4) and Fujifilm X-T1 (With 23 f1,4) There is a huge difference carrying these cameras around. The bulk and weight of the D800 is quite different. But still, my D800 will be my go-to camera for motorsports and “serious” shoots.

_DSC2203-Edit smal

_DSC2179-Edit smalThe new Lightroom 5.4 also have the possibility to choose the Fujifilm film presets in the camera calibration menu.

screendump lightroom

There are 6 customizable buttons. But as the focus point selection in the D-pad doesn’t let you change the focus point directly, i have set the 4 to directly change the focus point. You could set one of them to activate the focus point selection, but then you have to press one specific button, and then use the D-pad to get to the direction you want to move the focus point. Not that intuitive, and i don’t like working that way. (*Changed in firmware 3.0) That only leaves me with 2 more customizable buttons. The one on top i left for the WiFi, and the one in front i use to go directly to the auto-ISO adjustments. The D-pad (4 way control button on the back) is recessed quite a bit, so it is not so easy to find and use. This has been mentioned all over the internet. Maybe its designed this way so you wont press it accidentally when having the camera hanging by the camera strap. But i am getting more and more used to this.

custom copyRegarding the auto focus, remember to set “High performance” to ON in the power management menu. Otherwise the auto focus will not be as responsive as it could. Be aware that the smaller you make the focus points, the more it will hunt if low light or low contrast. But overall I’m very pleased with the auto focus on this camera. It even has continues focus in the center points (AF-C).

_KKM0390-Edit smal

Remember to buy an extra battery, as the estimated battery life is only 350 shots. But this is quite normal for small cameras (Small camera, small battery’s, limited battery life)

JPEG Straight out of camera (Only resized)

DSCF0970-Edit smal

The controls are very intuitive. If you are an experienced photographer, the dials and knobs will be easy understandable right away. There are auto options also. Put the ISO, shutter speed and aperture to “A” and you have “P” mode. The camera finds an appropriate shutter speed, aperture and ISO for the “correct” exposure. Put the shutter speed dial to A, and you have “A” mode. Put the aperture to A and you have S mode. Or use M mode, and select your own settings. This camera screams for manual M mode 😉

(slightly processed JPEG)

DSCF0951 smal

f1,4, 1/125 sec, ISO 1000, RAW (RAF) edit in Lightroom 5.4 and Photoshop

DSCF1017-Edit smal

i Could go on writing about this camera for ages. But my general feeling is, that its so light and small (compared to what I’m used to) that i want to bring it everywhere. The feel, and the functions is really encouraging.  The X-T1 drive me to go out shooting again. My DSLR kit have become so big that i rarely bring it to the streets or everyday life anymore. The small size make this camera less obstructive when using it at general street photography. The XT-1 really brings back the joy off photography again!

Click picture for full resolution. JPEG from camera, Provia color profile, sharpen +1, NR-2, straightened in Photoshop. No other adjustments. F2,8, ISO 1600 1/80 second exposure, handheld.

DSCF1044 original size

My summary of good things:

  • Great look and retro feel
  • Good picture quality for an APS-C based camera
  • Easy to check you basic settings at a glance on the camera
  • Fujinon lenses have great quality, and the X-lens lineup is growing fast
  • Light and good handling even though the small size and grip
  • Focus points spread out in almost the whole picture area (Compared to Dslr’s this is a big thumbs up)
  • Weather sealed (Only camera, weather sealed lenses are coming)
  • Tilting LCD
  • Great EVF (Minimal lag, size, view modes etc)
  • Great color rendering, and super nice skin tones
  • Auto white balance is good
  • WiFi
  • Shutter sound!

My summary of not so good things:

  • D-pad feel and feedback isn’t that great compared to other cameras i have owned.
  • Only one memory card slot
  • Water colored look in fine textures , especial at high saturation (Pixel peeping)
  • No RAW at ISO over 6400 or under 200 (Only JPEG)
  • Limited manual options in video mode*
  • No button illumination when used in dark areas (Few cameras have)
  • Auto ISO should be able to set in 1/3 step ISO values (not only 1600-3200-6400 etc.)

RAW edit in Lightroom and Photoshop

DSCF1187-Edit smal DSCF1182-Edit smal

DSCF0978-Edit smalFrom RAW, processed in Lightroom and Photoshop (ISO 320, f1,4, 1/100 second)

DSCF0921-Edit smal

This was not meant as a review (Even though if it became rather comprehensive) , and are only my personal comments regarding this camera. Please feel free to ask questions, or add your comment if something is way off accuracy.

Hope you enjoyed, and feel free to use the share button if you did 🙂


Update:* Fuji made a lot of changes and added features in the 3.0 firmware update. Check it out here: http://www.fujifilm.com/support/digital_cameras/software/firmware/x/xt1/index.html


33 thoughts on “Fujifilm X-T1…. Back to basics

  1. I’ve made the opposite move: from Fuji X (X-Pro1) back to Nikon FF DSLR (D800). The Nikon is a reliable piece of kit, under all circumstances, rock-steady also with flashes, Fuji just isn’t. The workflow is a lot more cumbersome, the AF ‘more or less’ effective’, a lot of FW and stability problems, slow AF in quite a few lenses and most of all, I hate the RAW-conversion issues. Yes the X-T1 might be a bit better regarding ergonomics, but I can with my Nikon even in a manual mode adjust the focus using the bright, crystal clear mirror, without zooming in, pushing on way to many buttons, having ‘space-craft info’ over my viewfinder. No, sorry, Fuji is not the same, it’s a ‘toys for boys’ camera and after bit playing with it, I’m sure that one day you’ll love it to return to the D800, which is one of best cameras I’ve ever had in my hands. If you go beyond the mediocre conversions LR delivers even for the D800 – look f.i. at Capture NX-D, even the IQ of both is so different, I’ve difficulty to accept what I see from this X-trans.


      • EJPB – You don’t like it, fine. Takes all kinds to make a world. I went from D800 to X-Pro for my portrait work. Got tired of looking at every shot and thinking ‘ok, I can adjust the white balance later’, ‘not bad, I can fix it in PS’, ‘hmmm, I can use my “adjust skin tones” custom setting in Lightroom’ etc. My clients always want to see what I’m shooting. But they don’t understand ‘fix it in photoshop’ and it doesn’t help their confidence. With the Fuji they love what they see and so do I. It makes them better subjects as the shoot goes on. As for your comments, there’s nothing wrong with the AF. There’s no concern about FW and ‘stability’. The ‘space-craft’ info you’re referring to is actually helpful to me as a professional. Your ‘toys for boys’ was the topper. You’re delusional.


    • As I wrote in my post, I will not get rid of my D800. Only my D700 was replaced with this one. I’m not a profesionel photographer, but going to use my D800 with 16-35, 24-70 and 200 f2,0 when I take motorsport images etc. But for everyday photography, travel, street photo etc, this camera is perfect for me. But its a “special” camera, and maybe not for everyone 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I like the Fuji for some missions, f.i. more street-oriented – and I’m not a professional photographer, but using my camera a lot for professional missions. But contrary to what a lot people find, the X-trans story evolves too slowly. A system that is after two years still suffering of silly conversion artifacts and nobody seem to care even a lot of gear-reviewers… I can’t get it. It’s not only the ‘mushy areas’ problems, also very serious color artifacts you get in some particular cases, completely messing up areas in your picture. The X-trans can also get extremely moiré-sensitive, never seen anything like that with the D800. With a higher resolution sensor, maybe these problem would disappear to a certain extend. Take this in account: even the smallest APS/C Nikon DSLR D3300 costing less then half the price of an X-T1 is not having it and you’ll benefit of a higher resolution, a much faster AF (really!) @ nearly the same form factor. All Nikkors working without flaws. You’re able to use the same flashes (what ever beats Nikon cls)? I don’t know, a lot will depend for me on what Fuji will do with the X-Pro2. Now I’m not having that kind of ‘wow’ feeling about the X-series, it’s not bad, but it is also not as good as a lot of people claim to be. If the X-Pro2 would still have the same sensor & issues, I’ll likely sell all my Fuji stuff.


    • I agree completely with your statement:
      “It’s not only the ‘mushy areas’ problems, also very serious color artifacts you get in some particular cases, completely messing up areas in your picture. The X-trans can also get extremely moiré-sensitive, never seen anything like that with the D800.”
      Until the problems you mentioned above are resolved, it will be hard to take the X Trans sensor seriously.


      • I think both you and that other character have no clue what you are talking about. I own D800, 700, D3, D300 and a ton of Nikon glass; I shoot a lot of stock and some weddings and other gigs. I make up to 30 x 24 enlargements from my Fuji files with no issues and all my stock agents accept my submissions assuming they are needed. Maybe if you clowns stop pushing and pulling pixels in order to “fix it in Photoshop” you wouldn’t be seeing all these issues and artifacts


    • I think you are just a Nikon fanboy who is scared of change!! I am glad Fuji is doing well and giving the big boys a wake up call! I use Nikon D3 and I can tell you I get better IQ from X-Pro1 than I get from D3 of which I paid 4 times what I paid for Fuji. I still have my Nikon D3 but that is not to say Fuji is a lesser system. All in all the presence of Fuji is a good alternative to many of us and it has simply brought back the joy of picture taking. Picture taking is an everyday thing of which small factor is a thing to look for. That combined with stunning image quality make Fuji irresistible to many. I use Photo Ninja and Capture One Pro and I don’t see the issues you are talking about. If you don’t know how to develop RAW files then you are very unlikely to get good output even from NEF


    • It sounds to me that in order for you, EJPB, to get the results you want you need a camera that is going to help you as much as possible and for that the D800 is a good fit so I think you made the right choice.

      You probably like machine gun photography, snapping away without much thought al all, running off 8000 photos in the hope of getting 1 keeper – you’re not alone which is why the D800 sells so well, it’s a super computer of a camera with the best software and algorithms all made to help the novice / lazy photographer.

      The Fuji X range are really a little more refined and require a different photographer with a different mindset.

      One day you may eventually appreciate the difference, but until then the D800 will be a good fit.


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  3. Thanks for sharing your views on the XT1. I am a happy owner of this camera and like it a lot. I am not fond of the highly praised jpg’s. Not much latitude in the shadows, waxy skin tones and poor greens. The latest Lightroom update solves most of these problems. I also own the Nikon DF and this is my favorite camera. Love the controls and the fantastic output. The XT 1 wins on size which quite an advantage.


  4. After 40 years of Nikon my D800 went out the door with the purchase of a Fuji XE1. I didn’t need the AF speed and the admitted loss in absolute resolution was more than offset by a much lighter carry and less PP. The jpeg’s are icing in the cake. With the XT1 I got some of the AF speed back.

    No pro here so I have different purchase criteria. However, having a good camera with me far more often gets me a lot of keepers I would never have had before. The carry with many of the primes is so portable I keep the camera on my coat rack.


  5. My partner and I stumbled over here different page and
    thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so
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  7. Thanks for a very nice writing Kjetil. I can not agree more with what you write. I also have D3 but the IQ of XT-1 is better. I compared Nikon D3 / 85/1.4 D with XT-1 / 56/1.2 and the results were for XT-1. Great little camera and all the time with me!!!
    Happy shooting.


  8. I couldn’t agree more with your comments. I have gone from D50, to D90, to D700. At this point I realized I only brought out my Nikon when when someone was paying me. I never wanted to carry around the D700, even with a 50mm f/1.4 or my 85mm f/1.4, it is still a large and heavy camera. So for vacation and person I bought the Fuji x100. I loved this camera and it’s controls but the fixed lens was always a hindrance. So I sold the x100 for a D7000 and was happy until I went hiking. So a couple years later the D700 for work and now the Fuji x-t1 are the only cameras in my bag. Even with whatever shortfalls people find with the Fuji, 90% of the photos are perfect and better than the 0% I would have taken with my D700 sitting at home in my bag. The Fuji is really great for having on your at all times; not to mention the controls and image quality are amazing.


  9. I do have a question, since I just received my XT1, and, still new at it, you screen information images, IE the Olympus image, are nicely displayed, where mine are all over the place. Any hints to share on how you have it set-up?


    • Hi Tom, sorry for my late reply! I honestly don’t remember completely, and don’t have the usermanual neaby. But you should find it in the manual how to adapt some of the info in the viewfinder (I think only some of it can be changed) Cheers!


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  13. It’s just gear, and it will all be obsolete in about five minutes. Unlike any half decent film camera with a good lens, both of which can be picked up for a song. Velvia 50, Ektar 100, Portra, Provia 100F… try any of those films, even in 135 format, and the quality will blow you away, if you know how to compose and expose properly. I have a D800 and an F5, and my film portraits just look better, even though the D800 is probably out-resolving the film in resolution. The D800 requires the most hideously expensive lenses to do justice to that sensor, whereas an F5 and and some old pro lenses will produce stunning results without the need for pixel peeping and hours spent in post processing. That’s without considering medium format and large format film, which are in a league of their own. For real photographers who do not fire their cameras like machine guns and take at least 800 photos every time they go out, film works out cheaper and provides better quality. That’s not to mention the built in obsolescence of even the best digital cameras, which still cannot match the quality of a 50 year old 5×4 view camera and lens and a nice sheet of film. That says it all, really. I learnt on digital, and upgraded to the D800, but actually what I should have done is invest in more film equipment, which is cheaper, simpler and provides much better results.


    • Yes, I agree… I shoot film in every photo session, it’s a bonus for clients… I have a Mamiya RB-67 9Med. Format), an F5, F4, Canon AE-1, and a Rolleiflex Med. Format (Love this one). The Rollei just blows all away, in my opinion. I sold my Nikon digitals to buy the Fuji XT-1, and so far love it and can say I want regret it. Image quality is great, the build is quality, and yes there’s a minor menu and learning curve; but, OOTB it should be simple for anyone to snap quality images. All one needs are the knobs on top… ISO, shutter all of these are similar to any old retro film camera like my AE-1, any of the Nikon Fs, even the Rollei.


  14. Same Boat as you. I gave my d700 to my daughter with a couple of FF lenses, and now I’m finally, after two years with Fuji, I’m starting to list and sell my D800, D3, D300 and all my remaining Nikon glass. I did not arrive at this decision lightly; I tossed and turned, and gave this much thought. I tested printing the Fuji images upto the maximum size I printed my D800 images of 30 inches x 24 inches and they were just perfect. That was the final straw. Plus, when heading out on a stock shooting trip, or just to document family and friends, I always grabbed the X-T1!
    I’ve shot weddings, landscapes, portraits, etc, etc with both the X-E1, and now the X-T1 and the 18-55, 35, and 55-200 and I do not miss the dSLR at all.


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  16. I bought my first SLR in 1978. It was a Topcon and was a great camera. Then in the mid 80’s I bought a film Nikon F301. I still have it and just got it serviced. It’s a great manual focus camera. Then digital DLSR’s came along and I bought and sold, in this order, the Nikon D80, D40 and D7000. The D7000 was a wonderful camera but I craved full-frame so when the D600 was announced I sold the D7000. Unfortunately, the D600 was great for apertures to f8, but anything smaller than this, i.e. macro shots, showed big blobs in every picture because of the oil sensor problem, so it went back to Amazon. I then bought the D800 – beautiful apart from the horrific yellow/green LCD. People said the LCD colour was not important if I took RAW but it always felt like a fault to me, which it certainly was. Recently, I was going to buy the new Nikon D750 and once again, lo and behold, it was recalled because of the flare issue. Not good enough. Nikon’s customer service has been crap and their quality control has been dreadful lately. I am not putting up with it.

    And now I come to the Fuji X-T1. I went into a shop in London and demo’d it and fell in love with the size, weight, and the HUGE viewfinder. I purchased the X-T1 graphite edition recently with a 35mm 1.4 lens separate grip and spare battery. I can honestly say that I adore this camera, the picture quality is phenomenal. I was worried about going ‘backwards’ from full-frame to half-frame but I should not have worried as pictures are just so good. The bokeh from the 35mm is soft and smooth and just what I love. The knobs on top are perfect for me, and most of all I find it so helpful to see picture in the viewfinder and being able to get the correct exposure before taking the shot, being able to see the histogram before pressing the shutter and being able to see the exact DOF I require. This camera is amazing, it really has brought back my love of photography, it isn’t heavy and I can’t ever see myself going back again to a big heavy DSLR. I took out the extended guarantee with Fuji and that has settled my mind that I am covered in case of any accidents. All in all I am incredibly pleased with this camera and cannot wait for all this lovely Prime lenses that are coming out soon.


  17. I just ordered my X-T1 and now am worried about this mushy greens in out of focus backgrounds. I purchased an X-M1 about 4 mos. go, and kind of like the jpg’s out go camera, but see this mushy greens in the out of focus backgrounds. I’m not a happy camper with this and yes, I do a lot of landscape photos. I heard/read that the sensor is the same in the M1 and T1. Are my fears justified?


    • Hi,

      I’ve got the XT1, XM1 and recently the X100S. Never encountered the “mushy greens” and I have played a lot. Need a picture to understand!
      I’ve used the XM1 with a Pentacon 29/2,8 for taking a video while driving on a track (https://youtu.be/1tGRnJ0qOfE) where it worked just perfect.
      Not seen any moiré issues, but the XA1 I bought to my daughter did (furnituure fabric).

      On the camera’s I can just say
      Canon failed when they did not offer a digital back-end to their F1
      Fuji is now (well, APS-C should be a full-frame) after 20 years of all camaremakers destroying photography back to giving the man behind the gear a true easy control where one can set the exposure etc in advance ang shoot
      I do not like the modern lenses where the depth of field info is missing, nor do i loke thmm lenses without end stop’s
      A full frame might be better, but look at the pictures of the D800 / XT1 high above. In a small light bag I get 2 in X bodies and some 4-5 lenses, and I think it is better to take a picture than having the best gear
      Streeshoting, the XT1 attracts eyecontact much more than the 100S or the XM (I have the Samyang 12/2,0)
      Yes, I love the X-series. It is really back to where it started, when I used a Voigtländer 6*6 and used the shutterspeed as the ASA and F8 if cloud oor f11 if sun or the lightenhancingovercast skies. The differense iis I can see on beforehand the picture and have not to doo time in the darkroom – thus I do not approve of Photoshop
      Using old manual lenses like Leica 35/3,5 and 21 600 ISO BW in evening streetphoto with underexposure or the warm-clored Canon Fd’s (24/2,8, 50/1,4, 35-105/4,0) gives you a new life as a photographer.


  18. guys, there is no perfect camera! it`s like with the cars. someone needs pickup, someone sport car, someone van. all cars can drive you where you need. i`m awaiting my xt1 this week, can`t wait. thanks kjetil for your experience.


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  20. Your style is very unique compared to other folks I have read stuff
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    Liked by 1 person

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