1.28.2014

Yo! Nikon. Go to the Fuji Site and Check Out How To Do Retro Right.

Fuji just bitch slapped Nikon. Hard.


By Austin Photographer, Kirk Tuck ©2014

Hey look! Fuji made the camera that should have been a slam dunk for Nikon. It's the right size. Just like a traditional Nikon FM from the "golden" years. It's got retro knobs that actually work like they're supposed to. It's got a real, live aperture ring just like grandpa's camera. It's not huge!!! It's got real convenience features like....video. It's got a state of the art electronic viewfinder so you can use all the power of information the camera can provide. Did I mention that it's just the right size?

What is the Fuji XT1 missing that the Nikon dF "grandpa-cam" features? Just one thing.  There's no full frame sensor.   ( You know, the large block V8 motor your creepy uncle with the mullet always waxes on about...).  Can anyone take a camera seriously if it doesn't have a full frame sensor? Well, I'd point you to just about every photo-gear site on the web and they all pretty much unanimously declared that the "quarter frame" sensor Olympus OMD EM-1 was "The Camera of the Year" for 2013. That certainly says something about our changing attitude about cubic inches and performance...

So, smaller camera, nicer control interfaces, incredibly well thought of APS-C sensor, (should have great color, great jpegs), includes added features like a modern, electronic viewfinder and, gosh golly!!! jeepers--new fangled video. A nice line up of well done lenses is also available, all with real aperture dials.

What's the Nikon grandpa-cam have that the Fuji doesn't? How about a price tag that's twice as big??? Yep. The much nicer looking Fuji (mercifully available only in black) is about $1300 for the body while the Nikon dF weighs in at a whopping $2900. 

To be honest, the sensor in the dF is the same as that in the D4 and it's supposed to be a low light monster. If only the focusing could keep up with it...  The sensor in the Fuji isn't exactly in the same glass but it might also be in a class of its own where it really counts: Image Quality and Color. Or maybe it's just par for the course these days. And that would be really good anyway.









29 comments:

James said...

FYI - Micro-4/3 sensors are HALF frame, not quarter frame. Thus the 2x crop factor.

Ron White said...

Hey Kirk - Spot On! This camera is on my wish list. Currently own and appreciate the quality of X-E1 and X100S.

Ron White said...

Hey Kirk, Spot On! I own and appreciate the quality of an X-E1 and X100S. Great JPEGs & Color, also in-camera B&W with filters.

atmtx said...

And it's not ugly either like the Df.

Richard Leacock said...

All good salient points Kirk, but you had me at "Fuji just bitch slapped Nikon. Hard." Couldn't agree more with your comments. Now just let me pick myself up from off the floor from the wave of laughter that has induced oxygen deprivation and I'll be fine…(giggle, snort, guffaw…)
Looking forward to see the camera in person. Man, this just keeps getting better

Cheers

Doug said...

Kirk: Can you imagine if the Nikon Df was designed like this with that sensor? I handled a Df recently and it was so awkward, so boxy, so thick, and so expensive. You can get a D800 for less, for cryin' out loud. These are strange times. Nikon comes out with the Coolpix A, the perfect platform for a small mirrorless system, but it's an overpriced fixed lens camera. They come out with the Nikon 1 (I own a v2) and it's terrific in so many ways, especially its autofocus and crazy telephoto options with the FT-1, but the rumor is that the V3 and new lenses will be an Asia only offering from now on. I just don't get it. On the other hand, maybe I just need to look more carefully at Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus. I handled a GH3 for the first time the other day and it was beautifully designed. Yet, I've shot Nikon for so very long. Hmm...

Racecar said...

Trust Fuji to administer a retro-styling gobsmack to Nikon. Fuji re-invented retro styling with the X-100 a couple of years ago, and the major camera makers are just now trying to catch up with that retro movement the X-100 started. Ironically Fuji hitched their wagon to Nikon at the dawn of the digital age, and produced some really competent digital cameras by taking Nikon bodies and crowbarring digital guts into them. Now Fuji has shown Nikon how retro is done! Bravo Fuji. Thanks for the humourous blog Kirk.

atmtx said...

Kirk, I did a Haiku Review of the X-T1:
http://blog.atmtxphoto.com/2014/01/28/haiku-review-fujifilm-x-t1/

ajcarr said...

Kirk:

You missed one 'given': the little Fuji can use any glass from Nikon, Canon, Pentax, Olympus, Leica, et al. via adaptors (albeit without auto features), e.g., from Fotodiox. The Nikon Df is a bit more constrained.

As for the low light goodness of the D4/Df sensor, it's getting a bit long in the tooth, and a smaller state-of-the-art sensor may equal or surpass it. A modern 16 MP APS-C sensor might well be competitive with the 16 MP FF sensor in the D4.

Give me a Fuji X-T1 and a (small) bag full of Fuji lenses plus some adaptors and lenses from other systems (anyone for pre-WWII Carl Zeiss lenses made in the Soviet bloc in the 1970s, like an 'original' 50mm f/1.5 Sonnar?). Oh, and there's the two state-of-the-(optical)-art Zeiss Touit lenses as well (at present). All far preferable to a (big) bag full of a Df and lots of high-end Nikkors.

Best regards,

Alun

Dave said...

For a long time I think I looked at Fuji kind of like the old AMC muscle cars; occasionally intriguing and destined for obscurity. With the new cameras they are seriously catching my attention and generating some gear acquisition syndrome. Maybe they're not AMC after all. These really look like cameras for photographers. Nikon on the other hand is starting to remind me of Oldsmobile and we all know how that story ended.

Jeff said...

The "Onion" of photography websites beat you to it.

http://newcameranews.com/2014/01/28/the-only-fujifilm-x-t1-preview-you-need-to-see/

Craig Yuill said...

I agree completely with what you said. This is the "retro DSLR" Nikon should have made. I don't think that Nikon needs to make retro equipment, but it would be nice to see their DSLRs and lenses made smaller and lighter. I think Nikon did a good job with their much underappreciated 1 series cameras and lenses.

I don't know if it's just me, but doesn't the X-T1 look somewhat like the old Contax RTS and RTS II?

Bill Beebe said...

Funny. You and I led off with the same photo of the X-T1: http://arcanesciencelab.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/and-now-its-here/

I see we're both equally annoyed by the Nikon Df.

Aldy Ariffi said...

I still have 4 nikon primes just for 'sentimental reasons'. I've been waiting for sooo long for that 'digital fm2n'. Then it came, with crazy price tag (imho), and no 2 deal killer: NO EVF. So, I keep an f100 for these four primes. As for digital, I've been a fuji convert these past several years. I have faith in them.

shooter said...

I like Richard am still chuckling over the bitch slapped quote, and I agree Fuji just kicked nikons ass out the ball park.

Anonymous said...

Umm.... what exactly do you mean by "new fangled video," Mr. Tuck?

A quick look at the specs would indicate it has the same old rubbish video features from the X-E2, and to add insult to the injury, they have gone back to the ridiculous 2.5mm jack input!

To me it looks like an interesting new hipster-retro-style stills-only camera, with the "obligatory" video features slapped on only to make the spec sheet look longer. Looks like it's mostly a marketing gimmick, and IMO they could have as well leave it out, รก la Nikon Df.

I'm sure the new model is great for stills, but useless / very frustrating for video, as usual for the Fuji X line.

Carlo Santin said...

Yup, the new Fuji is gorgeous, exactly what I was hoping for from Nikon. Seems to be priced right as well, not too out of reach or unreasonable. I might actually sell off some stuff (including Nikon gear)to plunk down a pre-order on this, and I NEVER pre-order anything.

As far as FF goes, I always laugh at those that cry for it. People forget or don't realize that 35mm film, or FF digital in terms of sensor size, is the runt of the litter...it's a small format as far as film goes. There are so many good cameras on the market right now, sensor size is no longer the issue it was when digital first hit the market.

Anonymous said...

No question that the DF's ergonomics are just one mistake after another. The biggest failure is, has been pointed out, because Nikon lenses don't have aperture rings on them any more, they don't have the elegant option of just putting an "A" setting on the aperture ring and shutter speed dials to to the same as the mode dial on their standard interface. If you're going to do retro, everything about the system has to be retro for it to really work, and that's how Fuji oriented its industrial design from the beginning. The DF is a cynical marketing gimmick for the nostalgic 50-somethings. Both cameras have excellent imaging innards, though one can argue that Fuji imposes an IQ tax with its X-Tran sensor: RAW demosaicing can be problematic.

I love what its viewfinder promises, but I'm a bit worried about its ISO control. That's actually the control I work the 2nd hardest with my current camera - after aperture - and having those control knobs on the right hand rather than a grip-shift away on the left means that the XT-1 is not necessarily a camera for quick setting while tracking. If indeed Fuji's continuous AF has gotten a lot better, this would be a disappointment.

Bottom line, this camera is the small/semi-pro Nikon DX camera a lot of folks have been looking for.

I have to agree with you though, Kirk...Nikon has needed a serious bitch slap (or 3, if you shoot DX) for several years now, and Fuji just administered it. Perhaps they can feel that they can ignore anything u43, but Fuji is playing in their sensor size ballpark and is playing for keeps.

Kirk Tuck said...

Dear Linear Anonymous poster, three comments up....By "new-fangled" video I mean the inclusion of any video at all. I never expected this camera to have killer video, that's not Fuji's focus right now BUT I never expected Nikon to leave off all video on a 2013-14 camera. Just plain stupid. So, here's the deal: The article is about how Fuji out did Nikon at the retro game. We're not comparing all the codec implementation with all the cameras on the market. Just this one versus the non-existent one on the Nikon. I guess they didn't want to spend the extra five bucks....

Anonymous said...

Aperture ring and shutter & ISO dials with a great sensor. All I ever wanted in a camera! Why has it taken so long to get a dedicated ISO dial? Want this!

John Krumm said...

James, Kirk is right. In terms of area, m43 is quarter frame, 1/2 of a diagonal line across the full frame sensor, which gives the 2x crop factor.

And this does look like a nifty camera that I would consider if all my 4/3 and m/43 gear burned up in a fire.

Patrick Dodds said...

Oh dear Jeebus. Next question: What lens do I get with this?

Hendrik said...

Kirk, your headline made me laugh. Hard. Thanks - Hendrik

MarcosV said...

LOL. Spot on! This article brings out emotionally how I feel about the XT1 vs. Nikon Df in terms of controls.

What is also amusing is reading on a FujiX forum people who prefer the range finder looking X-E2 over the SLR looking X-T1. Feels like the range finder vs. SLR all over again.

MartinP said...

Someone mentioned the sensor size, above . . .

Indeed, Kirk was correct. Within fractions of a millimetre, Micro 4/3 (17.3x13mm) is 'quarter frame', APS-C (23.6x15.6mm) is almost the same size as 'half-frame', and 35mm (24x36mm) is 'full-frame'. That's 225, 368 and 864 sq.mm respectively.

Exactly what relevance this has in the real world is another question of course.

Anonymous said...

My theory is that all of the people at Nikon who knew what they were doing retired.

Dale

Godfrey DiGiorgi said...

It looks very nice, they sure did a great job on styling.

Not to be a curmudgeon, though, but I've been taken in by pretty styling by Fuji before. I have some issues with prior Fuji camera ergonomics, like the position of the EV compensation dial, that are carried forward to this one.

But no matter. It's closer to that 'classic camera look and feel' than the Nikon Df. I'm sure Fuji's lenses are good, and the lens options are expanding. I'm sure it's going to make a lot of folks happy.

I'm pretty happy with my gear already, so I'll be watching from the sidelines. :-)

Bennybee said...

Verrry nice. I only wished that Fuji had copied the better back button distribution of the Df. Oh, and dump the video thing.
Big points though for the extremely nice EVF, the tiltable LCD and for being mirrorless! I'd like Nikon to come up with something like this, but knowing Nikon that's just wishful thinking

ravelg said...

I own both the Nikon DF and the Fuji XT-1. I love both cameras, and I come from a film background and still use my Nikon FE and FM3a, as well as, on occasion my F100. The Nikon DF is an awesome camera, and it's my go-to camera with increasing frequency. When using the older, smaller, lenses it's more like using an old film camera than the XT-1 by far. The electronic viewfinder, while is gorgeous and at times very practical, just isn't the same.

I'm by no means knocking the XT-1, I think it's awesome. But too many Fuji users seem rather childish by insinuating the Nikon DF is crap when they've probably never even held one. That being said, the didn't buy the Panda DF because it looked rather cheap. When the black one was in stock I was sold.

And for what it's worth, the sensor is fantastic on the XT-1, but it's simply not as good as the DF.