X-vinTage1: My Fujifilm X-T1 review part two

Check out part one of the review here

Using vintage glass is something that I really enjoy. Given the contents of this blog, it might not come as a huge surprise to some of you.

I started shooting vintage glass on the X-Pro1 a couple of years ago when I got a cheap Fujinon 50mm f/1.4. Since then I’ve ventured through a lot of vintage primes. Mostly in my favorite focal length of about 50’ish mm. Since these vintage lenses only uses manual focus, you need som help achieving critical focus when coupled to a digital camera. When Fujifilm added the Version 3.0 of their X-Pro1 firmware last summer, it finally came with Focus-peaking. Something that made the whole vintage-lens-thing much more enjoyable to use. The X-Pro1 still only does white highlight edges, which can be less that stellar in bright light conditions.

XT-1 improvements over X-Pro1

What Fujifilm did with the X-T1 makes shooting vintage lenses an experience of a totally different caliber.

1: That HUGE, lovely, stellar, fantastic EVF

2: A new focusassist mode which makes focussing a breeze.

3: The firmware now has different selectable colors for focus peaking highlights

So lets brake them down.

1. That EVF!

I wrote a little bit about the EVF in my part one of this review, but allow me to revisit this nice little (big) screen. Compared to using the X-Pro1, the sheer magnified size of the EVF actually makes ALL the difference. The added resolution is another huge difference point. Resolution and size combined produce a much clearer image with much more detail, which allows you to gain critical focus ALOT faster, because you don’t always have to use the magnified mode to check your focus. This is a huge plus for my style of street photography where I use wide open lenses for subject separation (unlike the classical way of setting the lens to f/8 and then zone focussing.) For this style, I need confirmation of focus to be quite fast. This is EXACTLY what the X-T1 EVF’s added size, resolution, clarity and speed gives me.

For low light, the very high refreshrate is very pleasing to work with, and again adds to clarity when trying to achieve critical focus.

2. Magnified Focus Assist

In the x100s you get splitscreen focus assist,  focus peaking, and magnify x3 and x10 (The X-Pro1 doesn’t have the splitscreen, since it required PDAF on the sensor). What Fujifilm did with the X-T1 was adding another focus assist mode to the above. The Magnified focus assist! What it does is, it gives you your 100% picture area in the EVF, but in addition it places a little cut-out of your focus-rectangle magnified to 3x to the right. THIS. IS. GENIOUS!! No need to press a button to go into 3x confirmation mode, its all right there. And even when you have a divided EVF realestate like that, the 100% view is STILL larger than on the X-Pro1. One word: Phenomenal!

EVF

This is the single biggest reason why using Vintage, manual focus lenses on the X-T1 is so damn pleasing!!

3. Selectable colors for focus peaking

This is something that is very firmware specific, and I have a feeling that this feature will be added to the X-Pro1/X-E1 with the next firmware revision. It gives you the opportunity to select either red, blue or white for outlining the in-focus objects in your viewfinder. This can be very nice, when you set your camera to b&w simulation presets and then have red or blue highlights for in focus. (I always set my camera to RAW+F, and then use the B&W yellow filter preset. That way I “see the world” in black and white, while always getting a colour copy in RAW format.)

Again, this little feature gives extra contrast and clarity for achieving critical manual focus fast!

Adapters

When using vintage lenses you have to use adapters. I have the Fujifilm M-FX adapter for my Voigtländers, some cheap M42 and Minolta MD adapters, as well as the Mitakon Lens turbo in MD-FX mount. These all work just the same on the X-T1 as they do on the X-Pro1, so you can read all the reviews on this blog on how to use these adapters. I will say that the Mitakon with MD lenses feels right at home on the oldschool SLR look of the X-T1, where as the voightlanders look much more at home on the classic rangefinder look of the X-Pro1

Samples

Below are samples taken with different manual focus vintage lenses. Some taken during fast paced scenes involving children at play, and some in more still surroundings. The description under each image contains lens information etc. These are all shot in RAW and have been processed using Lightroom 5.

Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 55mm f/1.7 w/ Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Helios 44m 58mm f/2 w/Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 50mm f/1.2 w/Lens Turbo
Minolta MD 50mm f/1.2 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo
Takumar 50mm f/1.4 w/Lens Turbo

Conclusion

Simple. If you shoot manual focus vintage lenses on a fujifilm camera, this is the camera to get. The EVF, the new magnified split view as well as colored focus peaking makes this camera a fantastic experience for shooting vintage glass!

Main

jr050680

40 thoughts on “X-vinTage1: My Fujifilm X-T1 review part two

  1. Hi Jonas Interesting article thanks. I am getting a XT-1 with a 18-135mm lens. I am also interested in the potential to use vintage lenses. The vintage lenses you use are they Preset lenses, if not I assume you only use them wide open? I had a quick look on ebay for preset lenses but there is nothing wider than 35mm or faster than f3.5 in a M42 mount. Would you suggest I look in any particular direction for vintage lenses? Thanks Andy

    1. I never really liked it.

      Seems like its a cheap digitised version of a true retro SLR ala the ST705w. So I never really used it. Never really did on my x100s either.

      Thank you for stopping by.

      /J

  2. Hey Jonas, beautiful pics. Ever tried an Olympus 55 1.2 ? A beautiful lens that was brilliant on my 5d2 but on my xt1 unfortunately not completely in focus. Do you have any tips regarding adapters – I am using a Quenox but maybe I need to give the expensive novoflex a try…
    Regards, Tom

    1. Hi Tom. Thank you very much! Glad you liked it.

      I would LOOOOVE to try the Zuiko 55 f1.2. it’s supposed to be legendary! Do you have any samples from it on your 5dII? I would love to see some.

      /J

  3. Hi Jonas, thanks for such nice post I loved your photos. I recently upgraded to an XT1 from XE1 and the EVF is a real joy to use. I have a few Zuiko lenses like 24mm f2.8, 50mm f1.4 and 135mm f2.8 and I currently use them with a OM-FX adapter. Do you know if there is any simple way to use them with metabones or even better if metabones will release an OM-FX Lens turbo? I wish they do!

    Heres is quick snap with the 24mm f2.8 and XE1 as an example!
    My love

    cheers

  4. Thanks for peaking a lot of interest with your pictures.
    I recently purchased a Fujica AX-3 film body from EBay. The seller send along a X-Fujinon F= 50mm FM
    1:1.9. Do you think this would work on my XT-1 ? What would I need to get going with this project?
    Thanks for your help.

  5. Hey Jonas! Wonderful pics ! I own a XT1 and I’m using the Minolta Rokkor 50mm 1.7 and the Tokina 28mm 2.8 with an
    MD-FX adaptor. It’s very easy to foccus with XT1 so I’m trying vintage lens who are very good and much cheaper!!!

  6. Hi Jonas, I’ve been testing the fuji 35 1.4 lens recently however after reading your review, I think you’ve persuaded in me to get some vintage glass. Would recommend getting the fuji 23 mm f1.4 over the 35 mm f 1.4 along with a vintage fast 50. Or get the fuji 35 mm f 1.4?

    Thank you,

    Justin

    1. Well the 35 is an amazing piece of glass. You’ll surely regret selling it. The 23 is a lovely lens, but a little large. I would say keep the 35, and start out by buying a Helios 44m 58mm f/2

      /Jonas

  7. Hi Jonas,
    Great pictures as always. Have been following your blog for quite a while now. 1st time commenting. Like yourself I use vintage lenses on my X-E1. Want to get the XT1 after reading your review…. but have to save up for this. I love the Helios 44M, it’s surprising how good the images turn out. The lens that always remains on my X-E1 is the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f/2.4 – by far this is the most versatile lens for me. I recently did a wedding for my workmate (I’m not a pro – so this was an experience for me and free pics for my friend) where I had the 18-55XF, but reverted to using manual glass all the way. Have a look if you have the time… you might just have some tips for me. https://dkreativ.exposure.co/kris-iwona
    Looking forward to read more of your blog.

    1. Hi Anand.

      What a gorgeous set of wedding images! And to think that it was your first wedding shoot! Very great images. Great post-processing as well. The couple must be really happy!

      Thank you for reading the blog.

      /Jonas

  8. Thank you for taking the time to view them Jonas – yes the couple was very pleased. I’ve subscribed now so won’t miss any of your posts. Keep up the great and inspiring work.

  9. I new to your site ..and i kinda read 3 posts of yours already… and i guess i am gonna be regular 😀 .. actually i am searching for reviews of xt1 as i want to get this camera with the 56mm f1.2 R APD lens by the end of this year . Plz post your next review ASAP 😛 .

    AND , YOUR PHOTOS ARE AWESOME .

  10. Great reviews, having collected cameras for close to forty years my XA-1 has brought life back to many old lenses. My old Hexanon’s stand out in the crowd with the Zuiko’s coming in a close second.

  11. Hi Jonas,
    Thank you very much for sharing these precious information about the Fuji and all these fabulous vintage lenses. I absolutely love your pictures, the bokeh effect is unbeatable!
    I have a dslr Nikon and like many other photographers, I have been smitten by the Fuji X camera. I bought a XT1 (that came with the 18-135mm) 2 months ago and I am now looking for a new lens. I am still holding on my dslr as I really love playing with it and some of its lenses (35mm 1.8 or 50mm 1.4 produce a fantastic resolution).
    I am currently looking for a new fast lens, either prime or zoom (ideally) for shooting events like festivals. There are not many options on the Fuji side so I was looking at perhaps getting either the 24-70mm 2.8 or 70-200 2.8 Nikkor. They are both very sharp, fast and ideal in low light condition.
    Now considering that you have been using these old lenses for a while, is there any of these that would do well with this kind of work?
    You can view some of my shots here (both Fuji and Nikon): https://www.flickr.com/photos/105198075@N06/

    Thanks again for your fantastic posts and looking forward to reading more of these valuable posts! 🙂

  12. Hey Jonas, you’ve inspired me to get a vintage lens for my X-T1, however this would be my first one, I was wondering which you would recommend, they all seem so good?

    Thank you, and keep up the awesome blog.

    1. Hey Justin. Thank you for reading. I would advise to get a Helios 44m 58mm f/2. Its deadcheap, and it has a very unique look and feel. I love mine to death. /jonas

      1. Hi Jonas, what is the difference between Helios 44m-4, 44m-6, 44m-7, 44m-8?
        Your expert advice would very appreciated. Also which adapter would you recommend. (Md-fx)?

  13. Hi congratulations on your blog … .I have no doubt as to disable expansion project by moving the focus ring peaking is annoying and I would like to see the scene without being enlarged while I focus manually.

  14. Hi,
    I bought a Helios 44M-4 58mm f.2 lens for my XT-1 with a K&F Concept M42 – FX adapter. It worked brilliantly the first time that I used it, producing some lovely results. However, when I switched back to using a Fuji 35mm f.2 lens, the shutter and focusing on the camera would not operate. I had to set the camera back to default settings.
    Any thoughts, anybody?
    Thanks, Les

  15. Hi. Thanks for the article.
    Do you use m42 ebc fujinon lenses with this kit? if yes interested in your opinion, cheers, Matteo

  16. Hi Jonas, great article and sharing about the vintage lens, I got my new Fuji X-T10 and is out to look for the wide angel vintage manual lens, could you suggest the ones? Thanks, Albert

  17. Hi Jonas, I was thinking into buying then Sony a7, but after seeing your blog it made me wonder. Which one do you think I should get: Fujifilm xt1, Sony a7, Sony a6300, and the Pentax. Love your vintage review!!!

  18. Hi Jonas, Is it Super-Takumar 50mm f1.4? I’m curious how you solve the problem that the last element of the lens will hit the element of Lens Turbo if I trying to set the lens to infinity?
    I’d the same setup and I put a rubber band between it if I use the Lens Turbo 🙂

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