Pity the poor copywriter who works for a paint manufacturing company. It’s got to make the brain sore when you have to think up unique names for 50 different shades of beige. You’d think it would be easier if you’re making cameras for a living: they tend to be black or grey or, in extreme cases, shouty neon pink. And yet no: Fujifilm is so proud of the soft matte finish on the refresh model of its X-T1 flagship mirrorless camera that it’s neither graphite nor silver. It’s Graphite Silver, and it’s ace.
Graphite Silver. A matte finish to the hard metal edges of the original black X-T1 which has a slightly soft, plastic feel and frankly oozes class. It looks great and feels good in the hand too. But is it worth the premium you pay over the vanilla X-T1 which is, let’s face it, only a year old anyway?
Other than the respray, the X-T1 Graphite Silver Edition is, for almost all functional and physical purposes, identical to the existing X-T1. The body is the same size and weight, with the lines of a classic SLR before they started getting outsized. The button layout is the same and every last piece of hardware inside is identical. The only slight differences are that the rubberised grip is slightly stickier than the original and the back buttons feel marginally more responsive.
And that’s great, because the X-T1 is already our favourite mirrorless camera, and the fact that the firmware for the older model has been updated to include all the new software features of the Graphite Silver Edition means that it’s unlikely to be toppled from that perch soon. These updates are, without exception, all improvements: the ability to customise the quick menu settings and reprogram more buttons makes it possible to bend the layout of the camera to your will.
The biggest software improvement is a fast electronic shutter which can capture images at up to 1/3200 second, and can be used absolutely silently. It works as advertised, although close comparisons of burst shots using the electronic shutter do seem to show that it distorts images ever so slightly.
One recurring problem with the X-series range is that its focus on old fashioned dials for setting shutter speed, ISO sensitivity and aperture means that some wheels – notably the EV control – have often been too easy to accidentally shift when picking the camera up. That’s certainly not the case with the X-T1 – once a setting is in place it stays there until you want to move it. The only exception is that on XF lenses with a manual aperture ring there’s little to stop you accidentally slipping out of automatic to the narrowest setting, which did catch me out a few times and led to underexposed shots.
In older cameras, that wasn’t too much of an issue as the image in the electronic viewfinder (EVF) adjusted to reflect exposure and colour settings: a new ‘natural view’ mode for the X-T1 Graphite Silver, can make the EVF behave more like a traditional SLR’s pentaprism, so you always see an unfiltered image in the eyepiece. Switch that on and it’s easy to go long periods without realising you’re not in the right shooting mode after all. Natural view is great if you’re not a fan of EVFs and want something more like a traditional viewfinder, but even though I’d describe myself that way I ended up switching it off in the end.
And really, there’s little more to add about the X-T1 Graphite Silver).
Looked at from a certain angle it’s silly to pay R18 499 for a camera body (the Graphite Silver) when you can get the same camera with a spectacular kit lens for R18 999 (RRP for the X-T1 and 18-55mm). On the other hand, it’s still not bad value compared to other mirrorless cams on the market, and so long as you understand you’re only paying for the paint job who are we to stop you?
It is, after all, a very nice paint job indeed.
Price: R18 499
Lens mount: Fujifilm X-Mount
Shutter: Focal Plane, electronic and mechanical, 30sec to 1/32 000
Sensor: APC-S, X-Trans CMOS, 16.7MP
File format: JPG, Fuji RAW
Storage: SD Card
Sensitivity: ISO 200-6 400, extended to 100-51 200
Focus: 49 area contrast detection, 9 area phase detection
LCD: 3inch, 1 040K dot
Viewfinder: 0.5inch, 2 3660K dot
Film simulation: 11 modes
Dimensions: 129×89.8×46.7mm, 440g (inc batt)