The X-T1 is ready

There were a couple of issues that plagued the release of the X-T1. The first that most already know about, was the light leak. The second, slightly less well know is this, the directional pad of buttons (or D-pad) used for menu selection was mushy, somewhat unresponsive, and quite unsatisfying to use.

I want to state early in this post that for any of you who have been reading my thoughts and comparisons of the X-T1, and are concerned about the crummy buttons, you can now safely buy a new X-T1 that has a much better D-pad than those found on the pre-production units, and the the initial run of manufacturing.1 If you’re buying from a store, you can easily tell if you’ve got a good one through the plastic baggy that the camera ships in, so if the dealer is reluctant to crack the Fujifilm sticker-seal, it’s no problem. Just test the buttons through the bag. If the buttons click like this, you’re good. As we know the light leak issue has also been addressed, and clicky buttons also seem to indicate light tightness.

Taking responsibility

Fujifilm came forward pretty quick, acknowledged the light leak, and offered a fix for owners with afflicted cameras. With the D-pad, they have been pretty tight-lipped about the problem. I can only surmise this is because the earliest D-pads, while crappy, do technically work. They’ve also been somewhat cagey about whether or not rumours about X-T1’s going in for service for the light leak, and coming back with a better D-pad are true.2 I’ve heard from at least two other owners that cameras sent in for light leak repair—with the D-pad noted on the bill of service—have come back with the D-pad marked as having “no fault.” This was also my experience. Again, while technically true as the buttons can be considered as not having “fault,” and work as originally designed, the fact remains that manufacturing has been quietly adjusted. X-T1’s are hitting the streets in high quantity with substantially better buttons on their back sides. This isn’t luck of the draw.

The bad news

Unfortunately some early adopters are being left out in the cold. I actually went to the extreme of selling my launch X-T1 privately,3 and buying another. For many, this won’t be worth the loss on the retail price, but it was for me. I can now use my X-T1 without mild feelings of contempt.

The good news

A silent tweak to manufacturing is better than no tweak at all, and that tweak means my biggest, and really only major gripe about the X-T1’s handling has now been addressed.

For those of you still waiting to place your order, now is the time. The more time I spend with this camera, the more I like it, and the more I feel it is the interchangeable Fuji body to own. I’m about to download and install the X-E2 firmware, but I’m confident the X-T1 will still be my primary body, rain or shine.

Fortunately, Fujifilm don’t have a history of releasing X-Series camera bodies with manufacturing issues like these. I don’t think we’re in a “wait and see” position when Fuji release their next camera (yet), but I’m hoping to see better QA with their next release.

  1. I’m not positive, but serial numbers of cameras with the poor D-pad seem to approximately coincide with up to and including the light leak range of serial numbers. Possibly a little beyond. For instance, my X-T1 that suffered both issues was had a starting serial number of 41A05. My new X-T1 is 41A09. My undestanding is ≥41A06 have no light leak.
  2. The official response I got was “Our technicians check all aspects of the camera.”
  3. For the record, I noted in my listing that it was a launch unit with a poor D-pad. Fortunately I was at least able to say it had no light leak.

The X-T1 Light Leak

Since the X-T1 is out on the market, and because it’s the hot camera to get these days, the interwebs are sure to go over every detail, pick every nit, and find any manufacturing issues there might be. Sadly, there is one.

Videos and lots of images demonstrate a severe light leak when a flashlight is shone in the microphone jack, and/or the HDMI port. You might think, as I did, “why would anyone do that?”, however, it can be a real problem for those who enjoy long exposures in daylight, as I do. Now that I (finally) have an X-T1 of my very own, I’ve been able to test it out.

Sadly, my X-T1 is affected as seen below.

Fuji Fujifilm X-T1 light leak.jpg

30 second exposure with the door closed

Fuji Fujifilm X-T1 light leak.jpg

30 second exposure with the door open and next to a window

Fuji Fujifilm X-T1 light leak.jpg

30 second exposure with a light shone directly at the problematic port


Only the HDMI port is problematic for me, but the fact that I’m seeing the light leak when the camera isn’t even outside makes the issue a little worse than I thought.

Given there are X-T1’s out there that do not exhibit this problem, there should be a fix. I have it on good authority that there is. Fujifilm are aware of the issue, they understand what has happened (seals around the ports under the door occasionally aren’t seated properly), and they know how to fix it. From what I understand, owners of an X-T1 that have this issue will be taken care of.

Some people are likening this to the D600’s sensor issue. Nonsense. This doesn’t come anywhere close to an issue that affects 100% of a huge percentage of owners’ photographs. While the issue with the X-T1 isn’t quite what I’d call an “edge case,” it is nowhere close to as large an issue as oil splattering on ones sensor, affecting every single exposure. There’s also a simple interim fix involving steady hands, and about 4¢ worth of tape.

It’s a real shame this has happened, but it gives Fujifilm an opportunity to demonstrate why they are a camera company that’s different from Nikon. I hope they are totally forthright about the issue, and own it as attempts to minimize things will only make people take pause when considering a Fujifilm camera. No matter what happens though, I don’t imagine we’ll be entering class-action lawsuit territory as Nikon has.