Blenheim Palace International Horse Trials with the Fuji X-T1

My first serious test of the Fuji X-T1’s focussing capabilities was a visit to the International Horse Trials at Blenheim Palace last weekend. This was my first ever visit to the event at Blenheim and what a fantastic day out it was too. I really didn’t know what to expect but this thing is huge and the setting in the grounds of Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire is perfect.
One of the reasons I wanted to visit the Horse Trials was to try out my new Fuji X-T1 and in particular its ability to focus on moving subjects – something the X-Pro1 and X-E1 struggle to cope with. I know people have been talking about how much the focussing has improved over the X-Pro1 but I still had my doubts. I really didn’t expect it to cope with galloping horses but I was blown away by the results I was seeing. With the Continuous High motor-drive set and Continuous Focus selected the camera was coping really well with the tracking.
Eventing photography is new territory for me but you can see some of the results below including event winner Francis Whittington clearing the final fence in the Show Jumping arena to take the title. You can also see the smile on his face as he realises he’s gone clear.
Back to the camera and I have to say that it has surpassed my expectations by a good margin. In the main the reason for the few out of focus images I got  was down to user error. The focus area was set in the central position but on some of the frames the horses were outside of this area when I started shooting and the focus was on the scene behind rather than the horse but you can’t blame the camera for that.
The lens I used for all these shots was the Fuji 55-200mm.
Water Jump

Water Jump

William Fox-Pitt

William Fox-Pitt

Francis Whittington goes clear to win at Blenheim

Francis Whittington goes clear to win at Blenheim

Francis Whittington

Francis Whittington

Vittoria Panizzon's

Vittoria Panizzon

Show Jumping

Show Jumping

Over the final fence

Over the final fence

The Hunt

The Hunt

Side Saddle

Side Saddle

Cross Country

Cross Country

Cross Country

Cross Country

Cross Country

Cross Country

The X-T1 with 10-24mm lens is Quay

I finally took the plunge and bought a Fuji X-T1.  It sounds like a great camera judging by all the reviews and my initial impressions are very favourable.
I was also delighted to hear today that there is a Firmware update planned for December that will make the camera even better – well done Fuji, it sounds like the enhancements will be of real value.

For now I’m still finding my way around the new camera and the different positioning of buttons compared with my X-Pro1 but I think I’m going to like this camera a lot!
These photos are from my first trip out – a visit to Manchester’s Salford Quays area. I had the XF10-24mm lens attached throughout.  In truth the subject matter wasn’t in the least bit challenging but it was a nice day and an easy introduction to this new piece of kit.
The camera felt good to use and the lens was nicely balanced with the camera.  I might consider the small grip as an addition but will see how things go over the next few weeks. The grip seems incredibly expensive for what is essentially a nice bracket.
I hope you like the pictures. I’ll be back with some more X-T1 pictures soon. I’d love to give the newly announced 56mm lens a go too, perhaps Fuji could send me one to replace my 60mm which sadly came apart last week for no apparent reason. It will be back with Fuji UK shortly.
The Victoria Building

The Victoria Building

Media City

Media City

BBC Building

BBC Building

Bridge over Manchester Ship Canal

Bridge over Manchester Ship Canal

View of Media City

View of Media City