If you’re in the market for a new camera system that’s specifically optimal for great family photos, there’s really only two that I can recommend at the moment – the Olympus OM-D E-M1 and the Fujifilm X-T1. Both have pros and cons but ultimately both are mirrorless system, with very favorable weight and size dimensions. The Olympus wins with smaller and lighter form-factor, and in-body image stabilization. The Fuji wins with better low-light performance and superb prime lens offerings.

Fujifilm X-T1

Fujifilm X-T1 has better low light performance and choice prime lenses

Fujifilm X-T1 has better low light performance and choice prime lenses

Ultimately if you’re upgrading from a compact point-and-shoot and want something better and willing to sacrifice a little performance for better usability, then the Olympus OM-D E-M1 is your choice. If on the other hand, you have an existing digital SLR system, you love the power of interchangeable lenses, and you’re looking for something smaller, lighter but sacrifice little practical performance, then the Fujifilm X-T1 is your ultimate choice.

Why?

The X-T1 is significantly smaller and lighter than the full-frame Nikon D800

The X-T1 is significantly smaller and lighter than the full-frame Nikon D800

The Fujifilm X-T1 is small in size and weight because of its mirrorless design. It’s got that chic awesome retro look! And finally it’s got KILLER prime lenses. The 23mm F1.4 (35mm F2 equivalent), 35mm F1.4 (50mm F2 equivalent) and 56mm F1.2 (85mm F1.8 equivalent) lenses are UNBELIEVABLE. I consider the 35mm, 50mm and 85mm my top 3 lens choices for family photography (I’ll write more about lens choices later).

Special Offer

I’m not sure how long this will last but B&H Photo has a great deal on the Fujifilm X-T1. It’s priced at $1,299 (a reasonably competitive price) but they are including an extra battery ($48.95), a 32GB SD card ($19.99) and the vertical battery grip kit ($249.95) all for FREE!

Fuji X-T1 with VG-XT1 vertical battery grip

Fuji X-T1 with VG-XT1 vertical battery grip and extra battery

This is about $319 in savings and its free shipping as well. By the way, I’m not paid or affiliated with B&H Photo in any way. I gain nothing from promoting them. Click here for the deal.

If you should go for this deal, I would recommend the following lens and protective filter as a starter kit.

Fujifilm 35mm F1.4 XF R lens ($599)
B+W 52mm XS-Pro Clear MRC-Nano 007 filter ($38.40)

The Fujifilm 35mm lens is the equivalent of a full-frame 50mm F2 lens. It’s a great starter lens with a low enough aperture (the F number) for you to do some really awesome family portraits (bokeh!). I often just leave my 50mm lens on my camera body most of the time because of its versatility. You won’t regret it. Now you will have some slight adjusting to do if you’re used to zoom lenses but trust me, you will not regret learning the discipline of using a 50mm lens.

Update…

If you prefer a cheaper model that the Fujifilm X-T1, then check out the new Fujifilm X-E2. It’s their mid-range model BUT it has the same excellent 16MP X-Trans II CMOS sensor, which gives you the same low-light performance. AND you will still be able to access Fuji’s superb interchangeable lenses.

Fujifilm X-E2 ($849)

The X-E2 shares the same sensor for excellent low-light performance but is 35% cheaper.

The X-E2 shares the same sensor for excellent low-light performance but is 35% cheaper.

Next >> Which lens should I get? <<