The Fujifilm X100T is small, light, and handsome. Don't be fooled by its retro good looks as it’s packed with pretty awesome digital stuff inside its little body. It gives you the feeling of using a film camera (and of course it looks like a film camera). I’ve been shooting with it for both my professional and personal shoots. What do I think of it? It’s awesome!
- Fuji color rendition is awesome
- Light, compact, solid
- Quiet especially with Silent Mode
- Pretty sharp little lens
- 1/3 f-stop increment
- Phase detection
- Hybrid EVF/OVF with effective focus peaking in manual focus mode
- EVF resolution and lag time
- Wi-Fi connection
- A bit slow (autofocus and operation time)
- Don't bother with continuous autofocus
- Lens is a bit soft wide open at f/2
- Autofocus difficulties in low light
- Slow to wake up from sleep mode
- Not weather sealed
** NOTE: All images have been processed. They're not JPEGs straight out of camera.**
Before the X100T
I’m a DSLR user. My main camera is my trusty Canon 5D Mark III. However, I was looking for something smaller and lighter than the 5DIII for travelling and for daily/street documentation. I really had lost the joy of carrying a camera around and shoot when it's not for work. So I did a lot of research. To be honest, I hated older Fuji digital cameras. Mainly because they were ridiculously slow to focus with the X100 and X Pro 1. Years later, I heard that the files from the X-Trans sensor are awesome and they really listen to their customers and improved their cameras drastically over the years. So I gave them another look. Wow… the files are awesome! Still a bit slow but the colors are really nice. It wasn't a love at sight when I saw the X100T. “A premium compact camera with an APS-C sized sensor with a fixed 35mm (full-frame equivalent) lens which costs (at the time) about $1,300? What a rip off!!” That’s what I thought to myself. I went home, read a lot of reviews and watched YouTube videos about the X100T. About 90% are really positive reviews. I couldn’t resist myself anymore, so I went to the camera store and asked to try it out. The first hands-on impression was that it felt great. It’s small but really solid. The weight is good and well balanced in hand. It’s pretty sharp and snappy (not DSLR or m4/3 snappy but it does the job). The electronic viewfinder (EVF) refreshes really fast. “I’ll take one please… in silver!”
One year with the X100T
When I buy a camera, specs are important but I tend to choose it by how the camera performs in real life and the experience that I can get from it. And the X100T is doing more than what I expected.
The camera is a great companion for documentary and street photography. With my documentary shooting style, I've shot 4 weddings with the X100T alongside my Canon 5D Mark III, and you can't really tell the differences between the two (if you don't pixel peep). The "friendly" look of the camera helps a lot because it doesn't scared people away when I point the camera at them. Therefore I can get closer to the subject and get more emotional shots. I love the colors. I enjoy editing the images from the X100T more than my 5D. It's true!
The autofocus performance is good in good light conditions and okay in low light with a bit of hunting in a very dim lit place. The face detection works quite well. The camera detects faces pretty quick. It's really good for group shots, but in other situations I rather use the good old single point focus then recompose the shot. Don’t use the continuous AF. Why? Because it sucks. It really is.
The body is made of metal which is great! I’ve lugged around my X100T to many places. On road trips, boat trips, hike trips, plane trips, walk trips, even to work as a backup camera, and sometimes as a second camera. I do tend to take good care of my gears. But eventually something’s gonna happen. So far my X100T has a few scratches from a few knockings. It’s not weather sealed but it has survived light rain. It’s a solid little camera. Almost everything is outside; aperture, shutter speed, and exposure. I would love to have a dedicate ISO dial though. The dials are made of metal and they’re quite tight, so they can’t be easily turned accidentally. The advantage of having the dials is that you can change your settings from the outside straight away, without having to look through the menus. It might be something to get used to, but once you’re at it you’ll be setting things really fast. The buttons are clicky which is good. The ON/OFF switch, though, is a bit loose compared to other dials. I've accidentally knocked it on and off A LOT.
I would love to have a native low ISO of 100 or 50 , instead it starts with 200 and the highest is 6400. Yet, you can extend it from ISO 100 to 51200 but for JPG only. Generally, the noise is pretty good. It does get a little bad after ISO 3200. The noise from the X-Trans sensor, however, is film grain-like which I really like. For me, I have no problem shooting at ISO 6400 for low light situation. If I have to. Is there a lot of noise? Yes. But it’s not too ugly to use. I wouldn’t extend the high ISO though. There are also three auto ISO settings. You can set the lowest ISO and the highest for each, and the slowest shutter speed to be used. For example, my usual setting is ISO 200 to 1600 or 200 to 6400 with the slowest shutter speed of 1/125 to ensure that I can grab the subject without much camera shakes.
Not much to say here. The rumors are true. Fujifilm cameras render excellent colors and details with their X-Trans sensors. There are also a lot of film simulations. I love using Classic Chrome. The color tone is really how I used to adjust my photos. I also love how you can select these film simulations in Adobe Lightroom as color profiles when you edit your RAW photos.
The lens is quite sharp. I often shoot at f/2 which is sharp enough for most situations. However, the image becomes soft in when you go close up in macro mode. Often I need to stop it down to about f/4 to get sharper image.
The resolution of the X100T is 16 megapixel. Not high for modern camera but it's more than enough. The details are there.
The white balance and is pretty accurate too. In fact, I have no problem setting the white balance to auto. It just saves me a lot of time not to fiddle around with the settings. However, sometimes the white balance gets a bit strange with mixed light in darker situation.
What I find very interesting is that the dynamic range on the X100T is better than my Canon 5D Mark III. I can easily recover highlights and shadows while I sometime struggle on the 5D Mark III. Because of this, It's such a joy to edit the photos.
Fujifilm cameras tend to render photos 1/3 to 1/2 stop under-exposed to maintain balance of shadows and highlights.
The bokeh is quite pleasing. It's not buttery smooth, but smooth enough to make the subject separate from the background/foregound at f/2. Keep in mind that this is an APS-C cropped sensor camera, you won't get the same depth of field (at the same aperture) compared to full-frame cameras with 35mm sensor.
The X100T uses a leaf shutter which means that the shutter sound is very quiet and the camera can flash sync with any speed. In this case 1/4000 seconds on mechanical shutter mode only.
My favourite function of the X100T is the silent mode using electronic shutter. It's..... completely..... silent...... no sound. It adds the stealthness to your shoot. No one will know when you take a shot. Even I get confused sometimes wondering if the shutter was pressed or not. It's really good when you shoot in a very quiet place and the shutter sound won't distract anyone. For me who also work on film production sets, this mode is just perfect because it won't distract the actors and the sound recording. Nevertheless, the disadvantage of this mode is that you'll get a rolling shutter effect. Your subject can be distorted when they move fast or when you move your camera too fast.
Another advantage of the electronic shutter is that you can shoot up to 1/32000 seconds. This means that you can shoot wide open in direct sunlight without the need of ND filter (though it has one built-in).
Oh, I must mention that the quirk of using flash (speedlights and flash triggers included) is that it only works with mechanical shutter mode. Well, not that you need to be stealthy and silent with flashes, but it would be nice if the camera detects straight away without having to change modes.
To be honest, I use the electronic viewfinder like 100% of the time. The lag time is next to none. It’s big, bright and easy to use. You can see exactly what your final image is going to be, which is very convenient for someone like me who is a DSLR user. By knowing the result immediately from the little screen, I can easily adjust my camera and make sure that I won’t miss a shot. The manual focus peaking also works really well with the focused area being highlighted with a color. One thing to mention though is that the EVF could use a little more sensitivity for people with glasses like myself. The eye sensor is not that fast when you use both he LCD screen and eye sensor (Eye Sensor Mode). Sometimes I just change the view mode to "EVF" only. That way I don't have to worry about the sensor issue and I can still use the LCD for playback in this mode.
Now, flicking the front lever to switch to the optical viewfinder. I’ve never shot with a rangefinder camera before so I can’t compare the X100T “rangefinder-style” OVF with something like a Leica (and I know that it's not a true rangefinder viewfinder). However, it’s big and bright. The frame lines could be brighter though, especially bright sunlight. One “special” thing that Fujifilm added to the X100T is the hybrid OVF, which is a OVF with a little EVF screen pops up on the bottom right hand corner. It allows you the see your focused spot. Quite convenient, but then again, I don’t really use the OVF that much.
The LCD screen at the back is nice and clear. It's not a touch-screen, which I don't mind. The menu on the X100T isn't hard to use. There's definitely menu inception (menu within the menu) but tags are pretty self-explanatory and you can almost get it at first go.
The handling at first was something to get used to. It's not as small as a compact-compact camera (if you know what I mean) and it's not big camera. The grip... there is no grip. Just a little curve of the body. And the faux leather on the body doesn't help much. For me, it's a bit slippery sometimes because I have big hands. However, the camera is well-weighted. It's not a light small camera which is good to for holding it still while shooting.
You can do quite a few customization with the camera. The quick menu can be customized to your preferred functions that you use most. Each buttons of the D-pad can be assigned to different functions including moving the focus point, or you can set it to only move the focus point. There's also a function (fn) button next to the shutter button. Even the bin (delete) button can act as a function button. The size of the focus point can also be changed to fine tuned you AF performance by selecting the focus selector and turn the rear dial. You'll get faster AF with bigger focus point, but trade off the precision of the exact focus spot. Whereas with smaller focus point you'll get a much more precised focus, but loosing AF speed. I just set in to medium size to get the best of both.
One thing that I really hate about this camera is the start up time from sleep mode. It's so slowwwwww. It's a deep sleeper. I've missed several shots when I half pressed the shutter to turn the camera back on from sleep. The best trick is to actually turn it on and off. Much much faster to wake the camera up this way.
If you want the camera to perform faster, there's "high performance" mode to choose in the menu. This mode enhances the overall performance such as the AF, start up time, and waking up from sleep mode. I have to say that this mode does work. However, it drains the battery like an open tap of water. So make sure you buy extra batteries if you want to use this mode.
Wi-Fi connection is huge plus to modern cameras. We're in the age of social media and to be able to transfer images to your smartphones or tablets on the go to a hugggggeeeee plus. The Camera Remote app is pretty good. You can adjust your camera settings and shoot from your phone. Great for selfies and group shots (so you won't be the last one to run back into the group with a weird tiring face). Really really handy.
Downsides first. It's a bit slow to focus and to turn on from sleep mode is frustrating. The battery runs out pretty fast. The rolling shutter in silent mode is a bit of a bummer but nothing serious. It's pretty soft at f/2 especially for close up. Stop it down a bit and you'll be fine (though you'd loose a bit of depth of field).
Overall, I love the the camera. It's light, solid and create beautiful images. You can use it for travel, street photography or everyday documentation. You can even use it professionally for work such as weddings (great for candids) and documentary style shoots. You can even use it for studio work with strobes, especially when the tele-converter lens (TCL-X100) is attached to convert to lens to a 50mm f/2 equivalent (stay tuned for the next review). The Fujifilm X100T has really given me the joy of carrying a camera around and shoot again.