Camera Review – Fuji x100t
When Fuji released the original x100 the photography world suddenly started to take notice of the company from Japan. It shook the industry in many ways. Both amateurs and professionals alike loved its beautiful design and functional manual controls. It was unlike anything else on the market. The x100 was a reminder of a time long passed. A nostalgic time when everyone shot film, had manual controls and needed a dark room to process their photos. It did however, have many bugs and annoyances. When the x100s was released, Fuji manage to fix most of the bugs in the original. The x100s was much faster and more refined. Some would argue it was almost perfect. Now, we have the x100T. What could they have possibly improved or added to the x100t to warrant an upgrade?
• 16MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor (with on-sensor phase detection elements)
• 35mm equivalent f2 lens
• Hybrid EVF with 2.3m dot LCD and with mini EVF in optical mode.
• 3.0″ 1.04m dot rear LCD (720 x 480 pixels)
• Built-in Wi-Fi with remote control function
• Seven customizable buttons
• Customizable Q menu
• +/- 3 Exposure compensation dial.
• Built-in ND filter
• Optional electronic shutter mode (increasing maximum shutter speed to 1/32000 sec)
• Electronic / manual shutter combo mode.
• ‘Classic Chrome’ film simulation mode
• 1080p movies at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24fps
• Exposure control for movies
• Built-in intervalometer
The Fuji x100t isn’t much different in terms of image quality than the x100s. It has the same 16MP X-Trans CMOS II (APSC) sensor and same processor as the x100s, xe2, x-t1 and x-t10. It also shares the same exact same 35mm equivalent f2 lens as the x100s. This results in the exact same image quality as its predecessor. That being said, the image quality is excellent. From my tests the optimum aperture for the lens is from f5.6-f8 for the best sharpness across the frame. Even wide open however, there is still very good sharpness in the center.
This isn’t the best image quality in the world or even in its class. That goes to the Sony RX1, which is far superior (but also much more expensive and slower). Even the much cheaper Sony a6000or Fuji’s own Fujifilm X-E1 with the Fujinon XF 27mm lens gives this camera a run for its money in terms of raw image quality, but at the expense of form factor and design.
ISO performance is very good. You’ll get usable, detailed shots up to ISO 6400, if you don’t mind applying some noise reduction in post-production.
One of my favorite aspects of the x100t is its brilliant metering and white balance when using its tiny built-in flash. I’ll go as far to say, it’s the best results I’ve ever gotten from a built-in flash on any camera I’ve ever used. It’s that good. Both for fill and in low light, it gives great consistent results.
JPEGs is where Fuji truly shines, and more specifically the film simulation modes. I absolutely love the black and white simulation mode, and now they’ve added classic chrome, which simulates the Kodak Kodachrome look. You can even choose to bracket multiple film simulation modes at once to see which version looks best to you. I usually shoot in B&W and RAW and then try some others out through the profiles in Lightroom.
At this point it almost goes without saying that the Video quality is going to be terrible on this sensor. Seriously, just use your iPhone 6. This is a stills camera mainly.
It’s a testament to Fuji’s Xtrans sensor, and how great it’s been, that the x100t still uses it. However, I feel the x100t is more of an evolution and I was somewhat disappointed that nothing was changed in terms of image quality from the x100s. I wish it had 24-36mp, ISO 100 minimum ISO setting, better high ISO performance and a new processor. Maybe the next version will improve on this.
Autofocus on the x100t is actually pretty good. It feels just slightly faster than the x100s. It locks on almost instantly in most situations. The continuous tracking isn’t the best in the world but it works. It does have manual focus with focus peaking but the single point autofocus was so good I never felt a need to use it. Overall, I have no complaints about the focusing and it has come a long way since the x100 capabilities. The face detection is also a nice touch and works very well.
Handling / Build Quality
This category is where the x100t really shines. The manual controls allow the x100t to be used like a classic rangefinder camera. It has almost everything you need without digging into menus. I only wish they could have added a small ISO dial somewhere.
The new LCD is much improved over the previous version. It’s larger with much better resolution. I do wish it would articulate. A tilty flippy screen would be very useful for the type of camera this is.
The EVF and optical viewfinder are both excellent. The optical viewfinder even features an electronic overlay that shows the real time exposure or focus peaking. I find the little overlay a bit distracting so I hardly ever use it. The EVF is much more useful and after a while, I stopped using the optical viewfinder completely. It’s not a great or big as the amazing EVF of the x-t1 but it’s good enough for such a small camera. It had no annoying lag and was bright enough for every situation. Boy, EVFs have come a long way in such a short period of time.
The x100t is very customizable. You can customize the function buttons to suite your preferred settings, as well as what settings to display in the “Q” menu. To change them simply hold the button down for a few seconds and customize options will pop up. The buttons themselves are good and not mushy like the x-t1 buttons where. It’s a joy to use.
The grip is pretty good for such a small camera. It’s comfortable to use considering its size. However, I do recommend in buying a thumb grip. I went with the lensmate thumb grip, which I bought on amazon. I also added a soft release button for even better control of the shutter. It not only looks cool but I feel it gives me most control over the autofocus.
The build quality of the camera is very good. It’s made in Japan and it feels that way. It feels like it was crafted by hand, by a master craftsman and not massed produced. It reminds me of the quality you’d get from an Apple product like a MacBook or iPhone, or a samurai sword. It has great design and great build quality. It’s mostly made of metal and has the perfect balance of feeling substantial in your hands and still being light weight. I do wish it was weather sealed however, as I’m not confident in using it in the rain. For a camera intended for street photography, I feel weather sealing is important. Especially at this price.
The x100t is more of an evolution than a revolution. Its new features are great and very welcome. I’ve used the Wi-Fi function a lot and it’s very well implemented. The Fuji app is very well done. It allows you to shoot street photography in a really stealthy way. By simply hanging your camera on your neck and just looking at your phone you can shoot without anyone ever noticing. It makes for some interesting possibilities. The electronic shutter is also very welcome for shooting wide open in the bright sunlight.
You can now charge the camera by plugging in the micro USB cable directly into the camera, which is very useful to charge it in the car or for when you forget the charger. Sony has this on all its cameras and it’s a feature that all modern cameras should have. Still, unlike Sony, I appreciate that Fuji still includes a traditional wall charger as well, so you get the best of both worlds.
Overall, I think this category is where the camera lacks the most. It’s basically an x100s with some additional features thrown in. Sure, they are great features to have, but it is essentially the same camera as the x100s in practical use.
The combination of speed, control, size, features, and style make this camera’s shooting experience superb. I feel every photographer in the world that is interested in street photography should give the x100s a chance. They wouldn’t regret it one bit. Its retro styling does attract some attention at times but in a good way. People are much more likely to be friendly to you when shooting with the little Fuji versus a big DSLR with a big lens. I’ve had many people stop to ask me about it or if I was shooting film. It’s so portable you can easily fit it into your jacket pocket and bring it with you everywhere you go. The x100t has one of the best size to quality ratio you can find on the market.
There is something magical about this camera and the images it produces. Is it the best image quality or best autofocus? No its not. But the x100t has a certain charm about it that only Fuji can deliver. It’s a camera you need to experience yourself to truly appreciate and not by looking at specs sheets or shots of a brick wall.
When the x100t first came out, the value of this camera wasn’t great at 1300$. Right now however, it seems the price has dropped to 1099$. A much more reasonable price point for this camera. Because of this price drop I would recommend the X100T over the x100s, both for its extra features and its resale value in the future.
You can make a case for an Fujifilm X-T1 with the xf 27mm 2.8 for $1150 + $350. 1500$ new and about 1100$ used for the combo. You’ll be getting a lot more versatility by being able to change lenses, but at the cost of size and design.
Fuji is undoubtedly becoming one of the leaders in the mirrorless market. Their formula has been a sound one. They make excellent high quality cameras and lenses, and continue to support them through firmware upgrades for years after their release. Like fine wine, their cameras only get better with age. The x100t is no exception. I have no doubt it will be even better a year from now.
The x100t is truly different than any other camera on the market. It’s a camera that’s meant to inspire the user to go out and shoot. It’s a camera that can also be used as a tool for teaching a new photographer about the basics of photography, with its manual controls and ease of use. If I taught a photography class I would force all my students to buy this camera and learn how to using it manually before buying a full frame pro camera. It forces you to be part of the scene due to its 35mm (full frame equivalent) lens. This integration with your environment makes photography fun and exciting. You become one with what you’re shooting, while also remaining anonymous due to its size and design. In today’s world full of huge DSLRs with zoom lenses it’s a unique experience. Is it the best camera on the market for street photography? Yes, it’s one of the best. Along with the Fuji x-t1, Sony a7 series and Olympus om5 ii. However, it is the best fixed lens option and the smallest. Can it be better by improving image quality and adding a new lens? Yes, but for now it’s good enough. I think every pro photographer should own this camera. The x100t will inspire you, bring out your creativity, and remind you of why you love photography so much in the first place. The pure act of shooting itself.
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