Fuji X100T Review – Long term User report
In this Fuji X100T review I’ll talk about how I have found this camera in real World use having used it for nearly two years.
The Fuji X100T builds on the previous success of the X100 and X100s series with the same 16mp X-Trans sensor, a fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent focal length), aperture control ring and lots of physical dials for a rewarding range finder style shooting experience.
The Fuji 100T was announced in September 2014 and we have been using it for general shooting and travel photography since its release date.
In our Fuji X100T review we uncover the good and the bad about this popular enthusiast camera.
New to the X100T is the ability for exposure control in movies as well as 1080p video at 24, 25, 30, 50 and 60p. However more noticeable to stills photographers is the upgrading of the aperture ring on the lens to accommodate 1/3 exposure increments, the new Classic Chrome film simulation and the new hybrid viewfinder which offers both electronic and optical views and the choice to have a small overlay image of the in focus area at the bottom corner of the viewfinder.
We have had the chance to use the Fuji X100T for general travel photography in Europe and Asia, shooting some casual landscapes and some model shoots which has enabled us to get a real feel for the camera over an extended period of time. This review will give a real feel for the new features but also what it is like to live with this camera day in and day out for a long period of time.
Fuji X100T Review – Design and Handling
The Fuji X100 series of cameras offer range finder style photography and aim for simplicity when shooting. However this doesn’t mean that they are simple cameras.
In the hand the Fuji X100T feels very light and compact (in comparison to DSLR’s) yet solid enough to not feel like a plastic toy. It measures 127x74x52.4mm and weighs in at 440gm. Although quite small it is too large to be slipped in to normal size pockets but the weight is negligible if slung on your shoulder with the strap all day. Size wise it is very similar to the X-T1 although of course the X-T1’s weight can vary considerably depending upon the lens used.
The design is elegant and aesthetically pleasing. Although this might not be important for everyone it is always appreciated by us when we get to use a camera that feels good and looks good too. It has the feel and look of a classic camera from the film era and we found that most people we encounter appreciate the design and styling. The camera is available in black and silver/black combination.
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We have the silver version although some street photographers prefer the black version to avoid unwanted attention. We have never found this camera to garner too much attention when street shooting though. This is mainly due to it’s small size as most people probably think it’s a cheap little compact. That’s also good if you are in a crowded place and don’t want it getting the attention of thieves.
The Fuji X100T is not weather sealed unlike the X-T1 but it feels well made with the top and bottom being of magnesium alloy construction. The hand grip on the fornt protrudes very slightly although we do find it a little small to give real confidence while holding it. However it is a light camera so it tends to nestle into the palm of your hand when shooting allowing for decent if not confidence inspiring grip.
The buttons on the back offer a clear click when pressing them, allowing for tactile feedback when shooting with your eye to the viewfinder. However they are a bit on the small side, especially the control wheel.
On the top we have the much talked about control dials. There is an exposure compensation dial offering +/-3ev. This is the one dial that could benefit from being a little stiffer in our eyes as it had quite often changed position when we took the camera out of our bag. Therefore we would recommend checking this every time you take it out of your bag.There is also a function button which by default is set up to record video although it can be customised as can 6 other fn buttons.
The X100T also has a shutter speed dial with full stop increments from 1 second- 1/4000 in addition to bulb and timer mode. To make less than one stop adjustments to shutter speed you adjust the small control wheel on the top right of the rear of the camera. Lastly on the top plate we have the on off switch which can be a little awkward to quickly engage as the grip does not protrude quite far enough. It does have a thread for a shutter release cable which is a welcome addition. Note there is no ISO dial on the Fuji X100T unlike its sibling the X-T1. However in all honesty we don’t really miss it as auto ISO allows for setting minimum shutter speeds to compensate so we leave it in auto for the most part.
The rear of the camera has the viewfinder (which we shall discuss later) as well as view mode button to switch how the viewfinder/LCD screen behave when shooting. Playback button, Delete button and a further Fn button. Above and to the right of the LCD screen we have the drive mode button as well as the control dial which we mentioned earlier (used for adjusting shutter speed in 1/3 stops and can be clicked to zoom in when manually focusing).
On the right of the LCD is the AEL/AFL, Q menu and Display buttons as well as the control dial and menu buttons.
In general we like the ability to customise up to 7 of these buttons to do a whole variety of functions rather than just the default functions. For instance we set the delete button to switch the built in ND filter on and off, the up button on the control dial to turn face recognition auto focus on, right button for flash exposure compensation, down to adjust focus points and left to quickly access the different film simulations. The number of different combinations is exhaustive and allows for each user to set the camera up pretty much how they like.
On the left hand side of the body is a switch to swap between single shot, continuous and manual focusing modes.
The Fuji X100T has a Type D HDMI Micro connector, Micro USB port and a new 2.5mm microphone input; the mic input and USB port can be used with optional remote controls and the USB port can be used for charging which is great when travelling with several cameras as you can cut out the bulk of all the various different camera chargers. The Fuji X100T does of course, come with its own AC power charger.
Along with an external flash hot-shoe the Fuji X100T has an internal flash and we found it to be much better than the average in built DSLR flash at providing subtle and usable fill flash for portraits. It can be set to various modes including slow sync which is perfect for getting correctly balanced exposures with -2/3 FEC dialled in. What should also be noted is the ability of the X100T to hit flash sync speeds of up to 1/4000 thanks to its leaf shutter. This makes it easily able to shoot with fill flash in bright conditions which is a huge advantage over the X-T1 as well as all DSLR’s unless an external flash is used. We almost always use fill flash when shooting outdoor portraits with the X100T as it seems to nail the exposure and give natural results 99% of the time.
Once you have taken a shot it is also quick and easy to transfer those files to your smart device thanks to the in built wifi of the X100T. While the Fuji app is not the best it does the job and we could transfer over full resolution Jpegs ready for upload to social media. There is an annoying limit of 30 images per transfer but this is a minor inconvenience. The app also lets you remotely control the camera although not shoot video which is a shame.
Fuji X100T Review – Viewfinder and shooting experience
The viewfinder in the Fuji X100T is clearer than the previous models. When using the optical viewfinder the X100T displays a bright and clear electronic overlay which shows, the active focus point, shooting settings such as shutter speed, ISO and aperture as well as a rectangular marker which indicates the actual area of your image corrected for parallax. Because the viewfinder and the image sensor are not in line as on a DSLR what you see straight through the viewfinder is not exactly what will be recorded on the image. This parallax correction is therefore really useful to avoid hidden surprises in your final composition and image.
Flick the switch on the front of the camera and the X100T viewfinder changes to wholly electronic view. The refresh rate is fairly quick and although there is a little lag compared with an OVF we generally preferred to shoot with the EVF because it shows in real time adjustments made to the exposure before you take the shot. We just find EVFs in general a great artistic tool as you can see your image before you click the shutter. Any changes to the film simulation are reflected in the EVF so it reduces the need to chimp images after the fact. The only exception to this would be when shooting faster moving subjects which can benefit from the real time view of the OVF.
On the whole the electronic viewfinder is on par with others in the mirrorless world like the FUji X-E2s and Olympus OM-D series.
What is new on the Fuji X100T is the addition of the electronic overlay for focusing when using the optical viewfinder. When using the optical viewfinder flick the switch on the front of the camera to the left and a small rectangular electronic over lay pops up in the bottom right corner showing the in focus area. You can click the rear control dial to zoom in and now manual focusing becomes ever so easy. Add to this the manual focus aids found on the FUji X100T like focus peaking and it gives the ability to quickly and easily achieve manual focus.
In general shooting we found the X100T’s auto focus to be a notch faster than the X100s although not quite on par with the X-T1. If you are shooting portraits, landscapes and general travel photography then the auto focus in good light is quick enough to keep up.
Where we did have a few issues was when shooting moving subjects such as kids or pets. Here we found a relatively high rate of out of focus shots simply because the auto focus could not attain focus before the subject had moved on slightly. This can be frustrating but if you shoot a lot of moving subjects then it would be wise to look at other mirrorless options like the Olympus OM-D E-M1, Fuji XT-1 or Sony A6300.
Every time we look at the Fuji X100T it makes us want to pick it up and shoot. It’s size combined with its excellent image quality mean that we feel like taking it with us everywhere we go without worrying about the weight and size. So how about the image quality. Well lets take a look at that in more detail in the next section. Click the link below to see the results for image quality and some sample images.
Image and Video quality Or skip straight to our conclusion