Fujifilm X100T Mirrorless Camera: Product Review
Fujifilm X100T Mirrorless Camera: Product Review
Interested in buy the Fujifilm X100T camera? I’ve been using it as one of my travel cameras for the last 7 months. I’m not a professional reviewer so i’m just going to tell you what I like and don’t like about the camera. This is going to be a review based on how I use the X100T. I am not going to discuss the detailed specifications of the camera because that information is readily available from Fujifilm. I also do not pixel peep or compare this camera to other cameras. I am not a technical photographer and if I have to zoom in 100% to notice a tiny difference then I am focusing my energy in the wrong places.
At the end of the article I have posted a few images that I shot with the X100T. Typically I shoot in RAW and heavily edit my images. However, I will include some of the JPEG images straight from the camera (resized in Lightroom) with no processing so you can decide for yourself if it provides the results you are looking for.
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Remember in school when they were picking teams and you always got picked last? Well this time it’s more like getting picked for the team then getting kicked off again. So I until I deal with the B.S. that is Amazon I will not be an affiliate for them any longer.
Just the Basics
Where does the X100T fit? When I was doing my research on this camera everything pointed towards it being a great travel camera for photographers who don’t want to carry their large DSLR when on vacation. I agree with that, but I think the camera is so much more as well.
I would recommend the X100T to new photographers who want to learn more about photography and increase their skills. The fixed lens forces the user to think more about composition. The advantage of the X100T is that it has very tactile knobs and buttons that allow a user to connect with the settings that are being changed. Instead of using a thumbwheel to change aperture there is a metal lens ring that turns with nice satisfying clicks in 1/3 stop increments. Just like an old school film camera.
When using the optical viewfinder on the X100T it not only looks but also feels like an old school film camera. Complete with the outside of the lens being visible through the viewfinder.
I know I said I would not include specifications but here are a few of the X100T basics:
- 23mm f/2.0 (equivalent to a 35mm lens on a full frame camera)
- 16.3 million pixels JPEG and RAW
- Video capabilities at 1080p/ at 60 FPS
- Mechanical leaf shutter up to 1/4000th second and electronic shutter up to 1/32000
- Built in flash
- Optical and Digital viewfinder with 3.0 inch (7.6cm) LCD monitor
- Hot shoe
Customizations I have done to my Camera
I have done a few things to make my X100T more uniquely mine.
- I bought the JJC LH-JX100 Silver Metal Lens Hood Adapter Ring from Amazon. This one is far cheaper than the Fuji branded one and has a nice firm connection to the camera.
- The X100T is not easiest to hold. It’s a bit slippery and the front grip is so subtle as to be useless. So I bought the Fujifilm Thumb Grip by LENSMATE. The version I bought was actually for the S model. I’m including the link to the T because this is a review on the T and I can’t see there being enormous difference in quality. The ony thing about the S version is that it slightly covers the Drive button and rear thumb wheel. See the image to the right.
- One of the reasons I bought the X100T is so I would not be tempted with buying lots of lenses. However Fuji did produce two lens adapters and I bought the Fujifilm TLC-X100 Tele Converter which converts the lens to 50mm f/2.0.
- The last thing I did, which you can see in the images, is cover the X100T in gaff tape. There are a few reasons why I did this.
- It makes the camera look beat to heck.
- It actually protects the camera from scratches.
- It’s easy to remove or replace.
- People are less likely to steal what looks like an old beat up film camera.
Things I like about the camera
This is a very light and compact camera. Yes its larger than a typical point and shoot. It’s only large enough to make the control dials a usable size instead of the tiny fiddly ones found on a point and shoot. Here are some of the reasons that I like using the camera.
- Powered by USB. This means you can either charge the battery with the included charger, or you can plug a USB cable directly into the camera to charge the battery. You can even use the camera while its plugged into a power bank. When I am shooting time lapse photos I regularly plug in an external battery to shoot for hours at a time.
- There is no Mode selector. This is one of the most amazing things about the camera. There is just the aperture ring with an A selector, and the shutter speed dial with an A selector. Set both controls to A and the camera is in program mode. Or set only one dial to A for Aperture or Time priority. Or adjust both for manual mode. So simple, and one less setting to adjust on the camera.
- Focus peaking when shooting in manual mode. Focus mode is selected by a switch on the outside of the camera instead of buried in a menu. AND, when shooting in manual mode and using either the LCD or electronic viewfinder the camera utilises focus peaking. This highlights the areas that are in focus. It makes manual focusing faster and easier than on any SLR or DSLR I have ever used.
- Time lapse feature is built in and not an add on. This is one of the gripes I have with my Sony camera. The Sony does not have time lapse built in. It must be purchased separately, but watch out what country you are in. The app is not available everywhere. On the Fuji 999 images can be shot in a sequence with intervals from one second to 24 hours. It even has a delay mode that can be set so it does not start shooting immediately.
- Exposure compensation is +/- 3 stops. One of the big improvements over the S model is the aperture ring is adjustable in 1/3 stop increments whereas the S could only be changed by full stops. Sometimes its the little things that make the difference.
- Electronic viewfinder has absolutely no lag. Another improvement over the S model is there is no noticeable lag when using the electronic view finder. Huge improvement.
- It’s so quiet. The leaf shutter is almost completely silent. The only way to hear the click of the camera is to hold it up to your ear when you activate the shutter. The camera has an option to turn on a “click” noise. The camera also has an electronic shutter which is totally silent.
- Everyone who sees it thinks it’s a film camera. It looks like an old film camera. Even after people see that it has an LCD on the back they still mistake if for a film camera. I find that its easier to take street photos because people don’t take the camera seriously. This is very different that the reaction when you point a huge DSLR at their faces.
Why it’s better than the S model
- The T model focuses so much faster. It’s not quite as fast as my Canon 5DM3 could focus, but its still freaking fast. Especially compared to the S model. it’s like night and day.
- The rear selector wheel was replaced with a D-pad. The S model had a flimsy thumbwheel that was too small and had a fragile feel to it. it was finicky, and annoying to use. The T model has a proper D pad with buttons that have a firm and solid feel.
- There is no noticeable lag when looking through the electronic viewfinder. One of my biggest complaints about the S model is the viewfinder could not keep up with reality. There was noticeable lag and stuttering. This is totally eliminated in the T model. To the point where sometimes I have to pull the camera away to realize I am in electronic mode and not optical.
- 1/3 stop adjustment detents on the aperture ring. The S could only be adjusted in full stops. The T gives finer precision when selecting exposure.
Cool things that I don’t use
- JPEG film simulations. Everyone seems to rave about the film simulations. Personally I prefer to shoot in RAW and adjust the look of the image in Lightroom and Photoshop. I have played around with the film simulations but they have not won me over. I mean every camera does internal JPEG conversion. People talk about this feature like its some kind of magic sauce. All Fuji has done is make their JPEG conversions give similar results to what their old film stock looked like. But its still just an in camera JPEG conversion. No big deal.
- The optical viewfinder. When I got the camera I thought I would primarily use the optical viewfinder. I was not used to electronic viewfinders so I thought I would naturally use the optical one. However as I started using the camera, and more so with the T model, I almost exclusively use the electronic viewfinder. It may not give exact colour reproduction but it does make composing the image so much easier. Especially when shooting towards a bright light source like the sun. The electronic viewfinder allows me to see my subject instead of just the silhouette of the subject as would be visible in the optical viewfinder.
- Q menu functions and custom presets. Fuji has done a horrible job with their custom presets. There are only a limited number of features that can be set as a custom preset, and they aren’t features I use often. Also the navigation is confusing. The Q menu allows access to the custom functions and thats why I don’t use the Q menu. I find it easier to set custom functions to the buttons and make all my adjustments and changes manually as I shoot.
Things I don’t like
My list of things I don’t like is longer that the list of things I do like. But keep in mind I am being very picky here. I still like this camera far more than I dislike it. This list is how I would change the camera if Fuji hired me.
- The tripod mount is too close to battery/SD door. I use a quick release plate on the camera. So
every time I want to change the battery or remove the SD card I have to get out my screwdriver and remove the quick release. My workaround is to use a 64GB memory card so I don’t have to change cards. I transfer images and charge the battery using the USB port.
- Side door is flippy and too easy to open. The door on the right side that covers the mic, USB, and HDMI ports flips open very easily. I can see this possibly breaking off by accident someday.
- Exposure compensation dial should have a lock button. Or it should just be more difficult to turn. May times I have brought the camera up to eye level to shoot and then noticed the dial has accidentally been moved.
- Wifi is difficult to connect to my cell phone using their App. Sometimes taking over 10 minutes of fiddling and attempts.
- It’s not weather sealed. Yes, it would make the camera more expensive if it were. It would also make the camera that much better as a travel camera if it was weather sealed. Just yesterday I wanted to do some street photography, but it started raining so I couldn’t.
- Battery life. It sucks. Well compared to a DSLR it’s horrible.
- Video is horrible. The available settings for video are super limited, and the quality of the video itself is just miserable. To the point where it feels like they added video capabilities an afterthought. They should have just left video off the camera if it’s going to have such bad video. Also the autofocus in video mode is unusable. Continuous focus mode is more like continuous hunting for focus mode…
Buttons on left side of LCD. It is so annoying to try and preview an image in the digital viewfinder when the camera is held at eye level because the play button is on the left side of the camera… right where my face is. Fuji did an awesome job when they redesigned the X Pro2 and put all buttons to the right of the LCD I wish they had done the same for this camera.
- Can not set certain functions to specific buttons. This goes back to the play button being on the left of the camera. There is no option to remap a button on the right side to the play function.
- Exposure bracketing is limited to +/- 1 stop. I would like to see this expanded to two stops. Also the ability to increase the number of exposures from 3 to at least 5. I do a lot of HDR images, and 1 stop is just not enough of a range for dramatic HDR images. But Hey I would be happy with just a wider bracketing range.
- On/off button is annoying. It’s both difficult to move if your finger is slightly wet or sweaty, yet seems to turn on and off easily when in a camera bag
- The body is hard to grip. It’s a small camera and the leatherette covering the body is a bit slippery. There is no place on the back of the camera to place your thumb. This is corrected by buying the thumb grip.
- There are 4 rear LCD display modes. The rear LCD and viewfinder can be set up four different ways, yet none of them works how I like so shoot. If I tell the camera to use the viewfinder when I am shooting then it also insists on using the viewfinder when I go into settings mode. It’s much easier to change the settings using the LCD, but its impossible to do that unless you set the camera to use the LCD for shooting as well. So freaking annoying!!
- When using exposure bracketing there is no way to set a timer delay. I’m stretching it a bit on this complaint but it would be nice to have a delay when doing exposure bracketing so your finger is not on the camera when it’s releasing the shutter. Then again the exposure bracketing is kind of useless anyway with its limited range. A workaround is to use a cable release.
The camera is a little bit small for my hands but i’m not complaining too loudly on this point. I like that the camera is small because I live out of a total of 60 liters of backpack space. The fact that it’s small and light is what allows me to even carry the camera in the first place. It’s not quite small enough to keep in my pants pocket, though it will fit fine into a jacket pocket.
While the camera is not weather sealed I have used it in conditions that are misty and even in light rain where drops have collected on the body and lens. I have never had the camera soaking wet, and I don’t intend to let it get that wet ever. I have not noticed any negative effects from the water that has come in contact with it. A side note, my X100S did get a drop of orange juice (and vodka) spilt on it and that did have a huge effect on the movement of the focus ring. It became very sticky at certain locations. I’m not going to test it but I believe the same would happen with the T model.
Battery life is horrendous compared to my Canon 5DM3 DSLR. But battery life is going to depend on how the camera is used. As a walking around, casual use camera I found the battery keeps up just fine. When I use the camera for time lapse sequences the battery will drain very rapidly. I keep a large battery bank available to power the camera in this situation.
The manual aperture ring is so natural and enjoyable to use. I started shooting on mechanical film cameras when none of these fancy command dials were available. I like how the camera settings can easily be adjusted without having to pull the camera away from my face to find a thumb button.
Links and Resources
Here are a few links to reviews that go much further in depth into the specifications and performance of the X100T. If you prefer to watch reviews on Youtube rather spend all the effort reading you can find some good ones on the Youtube playlist I put together.
- A much more in depth and techinical review at DP Review.com.
- No photography research is complete until you read the Ken Rockwell review.
- Less of a technical review, but an fantastic read about the X100T anyway on Petapixel.com
Also here is a great article on how to customize the settings for the X100T if you are shooting portraits.
Great!, Where can I buy the X100T?
Well I suggest you buy it using the link provided below. Using this link means I will get paid a small amount when you purchase the camera. You still pay the same amount, but because you got to Amazon from my site Amazon will give me a small percentage of the final sale.
Images Examples Shot on X100T and Edited in Lightroom
JPEG’s Examples Unedited, but Resized in Lightroom
While there are a few things I don’t like about how Fuji made this camera they are minor when compared to how freaking awesome the camera is. If you are a casual shooter you may not find this camera very interesting. Stick to a point and shoot instead.
If you are an avid photographer or someone wanting to learn more about photography I totally recommend buying this. I really enjoy traveling with this camera. It shines the most when I am out doing street photography. It’s stealthy noise levels and retro looks let it fly under the radar and allow you to shoot without even being noticed. People tend to be more relaxed when this is pointed at them than they are when a DSLR and large lens are pointed their way.