The Fuji X100T was announced in September of 2014. It's always been a camera that I thought looked interesting and I wanted to give a try. Fujifilm Canada was gracious enough to lend me one for a few weeks to give it a try and I'm so glad they did. Obviously my main subjects for photographer are street and travel images. The X100 series has always been loved by street photographers for it's small size, rangefinder like handling and over all image quality. I am one of those photographers who could not be happier than to have a 35mm equivalent lens on my camera at all times and that's exactly what the X100 series gives you. In the past I've spent a bit of time with both the Leica M6 and M9 so I had a decent understand of what to expect from a rangefinder style camera. Although some will argue that the X100T is not a true range finder if you're going to be technical I suppose. As always I won't get into the super technical details of the camera as there many sites out there that will do a better job at that than I will.
Controls and Handling and Style
This is what draws most people to the Fuji X100T and really the whole X100 line in general. The camera has a great retro style and comes in either black or chrome colours. Many of the controls are set with dials or sliders instead of just in a menu. I was stopped pretty much everyday when shooting on the street and asked about the camera by someone just because it looks cool. The camera has a good solid feel to it, It's like but sturdy. The finish has a good texture and the camera generally feels good in the hand. I could see wanting some additional grip of some kind though if you're out for a whole day of shooting.
The camera is a rangefinder style camera where you're looking through the body of the camera instead of seeing through the lens like in a SLR. I've been shooting primarily with an SRL for something like 15 years so getting use to anything else was a bit of a challenge for sure. The viewfinder window is really nice to look through though there is no doubt about that. The viewfinder has 3 main modes. The first is what I think a lot of people are going to be drawn to this camera for and that is optical only. This means you’re just looking straight through the viewfinder window. Information and frame lines are projected into the view. The information you see if customizable as well so you can have as much or as little as you’d like.
The second is the hybrid option. This gives you the same view as the optical view but digitally overlays a zoomed in view of your current focus point. This is mostly for manual focus I believe, though I’m sure some people will find other uses for it. The final option is to go to a fully electronic view. This gives you your through the lens view if you need it. I found it good when doing close up work. It would also be good if you wanted to use one of the filter modes and see a real time preview of them.. Though I don’t do use them much I can see the use.
I guess I’m a bit of a purist in some respects. Although I think it’s great that Fuji gives you the option to use a fully electronic viewfinder I think that’s not what this camera is really about.
The lens on this camera is a fixed 23mm F2 (35mm equivalent). There is a nice aperture ring with clicks to 1/3 stops. There are two nice grip points that I found easy to find and use while looking through the viewfinder. Closer to the front of the lens if the focus ring. I personally found it too small to get a really nice grip. It’s by no means unusable, it’s just a comprise Fuji made I think to keep the lens small.
Your other controls on top of the camera are shutter speed and exposure compensation. Both are nice large dials that have a good solid feel to them. ISO is changed via the quick menu and the rear control dial. I found the quick menu not too bad to use after you got used to it. It is also customizable so you can chose what shows up there I often left the camera on auto iso and that was fine as well.
Autofocus is what I shot with most during my time with the camera. I found it to work well and accurately most of the time. I didn’t find it as quick as my X-T1 but it was perfectly fine. It did miss the mark in some more challenging situations though. There are a few different auto focus modes depending on what you shoot. I personally prefer single point and just move it around the frame as needed.
Manual focus works okay but never really felt right to me. With the hybrid viewfinder there are several focus peaking options. I personally liked the highlight mode or none at all. I found the zoomed in overlay in the hybrid view was sharp enough to tell when things were in focus without any help. Manual focus to me still works best with the electronic viewfinder where you get focus peaking over the whole frame.
The X100T uses a 16 megapixel X-Trans II sensor. That meant I kind of knew what the image quality was going to be like heading into this. This sensor design has been around for about two years. I understand Fuji has their reasons but this would have been a great camera to go with a new sensor design in. The other major factor for image quality of course is the fixed lens. Thankfully the lens is quite good. At F2 I found the image quality to be more than acceptable. I didn’t find it quite as sharp at my XF 23mm F1.4 lens but I don’t think many people will really find anything to complain about. Like any lens its not at it’s best wide open but I think even at F2 it looks pretty good in most situations.
High ISO performance was also good. Images at 3200 were just fine and even images at 6400 iso I thought were perfectly usable if a bit grainy of course. Colour rendering is great just like the Fuji X-T1 and several other cameras in the line up. If you’re into shooting JPEG all the film simulation modes are there and work really well.
Who is this camera for?
My main goal here was to see if this is the right camera for someone who wants to primarily shoot street or travel photography. This was never going to be a camera for everyone. Primarily it is going to be the fixed lens and price that might turn people away. Not everyone loves the 35mm angle of view and this is admittedly not an inexpensive camera at about $1499 CDN. That said if you love shooting with a 35mm lens or traveling small and light is your main goal I think there is a lot to like here. I only had the camera a few weeks but I shoot everything I could with it. I took tons of photos on the streets of Toronto with it. One great thing for street photography is that the camera is basically silent. You can shoot on the street and for the most part no one will even notice you. I shot family functions, a few trips to the local farmers market and a trip to the Evergreen Brickworks in Toronto. Although I did not take the camera on a large trip of course I feel comfortable saying it could be the only camera you need to take with you. Unless you know for sure you need to shoot in some special situation where another lens is needed. Another great addition to this camera I think a lot of people will welcome is built in Wi-Fi. You can send jpegs straight from the camera to your mobile device and share from there. You can also remote control the camera from your device if you find a need for that.
Fuji has really come a long way with the X100 line up. The X100S and now X100T have each improved on the previous model by listening to their customer base and adding the feature people generally want. It’s an amazing all around camera that is stylish and unique in many of its features. It is not inexpensive but I feel if this is the kind of camera you are comfortable with the price will be well worth it for you.
Like a lot of my Toronto Fuji friends I purchase my gear at Aden camera. You should too if you’re able. They are friendly and have great prices. Speak to Matthew and let them know I sent you, thanks. If you're not able to visit Aden please try and support your local camera shop whenever possible.
Though I have friends who work for Fuji, they in no way pay me or provide me with free equipment to keep.