16 megapixel sensor. This is good for the kind of shooting I’m planning to do with this camera. I like having the extra megapixels so that I can crop into an image and still have enough data left so I can make a decent sized print.
Actual dials for shutter speeds and aperture. This is something I didn’t realize I missed with my Nikon DSLRs. It’s nice having them on the outside of the camera so I can quickly see my exposure setting without having to look at a screen or through the viewfinder.
The EVF also has a few great enhancements for helping with manual focusing. One is focus peaking, which is something usually found on video cameras. This feature throws a colored outline around the subject once it is in focus. Another is a “split field” view, where you line up two split parts of the image. Once they are together, the subject is sharp.
Last is a enlarged view of the focus point you’re using. When you see it getting sharp, the subject is sharp. These last two are cool because not only do they work in the electronic viewfinder, they also show up in the optical one. This is a nice, and useful, throwback to the days of the rangefinder cameras.
(Fuji camera iOS apps)
Built in wifi. I use this all the time to transfer JPEGs to my iPhone or iPad for processing and posting on various photo sharing services. It won’t transfer RAW files, but that’s fine.
Which leads to the in-camera processing. When you shoot RAW with this camera, you’re afforded the opportunity to do a little post processing directly in-camera. While a lot of cameras have this, I think the Fuji has been the most fun and satisfying. So, if you shoot some shots with the classic chrome preset, you can then post process them to a black and white preset, or a more saturated one, like the Velvia preset, right from the camera. You can only do this if you shoot RAW, or RAW+JPEG, which is what I recommend to do. I love this flexibility.
Lots of customizable controls. I won’t go into too much depth about this because it could take up half the review. It’s enough to say that you can customize pretty much every button on the back of the camera to your liking. And there’s a quick menu which you can customize as well. You won’t be disappointed with the amount of customization you can do.
Built-in 3 stop neutral density filter. This is great since you won’t have to carry around a separate one and attach it every time you need it. The ND filter is useful when you want to shoot wide open aperture in really bright light. Since the minimum ISO this camera goes to is 200, this feature can come in handy when you want shallow depth of field or slow shutter speeds in bright light. Every camera should have one of these built in.
So, what didn’t I like? Well, not much. And I wouldn’t say “not like.” There are some things about this camera which I find challenging and others which could, in my opinion, use some tweaking.
Focusing. I’m finding this to be the biggest challenge, mostly with moving subjects. I never used any of the previous X100 series cameras so I can’t say if focusing speed and accuracy has improved. I’m finding that the lens tends to hunt for focus a bit more than I’d like and I’m missing shots when subjects are moving towards me. Now this could be because I don’t fully understand the focusing system yet and need to work with it more. But it does focus slower than my Fuji X20 and my Nikons. This may not be a fair comparison but it’s what I’ve got to work with. When the lens is in focus, the shots are sharp, sharp, sharp. Again, a little fuzzy wide open at f/2, but that goes away at f2.8 or f/4. Manual focusing is a dream. With all the augmented ways in which the camera helps me focus manually, it’s not something I’m afraid of using.
Video. This is not the camera you want to shoot video with that much. There is no image stabilization and it just seems video capabilities are on Fuji’s back burner with this camera. That isn’t a bad thing. This is a camera to take photos with and not to shoot a feature. But the video is useful in a pinch.
Turn-on time. The camera takes a few seconds to boot up from a cold start. This wastes precious time if I’m trying to grab a shot fast. Waking from sleep also takes too long.
High ISOs are really not high ISOs. I wouldn’t generally shoot in those high ISOs unless I really needed to. I’m happy to know I can in a pinch, but I’d rather be able to shoot RAW at those high ISOs rather than only JPEGs. (More about this below)
Ability to save RAW files with the special effects images. I didn’t talk about these extra effects the camera lets you shoot with (fake tilt/shift, spot color, etc), and I don’t shoot with them much, but the camera should let you save a unaltered RAW file with the special effect JPEG.
Battery power. Batteries are big and I expected them to last longer than they do. Using wifi shortens their time, as expected, but somehow I was hoping they’d last longer than my X20. I ended up buying some third-party batteries from Halcyon (with chargers) for much less than the Fuji batteries and they last longer, which surprised me. I usually don’t buy third-party batteries, but I took the chance and don’t regret it.
Battery insertion. A battery can fit into its slot in two different ways. Even though there’s a specific way to line it up, I’ve been able to insert it the wrong way. Now if I’d been paying attention this would not have happened. But when I was rushing to change batteries, I inserted it wrong. When I turned on the camera the next morning, it would work, of course. I thought there was something wrong with the camera, which scared the crap out of me. It took me a few moments to realize that I had inserted the battery incorrectly. In my opinion, the battery should only have one way to fit into its slot. Now, the new battery that comes with the camera has an orange stripe to help you properly align the battery but I was using some of the extra batteries I purchased and these did not come with a stripe on them.
What I like/love about the X100T
It’s Beautiful looking. Has that classic look and many people stop me to ask me about it. They think it’s a film camera. This may or may not be a good thing. I just love the way it looks.
(Added thumb grip and soft-trigger button)
Feels great. I did add the thumb grip so it’d be easier to use one-handed, but that’s my preference. It’s not that heavy but has enough weight that it hangs on my shoulder or neck and feels like it’ll stay there. Feels rugged too. I get the sense this camera can take a few bumps and be just fine.
Hybrid optical viewfinder is da bomb! With a quick flick of a switch, you can turn the optical viewfinder into an electronic one and see just what the camera will capture, color effects and all. This is great for shooting in low light. The optical viewfinder has lots of info displayed which is very helpful. The LCD screen on the back is bright and clear and very easy to read.
Film styles. Fuji has done a great job with their simulated film styles. If they can get a hardcore RAW shooter like me to shoot JPEGs, they’ve done something right. Also, the internal RAW processor is fantastic. I can review my shots and reprocess in all the film styles I want while riding on the train or wherever. I personally love the Classic Chrome film style and the B&W + Green filter.
Picture quality. This is what it really boils down to, right? The shots I get with this camera are just beautiful. Granted the single 35mm (equivalent) lens could be considered limiting, but with that said, I’ve been loving the images I’m getting. Even just straight-out-of-the-camera images are gorgeous. Again, shooting wide open can cause some issues, but you can turn that hazy look into an advantage. I haven’t printed any shots yet, but, having printed some great shots from my Fuji X20, I’m sure the shots from the X100T will be just as good. Probably better.
Some tips I have from my short experience with this amazing camera.
Shoot JPEG+Raw all the time. By doing this you can take advantage of the excellent post processing built into the camera. You could also just shoot raw and have the same access to the camera’s processing. If you shoot only JPEG, you won’t get to process the shots in the camera. So buy yourself a couple of 32 GB cards to store your pictures on. They’re cheap. The camera’s RAW processing engine is fun to play with after a shoot.
Third of a stop shutter speeds. When setting shutter speeds with the top dial, if you wish to dial in third stops shutter speeds, use the command dial on the back of the camera to dial the in between shutter speeds, up to 2/3rds of a stop in either direction.
- instead of shooting at ISO 100, shoot at 200 (in RAW of course) and use the exposure compensation dial to add (up to) +1 EV and then process the raw file in-camera where you can dial back the exposure (up to -1EV) or use Lightroom to recover the highlights. You can alway engage the built-in neutral density filter to help with your exposure here (I would recommend not going all the way to +1 EV because you’ll risk highlight clipping). Actually, I see no point in ever shooting at ISO 100. If you need to reduce the amount of light the X100T is getting, you’re better off using the built-in neutral density filter instead. Using the 3 stop ND filter will almost be like shooting at ISO 25. Also, if you use the ND filter you’ll stand a better chance of not clipping the highlights.
- When going the other way, shoot at ISO 6400 and underexpose the image from -1 to -3 EV (for the equivalent of ISOs 12,800, 25,600 and 51,200 respectively) but then over-process the image (+1 to +3 EV, either in-camera or in a post processing app) to compensate for the underexposure. You can underexpose using shutter, aperture or a combo of the two.
I think this is one of the best cameras I’ve owned in the over 35 years I’ve been shooting. Being that I’ve spent more of my life shooting film than digital in that time, I believe Fujifilm has done a fantastic job of blending the two genres. The camera reminds me of the rangefinder film cameras of old, while giving me all the great advantages of digital capture. It’s a great “every day” camera but I haven’t been afraid of using it on a job (which I did the first week I got it – not recommended, but the results were great).
I’ve never written a review of a camera before, but felt compelled to with this one, just to share my experiences and how I feel about it. Fujifilm has done a terrific job with the X100T and if you’re looking for a camera like this, I cannot recommend it enough.
(Sample shots – processed and unprocessed)