Fuji X100T : Initial Thoughts

x100-1

Original X100 (left) and the X100T. Ideal travel companions.

My Fujifilm FinePix X100 has been my favourite camera ever.

That’s quite a statement when you consider the number of cameras I’ve owned and used over all my years as a photographer, film and digital. I’ve owned an X100 for about three years at the time of writing. I was drawn to the original release mostly by the manual controls, the hybrid viewfinder, the relatively large sensor size and the excellent, versatile 35mm equivalent f2 prime lens. All of this packaged in a compact and lightweight (if not quite pocketable) format.

The X100 proved itself to me over and over again. It was the perfect camera to obtain great image quality without having to lug around a heavy rucksack full of equipment. I think it really won its place in my affections during a family holiday to Rome in 2012. I decided to take only my X100 rather than all my DSLR kit and it performed superbly, making the holiday more enjoyable into the bargain as I only had a small, light camera with me.

Yes it had quirks. Yes it had foibles. Yes it had idiosyncrasies. But it was also enormous fun to shoot with.

When the X100S was released I’d had my X100 for about a year. It seemed too soon to be updating and to be honest I just couldn’t justify the outlay regardless of the improvements made to the camera.

And now the X100T has been released offering even more new features and the timing was right for me. I pre-ordered one and I’ve had the pleasure of using it for a couple of weeks or so now. And no, I couldn’t bring myself to sell my beloved X100 in order to fund the purchase of the new model.

leicester 061214-9

Statue of Richard III outside Leicester Cathedral.

It has been a fortnight of chomping at the bit to get out and about and shooting with the camera. This is not the easiest of things in late November and early December in England. The daylight hours are short, the weather has been pretty foul and the best of it has been occurring when I’ve been sat in the office. I finally had a long weekend this weekend, a chance to get out for some proper photo walks! But no, I came down with the dreaded “man ‘flu” and spent most of my time recovering.

However, I do feel that I’ve used the camera enough to know that I’ve fallen in love all over again.

There were several much vaunted new features of the X100T :-

  • An Electronic Range Finder (ERF), a new feature of the X100’s hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder which pops a small electronic frame into the corner of the optical finder to aid manual focussing.
  • Wifi. Enabling remote control of the camera and wireless image transfer to phones, tablets and computers.
  • The new “Classic Chrome” film emulation for straight out of the camera jpgs (and also available as a camera calibration within Adobe Lightroom if you shoot in raw).
  • An extra couple of stops of exposure compensation (now +/- 3EV rather than +/- 2EV).
  • Option to use an electronic shutter with a maximum speed of 1/32000.

However what I have enjoyed most so far is the overall feel of the camera in use. Everything just feels far more positive than my original X100, from the autofocus speed to the feel of the buttons, dials and switches. All the features of the original are still there, plus lots of extra new ones and it all just works beautifully.

Having controls which feel more positive makes the shooting experience more intuitive and organic. The camera feels more like an extension of myself rather than something to be battled against to get the shot I want. Everything is right where I want it to be. I have several function buttons which I can set along with the Q menu which was a feature of the X100S but not the original X100. Even the Q menu can be configured to show the items you want to have appear there.

Only once so far have I had any problems focussing and that was when I had accidentally left the camera in “macro mode”, so hardly surprising and rectified within a second of realising what I’d done (one function button press without having to take my eye away from the viewfinder).

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Walking through the fields towards Wistow church, Leicestershire.

One feature I’m particularly enjoying is one that I remember I voted for a couple of years back when Fujifilm were asking registered owners about potential new features for the X100 – the ability to have spot metering follow the selected focussing point. I’ve used that a lot over the last couple of weeks.

Another new feature I’m happy to see is the built in intervalometer. I started to experiment with time lapse earlier this year so I’m keen to make use of this. I had been using a phone app to perform this function on my EOS 6D, the built in intervalometer of the X100T will be a lot less trouble to use.

The only quibble I have with this camera so far is battery related, It’s not so much the actual battery life but the amount of warning you get that the battery is getting low. Just like the X100 and the X100S before it, the X100T employs a little battery graphic which essentially has only three bars. As a result you can find yourself very suddenly running low on power. It’s a little enough thing to gripe about, but I do wish that Fuji would do something about that battery level indicator. If I’m out with the camera for an extended period then I will always have a spare battery or two on me, but there is always the potential for a missed shot because you didn’t get enough warning that the battery was critically low. This is a feature of both the X100 and the S which I would have liked to see improved on the T.

Oh and the camera is still quite happy to let you pop the battery in the wrong way around. If you are suddenly “caught short” and scrabbling to pop a fresh battery in to get shooting again as quickly as possible it’s something you might fall victim to. You won’t do any damage but it can be a little frustrating to think you’re all good to go again, flick the power switch and then realise what you did. Fuji – the battery does have a curved corner. Is it really beyond the capabilities of excellent Japanese engineering to use that curve as a key to prevent the user from putting the battery in the wrong way?

leicester 141214-1

Porch of one of the gate lodges at Abbey Park, Leicester with a welcoming light at night.

I would have liked the addition of an analogue ISO dial, like the X-T1 has. Auto ISO works well and it is quick and easy to change ISO settings using either a function button or the Q menu. It just seems a shame to have analogue controls for aperture and shutter speed but not ISO. It’s true that I’m not sure quite how Fuji would have found the space for it on the top plate of the camera but I thought I’d mention it.

A couple of suggestions for future “Kaizen” there maybe?

One last thing to note is not directly about the camera. I finally got around to buying a Gordy’s wrist strap. I’d been intending to get one ever since I got my original X100 but somehow never got around to it. I found a UK reseller and it arrived the day after the camera landed in my hands. It feels such a natural way to carry a camera of this size and weight. The strap goes around my right wrist and I clutch the end of the camera so that my finger is poised right over the shutter release. It feels much more comfortable to me than a neck strap, I never liked having a camera bumping around against my torso and somehow it feels far less fuss to bring the camera up to my eye to shoot.

Fuji seem to have really hit the mark with the X100T. They’ve corrected just about all the niggles from the original X100 (yes, I’m thinking of that battery gauge when I say “just about”) and added practical features which enhance the shooting experience. This is an update which seems to be more about the ease and pleasure of use than about improving the final image quality (same lens, same sensor and same processor as the X100S). The X100 range has always been a camera for photographers to enjoy using and with this third release of the camera I hope to have a lot of photographic fun ahead.

( top photo taken with Fuji X-Pro1, all others taken with Fuji X100T)

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13 thoughts on “Fuji X100T : Initial Thoughts

  1. I could not agree more with what you say. I just got my X100T yesterday and from the first time I put it in my hand and played around with it a little I have fallen in love.
    Personally I have had the X100 and the X100s. I could have jumped the S model and should have waited for this X100T. This time the improvements are well worth it.

    Thanks for this great review of a great camera.

    Stockografie

    • Thank you for dropping by! I fell in live with mine just a little bit more last night. I enjoy shooting at local gigs which has been the preserve of my DSLRs so far. I was mainly shooting with my EOS 6D but as I was sat right by the stage I took a few snaps with the X100T. I was blown away by the low light performance. The focussing was rock solid, better than my 6D with the 70-200 f4L (or for that matter the 50mm 1.4 or the 100mm 2.8 macro which I used a bit last night too). I feel another blog post coming up. Just a shame I didn’t use it more last night. I was wanting to get close in so of course the 35mm field of view was a limiting in that respect.

    • Thanks for reading and commenting Shane. I’ve often wondered about both the wide and tele converters but haven’t gone for them yet. I can certainly see the advantage but I have to say that I also like the simplicity of just grabbing the X100 and heading out the door without having to remember to pick up lots of other kit. For me it’s one of the great strengths of that little camera. But of course if I did have those adapters I could just choose to leave them behind on days when I didn’t want carry them around. I suppose I do also have all my Canon DSLR kit and an X-Pro 1 so if I wanted small and light with the ability to change focal lengths I would most likely reach for my X-Pro. Yeah, too many cameras… 🙂

    • Thanks Marco. That porch shot was snapped whilst I was waiting for my daughter to come out of that building so that I could give her a lift home. She has been training as a radio presenter on a local radio station and that porch is the entrance to their building.

      I was just writing a new blog post following my (positive!) experiences on Saturday night with the X100T in a local music venue. Your comment popped in whilst I was working on that and it is timely as my experience on Saturday has me thinking about interchangeable lens X System bodies again. I enjoy shooting in small, dark local music venues. I tried my X-Pro 1 a while back but got frustrated with the low light focussing. The way the X100T focussed for me on Saturday night really impressed and I started wondering about the X-T1 and how much better it might be than the X-Pro under those kind of conditions. I will certainly head over to your blog for a read. I lap up all I can about any of the X System cameras. Fuji was my first choice of film and since they produced that original X100 I’m finding that their cameras make me feel so connected to my photography again in a way that none of my DSLRs have.

      Thanks again for commenting and I will be over for a visit shortly 🙂

    • And of course, it could just be that I’ve not given the X-Pro 1 enough of a chance under those conditions either? I got frustrated and I think maybe I should take it along next time I’m shooting a gig and see if I can work around the issues I was having. After all, I have the camera, I have the lenses and none of it takes up much space. Certainly well worth another try before I go spending on yet another camera 🙂

      • I can relate to your frustration with the X-Pro1 in low light! Before I did the firmware updates, it wasn’t such a great tool for that purpose. After I did all of the firmware updates for both the body and all my lenses, it was MUCH improved, with one exception.

        I now have good low light focusing with the X-Pro1 and the following lenses –

        18mm (probably the fastest lens of the X line for AF that I own)
        10-24mm (recent design, very fast)
        Zeiss Touit 32mm (seemed to focus faster than my XF 35mm, especially after Zeiss released a firmware update for it)

        35mm (not bad, but half a step slower AF speed than the above lenses. Sold it once I got the Zeiss 32mm)

        The one exception is my 60mm Macro. Optically, it’s a lovely lens and one of the sharpest short telephoto I’ve ever owned. It’s also the WORST lens I’ve ever owned for AF in dim light!! And this is after I updated its firmware!

        So I avoid the 60mm in poor light. If I have to use it, then I switch to manual focus, as that’s the only way I can get it to focus well enough!

    • And thank you for that feedback on the lenses. I’ll certainly be giving it another try. I can easily have both my 6D and my X-Pro 1 in the bag so I’ll end up with something. I think that was a lot of the frustration that first time I tried – I only had the X-Pro with me so I ended up without any usable shots on the night. A schoolboy error. I was doing the shoot for enjoyment rather than being paid but I should have made sure I had something else with me rather than relying on something untried. Lesson learned.

      I do think I have all the firmware updates for both body and lenses, but there’s no harm in double checking 🙂 I know I’ve lusted after that 10-24mm, I do love extreme wide angle, but the only one of those lenses I have is the 18mm and I do think that’s a vastly under-rated lens.

    • Thank you Bill. As you might have noticed, I tend to be rather sporadic on here. It’s all a matter of free time and the enthusiasm to get stuck in to writing my thoughts down. I have gone for very long periods writing nothing here at all when I’ve actually been up to lots of interesting things I probably should have been documenting! I’ve had a quick look at your own blog and followed you back straight away! Some really inspirational photos on there – and yes, I can see some familiar locations. I’ll be delving in for a more details read shortly. Meanwhile thank you very much for following and I’m very sure you’ll be hearing from me soon in response to some of your own posts.

  2. Pingback: miXed zone: 16-55, Bokeh-Bomb 56 APD vs 56 vs 60 vs 50-140 vs 18-55 vs 55-200, Nikon D750 vs X-E2, Weddings & more! | Fuji Rumors

  3. Pingback: Fuji X100T : Initial Thoughts | Fuji Source

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