Perfect for me -- for you, I don't know

Started Aug 15, 2016 | User reviews thread
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Doug Pardee
Doug Pardee Veteran Member • Posts: 9,920
Perfect for me -- for you, I don't know
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I adore my X-T10. It’s pretty much the perfect camera for me. That doesn’t mean it’s right for everyone.

Heck, I wouldn’t have bought the X-T10 if I wasn’t sure it was right for me -- I’m not a gearhead who buys on impulse. When I bought my Canon Digital Rebel XT/350D back in 2005, it was with the expectation that it’d last me 5-10 years. It lasted me eleven years. I bought the X-T10 with the expectation that it’ll last me at least that long.

That old Canon is still performing fine -- it’s still better at taking pictures than I'll ever be -- but in the past five years I’ve rarely used it. It’s too big and too heavy to schlep all over the place, and it doesn’t really inspire me to take it anywhere, either. My mobile phone has come to handle most of my photographic work prior to my getting the X-T10.

I’m a shutterbug, or perhaps more properly, a snapshooter. I like taking pictures. I’m not all that interested in the pictures once I’ve taken them. I just like the process of working a camera. In Mike Johnston’s favorite analogy of photography being like fishing, I’m a catch-and-release guy -- I enjoy fishing, but I’m not in it for the fish. I definitely do not like post-processing pictures (cleaning fish). I spend 40 hours a week at my computer earning a living, and when quitting time comes, I want to get out and take pictures, not keep sitting there staring at my screen.

My mobile phone gives me that free-wheeling experience. My DSLR doesn’t -- it’s awfully high-maintenance in terms of my time.

The X-T10 attracted me for the following reasons:

  • Smaller and lighter -- far less of a burden to carry.
  • Fun to use -- it works like a camera, not like a computer, and it makes me want to take pictures with it.
  • Excellent JPEG output, with in-camera lens corrections and quality film simulations -- I can skip post-processing except when I want to do it.
  • In-camera Raw conversion allows me to create multiple versions of a photo if I want to. For this reason alone, I’m mainly shooting Raw+JPEG right now.
  • Excellent high-ISO results.
  • Tilt screen lets me shoot from “waist level” -- actually chest level.
  • XF 18-55 lens is top-notch.
  • Adapters let me use my old manual-focus FD lenses (and my EF-mount Holga lens kit).
  • Electronic viewfinder is bright even with stopped-down adapted lenses (my Holga is f/25).
  • Electronic viewfinder can be used for chimping without reading glasses and in broad daylight.
  • Electronic horizon helps me with my life-long problem of tilted pictures.
  • I can even use my old manual shutter release cable with the X-T10.

The X-T10 has fully delivered in all of those aspects.

Limitations of the X-T10 that I knew and accepted:

  • No in-body image stabilization (IBIS) for use with my adapted lenses.
  • No “smart” lens adapters available -- my Canon EF lens is basically unusable on the X-T10.
  • Battery life is limited compared to DSLR.

The battery life thing really isn't a big deal for me. I don’t take all that many pictures in a single outing, anyway. And I use EVF with eye detect to turn off the viewfinder when not in use, so a battery charge lasts a long time. Even if I did have to swap batteries every couple hundred pictures, it sure beats changing film every 24 pictures.

Big things I knew the X-T10 didn’t do well, but I don’t care because I never use them:

  • Tracking autofocus is tricky at best.
  • Video is poor except maybe at 720/30p -- so I’ve heard, anyway.
  • High-speed burst capture is limited to about one second before it slows way down.
  • Exposure bracketing is limited to plus or minus 1 Ev.
  • Pop-up flash is pathetically weak.
  • Daylight flash is virtually impossible -- X-Sync is 1/180 with minimum ISO of 200, meaning f/16 or tighter in full daylight. HSS (high speed sync) isn’t available natively.
  • No third-party AF lenses available except for the discontinued Zeiss Touit line.
  • Raw ISO can’t go below 200 or over 6400.
  • No near-IR autofocus assist is available. It’s the same for all mirrorless cameras and for DSLRs in Live View -- sensors can’t see near-IR well enough to make this work.
  • Adobe software has issues with X-Trans II Raw files -- reportedly not much of a problem any more.

Pleasant surprises:

  • “Program mode” is extremely usable. My Canon is way too liberal with changing the f-stop -- f/22 on APS-C, really, Canon?
  • Auto-ISO works very well, especially with “program mode.”
  • Auto-DR works well to protect highlights from blowing out.

In view of all of the above, I’ve pretty much quit fooling with exposure settings. I mostly just leave the camera set for auto-aperture, auto-shutter, auto-ISO, and auto-DR, and I’m very happy with the results.

Disappointments:

  • Geo-location via Wi-Fi is nearly unusable. After a couple minutes of fooling around, you can pass your location from your phone to the camera, and then the camera uses that same location for the next hour, no matter where you’ve gone to. To update the location, you have to repeat the whole process. I suppose there are desperate times that might move a person to go through this mess, but not for me.
  • The split-image manual focus assist isn’t very usable. It helps that FD lenses have a mechanical stop-down lever, so the adapters let me open them wide to get more sensitive focusing. But I still don’t use split-image, and I'd thought I’d be using it all the time.
  • The histogram in the viewfinder is hard to read -- in particular, there’s nothing to mark the vitally important right end.
  • There are no “live” blinkies. Even when chimping, blinkies are only available in a tiny thumbnail view.
  • The B&W simulations are simply a desaturated Provia, and lack any character. It makes me wish the X-T10 had Acros. On the other hand, the Classic Chrome simulation can cover a lot of B&W territory.
  • File sizes are huge. Raw files are uncompressed at 32 MB, JPEGs run about 10 MB. “Disk is cheap” doesn’t apply to SSD that’s soldered to the motherboard -- in order to add more disk, I have to buy a new computer or bifurcate my photo library onto an external drive.
  • It’s too easy to accidentally brush some of the buttons on the back. For that reason, I use the control lock feature whenever I’m “out in the field” with the camera.
  • Using the tripod socket blocks access to the battery/SD card door. I have to unscrew my BlackRapid strap in order to change batteries.
  • Pop-up flash release is mechanical. Sometimes it gets bumped while in transit, and that little flash doesn’t look all that sturdy when it’s popped up.

While these are disappointments for sure, they're far from being serious enough to dull my enjoyment of the camera.

The X-T10 is just what I needed to reclaim the freedom of film photography without the expense, hassle, and limited flexibility (especially today) of shooting real film. I can snap some photos, then slip the memory card into the minilab kiosk at the drugstore to get prints. Then I’m off to take more pictures.

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The open-source LightZone Project: http://lightzoneproject.org/

 Doug Pardee's gear list:Doug Pardee's gear list
Fujifilm X-T10 Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS Fujifilm XF 27mm F2.8 Olympus Stylus 1030 SW Canon EOS 350D +13 more
Fujifilm X-T10
16 megapixels • 3 screen • APS-C sensor
Announced: May 18, 2015
Doug Pardee's score
5.0
Average community score
4.3
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