Fujifilm X-T10 Review
Conclusion - Pros
- JPEGs offer pleasing colors
- Good image quality at both low and high ISOs
- Ample physical controls make for an engaging shooting experience
- Solid build quality, while still maintaining a light weight
- Film Simulation modes are practical and a lot of fun to use
- On-sensor PDAF provides fast and accurate focus
- Plethora of assignable buttons makes it easy to tailor the camera to your shooting style
- Continuous AF is effective using a single AF point in central PDAF area of frame
- Customizable Q menu allows for easy access of core functions
- Extremely quiet and discreet to shoot with
- Full manual controls during video capture
- Lots of great X-mount glass available
- Camera Remote app is robust and easy to use
- In-camera Raw processing offers a lot of editing options, on the fly
Conclusion - Cons
- Buffer during 8 fps burst is very limited
- Maximum ISO limited to 6400 when shooting Raw
- Face detect and subject tracking in continuous AF too slow and erratic to be useful
- Poor video quality
- Over-sensitive eye sensor
- No touchscreen
- 16MP sensor is out resolved by the the many of the X-T10's competitors
Fujifilm makes niche cameras. The X-T10 uses a several-years-old 16MP X-Trans APS-C sensor. It doesn't shoot 4K, or even offer particularly good HD video quality. Despite a valiant effort on the part of its engineers, it also can't reliably track subjects across the frame to keep them in focus no matter where they move to in continuous AF. And its out-of-camera JPEGs sometimes look nicer than processed Raw files. So who should buy it?
The answer is anyone looking for a digital camera that feels, handles and shoots like, well, an actual camera and not an electronic device. On paper, offerings from other brands like Sony, with the a6000, Nikon with the D5500 and Olympus with the O-MD E-M10 might seem more appealing or capable. When it comes to video, all of the above mentioned are more capable, and the same can generally be said for continuous focus modes outside of single-point AF-C. But from my experience having shot with all of these cameras, the X-T10 is hands down the most pleasurable of the bunch to use.
Fujifilm makes cameras for people who love cameras, not specs. The X-T10 is a camera that will force you to slow down your shooting. That's not to say it doesn't make a good camera for shooting action. The 8 fps burst, while limited by its 1 sec buffer, works with the camera's AF system to keep focus on even rapidly moving subjects, provided you continuously reframe to keep your centrally-located AF point over your subject. I don't want to discredit the technology in the X-T10. As long as you manually select and use one of the 15 phase detect points located in the center of the frame, the camera is capable of acquiring and maintaining focus in most situations with moving targets. In single AF, it also finds and focuses on faces quite easily. Mirrorless means AF is also accurate. But at the same time, it's also extremely easy and pleasurable to focus manually.
|The X-T10 is light enough that I was able to bring it with me as a second camera while shooting from a helicopter, without feeling weighed-down. ISO 250, 1/1250 sec, F4.5. Shot using the 27mm F2.8 lens.|
If you're really picky about having the most malleable Raw files possible, you might be better off looking to Nikon D5500 instead. That's not to say that X-T10's Raw files are crummy to work with, because they aren't, they're just not as well supported by third-party Raw converters as files from traditional Bayer-sensored competitors. That said, X-Trans punches above its 16MP weight when it comes to real-world resolution, and the usable dynamic range of Raw files from the X-T10 is still impressive, given the age of the (we believe Sony) sensor.
The X-T10 is also very quiet, (silent when the electronic shutter is used) and is incredibly discreet to shoot with. The fold-out screen also makes for easy shooting-from-the-hip. And Face Detect greatly helps that act of shooting street photography of passersby. Unfortunately, it doesn't work all that well when shooting moving faces in AF-C. Fujifilm, if you're reading this, please fix this with a firmware update!
Ergonomically, the X-T10 is light-weight, well-built and quite customizable. And let's face it, at the end of the day, one of the most important features of any camera is the desire it instills in you to pick it up and shoot. A camera that can be custom-tailored to your shooting style, with buttons and shortcut menus, will obviously make for a more engaging shooting experience.
We've noted extensively in past reviews how impressed we are with the image quality of Fujifilm's 16MP X-Trans sensor. Of course, some will argue that it is 'dated,' but frankly, who cares? If it's not broke don't fix it. It's a great sensor, in a great camera body.
On the other hand, virtually every current APS-C ILC on the market offers 20 or more megapixels, even the most recent Canon Rebels are using a 24.2MP sensor. So, while I stand by Fujiflm's tried-and-true 16MP X-Trans sensor for now, I will be disappointed if it also finds its way into the next major Fujifilm release.
One of the big appeals of the Fujifilm X-mount system, other than its very good glass, is the quality of the out-of-camera JPEGs. The 11 baked-in Film Simulations, coupled with Custom Settings, allows users to dial in a very specific look, based on desire and situation. Good old Velvia shooters: rejoice in nostalgia. And if you choose to shoot Raw+JPEG, you can re-process any image on your card, in-camera.
Raw image quality is also good. Adobe now supports Fujifilm Film Simulation color profiles, making it much easier to work on Raw files, while maintaining the lovely Fujifilm colors. Unfortunately, Adobe does not support Fujifilm DR modes, but that's OK: just dial in some positive exposure and roll off your highlights using the 'Whites' and 'Highlights' sliders. It is worth noting that Fujifilm's in-camera Raw converter is easily one of the best around, offering a plethora of editing options, in a straight forward, easy to use interface.
|This image, originally shot Raw+JPEG in the Astia/Soft Film Simulation was reprocessed later in ACR using the Monochrome+Green Filter Film Simulation. ISO 200, F4, 1/950 sec.|
Autofocus in the X-T10 is accurate and fast in most situations, especially when using AF-S. Shooting with Linear Motor lenses, denoted by an 'LM' in the lens name, offers the best AF performance in terms of speed and acquisition. We found that specifically shooting with the Fujinon 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS kit lens gave us the best overall results. Unfortunately, many of Fujifilm's primes have slower focus motors, which hurts continuous AF performance of the camera.
The X-T10 combines two different methods to acquire focus: Contrast Detect and Phase Detect. It has 77 Contrast Detect points and 15 Phase Detect, the latter of which are concentrated in the center of the frame and are especially helpful when shooting moving subjects, as they are depth-aware (Contrast Detect points are not).
The X-T10 works well when shooting in continuous AF as long as your subject remains in the center portion of the frame, where the Phase Detect sensors are. However, if you want the camera to 'subject track' by automatically selecting the proper AF point to follow your subject as it moves around the frame, there are far better options. While it can keep focus on a subject moving toward or away from the camera, even when shooting at 8 fps, it does have trouble following a subject across the frame, so you'll have to stick to the traditional method of preselecting a relatively central PDAF point and keeping it over your moving subject by reframing. The tracking algorithm is simply too slow and inaccurate, and this also leads to the newer 'Wide/Tracking' AF-C mode being of limited utility, as we demonstrated on the AF page. For Wide/Tracking mode, it does help to start by having your moving subject in the center portion of the frame but, still, the camera does not subject track nearly as well as its competition, like the Sony a6000 and Nikon D5500. The X-T10 also hunts when trying to shoot using Face Detect in AF-C, as Face Detect in AF-C appears to revert the camera to contrast detect-only mode. Face Detect does work well in AF-S though.
The X-T10 also saw improvements in terms of its ability to acquire focus in less-than-ideal lighting scenarios. From our real world field testing, we found the X-T10 does a noticeably better job than past Fujifilm cameras of acquiring focus in low light. A Sony a6000 or Nikon D5500 will continue to focus in lower light, but the margins have shrunk and, furthermore, it's good to keep in mind that AF performance in low light can be enhanced by the use of brighter lenses on the mirrorless systems. Focus on low contrast subjects is better as well due to some algorithmic enhancements, but we did find it still hunts from time to time. The camera is also incredibly easy to manually focus thanks to both a well-implemented focus peaking system, and the ability to zoom in the frame with a press of the back control dial.
Do you like controls? Do you like customizing your camera? The X-T10 has two control dials (both with secondary functions when clicked), a shutter speed dial, exposure comp dial, drive dial, seven customizable buttons, a Quick menu, and a Custom Settings bank with seven slots. And yet somehow, the design is uncluttered and fairly straightforward. If you want to use it like a film camera, only adjusting your shutter speed and aperture, it will give you the digital equivalent of that experience. If you want to use it like a camera that was custom built for your shooting style, that too can be done.
The X-T10 is not weather-sealed like its big bro, the Fujifilm X-T1, but the body is well-built and lightweight. It's comfortable to hold and comfortable to shoot with. And unlike the X100T, the buttons and dials don't feel cheap; they are also well-sized.
It is worth noting that when shooting with one of the many Fujifilm lenses that offer an aperture ring along the lens barrel, the X-T10's control dial that would normally set one's aperture becomes essentially useless. There is no current way to reprogram it to control a different function, which is unfortunate.
The Final Word
When we first sat down with Fujifilm engineers and executives a few months back, and they unveiled the X-T10 to us, I was truly impressed by how many of the decisions regarding the camera's design came down to the feedback and desires of their customers. Regardless of how you feel about Fujifilm cameras, the company listens to its user base.
And that's one of the nice things about buying a camera like the X-T10: there is a good chance that Fujifilm will stand by it, even down the road, by means of firmware updates. Of course, this is not guaranteed, but Fujifilm has made a good practice of rolling out fresh firmware, even after cameras have been discontinued. And we hope its a precedent they will stick to.
|The X-T10 is discreet, and quiet. Yes, that's a two-headed dog. ISO 400, 1/320 sec, F2.8. Shot using the Fujifilm 16-55mm F2.8 R LM WR lens.|
If I were told today that I had to pick between the Fujifilm X-T10 and a Sony a6000, I'd have a very difficult time. The reason I pit it against the Sony is because of similar launch prices and because I regard the Sony as the mirrorless camera to beat in the APS-C realm, performance-wise. It is certainly more capable in more situations than the Fujifilm. This is especially true when it comes to video capture, continuous face detection, subject tracking and AF in general.
But the X-T10, in my experience, is more pleasurable to shoot with. It may not out-perform the Sony in AF or video, but it does offer what I found to be a better-weighted design and better overall build-quality, with film simulation modes that are quite useful, classic stylings, a higher-res EVF, logically-placed control points, far better looking out-of-camera JPEGs and better options for in-camera Raw processing. Not to mention, it has a massive arsenal of traditional photographic primes at its disposal.
At the end of the day, whether or not you buy this camera over its competitors will boil down to what you value more in an APS-C camera, the one with the best overall specs and capabilities, or the one with the potential to offers the more enjoyable shooting experience. Obviously for some, having the best specs will mean the latter. But whichever way you swing, the X-T10 is still a great choice, with a growing system behind it.
Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
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Category: Mid Range Interchangeable Lens Camera / DSLR
Ergonomics & handling
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Movie / video mode
The Fujifilm X-T10 is a well-built, highly customizable camera with retro-styling and plenty of physical controls. It offers incredibly-pleasing JPEGs, out of camera, and decent Raw files. Image quality is good, in low and bright light. Its autofocus is not as good as some of its competitors, but it still acquires focus accurately and quickly in most shooting scenarios, especially when using AF-S. One area the X-T10 falls short is video quality, where false color and moiré are a problem.
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