Shooting Experience

By Dan Bracaglia

The X-T10 in Fujifilm's lineup

Fujifilm cameras are notorious for having very pleasing JPEGs, right out of camera. I tried RAW processing the above image, and had a difficult time getting the colors to look just as good as the original JPEG (shown here). ISO 200, F5.6, 1/640 sec. Shot using the Fujifilm 56mm F1.2 R lens.

It may seem natural to compare the X-T10 to the X-T1; it is essentially a stripped down version of Fujifilm's flagship ILC. But to me it seems more sensible to compare the X-T10 to other offerings from Fujifilm with similar price-points. After all, the main appeal of the X-T10 is it offers a very similar shooting experience, and nearly identical guts to the X-T1, but at a lesser cost. If you have the cash to choose between the two, it goes without saying that the more robust, weather-sealed body of the X-T1, and its higher-res EVF, makes it the obvious choice, at least for most people.

I've been shooting around with the X-T10 for some time now, and despite having a fairly wide selection of X-mount glass in the DPReview cupboard, I've found myself gravitating toward shooting with the 27mm F2.8 pancake lens the most. This is because the 40mm equivalent field of view, coupled with a Fujifilm X-Trans APS-C sensor feels quite familiar -- my personal camera is an X100T, which has a fixed 35mm equiv. field of view.

On paper the X-T10 and X100T don't have all that much in common, despite sharing the same sensor. The X-T10 is an ILC and styled like an SLR, while the X100T is a fixed-lens camera styled like a rangefinder. But having shot a significant amount of time with both, the experience is remarkably similar.

I tend to always shoot Raw+JPEG when using Fujifilm cameras. While I love the colors and skin tones of the JPEGs, the Raw files do offer quite a bit of ability to pull shadows, like I did in the image above. ISO 400, F8, 1/240 sec, with exposure compensation of -0.7. Shot using the Fujifilm 16mm F1.4 R WR lens.

The street price of the X100T in the US (as of June 2015), is between $1200 and $1300, depending where you look. The X-T10 sells for $800, and when you toss in Fujifilm's 27mm F2.8 pancake lens (about $350) you are looking at just a $50-150 price difference between the two. The X-T10 is also sold in a kit with Fujifilm's excellent 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS lens for $1100 (in the US).

The Fujifilm X-E2 is another obvious camera to compare the X-T10 to. It too uses the 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS sensor. Unlike the X-T10, it's built to look more like the X-Pro1, Fujifilm's flagship rangefinder-style ILC. And despite being a bit older than the X-T10, it also shares many of the same components, including sensor, processor and EVF, but not the tilting screen. It's worth noting we aren't too sure how much longer it will last in Fujifilm's lineup. All signs point to the X-T10 actually being the replacement for the X-E2, despite their different form factors.

Still, at a $700 street price, the X-E2 is worth a look if you are already considering the X-T10. Which one you choose is a matter of personal preference between a rangefinder-style camera and an SLR-styled camera. And whether or not a tilting screen is important to you. The X-T10 does features a newer AF algorithm, but the EX-E2 could potentially receive the latest AF in the form of new firmware, down the road. Fujifilm is notoriously good at supporting even dated camera models with fresh firmware.

This image was shot using Classic Chrome film simulation. ISO 250, F5.6, 1/1000 sec. Shot using the Fujifilm 27mm F2.8 lens from a moving helicopter.

I still find the choice between the X100T and the X-T10 to be a harder one to make, though. Dimensionally, they are nearly the same width, and depth. Ignoring the faux-pentaprism on top of the X-T10, they are also nearly the same height. It is also interesting to note that the two weigh about the same when the 27mm F2.8 is affixed to the X-T10. The X100T weighs in at 456 grams (with a metal lens hood attached), and the X-T10 weighs in at 454 gram with the 27mm.

Like the X-E2, the X100T has yet to benefit from Fujifilm's latest AF update, but I'd be willing to guess it will receive some sort of improvement to its autofocus in the near future. So what does a X100T give you that an X-T10 and 27mm or an X-T10 and 18-55mm do not, and visa versa?

For starters, the lens on the X100T has a max aperture of f/2, making it one stop faster than both the kit lens (at the wide end), and the 27mm. This gives the X100T the upper hand in low light. The lens on the X100T, being fixed, is also calibrated specially for the sensor in the camera. On the other hand, the X-T10 is a system one can grow in to, which is obviously not the case with a fixed-lens camera. The X100T's fixed screen may also be a deal breaker for some.

This image was also converted from Raw using ACR. I was able to pull the shadows quite a bit, revealing the reflection in the water. ISO 2500, F4.5, 1/500 sec. Shot using the Fujifilm 16mm F1.4 R WR lens.

Flash sync speed is another big difference between the two: The X100T can sync up to 1/2000 sec vs only 1/180 sec on the X-T10. This is because the X100T uses a leaf shutter, which is also quieter than the traditional curtain shutter in the X-T10. Of course, both also offer an electronic shutter mode for silent shooting. The X100T also has a built in ND filter, giving it more versatility in bright light. And it features a hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder, whereas the X-T10 only has an EVF.

Neither are weather-sealed, though, which is especially disappointing considering both are positioned as good cameras for street photography (it rains a lot in the streets of Seattle). But they do offer plenty of customizable keys and manual controls. In fact, the button layout on both is extremely similar.

At the end of the day, which X-Trans Fujifilm camera you choose will depend on many factors. For me, as an owner of a DSLR system, the X100T makes more sense. Unlike an ILC, the X100T is an end point. But for someone investing in a new system, the X-T10 is a starting point, something you can grow into. And of course, for those who might not like a fixed lens, the X-T10 is an obvious choice over the X100T.

The X100T (left) and X-T10, are very different cameras, yet with the right lens affixed to the X-T10, they handle remarkably similarly.

The appeal of X-Trans

If you are new to modern Fujifilm cameras, its worth mentioning that the X-Trans sensor used in most high-end Fujifilm cameras is different from the Bayer pattern array sensors found in most other modern digital cameras. X-Trans sensors feature a unique color filter pattern, which helps the camera avoid both false color and moiré, without the need for an optical low pass filter.

JPEG from camera. ISO 1000, F2.8, 1/125 sec. Shot using the Fujifilm 27mm F2.8 lens.

Many folks find the X-Trans sensor to offer more pleasing colors and more accurate skine tones than tradition sensor types. However the Raw files coming off these sensors can be a bit less malleable.

I am personally a fan of Fujifilm's 16MP X-Trans sensor. Sure it has been around for some time now, and we certainly hope to see an upgraded version of it in due time, perhaps one with a higher pixel count, or even a full framer. But for now, I am satisfied. What I like so much about shooting with Fujifilm cameras that use this sensor is the minimal amount of fussing I need to do with my images in post. I grew up shooting inexpensive 35mm film purchased from the corner drug store, and have always loved the WYSIWYG nature of it. Shooting X-Trans is in many ways, a similar experience to me.

Of course, back when I worked as a commercial retoucher as well as a freelance photographer, and even now at DPReview, much of my time is spent processing images in Lightroom and Photoshop. I look to my X100T for a break from that. Because frankly, the JPEGs, out-of-camera, often look better than the final Raw conversions.

I do however spend quite a bit of time setting custom shooting profiles using the Quick menu. I like to monkey with the highlight tones, shadow tones, and sharpening, in anticipation for the types of scenes I normally shoot. This, along with the film simulations, allows me to dial in a specific look, before I even press the shutter. And I can easily switch to one of the many saved 'looks' I have. The X-T10 allows for a total of 7 custom settings to be saved. In fact, I mirrored the same customs settings I had saved to my X100T, into the X-T10, when I first started field testing it.

This image is a Raw conversion I edited to look like the out-of-camera JPEG. I was quite pleased with the colors in the JPEG, but because the highlights were slightly blown, so I decided to use the Raw file instead. ISO 250, F5, 1/1250 sec. Shot using the Fujifilm 27mm F2.8 lens.