Fujifilm X100T Review
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 was a milestone camera in the industry as one of the first large sensor, prime lens cameras to achieve widespread popularity. Its classic looks, obviously cribbed from a certain German camera maker, were justified by the excellent image quality its 35mm equivalent f/2 lens could produce. It was also a rare example of a camera its maker continued to develop, long after it hit the market. An original X100 running the latest firmware is a much better camera than the one that Fujifilm originally launched. Impressively, this work continued even after the second-generation, Fujifilm X100S had been launched.
Fujifilm has continued this process of improvement, fine-tuning and evolution to create the X100T. From the outside it looks very much like the original model but it's packed with a host of changes, modifications and additions that promise to make it still better than what's gone before. There's a Japanese approach to continuous improvement often refered to as 'kaizen,' and it's hard not to see its application in Fujifilm's approach to its X series cameras.
So, at its heart, the X100T shares its core features: the 16 megapixel CMOS sensor with X-Trans color filter array and excellent 23mm f/2 lens with its predecessor, the X100S. But almost everything beyond that has been reworked, re-assessed or refined.
- 16MP X-Trans CMOS II sensor (with on-sensor phase detection elements)
- 35mm equivalent f/2 lens
- Hybrid EVF with 2.3m dot LCD and more advanced overlays in optical mode
- 3.0" 1.04m dot rear LCD (720 x 480 pixels)
- Macro shooting down to 10cm (3.9")
- Built-in Wi-Fi with remote control function
- Rear command dial
- Seven customizable buttons
- Customizable Q menu
- Built-in ND filter
- Optional electronic shutter mode (increasing maximum shutter speed to 1/32000 sec)
- 'Classic Chrome' film simulation mode
- 1080p movies at 60, 50, 30, 25 and 24fps
- Exposure control for movies
- Built-in intervalometer
- Stereo mic input (2.5mm-type)
Probably the biggest single change to the camera is the redesigned hybrid viewfinder. Part of X100's appeal was its clever viewfinder that had an electronic viewfinder mode or an optical mode in which shooting settings could be overlaid. The X100T's finder gains a 2.3m dot LCD panel but also adds a darkened 'tab' that can pop up in the optical finder, to allow projected information to be clearly seen in all lighting conditions. That tab means that the camera's Digital Split Image manual focus system can be used in conjunction with the optical viewfinder mode to give a rangefinder-like manual focus experience.
Cleverly, it has has been added without the need for any extra control points: the small lever on the front of the camera that switched to the electronic viewfinder in previous models can now also be nudged to the left to engage the in-viewfinder tab.
|The X100T gains a pop-up tab (indicated as 'Optical image shielding' in this diagram), that allows the EVF information to be clearly projected into the viewfinder. This means an enlarged version of the focus point or the camera's 'Digital Split Image' focus guide can be seen in optical viewfinder mode, giving a rangefinder-like real-time focusing experience.|
The optics of the viewfinder have been adjusted so that it provides coverage of 92% of the final image, when used in optical mode. This figure refers to the framing offered by the 'brightlines' shown in the finder - they're less than 100% because the actual field-of-view changes, based on focus distance: the 92% coverage is a compromise between the field-of-view and closest focus and at infinity. In addition, the camera gains the rapid 54 fps, 0.005sec lag screen refresh first seen in the X-T1.
Various other details of the viewfinder behavior have also been changed, including smaller, cleaner in-viewfinder graphics which shift to match the camera's orientation. Additionally the framing guides and focus point adjust to take parallax into account in real time, meaning you shouldn't have to focus and recompose at close focus distances. The viewfinder can also offer a wide dynamic range 'natural' live view mode as well as 'Shooting Effect Reflection' mode that shows the effect of the tone curve, white balance and color response of the current shooting settings.
As well as improvements to the viewfinder, Fujifilm has also upgraded the rear LCD. The X100T's 3.0", 1.04m dot panel is a big improvement over the 460k dot, 2.8" LCD that always looked like the weakest point of the X100S's specification.
The X100T also adds a fully electronic shutter mode. This enables totally silent operation and increases the maximum shutter speed to an impressive 1/32000 sec. There is a risk of rolling shutter when the electronic shutter is used, so it can be turned on and off if you prefer.
|Viewed from above, the added range of the exposure compensation dial is immediately apparent. What can't be seen is that the aperture ring can be adjusted in 1/3EV steps, rather than whole-stop increments.|
The X100T also sees substantial refinements when it comes to exposure. The camera's aperture ring has been modified, so that it can now be controlled in 1/3 f-stops, rather than the whole stops that the existing models offered. The exposure compensation dial has also been amended so that it now extends to +/- 3EV - something existing users had been calling out for. The other big change, in terms of exposure control is that the X100T retains the ability to apply exposure compensation when using Auto ISO in manual exposure mode, meaning that you can choose shutter speed, aperture and image brightness and let the camera do the work.
The back of the camera gains a full control dial, rather than the push/toggle switch on the back of the existing models (though the finer-grained control of the aperture ring reduces how often you'll need it). Usability is also increased with the decision to make seven of the camera's buttons customizable and to allow the user to change the options included in the camera's Q.Menu, to speed access to their most-used settings.
The camera's autofocus system has also been overhauled. The first addition is the inclusion of Face Detection - something we noted as missing from the existing models. There's also an option to tie spot auto exposure mode to the selected AF point, if you wish.
The final addition is the inclusion of the 'Classic Chrome' film simulation mode, first seen in the X30. Unlike existing film simulation modes this doesn't attempt to mimic one of Fujifilm's film stocks, instead offering a simulation of Kodachrome. As with previous X100 series cameras, the X100T allows film simulation bracketing or the ability to retrospectively apply different film simulations via its in-camera Raw converter.
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