Conclusions

Pros:

  • Great image quality with beautiful color rendition
  • Film Simulation modes are superb
  • USB charging is really convenient
  • Includes external charger, to keep a spare battery topped-up
  • DR modes help you match JPEG dynamic range to the scene you're shooting
  • In-camera Raw conversion lets you gain full benefit from JPEG engine
  • Electronic shutter and built-in ND filter allow use of F2 in bright conditions
  • Easy-to-use Wi-Fi
  • Buttons customizable (and without having to delve in the menus)
  • Customizable Q Menu speeds access to features such as Face Detection
  • Plus/minus three EV exposure comp. dial is handy
  • Three Auto ISO presets allow quick tailoring to your shooting situation

Cons:

  • Movie capture has poor resolution and spectacular moire
  • Occasional waxy-looking skin in high ISO images
  • Face Detection not precise enough for use at F2
  • Q Menu not as simple as rivals'
  • 16MP beginning to look low by contemporary standards
  • X-Trans sensor design limits Raw-converter choice

Overall conclusion

The 'T' in X100T is generally taken to mean 'third,' reflecting the camera's iterative nature. This presents two ways of looking at the camera: as the highest point in the X100 series' evolution to date, or a warmed-over X100S to let camera stores stick a 'New' badge next to it on the shelf. Having used the camera for several months, we're able to take sides on that question.

The X100 was a breakthrough camera, when it first appeared: making good on the large sensor, small camera idea first pursued by Sigma. It was attractive, engaging and capable of taking beautiful images. Did I say engaging? Perhaps 'infuriating' is a better word. It was a potentially great camera, riddled with quirks and inconsistencies. However, Fujifilm continued to develop the camera's firmware (even after it was discontinued), and the X100 today much closer to being the classic that its looks imply.

ISO 6400, DR 100%, 1/125th sec, F2, Processed with Adobe Camera Raw
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

The X100T is a continuation of that process of polish and refinement. Whether it's the addition of Wi-Fi, the provision of 1/3rd stop increments on the aperture dial or the move to dedicated directional buttons, rather than the cheap-compact style wheel on the back of the camera, there are plenty of changes that make the camera better. Equally, the addition of an electronic shutter option and a greater degree of camera customization make a big difference to how you can use the camera.

Oddly the biggest change (the in-viewfinder tab) is the one that makes the smallest difference to the shooting experience. Regardless of how I used it, I didn't find it added much to the shooting experience.

Image and movie quality:

We've been really impressed with the image quality from the X100 series and the X100T is consistent with that experience. The JPEG color is excellent and the F2 maximum aperture is wide enough to give a little bit of background blur at reasonable working distances, meaning you can get images that look distinct from most other small cameras.

The camera's Film Simulation modes are superb. Immitating classic film stocks means all the modes are useful. Is it just the names that make me think this? Perhaps. I've rarely found myself thinking 'I think this image would benefit from Vivid mode,' but I do find myself occasionally reaching for 'Velvia' simulation. For the most part, though, the Provia, Astia and 'Classic Chrome' modes offer a range of attractive (and photographically sensible) color options.

ISO 800, DR 100%, 1/1000th sec, F8, Classic Chrome Film Simulation
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

Movie quality is still disappointing. We're not overly concerned about this, since we doubt many people looking for a rangefinder-styled, fixed-focal-length camera to shoot video with, but the X100T's video is significantly less good than we'd expect in a modern camera. And we still have some concerns about the waxy skin effect that can appear in some high-ISO images, perhaps as a result of processing the camera's X-Trans sensor output.

Overall, then, image quality is generally excellent. The lens is a touch soft at close focus distances but is very sharp in most other conditions. It's no faster at focussing that its predecessors, which is starting to stand out, as mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras around it have got so good.

Handling:

The X100T's primary controls are pleasantly engaging. The aperture ring gives a real sense of connection to what the camera is doing and the newfound level of customization lets you gain fast access to the camera's key settings. Although the Q menu is imperfect (too cluttered and with no way to see what the other options within a setting are), the ability to customize it means you can gain faster access to settings such as Face Detection and Flash Exposure Compensation that would otherwise be lost in the main menu.

Also, as someone who likes direct access to positioning AF point, I love the ability to dedicate the directional buttons to this purpose, which is useful for the off-center, shallow depth-of-field shots I like to take. That alone makes it nicer to use, for me.

ISO 800, DR 100%, 1/30th sec, F5.6, Classic Chrome Film Simulation
Photo by Dan Bracaglia

The final word

To come back to the two ways I said you could look at the camera: as a refresh for marketing purposes or as a significant iteration. Overall, the improvements seem so substantial (and include significant re-engineering of the body and viewfinder), that I can't bring myself to be so cynical. Even without the updated viewfinder adding much to the shooting experience, the addition of the Classic Chrome film mode, built-in Wi-Fi and the improved buttons and customization make this a noticeably better camera than the X100S.

There's still nothing else on the market that offers the same combination of image quality and shooting experience, thanks to its direct controls and clever viewfinder. Sony's RX1 offers a step up in image quality but it's even slower to focus, doesn't have a viewfinder and costs twice as much. And, of course, there are even 28 and 50mm equivalent conversion lenses if the native 35mm equiv field-of-view isn't to your taste (though 28mm shooters would do well to consider the Ricoh GR, if they're willing to work from Raw).

Overall, then, it's a small but significant step forward for the series. And, while I wouldn't suggest any X100S owner should rush out and buy one, X100 shooters may want to look at the list of updates and to see what they're missing out on. But it's the smallness of this step that sees the camera get our Silver award: the X100T feels like a well polished X100S and there's a risk that's going to leave it looking pretty dated if it stays on the market for two years. It's still a lovely camera, and well worth considering if you've never owned one of the series before, but it's not the 'rush out and buy one now' product that we keep hoping the X100 series will be.

Scoring is relative only to the other cameras in the same category.
Click here to learn about the changes to our scoring system and what these numbers mean.

Fujifilm X100T
Category: Enthusiast Large Sensor Compact Camera
Build quality
Ergonomics & handling
Features
Metering & focus accuracy
Image quality (raw)
Image quality (jpeg)
Low light / high ISO performance
Viewfinder / screen rating
Optics
Performance
Movie / video mode
Connectivity
Value
PoorExcellent
Conclusion
The X100T is an excellent photographic tool that's engaging to use and capable of beautiful images. Its autofocus is starting to show its age, and its unusual X-Trans sensor's benefits are hard to discern in an era of 24 and 28MP rivals. But there's currently nothing to touch it in terms of the size/price/image quality balance it offers and the style with which it does so.
Good for
Photographers wanting to engage with the shooting experience. Anyone looking for a relatively small, high-quality camera (with a bit of style). Shooters wanting beautiful images straight out-of-camera
Not so good for
Fast-moving subjects. Pulling out the finest scene detail. Shooting video. Anyone needing to zoom.
81%
Overall score

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