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Hands on With the Fujifilm X100T

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I’m surprised it didn’t happen sooner, but after being bombarded by gushing hype about mirrorless cameras for years, I finally broke down and bought one.

It’s hard for photographers to buy a camera these days. There are so many good options, and it can be difficult to pull the trigger, knowing that some manufacturer’s new model just might be the Holy Grail.

I debated at length as to which direction to go with my next camera. Sony has the nice full frame bodies, Olympus has the petite and swanky OM-D and Panasonic has a couple nice models, but they are geared a little more towards video than I care for.

Eventually, I decided that Fujifilm was going to get my money. At first, the X-T1 started to win me over. The technical specs seemed to tick many boxes: the weather-sealed body is a big plus, along with several high-quality weather-sealed lenses to accompany it, not to mention the classic retro look.

x100t sample image

The X100T’s simplicity is easy to fall in love with.

The problem was that I didn’t really want to add a whole other camera system to my current Nikon kit. I could use my Nikon lenses with an adapter, but that kind of defeats the purpose of going with a smaller system. So after figuring out exactly what I intended to use the camera for – travel, portraits, a little landscape and to accompany my D800 during shoots– I settled on the Fujifilm X100T.

If you’re not familiar with it, the X100T is a rangefinder-style mirrorless camera, with a fixed 35mm lens, APS-C sensor, and a bunch of nice features.

First Impressions

There’s no doubt about it, it’s a sexy looking camera. To tell you the truth, that means very little to me in the end – we all know that a sexy camera does not necessarily equal sexy photos.

x100t sample image

Images straight out of the camera often look great and need little post-processing.

I immediately liked the size of it, and weighing in at only 440 grams (about a pound), there is no excuse to ever leave it at home. However, the feel in the hand is somewhat unrefined. There is the tiniest of nubs to get your right-hand middle finger wrapped around for grip. I bought the camera with a low-profile, more pronounced grip that also protects the bottom of the camera – probably a necessity for many.

It feels solid and of high-quality build. The shutter speed and exposure compensation dials are stiff, which is good, so it isn’t always spinning around when you don’t want it to. I wish I could say the same of the rear thumb dial which feels very plastic-y and has almost no resistance. The on-off switch also has almost no resistance as well, which results in the camera constantly ending up in the On position draining the tiny battery.

Shooting with the X100T

Focus

I popped in a memory card and battery while sitting in a coffee shop, fired up the camera, and took a few shots.

Surprisingly (to me at least) the camera had a hard time finding focus in the not-so-dimly-lit shop. It slowly searched several times before the autofocus locked on. I thought maybe the settings just needed to be tweaked, but after a few months of shooting with it, I’ve found the autofocus to be a bit slow and it needs a ton of contrast to find focus.

Switching on macro mode allows you to get 10 centimeters (about four inches) from your subject, which is pretty good. On the downside, images have a severe lack of sharpness while shooting wide open in macro mode. Facial recognition is hidden in there, and does a great job.

x100t close focus

The X100T’s close-focusing allows you more latitude for creative compositions.

Set to manual focus, the camera offers you the option of a zoomed focus peaking feature, to help you nail sharp images. I find the focus ring to be too unresponsive and it seems to take way more twisting than necessary to adjust the focus – definitely impractical for moving subjects.

Composition

The X100T gives you the option of composing the image through a rear LCD display, straight through the viewfinder, or with the electronic viewfinder (EVF). The rear LCD is stunning and functions really well in low light, showing minimal noise. The EVF features a small inset image, that can be toggled off or on, which shows a magnified portion of the shot for focus confirmation – pretty slick.

Exposure Control

One thing I really love about this camera is the fact that it has both a built-in neutral density (ND) filter, and an electronic shutter that can shoot at 1/32,000th of a second. This gives you the ability to shoot at wide apertures under bright conditions without overexposing the image. The tricky thing is that you can’t use the on-camera flash, or the hotshoe as a trigger, with the camera set to either electronic or electronic+mechanical shutter modes.

x100t neutral density filter

The combination of a built-in neutral density filter and an electronic shutter allow to shoot at wide apertures in bright conditions.

I’m a big fan of the exposure compensation dial front and center, and use it often.

If you are using the X100T in Manual or Aperture Priority mode, you’re going to have to fumble around to get ahold of the aperture ring, which is right up against the body. It has two little nubs which aim to assist, but unless you have dainty little fingers, you are likely to have difficulty here. There is a spot on my wish list for the ability to adjust aperture with the rear dial instead of on the lens.

Noise, contrast, and color saturation/rendition are all fantastic well into the ISO 3,200 range. I mainly shoot with a Nikon D800, which has stellar low light capabilities, and in comparison, the X100T really holds its own; in truth, it’s better than I expected.

x100t low light example

The X100T handles low light situations with ease.

Image Quality

The X100T simply takes beautiful images.

x100t sample image

Images taken with the X100T seem to always have a pleasing look to them.

The way that the camera records the information, and processes it, (and it appears that even the raw files are processed to some extent) yields very pleasing results. There’s a type of dreamy, silky look, to the images that is very subtle but works.

I always shoot in RAW, and will sometimes play around with the camera profiles in Lightroom (although I never use them in-camera). The Provia setting – a nod to Fuji’s famous color film – works really well for some photos, and even their version of Kodachrome (Classic Chrome) can be attractive.

provia profile sample image

Although I’m usually not a fan of in-camera filters, I have a soft spot for the Provia profile.

Conclusion

I had reservations about buying a fixed lens camera. However, I have found that the simplicity of the Fuji X100T leaves you no choice, but to focus more on composition.

My strongest motive to acquire a camera like this, was to have something that I wouldn’t think twice about bringing with me when I walk out of my house. By no stretch of the imagination is the X100T a replacement for my D800, but it compliments it brilliantly.

PROS

  • Compact and lightweight
  • Above average image quality
  • Impressive list of practical features
  • Great low-light performance
  • Built-in neutral density filter
  • Flash sync speed up to 1/4000th of a second
  • Fantastic results using the built-in flash
  • Built-in WiFi
  • Built-in RAW converter
  • Can charge the battery in the camera

CONS

  • Short battery life
  • Sensitive on/off switch
  • Aperture ring difficult to adjust
  • Some controls are unresponsive when first turning on the camera
  • Video quality is laughably bad
  • No weather sealing

In the end, I have no regrets buying this camera. On one hand I feel that a camera as this price point should have faster and more accurate autofocus, and I hope to see the slow startup issue fixed in a firmware update. On the other hand, I have found the positives far outweigh the negatives, and I am really looking forward to shooting more this great little camera.

Do you have an X100T? How has your experience been with this camera?

Would you consider getting a camera like this? Why or why not?

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Fuji X100T
Author Rating
4.5

Read more from our Cameras & Equipment category

Jeremie Schatz is a freelance photographer, photojournalist, journalist, copyeditor and videographer for a variety of clients and companies in the United States and Thailand. Find his portfolio of colorful images and more of his writing at Exposed World Photography and on Facebook.

  • Mike Schmitt

    I considered getting the X100T, but went with the Sony A6000. There are days i wish I had gotten the X100T just because of the fixed lens, and the great pictures it takes. With my Sony, I have bouts with GAS (gear acquisition syndrome). I’ve got 3 lenses for it now. The Sony takes excellent images and focuses fast (unless I’m in wide angle and focusing on distant objects).
    Nice article. Thanks for the info.

  • Hello Federico.
    Thank you for this great review!

    I can absolutely agree with you: the Fujifilm X100T is a great camera!
    As the original X100 was announced at Photokina in Cologne, Germany some years ago, I totally fall in love with it. They just showed a non functional mockup – and I was blown away. Since this day I wanted to own it.

    As it came out I bought one. It was a wonderful camera. But for me with too many flaws (remember the AF issues e.g.). So I sold it.

    Some time later they introduced the X100s – in wich they corrected the mostly all known issues and showed their philosophy: listening to their customers.

    So I bought the X100s and I loved it. It is for sure still a great camera!
    Now I own the X100T and I am more than happy with it.

    The image quality is superb even up to ISO 6400.

    In 2014 I switched from Canon Full Frame to Fuji.

  • Jeremie

    It seems that Fujifilm is making a name for themselves – or reviving their name perhaps. Although I am a big fan of their cameras, they are still far from playing on the same field as

    a camera like the D800.

  • Jeremie

    Before choosing the Fujifilm, I considered the Sony RX-1 as I like the idea of a full frame sensor. However, I couldn’t stomach the price.

  • Howard Pepper

    I purchased my X100T this past February, and have been loving it ever since. I normally shoot with my Canon EOS 6D, and have a nice complement of lenses for it, but sometimes the weight becomes too much. The X100T is so small and light that I actually enjoy carrying it around with me.

    I love the image quality from my X100T as well. I shot the attached photo with my X100T and the telephoto conversion lens, at Flagler Beach one semi-nice Sunday this past October.

    I like the look, feel, and image quality of my X100T so much, I’m seriously considering picking up a Fujifilm X-Pro 2 and a few lenses when it comes out next year.

  • Raymond Hoffmann

    “The Provia setting – a nod to Fuji’s infamous color film”

    Infamous? Is it that bad?

  • abrianna

    I am not opposed to a mirror less camera system but as you point out, lack of auto focus for moving subjects makes any mirror less system not right for me. I shoot a variety of photography and sometimes that includes sports and children playing. Until there is a system that does well with auto focus and changing light conditions for those evening outdoor swim meets, mirror less is out of the question for me.

    If Nikon comes out with a D400 before mirror less catches up, I may never go mirror less even though I like the idea of a lighter kit.

  • Sean Waller

    Jeremie, this will improve your AF speed: Access the Set Up menu and select the Power Management option. Change High Performance to On. I’ve found this to improve AF speed on the X100s. It should work on the T also. I’ve also set my X-T10 to this high performance mode and the AF speed is better. This uses more power though and I usually carry a spare battery if I’m doing a long shoot.

  • Mr_Electability

    I don’t know about the film, but Fuji’s Provia simulation is wonderful.

  • Mike Schmitt

    Another draw of the Sony A6000 was the price. It’s considerably less than the X100t.

  • Jeremie

    Abrianna, it’s not if but when mirrorless “catches up” with DSLRs. Flipping mirrors seem like ancient technology compared to the way the rest of the camera has evolved. I think within a few years the DSLR will go extinct.

  • Jeremie

    Good catch! That’s supposed say “famous color film” as you could find it at every corner store for many years. I didn’t mind it but I think I preferred Velvia.

  • Jeremie

    Thanks for the tip Sean! Unfortunately, I was aware of this trick and my camera has been set to High Performance since day one.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m don’t think the X100T is all that bad in the autofocus category, but I don’t feel the autofocus performance lives up to the camera’s price tag.

  • Okay, it’s good that you were already aware of that setting. I wasn’t and it took me over a year to find out about it. I have found the focus speed to be slower than my Canon 5D but I don’t shoot sport and it meets my needs for portraits, even with moving kids. It has been a learning curve though figuring out the best settings to get the most out of the X series. I love my X100S. I’d buy the T for sure if I didn’t already own the s.

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  • Christine

    I thought about getting the Fuji X100T – I might still get one at some point. But I bought the X-T1 instead – I absolutely love that camera! I find myself using it more than my Nikon these days, especially if I have to haul gear out in the field. I got GAS and bought a number of lens for the Fuji, too. Now I pick and choose whether to use the Nikon (good at some things) or the Fuji (good at other things).

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  • Juan Gomez

    My experience with the X100t has been nothing short of magical. After struggling for years with canon gear (40D, 7D) I decided to try my hand at Fuji. In reality, it was my need for a small camera that I could take road tripping thru Mexico that push me to get this little gem.
    My struggles with Canon ranged from inaccurate focusing, to exposure irregularities. I battled my equipment for 5 years. Then, all of a sudden, after purchasing this camera my photography is where I knew it could be. This camera gets out of your way. What you see, is what you get. You want to push your skills, you can with this system. Exposure is accurate. Colors are accurate. Dynamic range is awesome. For the first time, my skills are my limitation. Not my equipment.
    I am now looking to invest on all Fuji equipment. I am sold.
    This camera allows you to capture what you see.
    More than once I have said the words..”man there is black magic in use here”.
    It is that good!
    Won’t go back to canon anytime soon.

  • Jeremie

    It’s great to hear that the X100T has given you a photographic re-awakening. Fuji’s line of products are superb, in my experience, *for certain uses*. If all I did was travel photography, I would no doubt go with a Fuji system. However, I feel that they still have a little ways to go before meeting the serious demands of working photographers.

  • Fixed! Sorry I didn’t catch it either.

  • Alice Jones

    I’m glad to read a positive review that concludes “by no stretch of the imagination is the X100t a dslr replacement”. Of course it isn’t. Why is there a sudden trend for these “my iphone photos are as good as those from a dslr” articles? It makes drawing up a shortlist very hard for consumers and stuff cannot be what it isn’t!
    For me pocketability is the most important factor. I don’t want a system that comes out for Christmas and so compromises have to be made. Despite the focus issues there are other problems with auto settings on the x100t such as the use of f2, very high iso and resultant noisy over exposure in low light situations. I just use manual instead and love the size and build.
    If I had limitless funds, maybe I’d buy the leica q or the Sony rx 1, either might compare more favourably with a dSLR? For now the X100t will be good enough!

  • Alice Jones

    I took such good photos with my niche phone (1″ sensor, 42mp! Zeiss lens) I decided to stay small. You are right that the images from a D800 will be far superior but quality is changing so fast. I was able to use my phone to snap the northern lights recently when everyone else was still fiddling with their tripods! The images are very grainy (f2.4, 800iso, 2.7secs handheld) but ok for bragging on social media 🙂

  • Tom Harnish

    Glad you like the X100T, Jeremie. I take it with me everywhere, thanks it small size and light weight. The low light capabilities of the camera continue to astound me, too, as in this shot in the moonlight. And you’re right; it hasn’t replaced my DSLR. There are times when a fisheye or a long lens really are the best choice. But the X100T remains my favorite camera.

  • Lise Wilkinson

    Does anyone know how to connect the fujifilm x100t with ANOTHER iPhone (through the camera wifi) than the one that has already been connected?

  • Muscateer

    I recently bought a Fujifilm X100T in New York after reading rave reviews of its mystical qualities… unfortunately, it still lies at the back of the of cupboard as I am still having problems mastering the art of getting crisp, sharp photos… any suggestions, as I need to give my D750 a break!

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