Fujifilm X100T Hands-On

Fujifilm X100T Hands-On
Just two days after the world's biggest photo exhibition Photokina 2014, I got my hands on the pre-production sample of the latest Fujifilm camera - X100T. I tested it together with its two predecessors - the X100 and X100S.

I wanted deeply explore new X100T and compare it to the older models. But plans are one thing and force majeure is another. There were two issues in this case. Instead of promised ten days of testing I had less than four days for it, then I had to return the camera and it traveled to Poland to be introduced at a press conference. And when I came back home from Fujifilm, I found that I lost one SD card with many photos and videos.

I know that the test piece no. 119 may differ from the final product, so I don't do any judgments and my findings relate only to the piece.

I am going to focus primarily on comparison with X100S, because this is what most people are interested in these days. I added the old X100 to comparison mainly because this veteran started the whole successful series of X and for some photographers is still the king. So we'll see ...

Design, display, buttons

All three cameras are almost the same from the front, the changes are in the rear and there are numerous. New, large display has a diagonal of 3 inches (2.8 previous models) with a resolution of 1,040 thousand pixels (X100 & X100S only 460 th.). The difference is noticeable and very pleasant. The display is not rotating / tilting or touch. But if it was, someone would have loved it, and someone else would have hated it. The solution might be to offer both models and then, according to figures from sales to focus on both or keep the more successful model.

X100S vs. X100T - back side

The biggest change concerns the buttons. Fans of the rear fiddly wheel will be disappointed because it is gone and in its place you will 4-way controller just like the models X-E, X-Pro or X-T. The upper horizontal wheeled controller remained in place. The arrangement of the other buttons in the rear gave me a slight embarrassment. It is commendable that Fujifilm listens to the wishes and cries of their users, but in this case I would say that they listen too much. They should finally decide how to distribute buttons and not to modify this layout for each new model.

I find it completely illogical to move the "play" button to the second place. View Mode button is unimportant controller for me and suits me perfectly in the upper part above the display (X-E1), I find it also OK at the fourth (last) position on X100 and X100S. I miss the quick turn on/off the ND filter, which was at the right bottom corner of the first model X100, X100S has there the Q button (Quick Setup) and on X100T there is just an empty space, while Q was moved to the top right, where it is OK to me. I understand that probably most non-photographers did not know what ND filter is and an accidental use of the button done more harm than good, but I don't want to browse the menu for it. All the other buttons are OK.

In the left bottom, where was the View Mode button on X100 and X100S, is newly a Wi-Fi button. Pleasant.

I was very pleased that 7 buttons are now customizable. So you can put the ND filter anywhere.

The exposure compensation knob now offers ± 3 EV (previously 2 EV).

The aperture ring is also improved, the aperture can be adjusted after the 1/3 step.

Viewfinder

Maybe I should write viewfinders, because models X100? and X-Pro1 have an amazing hybrid viewfinder, allowing you to choose between electronic (EVF) and optical (OVF) viewfinder. X100T model extends the hybrid viewfinder of another term - ERF (electronic rangefinder).

X100T electronic viewfinder (EVF) offers the same parameters as the X100S, but is significantly faster and looks much better. Actually, when I looked at a not very contrasty scene, sometimes it was hard to recognize if I look through the OVF or EVF. The quality is really excellent.

The optical viewfinder (OVF) has also been improved, still does not cover 100 % of the frame, this number increased from 90 to 92 %. Compared to older models it offers a real time parallax correction.

EVF and OVF of Fujifilm X100

EVF and OVF of Fujifilm X100S

EVF and OVF of Fujifilm X100T

Fujifilm X100T - ERF (source: fujifilm.com)Electronic range finder (ERF) is probably the most significant new feature of the hybrid viewfinder - although if you shoot through OVF, you can display an electronically magnified detail of the focused area in the right bottom corner. Great for manual focusing, but it also gives you instant control of the exposure. Love it.

Electronic shutter

As you probably know, all previous X series models offer a maximum shutter speed 1/4000 seconds. While this is a nice speed to freeze almost any movement, it is not enough to tame the light. The X100 series lens has a maximum aperture of 2.0 and the lenses for the other X cameras have values ​​up to 1.4 or even 1.2. Then just daylight on the street can be too much for combination ISO 200, F1.2 and 1/4000 s. if you don't want overexposed photos, you have to close the aperture and to say goodbye to a shallow depth of field.

X100T solved this problem with an electronic shutter, possessing the speed up to 1/32000 s. However, you cannot set it manually, it only works in automatic mode (at least this pre-production sample worked this way). Actually at the beginning it did not work at all, so I asked guys in Tokyo for a help and the next day I got a firmware upgrade. After this small fix I could enjoy the fast shutter.

I did not like one thing and for me it would be nice if the final product solved this issue differently - you can select in menu if you want to shoot with a mechanical, electronical or machanical + electronical shutter. But when you use the electronical shutter, you cannot use the internal flash and higher ISO than 6400. While this is logical, but I would rather solve it vice versa - if you increase the ISO level above 6400 or turn on the flash, then the electronic shutter could be automatically deactivated and activated again when you go back to "normal" mode. Now you always need to browse the camera menu, which is very uncomfortable.

Focusing

Overall, I would say its manual and auto focus features and speed are similar to the models X-E2 and X-T1 (but I did not have these cameras together for testing, so it is just my opinion).

X100T now offers a face recognition - it's good for parties or a family on the mountains, but I immediately switch it off. I like to choose which of the faces will be in focus.

Manual Focus Assistant offers popular "focus peaking" and " split screen ", as we know from old cameras. The same as X-E2 and X-T1. The third helper is the electronic rangefinder (ERF) described above.

Focus Speed​​ - I would also subjectively compared it to X and X-E2-T1. In good light conditions sharpen all tested cameras similarly and fast enough (yes, including the famous slacker X100), but in low light conditions was clearly visible that X100T focus is about twice as fast against X100S.

I know they are just feelings, not exact figures, but in practice it is not too much about exact figures, but rather the feeling of applicability, adequacy and comfort. In addition, due to significantly shortened time I had only a few minutes for the AF comparison test.

Classic Chrome

The new film simulation, which Fujifilm termed Classic Chrome and which brings Kodak Kodachrome to Fujifilm cameras (but do not tell anyone, it's a public secret), was actually one of the main reasons for my X100T testing.

How to describe it ... warm tone, slightly desaturated, yellow goes nicely to brown or beige, brown does not go to red ... fantastically pleasant look. I hope that the next firmware update will bring this scrumptious feature into my old X-E1. With the exception of comparative tests, I photographed all the time only in this mode. Beautiful!

Classic Chrome simulation (source: fujifilm.com)

Now you may realize why I describe the photos when it is much easier to show you. It's simple, X100T was lent to me with one small, but crucial limitation -

Prohibition of publishing photos

Unpleasant, but it's true. Unnecessary, because the photos are great, just fame, no shame. But I have to respect the rules.

High ISO and noise

The actual quality of photos is not changed, it is as good as X100S and other cameras with X-Trans sensor. Neither the sensor resolution is changed, also X100T offers sufficient 16 megapixels (disappointment for those who waited at least 24; to me that's enough). The upper ISO limit has been increased to a value of 51200 (as in X-T1). The noise in the photographs was again reduced. Photos captured to the highest ISO value are obviously useless (as with all cameras, regardless of brand and price). I do not want to say how high ISO value is still useful because it also depends on the lighting conditions, what you want to do with the photos and so on. The increase in quality is here, at least one step, but I'll leave the conclusion to each of you.

Video

Only the parameter list, there was no time to test. Against X100S (1080p @ 60/30 fps) X100T can record in 1080p @ / 720p @ 60/50/30/25 fps. Built-in microphone is stereo (mono for older models). During the filming of the video, the camera remains under your control and now it is also possible to record video through the optical viewfinder.

(R)evolution?

Certainly evolution, but great. Sure, we could want a larger viewfinder, higher resolution, full frame, pop-up display and watch with a fountain as a free gift. But look how much I've written about it and it is far not everything, I focused mostly to its improvements.

I think that if I owned great X100S, I would not be foolish to quickly sell it and buy new X100T (I know that a lot of people will do exactly that). But if I would had to decide to buy a new X100? series camera and wanted the best of them, then I would definitely choose the letter T. Except for a few mentioned subjective complaints it is an excellent camera and it was a pretty sad moment when I had to say good bye ...

But what about that X100?

Well, here is not much to compare, old X100 is a completely different camera. It's a legend, thanks to which we have a wide range of X cameras, but now it only has a similar name and design. It works with a different 12 megapixel sensor, against the new models it offers minimal comfort (rather maximal discomfort), is known for its slowness (even if it has been greatly improved thanks to firmware updates) and it produces completely different photographs.

But there probably should be an exclamation point after the "completely different photographs", because despite all its shortcomings, it is the raw soul of the images, for which it still stands at the top of the X100 series for many photographers. Perhaps it might be a good complement to the new X cameras to add a good old X100 simulation mode. If the new cameras can handle it ...

And I? I'll still look forward to the Classic Chrome.
Thank you for reading this article.

Buy Fujifilm X100T on Amazon:
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Just for fun... :)

Jiri Ruzek
Author: Jiri RuzekWebsite: http://www.jiriruzek.net
Czech uglamour nude art photographer, born Aug 29 1967 in Litomerice, living in Prague.
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