I can’t tell you exactly why I bought the X100T, there was no initial reason why I got it…
I had no real need for a new camera system at this time. Although I already had the Panasonic GH4 for my travels with a bunch of lenses, I missed something. The Panasonic GH4 which I used as a take-everywhere-tool at this time, is a great camera I’m not arguing about that. But with a bag full of lenses I felt it gave me to many options. Month over month I lost my mind in all those features trying all sort of things. My photographs started to get spineless snapshots.
My gut said that I needed a new toy. The Fuji X100T reminded me of my childhood, when I started to take pictures with an old soviet rangefinder stile Zorki 4. I was not sure if I made the right decision when I stepped out of the shop. In our consumer oriented world we tend to buy our cameras according to the most impressive specs. A camera without 4K recording, only 16 megapixels resolution and a fixed lens seems outdated, right? Totally wrong!
X100T – More than a simple camera
The Fuji X100T taught me how dazzled my consumer mind got over time. If you want fast autofocus, fast continuous shooting and video recording, go and search elsewhere. But if you love rangefinder stile cameras, if you want to connect to the things you shoot and improve your photographing skills, the Fuji X100T is for you. If you give yourself some time you will receive image results you haven’t dreamed of – I promise!
A camera without 4K recording, only 16 megapixels resolution and a fixed lens seems outdated, right?
The Fuji forced me to take pictures like I did years ago. A fixed lens and no zoom means that you will have to move and find the right spot for the shot. You have to imagine how the object or the scene you want to capture will look like from different angles and distances. This might be annoying first and there will be times where you will be seduced to use your superzoom camera instead- at least that was the case for me. But trust me, a single camera with a fixed lens is all you need to take great photos. And above all: It frees your mind and trains your eye!
After the first experiences with the X100T I bought the MHG-X100 hand grip, primary because of the Arca compatible tripod mounting point. But it also supports my hand better and it gives me a safer feeling when walking with the camera in my hand.
What I like most about the Fuji X100T
One word: It’s simplicity.
Every dial is where you expect it to be. The menu is logical, the camera feels solid and the sound of the clicking metal when turning the aperture ring gives me goose bumps.
The leaf shutter is one thing that is exceptional about the X100T. It enables you to take sharp pictures even at critical exposure times, for example when photographing by night without a tripod. There is hardly any induced vibration at all. Of course it can’t fulfil miracles in shaky hands, but in some situations I feel it just might make up the difference between a blurry or a sharp image. The leaf shutter also allows you to shoot completely silent and makes a flash sync speed of 1/2000th of a second possible.
The details make the difference
The 23mm lens is good and leaves nothing to be desired for this kind of camera. Edge sharpness is more than acceptable, and lens flares when shooting against the sun are not a big problem. Image quality wise the Fuji X100T really opened my eyes. It simply does a very good job handling different situations. Just what you would expect from a digital camera.
The most astounding thing about the X100T it it’s noise characteristics. Compared to Micro Four Thirds cameras of similar size, you may expect a serious advantage. Sure, the X100T has an APC-C sensor which is not dew-fresh anymore, but it is significantly larger than M43. That count’s!
When I compared the images to the Sony Alpha 6000 which has the same sensor size, I realized some things. The Fuji sensor is less noisy, especially the colour noise is less pronounced than on any other comparable cam I used in that time. This makes post production a lot easier for me.
Fuji’s luminance noise does look much more natural and immediately reminded me of film grain of the past time. So you’re able to ramp up ISO and shoot handheld in situations, where you otherwise would need a tripod or would lose the shot. For my taste night pictures with ISO 12.800 are still pretty useable. Sure, the noise is obvious, but since it looks like it does, it’s still pleasing to the eye and does not ruin the image. Great job, Fuji!
Film simulations – I am loving it
Fuji’s film simulation modes are something I’m using a lot. Most of the time I go with the Astia setting since it boosts colours and contrast a bit, but not too much. Skin tones come out really nice and nature shots are not oversaturated. Latter is why I don’t use the Velvia simulation so often. It makes the scene look artificial and too flashy for my taste. The Classic Chrome mode rewards you with kind of a vintage look with dampened colours. Personally I get more and more tired of this vintage stile. You can see this or similar looks everywhere on the net now. That’s why I use the Monochrome simulation more often.
I love the colour reproduction of Fuji. I don’t bother whether this comes from the X-Trans sensor layout, some Fuji specific software magic or both. The fact is, that the Fuji RAWs hit my taste nearly spot on. I’m closer to the final look I want to achieve directly after importing the files into Lightroom than before. Using the Fuji colour profiles in Lightroom and tweaking highlights and shadows a bit is mostly all I do. White balance out of camera is very accurate, although a bit on the warm side. That’s exactly how I like it too.
The X100T does not force you to use RAW
There is only one more thing I want to point out: The internal JPEG engine. I never, and I mean really NEVER in the last couple of years, worked with camera jpegs. I don’t understand why camera JPEGs tend to be unusable, no matter which camera brand you use. Well, this is a really strong point for Fuji.
The JPEGs are excellent in sharpness and colour, I have never seen that before! Since I use Fuji I like to work in RAW+JPEG mode. That’s because I often download the JPEG to my phone and upload it to social networks as it is. Sometimes I may want to increase depths a bit for example, which is easy with the integrated RAW developer. Just adjust exposure, highlights, depths, etc. after the shot and directly beam it to your smart device. That’s it. Easy.
Sure, you will probably get more out of the RAW later on your computer. But you don’t have to be ashamed anymore when you spontaneously upload a picture to Instagram and compare it to the processed RAW later.
In the last years I was on the edge of losing my interest for photography. I lost creativity, ambition and joy taking pictures, although I was quite successful in aerial photography with drones too. The Fuji X100T brought me back on track and helped me to focus on the basics again. Besides that it is a damn good camera with nearly perfect colour rendition and a gorgeous look and feel. As long as don’t bother about fast focusing speeds and are willing to develop your own stile, this may be the perfect camera for you.
Fuji revealed the successor of the Fuji X100T, the Fuji X100F, few days after I wrote this article. The X100F will offer the newest X-Trans sensor with 24 million pixels, a faster autofocus, focus point selection with a dedicated joystick, etc. I will buy this camera myself as soon as it is available, stay tuned!
Please don’t steal my images – just kindly ask, if you want to use one of them. All rights reserved.