Fuji X100T - A Real World Review
Not too long ago I made the leap into the FujiX100T fixed lens system. But why this camera? Why only a 16 megapixel APS-C camera with a fixed lens when I already own a Sony A7r with a few great lenses?
I use to think megapixels and dynamic range was all that mattered, but now after going through a few different camera bodies over the years, I've really come to learn that it's the physical camera itself that matters. Not just the specs, or the pixel depth of the sensor resolution, but the way the camera feels in your hand, the experience of shooting itself. I've come to learn that it's the actual physical process of taking the photos that I enjoy and the Fuji X100T is absolutely perfect for this.
With a few flaws of course :)
So I wanted to do a review different than all the other reviews on the Internet done by bloggers that have no idea what this camera really is. Yes this camera has auto focus, and it's 16 megapixels and has a OVF / EVF!. Ok that's out of the way. . .
Here are a few links you can order the camera from. These are affiliate links meaning I get a small percent of the purchase at no cost to you.
Who shoots with the black version? I do, as well as Prince Harry and Batman. But the silver is so classic.
Let's get into this review! A real review that has taught me a ton about this camera and will hopefully teach you a few things too.
What I Love About The Fuji X100T
I think the most fitting place to start, is with what I love about the camera and some cool things it does.
Fuji X100T Build Quality
As you know from the X100 and X100s the build quality of the Fuji X100T is just as good. If you have them side-by-side it's actually very easy to get them confused. Also, if you're doing some construction on your house and forgot a hammer, you could probably use one of these cameras if you really wanted to. That's how solid they feel.
The build quality was actually one of the major selling features for me. I've been shooting a lot with the Sony A7r over this past year. I love the camera and it's only slightly larger than the Fuji X100T, but it lacks that Fuji build quality. The camera is literally falling apart and failing on me mechanically. I've already had it repaired once. I travel a lot so my philosophy was to get the Fuji X100T as a beater camera I can take everywhere. So far it's been perfect for that.
The Fuji X100T Lens + Full Review and Tests
The lens is great. It's actually a 24mm lens but shoots comparable to 35mm full frame because of the APS-C sensor. The perfect focal length for everyday use in my opinion.
ISO 3200, f/2, 1/40sec
You can see here the Bokeh looks really nice and the depth of field is great. I really couldn't be happier with the image coming from the lens. And you can see why when I really break down this lens with some detailed tests.
Fuji X100T Diffraction Tests & Finding The Sweet Spot
I usually use diffraction tests to help find the sweet spot. For this test I just did full stop increments to get a general Idea. Because of the 16MP sensor I had to shoot a little closer than I usually do to get the detail I wanted. This actually ended up creating something that I wasn't expecting. It shows us how the lens performs at close distances through various apertures.
So before you freak out thinking this camera sucks at f2 and f2.8, you should know that a lens like this is not going to give you sharp images at a macro distance when wide open. I shot these at about 6 inches (15cm) from the dollar bill to get as much detail as possible at higher f-stops. A mirrorless camera like this will never give you a clear image wide open at a macro distance, even my Sony A7r produces terrible macro at shallow depths. It has to do with the physics of light. The closer something is to your lens the shallower the depth of field. At 6" and at f/2 the depth of field is so shallow that very little if anything at all can be in focus. Please feel free to touch on this in the comments if you know the physics because I kind of just made that up.
100% scale at the center of the lens.
Click Image to see full size / quality.
It looks like the quality picks up at f/4. By f/5.6 things are looking great. Diffraction starts to come into play around f/8 but still totally usable to f/11. f/16 is looking a little soft.
To maximize your image quality stick with somewhere between f/4 and f/8 for the best results. Fuji recommends doing the same. Although at further distances shooting at f2 and f2.8 will be totally ok as well. I created a distance chart at f/2 further below.
Fuji X100T Macro Corners Samples
100% scale on the top left corner.
Corner sharpness is really good by f5.6 and contrast seems to improve as we go up. f/8-f/11 are the winners here.
Click Image to see full size / quality.
Fuji X100T Macro Edges Samples
100% scale on the left edge.
From the looks of it f5.6 is looking really good for being on the very edge of the lens. It's not as sharp as 5.6 center but it's definitely not bad.
Click Image to see full size / quality.
Fuji X100T F2 Distance Tests
As mentioned above an f/2 lens shot at a close distance will not give you sharp images. Fuji recommends shooting close distances at f4 with the X100T and you can see why this is the case. I've found that to shoot f2 and beyond you should really be at a distance of 3 feet (91cm) or greater. I've made a chart illustrating this.
Click Image to see full size / quality.
6" is very soft. Soft at 1' as well. 2' almost seems softer than 1'. By 3' we have a usable image.
I shot these with manual focus, each shot with several takes where I varied the focus slightly. I chose the best, clearest images for this chart.
I'm in the United States so for the rest of the world. 6'' = 15cm, 1' = 30cm, 2' = 61cm, 3' = 91cm.
Fuji X100T Vignetting Tests
Vignetting is nearly non existent on this lens. But note there are some color shifts along the edges. You'll see this same pattern in your lens flares too.
More Fuji X100T Love
Leaf Shutter & ND Filter
Probably one of the biggest selling points of this lens is the leaf shutter built into it. This is rare for APS-C and Full Frame camera lenses. It's more typical in a medium format lens which run at a very high price tag.
The advantage of a Leaf Shutter is they are very quiet and can give amazing flash sync speeds at 1/1000sec. This means you can use the camera's built in ND filter combined with the flash and get some amazing fill light that can compete with the intense midday sun.
ND filter + flash -2/3, ISO 500, f/2, 1/1000sec
The built in ND filter is of excellent quality and cuts down light 3 full stops. Combine this with your incredibly fast shutter speed and you can shoot some great wide open street photography in the midday sun.
OVF / EVF Hybrid
The OVF / EVF hybrid is actually really cool. Although I kind of wish it was always just in OVF with the electronic overlay. I'm not in love with the quality of the EVF.
The picture in picture focusing window is really nice for manual focus. One thing I wish is that the image it projected was a little larger, capable of being moved to the left side and had slightly more magnification. It's often hard for me to see it in the bottom right corner. Nonetheless, it is very useful.
Fuji X100T ISO Comparison Chart
Low Light ISO Test. This is a 100% scale of the RAW images. The only adjustments I've made is to remove default sharpness in Lightroom and correct exposure since Camera Raw likes to shift the exposure around for some reason.
Click Image See Full Scale & Quality
What's impressive is how little noise there is all around. Even at 3200, the noise is very low. At ISO 6400 you get a bit more noise and some color shifts so it's probably best not to go over 3200 unless absolutely necessary or if you're shooting black and white. Although I still shoot at 6400 all the time.
AUTO ISO Settings
There are three programmable ISO settings where you can set your ISO and shutter limits. This is really handy when you're going to a low light situation and want to limit your auto ISO.
I've set mine to ISO 1600 with a 1/60 shutter limit, ISO 3200 with a 1/60 shutter limit, and ISO 6400 with a 1/60 shutter limit. This way if I'm shooting at night or go into a dark area I can just switch the ISO setting and it will limit itself to those settings. I'll leave it on 1600 for midday stuff and the ISO will usually bounce around from 200 to 800.
ISO 6400, f/2, 1/40sec
Fuji X100T JPEG & The In Camera Raw Converter
I was comparing the RAW files to JPEG when I learned something really cool. The Fuji X100T makes some amazing JPEG images. Yes, you can shoot RAW and edit them in Lightroom to whatever you want, but the look of these JPEGs with the Fuji 'film looks' is amazing and shooting JPEG is totally ok on this camera. In fact, most people seem to prefer JPEG over the RAW. Read my whole Fuji X100T RAW vs JPEG post here to learn more.
On this camera I always shoot RAW+JPEG. For quick stuff to share with friends I'll just use the JPEG. Also, you can only send JPEG to your phone using the Fuji App.
Accessories & Gear
I really love being able to customize my camera with all the different accessories and gear. You can get different soft shutters, thumb grips, cases, screen protectors & lens hood adapters. I've compiled a complete list of all the best accessories I've found for the Fuji X100T here.
Right now I'm still waiting on the thumb grip and a case to become available.
Fuji X100T Flaws
Although the camera is great, it does come with a few flaws that I'm still trying to work out. Some of it is maybe user error, some of it is simple tech specs. I'm new to this system so it will take me a little more time to work out all these kinks and fully understand them. But I do feel it's important to include these flaws in the Fuji X100T review since knowing them is useful so you can learn how to avoid them when you're out shooting.
One of the first areas of improvement this camera could have is with its memory buffer. It's not really a big deal for your average street photographer that shoots one shot at a time, but if you're doing any bursting, HDR, or crazy intervalometer work, you may run into problems. Right now I'm noticing I can shoot about 7-8 shots in a burst then it slows down to the write speed capabilities of the SD cards which means, you need to buy the fastest card you can afford. See my complete list of SD cards I've purchased and tested here.
The auto focus is absolutely awesome with this camera. Great in low light - actually amazing in low light. At least compared to my Sony A7r and Canon 5Dmkii. The Sony A7r autofocus is good and it is quick in daylight, however I feel the Fuji beats it a little in low light - though I should do a side-by-side one of these days.
Autofocus on the Fuji X100T is also a bit snapper than on the Fuji X100s as well.
But there is a problem. . .
This is the thing that could be user error. I've been noticing the autofocus has a little mind of its own sometimes. I'll set the camera to point focus set to the center, focus on someone in my foreground then turn the camera to position them with the shutter button halfway pressed and when I snap the photo, it ends up changing my focus randomly. Sometimes on the background, sometimes on another person standing further back. Can't figure out why or how this is happening but it has caused me to use manual focus pretty much 100% of the time now - which is a good thing I guess. Shooting manual on this camera is a lot of fun anyway, but it's a shame the focus misses so much.
UPDATE: I found out this autofocus problem was from setting the focus point box to the smallest setting. Once I increased the focus box size back to default, I stopped having problems with missed focus.
The camera coming out of standby mode is very sluggish and it seems to sort of do weird things sometimes. I find it to be more energy efficient and faster to just turn the camera on and off between each use.
Really Dumb Things The Fuji X100T Does
Fuji seems to like to put really dumb things in their cameras and slowly remove them through firmware. It was really bad with the X100, then the X100s fixed a lot of things and the X100T fixed even more. This camera is 95% perfect. Perhaps the X100U will be 100% perfect.
This camera has a lot of weird little quirks that are actually really annoying. It boggles my mind how this stuff got approved. I'll list a few.
You can't use the OVF when you're in macro focusing mode - This keeps throwing me off. I'll be sitting there trying to switch my camera back to OVF mode and it just won't do it, then I realize macro focus is turned on and I have to turn it off.
I do understand this does make sense, using an optical viewfinder close up would be totally useless since what you're shooting would be completely out of view. But sometimes I'll have macro focusing turned on and forget to turn it off.
Shooting Long Exposures - With the shutter set to auto and the aperture is set to manual the longest you can shoot at 1/4". You have to manually set it to go longer by setting the dial to 1 then adjust to get a shutter of 1" to 1.5". But then to go longer than 1.5" you have to set the shutter to T which starts you at 2" then adjust manually with the dial on the back.
However, if you set the aperture to A and the shutter to A, suddenly the camera will shoot with an auto shutter of 2" or more.
This is pretty dumb. Just saying.
Bracketing Exposures - You can only bracket to -+1EV. So if you want to shoot HDR you pretty much have to use the exposure compensation dial on the top. But if your exposures sit somewhere around 1/4" and 2" it's going to be a massive pain in the ass because of the way the manual and auto shutter system works.
Flash won't work in certain modes - I've noticed you can't use flash when the camera is in silent mode or when the shutter is in MS+ES or ES. You can only use the flash when the camera is set to mechanical mode with silent mode turned off. In that case silent mode should be called stealth mode. Since it not only makes the camera silent but also turns off the flash and the focus assist beam. There is also no notification as to why you can't use your flash, you just have to know this.
This can put you in one of those bad situations you never want to be in as a photographer where you need to quickly use your flash for a certain shot, but then realize it doesn't work and have to scramble through your settings to figure out which setting is disabling the flash.
It would be nice if activating your flash would override everything to make flash work instead of the other way around. Or at least have force flash setting in the flash options.
Fuji X100T vs X100s Is It Worth The Upgrade?
I see a lot of bloggers and reviewers saying that if you already own the Fuji X100s, you don't need to upgrade. I personally 100% disagree with this and don't know where they're coming from when they say that. The Fuji X100T is so much more responsive and so much snappier. From everything to navigating the menus to autofocus.
The Fuji X100s autofocus feels primitive compared to what the X100T can do. The X100s autofocus in low light is borderline worthless, it's constantly seeking and missing. All of that goes away with the X100T and it feels probably about 3-4x faster.
Customization is better on the T, and the button layout is more intuitive and logical. It just feels like a better camera.
I also really love sending photos to my phone over wifi. I never though I would use this feature until I had a kid. I almost never use my iPhone to take photos now because I always have my X100T around, and now that I can just send snapshots over to my phone for family to see, it's really great.
I wrote a Fuji X100T vs X100s comparison if you want to see more information on this.
Fuji X100T Camera & Lens Review Conclusions
Besides the very few really dumb things this camera does, I really love it. Like I said, it's 95% perfect. I'll continue to invest in the Fuji system for sure. And am finding it really hard to pick up my other cameras. There is nothing like the look and feel of a Fuji. The FujiX100T is truly the photographer's camera and I honestly believe every serious photographer should have one.
Fuji X100T Sample Images
I'll continue to add to these sample images and update this review as time goes on. Like all my reviews, this is evergreen. Which means it's always changing and growing.
ISO 200, f/11, 0.6sec
ISO 320, f/2, 1/60sec
ISO 200, f/11, 1/210 sec - Classic Chrome
ISO 200, f/2, 1/1000sec, flash power -2/3 - Classic Chrome
ISO 200, f/16, 0.5sec
ISO 1600, f/2, 1/60
ISO 6400, f/4, 1/20
ISO 200, f9, 1/280sec
ISO 200, f9, 1/340sec