Fujifilm X100T camera longterm review

March 18, 2018

The Fuji X100T was quite a revered and hyped up camera when I bought one in August 2016, but it was close to the end of life, as its successor the X100F was already rumored (it was launched in January 2017). I paid 29,000 NTD for it, which was at that time around 920 USD (the MSRP of a new X100T at launch was 1300 USD). The reason for that is that I got a grey market version. At that time I did not know that a new model is coming out, and I also did not care much - I wanted this camera after reading so many great online reviews, because I looked for a smaller compacter camera for travel, so that I did not need to lug around my heavier Nikon kit (D7100 and lenses). The initial excitement quickly faded away and I ended up selling the camera. Let me tell you why further below, but first let’s look at the key specs.

Fujifilm X100T key specs

- 16 Mpxl X-Trans CMOS II sensor (with on-sensor phase detection)
- Max size of an image: 4896 x 3264 pxl
- 23 mm equivalent f/2.0 lens, fixed
- Mechanical shutter: 4 sec. to 1/4000 sec
- Optional electronic shutter mode: 1 sec. to 1/32000 sec
- Macro shooting (up to 10 cm)
- Film simulation modes (jpeg)
- 1080p/60 fps movies, exposure control
- Built-in Wi-Fi with remote control function
- Rear command dial
- Seven customizable buttons
- Customizable Q menu
- Built-in ND filter
- Built-in intervalometer
- Magnesium alloy body
- Black or graphite color
- Body dimensions: 126.5 mm x 74.4 mm x 52.4 mm
- Weight: 440 g (with battery and SD card)
- Hybrid EVF with 2.3 million dot LCD
- 1.04 million dot rear LCD
- Hybrid viewfinder (OVF, EVF, both), LCD

The good and the bad and the ugly

While specs of most cameras look great on paper, I think it’s more important to know how’s the real life experience of the camera, how it performs in different situations, and in different environments.

So let me first share the good points of this camera after using it extensively:

- The X-Trans sensor is really good. There’s a certain look to images made with Fuji that no other camera has.
- The jpegs look great, so there’s less need to heavily post-process your shots.
- The film simulation filters are awesome.
- The 23 mm f/2.0 lens is fantastic.
- The leaf shutter is great, and virtually silent (you can enable various fake shutter sounds)
- The hybrid viewfinder is unique and very interesting. It helps you to switch between a kind of a “rangefinder mode” and a “mirrorless mode”.
- The camera’s build quality is good, very solid
- The analog dials on top are really great
- The camera looks great with the retro design (can be seen as a fashion statement)

Now to the negative sides:

- 16 Mpxl is a tad too small of a resolution. I was used to 24 Mpxls with my Nikon D7100, so there was a noticeable difference.
- The graphite body is scratch prone.
- The camera is slow: From autofocusing to reviewing images, sometimes it takes several seconds to get it done. It was a real letdown, and one of the major reasons I would not recommend this camera to anyone.
- Battery drains fast (I always had to carry 2 batteries)
- Bad ergonomics: If you shoot with this camera too long, your fingers will hurt. There’s no real grip to it like with a DSLR, so it’s not comfortable to use long term.
- Bad low light performance (f/2.0 on crop sensor is not like f/2.0 on full frame)
- The free software offered by Fuji for post processing RAW files (Silky Pics) is terrible. There are not many good quality alternatives to that.
- The iOS app for wi-fi image transfer and camera control is terrible. It takes forever to connect and make it work, really a bad user experience.
- The video quality and video focus is just average. I would not recommend this camera for serious video work. It’s basically a stills camera with a video function.

Now to the ugly part:

- After slightly over a year of usage, I had issues with the flickering LCD screen. It turned out that the focusing was totally wrecked, and made camera virtually unusable.
- It was a known issue, and the camera had to be sent to Japan (it was out of warranty). I had to pay 7500 NTD (nearly 250 USD), they had to replace the whole front part (the lens and the aperture ring). It was pretty shocking to me.

Final verdict

I lost a lot of money with this camera in the 1.5 years that I owned it, and yet I took some great and memorable shots with it. The Fuji system definitely is special, and the X100T can produce some great images (provided that the lighting conditions are good, and that there’s not much action or movement). This is a good stills camera with some unique features, very portable, but I would not buy it anymore. Let’s assume that my RMA case was just bad luck, the biggest issues for me were how slow it focused and reviewed images, how bad the ergonomics were (the grip), and how many shots I missed or failed because the camera struggled with fast action or low light (and even more so when these two things were combined). No doubt, Fuji’s mirrorless cameras look amazing and can produce some amazing images, but they are not cheap. And for such expensive gear I expect more, and better quality. I’d love to try the X-T2 or even the X-H1, but now I’m really afraid to enter the Fuji system again mainly due to concerns in terms of quality and durability. As much as mirrorless fans hype the system, a lot if it is still much more unreliable and less durable (for example Sony) than good or Nikon or Canon DSRLs. I shoot Nikon DSLR for many years now (D5300, D7100 and recently D810), I never had a single issue. Never. And I traveled with these cameras to places like India, or shot in pouring rain here in Taiwan - no single issue. No doubt that I’d like to see some mirrorless features in Nikon as well (maybe a hybrid viewfinder), but that’s not really that important for my photography. What matters is that I can rely on my gear for at least 5 years, so that I can justify my investment. With Nikon I am sure that’ll be the case, with Fuji I am not yet convinced.

Here are some of my shots with the Fuji X100T:

Specs source: Fujifilm

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please comment on topic. Spam and hate speech will be removed.