Three days at The Photography Show in Birmingham gave me ample time at the Fujifilm stand to play around with the Fuji X100T. It’s a camera I have had my eye on since it was released, several of my colleagues own this camera and all rave about it. I like rangefinder cameras, although the X100T doesn’t strictly employ a rangefinder focusing mechanism it is close enough to make the transition from using my Leica MP a fairly seamless exercise. This isn’t to say the X100T will usurp my Leica or Fuji GSW690111 film cameras, it won’t, but it does sit comfortably with them as a lightweight digital alternative for those occasions when I don’t want to use film or carry heavier cameras around. It may be lighter in weight by comparison to a solid brass Leica, but it is very well constructed and instills a certain confidence in it’s heft.
So far I have only had time to take a few test shots whilst I get to grips with the menus, the printed instruction manual is a little light to say the least, as is the included disc manual. I need a little more time to set the camera up exactly how I want it and to be fully comfortable with the menus and to work out my operating methods. I see the X100T as a good back-up camera to my D810 or D750 for travel. From the few images I have made so far, the quality of output is astonishing and certainly seems to live up to the hype, the files are superior to any other APS-C camera I have used before. I feel quite an affinity with the X100T, it feels right and it looks good too. The deal I was offered at The Photography Show included the bespoke leather case, lenshood and adapter ring as well as £144 off the cheapest online prices. It was an offer that proved irresistible.
Based on the few test images I have made up to now, including some long exposures, I have a feeling the X100T will get far more use in the coming months than I thought it would before I bought it.
The full deal. I was a little skeptical about the leather case as an ‘offer’. Had I been given the choice of that or the equivalent in cash back on purchase, I would have taken the cash. Since I have the case as part of the deal anyway, I can say I actually like it in it’s half case format – and this from someone who has a distinct dislike of camera cases and bags! With the lenshood attached, the X100T won’t fir the full case but I’m not too bothered about the full case anyway and the camera as it is will reside in a belt-mounted CCS compact camera pouch. I am one of those photographers who does not feel comfortable working without a lenshood, for me it is mandatory to use one. The bespoke lenshood and filter adapter at around £70 together are outrageously expensive, Fuji really are blatantly milking their customers here and there are cheaper third-party offerings available online. Still, it does the job although I was unable to induce any flare when shooting directly into full sun without the lenshood. I have a suspicion that any flare I do encounter in the future is likely to come from the protection filter I fitted to the lens.
Base iso is 200 with a menu option to extend it to 100 iso. Base iso is just about slow enough to create longish exposures with a 10-stop nd filter at around a minute at f11, there is also a 3-stop filter option built into the firmware. 13 stops of neutral density is getting there, but I am still inclined to add a 6-stop nd filter for stacking and much longer exposure times. The image below was taken at 200iso, f13, 56 secs. Twice that time would be preferable.
Dynamic range and metering are very impressive, the X100T handled this difficult light very well and the colour saturation is just beautiful.
It isn’t that long ago when a mainstream compact camera would have failed badly with this type of subject. Not so now, I broke all my own rules and used Programme mode just to see what would happen. I doubt I could have bettered this exposure if I were working in my usual manual mode. It’s difficult not to fall into the trap of eulogising, after all the X100T is a camera, but what I have seen so far is impressive and I can understand why so those who use it like it so much.
The fixed 23mm f2 lens is the heart of the X100T. If Fuji had got it wrong here, then the camera would be dead in the water. Well, Fuji got it right! Full aperture performance is beyond good, the image below was taken at 1/50th sec at f2. The subject is pin sharp and the background transition to out of focus is very smooth, giving a pleasant seperation.
I initially bought the X100T as an addition to my travel photography kit, but I can see it will have a lot of use at weddings too. I’m leading a street photography workshop in Birmingham on 2nd May, the X100T is probably the only camera I will take with me. It’s unobtrusive and the quality of output is beyond question. I’m looking forward to getting to know it better!