For almost as long as it's been out, a little over 5 years now I've had a bit of a thing for the Fuji X100 series. I love the style and design and the results achievable from them have always been unquestionable. Having had short journeys with both the original Fuji X100 and Fuji X100S, neither of which were greatly successful, I decided to bite the bullet and buy a brand new X100T. I don't often buy new but such was my faith in the X100T being the camera I wanted I decided to go for one.
OK, so the X100T has been around for almost two years now and never been shown any firmware update love from Fuji in the same way the ICL range of cameras have had, but in real terms this camera is the muts nuts, so to speak. There's been talk of a replacement coming along at some stage and no doubt Fuji will want to build on the success that the X100 series has offered them.
Some things have never changed though that's how good the original was and that includes the 23mm f/2 fixed lens, which in real terms close up is a bit crap really but once stopped down to F4 sharpens up pretty nicely. Indeed, Fuji even make comment of it in the manual suggesting an aperture of f4 should be used for any close distance/macro style photographs. At any kind of distance over close up, wide open in fairness the X100T performs admirably. The leaf shutter also remains, meaning if you so wish you can shoot at a high speed sync which is useful if you want to shoot flash.
Upgrading over the original X100
A question often asked by owners of previous generation X100 series cameras is it really worth the upgrade. In the limited experience I have with both I'd say easily. Everything works, well just that little bit better. Focussing is faster, the OVF/EVF has some great tricks including the picture in picture to check focus and changes to the rear of the camera make using it more simple and easier to get to what you want in the menu.
Of course, the purists say the original offers a nicer more filmic quality to the photographs, but in truth the T version provides the same quality as other X series bodies and everything is snappier. Fuji also moved away from the wheel style ring system for the menu on the back of the camera to a D pad controller which makes using the camera and accessing menu items far more simple.
The X100T really excels at travel camera and street photography. It's small footprint provides easy carrying and the fixed 23mm f/2 lens (35mm full frame) provides great quality. It's pretty non-descript and does not threaten like other camera bodies can do, indeed in spite of its popularity people still ask if it's a film camera!
With the optional wide (X100- WCL) or teleconverter (X100- TCL) the X100t becomes a three lens camera with focal lengths equivalent to 27mm, 35mm & 50mm simple to carry in a small camera bag for everyday use., perfect for the roaming photographer to throw in a bag and use all day without realising they have a camera with them.
Using the Conversion Lenses on the X100T
Using the conversion lenses is easy enough, they simply screw on to the front of the lens and an option to choose from wide or tele is made in the menu to tell the camera which conversion lens is in use. I have the teleconverter and there is no appreciable loss of quality. From reports I've read elsewhere the same can be said for the wide converter too and as soon as I can pick one up I will. The conversion lenses work well on all variations of the X100, not just the T.
Film Simulations for the X100T
Regular users of Fuji cameras will feel at home with the menu options along with the range of film simulations available for JPG use. This includes classic chrome, which is absent on the original X100 and S model.
My personal preference is to shoot JPG & RAW using the black and white film simulation with the yellow filter (-1 highlights, +2 shadows) which allows me to see the contrast better and then convert photos in Lightroom for use in colour if I wish to. But there's no doubt the jpg's offered by the X100T are sublime and easily good enough to use with little processing.
Shooting with the X100T
The X100T is a joy to shoot with. OK, so wide open close up is to be avoided but other than that the image quality is as good as any of the Fuji cameras with the exception of the very latest releases. With the option to set auto ISO you can shoot in aperture priority and let the camera do all the work.
The option to go manual is simple enough with shutter speed and aperture controls on the body and lens along with the ISO being able to be easily adjusted from the menu. With the ability to change the function buttons to a wide choice, one of these could be assigned to the ISO function to change on the fly.
My function buttons are set with the top button (1) set to photometry, allowing me to swap between centre, spot and average metering. Buttons 2,3,4,5 are set for changing the focus point, button 6 is assigned to the inbuilt ND filter and button 7 is used for changing the shutter from mechanical to electronic, ideal in bright weather where you want shoot higher than 1/4000 of a second which the mechanical shutter is limited to.
In addition to this I change certain points on the quick Q menu for items I use frequently including the use of wide/teleconverter lens and face detection which is fast and works well.
All in all the X100T still provides an excellent package, given its relative age and is fast becoming my favourite camera for everyday personal use along with wedding photography work when I want to get close in on people without being too intrusive.
Of course as with all Fuji cameras a number of spare batteries are needed but after market batteries work relatively well and are inexpensive. No doubt a replacement will come along, the rumour mills are already in full tilt with talk of an X200, but for now the X100T is ideal for fun, for work and for being easy to carry around and use.