Fujifilm's FinePix X100 was a
game-changer, with its large image sensor, fast prime lens, hybrid
viewfinder and rangefinder-style retro look. It likely ignited the
"retro" trend in the camera industry three years ago and the
third-generation X100T is finally here.
On paper, it shares the same 16.3-megapixel X-Trans APS-C CMOS
sensor, EXR Processor II image processor and Fujinon 23mm f/2.0 (35mm
equivalent of 35mm format) fixed lens with its X100S predecessor.
Notable improvements include an ultra fast electronic shutter with
shutter speed as fast as 1/32,000 sec (which is the world's fastest,
according to Fujifilm), a bigger and higher resolution 3-inch LCD
monitor, seven customisable "function" buttons, built-in Wi-Fi,
sensitivity settings up to ISO 51,200 and a new Classic Chrome film
simulation mode for muted tones and deeper colours.
However, the biggest improvement is on the advanced hybrid viewfinder.
Like its predecessors, the hybrid viewfinder is able to toggle
between electronic viewfinder (EVF) and optical viewfinder (OVF) modes,
simply by pushing a small lever in front of the camera.
Now, the OVF comes with real-time parallax correction that moves the
optical finder frame during focusing, just like what the old
rangefinder cameras used to do.
Plus, you can now perform manual focus more accurately, as the OVF
will simultaneously show the focus area in a separate display on the
bottom right corner of the viewfinder window. Just push the lever to
your left to get into this mode, turn the lens focusing ring and watch
as the area in the corner comes into focus.
In addition, the EVF also has reduced screen lag, automatic
brightness control and a new Live View feature with wider dynamic range.
If you are wondering why anyone would want to switch between OVF and EVF modes, it is because both have their plus points.
The OVF mode works better under bright light conditions and has no
screen lag. On the other hand, the EVF mode works better in situations
when the glare would be unbearable, such as a sunset.
With its die-cast magnesium alloy chassis, the X100T retains the
sturdy and solid build of its predecessors. The slight protruding
right-hand grip allows for a comfortable grasp of the camera.
While it is not as bulky as a DSLR, it is not as small and slim as
prosumer compacts. Still, it is quite lightweight, tipping the scales
at 440g. Together with the prime lens and small form factor, this is
one camera I would recommend for street photography.
On the top is the shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial, a Function button and shutter release.
In front, there is the aperture ring for changing the aperture from
f/2.0 to f/16. Luckily, both the shutter speed dial and aperture ring
have an Auto setting, for those who want simplicity on those fronts.
On the rear right side, the wheel dial of its predecessors has been
replaced by four directional buttons. Each button can also be
customised for quick access to settings you desire. If you have ever
handled a rangefinder or manual camera before, the handling of the
X100T will feel as superb.
Operation-wise, this camera is pretty fast, needing just 1sec for
start-ups and shutdowns. Using an SD card with a writing speed of 45MB
per second, the X100T was able to shoot 7 RAW images in 0.9sec before
the buffer ran out.
Autofocusing (AF) is almost instantaneous in bright sunlight. In dim
lighting conditions, it takes up to 2sec to secure a focus, with the
aid of AF assist light.
Such amazing AF performance was not present with the original X100, so the AF for this has improved tremendously.
As you might expect, image quality here is excellent, with sharp
renditions of pixels, smooth skin tones and great dynamic range that
preserve plenty of details in the darker areas.
Noise performance is superb with no visible noise artefacts up to ISO 3,200.
Full high-definition videos are crisp and sharp. With continuous AF
switched on, the camera was able to gain a sharp focus within 2sec
during a pan shot. On the downside, it did pick up a fair bit of
Battery life is average for its class, with 330 still images taken
on a full charge. In other words, be selective if you plan to shoot for
a full day.
My only complaint about the X100T is the lack of a built-in
protective lens filter. Without this filter, the lens is exposed to
dust and water once you remove the lens cap. While there is an optional
Protector Filter PRF-49S to mount on the lens, I would rather have it
there by default.
Image sensor: 16.3-megapixel X-Trans APS-C CMOS
Display: 3-inch LCD with 1,040,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots and optical viewfinder
Sensitivity: ISO 100 - 51,200
Shooting speed: Up to 6 frames per second
Lens: 23mm f/2.0 (35mm equivalent of 35mm format)
Weight: 440g (body with battery and memory card)
Value for money: 4/5
Battery life: 3/5