The Finalists: Canon EOS M50, Fujifilm X-T100, Olympus PEN E-PL9
Most attention has been focused on Fujifilm’s higher-end X mount cameras as the company intensifies its campaign for the hearts and minds of pro D-SLR users, but there’s good stuff going on in the lower ranks too. The X-T100 is a deliberate attempt to woo smartphone users away from the dark side, so it’s more affordable than the X-T20 and has a feature set closer to the X-A5, but the result is a very appealing combination of compactness and capabilities. And, as we noted in our review, the value proposition is very hard to ignore.
Given the target audience, the X-T100 isn’t quite as ‘hard core’ traditionalist as the other X-T series models, although the external control layout is still essentially dial-based so there’s still a ‘real camera’ experience to be had. Importantly compared to the X-A5, there’s an EVF to complement the monitor screen, and it’s a 1.0 cm OLED-type EVF with 2.36 megadots resolution so it works very well indeed. The monitor has a three-way tilt adjustment to allow the panel to be folded all the way around to the front of the camera for taking selfies or shooting video blogs. The 24.2 megapixels ‘APS-C’ sensor has a conventional Bayer-type filter arrangement (i.e. rather than the ‘X-Trans’ design), but Fujifilm knows a thing or two about extracting the maximum performance from smaller imagers so the X-T100 particularly impresses with its sharpness and definition, smooth tonal gradations, accurate colour fidelity across the spectrum and wide dynamic range. In particular, Fujifilm’s ‘Film Simulation’ profiles do a beautiful job of balancing ‘real’ and ‘perceived’ colour to give very pleasing results indeed. The high ISO performance is particularly praiseworthy.
The feature list also includes 91-point hybrid contrast/ phase-detection autofocusing, continuous shooting at 6.0 fps, built-in panorama stitching, five auto bracketing functions, multi-shot HDR capture, an intervalometer and both ‘4K Burst’ and ‘4K Multi Focus’ modes which capture 4K-res frames (roughly 8.3 MP in image size) at 15 fps.
There’s a lot here that novices probably won’t use, but it’s there for when they advance and, of course, also means the X-T100 appeals to the more experienced user on a tighter budget. It balances both these expectations exceedingly well, with its exceptional performance being the icing on the cake.