£619/$699 (with 15-45mm lens) The X-T100 combines style, value and a viewfinder at a price that’s lower than you’d expect www. fuji film. co.uk
The new baby in Fujifilm’s mirrorless X range is here – we see what it can do
The X-T100 is by no means Fujifilm’s most advanced X-mount camera yet, but it fills a crucial gap in the mirrorless camera market and takes on DSLRs at their own game.
Until recently, mirrorless cameras have fallen into two main groups: low-cost cameras with simplified controls for ‘smartphone upgraders’, but no viewfinders; and altogether more advanced cameras for enthusiasts and pros, with electronic viewfinders and other features, but with a price tag to match. What the X-T100 does is bring that DSLR-style ‘viewfinder’ experience down to a much more affordable price. The specs are basic but effective. Inside the X-T100 is a 24-megapixel APS-C CMOS non-X-Trans sensor. You do get 4K video capability, but it’s at a maximum frame rate of 15fps which, frankly, is of little use to anyone. (It will shoot at the Full HD resolution at regular frame rates, though.) The continuous shooting performance is a reasonable 6fps, but with a buffer capacity of just 26 JPEGs. If you shoot at a slower 3fps, the X-T100 will keep going until the
memory card is full, but it’s clearly not a sports specialist.
As a camera for novices and enthusiasts to experiment and learn with, the X100 it has a lot to offer. For a start, it comes Fujifilm’s celebrated Film Simulation modes, including Provia, Velvia, Astia, Classic Chrome, Pro Neg (Hi and Std) and Monochrome (with different ‘filter’ options) – though not the black-and-white Acros mode found on more upmarket models.
It can also shoot raw files, of course, and offers in-camera raw conversion for those who don’t want to wait until they can get their images onto a computer. If you’re not confident with the technicalities yet, there’s an Advanced SR Auto mode, which analyses each scene and picks the most appropriate focus and camera settings. If you like instant in-camera effects, there’s an Advanced Filter mode for that too.
Perhaps the most interesting feature, though, is the new XC1545mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens, first seen on the cheaper X-A5 model (reviewed last issue). This is a compact power zoom lens that retracts when it’s not in use, to take up less space. It also offers a wider angle of view than
the average kit zoom, with an effective focal range of 22.5-67.5mm in fullframe terms.
Build and handling
From the front, the X-T100’s design is classic and understated, and a million miles from the bulky bulges of a modern DSLR. It’s not much more complicated on the top, with a mode dial, a shutter release with a power switch around the outside, and two unobtrusive unmarked control dials.
This is where the X-T100’s layout departs from the models further up the range. Where they swap over to classic external dials for shutter speed, ISO and lens aperture (depending on the lens/body configurations), the X-T100 sticks to the usual digital camera convention of a main mode dial, with shutter speed, lens aperture and ISO settings adjusted via dials and on-screen displays.
Enthusiasts will be happy, though, because the X-T100 gives you not just one control dial (the usual setup for an entry-level or mid-range camera), but three. There’s a third on the back of the camera, used mainly for
“There’s nothing to complain about with the X-T100’s picture quality”
menu and settings navigation, but also for setting the lens aperture in Manual or Aperture Priority mode, and for zooming in in playback mode.
The touchscreen display works well, too. It’s used for camera control rather than menu navigation, and you can set it up for touch focus or touch shutter – it is quite handy to be able just to tap on a subject on the screen and have the camera take a picture in a single action.
This screen also has an unusual tilting action. It tilts up and down, which is perfectly common, but it also has a sideways hinge, which not only makes it great for low-angle portraits and other vertical shots, but also swings through a full 180 degrees for selfies.
The X-T100’s autofocus system is effective, but doesn’t feel especially responsive. It’s not slow, but it’s not fast either, and the mechanical sound of the shutter action is quite drawn out, which can make you feel like the whole process has been a little more sluggish than it actually is – but we are talking about quite small differences here.
The 15-45mm lens is a mixed blessing. Its small size is a major advantage and its wider-than-usual focal range is extremely useful, but its zoom-by-wire operation lacks the immediacy of a mechanical zoom.
We found a few niggling handling and performance issues during our testing. It’s actually quite hard to handle the X-T100 without accidentally pressing a button you didn’t mean to; and if you leave the touch shutter mode enabled, you can expect to get a few random shots of your feet, knees or blurry
passing scenery where your hands have brushed against the screen.
The metering system also seems prone to overexposure, and we had to dial in quite a lot of negative exposure compensation rather more often than we’d like to get a natural-looking rendition. It’s just as well you can apply EV compensation via a top dial, then, but it would be better to have one set aside specifically for this purpose, and one that turns a little more easily.
There’s nothing to complain about with the X-T100’s picture quality. Our lab tests show that its resolution, noise levels and dynamic range are on a par with the best of its rivals.
Normally, we test a camera’s image quality using raw files converted with the maker’s own software. In this instance, though, we found the bundled SilkPix software produced distinctly soft-looking images while inflating the X-T100’s noise performance. Instead, we used Adobe Camera Raw to convert the raw files for the lab measurements; this produced much more realistic and comparable figures.
What the lab results don’t show, though, is the particular Fujifilm ‘look’ of the images. The Provia Film Simulation mode is closest to a standard colour rendition, but if you like your colours super-saturated, you can swap to Velvia mode.
The bundled 15-45mm lens is very good for an inexpensive kit lens. While it doesn’t have in-body image stabilisation, it does have a three-stop optical stabiliser built-in, and this seems very effective.
It might not have a Fujifilm X-Trans sensor, but the X-T100’s CMOS sensor is very good.
The rear screen doesn’t just tilt up and down but has a sideways hinge too, so that you can angle the screen for vertical shots.