We8217;ve long been fans of Fujifilm8217;s mirrorless cameras, so when the X-T100 was announced it got us scratching our head a bit: is there space in the X-series line-up for an entry-level model which does things a little differently to its bigger brothers?
Power zoom lens attached to the front (it8217;s electronically driven, just like what Sony has offered in its E-mount Alpha models for some time), we donned the X-T100 on a short trip to see whether it8217;s up to task and logically fits into the Fuji range.
- Fujifilm X mount (for XF lenses)
- Built-in electronic viewfinder (0.39in, 2,360k-dot OLED)
- Tri-adjustable screen, with touch controls (3.0in, 1,040k-dot LCD)
First thing8217;s first: the X-T100 is an interchangeable lens camera, in that different Fujifilm XF optics can attach to the front for a different view onto the world; some are ultra wide-angle, some longer zooms, many are fixed focal length primes with fast apertures.
The power zoom that comes in the X-T1008217;s box is a bit of an oddity: its 12-45mm range isn8217;t far off the 24-70mm standard (it8217;s about 23-68mm in old money terms), but with a limited maximum aperture (f/3.5-5.6) there8217;s not as much control of light throughout this range as we8217;d like. Zoom all the way in, for example, and it8217;s f/5.6 at best, which not only limits blurred background control, but in dim conditions means the camera has to amp up the signal to create a proper exposure, which can affect overall image quality.
Furthermore this power zoom lens doesn8217;t have a physical aperture ring like many of the other XF lenses out there. For an entry-level camera that doesn8217;t necessarily matter, but as that hands-on, physical element of the Fujifilm ecosystem is lost, the X-T100 feels like an entirely different camera that8217;s sandwiched somewhere between beginner and pro, but not targeted at either.
Now this is, of course, all based on this lens. There8217;s nothing to stop you from buying other optics for the camera to get yet more out of it, but if you8217;re looking for that more traditional kind of control then, well, look to the X-T20 for just a little bit more cash. The camera with the smaller digits also has a better sensor, but more on that later.
Elsewhere the X-T100 does come fully featured on the screen and viewfinder front. The fact is has the latter built-in will be as much an appealing element as it may be a deterrent for some others; it8217;s a good finder, though, with ample resolution and helpful for when sunlight is too bright.
The built-in LCD screen may look like a normal one, but it8217;s built on a tri-adjustable bracket, which means it can be pulled away from the body for waist-level and over-head work in both portrait and landscape orientation. No other maker offers this kind of versatility, although we would rather a screen that could flip around on itself to be stowed to avoid scratches, as we find Fuji8217;s hinge for the portrait orientation pull-out is a bit too fiddly.
Top down the X-T100 has a smattering of dials: there8217;s a Film Simulator to one side; a mode dial, exposure compensation and function (Fn) button to the other side, surrounding the shutter button. You can set these to Auto and fire away without making any adjustments, choose a pre-set shooting mode, or take full manual control of everything.
The pre-set modes do feel a bit like a compact camera mode dial creeping into a more serious camera, though, and we don8217;t think they fit into the mix especially well. There8217;s no onus to using them, nor any great instruction about when and how they could be useful (there8217;s a small description and image that appears on screen, such as 8220;Landscape: for clear scenic shots8221;, but that8217;s all).
Special modes excused for the time being, the X-T100 has what sounds like a capable autofocus system. With a total of 91 points dotted across the screen, it8217;s possible to select one, an area/group, and move the focus area around using the touchscreen or other controls. Resizing the focus point is easily controlled by the rear thumb dial, whether you want a small crosshair or much larger area.
Problem is, we8217;ve found the X-T1008217;s autofocus to be the poorest performer on a Fujifilm X-series camera to date. Maybe it8217;s the fault of the lens, maybe it8217;s a mixture of factors, but we8217;ve not been getting the in-focus rate as we would expect from such a camera. A half depress of the shutter button will illuminate the focus area in green to confirm focus, but even then we8217;ve had some scenes 8211; from moderately close-up flowers to farther-away buildings 8211; be out of focus in the final shot. As you won8217;t always see this on the small rear screen, that8217;s resulted in some throw-away images, which is a shame.
Continuous autofocus isn8217;t up to much either, while the up-to 6fps burst shooting is fine but not the super-rapid form of other X-series cameras. Sport mode doesn8217;t put the camera into either of these settings, for whatever reason, which is somewhat baffling.
Now, when the X-T100 is on point with its focus 8211; and, in fairness, it8217;s taken plenty of good close-ups and wider-angle landscape shots in our hands 8211; can create good-looking, sharp enough images. That power zoom lens isn8217;t a patch on Fuji8217;s prime optics by any means, but these could be considered for future purchase nonetheless.
- 24.2 million pixel sensor, APS-C size
- Standard primary colour filter (not X-Trans CMOS, like other X series models)
- Video capture: Full HD (1080p) at 60/50/24fps; 4K (UHD) at 15fps
When it comes to image quality the X-T100 also does things differently from its X-series family. While the majority of Fuji8217;s mirrorless cameras use what8217;s known as an X-Trans CMOS sensor 8211; which has a patented and unusual colour array over its top for sharper results 8211; the X-T100 has a 8220;normal8221; CMOS sensor with a normal colour array. In essence, this setup is more akin to its competitors, which, in some respects, sees the X-T100 miss out on one of Fujifilm8217;s biggest unique sells.
Does this make for bad images? Not at all. The X-T100 is capable in a number of areas, with the potential to be better still with the right lenses attached up front. For easy day-to-day shooting, the small-scale X-T100 will serve you fairly well and deliver high-resolution output.
The thing that really stands-out from a camera with a large sensor such as this is how good image quality can be in low-light conditions. Despite the power zoom lens8217; limits with aperture control, we8217;ve been shooting indoors and the camera has handled limited light really well by pushing the ISO sensitivity up. Were, say, a phone camera to do the equivalent the images would undoubtedly become mushy, but with the X-T100 even ISO 3200 has a great clarity and presence, without colour appearing overly washed out.
It8217;s not totally perfect, though. In addition to the mis-focus issues we8217;ve highlighted, the X-T1008217;s film modes can push colours too hard, while the lack of a particularly wide dynamic range is cause for blown skies and other such highlights. The ability to shoot raw files and make adjustments with its DR Auto (read: dynamic range auto) can help with pushing and pulling the balance of shadows and highlights.
On the video front the X-T100 sells itself as having 4K capture in the bank, but with a paltry 15fps capture here it8217;s not of much use. Full HD benefits from much smoother frame-rates, making this the more obvious choice.