Fuji X100T – our story
Our adventure with Fuji started roughly two years ago. Our friend wanted to sell a mint condition Fuji X-E1 for a reasonable price. I said ‘why not?’ forwarding that offer to Natalia. Her reply was hilarious: “why the hell we need this camera?! We have Nikon system!” My argument was that we needed something small and light, that can be used during street shots. She had finally accepted the budget. We got a compact size camera with a 50mm lens equivalent. I am not sure if Natalia loved X-E1, but it definitely left a good impression on me.
We were amazed with the images produced by this little ‘oldschool’ looking camera. JPG files didn’t require any further processing and RAW files were literally made of rubber even at the highest ISO values. We didn’t have a chance to spot a negative colour fringing of our pictures. Unfortunately it was not as perfect as we wished it. Fuji was not as quick as the DSLRs that we are using every day. The biggest disadvantage was the viewfinder. It made a task of taking pictures during a sunny day, nearly impossible. You will also notice a blackout of the viewfinder after pushing the release button. All in all our trip to South Stack in Wales was not so pleasant. Natalia struggled with the Fuji’s viewfinder while I carried D700 with 35mm lens.
We made a decision to sell X-E1 but what will be a replacement? An analog camera? obviously not a Canon. 🙂
How about an analogue Leica? I had this idea in my mind for a long time – 36 frames which force you to think and to use them in a right way – this is the core of the photography. I was nearly couple seconds away from placing a bid to finish an auction with Lecia M6 equipped with a standard lens. Luckily, Natalia convinced me that its not a time for an analogue system. M9 is bloody expensive so we started thinking which camera will possess the advantages of a rangefinder or an optical viewfinder. Fuji X100T was the only reasonable solution in case of price and the lens (23/f2). It has a perfect 35mm lens on full frame cameras which is used in 80% of all shoots we take, plus has the advantages of sensor colour and the optical viewfinder.
X100T – main features
I won’t spend here too much time to describe the quality of build, sharpness or ergonomics so I will jump into substantial features of this camera we experienced, which are either useful or annoying.
Main reason to buy Fuji was usage of the optical viewfinder. I have accidentally switched on the electronic one – it’s quality is amazing but completely useless for me. The optical viewfinder is great – the frame adjusts to the distance of the object to eliminate a paralax effect. This camera gives you a tough composition and framing lesson – you must imagine what you want to achieve. Think twice before releasing the button, because it is nearly impossible to take a good picture by a chance. Quite useful information is that real picture slightly exceeds marking frames.
We cannot compare autofocus with DSLRs because it is a not measurable value but on the other hand it is not so bad. You have to bear in mind a paralax effect which is affecting points which are detecting an object. Fuji measures focus not in the center of green square but in the white frame. Therefore there is a high risk of getting an out of focus shot. The hint in the camera settings – high performance shall be set together with the small ‘cheating display ‘. Those two settings make X100T way more accurate however the battery drains faster.
I am disappointed with a manual focusing due to the construction of the lens. Focus peaking in the viewfinder makes life easier, but the focus ring is interconnected with a motor which controls motion of the glass. In simple words you control a motor which is driving glases – indirect steering. Personally – it is a very odd experience.
X100T is waaaaay quicker than X-E1 and the accuracy is nearly as good (or bad) as Nikon D610 (D610 was the worst camera from Nikon in case of AF accuracy). Fuji is quiet and most people don’t know that you took a picture and behave more naturally. Being invisible is a myth but the discrete nature of this camera is a great asset & advantage.
I mentioned earlier, that a substantial weakness of Fuji is its battery. Therefore in the high performance setting it allows you to take about 250 pictures. Some of you may say “buy more batteries” and I fully agree, but my old buddy D700 allows 1200-1500 shoots on one battery (and I have 4 off them!). Other thing is that we do not take thousands of pictures with Fuji but every exposure is unique and it allows to decrease volumes of materials we have from reportages.
We used the X100T every day and plan to use it for a wedding reportage as a true test to prove if it will be successful or an epic fail. Undoubtedly the output files make post processing more effective. On the other hand will I prefer to struggle with relatively poor colours from D700 but have sharpness in the right place, as opposed to 90% of pictures from Cannon 5D with a focus in the middle of nowhere! Regarding the Fuji – so far so good. We tested it on streets and the results are good. You can see some samples below (of course after a processing).
We had an opportunity to test our Fuji during a wedding which we will post on our blog soon. I have to mention that Fuji saved us during the ceremony in the Town Hall. The clerk informed us that we could not move or take any pictures during oath. Therefore our DSLRs limited us due to their loud mirror mechanism. We were very lucky to have the Fuji in our bag! It is a noiseless camera so we could shoot anytime. Frankly speaking it saved us and gave better pictures from the ceremony. Another great feature is the sensor, which possess very high dynamic range. Pictures in the full sun are better than those from D700 and colours are as good as from D750! We did a good choice. Fuji passed its true test and is a descrete tool.
I wish to test X-Pro2 at some point in the future. That will be a great experience to find out differences, improvements and explore Fuji lenses.
ISO 6400, f2.5, 1/42s
ISO 500, f8.0, 1/1250s
ISO 500, f3.2, 1/850s
ISO 2000, f4.0, 1/580s