As a Leica photographer for me to be honest, it is hard departing from the rangefinder principle. Though a camera with autofocus is quite a tempting thing. For me Leica itself unfortunately offers no viable alternatives. Well, and so was actually only the new Fuji X100T worth to be tested. Fuji's X100T is the third generation (1st generation X100, X100S 2nd generation), and the camera has been further improved as they say. That was reason enough for me to test the new Fuji X100T. I wanted to find out whether image quality and handling are good enough to meet my needs. I had the camera since the beginning of December 2014 and would like to share my first experience.
There are different AF settings that affect the handling of the X100T. For someone like me who actually is not used to shoot autofocus systems it is quite a challenge. My pivotal question: What would be the right settings?
There are three settings for AF:
- single focus field called Vario-AF
- Automatic focus point selection called multiple-area AF
- AF face recognition - can be combined with the above two focus settings.
Combined with face recognition, subjectively it seems to me more advantageous if you increase the Vario-AF auto focus point to 150%. I have found the AFdeviated occasionally when I used the Vario-AF in combination with face detection, and was photographing in C mode (C = Continuous / AF-C).
Overall, however, I am quite happy with the performance. As a Leica photographer, I can say that I achieve comparable results to my M. The only difference is, if shoot with my M are out of focus, I know why and get disappointed about the missed motif. If I'm with the X100T out of focus it, then I have two reason to be annoyed, first about the "bad" autofocus and secondly for missed motif. The latter is human but not make things easier ...
The AF is superb in AF-S mode for still subjects or subjects moving slightly. However, if you switch to face recognition, the AF is occasionally deviated and the time to focus prpoerly takes longer. Similar to the large DSLR cameras Fuji offers AF menu allows to set the AF setting to focus priority or shutter priority. With the focus priority, the camera then dissolves before not even when you have so firmly presses the trigger and as already happened to me a thing or subject through their fingers.
The camera offers also a panorama mode. I must say it manages very well! The distortion is moderate and is only visible ind the corners. The stitching of the images is merely visible in the final JPG. A closer look in LR 5.7 shows off when playing with the exposure. However, this is not very helpful for image quality. Insofar as I can reccomend from a users point of view. I am not a pixel peeper. And compared to the iPhone panorama function of the Fuji is far better. Even if it only covers an angle of 120 °.
When handling the camera, I noticed that the factory-set button assignment is useful, with one exception. The selection/function buttom "up" is set as activatiing the macro function. I think that's quite impractical, for me at least, because I activated serveral times the macro mode with my thumb in a comfortable position. Most frequently it caused problems in focusing. So the macro mode was activated regularly when I wanted to take a picture, and the camera has not focused properly. Now that's not a big drawback since remapping of keys is easily done.
The macro camera performance at open aperture is moderate and the sharpness mediocre. Stopping down is critical for adeaquate sharpness. But depending on the subject you can achieve quite attractive effects.
The on-off switch is unfortunately very loose, too loose for me. So I switched on the camera more often than I wanted. Mostly when the camera went back in the bag it should remain off but it switched to on. I think that there is a need for improvement. Every time I take the camera in hand, the power button slips on the "on" position. Maybe it's because, how do I access the camera? I dont know. But this is something that really bothers me. I usually do not even realize it and that is what draines the battery relatively quickly.
The wheel for the exposure compensation fits comfortably tight. So accidentally exposure corrections didn't happen during my photo tours.
I can change the shutter speed on the small dial on the back of the camera. This is possible in manual and in the semi-automatic mode with fixed predetermined shutter speeds. These can be corrected two steps up or down. Unfortunately, the small wheel is so slacky that it shifts the setting times accidentally. Fortunately, the viewfinder indicates the changing by yellow numbers. In semi-automatic mode, however, it does not happen and the numbers remain blue.
The shop window to the world - the opto-electronic viewfinder
The viewfinder I really like. Not quite as big and clear as with my M cameras but still good enough to be able to photograph pleasantly. The magnification factor is about 0.5 and is thus again smaller than my Leica M, which is 0.68. It would be best in my opinion a factor of 0.85, which the old Leica M3 has. It is a pleasure and a treat for the eye. In the long run I think it's quite exhausting to use it. Very positive I find the diopter compensation that can be set by a small wheel next to the viewfinder. There are nine levels adjustable I guess. Starting at -2 diopters over 0 to +2 diopters. I suppose that there are 9 steps, each counting in 0.5 diopter increments. I have found out, because I've probably done something wrong and somehow everything looked blurry. And to find the correct setting, I have slowly dialed back and forth to find my right setting.
Manual focus can be operated via a digital cut-view, the electronic viewfinder or with the mini image bottom right of the viewfinder. The different modes I like very, very good. For my image composition the optical viewfinder I like the best. For manual focus, however, the electronic viewfinder is essential. Three options for focusing, one of which is my absolute favorite: I have the following setting: optical viewfinder and MF-Point control ON. Composition with the optical viewfinder to focus using the electronic viewfinder (100% crop). If there was the chance to do it another way i.e. crop-factor less than 100% it would be pretty nice. If anyone knows better, tell me I!
The digital cut-image (superimposed in black and white) is much too dark for me personally, whether in daylight or in the dark. I have frequently back focussed except for geometric structures. I think there is still a need for optimization.
The manual focus with the electronic viewfinder works very well, even in difficult conditions.
The focusing response time in my opinion, is very good. Electronically controlled to not as fast and accurate as Leica lenses but fast enough spontaneously take photos even in the dark conditions.
But here it is noticeable that when focusing only an enlarged image detail is visible what makes the picture composition relatively difficult in direct comparison to Leica. When setting the manual focus that only a small image pops up bottom right in the viewfinder, I can overview the situation quite well what simplifies image composition. However, my eye is always wandering between picture and the little popup image in the viewfinder. In this respect, I stuck to my favorite, the electronic viewfinder during focusing. When I push the shutter button the digital image disappears entire scene in the optical viewfinder becomes visible. And when the focus ring is moved again, the enlarged image detail reappears.
In addition to the handling, I would like to say a few words about the image quality. As a Leica user, I know what image quality means to me.
Of course I'm pretty curious how the X100T performs at open aperture. That is one reason why I have taken a lot of images at maximum aperture. For the result I am quite satisfied. After all, it is a very compact camera, and the center sharpness is very good, while significantly decreases towards the corners.
The ISO quality of Fuji X100T is convincing, I have no regrets It provides perfectly satisfying results. I have exposed my images up to 3200 ISO. In my view, it is not necessary to go higher. Even at this high ISO number, the dynamic range is so good that you can push up to three steps in LR 5.7. The dynamic range of the APS-C sensor is outstanding. Here Leica could still learn from Fuji!
The camera is rather a lightweight hence even long exposure times are easy to achieve. A quarter of a second is my personal limit.
Pros & Cons
And a little rain shower withstands the new baby without major damage and runs perfectly.
I have the impression that the white balance has been adjusted by itself! The issue with the buttons and settings I have treated above. If I'm traveling with more than one camera, I always hang the X100T around my neck. To make spontaneous photos of course it is always on. Perhaps it has adjusted the white balance somehow while wearing. I honestly do not know. Overall I have the impression that the firmware is a little buggy and the camera somehow has its own life. Double exposure is great but works only for jpg images! Since the good image quality I don't really care for that.
The new Fuji X100T is a camera that offers unequaled opportunities. The image quality up to ISO 3200 and even pushed by two to three stops, the raw files work flawlessly.
The automatic face recognition I find okay, and I would appreciate some improvement though. The focus sometimes misses the goal. Except photos of stationary people. Since it's pretty neat. But as soon as a person moves or persons not alined (viewed on the sensor side) the AF starts of pumping, and the focus jumps back and forth constantly. That makes me nervous, interferes with the art work and also leads to blurry photos. However, I can recommend the camera to anyone who likes photography. With the many settings the camera can easily get personalized and adapted to individual needs. She fits well in the hand and the image quality is beyond my expectations.
I personally think the colors are slightly pale in comparison to my Leica images. But that's not really bad and can be tweaked quickly in LR. Only the lens needs some improvement to reach the Leica level. Less blurry at corner would be highly appreciated. Ideally, however, a Fuji X100T with the opportunity to mount M-Lenses would be great. But that probably isn't the interest of Fuji since the has the X-Pro1 which's predecessor seems to be under way... and maybe I will test it when it has been released.
This is my first Fuji and my first review. I am very impressed and satisfied with this Asian photographers tool. Whether I'm going to keep it or sell it; I do not know yet. Maybe when the X-Pro2 has been released. Who knows?
As a Leica photographer I have quite a lot of compromises with the Fuji. And as pure photography is with a Leica M the X100T isn't. Even though it's pretty damn close to it.
Last but not least talking about the price to pay for this beast. The Fuji X100T I think is worth every penny. Compared to the money one needs to by a Leica, haha, this is another dimension... So if you are lurking around and don't have the money available for a Leica plus one lens the Fuji X100T is a camera you should definitely go for. When you like rangefinder shooting, this tool is a low cost starter...
Als Leica Fotograf fällt es mir, ehrlich gesagt, schwer vom Messucher-Prinzip abzuweichen. Aber ein Fotoapparat mit Autofokus ist schon eine verlockende Sache. Leica selbst bietet leider keine brauchbaren Alternativen, die mich ernsthaft interessieren…