Cameras

Fujifilm X-T100 Review

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The X-T100 is by no means Fujifilm’s most advanced X-mount mirrorless camera yet, but it could prove to be one of its most important. That’s because it fills a crucial gap in the mirrorless market and takes on DSLRs at their own game.

Until recently, mirrorless cameras have fallen into two main groups: low-cost digital cameras with no viewfinders and simplified controls for smartphone upgraders, and altogether more advanced cameras with viewfinders for enthusiasts and pros, 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. This is a mirrorless camera that a relative novice can afford, but that has the handling and the potential to take them much further in their photographic journey than the average entry-level compact system camera.

In other words, it plugs that previously large gap between the cheap and cheerful X-A models and the beautiful but pricey Fujifilm X-T20.

Check Fujifilm X-T100 Price 

Key features

  • Sensor: 24.2MP APS-C CMOS, 23.5 x 15.7mm
  • Image processor: not quoted
  • AF points: 91-point hybrid phase/contrast AF
  • ISO range: 200 to 12,800 (exp. 100-51,200)
  • Max image size: 6,000 x 4,000
  • Metering zones: 256
  • Video: 4K UHD at 15p, Full HD at 60/50/24p
  • Viewfinder: EVF, 2,360K dots, 100% coverage
  • Memory card: SD/SDHC/SDXC (UHS-I)
  • LCD: 3.0-inch 2-axis tilting touchscreen, 1,040K dots
  • Max burst: 6fps
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth
  • Size: 121.0 x 83.0 x 47.4mm (body only)
  • Weight: 448g (with battery and memory card)

The specs are basic but effective. Inside the X-T100 is a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, not the same X-Trans sensor used in Fujifilm’s more expensive mirrorless cameras, but it does a great job nonetheless.

You do get 4K video capability, but it’s at a maximum frame rate of 15fps which, frankly, is no good to anyone. The X-T100 shares this dubious specification with the cheaper entry-level X-A5.

The continuous shooting performance is nothing special either, topping out at 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, however, it has a lot to offer. For a start, it comes Fujifilm’s celebrated Film Simulation modes, including PROVIA/Standard, VELVIA/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, 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 on to a computer. It has Fujifilm’s clever extended dynamic range settings, which juggle ISO and tone curve settings to capture a wider brightness range with fewer clipped highlights. And if you want to cover all the bases when you shoot, it offers auto-bracketing modes for exposure, Movie Simulation, dynamic variety, ISO and whitened balance.

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 configurations. If you like instant, in-camera effects, there’s also a sophisticated Filter mode with a range of different effects too.

The autofocus system appears to be the same 91-point hybrid phase- and contrast-detect system entirely on Fujifilm’s more advanced X-series cameras, so there are no compromises there.

Perhaps the most interesting feature, though, is the new XC15-45mmF3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens, first seen on the cheaper X-A5 model. 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 23-69mm in 35mm terms. You lose a little at the long end of the zoom range, but for most users, the wide-angle gain at the other finish of the range will be more than worth it.

Performance

We did find 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, typically one of the four directional control buttons on the back. When this happens you have to spend a moment cancelling a menu option or making sure you haven’t changed something important.

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 accidentally brushed against the screen. You’ll probably learn how to handle the camera differently to stop this happening, but it’ll be annoying until you do.

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 yourself a natural-looking rendition. We thought at first that maybe the screen was a little bright, but, in fact, it was at the default exposure levels. Many beginner-oriented cameras do tend to favour shadow areas to avoid dull-looking photos, but our X-T100 went a bit too far, a little too often.

It’s just as well you can apply for EV compensation via the dial on the top plate, then, but it would be better to have one set aside specifically for this purpose, and one that turns a little more easily (if you’re going to be using it a lot). You do get that with the X-T20, but then that’s a more expensive camera.

There’s nothing to complain about with the X-T100’s picture quality, though. 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 SilkyPix software program 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 – and this produced much more realistic and comparable figures.

What the laboratory results don’t show, though, is the particular Fujifilm ‘look’ of the images. The PROVIA/Standard Film Simulation mode is closest to a standard colour rendition, but even this has a particular vibrant yet natural look. If you like your colours super-saturated, it is possible to swap to VELVIA/Vivid setting or, for a slightly faded vintage vibe, choose Classic Chrome.

The dynamic range expansion mode is particularly effective for holding on to shadow and highlight detail in high-contrast scenes – and you get the benefit in the Raw files, too, not the JPEGs. It’s also possible to reduce the highlight or shadow tone settings for your in-camera JPEGs to exploit this extra dynamic range. With some canny digital camera settings, you can capture JPEGs with all the tonal variety you’d normally need to shoot Raw for.

The bundled XC 15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ is very good for an inexpensive kit lens. Like other mirrorless makers, Fujifilm embeds zoom lens correction profiles in the Natural files, so that you not only get distortion-free JPEGs but most Raw-conversion programs, including Adobe Digital camera Raw, will automatically apply the embedded correction too.

The lens also has a close-up capability that’s especially effective for pictures of flowers, insects and other small subjects. It’s a shame it’s only available at the lens’s shortest focal length, but that’s common with this kind of in-built macro feature.

The X-T100 doesn’t have Fujifilm’s advanced X-Trans sensor – what’s inside is just a regular CMOS sensor – nonetheless, it does benefit from Fujifilm’s colour science, so you really don’t see much difference. Aside from our misgivings about the exposure system, the X-T100 delivers sharp, saturated and very attractive pictures, both outdoors and indoors. And while it doesn’t have in-body image stabilisation, the kit lens does have a 3-stop optical stabiliser built-in, which seems very effective.

Check Out: Best Fujifilm X-T100 Lenses 

Verdict

Occasional overexposure and some too-easily pressed buttons are just minor annoyances. The X-T100 has a simple, classical design, a practical and compact kit lens, and a very effective control layout. The image quality is top-drawer too. It’s a comparatively low-price camera that feels like nothing of the sort.

Mirrorless cameras are often touted as the perfect choice for those upgrading from a smartphone, but while basic models are cheap, it’s definitely worth paying that little bit extra to get a camera with a viewfinder, and the X-T100 makes that option just a little bit more affordable.

Check Fujifilm X-T100 Price 

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