Still loving the Fujifilm X100T

A quick mirror selfie as I’m heading out to work for the day. Fujifilm X100T rocking “The Henri” camera strap from Eric Kim.

I’ve owned and used my Fujifilm X100T for about a year and a half now. 99.9% of my personal photos are shot with it (the other 0.1% are shot with my iPhone 6 Plus). I carry it with me practically every day.

It also accompanies me on all client gigs. I have it partly as a third backup to my two DSLRs, partly as a lightweight and quiet option for when I’m tired of hefting a DSLR with a large pro lens up to my face, and partly to see what I can do with it in a work situation.

I raved and ranted about the X100T nine months ago (“Why the Fujifilm X100T is my favorite camera”), and my thoughts haven’t changed much. I still love the camera. Any quibbles I had with it are now considered quirks.

The X100T is still my favorite camera, and here are some reasons why (in no particular order).

The warmup crew waits for the race horses at Emerald Downs. Auburn, WA.

Beautiful image quality.

First and foremost, I love the image quality I can get from the X100T. The colors look natural straight out of camera, even in mixed lighting. When compared with my DSLRs, I find that I rarely have to fix the white balance with my X100T images. Fuji got things right when it comes to color rendition.

The film simulation modes and high-quality JPEGs give me a wide variety of creative options when I don’t feel like working on the images in post. I know a lot of people love the Classic Chrome film simulation, but I’m more of a Provia and Velvia guy. I prefer brighter, more vibrant colors when shooting in color. I also love the Monochrome+R simulation with additional punch in the blacks and whites.

The raw files offer me plenty of latitude when I do feel like playing around in Lightroom or Photoshop. In the many instances where I’ve horribly underexposed images (shooting with the optical viewfinder and forgetting to adjust exposure or shooting with lots of backlight), I was able to pull 3–4 stops of light in Lightroom to recover the photos without any noticeable degradation of image quality.

A woman reads at Still Liquor. Seattle, WA.

Lightweight, compact, and silent.

This is one of the original reasons I bought the X100T in the first place. It’s a small camera that is easy to hold and carry. I can throw it into any bag I carry or just sling it around neck. I don’t get sore carrying it around all day.

And then there is its near-silent operation. Of course, with the camera jammed up to my face, I can hear the focus mechanism and the shutter (even when in silent mode), but no one else around me can hear those. It’s perfect for being unobtrusive and discreet during quiet moments, like when someone is speaking in a quiet room.

External dials for speed and ease-of-use.

Part of the charm of the X100T is controlling exposure settings via external dials. It’s a very old-school mindset, and I have no problem with it.

I really like setting aperture and shutter speed on the dials and having them stay put. One of things I hate on my DSLRs is the front and back dials get bumped all the time when I’m working, and my exposure settings change constantly.

I especially like the exposure compensation dial. I change exposure compensation more than anything else when I’m out shooting, and using the dial is so fast and fluid. It’s right by my thumb, so I don’t have to do any sort of fiddling to change settings. On my DSLR, I have to hold down a button with one finger while spinning a dial with my thumb. Such a pain (totally a first world problem).

Rain Fest NW attendees wait in line for Monster Dogs outside of Neumos in Capitol Hill. Seattle, WA.

One focal length.

The X100T’s 23mm focal length (35mm full-frame equivalent) is perfect for me. Not too wide. Not too long. Wide enough to get environmental shots. Long enough that I can get nice portraits without too much distortion.

Even though I use zoom lenses for my client work (I really do need to flexibility to shoot from 24mm all the way out to 200mm), prime lenses are actually a breath of fresh air. There is no need to worry about whether not something will look good as a wide angle shot or if I can get in tight enough for closeup. Being “limited” by a single focal length actually allows me concentrate on the photo itself. I know what my shooting distance and framing allows. I can find images that fit what the lens can do.

Wide and tele converters.

Of course, there are times when I do want to change the focal length, and that’s where the WCL-X100 wide-angle and TCL-X100 tele converters come in. The wide converts gets me to about 19mm (28mm FF-equivalent); the tele converts gets me to around 35mm (50mm FF-equivalent). These screw-on converters are awesome. The wide-angle converter is great for landscapes, tight spaces, and fun wide-angle closeups. The tele-converter is excellent for portraits and head shots. I keep both converters in my daily bag, so I can pop one on the camera if needed.

Pigeons take flight in Chinatown. Seattle, WA.

Hybrid viewfinder.

Much has been written about the X100-series’ hybrid viewfinder. It’s one of the features people constantly rave about with the X100 series and the X-Pro series. I’m a big fan of it.

Admittedly, I use the EVF more frequently, because it’s tough to argue against seeing exactly what your exposure and colors will look like. I do switch to the optical viewfinder when I’m out and about on the street and when I’m shooting with off-camera flash (it is such a hassle to turn of exposure preview in manual exposure mode).

Leaf shutter.

Speaking of off-camera flash, the X100T’s leaf shutter allows me to sync off-camera flashes at up to 1/1000th of a second. That is HUGE. Most DSLRs are limited to 1/200 or 1/250 (not counting proprietary flash systems like Nikon’s Creative Lighting System).

There is nothing quite like shooting a portrait outdoors in bright light with the lens wide-open at f/2 and a couple of small flashes. If it’s still too bright, I can just enable the X100T’s built-in 3-stop neutral density filter. I have daylight-killing power that fits into a small bag. Love it.

I talk a bit more about this in my post about business portraits with Ryan.

View story at Medium.com

Built-in WiFi.

It is entirely too cool to be able to wirelessly transfer photos from my X100T to my iPhone, do a few quick edits, and then share to social media within a few minutes. I used this at a few gigs this year to share teaser images within minutes of taking them. Great for my clients wanting to maintain interest and buzz. Great for me to be able to share images without being tethered to a laptop.

Lazlo chills under the table. Seattle, WA.

And now, the quibbles…

As much as I love the camera, things are not 100% peachy with the X100T.

The camera takes too damn long to wake up. Yes, I’m comparing to the wake up times on my DSLRs (which are near instantaneous even from completely off), but it is extremely frustrating to miss a shot when the camera went to sleep while I was walking around and I hadn’t tapped the shutter button in a few minutes.

Battery life is shit. I have to constantly check the battery level to make sure I have enough juice to take photos. It’s not the worst I’ve seen, but I do have to keep at least one or two extra batteries on me if I’m out for a day of shooting.

I wish the X100T had an ISO dial. For a camera with such an analog feel, this one aspect is very much digital. I dislike having to use a function button to bring up the ISO menu. I can live with it though, because I don’t change ISO that frequently. Auto-ISO is my friend.

An elderly woman walks down Jackson Street in the International District. Seattle, WA.

I also wish that there was a distance scale and depth of field scale around the focus ring. I know that’s not how the camera was engineered, but I would like to be able to set focus based on distance without having to look in the viewfinder.

I wish the X100T had dual SD card slots. Never hurts to have backups of your work. It’s also nice to split RAW and JPEG files between two cards. It’s a nice-to-have, but it is handy. (I know the X-Pro2 and X-T2 have this feature, but I really shouldn’t get a new camera… yet.)

The conversion lenses are not automatically detected. I completely understand why this happens — the lenses have no electronics in them and just screw onto the camera — but I often forget to switch conversion lens settings (these handle distortion and EXIF data).

Turning off exposure preview in manual mode is a pain in the ass. I have to dig through multiple menus to turn it off (required for OCF work), and there is no way to assign to the Q-menu or a function button.

And that’s about it for the quibbles.

The Pines Club at Marymoor Park. Redmond, WA.

Still loving the X100T.

The X100T may not be the fastest nor most flexible camera out there, but it totally works for the way I shoot. Great image quality. Perfect size for carrying every day. Controls that suit the way I think and work. Just an all-around great camera.

I have been tempted by the X-Pro2 and now the X-T2, but I don’t think either of those can replace my X100T. I have fun shooting with my X100T. It has never once felt like a work camera with all of the options I need to get the job done (it is totally capable though). I just focus on taking photos with the X100T.


All images photographed with my Fujifilm X100T. Editing and metadata handled with Photo Mechanic. Toning and retouching done in Lightroom CC with VSCO Film and Mastin Labs Film Packs.

Check out my other posts here on Medium and over on my Instagram account for more photos taken with my X100T.

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