I’m going to approach this review from a different perspective than my review of the X100S, I’m going to look at this camera from a Street Photographers perspective. The camera is more than capable of being used for a number of photography disciplines and a quick visit to one of the X100T Flickr pages will give you some great examples of this. If you’d like to read the full review of the X100S, the previous version of this camera with the exact same image sensor and lens, you can click here.
The Free X100T Setup Guide Is Now Available (click here)
I’m no stranger to the X100 series having started the X100S challenge a couple of years ago (flickr page, X100s Challenge Article). If you read through my various experiences with the X100s over on PhotolisticLife.com you’ll notice I started off thinking the camera was just “another point and shoot” and by the end of the experience I was/am a huge fan of the camera and actually used it as my primary camera for the better part of a year.
When I review a Street Photography camera, really any camera, there are a few things that I look at that are what I would call “deal breakers”. These are the minimum requirements I have set for a Street Photography camera based on my needs and expectations. Things like high ISO image quality, overall image quality, intuitive control layout, speed, and build quality. Let’s take a look at the Fujifilm X100T:
Low Light PhotographyHigh ISO Quality
The first thing we will explore is the cameras capabilities in low light utilizing high ISO. If you’ve done a lot of Street Photography you’ll be intimately familiar with the wide range of available light from street to street, block to block. Often I’ll turn a corner and be in the shadow of a large building, enter a dimly lit subway, or walk through a pedestrian tunnel where light is scarce. You need a camera capable of shooting in all of these situations without missing a beat. There is nothing worse than having to avoid an area because of the limitations of your camera.
When I set up the X100T to put it through its paces I placed it on auto ISO (200-6400) with a minimum shutter speed of 1/125 (I wish it went to 1/250) auto-focus, and Aperture Priority*. I found that the camera did a fine job at selecting the ISO but obviously you still need to keep an eye on your shutter speed to make sure it doesn’t dip too far below 1/125. For the shot above I shot in manual mode with a shutter speed of 1/15 to blur everything except for the woman’s reflection in the subway car window.
*Setting the camera up in this way will make it as fast and accurate as possible. Be sure to turn off your auto-focus assist light in the settings if you use this set up. If you shoot after dark it’s better to pre-focus your camera and leave it in manual focus so the camera doesn’t have to hunt for focus.
At ISO 6400 the images exceeded my expectations. I recommend trying to over-expose in order to retain more sensor data (shadows don’t hold as much information as highlights do) when shooting at extreme ISO settings like this. The camera passed my high ISO test with flying colors. Obviously this is a rather subjective test, whether or not you’ll be happy with the level of detail at ISO 6400 is entirely up to you. For more high ISO image samples you can check out the sample galleries over at DPReview.com.
Overall Image QualityIs It Sharp Enough?
The X100T has the same basic sensor as the X100S and the X-T1 and it’s earned quite a good reputation as being one of the best 16 megapixel crop-sensors on the market. That’s saying something since it’s more than two years old. You won’t be disappointed with the image sharpness or color rendering capabilities of the X100T.
The camera struggles a little when shooting wide open close-up shots, like macro. Luckily, you won’t be doing much of that in Street Photography so where it’s important this camera shines. I have absolutely no complaints with the image quality that the X100T brings to the table.
Build QualityWill It Last?
The build quality is excellent, it’s heavy enough to feel like it could withstand minor bumps and bruises however I wouldn’t recommend it since the lens is fixed and if you bust it you’ll have to buy an entirely new camera. I don’t see any design flaws in the camera that could become a problem down the road, it looks as though it’s built to last. If I had one suggestion for Fuji I would say the camera could be a little larger (with a full frame sensor in a perfect world).
I added a Thumb Grip by Lensmate* that does not require screwing anything in but slides snug into the cameras hot shoe mount. If you carry the camera in your hand (with a wrist strap) then I’d highly recommend this, the grip on the camera isn’t very deep. Personally, I will most likely carry this camera with a neck strap because of its small and discreet size (more on that below).
*Using a thumb grip partially covers the drive button and the wheel below your exposure compensation dial. You can still get at them easily so it’s not a big deal but it’s worth noting.
I’m going to include button layout in the “Build Quality” section because it seems right. The button layout is very similar to the X100S with minor but good changes. There are more customizable buttons to access your key adjustments without having to enter the menu. The biggest changes I noticed are the directional buttons around the OK button (used to be a spinning wheel) and the wheel below the exposure compensation dial now spins (it used to just push from side to side).
SpeedWill You Miss A Shot?
The auto-focus on the camera is lightning fast, even in low light. All of the shots on this page were shot with auto-focus (don’t judge me) and I never missed a shot because focus couldn’t find a lock. With that being said, I did miss a shot because the camera took too long to wake up. This was my fault because I already knew the camera takes about a second to wake up and I normally half-press the shutter to keep it awake between shots (best solution I’ve found). If you half-press the shutter from time to time and keep the camera awake it is lightning fast.
Powering up the camera is actually slightly faster than waking the camera from sleep, I prefer not to do this between shots because I believe in eliminating as many steps as possible so I can focus on composing my shots. Even with the slight delay in waking up (hopefully it’s addressed someday) I would still recommend this camera, the aforementioned workaround renders the problem moot.
Overall ExperienceCan I Recommend It?
I really like this little camera, I like it so much that it will become my primary Street Photography camera from here on out. The size, image quality, and ease of use make this the perfect camera, in my opinion, for Street Photographers. The image quality is on par with that of the Leica (X100T has better high ISO capabilities) at a fraction of the cost (Leica $6,500 vs. X100T $1,200).
Seasoned Street Photographers will tell you that image quality takes a back seat to the content of an image in Street Photography. The sharpest photograph in the world of a boring scene is still a crappy image. I only mention this because up until the X100T I felt that my Nikon Df was the best Street Photography camera around because of its full frame sensor. What I realized is that the X100T can take the same or better images than the Nikon Df because it is smaller and more discreet allowing me to create more candid shots of my subjects. I found myself taking shots with the X100T that I would not have attempted with a larger camera, primarily because I was less worried about people reacting to the camera.
I just wanted to make a quick note about the conversion lenses. I purchased both and use neither. The primary reason I purchased the X100T was because of its small size. When you attach one of the conversion lenses the camera gets larger (obviously) and if I’m going to shoot with a larger camera I will just use my Nikon Df with multiple lens options. To each his own though, the image quality was not impacted by attaching either conversion lens… I was impressed.
There are two lenses available, a wide and a “telephoto”, 28mm and 50mm focal length equivalent. Both lenses work with the X100T even though (as of typing this) they both only say X100 and X100S.
Do you have any questions? If you’d like to know more about the X100T please feel free to leave a comment below or ask via the Facebook page.
Nice review! I have the X100S and considered “upgrading” to the X100T but I’m not sure I can justify the cost vs. new features.
I also had the same experience with the adapters. I but them, tried them out and never really used them. I would probably use them more if Fuji had:
1. Made them easier to mount
2. Put electronic contacts on the lens so the camera would automatically know the conversion lens was on without having to go into the menu
That’s just my $0.02.
Enjoy your X100T!
Great insight! I agree, the jump from the x100s to the X100T would be a tough choice. The biggest difference I notice (other than the slight design changes) would be the improvement in focus speed and ability to lock in low light (vs. the x100s).
X100T is very fast and in low light at ISO1600, 3200 is beautifull. ISO 6400 is very good for streetphotography and i often using it. I have X100T only two days but i shoot many testing photos on ISO 3200-6400 and iam surprised. T is amazing. For streetphotography, documentary, report,… For macro and details shooting I must setings on f4 for best sharpen, f2 is blured and very soft. But the details are very good. T is very usefull camera, it’s small, fast, make beautifull images and looks retro. I love X100T 🙂
Glad you are enjoying the X100T, it really is an amazing tool. Take care!
Hi John, thanks for the review. I wonder if you could explain your comments in the ‘Speed’ section where you say that the camera takes a second (!) to come out of sleep. When I tried it in a store, the camera seemed to go into sleep when it was away from the eye and a sensor would turn it back on when I put it up to my eye. This felt instantaneous.
I felt the camera was too fiddly in my hand, with placement of controls and a slippery, low-profile hand grip that meant it felt quite precarious.
So I’m still making up my mind. 🙂
Greg, the camera will auto shut off after a few minutes and that is when it will take a moment to restart. This isn’t a huge issue because you can feel it turn off (it’s a fairy faint vibration when hand holding the camera) and you can simply half press the shutter to restart the timer again. The size of the camera is its best and, for some, it’s worst feature. I use a wrist strap and thumb grip and never have an issue with accidentally dropping or feeling like I might drop the camera. In fact, lately I don’t use a strap at all and just carry it with the thumb grip. Right now I would say that the X100T is the best discrete street photography camera around because it’s lens is built in and so tiny. In the fall, winter, and spring I literally drop it into my coat pocket and it goes with me everywhere. My Nikon Df is one of the best cameras I’ve ever used but it’s not as discreet and doesn’t go everywhere with me because of its size. Good luck with your decision, let me know how you fair. Take care!
Thanks for your response. I’m very sensitive to camera power-up and wakeup-speeds and I’m glad that you (uniquely, as far as I know) have looked at this performance aspect. It is not discussed enough in reviews for street photographers.
I burned my fingers on a Panasonic DMC-LX3 a few years back. The reviews praised it highly, but nobody mentioned that the lens has to zoom out of the body on startup and wakeup, giving truly bovine activation times (1.5 sec if I remember right). Not to mention how long the camera system took to boot.
The size is probably not such a problem, it’s more the placement of controls, which means that I can’t find a secure to wrap my hand around it.
The X100T looks brilliant, and I think I will probably go for it with, as you mention, some kind of side strap. I do so much stuff where I currently can’t take photos. I use a Canon 5dIII and 1Dx – the former is pretty indiscreet on the street (these days anything bigger than a phone get people’s attention) and the latter has never left the studio.
Hello, thanks for your review. I really like what I see on reviews about this camera. I have a full frame Nikon, but feel like it’s too bulky to bring for street shots on everyday bases. Fuji X100T seems like the perfect fit. Just one question, I would like to also use it for taking photos of my toddler son, who obviously moves quite a bit. The Nikon is just too impressive for him so every time I try to take a shot, he just stops doing whatever and I’m thinking that the Fuji would be much more discreet. Do you think the AF on this Fuji is quick enough to not miss a shot with moving subjects like these little monsters? 😉
Hello! Yes, I think the auto focus is fast enough… I use it for street photography and as you know there are moments that slip by very quickly and the X100T never misses a beat. My wife uses it to photograph her 2 year old niece and 3 year old nephew with great results. If you shoot RAW you won’t lose much dynamic range over your Nikon either, my primary camera is the full frame Nikon Df which I regularly shoot at ISO 6400 with, the x100t at ISO 6400 is hard to discern from the full frame Df. It’s very impressive, I think you’ll be happy. The X100T has drive mode that is incredibly fast, you can turn all sounds and lights off so your toddler won’t even know you’re taking their photograph.