The week before Christmas, Fuji Canada sent me an X100T, an X-T1, the 56mm f/1.2 and the 23mm f/1.4. Don't worry, they are not giving them to me. This is just a loan so I can play a bit and tell you what I think about them. I will start with the Fuji X100T since it is the one I used the most. Two weeks is still short to get a good idea.
For those who already know me, my reviews are more from the guts than the brain. I'm always wondering why because at the core, I'm a nerd. I'm the guy who was always arguing with the math or science teacher when I thought they made a mistake in their explanation. I should be the guy who drools when he sees a tech analysis with MFT charts and spreadsheets. I must admit I was once a bit like that. It must be a part of getting old: you don't get blindly fixated on just one part of the equation. The other part is getting lost in thoughts, not knowing where I was going with that. Anyway! I use a camera and I tell you what I think about it.
First Impression and ergonomics
What was my first thought when I took the X100T in hand? It's slippery a bit. Maybe it's because there isn't a thumb rest but I almost drop it when I got it out of the travel case. The lens was shorter than I remember too. Fuji did a really good job on making it that thin. It's a really beautiful camera. I like its retro look but what is nice is it helps its usability. You can go for the look just for the sake of it. Fuji went for the look but they gave back the control of the camera to the photographer. You can say I'm archaic (even though I'm not that old), but that's one thing I was missing from my old film camera: useful controls!
The Fuji X100T is doing a very good job on that part with an aperture ring, a shutter speed dial and an exposure compensation dial. All that is missing is an ISO dial (which is present on the X-T1). The dials are nice and firm. The buttons on the back are a bit small but easy to reach. I do have a problem with the Fn button on the top though. I don't remember how many times I hit it by mistake while handling the camera or trying to reach the shutter. Since it was set to record movies, I had many little clips on my card. It is a minor annoyance though.
While having a pancake lens is great to carry the camera, it becomes a problem when you try to change the aperture. When I got the Panasonic LX100, I thought it was strange that it had the aperture ring in front of the focusing ring. After two weeks with the X100T, I know why. I'm sure the guy who designed the LX100 was a Fuji X100 shooter before. That aperture ring is a pain to reach and change. The focusing ring is nice to the touch, but not that nice to use. When you turn it, it goes by step and with a little lag. It's hard to use it without having some part of your hand in front of the camera. I would definitely not try focus pulling or rack-focusing with that camera.
The LCD and EVF are really good. I'm so used to EVF now that I did not use the OVF. I tried it once and it seems nice but I prefer EVF. They are tough to use in bright sunlight though. When I was trying to use the EVF in bright sunlight, it was often switching back to the LCD. It looks like my glasses were reflecting the sun into the eye sensor, and fooling it to think there was nothing there. The eye sensor is recessed instead of being on the same plane as the back of the EVF. That might be the problem. I did not try to set different sensibilities to test that problem though. I was playing outside with the kids so I did not have time to bother with that.
Usage and Image Quality
I tried a Fuji X100 when they came out a few years ago. The X100T is in another world when you compare the autofocus. As long as the light is good, this camera focuses very fast. Face detection works well too. In low light, the AF speed goes down quite a bit. Sometimes, it gives me the green square telling me it nailed the focus when there is absolutely no part of the image in focus. It does that less than the X-T1 though. The Fuji X100T's autofocus is not as good as the Panasonic LX100, but it is quite acceptable and it is getting really close to it.
The images that comes out of this camera are awesome. The biggest strength of the Fuji X100T is its sensor. There is some magic behind this. When I was shooting analog, I had a soft spot for Fuji's films. They were able to make the transition to digital while keeping this something special. I especially like the new Classic Chrome color profile. I like it so much that I replicated it in Lightroom for my LX100 and GX7 (news on that soon). When it comes to taste, it's always tough to rationalize. You like it or you don't. Me? I love the Fuji colors and the smooth bokeh of the X100T. The lens is not razor sharp wide open but it is sharp enough to my taste.
Here are some of the shots I made during the last two weeks.
I probably have a lot more to tell about the Fuji X100T but it will have to wait. It's Sunday night and I want to publish tomorrow morning. You know how it goes in the Holiday season: Time flies and your deadlines smash you in the face. I don't mind too much though. My family always comes first and we had fun over the Holidays. Let's say this post is the first part and you will be able to read the second part next week... probably... lol.
Have a nice week. Tomorrow is my last day with the kids before school takes over on Tuesday. I'm not sure yet what we will do since we had a nice 8 inches of snow overnight followed by a flood today. We'll try to find something fun to do. :)