You can tell Fujifilm feels it’s in a good place with the X100 series because as it rolls out its third-generation model, the X100T, it’s mostly tinkering at the margins. As a successor to the popular X100S, the X100T is no bold redesign, but a considered upgrade that adds useful functions and design tweaks without unnecessarily reinventing the wheel. Together with co-tester David Patiño, we took the X100T for a spin.
The X100T boasts the same 16.3-megapixel APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS II sensor originally incorporated in the X100S. It also carries over the 23mm f/2 lens found on the X100S, delivering a 35mm full-frame equivalent focal length.
One of the major upgrades from the X100S is the display, which gets a resolution boost to 1,040k pixels and a size bump to 3 inches. Wi-Fi connectivity has been added, allowing you to pair with Fujifilm’s Camera Remote app. ISO sensitivity has also been improved, reaching an extended 51,200 (the native range of ISO 100 to 6400 remains unchanged). Also new is an electronic shutter, which lets you shoot at up to 1/32,000 sec. in complete silence.
The X100T makes only gentle modifications to the X100 series’ retro design. You’re now able to adjust aperture in 1/3 stops using the control ring around the lens. While it’s nice to have such fine-grained control and the ring itself turns securely at each stop, we’re not thrilled with the lens ring approach. The squat 23mm lens doesn’t protrude far enough away from the camera to give you a good handle on it, even with the new grips Fujifilm has added. We would have gladly disposed of the exposure compensation dial in favor of moving the aperture dial to the top of the camera, leaving the lens ring for focusing only.
Fujifilm also improved the top dials, giving them grooved patterns for a better grip. No complaints here. We do wish there was a dedicated video button, though. There’s a customizable function button at the top of the camera, which Patiño quickly programmed to record video, but it’s a second-best option.
As we said, Fujfilm is not messing with a good thing and fans of the image quality from the X100S will like what they see in the X100T. There’s one addition to the camera’s arsenal of film emulation modes, Classic Chrome, which we found to soften and deepen color tones. It’s a subtle effect, but one we appreciated.
Patiño took the camera into a snow-filled field for an impromptu shoot and found the skin tones produced by the X100T to be flawless, and the overall image quality to be excellent. Patiño said he enjoyed good results up to ISO 1600, and useable images at ISO 3200. He particularly liked the ability to use the camera’s built-in ND filter to shoot wide open outdoors.
Videos are recorded at 1920x1080p at either 60 or 30 fps and are definitely serviceable for an advanced compact. We liked that you can apply the camera’s film emulation to your videos as well, which is a nice touch.
One innovation that Fujifilm added to the X100 was an Advanced Hybrid Viewfinder that blends a rangefinder-style mechanical viewfinder with electronic overlays of data and focusing assistance. It’s a great feature for manually focusing the lens and with the X100T can now be used during video recording. The electronic viewfinder is now able to preview film emulations as well, though Patiño found it hard to justify squinting into the EVF at all since the 3-inch display is so gorgeous.
The camera starts quickly and is surprisingly quick shot-to-shot. Patiño found the autofocus to be very responsive and really liked the inclusion of focus peaking to aid in manual focusing. The fine-tuned manual controls definitely make the X100T a powerful creative tool.
As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Fujifilm’s incremental approach to upgrading the X100 series works for us, and we think it will work for anyone who digs the fusion of rangefinder-style operation, retro design and advanced features. If you own an X100S, we’re not sure if an upgrade is absolutely necessary—the larger, crisper display and Wi-Fi are nice, but not necessarily worth shelling out $1,300 for. If you own the original X100, we think you’ll find the X100T quite compelling.
Beyond those already in Fujifilm’s camp, we see the X100T appealing to photojournalists, street photographers and those looking for an advanced compact with plenty of room for creative experimentation.
PROS: Solid image quality; beautiful display; Hybrid Viewfinder aids in composition.
CONS: Aperture ring difficult to operate; no dedicated video recording button.