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First Impressions: The Fujifilm X-100T is a Subtle but Significant Upgrade

Fujifilm X-100T @ 23mm. 1/800th sec f/4 @ ISO 400. Chinatown Vancouver

I finally have the new Fujifilm X-100T in my hands. It feels familiar, and it should. It’s basically the same as the X-100S with subtle exterior upgrades. So subtle that many reviewers didn’t mention some of them. However, for an X-100 shooter, it’s the subtle upgrades that will help you shoot faster and with more confidence. This isn’t the X-200, so don’t expect any extreme upgrades. Yes, an articulating screen would have been nice, but focusing on upgrading the hybrid optical-electronic viewfinder was a good idea. Concentrate on what makes you different, and not what everyone else is doing. Almost every manufacturer is abandoning the optical viewfinder (except higher end DSLR’s and Leica M rangefinders). Fuji is investing in this older technology, but improving upon it. This is good news. My first impression so far is that this is a must-have camera for those who love to shoot through optical viewfinders and also those who love Fuji X-series cameras. Let’s take a quick look…

Let’s focus on the major upgrades and changes on the new T that differentiates it from the the S and other X series cameras:

-unique optical viewfinder mode with a built in EVF mini window to help focus and check exposure
-projected frame lines for parallax correction in OVF mode.
-vertical info in EVF mode (but not in OVF)
-normal rear 4 way controller that’s fully customizable. No more weird wheel from X-100(S)
-drive mode button moved from left side of LCD to the left of the thumb wheel
-Q-button moved below the AF/AE button. Again, easy thumb access.
-a real push button thumb wheel on back. Huge improvement to navigate controls
-1/3 stops for aperture (for me, this is a BIG minus, but I’ll explain later)
-major firmware and menu control upgrade (identical to X-30 and similar to X-T1)
-wifi controller and viewer
-Insanely quiet and fast electronic shutter up to 1/32,000th sec. 
-Rear LCD upgrade to 3″ and over 1 million pixels

Image of X-100T taken with iPhone 5S

What makes the X-100 series so awesome is the hybrid optical and digital viewfinder. I’ve heard some big-time camera reviewers say they find no use for the optical viewfinder since the electronic ones are getting so good…. WRONG! Very wrong. Sorry Chris Niccolls (The Camera Store), I have to strongly disagree. I’ve done some critical back-and-forth tests between the optical and digital viewfinder (it’s so easy with the switch on the front) and the OVF looks better about 90% of the time. Zero lag, you can see outside the frame-lines, and the colours are true and natural! On top of that, you can now check focus (which includes focus peaking in colour) and exposure via the mini EVF projected in OVF mode. This is a first for any OVF, and it works perfectly. I love it. They’ve also included projected frame lines to correct for parallax error, especially useful when focusing on closer subjects (the lines move towards the bottom right corner, which is where the lens is). The vertical information feature is also included (same as X-30 and X-T1) but this works in EVF mode only, not OVF. Overall, this is the most advanced optical viewfinder ever made in history, and with the optional full screen electronic viewfinder mode, this hybrid system is truly one of a kind. I’m sure Leica wishes they could have this technology. It’s genius. I only want to shoot in the the OVF mode with the mini window (easily accessed by moving the front switch in the opposite direction). There’s no point to shoot EVF, seriously. Being able to switch back and forth, you can comparatively see how ugly the EVF mode truly is… sorry.  
Another change I was happy to see is moving the shooting controls closer to where your hand will be while shooting. I complained on previous reviews that the drive mode button was oddly placed on the left side of the LCD, which made absolutely no sense. FIne, place the viewing controls to the left of the screen, but all shooting controls should be easily accessible with your right hand. The drive mode is now logically placed to the left of the rear thumb wheel. The Q-button has also been re-located in a more logical spot. It’s now below the AF-AE button so you can ‘quickly’ access it without having to take your eye away from the viewfinder. Now it’s truly a Q-button. The push button thumb wheel is also an upgrade from the previous toggle wheel, which was not intuitive at all.   

These are the two major improvement for me on the new Fujifilm X-100T (viewfinder and control features) and the two things that most users of the X-100 and X-100S will notice right away and appreciate immediately. The rest I will go over on my preview or full review, which includes the new operating software (basically the same as the X-30), wifi controller (same as X-T1 and X-30), and the all new electronic shutter (but can be used in collaboration with the mechanical shutter). For now, let’s say that the X-100T is an insanely awesome camera. It’s a unique hybrid digital rangefinder camera that has no real competition (it is now a true rangefinder in that there is a focusing aid in the optical view mode). If you want a hybrid OVF/EVF camera, you have no other choice. On top of that, it has a decent size APS-C sensor, it’s compact (due to a non-zooming prime 23mm f/2 lens), and has advance shooting features. 

I’ve only had the camera for a few days so I’ll post more pictures and really dig into the features and share what I’ve found. So far so good. Like the X-30, there is no image quality upgrade (same sensor, same processor, same lens), but there’s enough feature upgrades to attract new and previous X-series shooters. Fuji really focuses on the shooting experience, and that’s the biggest upgrade on the latest X-100 series camera. 

Thanks to Fujifilm Canada for sending me the X-100T so quickly (thanks Serena!). Please comment below for any questions or comments. Thanks for visiting and happy shooting!


Check out my review of the Fujifilm X-100S 

Check out my review of the Fujifilm X-30

Check out my review of the Fujifilm TCL-X100 Converter Lens

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