Disclaimer: This is not a technical review about the Fuji x100t. I am a photographer that is greatly influenced by how equipment makes me feel. I don’t necessarily use the latest and greatest equipment and some of my methods might only work for me and a few others.
I think I should start this review of the Fuji x100t with a short story. It will help you get into a similar mindset of how I think about equipment and my approach to photography.
Back in 2012, I hit a plateau as a photographer. I had reached a point where my work was good, and it took minimal effort to be successful. I had little motivation to push myself. I knew if I continued to do what I was currently doing I would capture good photos for my clients and they would be happy. Seems like a good thing, right? But I wasn’t happy. I was stuck in a creative rut. I had gotten the most out of my Canon gear, and the only thing left to push me was my internal inspiration. The only issue, however, was that my inspiration tank was empty. I was bored. Boredom in a creative field can lead to burnout, and burnout leads to the decision to find a new career path. I was at a point where I needed something to spark my love for photography again.
In came film.
Film turned my photography world upside down and I felt like a kid discovering photography for the first time all over again. I found the spark I was looking for. This isn’t a blog post about film and why #filmisnotdead but it’s an important part of the story. I found a medium that was inspiring to photograph with and it helped me push through the plateau I was dealing with.
My Philosophy: Use whatever equipment that inspires you to create the best images possible.
Insert the present day and I’ve made a decision to move away from film for my wedding work. I’ve found digital cameras that inspire me, one being the Leica m240 and the other is what this blog post is all about: the Fuji x100t. So what makes this little camera great and where does it need to improve? Let’s go over the positives first.
This camera weighs less than a pound and is 5x3x2. So not only does it weigh close to nothing, but it also fits in your hand. For me this is great because I have it strung around my neck with a Gordy’s strap and only remove it when I’m finished using it later in the day. Because it’s so close to me and its start up time is so quick, I’m always ready to capture what’s happening. The size of this camera also makes it a perfect travel camera.
Silence is golden. This is true for documentary photographers. One of my favorite compliments I’ve received at a wedding was that they didn’t know I was there taking photos. If your subject isn’t distracted by an annoying shutter going off a million times a minute, then they are more likely to stay in the moment. This creates better opportunities for you to capture. The x100t is completely silent. I shoot most of the “getting ready” portion of a wedding using the x100t and my Leica m240, which is also silent. No one hears me, no one knows I’m taking photos. Exactly how I want it.
Ease-of-Use / Abilities
I’ll be the first to tell you that I don’t use this camera to its full potential, but what I do use it for fits my style perfectly. My goal is to be ready to take a photo as quickly as possible, so I shoot on Aperture Priority with the Exposure Compensation dial set between 0 and -1. This tends to get the exposure I’m looking for and is really easy to work with in post. I shoot in RAW so I have flexibility when editing in Lightroom. The Aperture dial is on the lens element and rarely gets moved accidentally so the only thing I have to think about besides my composition is ISO. You can set that to auto as well and have your full focus on your subject. What I’m basically saying is you can have the camera do all the hard work and you just have think about your composition. For a camera that I’m using as a complementary piece, this is exactly what I want.
Viewfinder / Film Simulation / Image Ratios
I could cover all of these in separate categories, but they all go hand-in-hand. Therefore, it makes sense to go over them all at once.
I used to be against EVF (Electronic Viewfinder). I didn’t like that I was looking at an electronic screen, but then I saw the possibilities. When you couple the viewfinder with the Film Simulation option and shooting at a different aspect ratio (1×1, 16×9, 3×2), you get something really special. This how the Fuji x100t really shines for me.
My favorite aspect of shooting film was the experience of it. Looking through the viewfinder and seeing true depth of field, an aspect ratio of 6×7 or 1×1. It helped me compose more interestingly and I love that about film. While this isn’t the same when using the x100t, it’s about as close as you can get (minus a Leica Rangefinder) with a digital camera to be inspired by looking through the viewfinder.
Whenever I am using the Fuji x100t at a wedding, I am shooting with the Monochrome Film Simulation on as well as using the aspect ratio 1×1. Now when I look in the viewfinder I see a square, black and white image. For me, this is such a stark contrast to shooting my Nikon d750 or Leica M240, I find it very inspiring.
Here’s a few examples of what I’m getting:
Shutter Speed / Both Fast and Slow
The x100t has a fully electronic shutter mode which increases the maximum shutter speed to 1/32000. That’s basically more than you’d ever need. But that’s not really what I care about when I say shutter speed. I am talking about how easy it is to shoot at low shutter speeds. I routinely shoot this camera at or below 1/60, and this is where the camera is at its best. Because its so light you can shoot at really slow shutter speeds and get great motion in your images.
The Fuji apps for your phone need some work. But when wifi is working, it’s great. You can easily send images to your phone to edit and post to social media if that’s your jam. I like it because I never take my phone out to take an image. This is great for travel. Spend less time on your phone and more shooting and enjoying what’s in front of you.
Be prepared to use up lot of batteries. They drain fast with how I shoot the camera with the EVF and Electronic Shutter Mode. But the batteries are cheap and small so you can put a few in your bag if you need. I will use up two batteries by the time I’m halfway through the reception. I am currently ordering two more so I have four. Thats enough for a 10 hour wedding day, shooting off and on, and finishing with about 300-400 images.
You can shoot ISO Auto or you have range of 200-6400. With the boosted ISO, you can get to 51200 but I don’t really go past 4000 ISO. If I’m needing to go past 4000 ISO, I’ll put the camera away and use my DSLR. This limits the use of the x100t but it’s not a deal breaker. I have other cameras that excel at this. When Fuji releases its next version of the x100 series, I look for this to be an area of improvement.
Menu System Layout
The menu is weird and takes some getting used to. It’s not all that quick and that’s even with a quick menu option. I’m not fast with this probably because this camera isn’t my workhorse and because its a complementary camera. Not enough time on my end has been put into perfecting how I manage it. Everything gets easier with time. File the x100t menu layout under that.
The x100t will randomly do things you’re not expecting. You’ll turn it on and it won’t do anything so you have to turn it off and back on to get it to fire up. The exposure compensation dial gets bumped easily and you’ll take a few images two stops underexposed without noticing it. The aperture ring can also get bumped and you’ll shoot at an undesirable aperture. These are all quirks I live with because of the results I can achieve with the x100t. Besides, no one or thing is perfect. You wouldn’t want to be judged by your imperfections, would you?
If you are a photographer that likes to use unique cameras and equipment that inspires you, you’re looking for a small and light camera for travel, or are looking for a camera that can complement your workhorse camera, I suggest trying out the Fuji x100t. While the x100t has its shortcomings, it excels in many ways that fits my shooting style and possibly yours.
If you don’t want to make the leap because the x100t is out of your budget, I suggest looking into getting the x100s. The T is a better camera. Fuji made improvements with the viewfinder that are great, but you can get the same enjoyment out the the x100s as you would the x100t.
Here’s a few additional links for you to browse if you would like some more technical information on the fuji x100t. I used some information from these sites as references.