Buy books not gear. That’s what those with all the best gear tell us. People owning Leicas costing thousands and thousands of Euro and they tell us not to have G.A.S – gear acquisition syndrome. So often these are the very same people who get gifted new cameras by the manufacturers. Buy books not gear, they tell us, but imagine all the books they could buy if they sold their Leicas.
Anyway, for a quite a while I had been thinking of getting a more compact camera for street work. I was tired of lugging the heavy Nikon around with me and the idea of having a little, discreet light camera appealed to me. I did my research and the camera that kept popping up as the best in the category was the Fuji X100T. The reviews all seemed to say the same thing: If you have the previous model – the S – then there is not much point in the upgrade, but if you do not have the S at all, then separate yourself from your cash (all €1,200 of it) and get yourself closer to that camera of your dreams. The reviewers raved about the X. Ken Rockwell calls it “The world’s best digital camera“. Eric Kim, who was gifted one, loved it. The Fro Knows Photo guy claims he “can’t say enough good stuff about this little camera”.
So, what do I say about it?
It is light! It looks cool. It fits in my pocket, a little uncomfortably, but it fits. I like that I can use the LCD screen to view an image as I am taking it (but that eats up the battery). If you want you can switch between the OVF and EVF, and there is even this little box that can appear on the bottom right hand corner which allows you see a zoomed-in-close detail of the image. The customisable function buttons are cool. You can operate the camera on silent mode which allows for better candid shots. The image quality straight out of the camera is impressive. Images are crisp and sharp. I like the fact it has a fixed lens and that there is no zoom. This forces me to compose with greater care and to zoom with my feet. This will make me a better photographer. The WiFi allows for remote control access, but I cannot, as yet, imagine a scenario to use that. Apparently, it is great in low light, but I have only been out twice with the camera, both in daylight, and I haven’t had the chance to check it out at night yet.
What I don’t like?
I find myself asking did I get a shot there. I like the silent mode, but it is a little unnerving. I think I need to get back to the clicks to signal a snap.
Image review – I like to see the shot I have just taken pop up on the LCD screen once I have seen it. This does not happen with the X100T. You have to press the play button and wait until a second or two for it to appear. Apparently, I can mess around with the power saving options and this will speed up the process.
The WiFi – it does not allow me to send a RAW file, and I like to only shoot in RAW, so I can’t see the advantage of this. I can put the settings to RAW + fine and the fine file is transferrable. But this would get very messy later on when uploading files to the Mac. I would have duplicate copies of images and need to manually sort the RAW files out. No. I think this is a gimmick which I will leave alone.
Battery – having being so used to the Nikon D7000 battery and hardly ever having to worry about it, I was pissed off to see how quickly the x100t’s battery quits. I have ordered two spare batteries, but why should I need to?
Purple haze – I love shooting into strong sunlight. I love high contrasts and shadows and again was annoyed to see that not unlike the iPhone 4 you get this awful purple haze when you shoot into strong sunlight. So, I have ordered a lens hood, but again why should I need to?
Can I blur the fuck out of things? Can I do it with the ease and grace of the Nikon? Not really. I am still learning with this camera and even though I had in on MF the other day, for some bizarre reason the camera swept back into auto focus and the blurred image I was trying to get disappeared, leaving me damn frustrated as I tried to fix the settings.
Overall, I do not like the camera. It is very different to the Nikon and I am a creature of habit. I want my old camera back! But, and this is the thing, all of this is good, it will make me learn. It will make me see the world in a different way when I am out shooting. It will push me along in my evolution as a photographer and that is why I wanted it. Comfort zones are all fine and dandy, but I need to be challenged. I want to experience the frustration of not getting the camera to do what I want; it will make it all the sweeter when I get it right. This camera will drive me crazy, I know that. But I also know I will grow to love it and that it will be with me on many great adventures to come.
Sure, it is a good thing to buy photo books and not spend all your money on gear, and I do see the point those with the already-acquired expensive cameras are trying to make, but at times it is nice to buy some new gear. Here’s to the new adventures! Here’s to the Fuji X100T.
This is one of the first images I took with the X100T.
And here’s an iPhone image taken in Dublin last weekend. A blurred one. Got to love the blur.
Took me a while to get used to my x100s and MF as you say is unpredictable and annoying, birds in flight also require something else ideally but it’s always with me so learning is more possible and I have grown to love it. Enjoy your latest version 🙂
It’s a learning curve, but that’s a good thing.
Thanks for the visit. It is a learning curve and learning is always a good thing. I do find it slow and slow to focus which it should not be. But I want to learn and improve. Thanks for the visit and kind words.
Nice to see you here too…
After reading your post… I can tell you that shooting with fujiX new series camera is a new strange experience (i have got a X-pro1… and a x100: T’s grandma)… But, I think, it’s a return to pure, natural photography!
…my p.o.v: x-trans sensor allow you to take noiseless perfect pictures at 3200iso and more… But I prefer to set noise-reduction at -2 and to shoot at high iso, to obtain more grain on my pictures… ’cause x-pro1 grain is beautiful, it seems like an old film-camera grain!
So, see you on flickr again… i hope to see your next x100t shots!
I love blurred pictures… then I love your art!
Sorry for my bad english 🙂 …And greetings from italy!
thanks for visiting my blog. You know I have been out 3 times now with the x100t and I still cannot warm to it. IT is quite slow. If I want to shoot on HIGH to take a few shots per second – I get this ‘storing’ thing after it, which means I have to wait for it to store. IT is so slow to respond. The Nikon I had would deal with that in seconds.
I like to shoot a lot of out-of-focus shots, but on MF the camera decides that I do not want MF and it focuses for me. What setting have I not used properly for this to happen?
Anyway, I know it will make me a better photographer and that is the main thing.
Your English is fine, Zabbio! Thanks for dropping by.
I get your thoughts on the X100T and some times it can be a bit annoying, but at the same time, it’s not a DSLR and it can’t be compared to one. I haven’t had mine for that long, but it’s stealthy and exceptional for street photograpy and that’s why I bought one. The X100T and the X-T1 (w/ 14, 35 and 56mm lenses) is my street photography/travel setup which is small and light, for anything else where a fast autofocus is needed (and for landscapes for example), I have my Canon 5D MkIII. I see the mirrorless cameras as a complement to my fullframe DSLR, not a replacement since they do lack in some parts.
For it to focus while in manual, I can’t really think of what could be the cause or setting for it to do that.
Thanks for the response Peter, it is great to share feedback with others and learn. I need to check the MF, it might be faulty. I know I will grow to love the X100T, and more importantly – I will learn. And that is what it is all about.
If you have a Flickr – visit and share your gallery. Would like to see your work.
Re: the MF thing, I wonder if what happened was you pressed the AEL button with your thumb by mistake, thus making the camera do a one-time autofocus? Very easy to do without realising, since button’s right where you’d put your thumb when holding the camera normally.
Something else it might be: the normal live view is done with the lens wide open, so if you’ve set an aperture of, say, f/8, the actual photo won’t be as out of focus as the live view shows. Not sure this is a likely explanation, but worth mentioning.
I sort of agree with the image review thing – ideally you’d be able to set the camera to always show instant review images on the LCD, even if you were using the viewfinder, but it seems this is not possible (certainly not on my X100 (the first one, not S or T)).
With regards to getting into playback mode after shooting a bunch, yeah, Fujis are not in the same league as Nikons (or Canons I guess but I’ve never used one), but getting a really fast SD card can mitigate this somewhat – I use the SanDisk 95MB/s in my X100 and X-E1 and they’re a significant improvement over the old 30ish MB/s card I had before.
Finally, I’m in agreement with what others here have said about it not being a DSLR: it IS slower in a lot of small but important ways, and the battery life DOES suck a bit (no way around that for now, that’s just the nature of full-time live view), but they’re also right in that if you take the time to get to know it, it’ll really reward you.
Thanks for this. You know, I do think I have been guilty of hitting the AEL button a few times. But the camera has gone back now for repair – it was beginning to freeze on me too. I will get a faster SD card. I think that is good advice.
Thanks for the advice, Andy.
The gratuitous FWord is supposed to make you credible?
The ‘F’ word? Do you mean the word ‘fuck’? Ya, out of the 1,008 words, that one word was the one I was hanging all my credibility on. Hope to fuck it worked. 🙂
Manual focus switching spontaneously is an odd issue, since it’s controlled by a switch on the side of the camera body. I’ve found that sometimes I’ll push the switch to the MF position, but it doesn’t quite “take” and ends up in AF-C. As for image review, you can set the camera to briefly display the shot you just took. Go to Set-up Menu 2, select Screen Set-Up, then select Image Disp.
Another suggestion if you haven’t done this yet: Turn on High Performance Mode (Set-Up Menu 2, Power Management, High Performance). The battery life will suffer (I know, it’s already terrible) but the camera will be much more responsive and your AF speed complaints should disappear – although it still won’t focus with DSLR speed. I’ve set up all the d-pad buttons on the back to activate single-point AF, which speeds things up for me as well. Also, because of the fairly small buffer, card speed makes a significant difference.
I may sound as if I’m making excuses for the camera, but nothing could be further from the truth. My other cameras never make it out the door, except for paid shoots, and even then I find myself reaching for the X100T first. If you stick with this camera, it will treat you extremely well. It’s an incredibly powerful tool in a compact package, but it demands a different approach to shooting than a DSLR. I hope you come to like yours as much as I do mine.
Thanks for a great response and for those tips. Despite the contradiction, I am happy with not being happy with it at the moment. Like a song that you takes a few listens to before you fall in love wit it, I know my Fuji experience will be the same. And it will make me learn, which is what I want. Thanks again. By the way, if you are on Flickr – give me your address, please?
I am indeed on Flickr. Find me here – https://www.flickr.com/photos/palinode
I also have a 500px account – https://500px.com/palinode. There’s a lot of overlap with my Flickr, but I’m a little more selective.
Thanks Aidan. Added you on Flickr – had a quick look. Impressive stream. Will look in more detail later today.
WiFi – I shoot RAW 100%. When reviewing pics on the LCD, press Q to go to the in camera raw processing… Can process to any setting that the camera can do natively. Then save – your jpg is now ready to send to your phone. I’ve read many reviews and for some reason no one suggests this strategy. Everyone always shoots RAW+. Like you, I hate the import mess it causes.
Love the deconstruction of buybooksnotgear. Well done!
Thanks for that great tip. It really make sense to do it like that.
Ya, the buybooksnotgear thing is great when you already have all the gear. Good to connect with you here. If you are on Flickr – let’s connect.
It doesn’t seem like you thought/researched about this camera much. Some things are legit annoyances. Some are facts of life of a fixed 35 mm camera. Buy a camera for the tool that it is.
Thanks for commenting.
Had researched it thoroughly – that is why I bought it. I would not splash out €1200 without doing my research 🙂
I wrote this after one or two outings with the camera and I seem to have stressed that it was an initial reaction and that some of what I was saying was not valid. I am very happy with the camera – as it will allow me to learn and to improve.
Thanks for adding to the conversation.
An interesting perspective. For me, buying the original X100 was a step back in time to my film days. It looked cool, it took great pictures and it had dials l could turn! Now, l have the X100T and the X-Pro 1. The X100T is even cooler than the original X100 and Fujifilm have made improvements that add to the shooting experience. Image quality is still top notch, it is faster in all functions and it is still deadly silent. (I love this stealth mode!) Stick with it, Brendan, and you will never want to leave it at home.
Thanks Alan. You know I eventually (after a month of trying) had to bring it back to the shop yesterday and they are sending it to the UK to get repaired. Am very disappointed to be honest. I wish they had just replaced it for me. I was just getting to terms with it and beginning to really enjoy it.
Thanks for dropping by and adding to the conversation.
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Definitely going to be following your thread and work.
Follow me on http://www.brendanose.com
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