This test was originally written for the latest Fujifilm X Magazine.
The chances are you’ll be familiar with the phrase ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. It’s used in a lot of places, but clearly not in Fujifilm’s R&D department. The X100S was never broken, but Fujifilm have fixed it anyway and, in the process, have produced an extremely accomplished premium compact camera.
You will, no doubt, already know the headline specification changes between the second and third generation versions of the X100 family, but it’s worth going over them again. The X100T offers an electronic shutter with speeds up to an incredible 1/32,000sec, features the new Classic Chrome film simulation mode and provides Wi-Fi connectivity to share images or control the camera remotely. But for me, all these extra functions are a little academic. Yes, they’re really handy to have – I’m a particular fan of the Classic Chrome mode – but the real beauty of the X100T lies in the handling and design changes.
Let’s start with the viewfinder, which has always been a strong part of the X100’s DNA, but is now a masterstroke. The OVF and EVF functionality is retained, but in the X100T there’s also an ERF (Electronic Rangefinder) in the bottom right hand corner of the optical viewfinder. This magnifies the focusing point so it’s easy to double check sharpness, especially if you’re manual focusing and have the Focus Peaking option selected. The viewfinder also has an automatic parallax correction function, which enables precise framing when focusing close up.
Externally, there are some major improvements, too. On the lens, the manual focusing ring is now more tactile and apertures can be set in ⅓ stops as opposed to full stops before. On the top-plate, exposure compensation has been extended to +/-3 stops and round the back buttons and dials have been moved and reconfigured. This latter change is the most significant. The LCD is now larger and the buttons slightly smaller, but this doesn’t prevent very fluid handling. The rear input dial now clicks rather than rocks and the quadrant of key function buttons have been changed so you’re far less likely to accidentally select the wrong feature – an issue that blighted previous models. What’s more, button functionality can be changed so you can assign your own regularly used features to specific buttons, just to make life easier.
Add these subtle yet significant design and feature changes to the legendary image quality of X100 line up and it’s very easy to see why the latest version is receiving so many plaudits. Ultimately, the X100T is the sort of camera every serious photographer should own. With its fixed lens, it implores you to work harder at your photography, but then rewards you with images that are simply outstanding. I’m sold.