Fujifilm X-T100

The Fujifilm X-T100 is the brand's latest entry-level mirrorless camera, slotting in above the X-A5 and below the X-T20 in the X Series range. 

Looks can be deceiving though, and while the X-T100 shares a design more closely related to the mid-priced X-T20, many of its internal features are actually borrowed from the X-A5.

While the X-A5 is geared towards more novice users looking for a simple to use camera that delivers noticeably better pictures than their smartphone, the X-T100 is that next small step up the ladder. With a built-in electronic viewfinder, and offering a greater degree of control than the more basic X-A5, the X-T100 is designed to appeal to those looking to get a bit more creative with their photography. 

Features

  • 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor
  • Clever 3-way touchscreen display
  • 4K video but only at 15fps

The X-T100 features a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor with the more standard bayer array, as opposed to the unique X-Trans design featured in Fujifilm’s more advanced cameras like X-T20. What does this mean? The bottom line is that image quality won't quite rival its higher-priced siblings, but should satisfy most users. 

It also means the camera is capable of shooting a pretty broad ISO range, from 100-51,200, although if you want to shoot raw you're restricted to the X-T100's native range of ISO200-12,800. 

The X-T100 can also shoot 4K video – but there is a small caveat here, as it's only at pedestrian 15fps. If you're after smooth video capture, you'll have to downsize to Full HD to achieve this. 

The Fujifilm X-T100's 4K video capture capabilities aren't completely wasted though, with the camera sporting a 4K Burst Shooting mode that can capture 8MP images in a burst at 15fps. This is something Panasonic has offered for a while on its 4K-enabled cameras, although most of those can shoot at a faster rate. If you're wanting to shoot full-resolution images in rapid succession the X-T100 can shoot a burst of images at 6fps, which is some way off the 14fps offered by the X-T20.

The X-T100 features a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), with the 0.39-inch display featuring a decent 2.36 million-dot resolution and a similarly respectable 0.62x magnification.

As well as the EVF, the X-T100 as sports a very clever rear display that offers an even greater range of movement than the higher-end X-T2 and X-H1. This sees the screen able to be tilted away from the body for either waist-level or elevated shooting, while it can also be pulled outwards for those who fancy shooting selfies. It also has touchscreen functionality, including touch focus and shutter, pinch-to-zoom, drag to scroll the image and additional options using flick gestures.

Most users will get the X-T100 as a kit with the new retracting 15-45mm power zoom lens. With a focal length equivalent to around 23-68mm in full-frame terms it’s a little wider than the average kit lens, and a little shorter at its longest focal length. 

In addition to Wi-Fi, the X-T100 features the low-power Bluetooth connectivity option we first saw on the X-E3. Once the camera has been paired with your smartphone using Fujifilm's free Camera Remote app sharing images should be a breeze, as the X-T100 will automatically connect to previously paired smartphones provided Bluetooth is turned on for both devices. 

Build and handling

  • Features an anodized aluminum top cover
  • Detachable grip essential for most
  • Streamlined but logical control layout

The Fujifilm X-T100 features a similar aesthetic to other X-T models in the Fujifilm range, but is perhaps most closely related to the X-T20, although while the X-T20 features magnesium top and bottom plates the X-T100 makes do with an anodized aluminum top cover in a choice of dark silver, black and champagne gold finishes.

It might sit at the lower end of the Fujifilm range, but compared to the plasticky X-A5 the X-T100 has a much more premium finish. It actually weighs more than the X-T20, tipping the scales at 448g, compared to the X-T20's 383g – this can perhaps be attributed to the X-T100's more sophisticated hinge mechanism for the rear display. 

It's certainly more streamlined though, with the X-T100 sacrificing the X-T20's comfy (if modest) handgrip. Thanks to the leatherette finish covering the majority of the body the grip is pretty good, but it's dramatically improved when you attach the bundled detachable grip, which screws into the side of the body. 

What about that three-way touchscreen? Maybe we're missing the point, but it just feels a little over-engineered. There's no denying that it enables a decent range of shooting positions, but if shooting selfies is a priority then you have to wonder if a simpler side-hinged design, like that on the Canon EOS M50, wouldn't have been a neater solution. 

While the top plate of the X-T20 has dedicated shutter speed, drive mode and exposure dials, the X-T100 strips things back to make things a little less intimidating for new users. 

In place of the shutter speed dial on the X-T20 is a shooting mode dial, while at either end of the top plate are two unmarked dials. Out of the box, if you're shooting in either aperture or shutter priority mode those parameters are controlled by the vertically mounted rear dial, while the right-hand top plate dial is set to control exposure compensation. The left-hand dial is set to scroll through the X-T100's Film Simulation modes. 

However, if you're in full manual mode, the right-hand top plate dial will instead set shutter speed, while the rear dial controls aperture. If you're not fussed about Film Simulation modes, you can dive into the X-T100's menu and re-assign the left-hand top plate dial to control another setting. You can also customize the small function button (nestled on the top plate with a default setting to control ISO), as well as four swipe gestures on the touchscreen.

Returning to the menu for a moment, and compared to the higher-end X Series cameras it's a slightly dated design, although it's pretty easy to navigate.   

Autofocus

  • Capable 91-point phase-detect AF system
  • Good coverage across the frame
  • Focus speeds could be better

As the Fujifilm X-T100 is targeted towards the less experienced user it doesn't get quite the same advanced focusing system as the X-T20 or X-T2. That said, it does feature a capable 91-point phase-detection system that offers a variety of focus patterns.

These include Wide/Tracking, Zone AF and Single Point AF modes. Set the X-T100 to Wide/Tracking mode if you just want to point and shoot, as this will allow the camera to decide what to focus on, whereas Zone AF is a bit more specific, telling the camera roughly which area your subject is in. For complete control you'll want to opt for Single Point AF, which enables you to select one of the 91 AF points. Coverage is also pretty good, extending almost to the edge of the frame.

If you're in the Zone or Single Point AF modes you can also change the size of the focus zone/point with the rear control wheel, depending on how precise you want to be. There's also a handy eye-detection AF mode, which as the name suggests focuses on the eyes of portrait subjects. 

What about focusing speed? Just as we found with the X-A5, which uses the same system, focusing speeds are good, but not the quickest around. The X-T100 will hunt for focus on occasion, while it doesn't have the luxury of the more advanced focus tracking modes that higher-end X Series cameras enjoy, so you shouldn't expect too much from the camera's focus tracking. 

Performance

  • Solid metering and auto white balance
  • Battery life good for a mirrorless camera
  • Supplied lens is pretty sharp

The Fujifilm X-T100's 6fps burst shooting speed might put it behind the X-T20 and some other mirrorless rivals, but it's similar to a DSLR at this price point.

The X-T100 uses Fujifilm’s tried and tested 256-zone metering system, which performs admirably in a range of lighting situations. It can underexpose the shot when presented with a high-contrast scene, so a little exposure compensation or recovery of shadow detail in post-processing may be required, although this preferable to overexposing the shot and risking blown highlights.

It's a similar story for the X-T100's Auto White Balance system, which faithfully reproduced the colors of pretty much everything we pointed it at, although you've got a decent selection of white balance presets to choose from as well. 

The X-T100's electronic viewfinder is nice and bright, with the 2.36 million-dot resolution delivering a lag-free image in good light. The rear display has a good level of clarity, while the touchscreen is nice and responsive, although not quite as slick as those found on most smartphones.

As we found when it was paired with the X-A5, the 15-45mm power-zoom kit lens can be a bit of a mixed bag. The plasticky feel might suggest the optics will miss the mark, but they're actually pretty sound, although we'd still recommend investing in one of Fujifilm's lovely compact prime lenses to make the most of the X-T100. The issue we have is with the operation of the lens – the electrically-operated zoom feels a little unresponsive and slow.

Battery life is pretty good for a mirrorless camera at 430 shots, but the X-T100 doesn't quite have the same longevity as a similarly-priced DSLR. That said, it can be charged via USB, which can be pretty handy when you're out and about, although the battery level indicator isn't displayed as a percentage, which is a little frustrating – instead you have to rely on three-bar battery level.

Image quality

  • Sensor capable of delivering detailed images
  • Film Simulation modes really useful
  • Noise is handled well

For an entry-level system camera, the X-T100 delivers very good images. While it may miss out on Fujifilm’s X-Trans sensor tech, the regular 24.2MP CMOS sensor still does a good job. 

Images are nice and sharp, and if you don't want to get bogged down processing raw files from the X-T100 you'll be more than satisfied by the array of Film Simulation modes on offer. Offering a selection of color and mono options that emulate some of Fujifilm's famous film stock, they deliver some really nice-looking JPEG files straight out of the camera.

Your enthusiasm for the X-T100's Advanced Filter modes will come down to personal taste, with some giving fairly interesting results, although we reckon you're better served by a smartphone app or one of Instagram's many filters if you want to give you photos a more distinctive look. 

When it comes to noise performance the X-T100's sensor manages to retain detail up to ISO1600. It's above this sensitivity setting that you'll want to opt for raw capture to avoid having the X-T100's noise-reduction algorithm sacrifice detail at the expense of cleaner-looking images. While noise is present in raw files captured at ISO3200 and 6400, it's well controlled.

Verdict

While the absence of an X Trans sensor on the Fujifilm X-T100 is a little disappointing, the reality is that this has allowed Fujifilm to price the camera a little more aggressively. It's also fair to say that for most photographers the difference will be negligible, with the X-T100 delivering some of the best results you'll see from an entry-level mirrorless camera.

It's disappointing to see 4K video capture capped at 15fps, though, while focusing speeds can be a little bit slow on occasion.

However, the fit and finish are very good, and if you have the optional grip screwed in the X-T100 is nice and comfy in the hand. The controls aren't intimidating, which should enable novice users to be up and shooting in no time, while there are enough advanced controls and features to keep users interested as they become more accomplished.

If you're not sure whether to save your cash and get an X-A5 instead, we'd recommend getting the X-T100 for the extra outlay if you can. It might be a bit larger, but you won't regret the addition of the built-in viewfinder, while the tactile finish and other little extras make this a much better option.

While it hasn't quite blown us away like some of Fujifilm's higher-end X Series cameras have, the stylish X-T100 gets a lot of things right, and is a great choice if you're looking for your first mirrorless camera.

Competition 



from TechRadar - Technology Reviews http://www.techradar.com/reviews/fujifilm-x-t100