On a recent Fuji event I had only 45 minutes to play with their latest offering. I chose to try the X-T10 instead of the X-T1 because of the pretty significant difference in price between the two.
I had the first X-100, and as much as I wanted to like that camera it was infuriating and frustrating to use – this was with one of the first iterations of the firmware, it is my understanding things are now much better (but not good enough, IMHO, read below).
This experience, though, kept me away from Fuji up till now. Simply put I thought they weren’t worth the hassle.
Like I said, a few days ago I had the chance to try it out the X-T10 and a bunch of other Fuji cameras and lenses, and boy things are changed – for the most part. “For the most part” only because in this occasion I tried as well the X-100T, and it drove me insane much like the first model. But the X-T1 and X-T10 where mostly a joy to use.
I had only 45 minutes to try the X-T10, so we’ll keep this review short and simple. All the images in this post have been shot in that short period of time, in and around the shopping mall where the Fuji event took place.
What I liked
- The camera is small – you have to keep it with three fingers -, but it is comfortable to hold and quite pretty to look at
- The finder looks small in the pictures, but it is actually pretty darn good, and the strange eyepiece still does a fairly good job of shielding your eye from stray lights
- Unlike most Fuji cameras it does have a tilting LCD on the back
- The shutter button is extremely good: you can tell exactly when it is about to go off, and you don’t have to push too hard risking camera shake
- The 35/1.4 is absolutely terrific, reason alone to buy into the Fuji system
- The colors are phenomenal – but please do note that all the images in this post have been shot on RAW and post-processed in Lightroom to my taste
- Using Lightroom 6 and sharpening the images using the settings suggested by Pete Bridgwood – or using Irident Developer if you’re on a Mac – the results in terms of sharpness are absolutely terrific
- High Iso are really quite good, if you turn down noise reduction to avoid the camera-applied heavy smearing
What I disliked
- No image stabilization with the lenses I’d like to buy. Come on Fuji, it’s time to put image stabilization on the fast primes as well, or better still inside a body
- The AF areas are too large (I couldn’t find a way to make them smaller, maybe this is somehow possible?), so the camera has troubles locking on small subjects and focuses instead on the background – for example if you want to focus on a blade of grass, or on a skinny pole
- The eye sensor that switches between the EVF and the LCD is a touch too sensitive, and it will sometimes switch off the LCD screen if you push the camera to your belly with the screen tilted in order to stabilize it (this is a common occurrence with other manufacturers as well; to my knowledge only Olympus has done this right, implementing a sensor than when the LCD is tilted cuts off the eye detection sensor)
- You have two ways to set the shutter speeds: with the dial on top, or with the dial on the front. But the one on the front will only let you adjust the speed between the uppermost and lowermost value on the top dial, i.e. if the top dial is set on 1/125s you can only adjust the speeds with the front dial up to 1/3 of a stop shy of 1/60s and 1/250s.
- The in-famous noise that the 35/1.4 makes focusing and opening-closing the aperture – not a big deal, but it renders the silent shutter function of the X-T10 moot because you can still hear the camera operating; the new 35/2 that I didn’t have the chance to try supposedly has “cured” this
- The LCD is nay invisible if light shines on it, even in a day not particularly sunny; it’s not a matter of luminosity (that you can up in the menus), but of reflections on the glass
- The 18/2 seems to have tons of distortion, and while sharp enough it is not even remotely on the same level of the 35/1.4 or of the wonderful 27/2.8
- I’ve found the much hyped film profiles to be just meeehh; not bad, but not something I’d feel comfortable to consider a final file
- Zooms and long lenses are way too big for such a small camera in my opinion
You can see the cons list is way longer than the pros one, but the pros still far outweigh the cons for me, meaning that even if the cons are numerically more they are less of a burden than the advantages brought by the pros.
In conclusion, will I buy one? The answer is a resounding YES! If not for anything else just to be able to use the 35/1.4. I will probably use it alongside a micro 4/3 kit when the light is abundant or when I need to push the Iso to capture movement in low light – basically when Olympus IBIS it’s not gonna cut it. And it will definitely replace my old Nex 7 – still a beautiful cameras but it is let down by the lack of lenses I like -, and the cheap-o Nikon D3200 that I bought a while ago for travels and that I’m despising more and more (not in terms of results, but of usability – after all it is marketed and designed as a beginner camera – and because now that I’m used to the EVF I honestly can’t stand anymore an optical viewfinder).
My reason is that for the price of a single Zeiss AF lens for the A7 system I can get a new Fuji body plus a lens, so my A7r will be the “medium format / tripod mounted / manual focus” camera, and the Olympus OM-D E-M10 – for when I need IBIS and for using long lenses – and in the future the Fuji X-T10 with the 18/2 and the 35/1.4 will be my “handheld / AF / street and travel” cameras.
The only serious problem I can see with the Fuji, for my use, is for now the lack of suitable lenses. For an APS-C body the zooms and long lenses are awfully big, much better Olympus and micro 4/3 in general in this regards. And with the exception of the 35s the other primes are quite a bit big as well, or don’t deliver exceptional quality like in the case of the 18. If Fuji should decide to update the 18/2 and give it the same kind of performance of the 27/2.8 I would be an happier camper.
But, like I said, an X-T10 paired with the 35/1.4 is such a terrific combo that I could live just with the lack of other interesting lenses, consider the combo as a fixed lens camera and be happy nonetheless.