The X-T100 is by no means Fujifilm’s most advanced X-mount mirrorless camera yet, but it could prove to be one of its most important. That’s because it fills a crucial gap in the mirrorless market and takes on DSLRs at their very own game.
Until recently, mirrorless cameras have got fallen into two main groups: low-cost cameras with no viewfinders and simplified handles for smartphone upgraders, and entirely more advanced digital cameras with viewfinders for aficionados and advantages, but with a price tag to match.
What the X-T100 does is bring that DSLR-style viewfinder experience down to a much more affordable price. This is an entry-level mirrorless camera that a relative novice can afford, but that has the handling and the potential to take them much further in their photographic journey than the average entry-level compact camera.
Put simply, it plugs that previously large gap between the cheap and cheerful X-A models and the beautiful but pricey Fujifilm X-T20.
Check Out: Best Lenses for Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-T100: Price
Fujifilm X-T100: Features
The specs are simple but effective. Inside the X-T100 is a 24.2MP APS-C CMOS sensor, not the same X-Trans sensor used in Fujifilm’s more expensive mirrorless cameras, but it does a great job nonetheless.
You do get 4K video capacity, but it’s at a maximum frame rate of 15fps which, frankly, is usually no good to anyone. The X-T100 shares this dubious specification with the cheaper entry-level X-A5.
The continuous shooting performance is nothing particular either, topping out at a reasonable 6fps but with a buffer capacity of just 26 JPEGs. If you shoot at a slower 3fps, the X-T100 will keep going until the memory card is full, but it’s not a sports specialist.
As a camera for novices and enthusiasts to experiment and learn with, however, it has a lot to offer. For a start, it comes Fujifilm’s celebrated Film Simulation modes, including PROVIA/Standard, VELVIA/Vivid, ASTIA/Soft, Basic Chrome, Pro Neg (Hello there and Std) and Monochrome (with different ‘filter’ options) – though not the black-and-white ACROS mode found on more upmarket models.
It can also shoot Raw data files, of course, and offers in-camera Raw conversion for those who don’t want to wait until they can get their images on to a computer. It has Fujifilm’s clever extended dynamic range settings, which juggle ISO and tone curve settings to capture a wider brightness range with fewer clipped highlights. And if you want to cover all the bases when you shoot, it has auto-bracketing modes for exposure, Film Simulation, dynamic range, ISO and white balance.
If you’re not confident with the technicalities however, there’s an Advanced SR AUTO setting which analyses each scene and picks the most appropriate focus and camera configurations. If you like instant, in-camera effects, there’s also a sophisticated Filter mode with a range of different effects too.
The autofocus system appears to be the same 91-point hybrid phase- and contrast-detect system entirely on Fujifilm’s more advanced Fujifilm X-series cameras, so there are no compromises there.
Fujifilm X-T100: Building and Handling
From the front, the X-T100’s design is classic and understated. Remember how old-school amateur 35mm SLRs used to look? Just neat, unadorned rectangles? That’s what you get with the X-T100, and it’s a million miles from the bulky bulges of a modern DSLR. In a way, mirrorless cameras have given us back the camera styles we used to have.
It’s not much more complicated on the top, with a mode dial, a shutter-release key with a power switch around the outside and two unobtrusive unmarked control dials.
This is where the X-T100’s layout departs from the versions further up the range. While those digital cameras swap over to classic external dials for shutter swiftness, ISO and lens aperture (according to the zoom lens/body configurations), the X-T100 sticks to the usual digital camera convention of the main mode dial, with shutter quickness, lens aperture and ISO settings altered via dials and on-screen displays. It’s not necessarily better or worse, just what you get used to.
What’s interesting, though, is definitely that the X-T100 gives you not just one control dial – the most common setup for an entry-level or mid-range camera – but three. There’s the two at the top and a third on the back of the camera used mainly for menu/settings navigation but also for setting the zoom lens aperture in Manual or Aperture-priority setting, and for zooming in playback mode.
From the box, the X-T100 might look a little underwhelming but when you pick it up, all that changes. It feels solid, neat and refreshingly unfussy. It is made of plastic, but the top panel is constructed of stylish anodized aluminum, and you do get a choice of color schemes: dark silver, black or champagne gold. There’s even a detachable grip included for individuals who can’t get on with the stripped-back external design.
Fujifilm X-T100: Performance
We did find a few niggling handling and overall performance issues during our tests. It’s actually quite hard to handle the X-T100 without accidentally pressing a key you didn’t suggest to, typically one of the four directional control buttons on the trunk. When this happens you have to spend a moment cancelling a menu option or making sure you haven’t changed something important.
And if you leave the touch shutter mode enabled, you can expect to get a few random photos of your foot, knees or blurry passing scenery where your hands have accidentally brushed against the display screen. You’ll probably figure out how to handle the camera in different ways to stop this happening, but it’ll be frustrating until you do.
The metering program also seems prone to overexposure, and we had to dial in quite a lot of negative exposure compensation rather more often than we’d like to get yourself a natural-looking rendition. We thought at first that maybe the display screen was just a little bright, but, in fact, it was at the default publicity levels. Many beginner cameras do tend to favour shadow areas to avoid dull-looking pictures, but our X-T100 went a bit too far, a little too often.
It’s just as well you can apply for EV settlement via the dial on the top plate, then, nonetheless it would be better to have one set aside specifically for this purpose, and one that turns a little more easily (if you’re going to be using it a lot). You do obtain that with the X-T20, but then that’s a more expensive camera.
The X-T100 doesn’t possess Fujifilm’s advanced X-Trans sensor – what’s inside is just a regular CMOS sensor – but it does benefit from Fujifilm’s color science, which means you really don’t see much difference. Aside from our misgivings about the direct exposure system, the X-T100 delivers sharp, saturated and very attractive images, both outdoors and indoors. And while it doesn’t have got in-body image stabilization, the kit lens does have a 3-stop optical stabilizer built-in, and this seems very effective.
Fujifilm X-T100: Conclusion
Occasional overexposure and some too-easily pressed buttons are just minimal annoyances. The X-T100 includes a simple, classical design, a practical and compact kit lens, and a very effective control layout. The picture quality is top-drawer as well. It’s a comparatively low-price camera that feels like nothing of the sort.
Mirrorless cameras are often touted as the perfect choice for those upgrading from a smartphone, but while basic models are cheap, it’s definitely worth paying that little bit extra to get a camera with a viewfinder, and the X-T100 makes that option just a little bit more affordable.