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Fujifilm X-T100: Good choice for budding lensmen

Fujifilm X-T100
Fujifilm X-T100

The X-T100 is the new entry-level model in Fujifilm's X-T series of interchangeable lens mirrorless cameras.

Unlike the X-series' rangefinder stylings, the design of the X-T series gravitates towards that of old SLR cameras. However, the X-T cameras have a built-in electronic viewfinder, in place of a pentaprism found in SLR cameras.

The X-T100 is smaller than its higher-end cousins and has a more plastic construction, with only its top made of aluminium.

On the upside, this makes the camera quite lightweight. With the bundled XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ kit lens attached to it, the weight comes to only 592g.

Button layout is generally well-thought-out. A mode dial, command dial, customisable function button and dedicated video recording button sit at the top right of the camera, while another command dial is sited on the top left of the camera.

Four directional buttons at the lower right rear double as dedicated buttons for white balance, autofocus (AF), timer and drive mode. There is also a smaller rear command dial sited near the thumb rest.

Out of the box, the top left command dial is used for changing film simulation modes, while the function button is for changing ISO.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $1,099 (with XC 15-45mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS PZ lens)

    IMAGE SENSOR: 24.2-megapixel APS-C CMOS

    DISPLAY: 3-inch tiltable LCD with 1,040,000 dots; electronic viewfinder with 2,360,000 dots

    SENSITIVITY: ISO 100 to 51,200

    SHOOTING SPEED: Up to six frames per second

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

    WEIGHT: 592g (body with kit lens, battery and memory card)

    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

If, like me, you rarely change film modes, you can set the left command dial to control ISO instead, which is far more intuitive to me. Setting the function button to work as an auto-exposure lock makes more sense as well.

I like that despite being a low-cost model, the X-T100 lets you use the two command dials - on top and at the rear - for quick change of shutter speed and aperture in Manual mode. Somehow, many entry-level cameras make you press a button and turn a dial to change aperture or shutter speed.

The articulating 3-inch touchscreen display can be flipped 180 degrees horizontally for selfies. But it can be tilted down only by 45 degrees.

Operation-wise, the X-T100 is average. Powering up and shutting down each takes about two seconds, which is the standard for most mirrorless cameras.

Using an SDXC card with a writing speed of 45MB per second, the X-T100 shoots 17 RAW photos in 3.3 seconds before the buffer runs out. This is slightly below the advertised six frames per second.

The camera's AF is not particularly fast, taking up to 0.7 second to focus in good lighting.

In dim lighting, it takes about two seconds to focus with the help of the AF assist light.

The image quality is good for its class, with great tonal range and vivid colours. But I think noise performance could be better, with noise artefacts appearing at ISO 1,600.

There is some clear detail loss at ISO 3,200, but the images are still usable. I do not recommend using ISO 6,400 or above, as there would be too many chromatic noise artefacts visible.

Battery life is average for a mirrorless camera, yielding 309 still images when I use it during a day-long conference before it went flat.

And this is without direct connection to a smartphone.

The camera can be configured to instantly send photos to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi when they are taken. But I have trouble pairing the camera with my phone and the connection is not stable. Not to mention, doing so will use up more battery life.

•Verdict: The Fujifilm X-T100 is a good choice for those looking to upgrade from taking photographs on their smartphones.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 04, 2018, with the headline 'Good choice for budding lensmen'. Print Edition | Subscribe