I was out with the little one a couple of days back in the gloomy, very mild and wet winter weather we have been having this year. We were at one of our usual outdoor haunts, Kingston Lacy, where we can go for a decent walk and he can play on some toy tractors they have for the kids.
As he played I popped the photographic kit I had taken with me on the table. I was immediately struck by what amazing imaging power we now have available and how small and convenient it can be. Gone are the days when I would pack a backpack of DSLR gear to go out for a walk with the possibility of taking a few family snaps or a few landscapes.
I thought that the Fuji X100T must be one of the most versatile and powerful photographic tools out there in proportion to its size, when all is considered and especially when partnered with a few simple accessories.
Yes, it has its limitations; it has a fixed focal length lens, battery life is modest, focus is decent but not the fastest.
But....look what else it offers for its compact size. It has a large APS imaging sensor which can really perform well, a fast (f2) decent lens, which has arguably the most useful and versatile focal length, a clever and very versatile EVF/optical hybrid viewfinder, a quiet and discreet leaf shutter, high speed flash sync, very comprehensive custom settings and function buttons and a great jpeg processing engine. Personally I love the ergonomically sound shutter speed and exposure compensation dials and the aperture ring, all of which work intuitively and give an easy visual reference to settings without looking at screens or menus. To me these are like steering wheels in cars....they just work simply and effectively and therefore there is no need to change them or complicate them.
With a tiny Manfrotto Pixi tripod and a 49mm Hoya ProND1000 (10-stop) filter I have a long exposure shooting kit which can be taken to an amazing 13 stops by adding the built-in 3 stop ND filter! I got the very cheap but excellent quality JJC filter ring and lens hood for glare protection when needed or for using filters.
I don't even need to bring significant extras just to trigger the camera. It has an old-school shutter button thread for a cable release or, I can just use my iPhone and the Fuji App, or in this case my iPhone and a TriggerTrap cable. 3 simple ways to release the shutter which makes it versatile and gives a degree of redundancy.
I love how easy it is to use fill flash from the built-in little flash unit. I leave the camera in aperture priority mode and auto ISO, dial in a stop or so of negative exposure compensation and pop in a bit of flash. Due to the high-speed sync ability of the leaf shutter, this works a treat even at wide apertures in daylight. I have flash and flash compensation in the Q menu for easy access in case tweaks are needed. With the electronic shutter and built-in ND filter you have a couple of options for shooting at wide open aperture in the brightest of sunlight.
The Fuji film simulations give some great options for shooting depending on how you want to render the scene. First image below shot in Astia with fill flash and the second rendered in Classic Chrome with fill flash....it was really gloomy in the forest.
The little camera even does very respectable high ISO shooting. There is a bit of (natural looking) grain at high ISO and some softening of detail, but overall its really plenty good enough for day to day shooting and I would not hesitate to use it at a low-light wedding venue for example.
ISO 3200 in very dim evening light.
All that power comes in a camera that you can carry in a bellows style coat pocket, hang around your neck or carry on a wrist strap, so its always there, easy to access without getting a backpack off. I tend to carry mine in my Ona Bowery, which will easily fit another small camera (commonly an Instax or other Fuji X body, plus my phone, spare batteries, filter and mini tripod when needed. Sometimes I just carry it alone in the Fuji leather case.
Of course you can even get accessory screw-on lenses for the X100 series to add to versatility. As I already own ILC X cameras there is no need for me to have these and I keep my X100T minimalistic.
It's a lovely discreet camera too so people tend to react favourably to its benign presence when it's pointed at them and you can shoot without drawing attention. It is an ideal travel, street and family snap shooter, with a lot of less obvious attributes for the skilled and keen photographer who will invest the time setting it up.
I am sure it will be superseded by a later, greater model anytime soon, but the X100T will remain a fantastic overall camera and a very powerful imaging tool that hides behind its small size and retro appearance.