Photographers are lot of the times not only obsessed about the quality of the pictures but also about the tools they are using. We’re considering the cameras as our tool to get the job done, but it’s not a mystery that lot of the time, we’re looking to an item that can give us satisfaction and not frustration when we are shooting.
I remember my first class of photography I took around 14 years ago: at the time (the year 2002) the digital reflex where kind of expensive and limited in the quality of images recorded. There was the big debate about analogue vs digital and who was the best one. In those years there was no mach: analogue photography was still an edge over the digital world.
I remember, during that first class, that I was so impressed about the sharpness and the colors of the slides that where projected from the teacher in the room: you could see in that dark room a picture that was so vivid and so crisp. I was in love with those colors! Those slides where shoot with a Fujifilm Velvia slide. So my begin in the path of photography was with the Fujifilm slide: first using the inexpensive Sensia, then starting to use the Velvia and Provia. I remember my trip to the Greek island of Santorini when I took some vivid images using those films. Unluckily now I can’t find back all of those slide, only some, but this is another story…
Why this long intro to my Fuji X100T impressions after an year of usage?
Simply ‘cause I found back with the Fuji digital camera that kind of color I could achieve when shooting with Fujifilm analogue slide.
I remember the first X100. I was at the 2010’s Photokina in Koln, Germany, when they present it. Everyone was falling in love with that camera only looking at the item itself: the camera looks like an old rangefinder camera but still very very portable thanks to the integrated and fixed lens.
I was testing and using the first X100 and I wasn’t finding it so amazing. The picture quality was good but I was struggling with the slow focus and the gimmick of the interface. At the time my mirrorless to go was the Samsung Nx100 and Nx200, I think the most underestimate system in the photography history. (you can read my impression here)
When the second iteration – the X100S – come out I was able to try it in different situations and it was already a big different story: the new x-trans sensor gives what we were missing on the first camera: the unique Fuji colors. I was amazed about them especially at the high iso range. (you can read my test of the X100s here)
But at the time I decided to wait a bit more. Until the X100t. Yes that was finally the camera to buy.
After one year of usage I still consider the X100T not an easy camera for everyone: if you want to master at the best the camera you have really to study the user manual to understand how to set all the features.
An example: in the beginning is not easy (without reading the manual) to understand that when you are shooting at full aperture (f/2.0) you can’t use the mechanical shutter speed over the 1/1000th of second (‘cause of the
plane focal shutter leaf shutter). You have to set integrated ND filter on or use the electornic shutter. This is just an example, over some difficulties I’ve found with this camera.
I would say that it took to me some weeks to get used how the X100T works. But after you master all these details you can’t turn back anymore.
The camera is very small, portable, and still it deliver amazing picture quality.
I’ve to say that in a lot of professional shootings, I was going to prefer the output of the X100T over the Canon 5d Mk2. For me there’s no challenge, especially when you are dealing with high iso and shadows recovery: the Canon files get noisy and difficult to manage. I found instead the Fuji file to hold more information and be more flexible to work with the post editing in Lightroom.
Let’s talk about the raw output vs jpg out of the box.
Lot of photographer are extremely happy about the jpg ootc (out of the camera) and I’ve to agree with them but… for me the raw post processing is so important cause it gives to the photographer the ability to show the unique and personal vision, in the same way the photographers could get unique prints in the dark room.
The jpg from the Fuji X100t are nice but with the extra editing you can do with the .raw files in Lightroom give enormous opportunity to the photographers.
I’m just not so happy (and I know that I’m not the only one) about the demosaicing algorithm with the fuji raw in Lightroom. I know there’s the Iridient Developer as alternative and I’ve tested this summer for some weeks Capture One too. The latter gives nice results with the fuji raw at cost of slow down with the workflow (at least in my opinion). Honestly I had difficulties to adapt myself to Capture One after I’m using Lightroom from the first open beta of 2006. I’m just so used about the Adobe software and it’s much quicker especially when dealing with a big library of more than 200.000 photos.
So my decision is to stay stick with Lightroom and I’ve started to learn how to process better the Fuji’s raw file: for example I’ve create a template that compensate for the excessive contrast and dark tone of the “Classic Chrome” simulation profile in Lightroom. Doing so, the match with the jpgs are much more close.
Talking about the ergonomics of the camera, I love to have all the main controls under my thumbs: aperture, time exposure and compensation (when working with aperture priority mode). I found also the electronic viewfinder to be quite good (obviusly not as good as the one on the X-T1) and honestly I use more this one that the optical one, even if I’ve the option of the hybrid system.
For me an extra plus of the system is the opportunity to add the teleconverter. When i bought the X100T I got immediately the TCL-X100 to get an equivalent 50mm. I’ve used this combination to take the fashion portraits at Pitti Uomo in Florence (you can see the pictures here and here).
I leave you with the images I took with the Fuji X100T during this last year. All of them where recorded in .raw and processed in Lightroom. I’ve added on the right of the images some notes. Mainly I’m using the Classic Chrome and Camera Pro Neg Standard profiles while developing in Lightroom. I’ve noticed that Classic Chrome works very good when you have a landscape with lot of green tones. Instead when I want more punch for the colors (for that kind of pictures the Classic Chrome isn’t so great) I use the Velvia simulation and I start to fell back as the days of my first photography class. 🙂
[ Note: Click on the photo to see it full screen also on mobile device, you can scroll swiping the images ]