As a continuation of the rather strange last month for my blog I’ve decided to do another “review.” I put that in quotations because I don’t think I really know how to do a proper review. This will be more like my thoughts on a camera I’ve used off and on for a while: The Fujifilm X100T.
After posting my thoughts on the henri strap, by Eric Kim, some people asked if I could make a post talking about the camera the strap was attached to. I don’t particularly like talking about gear but I figured I could certainly add my two cents on this camera.
My relationship with Fujifilm cameras is about as long as it is with any camera company. When I was going through my faze of serious gear whoredom I used many Fujifilm cameras. In fact, I had one of the first X100s to find its way to Korea back in 2011. I used it during a trip to Japan right after I received it.
I actually loved it. It was one of the first times where I felt like I was using a camera that could basically do “everything” I needed it to. It was however, pretty slow and frustrating to use.
Over the years many firmware updates have made the original X100 very usable. No matter what camera I buy I always seem to eventually come back to an X100. I think it is just so good at so many things. Next to film, the X100 accounts for most of my better images over the past four years. I don’t think that is a coincidence.
I was never really interested in the X100S. I’m not sure why aside from that I didn’t think the changes made enough of a difference to me. I never really lusted after one. It felt more like an excuse to buy the cheaper original.
When the X100T came out, I didn’t really lust after it either. I still thought it was just too similar to the original. That was, until I tried a friends. It was definitely snappier than the original. Weirdly though, the thing I liked the most was the new buttons. Gone were the cheap feeling buttons from the first two versions. Sounds stupid, but this kind of thing makes a big difference to me. Whether or not I like a camera is so much based on the feel of it.
Any camera can be used to take a decent photo. Technically speaking I don’t think any camera made in the past five years is bad. So, when figuring out which I like it all comes down to feel.
A couple of months ago I wrote a review talking about how much I liked the Ricoh GR. I had a GR and the X100T at the same time. The GR developed issues almost right after I wrote that article. Sad really. That being said, the X100T has had some issues of its own. Dust has gotten into the viewfinder and lens which drives me nuts. I’ve kinda gotten over it though. In the end, it doesn’t make any difference to the photos. I’ve had many examples of these Fujifilm cameras and they have always been fairly reliable. Probably why I end up going back to them.
I hadn’t shot with the X100T in a while until last week. It was the only camera in my house that was compatible with the strap I reviewed in my last post so I decided to pick it up again.
As much as I don’t care a whole lot about gear anymore, I cannot argue with this simple fact: Every time I pick up and shoot with an X100 (T or otherwise) it takes less than 30 minutes for me to get an overwhelming feeling of “why would I ever need anything else?” I don’t like to think when I shoot. Part of the reason I said I liked the Ricoh GR so much was because it allowed me not to think. As much as I like the Ricoh, I always end up with better photos from the X100. The reason for this has nothing to do with specifications. I could give a shit about those. It more comes down to the fact that with the X100 I change settings without thinking. I don’t even realize I’m doing it sometimes. With the Ricoh I would have to menu dive to do so and therefor don’t bother.
“‘Sometimes I take a photo I know no one will like.’ A friend asked me today who I take photos for. He asked me if I take them because I want to say something about what I’m photographing. I didn’t get it. I’m selfish. I take photos for me. I don’t give a shit about what they ‘say.’ I don’t take them for the person I’m photographing. Why should I. The photos I take are my memories. If I photograph a person on the subway they aren’t going to remember me. It isn’t their memory I‘m interested it. I take the photo because it is a moment I want to remember. I don’t care if anyone likes it. It is hardly the point. This photo, for example will represent a certain time and place for me whether or not I take hundreds of ‘better’ photos before and after. It is the feeling of living here now, being on the metro. For me, at least. Luckily for me I don’t care about much else.”
I wrote that earlier this week on instagram. I think it kinda goes along with talking about this camera in that I think the reason I go back to them (x100) is that they don’t require much of my attention. When I take photos I don’t want to think about the camera. I don’t really want the camera to have a say in whats going on.
What I mean by that is I don’t want the camera to get in the way. I would like to say the Ricoh is good at that as well. However, if a camera decides to stop working from time to time that is the worst kind of getting in the way. While I have been annoyed by the dust problem in the X100T it has never failed to operate.
I can’t really comment too much on the quality of the photos themselves. I’m not technical enough to do so. I do like the photos. They require almost no attention at all. I hardly do anything to them and they suit my aesthetic. I shoot in camera black and white jpgs. I don’t have time for RAW.
That kinda brings me to the WiFi. I love my camera to have Wifi. I edit my photos on my phone. I don’t go to Lightroom anymore. I take photos on the go and edit them on the go. I only even take photos to pass the time while I’m going somewhere. Some people listen to music, I take photos. Some people read books, I edit photos. It keeps me occupied while on the go.
The WiFi iteration on the X100T is probably my favorite of any camera I used. I can just scroll through the photos on my camera and pick which to transfer. They go into my general photo stream. Easy peasy. Then into VSCO and done.
Another thing I love about the T version of this camera is that it charges via USB. I always carry this portable battery charger with me anyway and it charges perfectly fine with it. I hate carrying around extra batteries. At least with the battery charger I can charge my phone or the camera. It just simplifies things. Anything that makes things more simple is a positive for me.
I guess this hasn’t been much of a review. I really haven’t talked about anything of importance, ha. In the end the only thing I can say about the camera is that I really enjoy using it.
I don’t really take many photos normally speaking. I might take 30 or 40 a weekend. Strangely when I’m shooting with the X100T I take more. I don’t really know how to quantify what that means.The camera makes me want to shoot. I basically walk around with my eye to the viewfinder. I don’t know if I can give it higher praise than that. About six months ago I had a Leica M240 for a while and it didn’t make me want to shoot like the Fuji does. It reminds me of when I first used the original X100 during that trip to Japan. I had an M9 at the time as well. Even so, I can distinctly remember the feeling I had after just 30 minutes with the X100.
“Why would I ever need anything else?”
If you have any questions or comments let me know! I’d be more than happy to answer them. People always seem very apologetic when they email me or ask questions but I quite enjoy hearing from people.
Also, on a bit of a side note for those interested myself and well regarded street photographer Chulsu Kim (of Tokyo) have started an instagram collaborative called Wearethestreet. We hope to highlight the growing community of documentary and street photographers on instagram. You can find us at @Wearethestreet 😉
Gorgeous work and project!!
Josh, the Fuji X100 seems to me like a digital version of the old Konica Hexar film camera from the 90’s (That also had a fixed 35mm F2.0 lens, and they look very similar). That camera has a somewhat cult following so Fuji probably knew they were onto a good thing when they made it.
For me, probably its best feature is how quiet it is, it is practically silent with its leaf-shutter. (The Hexar also had a silent mode). Personally, I don’t think I will ever get rid of mine. (I still have the original X100) and am happy enough with that. Like you said – it does the job, no fuss.
They are definitely similar. I reminds me of the G2, aside from that the G2 isn’t fixed. Either way it is a great camera. I still prefer the photos from the original, actually.
On your dust issue, the first thing I did when I got my camera was to tape over the speaker, also the port door (which I never use), and put a clear filter over the lens, and up to now I haven’t had any problems with dust or crap getting inside the camera. I generally do this with any camera I get, and it seems to work.
The problem for me is that the dust seems to enter at the viewfinder.
Ah… Well you’re probably screwed then.
Hey Josh! Happy new year! I always wanted to share you comments. I really love when you re talkin about all the process (technical and emotional) behind your beautiful portraits. Like as you said, there were all portraits of you, i believe too. When you re on the way, when people are not looking, and now its like i’m growing with you, i do Love the portrait you take when you re chillin with your beloved, when you took pic of those sweet children who share your life, i’m verry happy to be able to know whats behind this pic and what she can say. Its all about sharing and transmission , about life, and i really want to thank you for this beautiful gift. Oh, and then yeah, i wanted to post on the article when you re talkin about mobile photography, i still remember its with that way, i discovered your stunning eye and thoughts.
Thank you, thank you and thank you.
Thank you so much… Hard to say much else 🙂
I bought the X100T last autumn. It was, is, my first Fujifilm X-series camera. I really enjoy its look, feel, image quality, ease of use, and how easy I can slip it in and out of my pocket. My only complaint is how fragile the little thing is, and the lack of weather sealing.
Thanks for your ‘review’ of the X100. It spoke to me more than any other review of Fujiflim cameras.
I have long been pondering which camera to purchase as I make the step from film to digital capture. I have been procrastinating for 12 months or more because of my aversion to all things Photoshop! Spending time on a PC for my relaxation hobby is not what I want as I spend 10 plus hrs a day looking at a screen.
I am therefore interested that you say you edit all your photos on your phone. That appeals to me as I too commute on the train to work. Could you post on what you use to do this at some point in the future?
Secondly I assume for your photography the fix focal length lens is fine? Does this limit your photographs? I am stuck between purchasing an X100 or XT1 with changeable lenses…again something to procrastinate about! Coming from 35mm & 120 film I think I may find myself limited by one lens but then again it may help my transition to digital capture. Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.
Hi Kevin! Thanks for your thoughts. I am planning on making a post about the process I use to edit my photos although I think people will be slightly disappointed by it. In actuality I rely mostly on exposure (and sometimes flash) to get the ‘look’ I want. As for editing I use vsco and their B1 preset and tweak from there. I’ll sometimes use snapseed as well depending on the photo but for the most part I like to spend as little time as possible and vsco allows be to edit a batch of photos at one time with one click so I generally rely on that (being lazy as I am). As for your conundrum, I very much like the fixed focal length. The 35mm is versatile enough to be used in a variety of situations (that I would be in) so I don’t really feel the need for another. I do not at prefer 28mm or 50mm but the 35 is an okay compromise. If you’re not doing bird photography or sports I’m not sure it will matter to either aside from the ‘lazy’ mindset that you will be limited. I say that jokingly, but I think having too much gear is as big of a problem as anything. I always remember the time I was in Japan and I had three cameras and eight lenses with me. I spent half the trip trying to figure out what to use and the other half feeling like I didn’t have the right tool for the photo I wanted to take. Of course it was all bullshit. The next trip I took only my phone and it was an amazing relief. Not to mention I took better photos 😉
Thanks for taking the time to reply Josh. Much appreciated. I’ve procrastinated some more by finding a 35mm focal length 35mm film rangefinder camera off eBay for $50 it’s supposed to be fully working so I can see how I get on with it for the pictures I shoot then take the plunge with digital. I’m not into sports or nature photography & tend to go out with only my body & one lens so I think it’d just my aversion to digital that is leading to the indecision between the X100 and the XT1.
Thanks for the phone app tips too I will be looking into them too.
I like the head-less people.
I bought the x100 a few years ago and have enjoyed using it though I sometimes wish it could be a little faster. Fortunately I was never afflicted with “gear whoredom” and I don’t keep up with the latest news on camera gear nor do I feel like I need to have the newest model. As long as whatever I am happy using it and it produces good images, that’s all that really matters. That said, I’m curious about the x100T after reading your post 😉
Great pictures, as always, and I look forward to seeing more @wearethestreet!
It’s a great camera. I really like the original as well. Best thing about fujifilm is they continue to update the old ones for a long time. And thanks for that about @Wearethestreet! What’s your instagram Id? I don’t keep up as well as I should lately.
I think I need to use my x100 more. The iPhone is so convenient that I hardly use my x100. My Instagram ID is @angelinahue. It’s been great and inspiring to see some of the pics that are tagged with #wearethestreet!
Great post JT I love the images, I’ve had the original X-100 since they came out, I’m thinking of moving up to the T. I like the idea of wifi and editing on the fly, I too would be interested in your post workflow, a post on that would be cool.
Anyway I’m off out into snowy London to do a bit myself. Take care man, keep up the great work. 🙂
Thanks Bob, the next post is comparing film and digital and then after that probably a post about my editing process 😉
how did you find the new position of the viewfinder? It has been moved in from the left corner towards the center on the T.
I think you mean the xt1, the x100t is essentially the same body as the x100s and the original x100.
Hello Josh, my apologies I wasn’t thinking straight when I asked the question.
I was referring to the Fuji X20 compact, the viewfinder was moved slightly towards the right, still rangefinder style but it was moved a bit towards the center. Again my apologies I confused the review with the X20.
Noice post 🤔 Wifi&USB charging were main reason why I replaced my NEX5 with a6000. And gave the NEX5 away to a friend with 2 year old son so she can have more than iPhone photos of him growing up.
So many things I can relate to … From that diatribe on using the GR or the X100T all the way to the feeling of “Why would I ever need anything else?” … I reach a point where in my last photoshoots I used the X100T 90-95% of the time and my Nikon only 5-10%, so for me it very clear that I might not need anything else, at least any time soon …
Following you guys on IG right now, I’m sure it’s going to be a great account to follow!
hey josh, very happy you’re using the t…gives me hope! wanted to ask if you have any basic settings you use and then tweak from there depending on light…both rinzi and eric have their preferred, but they dont shoot the t! cheers, miles
btw didn’t comment on the actual photos as i think you know how i feel about your work! 🙂
I remember shopping for the x100T, thinking it was the one to get, and I tried one out, but I ended up saving hundreds and got the original X100 2nd hand, after a friend suggested it had more ‘character’ that the S&T versions. I’m not sure how to define ‘character’ but it might be the sensor on the original was different. I will say it was slow to start with, but after a firmware update it started to be quite reliable, even the AF worked well. I find I am maybe stuck in P mode of late more than the usual M mode, but I guess that means the cameras is doing a good job too. The X100 images do have a feel I can’t explain, the colours are great in my mind, they feel natural. The camera is quiet and not obvious. I have never been happier all round with a camera.