Fuji X-T10 Hands On Review: Day One

Our test Fuji X-T10 review unit just arrived from our equipment partners at B&H and we spent our first day playing with the newest member of the Fujifilim body. This Fuji X-T10 Hands On Review: Day One gives my impressions after the first day of shooting with this impressive little camera.

Having used the Fuji X-T10 for some time, it’s a bit shocking how small the X-T10 is. While we received the X-T10 with 18-55mm kit lens, we immediately put on the Fuji 18mm f/2 Fujinon XF 18mm F2 R lens, a very small lens that gives the camera one of my favorite focal lengths of 27mm. (On my Sony a7R, I usually shoot the 28mm f/2.0, for a similar look.)

The Fuji X-T10 with the 18mm lens is so small that it easily fit into the pocket of a pair of cargo shorts.

IMG_2692When testing out a new camera, I usually spend the first few hours photographing things I’m familiar with, in order to get a feel for the user interface for the camera, and to familiarize myself with the capabilities of the device. Thanks to the sudden, erratic movement inherent in a four year old boy, spending time photographing my son allows me to work though the various autofocus modes and focus zones with a subject that refuses to stay still. It also affords me a large range of colorful items to test a camera’s vibrancy.

For the first day I spent time around the house and the neighborhood, something I do with just about ever camera. With the Fuji Fuji X-T10 I was up and capturing beautiful looking images instantly, with very little fiddling. Most cameras require a lot of tweaking of base settings to get right.

Thanks to the Fuji X-T10 having a unique control layout aimed at the pro user (and thanks to my experience with the X100 series and X-T1), I didn’t have to spend a lot of time digging through menus to get the shots I wanted. That said, there are going to be a lot of photographers that are going to look at the top control dials and run screaming for the user manual. More on that in a bit.

Look and Feel

In the film era there were to main “looks” that photographers could choose from. One was Kodak, which tended toward warm and pleasant skin tones and vibrant sunsets, and the other was Fuji. Fuji’s film stock always yielded bright and vibrant greens and blue colors. There was a (semi) joke that you could remember which was which by the color of the boxes. Fuji boxes were green and blue, Kodak yellow.

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The Fuji X-T10 follows along in Fujifilm’s tradition of bright and vibrant colors. Even shooting RAW, where the camera isn’t doing JPEG processing, the X-T10 produces some of the brightest, most vibrant colors I’ve seen from a digital camera.


DSCF0007smallThis is especially true of blues and greens, reds and to a lesser degree yellows, following along with the Fujifilm hallmark. And like the Fuji film of yesteryear, it’s a bit less vibrant and more neutral when to skin tones.

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That’s not a problem, per-se, it just might require some post-processing adjustments for photographers looking to have skin tones “pop” in the same way that grass and sky does.

For those shooting JPEG or RAW+JPEG, the X-T10 has a number of preset color modes, including film simulations, so it’s possible to dial in the perfect amount of saturation or simulation.

Controls

I’m not sure why more people don’t express displeasure at the control layout of the X-T10 since it’s so non-traditional in today’s digital era. That is to say the layout is a hybrid mix of a film-era control systems and manual layout that’s unique in digital cameras. I’ll touch on this more in a formal review of this camera, and this has been touched in reviews of the X-100 series and the X-1, but I’ll mention it here for people landing for the first time on an X-T10 article.

The camera functions in a mix of manual shooting and automatic shooting at all times, depending on the settings of the shutter speed and aperture. Place the lens in the Auto setting on the lens dial and the shutter speed in the Auto setting on the manual dial on the top, and the camera is in fully auto mode. Unless, that is, you override that with the front and back control dials. Change shutter speed to one of the settings (1/4000th, 1/3oth, Bulb, etc.) and the camera is now in Shutter priority. Likewise for aperture settings.

This is both brilliant and confounding to new users, all at the same time. I love it. I love, love, love it, as it makes total sense. Many people can’t wrap their heads around it. If you’ve got a grasp of the connection between shutter speed and aperture, this is a great way to work. Just a simple twist of dials and the camera goes from auto to manual modes without having to jump into a button or menu setting.

The X-T10 is full of these little setting bonuses, as are the sibling cameras that came before it. One of my favorites is the ability to set multiple ISO sensitivity settings collections. Different photographic styles call for different ISO limits. Shoot sports and you don’t mind if the upper limit of your ISO range is Iso 1600, but if you’re shooting portrait you might not want to go above ISO 400. With ISO groups you can tell the camera what the minimum and maximum sensitivity are in addition to the minimum shutter speed. This is a great idea, because different scenes require different styles of bracing the camera. If I’m shooting landscape on a tripod, my minimum shutter speed is meaningless. ISO 200 at 1/3 of a second is the same to me on a tripod as ISO 200 at 1/30th or 1/3000th. In daily shooting I can handhold comfortably without motion blur down to 1/15th myself, but if I’m handholding for moving sports, I don’t want to have my minimum speed that low as I’ll get blur. With different ISO groups I can simply jump between different settings for my different shooting styles.

All this is to say that the X-T10 has a level of flexibility that’s not often found on a camera this size. Fujifilm didn’t dumb-down the X-T1 to make the X-T10, they compacted the larger camera in order to create a system that has the primary features of the X-T1 without the bulk, and the result is a go-to APS-C camera that’s really hit a sweet spot. Both new photographers and veteran Fuji shooters will love the X-T10.

More reviews and photos to come.

Do you have an Fuji X-T10? Considering one? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments.

 

 




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