The Fujifilm X-T10 Review – A small powerhouse

It’s May 2015, and today the world has seen the launch of yet another great X-series camera from FUJIFILM. The X-T10 is the newest addition to the “T” series, which started with the introduction of the X-T1. With its smaller physical footprint it might not seem like much, but don’t let the size fool you. Beneath the modest exterior there is a full spec professional X-series camera.

Thanks to FUJIFILM and its Nordic division, I was able to test out a pre-production sample camera, and really put it through its paces.

DISCLAIMER: The camera tested is a pre-production sample. Changes to firmware and specifications might still occur in the production model. Image quality might not be final either. All sample images from the X-T10 are resized to 2048px at the widest.

Aimed at the young creative students, the serious hobbyists, and as a professionals “carry-round” the X-T10 screams diversity of usage. Everything from the build to the new firmware with its brand new autofocus system just begs to be used in a multitude of situations.

I tried to take this into account when testing the camera. I placed myself in situations that would challenge the autofocus system as much as I could within the timeframe. I  really tried to treat this camera as my “carry-everyday-everywhere” camera. Meaning that I would shoot any kind of task with it. I took it out on the streets, brought it to work, at dinner, at planned shoots, used it for documentary work, took family snapshots, and yes, I even had it on my nightstand!

There are a lot of new things to this camera, so this review might end up a little longer than usual. I will be covering the design aspects, the technical aspects as well as posting a lot of sample shots. At the time of taking the photographs there was no RAW file support, so all images within this review are jpegs.

I will note metadata where relevant, but you can always download the image files and the full metadata are embedded in there. You can click all the images in this review for a larger version.

Features


 Specs

The X-T10 uses the same X-Trans II APS-C sensor and EXR II Processor as we know from the X-T1. It has Mechanical shutter up to 1/4000s and Electronic shutter up to 1/32000s

The EVF is a 2.36 Million dots OLED with a 0.62x magnification. (a bit smaller than the 0.77x of the X-T1). It has the same lag-free superfast refreshrate of 0.005 sec which makes it among, if not THE, best viewfinder available today. The display is a 920K dot tilting LCD.

It uses the UHS-I standard of SD cards, as well as the NP-W126 battery. It also has built in Wi-Fi like all newer X-series cameras, and can be remote controlled using the remote control app.

New Autofocus System

FUJIFILM announced a big firmware update for the X-T1 on may 11th. Available in june, this new firmware adds an entirely new Auto Focus system. The same firmware is already on the X-T10 from date of launch, and will of course dictate most of the features of the camera that I will talk about here.

The new autofocus system has 3 modes of focus.

  • Single Point Focus Mode
  • Zone Focus Mode
  • Wide/Tracking Mode

The Single point focus is basically the same as before. You select from the focus points, and your focus will be within that point. You can make this point bigger or smaller as you see fit. Only the center portion of the frame uses the faster Phase Detection AF, where as the outer areas of the frame use the slower Contrast detect AF. The new thing in the Single Point AF mode is that FUJIFILM now divides the focus point into 9 subareas. The camera now further analyses the focus point as to better determine the correct plane of focus. This makes it incredibly accurate!

Screen Shot 2015-05-10 at 09.44.49

The Zone focus mode lets you select a bigger area of the frame, and within this selection the X-T10 will analyse movement and select appropriate focus. This is especially great for photographing children or even doing fast paced street photography where movement isn’t continuing along a set pattern, but is often completely random. As long as movement is within “The Zone” it will be in focus.

Taken using CH mode with continuous AF in Zone Focus Mode. Classic Chrome jpeg simulation, slightly saturated in post. (click for full-size)

The Wide Tracking mode uses the entire frame. You place your focus point selection over your subject, and half press the shutter. It will then follow the subject across the entire frame. This is especially great for for fast paced cross-frame sports like motorsports, mountain biking, Horse Track sports or gymnastics.

Taken using CH mode with continuous AF with Wide/Tracking. Classic Chrome jpeg simulation. (click for full-size)

The modes all work in both Single shoot AF or as Continuous AF with either 8 fps or 3 fps. These high speed modes are easily chosen on the top plate dial to the left of the EVF.

Taken using CH mode with continuous AF with Wide/Tracking. Classic Chrome jpeg simulation. (click for full-size)

These 3 focus modes in combination makes the X-T10 a camera that just performs amazingly well in all situations imaginable. It really adds to the versatillity of the camera.

Eye Tracking

For portrait photography the new face detection/eye tracking focussystem will actually find the face within your frame, and analyse the eyes. It will set focus to the eye (you choose left or right eye) and it will follow this eye when locked on. This is great for jittery models, or again, for child portrait photography. This mode works incredibly well even with the narrow DOF from the XF56mm f/1.2.

Taken using single point focus mode w/eye-detection feature. (click for full-size)

Lowlight performance

The light sensitivity of the phase detection has been boosted by an incredible 5x. Previously the sensitivity threshold was at 2.5EV. where now its only 0.5EV. Let me tell you right away, this makes a HUGE difference in focussing ability. In lowlight situations you have NO focus hunting anymore. The same is true for backlight situations where the lack of contrast could be very tricky. This now presents no focussing issue what so ever!

Auto Macro

The X-T10 now automatically switches into near focus mode whenever you are at the near-focus-limit of your chosen lens. No more pushing the macro button. This is now completely fluent. And the change from far- to close-focus is not even noticeable. Its perfectly seamless.

X-T10 - XF16mm - f/1.4 - 1/180
X-T10 – XF16mm – f/1.4 – 1/180 – Velvia Simulation. Single point AF at closest focus distance (click for full size)

SR+

Sr+ is the full auto mode of the X-T10. Its a complete “set-it-and-forget-it” mode that will let the average user take pictures no matter the situation. Although I’m not the core target user for this feature, I do have a wife that finds these auto modes incredibly useful. The SR+ mode is easily selected by flipping the lever on the top right to “auto”

SR+ will analyse the scene and it will apply any of the focus modes, eye detection, backlight detection etc etc to give you an automatically optimal rendering of the scene.

Design


 The X-T10 features a brand new design, while keeping it in line with the X-T1. The overall appearance is much more to the point. There are not many superflouos things on the camera. FUJIFILM made the lines of the X-T10 more pronounced, and threw away some of the beefier, softer curves of the X-T1. The result is a slimmer, and cleaner looking design.

The body is made from a magnesium alloy, and comes in either a silver or black painted version. The silver isn’t the Graphite Silver of the X-T1, but more akin the X-E1/X-E2 or X100 series. The design clearly takes cues from the old 70’s/80’s SLR cameras from Pentax, Praktika, and of course Fujica. With the X-T10 I really find a stark resemblance to the Fujica ST801. But the overall design is actually a mix of several of these old design icons.

The top plate still have 3 dials like the X-T1, but FUJIFILM decided to replace the ISO dial with the mode-dial. It retains the familiar shutter speed dial, as well as the exposure compensation dial. Beneath the mode and shutter dials there are 2 levers. The right hand side lever activates the pop-up flash which is actually completely hidden within the EVF hump. The left hand side lever switches between full auto SR+ mode and manual mode.

The pop-up flash is completely hidden
The pop-up flash is completely hidden

On the front there is a scroll wheel as well as on the back. Both of these, in addiction to scrolling, can be pressed and assigned as a function button. The movie button can now be assigned as a Fn button as well. 

The size has been slimmed down to an incredibly small footprint, measuring only 118.4 x 82.8 x 40.8mm, thats a mere 400mm³ (73% of X-T1). The weight is also reduced to only 381g (86% of X-T1).

The small size makes the X-T10 an ideal camera for use with the smaller primes eg. the XF18mm f/2R, XF27mm f/2.8, XF35mm f/1.4R. I mainly used the 35mm on mine during the test period. For the street photographer the upcoming XF35mm f/2 will be a really great addition to this compact body.

Usage


 The camera is a fantastic experience to use. It is fast, responsive and handling is superb even though it isn’t equipped with a huge grip. It rests comfortably in my hands, and I had no problems ensuring a firm grip.

I really feel that FUJIFILM made this camera for the masses. This is an incredibly versatile system that delivers amazing looking images. You can use it in full auto, or you can geek out and use full manual controls. It’s all up to the individual end user. It will fit right in with creative minded people who demands flexibillity and quality in their creative tools.

As a semi-professional, I simply used this camera as my constat carry around. For street photography it is so small and inconspicuous that it hardly turns an eye (that is, unless you buy the silver version which will get a great deal of attention from curious people who adores the retro 70’s SLR look)

The superfast zone focus system makes it perfect for capturing those fleeing rapid street movements and the Eye-tracking makes it great for portrait sessions.

Image Quality is as you’d expect from the FUJIFILM X-Trans sensor. It delivers the most amazing jpegs, and you get to chose between the many film-simulations that FUJIFILM includes in their cameras. I have not had a chance to test the RAW files yet, but they should behave just like all other X-Trans II RAW files. Incredible versatillity, dynamic range and with low-noise levels.

Samples


 These samples will clearly reflect the diverse nature of my testing. I have tried to include sample shots of a lot of different situations. I did regular street photography sessions, I did a documentary from a glassmakers factory, I did a natural light model shoot with the lovely Julie, and took it to the track. I did not, however, bring the X-T10 into a studio environment with artificial lighting.

All files are jpegs which I have run through Lightroom and added slight contrast and tone curves to give them my desired look. The black and white files where taken as black and whites in camera using the B&W+Yellow with +2 shadows and +2highlights for harsh contrast. I lifted the shadows in post where I saw fit.


On the streets

X-T10 with XF16mm – XF27mm – XF35mm – XF56mm


 Glass

X-T10 with XF16mm f/1.4 & XF35mm f/1.4


 Snapshots

X-T10 with lenses and life


Conclusion

The X-T10 is a fantastic camera that takes your breath away with everything from looks to performance. It’s an incredibly high performing camera in a very discretely sized package. It begs to be used and to be taken everywhere. This truly is a creative photographers camera. Fujifilm has again managed to create an astounding piece of photographic equipment that I’m sure many will love.