Fujifilm makes some fantastic mirrorless cameras, including our favorite high-end APS-C model, the X-H1. But it’s struggled to deliver a crackerjack X camera at an entry-level price. The company’s latest attempt is the X-T100 ($ 599.95, body only), its least expensive offering with a built-in viewfinder. It’s a gorgeous camera that’s capable of capturing stunning images, so why the relatively low rating? It simply doesn’t keep up with the competition when it comes to autofocus, and there’s nothing more frustrating than missing a moment because your camera doesn’t lock focus quickly enough. Our long-standing Editors’ Choice in this category, the Sony a6000, doesn’t have the latest features like a touch LCD, but still delivers solid images and video, and has a very snappy focus system.
Design: Black, Silver, or Gold
Fujifilm knows how to make a pretty camera, and the X-T100 is no exception. It’s fairly small, at 3.3 by 4.8 by 1.9 inches (HWD) and 15.8 ounces without a lens. The body is a mix of metal and plastic, with the former used for the top plate and the latter for the remainder of the exterior. You can get it in a matte black, dark silver, or champagne gold finish. All three versions have a black leatherette wrapping most of the body, with the aforementioned color showing up in the top and bottom plates.
Don’t confuse the X-T100 with the Fujifilm X100T—they are very different cameras. The X-T100 is an interchangeable lens model, first on sale in 2018. The X-T100 is a fixed-lens camera, with a fixed 35mm (full-frame equivalent) f/2 lens and hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder. It’s from 2014, and has since been replaced with the X100F.
You can buy the camera as a body only, or get it with the Fujinon XC 15-45mm F3.5-5.6 OIS PZ zoom lens for a $ 100 premium. It has an EVF, which you don’t always get with a low-cost mirrorless camera. Fujifilm’s X-A5 and the Olympus PEN E-PL9 also sell for around $ 600, but neither has an EVF.
The X-T100 ships with a detachable handgrip in the box. I preferred using the camera with it, as it doesn’t add much bulk and makes it much more comfortable to hold. The grip screws into the right side of the camera; you just need to remove a small rubber stopper to reveal the threaded hole used to secure it.
Save for the lens release button, there are no controls on the front. Up top you’ll find a programmable dial to the left of the EVF, along with a button to release the pop-up flash. By default it switches through the various film emulation modes, a mainstay of Fujifilm cameras. Among the choices are the standard look (Provia), a saturated option (Velvia), a more muted, colorful effect (Classic Chrome), and others, including black-and-white and sepia tones. All of the effects are available for video capture as well as still images. The dial can be reprogrammed if you’d like it to do something else.
A standard hot shoe sits atop the raised center section, so you can add an external flash or other accessory. On its right there’s a Mode Dial, the programmable Fn button, shutter release and power switch, a second control dial, and the Record button for video capture. In addition to the standard Program, Aperture, Shutter, and Manual modes, the X-T100 includes Scene settings for sports and landscape, in-camera panoramas, and a number of different art filters, including pinhole and miniature.
The Delete and Play buttons sit on the rear plate, at the top left corner. To their right is the EVF, with a View Mode button to set the live view system to use the EVF, rear LCD, or switch automatically between the two using the camera’s eye sensor. To its right is the Q button, which launches an on-screen menu for quick adjustments to settings. To its right is the rear control dial, which turns to adjust aperture or shutter speed (depending on the shooting mode and attached lens), and can be pushed in to magnify the frame for precise manual focus.
The Q screen shows a bank of 16 settings, all of which are customizable. It’s an intuitive way to change settings that aren’t easily accessible via buttons, without having to dive into the camera menu. There’s no button on the camera to change focus modes, for example, so having that setting on the quick menu will make it easier to switch between single, continuous, or manual focus. Oddly enough, despite having rather large icons, you can’t navigate the Q screen, or any menu, via touch. Instead you’ll use the rear four-way directional pad and the rear control wheel to change settings.
The four-way control pad sits beneath the rear thumb rest, to the right of the LCD. Its directional presses double as shooting controls (AF, White Balance, Drive, and Self-Timer), and the Menu/OK button sits at its center. Below it is the remaining physical control button, Display/Back.
The LCD is touch sensitive, 3 inches in size, with a crisp 1,040k-dot resolution. It’s sharp, and you can pump up its brightness higher than normal for use on sunny days, or set it dimmer to reduce stress on your eyes during astrophotography outings. The display is hinge-mounted to help you get shots from more interesting angles. It can tilt up or down, or swing out to the side and face forward for selfies.
While the LCD doesn’t support touch for menus, it does let you tap the screen to change the focus point, or to focus and capture an image. You can change what touching the screen does by tapping the finger icon at the top right corner of the display. It will say AF if you only want to set focus by touch, Shot if you want to focus and make an image with each tap, or Off if you don’t want to to use touch focus. The AF setting will only be available if you have the camera’s focus mode set to its flexible spot mode—if you use the wide setting the camera will always choose the focus point. In addition to tapping the screen while using the LCD to frame up a shot, you can slide your finger across the LCD when using the EVF to move the focus point around.
Many who opt for the X-T100, or another model with a built-in EVF like the next in the line, the X-T20, do so because of the viewfinder. The X-T100’s EVF is quite good, especially when you consider the camera’s price. It’s clear and smooth thanks to a dense 2,360k-dot resolution and OLED tech, and includes diopter adjustment to dial its focus in to match your vision.
The EVF is on the small side with 0.62x magnification, but that is on par with other cameras in this price range like the Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark III. You’ll need to spend more if your eyesight will benefit from a larger view of the world—the premium Fujifilm X-T2 sports a 0.77x finder, and others in the $ 1,000 and up range do as well.
The X-T100 features the standard cocktail of Bluetooth, NFC, and Wi-Fi connectivity. Bluetooth and NFC are included to simplify the process of connecting the camera to your smartphone, and Wi-Fi is used for remote control and file transfer. You’ll need the Fujifilm Cam Remote app, a free download for Android and iOS devices, to use the camera with your phone.
The battery is the same NP-W126S used by other Fujifilm mirrorless cameras. It loads in the bottom, in the same compartment that houses the single SD/SDHC/SDXC card slot. It is rated for up to 430 images or 90 minutes of video, both very good marks for a mirrorless camera. There are a few ports available—micro HDMI, micro USB, and a 2.5mm microphone input jack. You’ll need to use an adapter in order to connect a mic with a standard 3.5mm plug.
Performance and Autofocus
The X-T100 is a great-looking camera with nice features, quality components, and strong handling. So why are we rating it so low? The answer lies in its autofocus system—it’s slow, to the point where it struggles with keeping up with moving subjects. This is despite Fujifilm including phase detection on the sensor, technology that usually nets very snappy performance.
Even in bright light, there is a noticeable 0.4-second lag between pressing the shutter and getting an in-focus image. The lag slows to about 0.9-second in very dim light. The camera itself isn’t quick to power on and capture an image, requiring about 2.6 seconds to do so. Compare that with the aging, but faster, Sony a6000, which is a little quicker to start (1.9 seconds) and a lot faster to focus in bright light (0.02-second), though it does slow down in dim conditions (0.8-second).
Continuous shooting is available at a very decent 5.9fps capture rate at full 24MP resolution, and at 15fps using the 4K photo mode, which leverages the video recording system to extract 8MP JPG frames. Focus is fixed during most 4K shooting—it’s more useful for capturing a fleeting moment than for tracking a moving subject—but there is a mode which will change the focus point between every shot. I wouldn’t recommend using it to try and catch a moving target in focus, but it is a useful tool for macro photographers who utilize focus stacking to get more depth of your subject in focus.
If you do want to track moving subjects—whether it’s a bird in flight, a child on a swing, or a runner crossing the goal line—you’ll find the X-T100’s performance to be lacking. Yes, it can shoot at 6fps in Raw or JPG format, but its hit rate for focus netted poor results in our tests—only about half the shots in our moving target test were in focus. Compare this with the Sony a6000, which can keep moving targets in focus at 11fps, even when shooting in Raw format.
The number of shots you can capture in a burst varies based on whether you shoot in Raw, JPG, or Raw+JPG. In Raw or Raw+JPG you get only 16 shots in a full burst, while you can extend to about 39 shots when in JPG format. Once the buffer fills up it will take a bit of time for the images to write to a memory card—18.5 seconds for Raw+JPG, 15.8 seconds for Raw, and 5.6 seconds for JPG when using a SanDisk 280MBps card. Frustratingly, you can’t do anything but wait as the images are committed to memory. Most other cameras allow you to change settings or start shooting again when the buffer is partially cleared—that’s not the case with the X-T100. You’ll have to stare at a preview of your last image and the word “Storing” at the top of the screen until all of the images are saved.
Image and Video Quality: Strong Photos, Choppy 4K
The X-T100 uses a 24MP APS-C image sensor, the same resolution and sensor size you find in most SLRs and mirrorless cameras available for under $ 1,500. It is a Bayer design, the type of color image sensor used by most manufacturers, as opposed to Fujifilm’s proprietary X-Trans design, which it reserves for its more advanced cameras. X-Trans promises to deliver better high-ISO performance and more natural grain due to its more complex six-by-six color filter design, as opposed to Bayer’s four-by-four repeating pattern. You also miss out on some of the features that Fujifilm has (to date) reserved for X-Trans cameras, including film grain simulation, and the Acros and Eterna film emulation modes.
I tested the sensor’s performance at each of its full-stop ISO settings using Imatest. When shooting JPGs with default settings enabled, the X-T100 captures images with less than 1.5 percent noise through ISO 25600. But that doesn’t mean that you can get crisp, detailed images when pushing the camera that far.
In reality, you can snap clear images with little loss of quality through ISO 800. We see a bit of loss of very fine detail at ISO 1600 and 3200, but image quality remains very strong. At ISO 6400 the story changes a bit—very soft blurring of detail becomes a bit more apparent. I’d still feel comfortable using the setting when the shot calls for it, though. Blur is more pronounced at ISO 12800, and it gets worse at ISO 25600 and even more so at the top ISO 51200 setting.
More advanced photographers can opt for Raw format, which cuts out noise reduction and gives you more latitude to edit your photos in Lightroom or your favorite Raw processor. Raw images are very sharp through ISO 3200, and while there’s some grain, it’s not overwhelming. At ISO 6400 grain is heavier, but details shine through. Output is rough at ISO 12800, which is also the top setting available when working in Raw mode—Fujifilm has opted to not include Raw capture above ISO 12800. Crops from both JPG and Raw images are included in the slideshow that accompanies this review for your reference.
The X-T100 supports 4K video capture, but as with the company’s X-A5, it’s really not there for video. The 15fps frame rate is choppy—use it for the burst photo capture mode, not for your home movies. Instead you’ll want to shoot at 1080p. Videographers will be happy to see a load of frame rate options—23.98, 24, 50, and 60fps. But there’s no 30fps capture option, an odd omission.
Regardless of which frame rate you choose, video capture is a mixed bag. Footage at 1080p is reasonably sharp, and there’s only a modest crop applied at the sides of the frame. But videos are slow to start—you’ll need to hold down the Record button for close to a second to start a clip—and the autofocus is slow to adjust to changes in the frame.
Great Potential, Hampered
Given the quality of Fujifilm’s other mirrorless cameras, including the next model up in price and features, the X-T20, I had high hopes for the X-T100. But despite boasting a very solid build (for this price class), a stunningly attractive industrial design, and excellent image quality, its shortcomings in speed and focus prevent me from giving it a strong recommendation.
If you are interested in taking advantage of Fujifilm’s excellent—and vast—mirrorless lens library, and don’t plan on capturing a lot of moving action, you’ll likely be happy with what the X-T100 delivers in terms of image quality and handling. But for photographers serious enough to think about buying lenses, it’s a good call to spend a bit more money and get the X-T20. It matches the X-T100 in resolution, betters it in focus and video capture, and has a touch LCD—just not one that can face forward for selfies.
For photographers simply looking for a good, affordable starter camera, we still recommend the Sony a6000 as our entry-level Editors’ Choice. It’s an older model, so you don’t get a touch LCD or Bluetooth, but it does have Wi-Fi, an EVF, a tilting LCD, and much faster focus and burst capture. You may also like the Panasonic G7 (another older model, but one that sells for an affordable price) or the Panasonic GX85, both of which are priced similarly to the X-T100, and use the slightly smaller Micro Four Thirds sensor size.