X-T10: Fuji's affordable retro camera


  • TECH
  • Monday, 19 Oct 2015

Black beauty: the Fuji X-T10s retro design is nice, though not quite as elegant as its elder sibling, the X-T1

The X-T10 is Fuji's answer to consumers who loved the X-T1 but couldn't justify paying a premium price for the flagship mirrorless.

There are a lot of cameras with retro designs but Fuji’s take on retro isn’t just limited to the looks – with the X-T1, for example, the company has gone retrograde with the function of the buttons and dials too.

In spite of the more complicated options required in a modern digital camera, the X-T1 still manages to fit all the program modes and ISO settings into a very quick and easy to understand dial system.

Large sensor, small camera: despite its compact size, the Fuji X-T10 has a larger sensor than Micro Four Thirds cameras
Despite its compact size, the Fuji X-T10 has a larger sensor than Micro Four Thirds cameras. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

The only problem is that the X-T1 is a premium-priced camera that may not be within reach of many. The good news is that Fuji has now released the X-T10, essentially the baby brother to the X-T1.

The X-T10 has many of the ­features of the X-T1, including the same 16-megapixel X-Trans CMOS APS-C-sized sensor and autofocus system.

However, as it’s more ­consumer-oriented, the X-T10 has redesigned controls and a little pop-up surprise (more on this in a moment).

So does it stack up against its bigger brother? Read on to find out.

The camera is compact again

You’d be surprised how ­amazingly small the X-T10 is – despite the retro look, the camera is probably even a bit smaller and lighter than an SLR from the film era.

As for the design, it certainly has the retro look nailed, but to my eyes, it's not quite as attractive as the very beautiful X-T1.

Key difference: The Fuji X-T10 retains many of the dials of the X-T1 but not the handy ISO dial which has been replaced with a shooting mode dial.
The Fuji X-T10 retains many of the dials of the X-T1 but not the handy ISO dial which has been replaced with a shooting mode dial. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

One major design change, however, is on the top plate of the camera, where Fuji has replaced the ISO dial of the X-T1 with a shooting mode dial for switching to single shot, continuous burst, bracketing, multiple exposure and other settings.

It’s actually a shame that Fuji chose to remove the ISO dial and have it on the menu – although you can map it to one of the Fn buttons, I need access to ISO more often than other modes.

Fuji also allows you to map a variety of different functions to the various buttons around the camera body. The direction pad, video record button and command dials can be customised to access other functions apart from the default.

One really impressive feature of the X-T10 is what I call the pop-up surprise – flick a lever just below the shooting mode dial and up comes a tiny flash.

Compact lens: the 16-50mm kit lens on the Fuji X-T10 is fairly compact and fits the overall retro design of the camera
The 16-50mm kit lens on the Fuji X-T10 is fairly compact and fits the overall retro design of the camera. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

While this isn’t anything new in cameras, it’s a first for a Fuji X series and what’s impressive is that the flash is so well hidden in the camera’s pentaprism hump that you won’t know it’s there.

As the flash is tiny, it has a power rating of 5m (at ISO 100) which is less than a ­typical pop-up flash (which is usually rated at 12m at ISO 100).

Still it’s handy, say, as a fill-in flash for your subject when you’re faced with a very strong backlight.

Remote control

Like many new cameras released in the last year or two, the X-T10 also features built-in WiFi which allows you to control the camera using your Android or iOS smartphone via the Fujifilm Camera Remote app.

The app lets you remotely snap photos and adjust settings and even start video recording, so it’s pretty powerful.

Communication between the app and the camera was surprisingly fast and I noticed very little lag from the time I hit the virtual shutter release to the time the photo was actually taken.

The X-T10 we got came with a 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 kit lens with built-in OIS (optical image stabilisation). The lens is very compact and quite sharp at all focal lengths in our tests, but it’s missing the ­aperture ring found on the more expensive Fuji lenses which would have made adjusting aperture more intuitive.

On lenses with an aperture ring, you could easily see on the lens itself the aperture you selected and when you switch it to the “A” ­setting, you’re telling the camera to automatically adjust the aperture for you instead.

Customisable controls: most of the buttons on the Fuji X-T10 can be mapped to other functions
Most of the buttons on the Fuji X-T10 can be mapped to other functions. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

When using the kit lens supplied with the X-T10, however, you have to use the command dial to adjust aperture with only the screen showing you what aperture you’re at.

Interestingly, you can also have the camera take over the ­aperture control by spinning the dial past f/22 and it’s the same as choosing A on lenses with an ­aperture ring.

Similarly, the shutter dial also has an A setting – if both the ­aperture and shutter controls are set to A you effectively get full ­program autoexposure mode.

Taking the shutter out of A gets you shutter priority autoexposure and taking the aperture out of A gets you aperture priority autoexposure.

If you take both aperture and shutter out of their respective A settings, you get full manual ­exposure control. It’s actually quite simple once you get used to it.

Newbies need not fear, Fuji has added a lever just below the shutter dial – flip it to Auto and the camera goes into full auto mode no matter what you have previously set.

This lever is very useful even if you’re an experienced photographer, as sometimes you just want to take a quick candid shot without having to worry if you have all the settings right. When the Auto lever is switched on, the only function you can still access is the Exposure Compensation setting.

Pro performance

One area which Fuji has kept the same throughout many of its recent and past cameras is the 16-megapixel X-Trans CMOS sensor and the X-T10 is no exception.

The sensor is the same as the one on the X-T1 and because of the unusual RGB pixel layout, it’s extremely resistant to moire effects.

While I would like to see mirrorless cameras start to go beyond 16-megapixels, I have to admit that for its megapixel count, the Fuji produces some fantastic images.

Exposure is spot on most of the time, while colour and white ­balance are excellent.

Sharpness is very good for 16-megapixels even at higher ISO settings. At the camera’s base ISO of 200 to ISO 800, you get sharp, extremely low-noise images.

ISO 1600 and 3200 still give you perfectly usable and detailed results, though there’s a bit of noise visible in the dark areas.

Tilt it: the Fuji X-T10 comes with a 3in tiltable LCD screen
The Fuji X-T10 comes with a 3in tiltable LCD screen. — TAN KIT HOONG/The Star

Noise reduction kicks in stronger at ISO 6400, and you start to see loss of fine detail while anything beyond that is really unusable, in my opinion.

Video is something Fuji cameras have never excelled at and sadly the X-T10 is no different.

The specifications certainly look good on paper – you get 1080p recording at up to 60fps (frames per second), microphone input and continuous autofocus, as well as manual exposure control.

However, the results are just so-so and quality isn’t up to the standard of other brands – apparently the X-Trans sensor is good for stills but not so great for videos.

If you’re interested to look at a video shot with the X-T10, we have one posted at youtu.be/12oZXKuzKto.

And the microphone input? While it’s there, it’s the less ­common 2.5mm input so you ­probably have to get an adaptor to use it with most of the external microphones which use 3.5mm.

Conclusion

The X-T10 is a great camera for stills – picture quality is very good and the camera is really small and light enough to never feel like a burden when you’re going on a long hike.

Controls are a tad less intuitive than the X-T1 but the cheaper price far outweighs the minor annoyances – after all, you are getting 90% of the functions of the X-T1 at a fraction of the price.

You’re also buying into the Fuji system and while there aren’t that many lenses now, Fuji is rapidly expanding its lineup and the models it has now are impressively sharp.

To buy or not to buy? Well if you have been lusting after the X-T1 and just don’t have the cash for it, then the X-T10 should be in your list of alternatives.

Just be aware that video is really not this camera’s strong suit – it’s a still camera through and through.

Pros: Great image quality; nice retro design; compact size

Cons: Video quality is only so-so; removal of ISO dial makes it a little less convenient to adjust the setting.

X-T10
(Fujifilm)
Mirrorless interchangeable lens camera
Sensor: 16-megapixel X-Trans CMOS II sensor
Viewfinder: 2.36K-dot OLED electronic viewfinder, 3in tiltable 920K-dot LCD
Lens: None
Shutter speed: 30sec - 1/4,000sec
ISO range: 200-6400 (100-51200 in ISO boost mode)
Shooting modes: P, S, A, M
Video format: Full HD 1080p at up to 60fps
Battery: 1,260mAh lithium ion
Storage: SDXC
Interface: Micro USB, micro HDMI, microphone jack
Dimensions (W x H x D): 118.4 x 82.8 x 40.8mm
Weight: 381g
Website: fujifilm.my
Price: RM3,338 (body only), RM3,738 (with XC16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II kit lens)
Rating: 4 stars
Review unit courtesy of Fujifilm (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, (03) 5569-8388


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