Fujifilm X-T10 Review

June 1, 2015 | Mark Goldstein | |

Introduction

The Fujifilm X-T10 is a new mid-range compact system camera. Smaller, lighter and cheaper than the flagship X-T1 model, the X-T10 features a new AF system that is better at capturing moving subjects. In addition to Fujifilm’s conventional 49-point AF mode for high speed and precision focusing, the X-T10 offers new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes that track subject movement across a larger 77-point area. Other key features include a 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor, Fujifilm’s EXR Processor II, a Lens Modulation Optimiser which automatically corrects diffraction blur, a built-in pop-up flash, a 2.36m dot resolution OLED electronic viewfinder with a lag-time of just 0.005 sec, a tilting 3-inch 920k-dot LCD screen, 8fps burst shooting, an expandable sensitivity range from ISO 100-51200, wi-fi connectivity, interval timer shooting, in-camera raw conversion, a range of film simulation modes, multiple exposure and panoramic shooting modes, Digital Split Image and Focus Peaking for easier manual focusing, Full HD video recording capabilities at up to 60fps, an ultra-fast electronic shutter that is capable of exposures up to 1/32000sec, Natural Live View function that removes the image quality settings from the viewfinder image while shooting, a dedicated Auto Mode Switch Lever, a traditional threaded cable release, and a Classic Chrome film simulation mode. The Fujifilm X-T10 is available in black or silver and costs £499 / $799 body-only, £599 / $899 with the XC 16-50mm lens, and £799 / $1099 with the XF 18-55mm lens.

Ease of Use

Fujifilm have once again hit the ball out of the park with the design of the new X-T10. Smaller, lighter and "squarer" than the X-T1, this new retro model solicited admiring looks and comments wherever it went, especially in its silver and black guise. One of the key differences between the X-T1 and X-T10 is that the latter is not weather-proof, which is in keeping with its mid-range status, but something important to note if you're comparing the two.

Another difference is the X-T10's high-resolution OLED electronic viewfinder. Although it offers the same 2.36m dot resolution as the X-T1, the magnification is only 0.62x rather than 0.77x, which has the knock-on effect of not being able to offer the X-T1's innovative Digital Split Image feature. Still, with a very short lag-time of just 0.005 sec, in practice it answers one of the most common complaints about electronic viewfinders.

The viewfinder has a stunning Graphic User Interface that no optical viewfinder could ever hope to emulate. The default Full mode does what its name suggests and displays an uninterrupted view of the scene with all the settings information displayed outside the frame so that you can really concentrate on your subject. Normal provides an optimum view, including the shooting settings. The very clever Dual mode takes advantage of the EVF's size to display a split view of the scene before you, with the full frame on the left and a smaller 100% manual focus area on the right, complete with either focus peaking or Fujifilm's digital split image function. The displayed settings in the Full and Normal modes automatically rotate when the camera is held in a portrait orientation (although sadly not for the Dual view). Finally, Fujifilm have added the Natural Live View which cleverly removes the current image quality settings and provides a more real-world view similar to that offered by an optical viewfinder.

The Fujifilm X-T10 is another very well-built X-series camera, with almost no flex or movement in its chassis thanks to the die-cast magnesium alloy top and base plates and machined aluminium control dials. At the same time, it's actually a little lighter than a first glance might suggest, weighing in at 381g body only with the battery and memory card fitted, some 60g lighter than the X-T1. Measuring 118.4mm (W) x 82.8mm (H) x 40.8mm (D), it's also smaller in all dimensions than its big brother.

Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite
Front of the Fujifilm X-T10

The X-T10 has a small hand-grip at the front and a prominent rest at the rear for your thumb, with your grip helped in no small part by the textured faux-leather surface that runs around the full width of the camera. Two small metal eyelets on either side of the body are used for connecting the supplied shoulder strap. A metal tripod mount is positioned slightly off-centre from the lens and next to the battery/memory card compartment, so you'll have to remove the camera from the tripod to change the battery or the memory card. The X-T10 only offers compatibility with Ultra High Speed UHS-I SDXC memory cards, whereas the X-T1 is also compatible with faster UHS-II cards. The X-T10 still offers a continuous shooting rate of 8fps for 8 JPEGs if you use a UHS-I SDXC card, certainly up there with the fastest compact system cameras in its class.

At the heart of the X-T10 is the 16.3 megapixel APS-C sized X-Trans CMOS sensor, which is also used by the X-T1 camera. APS-C is a sensor size that's more commonly used by the majority of DSLR cameras, rather than by compact system cameras - Sony's NEX range and Samsung's NX series are the others. Fujifilm actually claim that the X-T10's sensor will deliver image quality that surpasses most APS-C DSLRs and even some full-frame ones, and as our test photos and sample images on the next two pages show, the X-T10 actually does live up to those claims. We won't say any more at this point other than to recommend that you take a look at our Sample Images for yourself.

The large APS-C sensor makes it easy to throw the background out of focus and achieve some really nice bokeh effects, and the extensive ISO range of 100-51200 makes the X-T10 very well suited to low-light shooting, allowing you to hand-hold the camera in places where you'd usually be reaching for a tripod (if allowed) or other support. The clever ISO Auto Control setting allows you to set a maximum sensitivity (up to 6400) and a minimum shutter speed (1/30th is a good starting point), with the camera over-riding your ISO choice if it thinks you're being too ambitious whilst maintaining a shutter speed that won't introduce camera shake.

The X-T10 actually has two kinds of shutter, mechanical and electronic. When using only its mechanical focal-plane shutter, the X-T10 has a very adaptable top shutter-speed limit of 1/4000th second in all shooting modes. There's no built-in ND filter, so if you want to use the XF 35mm lens at F/1.4 in very bright sunlight, for example, then it's a good idea to buy an actual glass ND filter. The X-T10 utilises a focal-plane shutter rather than the leaf shutter that the X100/S cameras have, much like a regular DSLR camera. This results in slightly noisier operation than on those very quiet cameras, although the shutter on the X-T10 is pretty stealthy by DSLR standards, and a much slower flash-sync speed of 1/180th second (versus the X100/S's 1/400th second).

Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite
Rear of the Fujifilm X-T10

Fujifilm have also added a completely silent electronic shutter to the X-T10 which provides a much faster top shutter speed of 1/32,000th second. This allows you to continue shooting wide-open with fast aperture lenses in the brightest of conditions without having to resort to fitting a glass ND filter or using external flash and lights. There are some important caveats with the electronic shutter - the ISO range is restricted to 200-6400, you can't use the flash at all, and the slowest shutter speed is only 1 second, but overall it's a great addition that makes the X-T10 more versatile. It's also possible to set the electronic shutter in 1/3 steps from a range of 1sec to 1/32000sec.

To make the camera even less obtrusive there's a Silent menu option which turns off the speaker, flash, AF-assist lamp and most importantly the shutter-release sound, instantly making the X-T10 perfectly suited to more candid photography.

The Fujifilm X-T10's auto-focusing speed is the same as the X-T1, with a quoted fastest auto-focus time of just 0.08 seconds when using the 18-55mm zoom. The X-T10 has the same ultra-fast hybrid AF system with both a conventional contrast-detection system and built-in Phase Detection pixels which enables the camera to achieve a focus lock so quickly and accurately. The X-T10 has 49 individual AF points laid out in a 7x7 grid, with the ability to change the size of the focus point via the rear command dial to achieve more precise focusing.

In addition to the standard 49-point Single Point mode, the X-T10 is the first X-series camera to offer new Zone and Wide/Tracking modes (the X-T1 will also get these features via an upcoming firmware update). These two modes use a larger 77-point area to capture moving subjects. In Zone mode, you can select a 3x3, 5x3 or 5x5 zone out of the 77-point AF area. During AF-C focus, the X-T10 continually tracks the subject, positioning it at the centre of the zone. The centrally positioned 3x3 and 5x3 zones in particular deliver fast focusing thanks to the on-sensor phase detection AF.

Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite
Top of the Fujifilm X-T10

The Wide/Tracking mode combines the Wide mode (during AF-S), in which the X-T10 automatically identifies and tracks the area in focus across the 77-point AF area, and the predictive Tracking mode (during AF-C), which uses the entire 77-point area to continue tracking the subject. This feature enables continuous focusing on a subject that is moving up and down, left and right or towards and away from the camera. The X-T10 also offers Eye Detection AF, which as the name suggests automatically detects and focuses on human eyes.

Manual focusing is activated by setting the focusing switch on the front of the camera to Manual and using the ring that encircles the lens to focus. The X-series lenses have an electronically coupled focus-by-wire manual focusing ring, rather than a physical one. We criticised some older X-series bodies for taking a lot of turns to change the focus from 0.1m to infinity, commenting that it was a much better idea to use the AEL button on the rear of the camera to set the focus automatically, then use the focusing ring to micro-adjust the focus manually, if required. This is still a viable technique, but is perhaps no longer required as Fujifilm have cleverly made the focusing ring more sensitive to how you use it - turn it slowly and the focusing distance changes slowly, but turn it more quickly and the camera quickly moves through the distance scale. It now only takes less than 2 full turns and a couple of seconds to jump from the closest focus distance to infinity.

The X-T10 offers not one, not two, but three ways of manually focusing. Firstly, there's a handy blue distance scale along the bottom of the viewfinder (both the OVF and EVF) and on the LCD screen if you're using that for composition, with a red bar indicating the the focusing distance and a white bar showing the depth of field, which actually changes in line with the current aperture - very clever. In addition to the AEL button, the X-T10 has another trick up its manual focusing sleeve in the shape of the Focus Assist button. As its name suggests, you can press this in to magnify the view in the electronic viewfinder. Furthermore, if you hold down the Focus Assist button, the manual focusing aid then switches to Digital Split Image, and then to Focus Peaking - a very neat way to change between the three modes.

The second manual focusing method is the Digital Split Image feature. Harking back to film cameras of the past, this displays dual images on the left and right which then need to be lined up together for accurate manual focusing, enabling accurate focusing especially when shooting wide-open or for macro shooting. It's much easier to understand in practice than written down. The third and final method is the Focus Peak Highlight function, which displays a white line around the subject when it's in focus, something that Sony NEX users in particular have been enjoying for a while. Both of these functions make manual focusing on the X-T10 more of a pleasure than a chore, although the revised fly-by-wire manual focusing ring operation is arguably more important.

Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite
Tilting LCD Screen

In addition to the excellent electronic viewfinder, the X-T10 has a high-resolution 3 inch LCD monitor on the back, which offers 100% scene coverage and 920k dots (slightly less than the X_T1), and can be usefully tilted up and down by about 90 degrees. The LCD screen has a handy Info view which presents all of the key settings at once, or you can switch to the Standard or Custom Live View modes, with the latter offering 14 customisable options (these are also used for the electronic viewfinder). The X-T10 has a built-in eye sensor so that you only have to hold the camera up to eye-level to switch between the rear LCD and the electronic viewfinder (or you can press the View Mode button on the side of the pentaprism).

In terms of operational speed, the Fujifilm X-T10 is very satisfying to use. Shutter lag is virtually non-existent on this camera (0.05 second), so once you have set the focus, you'll never miss the moment because the camera can't fire the shutter quickly enough. The shot-to-shot time is just 0.5 second, and it starts-up in only 0.5 second too. The write speeds from pressing the shutter button to recording to the SD / SDHC / SDXC memory card are fast too. Shooting a single RAW + Fine JPEG takes about a second to record to a UHS-I card. Continuous shooting speeds are very good, with a fast top rate of 8fps for up to 8 JPEGs if using a UHS-I card, with a slower 3fps speed with AF tracking up to the capacity of the card also available. Thankfully the camera doesn't lock up completely for a long time if you shoot the maximum number of images in a burst, allowing you to continue shooting after just a few seconds. The X-T10 also offers interval timer shooting for time lapses, with intervals of 1 second to 24 hours and up to 999 frames.

One area in which the Fujifilm X-T10 excels is its handling, thanks in no small part to the numerous external controls that make changing the key settings a breeze, especially when holding the camera at eye-level. Surrounding the 18-55m lens is a circular aperture ring, although it has no markings due to the variable aperture. This dial also allows you to choose third-stop apertures. On top of the X-T10 is a large, tactile, lockable control dial for setting the shutter speed, with settings ranging from 1 second to 1/4000th second, an Auto option, a T setting for longer exposures (2 to 30 seconds, set via the circular command wheel) and a Bulb mode for exposures up to a whopping 60 minutes in length. Alongside the shutter speed dial is another tactile dial for changing the exposure compensation, with a range of +-3EV, and on the left-hand side is a third dial for moving between the bracketing, burst, multiple exposure, advanced and panorama functions, with a switch underneath for releasing the pop-up flash. One key difference to the X-T1 is the lack of an ISO speed dial, perhaps understandable given the X-T10's reduced size and different target audience, but still annoying for more experienced users. Instead, you need to dive into the menu system to set the ISO. There's also no dedicated dial for setting the metering mode.

New to the X-T10 is a small lever for turning on the dedicated Auto Mode. In this Advanced SR AUTO mode, the X-T10 automatically selects the optimum shooting settings from 58 preset scenes, including the best AF mode. More confident beginners can then use the rear Command Dial to select a specific scene type. While this new switch makes it easy to enter full Auto mode, we did find ourselves accidentally turning it on quite a lot, as the switch is very similar to the On/Off switch and also positioned near it.

Fujifilm X-T1 Silver Graphite
The Fujifilm X-T10 In-hand

Four other controls complete the X-T10's top-plate. The small but responsive shutter release button is encircled by the On/Off switch, and there's now a thread for a traditional mechanical cable release, something that's missing on the X-T1. Alongside is the one-touch Movie Record button, with the Fn/Wi-Fi button relocated to the rear of the camera, which by default provides quick access to the Wi-Fi options, but can be customised to suit your own needs from 12 different settings. Further customisation is available via the 7 Custom Menu options, which let you create, save and recall up to 7 sets of user-defined settings, and no less than 7 configurable function buttons. Finally there's an external flash hotshoe for suitable dedicated external units, along with the new built-in flash which has a guide number of 5.

The X-T10 features enhanced built-in wi-fi connectivity. Install the FUJIFILM Camera Remote App and you can transfer your pictures immediately to a smartphone or tablet PC and then edit and share them as you wish, transfer stills and video onto the camera, and embed GPS information in your shots from your smartphone. You can also control the camera remotely, with the list of available functions including Touch AF, shutter release for stills and movies, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, Film Simulation modes, White Balance, macro, timer and flash. The built-in wi-fi also provides a simple means to backup your photos to your home PC.

The Fujifilm X-T10 can record full HD 1080p movies at 60/30fps with stereo sound and a high bitrate (36Mbps), with the option for turning this mode on curiously buried at the bottom of the Drive menu, although at least Fujifilm have finally added a one-touch record button. It's fair to say that the X-T10's movie mode isn't overly advanced. You can set the aperture and shutter speed before recording begins, but not during, and you can also set the Film Simulation mode, so black and white footage is possible, and the exposure compensation. Continuous auto-focusing is possible, although it still tends to hunt around before locking onto the subject, and manual focusing is also available (with the same caveats as for stills). There is a HDMI port for connecting the X-T10 to a high-definition TV, although as usual there's no cable supplied in the box. Also missing is a paper copy of the otherwise helpful manual, which is supplied on CD-ROM instead, along with the consumer MyFinepix software and the slow and rather unintuitive RAW convertor (essentially a specially customised version of the commercial Silkypix application).

The X-T10 has a logical enough rear control layout. Above the LCD screen and to the left of the viewfinder are two buttons for choosing image deletion or playback, while on the right is the AE-L button, rear control dial and the AF-L button. Beneath those is the Quick Menu button. This provides quick access to lots of frequently used shooting settings including the ISO speed, White Balance, File Size and File Quality, with the 4-way controller and command dial used to quickly change them. In the middle of the controller is the Menu button, which accesses the eight Shooting and Set-up menus. Underneath is the Disp/Back button which is used for changing the LCD display or going back, and finally the Fn/Wi-Fi button mentioned above.

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