Fujifilm X-T10 Long term review

I bought my X-T10 about a year ago, it’s my first mirrorless camera after years of Nikon DSLR cameras. I used to have a Nikon D90 right before the X-T10 which was a solid and very capable DSLR couple years ago but it was beginning to be obsolete compared to the new techs and I could stay months without using it because I lost inspiration with it.

When the first mirrorless cameras were out I was not thinking of getting one because I underestimated them and I was going for a Full Frame as a replacement for the D90, though after reading reviews about Fujifilm X-T1 and X-T10, I changed my mind specially that Fujifilm Lebanon made a super deal on the X-T10 last year, I bought it 750$ with the 2 XC lenses aka 16-50 (XC 16-50 II Review) and 50-230mm, a free additional battery, a free tripod, a free SD card and a free camera bag!

As I rarely shoot with a 50-230 range lens, I sold it and got an XF 23mm F2 instead (you can read my XF 23mm F2 long term Review)

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Here the X-T10 with the offered bag,tripod and the original box

As usual let’s begin with the design.

 

Design:

 

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One of the most important thing that convinced me to buy the X-T10 is the magnificent small retro design of the body.

The Metallic casing coupled with the (faux?) leather and the overall old SLR design is really sexy, it gives you a superb feeling in hand and when shooting.

I bought a very inexpensive red shutter button from Aliexpress and it added a nice touch to the look.

The knob controls are also ”old style” and are on the upper part of the camera, adding more to the 60s,70s,80s photographer feeling.

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On the top the controls are for Exposure, shutter speed and programs (like bracketing). you also have the witch for Auto and Manual and record.

On the face of the X-T10 you have a small control ring that you can customize and can be very handy, as well as a Manual Focus to Auto Focus switch.

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The back of the camera has a large 3” tilt screen that can be very useful when you want to take a photo or video above heads in a concert for example or when shooting something on the floor.

You get lot of buttons controls here as well as another  control ring and a viewfinder optical controller to correct its focus with your eyes near or far sighted  if you need it.

About the LCD screen, as I already said it’s very practical thanks to its tilt capability but the LCD itself has problems outdoor with a bright sun, I couldn’t see the screen when I was at the ski station. You will have to rely on the Oled electronic viewfinder in that case but bare in mind that the Oled tends to be a bit more color saturated and brighter than it’s in the real photo. I recommend like for a mobile phone to protect the LCD screen with a tempered glass, you can find some on Amazon or Aliexpress.

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About ergonomics, I have long but not fat fingers, at first it’s a bit weird to control the X-T10 specially when coming from a DSLR like the D90, but with time you will really like the small and light form factor. Now if you have really big and fat hands then I can understand you will not like it, it will be better to get an X-T1 or X-T2 in that case.


 

ISO!

 

ISO is still an important spec in a camera nowadays, even though the high ISO fever we had at the start of the DSLR area is calmed down, some cameras have noise even at low levels of ISO which can be irritating.

On my ex-D90 which was considered 10 years ago a very good DSLR for ISO 1600 and borderline ISO 3200, is completely beaten by the X-T10!

Ok, the native ISO is now 6400 instead of 3200 but the X-Trans sensor from Fuji and years of evolved technology are the real excuse.

At low level ISO from 200 to 800 there are none to very few noise.

At high ISOs, I can easily use ISO 1600 with sharp results while using noise removal to take away the few noise in Raw photos, ISO 3200 is also very capable, much more than let’s say a D90. At ISO 6400 noise is more noticeable and needs more noise removal meaning less details but still acceptable.

Yes you can use ISO 12800, 25600 and 51200 in Jpeg mode only but I don’t recommend it, it’s not native ISO so it means it’s like a post added Exposure with more noise, also you can notice a purple line at the bottom or top (many different reports over the internet) of the photo if it has been taken in a dark environment like a dark sky at night for example.  This is due to the fake ISO treatment.

Here an example from ISO 51200 to 6400, you can notice how soft it’s on 51200 but nice with 6400 and 12800.

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ISO 51200

 

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ISO 25600

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ISO 12800

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ISO 6400

 

So all and all, the X-T10 is an excellent choice for low to high ISOs and it will be handy if you need more light in case you don’t have a tripod on you. You can use ISO 1600 and 3200 without losing too much details, I would rarely use ISO 6400 and stay away of the fake ISO 12800 and more. Of course if night and low light shots matter to you, you can always pick a fast lens from Fuji, you have excellent ones at f1.4 and f2.0 that will give you more light without the cost of noise.


Jpeg and Raw

 

You will find plenty Jpeg modes and film simulations on the X-T10, of course you can use Jpeg with Full manual mode and it’s the only way to boost ISO up to 51200 (though I don’t recommend it).

As for the filters (film simulations) you have:

-PROVIA/STANDARD, Velvia/VIVID, ASTIA/SOFT, Sepia, Monochrome,  PRO Neg.Std and PRO Neg.Hi.

Of course each situation will need a particular filter, for example shooting landscape will be better with Provia or Velvia, while a portrait will be better with Monochrome or a Pro Neg. As usual every photograph has his point of view on filters and how to use them, so no need to follow my choice.

Jpeg are about 6 to 10mb each on average, and it will not need a very fast SD card.

As you can expect from a Fujifilm, skin colors are perfectly reproduced in jpeg.

Bracketing using jpeg is fast and easy but you are limited to 3 exposure photos, of course you can pick the amount of Exposure difference between each bracketed photo (+-1, +-2/3 and +-1/3).

Jpeg though is limited both by the compression making additional noise and loosing details, and in post editing. Add to that if you shoot a landscape photo with trees they will not be very detailed giving a ”mushy” look.

Now would I recommend Jpeg? Yes and no, it depends on the situation, if you want to take family or street photos for example fast and easy with a great film simulation it’s a pretty good choice, but if you want to shoot landscape photos or other shots that need particular editing then I am in favor of Raw.

Raw (Raf for Fuji) on the X-T10 is a marvel, why would you ask?

Well because thanks to the X-Trans sensor we can  edit exposure, Highlights and shadows without adding too much noise.

With my old D90 I didn’t have this freedom of playing with these settings without the cost of noise or details loss.

I personally recommend Capture One from Phase One, it’s the Raw editor I used for nearly a year now and I love it, it’s one of the best if not the best to ”translate” Raf photos given X-Trans sensors are different from others (Bayer sensors).

The Highlight and Shadows section as well as Clarity are very easy to master and understand, and sharpness settings (read Sharpening Raf with Capture One Pro) are perfect, no more strange ”mushy” trees we saw in jpeg.

Here a quick example of Jpeg vs basic treatment of Raf with Capture One, note that both jpeg and RAF were taken with the exact same settings: You can see how we can easily control the white sky and get a sharper image without over-sharpening, making the tree and foliage more detailed thanks to the Raf capabilities.

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Jpeg out of the X-T10

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RAF + Capture One

Raf photos are about 32mb and they need a fast to very fast SD card, meaning a card capable of writing  above 35mb per second, I have a Sandisk Ultra (a bit old) that need up to 9 seconds to save one Raf, but with my Sandisk Extreme Plus and Extreme Pro it only takes 1/2 of second, the X-T10 buffer speed is the culprit here.

Raf are limited to the native ISO of minimum 200 and a maximum of 6400.

There are no compressed Raf on the X-T10, it’s a feature that you get on the X-T2 and X-T20.


 

The Menu and software

 

You won’t find Android OS or any fancy menu with big colored icons of course and it’s a good thing! The menu is quite simple and minimalist, divided into 2 main groups: the red section which is photo related and blue which is camera settings related.

With the red section you can control for example the Autofocus settings, Image Quality (jpeg,Raf…), Film Simulation, Exposure, NR, ISO…

With the blue section you can format the SD card, change the time and date, shutter sound, clean the sensor…

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The Main menu

I really like the menu, I found it more logical than the Nikon’s one. Everything is self-explanatory (if you have a minimum of photography background). If you enter the Film Simulations part they even explain each one of them.

You also have a very useful ”Q” button, which is a Quick menu that regroups all the most useful settings you need without entering in the main menu. The different settings are presented as a list of small black and white icons for ISO, RAW-Jpeg quality, AF, Film simulation…

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The Q menu

On a negative note, both main menu and Q menu don’t open instantly when you start the camera (Off-ON) you need about 2 seconds to be able to access them, it can sound short but in some situations where you need to capture a photo very quickly before the subject disappear (an animal for example)  while being sure the main settings are right you will feel it’s a bit too long.

The app!

Fujifilm has it’s own app for Android and Iphone, it can connect to the X-T10 via Wifi signal. This app is very useful for remote capturing when your camera is on a tripod and it can add Geo-tagging info to the photo using the mobile phone GPS!

You can also transfer photos from the camera to the phone.

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Now there are some limits, it can’t transfer Raf probably because Fuji thinks mobile phones nowadays are not capable to handle Raf format, the other limit is on the remote shutter speed which is limited to 30 seconds.


 

In the end…

 

The Fujifilm X-T10 is a splendid camera, even now in Summer 2017 and with the availability of the X-T20, I still recommend this camera, the 16mp sensor is still enough, the performance and results are amazing even with high ISOs, the design itself is so sexy that you will always want to try new photos and new settings.I don’t care about video recording, if I need it I use my smartphone.

The lenses made by Fuji for the X-Trans cameras are really impressive, they all give professional results, some of them are better in terms of sharpness but all of them are already above many other competitors, even the XC 16-50 which is the plastic version of the kit lens is better than the Nikon 18-55 lens I had.

Personally I loved the XF 23mm f2 because not only it gives superb sharp photos but it completes pretty well the retro design of the X-T10 body.

The X-T10 is so appealing that I went further in my photography curiosity and learned new stuff that I would never checked on the D90 because it was quite boring.

Battery wise I got 2 batteries as part of an offer, but I never had to use both batteries in one day, and yes I am talking a ski day with cold temperatures which means the battery doesn’t last as long as usual. It’s not as good as a DSLR classic battery but it’s not as bad as some people claimed, keep in mind that I rarely use the flash.

What I liked:

-Retro Design

-Small and light while the magnesium body which gives a solid impression.

-Excellent photo performance combined with great lenses.

-Excellent ISO to high ISOs performance

-Menu is simple but easy to handle

-Many control knobs

-Great electronic viewfinder

-Price with bundles.

 

What I didn’t like:

-A bit slow on startup

-The LCD screen is not very good under direct sunlight.

-Oled viewfinder is a bit brighter than actual photo specially outdoor.

-Non-native high ISOs can do some purple stain in dark places

 

Final words:

If you are an amateur or a pro, you won’t be deceived by the X-T10 even though a newer X-T20 is out, you can get really interesting offers for a camera that ages very well.

I am sure you have specific questions about it, don’t hesitate to ask here

 

 

 

 

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