Fujifilm X-T10 Conclusion
Fuji X-T10 Conclusion
by Mike Tomkins
Back in early 2014, Fujifilm launched the X-T1, a flagship for its mirrorless camera line. It was a heck of a camera, but it also came with a pricetag that put it firmly in enthusiast territory, and beyond the reach of many consumers.
Not everybody really needs that much camera, though. Arguably, entry-level shooters would do better to spend a bit less on their camera body, and a bit more on the lenses they'll be using with it instead. (Far too many are content to stick with just the kit lens, an optic their camera likely far outperforms. In the process, they rather defeat the purpose of buying an interchangeable-lens camera.)
That's where the Fuji X-T10 comes in. With the X-T10, Fujifilm takes the basic concept of the X-T1, then pares it down a bit in favor of a more affordable pricetag and a more approachable interface. If you want features like weather sealing, a deep buffer, or a really large electronic viewfinder image, you'll still want to look to the X-T1 instead, but if you need to balance budget against features as many of us do, the X-T10 gives you a lot for your money.
Small size, big advantage
And it's not just the financial savings that make the X-T10 better-suited to entry-level photographers, either. Another result of paring off some features and simplifying the control layout is that the Fuji X-T10 is a fair bit smaller and lighter than its flagship sibling. That's important, because if you decide your camera is too bulky and leave it sitting on the shelf at home, you're not going to get good photos from it no matter how feature-rich it is, nor how high its image quality.
Don't take this to suggest that the X-T10 lacks for external controls, though. Far from it: Its body is still packed with buttons and dials that will, after a little while, become second nature, and they'll help keep you out of the menu system so you don't miss the shot. And although the handgrip is a little shallow, and the movie button tough to reach, for the most part ergonomics are very good.
Features consumers actually want
In place of features like weather sealing, which most consumers likely wouldn't take much advantage of -- bearing in mind that you'd also need to spend the money for weather-sealed lenses to match -- the Fuji X-T10 gives you features you're more likely to actually need. A popup flash, for example, which means that you don't need to carry an external strobe everywhere you go, just in case. And a full automatic shooting mode, handy if your camera will be shared with family members who don't want to learn how to use the camera, but still want to be able to shoot with it.
Same great image quality
What thankfully doesn't stray from the X-T1 formula is the image pipeline. The Fuji X-T10 sports the exact same image sensor and processor, and together they provide great image quality and generous print sizes. That's not to say they're absolutely perfect, by any means: Default JPEG dynamic range isn't the best, and white balance tends to be rather warm under typical indoor lighting. Overall, though, image quality of the Fuji X-T10 is more than good enough to satisfy most consumers, and likely many enthusiast shooters as well.
Superb performance, but limited buffer depths
Performance is for the most part very good, as well. With eight frames-per-second shooting on tap, you often don't have to worry about your reflexes when you're trying to get the crucial moment -- just rattle off a burst of frames, and you can throw away all but the best one.
With that said, though, you're still going to need to come fairly close in anticipating that moment, because the Fuji X-T10's buffer is rather limited. Raw shooters will manage just seven frames before the camera slows down, and even JPEG shooters are limited to a 10-frame burst. Sports shooters will want to consider the X-T1 instead, with a much more generous buffer that provides roughly triple the capacity.
Raw file capture is also rather limited
Raw shooters are also at a disadvantage in a couple of other areas. For one thing, the full auto mode doesn't allow use of the raw file format. You can't hand your camera off to a friend or family member, let them shoot in full auto mode with raw+JPEG file format, and then give them the JPEGs while hanging onto raws for your own digital darkroom. Instead, they'll need to shoot in program mode -- that is to say, the 'A' position on the shutter dial and aperture ring -- rather than full auto.
Perhaps more importantly, though, raw files are only available within the standard ISO sensitivity range. Enabling ISO expansion disables raw shooting once you stray into expanded ISO territory. And given that the default range of ISO 200 to 6400 equivalents is rather narrow, and that one of the key arguments for shooting raw is that it gives you access to much better noise reduction algorithms that could help give better results at high sensitivities, that's something of a shame.
Of course, if you're only planning to shoot JPEGs and perhaps the occasional raw, as most consumers will do, that's not really a big problem. It's something which will help push enthusiasts towards the X-T1, though, for a better raw shooting experience.
Video is also a weak point
One final concern we had with the Fuji X-T10 is its video image quality. This is something we've noted in the past with X-Trans cameras, and its unfortunate given that the X-T10 has what could otherwise be considered a pretty generous video feature set, including external mic connectivity, manual exposure controls, and fairly responsive full-time autofocus.
Unfortunately, the complexity of demosaicing X-Trans sensor data in real time shows its head once more, leaving Fuji X-T10 video prone to artifacts and an occasional rainbow shimmering on edges or in areas packed with fine detail. If you only want occasional family videos, you probably won't mind. If high-quality, artifact-free video is a key goal in your camera purchase, you'll want to consider another camera.
A great interchangeable-lens camera for consumers; an affordable second body for enthusiasts
You'll note a common trend in most of these concerns, however: They're largely issues which won't affect consumer shooters. This isn't a camera aimed at pros or enthusiasts, which makes it pretty easy to understand these occasional shortcomings, and to see that you're getting a whole lot of camera for the money.
If you're looking to step up to an entry-level mirrorless camera, the Fuji X-T10 comes highly recommended at its price point. It's compact, comfortable and fun to shoot with, and for still images at least will yield impressively high-quality results, especially when paired with a good lens. And if you're already an X-mount shooter looking for a second body, the X-T10 would make a good choice that won't blow the budget -- just don't expect it to do everything your X-T1 can, and you'll be fine!
No question about it: The Fuji X-T10 is a clear Dave's Pick, and would be a great camera for an entry-level shooter looking to step up their game!
Pros & Cons
- Generally great image quality straight out of the camera, and very similar to what you'd get from the flagship Fuji X-T1
- Excellent high ISO performance for an APS-C camera, with very fine noise "grain" and low chroma noise
- Excellent hue accuracy and pleasing color
- Very good dynamic range in RAW files
- Limited dynamic range in JPEGs at default settings (D-Range feature works well, though)
- More demosaicing artifacts than Bayer-filtered cameras with some subject matter
- Warm white balance indoors with Auto and Incandescent settings
- Very fast autofocus
- Fast eight frames-per-second burst mode
- Low shutter lag
- Reasonably fast startup for a mirrorless camera
- Shallow buffers in eight fps burst mode (only 10 JPEGs and seven RAW files in our tests)
- Penalizes a too-early shutter button press after power on or a previous shot
- Reasonably responsive full-time autofocus
- External microphone connectivity
- Manual exposure control
- Videos are prone to artifacts and shimmering
- Much smaller, lighter and more affordable than the flagship X-T1
- Still has plenty of physical controls, many of them customizable
- Comfortable ergonomics, other than a very shallow handgrip
- Versatile tilting LCD monitor
- Useful and fun film simulation modes
- Separate highlight and shadow tone settings
- Electronic shutter allows completely silent shooting
- W-Fi remote control gives plenty of scope for remote settings changes
- Live view feed on your smartphone is smooth and has minimal delay
- No touch-screen
- LCD articulation doesn't allow for selfies or help with high / low-angled shots in portrait orientation
- Movie record button is small and hard to press
- Four-way controller is easily bumped since it's so close to the edge of the body
- RAW files not available in full auto mode or if shooting at extended sensitivities (above ISO 6400 or below ISO 200)
- Although battery life is fair for a mirrorless ILC, it's much lower than most DSLRs
- Both kit lens options are unusually sharp, and control distortion, aberration and vignetting very well
- Electronic viewfinder, while not as good as that in the X-T1, is still very responsive, sharp and bright
- Fans of DSLR-style shooting can disable real-time settings preview in the EVF
- 18-55mm lens is a bit pricey by kit lens standards, but it's easy to overlook that given the quality
- Includes a built-in flash, unlike the X-T1
- Built-in flash is weak and has narrow coverage
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