The market isn’t short of entry-level mirrorless cameras, so where does the Fujifilm X-T100 fit in? Michael Topham tests the latest arrival in the X-Series
Fujifilm X-T100 – Build and handling
The X-T100 has a strong resemblance with other X-T models, particularly the X-T20. It doesn’t have the same sculpted handgrip or the same high-shouldered design, but with its central EVF, three top plate dials and faux leather finish you can see where its design inspiration has come from.
Compared to the light, plasticky feel of the X-A5, the X-T100 has a more refined, solid quality about it. You’d think the X-T20’s magnesium alloy body would be heavier, but the X-T100’s aluminium and polycarbonate plastic body weighs 65g more. It has a surprisingly weighty feel for a camera of its size.
The front flat section of the body contributes to its pleasing aesthetics, but also sounds alarm bells about how it might feel in the hand without any form of protrusion to wrap your fingers around. Straight out of the box, the X-T20 is the more comfortable camera to hold.
Thankfully, the handling of the X-T100 can be improved by attaching a detachable grip, which is supplied in the box. This screws into the side of the body and transforms the feel tenfold. It makes you wonder why Fujifilm didn’t sculpt the grip like this from the start. It would have been nice to see a rubberised thumb rest at the rear too. As it is it’s made of hard plastic and can be prone to get slippery with wet or sweaty hands.
Like many entry-level and enthusiast models, the X-T100’s buttons and dials aren’t weather sealed so you’ll want to be cautious in wet or humid environments. The top plate is stripped of the shutter speed, exposure compensation and drive dials we’re used to seeing on X-T series cameras.
In manual exposure mode the unmarked top plate thumb dial controls shutter speed, with the vertically mounted rear dial providing independent control of aperture. In program, shutter speed priority and aperture priority modes, the top plate thumb dial controls exposure compensation across a +/-5EV range.
In playback mode it can be used to scroll through images or you can use it to scroll through settings in the menu. The unmarked dial on the far left of the top plate is customisable to no fewer than 18 settings. Around its perimeter you’ll find a lever to raise the small pop-up flash.
The d-pad provides direct access to autofocus, white balance, drive mode and self-timer settings, while the ‘Q’ button above it loads a quick menu on the rear display to access a variety of commonly used settings. The quick menu can be customised, however it can’t be controlled by touch.
The employment of a mode dial, with direct access to a good number of auto modes, is befitting of its position in the market as a camera aimed at people wanting to take the jump from using a smartphone, or pursue photography more seriously as a hobby. To the right of it you get small function (Fn) and movie-rec buttons, with the On/Off switch encircling a non-threaded shutter button.
Despite only having one function button and one function dial, six custom functions can be set in total. It’s possible to assign four swipe functions to the touchscreen (up, down, left and right), however don’t expect the responsiveness of the screen to be as good as today’s smartphones or tablets. As I discovered, it’s not unusual to perform swipe gestures several times before they take affect.
While the X-T100 is an attractive little camera, you can identify the difference in build quality between it and more robustly made models like the X-T20 and X-T2. Unlike the X-T20, a metal handgrip to add a bit more bulk for those with large hands isn’t available. Being the size it is, it handles best with Fujifilm’s smaller lenses. It looks very stylish in graphite finish, but there’s also the choice of all black (like the review sample we were sent) or eye-catching champagne gold.