Review - Fujifilm XT10

The Fujifilm XT10 camera body is the little sister to the  XT1, a camera which we have praised!  Everyone who is intimately involved with the Fujifilm system will have come across the XT1 at some stage, or at least have heard of it. It is the current flagship model in their range and has earned its spot at the top.  

All the images we put together for this review are straight out of camera. Because no RAW support is yet available for CaptureOne, we put all our faith in the camera jpeg film simulation profiles. We also made some slight in camera adjustments which effect the converted jpeg's: saturation +1, sharpness +1 and noise reduction -2. As always, we have included the camera settings used to create the images in the captions underneath each image.

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, F10, 1/7s, ISO200, Velvia JPEG

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, F20, 1/6s, ISO200, Velvia JPEG

While in search of some review images we visited our favourite spot in the Waitakeres (Goldie's Bush) and hit the streets. Sadly that gorgeous winter light did not want to grace us with its presence during the mostly grizzly weekend, but we made do with what was out there and managed to bag and tag a few shots regardless. 

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, F13, 1/0.3s, ISO200, Velvia JPEG

The XT10 is very similar to the XT1, both in design and feel. It has a slightly smaller body, and is extremely light weight (thanks to its plastic shell). The guts of the camera are more or less the same as the XT1, so you can expect the same wicked ISO performance and beautiful X Trans sensor colours. However, at the time of this review, there was one key difference between the XT1 and the XT10. The XT10 has the new v4.0 firmware which promised increased focus speed and focus tracking options (the XT1  will also get these features though an optional firmware update will be available in late June).

It is great to see that once again Fujifilm is looking after its loyal photographers, adding new features and making continuous improvements to their range via firmware updates. It keeps camera bodies and the associated lenses performing at their very best, at the same time opening new opportunities for us to keep creating.   

When we use a camera, we are very calculated and precise in our choice of framing, focus and content. And to be completely honest, have never had a problem with the XT1 focus speed. We do not go after split second sporting moments, rather creating our images through interaction, prediction and planning.

Never have we let the camera decide where to focus, we always use shallow depths of field to add an extra dimension into the image and are therefore very careful about what the main subject of the frame should be (creating a shallow depth of field was challenging with the XT10 kit lens due to the small apertures). Hence when we use the X series cameras we only use the 'single' focus point mode, never allowing the camera to automatically expand its focus point search field. 

Because of our approach to photography, we are probably not the best to give the new focus feature set a hiding! But even with our methodical approach to photography, we noticed an increase in the focus speed, especially when using only available light and a slow lens. It can honestly be said that fujifilm have come leaps and bounds since the first introduction of the X series, and even now are still pushing the focus limits of their hardware. 

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, Classic Chrome JPEG

It is probably fair to stay that the XT10 is not marketed at the professional photographer, with no weather sealing and a plastic exterior, unlike the metal one of the XT1. Our cameras are definitely not treated with the respect they deserve and each piece of gear tumbles around our bag while we are working. When you are paid to make an image, the well being of your gear comes second to the files you are pressed for time to create. The XT10 is just not designed to withstand such punishment. But will happily withstand anything the amateur photographer can throw at it.

Another point of difference is the ISO dial, it was removed from the XT10, presumably to slim down the camera body.  As this is one of my favourites dials to have access too.... this is a sore point! We have always applauded the XT1 as being one of the first cameras which after being set-up, will never have you digging through the menu system again. 

It also comes fitted with a built in pop up flash, and built in camera flash units are an abomination and the person who suggested it at the design phase should be dealt too! Nothing good has ever come from a built in camera flash! No matter how good someone claims a built in flash might be, an off camera speed light or studio light will do it better. 

It is also a little puzzling why camera bodies keep getting smaller, in our opinion even the XT1 was pushing the bounds of a comfortable size. Evident by how many people we know who use the battery grip or the grip extension on the XT1 (including us). And now the XT10 is even smaller! 

One ergonomic improvement which has to be mentioned is the DPAD, the directional buttons on the XT1 left something to be desired, we even had ours replaced! On the XT10 they got it right, the same click and feel as on the X100T. They are easy to actuate and navigate.

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, Classic Chrome JPEG

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, Classic Chrome JPEG

Fujifilm XT10, 16-50mm XC, F10, Classic Chrome JPEG

The rest of the camera feels strangely familiar, by the end of the weekend the camera felt natural and we could navigate all its functions like they were second nature (apart from the ISO, for which we used the quick access menu). It has to be mentioned that one of our favourite features of the now matured camera bodies is the button layout. Fujifilm have clearly settled on a consistent layout which allows anyone who has used one of their cameras in the past to pick one up, and put it to work. It is little things like this which make a professional camera system, and if the XT10 is a glimpse of where things are going, there is a lot to get excited about. 

The XT10 is a camera for those who thought the XT1 is too big, too heavy or who don't need the extra rugged build. It has the same sensor as its big brother and has the ability to produce nothing short of outstanding images. If we did not already have a second XT1 as our backup camera, we would throw one of these in the bag for piece of mind.

Mirrorless cameras are the future, and without the burden of heavy camera gear, not only will your camera travel with you more frequently (if not every day), but they inspire and encourage you to bring your imagination too life.

- Sven