Fuji Canada was kind enough to lend me a review copy of the Fuji X-T10 to use this summer. I shot with this camera at a wedding, on several portrait assignments, at a concert, on several days of street photography, and during a vacation. This real world usage will be the foundation for this review. We will talk numbers and specs a little, but mostly I’d like to share my experiences (and a lot of photographs) with you.
Note: Small parts of this review are re-printed from previous blog posts on this website.
The truth is that I had been intrigued by this camera since it was announced, as I had been looking for a backup to my Fuji X-T1. I always bring my Fuji X100t with me on shoots, but a backup interchangeable lens camera is a must for paid client work. I was looking for something that felt familiar in my hands, worked with my existing lenses, and for something that wouldn’t break the bank. I had initially set my eyes on a used Fuji X-E2, but a good friend reminded me of the importance of working with two camera bodies that are similar so your muscle memory can take over when it counts.
After several months of shooting with the Fuji X-T10 I can summarize the experience with this statement:
“If I was beginning to build a Fuji interchangeable lens system today, the Fuji X-T10 would be my starting point. For my needs it is the perfect balance of size, functionality, and price.”
Let’s get the technical stuff out of the way so we can get to the photos…
about THE FUJI x-t10
You can’t really talk about the Fuji X-T10 without referencing its big brother, the Fuji X-T1. On first glance you will realize that the X-T1 and the X-T10 have far more things in common than not: both have similar all metal bodies, both have a tilt screen and, most importantly, both have the same image sensor and processor.
So, where do the differences lie?
- The X-T10 is not weather sealed
- The X-T10 viewfinder has slightly less magnification compared to the X-T1 (.62x versus the .77x of the Fuji X-T1). It does share the same refresh rate and resolution as the X-T1, however.
- The X-T10 LCD has 920k dots versus 1040 dots in the X-T1.
- The X-T10 does not have a flash sync port.
- The X-T10 has less” burst potential” than the X-T1, due to a smaller buffer and because the X-T1 can use faster SD cards.
There are a few small differences for sure. But, those small differences give you:
- A camera body that produces images every bit as beautiful as the Fuji X-T1 (same sensor, same processor).
- A camera body that is lighter that the X-T1 (381g versus 440g).
- A camera body that is smaller.
- A camera body that is extremely customizable: There are 7 function buttons versus the X-T1’s 6.
- A camera body that has an advanced auto switch. I have to admit that this sounded a little hokey to me at first, until I thought about all the times I’ve tried to hand my X-T1 or X100t to someone to grab a snapshot with. The auto switch allows you to quickly give it to someone for a snapshot, yet still retain all of your custom settings when you get it back. Brilliant, really.
- A camera body that has a built in flash.
- A camera body that is about $500 USD less at the time of launch.
size and ergonomics
We talked about the X-T10 being lighter and smaller than the flagship X-T1 camera body. You can see this a little in the picture at the top of this post, but trust me the size difference is very noticeable when you hold it in your hand. There was a small adjustment period getting used to gripping the camera (coming from the X-T1), but it feels great once you are used to it.
Here is the Fuji X-T10, alongside my X-T1 and X100t, with accessories, in a small Think Tank Retrospective 5 messenger bag:
I have long evangelized the benefit of switching to mirrorless cameras. Let’s consider this picture though to truly realize how far Fuji has come not just with the new X-T10, but with their entire lineup. In that tiny little messenger bag you will find:
- The Fuji X-T1 with the Fujinon 56mm f/1.2 lens (85mm equivalent)
- The Fuji X-T10 with the Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens (50mm equivalent)
- The Fuji X100t with its 23mm f/2 lens (35mm equivalent)
- The Nissan i40 flash
- Extra batteries, cards, cleaning cloth.
That’s pretty incredible when you think about it: 2 interchangeable lens camera bodies, and 1 rangerfinder-esque camera, that all share the same sensor. Add in 3 fast lenses, a flash, and assorted accessories all packed into a camera bag the size of a large purse (or, you know, a “satchel” for the men) and you have a powerful kit you can take anywhere.
Alright, that’s enough about the technicals. Let’s start talking about real world usage.
using The Fuji x-t10 for street photography
Over the summer I brought the Fuji X-T10 along with me on several of my street photography outings, shooting it in Vancouver, Seattle and Paris alongside my main street camera: The Fuji X100t.
I paired it with the beautiful Fujinon 35mm f/1.4 lens, and set it up as follows:
- Aperture Priority Mode, with the aperture set between f/8 and f/11 (depending on the light).
- Auto ISO, with a minimum shutter speed of 1/250th (to freeze most action), and a maximum ISO of 3200 (the Fuji sensor can handle high ISO brilliantly, so I have no concerns about going that high).
- Single Point Autofocus was used 90% of the time, with manual and zone focusing used the other 10% as needed.
- To try to keep the camera as discreet as possible all sounds were turned down as much as possible, the AF assist light was disabled, etc.
When I shoot street I am usually out all day, often walking 10 – 15 kilometres at a time. The pairing of the X-T10 with the 35mm was incredibly light. I only used a wrist strap with it, and never once noticed the weight.
Street photography for me is about getting close. I want to be part of the scene. The Fuji X-T10 and the 35mm lens is such a small combo that nobody really seemed to notice the camera, even when I was within a meter or two taking images like these:
The combination of the Fuji X-T10 and the Fujinon 35mm lens also worked perfectly for shooting street portraits:
The Fuji X100t will always be my go to camera for street photography. I love that camera, but I have to say the Fuji X-T10 performed flawlessly on the street when paired with the 35mm f/1.4 lens. When you take into account the flip screen the truth is that it is probably a more flexible camera than the X100t.
MOVING TARGETS: USING THE FUJI X-T10 for concert and bird photography
Many comments have been made about the autofocus system on mirrorless cameras compared to DSLRs. The truth is that manufacturers have come a long way in a short period of time, and Fuji made a huge leap forward with the release of firmware 4 and their new autofocus system.
Here is a frame from a day shooting birds at a local bird sanctuary here in Vancouver with the X-T10 and the Fujinon 50-140mm f/2.8 zoom lens:
This was shot in AF-C, CH, with the new zone focusing system. It is tack sharp, as were all the frames from this burst:
I also had the opportunity to try the X-T10 out at an outdoor concert, where I found the autofocus results to be just as good:
Can it be used professionally? Weddings and Portrait Sessions:
By this point I felt very comfortable with the X-T10, and it became my go to body more and more (my X-T1 collected a fair bit of dust this summer to be honest).
I paired it with the Fujinon 90mm for a wedding, using it alongside my X-T1 with shorter lenses on it. The image quality was beautiful, and even in low light the autofocus snapped on instantly (barring one or two exceptions):
I also brought it along as my main camera body for several portrait sessions and found it to handle beautifully. The small size allowed me to maintain a close connection with my subjects, and the image quality was what you would expect from Fuji’s X-trans sensor:
To quote something I wrote in a previous blog post:
“The Fuji X-T10 is small, light, and cost effective… all while using the same sensor and processor as its big brother the X-T1. The amazing thing is that Fuji only made a few compromises to achieve this (slightly decreased viewfinder magnification, slightly lower LCD resolution, no weather sealing, and no flash sync port) .
It also provides an automatic mode and pop up flash for use when you just need a quick snapshot, perhaps making it the most versatile “family camera” in the X line up (as it can be shared easily by the photo enthusiast and the point and shoot family member).
Finally, it retains the user interface and customizable characteristics that made the Fuji X-T1 such a success.
The Fuji X-T10 can be purchased as a body only, or in two kits (paired with either the Fujinon 18-55mm or the entry level Fujinon 16-50mm).”
I was surprised not by the fact that I loved this camera, but by how much I loved it. At the risk of sounding pollyanna I think Fuji really nailed price versus performance on this one, and it is now my go to recommendation for most people looking to get into the Fuji ecosystem unless they have a specific need that might require one of the other cameras.