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Fujifilm X-T100 Digital Camera Body (Champagne Gold) & 18-135mm Lens + 32GB Card + Battery & Charger + Backpack + Tripod + Flash + 2 Lens Kit
This is a somewhat lengthy review, because I would like to provide information on both the X-T100 camera and the XF 18-135mm Fuji lens that comes in this bundle. The camera review is first, and the lens review is beneath. This is a terrific camera. I’ve been using Fuji equipment for about four or five years now and have experience with the vast majority of their cameras and lenses all the way from the entry-level models to the more expensive XF lenses and the X-H1 camera, and have used all of them in a wide variety of settings. Although my camera of choice is currently the X-H1 for a series of reasons that I have listed in my separate review for that camera, the X-T100 camera is well worthy of your consideration, not only if you are beginning photographer, but also if you are looking for a second, lighter model that you might wish to use when you don’t want to lug all your other equipment around. As I noted in several of my reviews, it is an oddity that Fuji, who pays such close attention to the quality of their equipment, that even veteran Fuji users often will overlook the less expensive models and lenses because they sometimes equate sticker price with quality. My experience with Fuji has shown me that nothing could be further from the truth, and the X-T100 simply reconfirms this assessment. I first started shooting with Fuji about five years ago when the X-A1 camera came out with their meek little XC 16-50 mm lens. Of course, professional photographers would not be interested in such a camera, but I had been shooting with a number of other brands for many years and was looking for something with the APS-C sensor size, but that was lighter and smaller. I truly was astounded when I saw the quality of the images that were pouring out of the X -A1 coupled with that cheap little XC lens, and even to this day, images that I shot with that duo still are complemented because of their color and clarity. In 2018, of course, we are in a much different world. Fuji is now up to the X-A5 camera, and the introduction of the X-T100 model is designed to place a much higher resolution camera in between the two ends of their model's spectrum. As I say, this means that this camera can appeal to a person who is not yet before shot with a DSLR or a mirrorless camera but also those who are just looking for a lighter second camera. So if you think you are even at all interested, please read on for my comments on this new model. First, let’s start with build quality. This camera is not built in Japan like most of the Fuji cameras are, but this is, of course, to help keep costs down. The camera is made in Indonesia, and if you purchase it with the F 18-135mm lens, the lens will be built in China (and please see my review of that lens after these comments on the camera). Nevertheless, and as this has been the case with the few Fuji items I have used that were not manufactured in Japan, I was quite surprised at the quality feel of the camera as soon as I picked it up. In fact, I had to dig around to assure myself it was not built in Japan because it really almost did feel like it was. It is a solid body with well-controlled knobs and buttons, no squeaks, no mismatched parts, solid hinges and flaps and a generally overall higher quality feel that you would expect from a camera in this price range. For the price range I would certainly give this camera the build quality of 10 out of 10, and if it is being compared with the other Fuji cameras that are quite more expensive, I would give it a 7/10, but not to imply that things do not work correctly or feel solid, but rather that the more expensive Fuji’s simply are built to stricter tolerances and operate more smoothly. That’s a great thing, but just remember, you’ll pay for it. The functional operation of this camera is also very good. Turn on time is acceptable, as is the lens extension upon power on, and all the knobs and buttons, as I say, turn and push reassuringly well. The shutter button itself is not quite as nice as we would like, but it’s really nothing to be concerned about. The rear LCD panel pulls out and is mounted on two axes of movement so you can get the panel to pull out and or sideways and use it in virtually any configuration you wish. Also, and what distinguishes this model from the X-A5, is the inclusion of a very good optical viewfinder with a diopter control that is of course not as nice as the X-T2 or the X-H1, but is quite exceptional (2,360K-dot OLED color, with 100% coverage) when one considers the cost of this camera. It’s relatively high resolution and provides a good field-of-view with a little bit of practice. And, of course, you can change the settings so that either the LCD is always on, the viewfinder is always on, or the camera automatically switches between the two. The LCD screen itself is beautifully crisp and colorful, and you do not for a minute feel that you are being shortchanged with a cheap LCD for cost-cutting sake. The camera is replete with a series of features that easily make it straddle across both the introductory and the more experienced photographer’s worlds. There are numerous color pallets available that can be automatically applied to a shot, multiple specialized shooting features for doing fun things with the camera (toy, miniature, colorized, etc.), and then, of course, there are a wide array of both automatic and manual controls so that you can either let the camera figure everything out for you or can specifically control shutter, aperture, ISO, etc. just like any DSLR or mirrorless camera. Both the menu system and the mechanical controls are logically laid out and easy to access and use, but I do understand that as a person coming in with many years of Fuji experience, some of this may be my familiarity with how Fuji does things. But I do not see much of anything that even a newcomer to Fuji would run across in this camera that would profoundly confuse them, assuming there is an understanding of what each feature is for. One of the great features of most all Fuji cameras, the “Q” button, is also present in the T-100, and one pressing this button gives you access to a bevy of controls and settings without having to dig through the menu. There are also customizable features available, just not to the extent of the more expensive Fuji cousins. Next, the sensor. This is a 24-megapixel sensor, probably made by Sony, and is a traditional CMOS sensor, not the X-trans sensor that is used in the more expensive Fuji cameras. Whether or not that is of concern to you is a question of personal taste. There has always been debate as to the merits of the X-trans sensor, and even though Fuji continues to improve it, the traditional CMOS sensor can be said to yield colors that are perhaps more akin to what many photographers are expecting. There is no doubt that the X-trans sensor yields a unique visual signature in terms of its color palette, and although I use the X-H1 camera and find the images to be fantastic, I put my “CMOS hat” on when I use the X-T100 and am quite impressed with the results, even though they look substantially different than what an X-trans sensor would produce. Pictures are crisp, saturated, have a natural look, and the many different Fuji filters (Velvia, Sepia, Classic Chrome, etc.) that can be automatically applied to the photos are quite useful and quite good-looking, as well. I’ve tested the camera with approximately ten of Fuji’s lenses and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good many of the photos are. Now, of course, it is true that many of the lenses I’m using are more expensive than this entire X-T100 camera kit itself, so someone might be tempted to say, what does that prove? But the point is that the camera itself and its sensor is capable of capturing truly good photographs at a high resolution and with beautiful color. In fact, the sensor operates well enough that, while flipping through the images on the computer with an image viewer, I can clearly see the difference in optical characteristics of the different lenses without even knowing what lens was used for each shot. This is an indication that the sensor and the camera are doing a very good job of capturing exactly what image the lens is sending them. I would not hesitate to recommend this camera to anyone wishing to take fantastic pictures at a reasonable price and not caring around the big, heavy camera to do so. The X-T100 is a terrific entry-level camera, but it can also serve the needs of more experienced photographers may not want to carry heavy equipment for a shoot. And, with proper, careful usage, and yes, with the ability to access some of Fuji’s superlative X-series lenses, the results this camera can turn out are truly spectacular when you consider its price point. Adding its build quality, you have what I can consider only a truly excellent camera, and I encourage you to carefully look into it. Fuji has done it yet again, creating an outperformer that might very well be overlooked because of its relatively lower price. Five stars. X-T100 PLUSSES ++ Excellent image quality, with richly saturated color, and good sharpness ++ Very good build quality, particularly when considering the price point ++ Relatively lightweight, particularly when used with the kit lens ++ Kit lens is not a piece of junk, but actually is capable of producing truly outstanding images ++ Kit lens has built-in optical image stabilization ++ Kit lens starts at a somewhat wide 18 mm, and zooms to a pretty good 135mm (or 7.5x zoom) ++ No shortage of both hardware and software controls, allowing you to take control of the camera, or allow the camera to do all the decision-making ++ Buttons and knobs work reassuringly well ++ Extremely sturdy and reassuring manual flash lever and pop-up mechanism ++ Removable grip screws into the right-hand side of the camera to aid gripping (can be used or left off) ++ Very nice viewfinder, particularly for the price point (2,360K-dot OLED color, 100% coverage) ++ Outstanding, to access rotational LCD screen that looks great ++ Provides access to Fuji’s truly outstanding range of X-mount lenses ++ Inexpensive for everything you get ++ Comes in three colors; the champagne gold is particularly nice (but this is just individual taste) X-T100 MINUSES -- The recommended battery, the newer Fuji NW-126S, is eye-wateringly expensive -- Eye viewer has no option/ability for adding a rubber extension cup (BIG mistake, one of the few on the camera) -- Kit lens, while giving excellent performance, has limited range (3x) -- Fuji neck strap, while functional, is probably not what you will be most comfortable with, and will need to be replaced with a nicer strap -- Camera responsiveness is not up to the levels of the X-T2 or the X-H1, but that is perhaps to be expected at this price point -- Neither camera nor lens made in Japan, like most Fuji equipment pieces are (but are nevertheless of good quality) THE XF 18-135 LENS I've used most all of the Fuji X-mount lenses, including most of the prime lenses, and I have to say that, surprisingly, this XF 18-135mm lens is actually far better than I had expected in comparison to those spectacular primes. The XF 18-135mm lens does not have the absolute image quality capable of some of Fuji’s best primes, but it’s closer than one might at first imagine, and when coupled with the fact that it has image stabilization (which none of the primes do), the tradeoff may be a fair one. The lens a bit on the heavy side, but that’s because of its fairly respectable 135mm reach on the zoom end. I’ll be the first to admit that slapping the Fuji XF 56mm prime on a Fuji camera is a great thing, and the images that a lens like that is capable of producing are often astounding. But without image stabilization, you have to set up your shots pretty carefully, and, of course, you’re “stuck” (if that’s what you can call it) with a fixed angle of view. That’s not really a disadvantage: each lens comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, and when you take the time to see the image quality that you can get with the XF 56mm, the XF 90mm, the XF 35mm, the XF 23mm, the XF 14mm, and, yes, even the “strange” XF 27mm prime pancake lens, I’m all the more surprised at how good this XF 18-135mm lens is. First off, let’s start with some of the lens’ weaknesses. It is indeed an “XF” lens, but its not made in Japan, like most of the other Fuji XF lenses are (the XF 27mm pancake lens excluded), but made in China. It has a quality feel to it, but not quite up to the feel of those Japanese Fuji lenses which sometimes seem to “ooze” quality. But it does feel good, solid, and the zoom operates smoothly enough. There is not much slack in the lens as it is extended, either, and the mechanical switches for the anti-shake and aperture settings click pleasingly well. Next, the lens is a bit on the heavy side, no doubt the function of all the glass that is necessary to achieve the 7.5x zoom range. So, it’s a bit of an off-balance with the diminutive Fuji cameras, even the X-T2 with the deeper grip. But nevertheless, this lens, like it’s other XF brethren, is made of metal construction, so that benefit also adds some to the weight: this is no “plastic fantastic.” It’s slightly heavy but feels reassuringly well built. Like all Fuji lenses, the filter diameter is different on this lens than on nearly all other Fuji lenses, so if you use filters, you essentially have to purchase a separate filter for each lens you have: they are almost all a different diameter. That’s OK, but it’s worth noting up front. But what about its strengths? I’ve been surprised at just how good some of my shots, taken with the X-T2, have come out with this lens. I was prepared to see significantly lessened quality than with my prime lenses, and, make no mistake about it, this lens cannot shoot to those levels. But its amazing to see just how good it is. Many of my shots are very sharp, with excellent color and contrast. The anti-shake technology of this lens, which Fuji claims is equivalent to five F-stops (I don’t know if that is actually true or not) is very, very good. Even with an aperture that only opens to F/3.5, I can get good shots indoors late in the day, and when I use it outdoors, some of the shots are so sharp it really is surprising. If you are looking for an all-in-one “travel” lens for the Fuji X line, this is the only horse in the show. It’s not perfect, but I could easily see it as a good single lens solution for many trips, if you are willing to accept its compromises. Even at the wide end, it’s not particularly fast (F/3.5), and it’s “wide” end is only 18mm. Further, it’s highest zoom is caps out at 135mm. So, it’s not really giving you an ultra-wide “wide” end, nor a true high “zoom,” but it’s reasonable at both ends, and since you don’t have to change lenses, it might be a good choice for a certain photo shoots (with vacations being one). The fact that it is one of the weather-resistant designs (just like the Fuji X-T1, X-T2, and X-H1 cameras) is gravy on the steak. Taken as a whole, and understanding what the lens is, and what it is not, I would still have to rate this as a five star lens because it so nicely meets a need in the Fuji line. I don’t hesitate in recommending it. XF 18-135mm LENS PLUSSES: ++ Good image quality across the zoom range ++ Excellent color, and good sharpness ++ Decent 18-135mm coverage ++ Highly effective anti-shake technology ++ Build quality is good ++ All metal construction ++ Reasonably priced (when purchased with a kit, or when on sale) ++ Weather-resistant design to match the Fuji X-T1, X-T2, and X-H1 cameras ++ Mechanical aperture switch ++ Mechanical off switch for anti-shake (for when you are using a tripod, for example) XF 18-135mm LENS MINUSES: -- Pricey when purchased alone -- Not made in Japan, even though it is an “XF” lens -- Slightly heavy, particularly in comparison to the Fuji bodies, which tend to be light -- Slightly “fat” in diameter -- Widest aperture is only F/3.5 at the wide end -- Filter size different than most Fuji lenses (true of all Fuji lenses) -- At 18mm, it is wide, but not truly wide -- At 135mm, it is a zoom lens, but that’s only a 7.5x magnification -- Build quality IS good, but it’s not to the level of the Japanese XF lenses
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