X-T10 REVIEW: A Lightweight Alternative to the X-T1?
I have used the X-T10 in anger now and I have to say I am seriously impressed by this little camera. The X-T10 could be described as an X-T1 'lite' but that would be doing the newest member of the X-Series family a huge disservice as this is a camera that can really punch above it's small weight and compete with the X-T1. With the X-T10 priced at a much lower level, you could be left scratching your head wondering if it is worth spending the extra money on the flagship X-T1.
About This Review
As with all cameras there are things that work well and other things that do not. This review is about the things on the X-T10 that I like and other things that I have found to be lacking or a problem for the way I work as a photographer. That means that things that are an issue may not be an issue for another photographer and conversely things that I like about the camera might be an issue for someone else.
This is not a technical review of the X-T10, you can find some excellent reviews like HERE on DPReview.com if you are looking for that sort of thing. This is about my thoughts on this camera and the way it worked for me as a photographer.
|X-T1 and X-T10 side by side comparison|
So What Do I Like?
Well I like almost everything about the X-T10. This is one serious piece of photographic hardware and the X-T10 is capable of producing images as good as the X-T1.
That's not really surprising when the X-Trans II sensor is exactly the same as the X-T1 and the XF lenses are well known for their quality.
1. RAW and JPEG Files
The RAW and JPEG file output is also as good as the flagship Fujifilm CSC. In fact I was forced to use the JPEG output from the X-T10 in Austria because I hadn't updated Adobe Lightroom on my Laptop before travelling.
However this proved to be a blessing in disguise because it forced me to look at the JPEGs in a new light. I will continue to use RAW files for my work but it does mean that if I am in a hurry then the JPEGs are a good alternative.
The control layout is broadly the same as the X-T1 and that makes picking the X-T10 up and using it a lot easier. I did miss the ISO dial on the top left of the camera but I set one of the Function buttons to alter the ISO and I soon forgot about that little issue.
This is the same for the metering dial under the Shutter speed dial on the X-T1. This is missing on the X-T10 and you have to go into the menus to change the metering settings. But setting a function button makes this a relatively painless operation, though it isn't as slick as the X-T1.
There is no getting away from the fact that the X-T10 is tiny and in my big hands it was easy to hit buttons by mistake on the back of the camera. I would recommend buying a grip for this camera but I found it an incredibly nice camera to use. I wish it had the option to fit a battery grip but that is covered in the second section of this review.
The full 'Auto' switch to the right of the shutter dial overrides the camera settings and puts the X-T10 into 'point and shoot' mode. To be honest I don't need this and luckily I didn't knock the switch. But it also doesn't bother me with the switch being there but I can see it appealing to amateur photographers who want to just take pictures but have the option of being a bit more technical when they want to.
Using big lenses like the XF50-140mm f2.8 or 55-200mm f3.5/f4.8 on the X-T10 can look rather comical but it isn't as unbalanced as you would think in operation. I would probably still get the optional mechanical grip to aid in the use of longer lenses.
3. Build Quality
This is no doubt this is a premium camera. The materials used are top notch and the X-T10 certainly doesn't feel flimsy or 'toylike' in my hands. While it isn't weather proofed, this factor for me isn't an issue because I always cover up my cameras in bad weather and I have the X-T1 if I needed to continue shooting in damp or dusty conditions.
4. Pop Up Flash
I don't tend to use flash much in my work but I do have a Nissin i40 TTL flashgun if I need it for a bit of fill flash when taking images of the drivers on the grid. The X-T1 comes with a detachable flash but I can honestly say I have never used it. The inclusion of the pop up flash on the X-T10 is very useful for those occassions I need a bit of 'fill' to lift the shadows.
The X-T10 gets the same AF Version 4 software as I tested at Le Mans on the X-T1. I have found that the new AF system has transformed the X-T1 for my work and I am pleased to report that the X-T10 is just as capable in this department.
6. Cable Release
It might be a little thing but because the X-T10 isn't weather resistant Fujifilm have included a thread on the shutter release button 'a la' X-Pro1 which means you can use an old style cable release. This is a good move in my book. You can still use the USB port for the remote shutter release, which I have for the X-T1.
The extremely 'petit' size of the X-T10 is very useful when travelling. It is lighter than the X-T1 and doesn't attract as much attention when walking the streets. I certainly can see this replacing my X-Pro1 or X-100 as my travel camera of choice.
8. Electronic View Finder
The EVF might not be as big as the one found on the X-T1 but it is great to use. I have to admit that I was not a fan of EVF until the X-T1 was launched but I am now a true convert to this way of working. The X-T10's viewfinder is bright and there is no lag. You have to remind yourself that you are not using an Optical View Finder, it is that good. AND, like on the X-T1, you see how the image will look before you press the shutter release.
I now use the EVF on the X-Pro1 over the OVF 100% of the time, I can't remember the last time I use the OVF on either the X-Pro1 or X100. If anyone says EVF is not as good, just show them the X-T10 or X-T1.
I didn't use the X-T10's video function to record the press conferences over the weekend at The Red Bull Ring, I used the X-T1 for that. However I did test the video function on the X-T10 and it is the same as the X-T1 with the ability to take an external microphone with a 2.5mm jack plug.
10. WiFi Connectivity
One feature I love on the X-T1 is the ability to control the camera remotely on my phone or download images to my iPad when out and about. This is the same on the X-T10 and I even downloaded some images to my phone very quickly using the Fujifilm APP without having to update it or do anything else. It just worked, which was great.
What's not to like?
While it was inevitable a cheaper camera was going to have some compromises and these items do affect the way I work.
However none of these issues are deal breakers and you can always find ways to compensate for the limitations of the hardware.
1. Memory Buffer and Lack of Compatibility with UHS-II Memory Cards
The buffer on this camera is small. If you are shooting at 8 frames per second using a fast UHS-1 SD card as I do, the buffer is full after 6 or 7 shots. The camera is then tied up processing those shots for precious tenths of a second before you can resume shooting.
On single shot the camera is good but for shooting fast moving action, the buffer size is not as good as an X-T1.
This problem is coupled that you can't even use a UHS-II SD card to speed up the process like you can in the X-T1 because unlike the flagship camera the X-T10 can't use the UHS-II to their full capacity.
2. Battery Life
This is a problem with all X-Series Cameras and nothing new, BUT the X-T10 chews through battery power faster than my X-T1. I was getting 250-280 shots rather than the 320-350 shots I get from the X-T1. I checked all the power settings to make sure they were the same as the X-T1 and the X-T10 still proved to be a lot more power hungry than the X-T1.
3. Lack of Battery Grip Compatibility
The lack of a battery grip for the X-T10 goes hand in glove with point 2 above. Because the power level indicator is the same as X-T1, X-Pro1 etc, there is little warning when the battery is running out of juice. At least with the X-T1 fitted with the battery grip I can continue to shoot interrupted when the first battery is exhausted. You don't have that option for the X-T10.
4. SD Memory Card Compartment
The SD card is situated the by battery and accessed by the door on the bottom of the camera, like the X-Pro1 and X100. The location of the card behind the battery makes changing cards a slightly more fiddly job, but overall this is a minor point and not worth worrying about really.
The X-T10 is a very, very capable image capturing machine and for 90% of my work it is just as able to get the picture as the X-T1.
Body only the X-T10 is £499 compared to £879 for the X-T1. For a price difference of almost £300, the X-T10 is a very tempting possibility as a back up for a X-T1 or as the main travel camera.
Over the past ten days I have put the X-T10 through its paces and I have not found it wanting in the important areas for my work.
While not everything on the X-T10 is perfect, it is certainly an excellent camera and worthy of it's place in the X-Series line up.
CLICK HERE for the X-T10 page on the Fujifilm website
CLICK HERE for some sample images from the X-T10 on the MacLean Photographic FLICKR Gallery