Fuji X-T10, the best travel camera?
Can you travel without a camera? I doubt! Travelling and cameras belongs together. People travel with small cameras, with phones, with tablets, they even take photos with a huge iPad pro, and large cameras. But at least one camera is always available to take pictures. If you are travelling a lot, like I do, then you have to think about what you are taking on board. Normally, I travel with only one or two prime lenses, so the size of the camera is not a big problem. But sometimes I need it smaller. So I have the wonderful Nikon Coolpix A, that I have tested here. A nice and compact camera, with a wonderful IQ. But I'm a fan of the 50 mm view so I needed something small with a 50 mm aquivalent view. The Fujifilm cameras are famous for their colors and colors have always been my main topic, so I tested a X-T10. Why the X-T10? Beside the X-Pro 2 the fujis have all the same sensor. So the X-T1 will not give a better result. I took the camera and the 35 mm f2 on a trip to venice. A real life test, cause I hate the lab reviews. They are useless.
Venice and the other islands are wonderful cities, and great to take photos, when you can get rid of the tourists. That means, early morning or late in the evening is your time.
The X-T10 did exactly what I expected, what I expect from all cameras these days. There are no bad cameras anymore, when we talk about mirrorless or dslr. All are doing their jobs, taking nice pictures, some are doing minor parts better than others, some not. But the results are always good. So did the X-T10. The camera is small, the lense is small, with f/2 not a superfast lense, but that is ok. In my eyes the trend for super fast lenses for small cameras is a waste of money. If you want to get an aquvalent DOF like f/1.8 on fullframe you will end up with heavy, huge and expensive lenses on a small body. If I need a fast lense for the DOF, the view, I take a Sigma Art lense on a fullframe camera. Period.
So the 35 f2 is a nice little lense, it is sharp, not supersharp if you compare it with the Sigma Art but creates great results. That means it is really a small and light setup for travelling. Nice one.
But going a little bit into the details. There are the fuji fans who are talking about the super duper fuji colors. I'm a raw shooter so I don't care about the jpg colors at all. There is no camera who is producing a photo exactly in the way I want it to be. So my way is raw and then the use of VSCO. But for a quick photo vial mail it can be important sometimes. So I tested the jpg enginges. As a ref I used the Nikon D750. Cause that is the main camera in my setup.
The photo on the left is a jpg directly out of the Nikon, default settings, the right one is coming from the fuji, the velvia settings. Both results are quite nice I would say and I don't know which one I prefere more. What you can see always is, that the Fuji is colder than the Nikon, when Nikon has a temperature of 5700K, the fuji is 5500 and that is what you can see in the colors. The green is green on the fuji photo, but the blossom is better on the Nikon, more realistic.
But still, both jpg engines are doing a good job. There is not the high flyer on the market.
Again Nikon left, Fuji right. Same story, Nikon is warmer than Fuji on auto wb. This time, Fuji with the provia, the default setting. I would not say that the Fuji colors are better. They are different, but not better. In my eyes, there is no fuji color mojo. Don't get me wrong, fuji is doing a good job, but I think on market level. But that is ok. Cause at the end, the photo is good, and nobody cares if it would be better with camera xyz or not.
I have a small problem with the 35 mm f2 lense. Not that it is doing a bad job, no not at all, it is for my opinion over corrected. That is a general problem I have with the digitally corrected lenses compared to the optically corrected ones. The optically corrected lense are never perfect. That means you still have vignette and other stuff on a low level. But this is giving the mojo of a lense. The digitally corrected lenses don't have these flaws. They want to be perfect. I switch off in most case the lense correction when I use the raw files. But with the Fuji lense it is not possible. I don't like that. I'm not sure if the examples above are the right one to show the differences but I hope it will work. Left Sigma Art 50 mm and on the right the Fuji combination. Left is through the raw processing with VSCO and not directly out of the camera. Another problem I have with the lense is the angle. Due to the crop factor of 1.5 the 35 mm lense should be close to the angle of the 50 mm Art lense. But it behaves more like a 60 mm lense in my eyes. That is what you can see very well in this examples above.
One thing what is really nice in the Fuji universe, is the SP-1 printer. So you can print onsite "Polaroids". A very nice feature if you want to give pictures to people you meet. The camera can communicate directly with the printer, as easy as possible. Well done. Another positive point on my list is the communication with smartphones. I have tested a few cameras under that aspect in the past and fuji is really ahead of Sony and Nikon. OK, Nikon is really bad in case of smartphone communication, there is not even an app exisitng for the D750 for iOS communication. But Fuji is doing a good job here. Just one click on the camera, one click on the smartphone and the photos are on the phone, ready to be send out or uploaded. That is how it should be.
I heard negative a positive stories about the bokeh of the 35 mm lense. I have to say bokeh wise I'm happy. Beside the limitation in DOF the bokeh is quite smooth and there is nothing to complain.
So as a summary, the X-T10 is doing what it should do, taking nice photos. And that is the most important part of this story. But, there is always a but, there are a few things I don't like about the X-T10. One is the speed. Not the speed of the af-system, but the speed of the starting process. When I switch the camera on, it takes ages until the camera is ready to shoot. It can happen that you miss the shot due to that delay. That is really a drawback.
Secondly, the build quality is not good. After one week of travelling I have a lot of scratches on the silver body parts. I had no single scratch on the bodies on the last 20 years. So Fuji What are you doing?
A smaller problem is the video button, so you can start the recording by accident.
Another drawback is a problem with VSCO, there is no camera profile in VSCO so far for the X-T10.
But overall, the camera is a nice little camera with a very good IQ. Good but not better than anything else. I'm still not a fan of the X-trans sensors and would like to see a default sony bayer sensor in the fujis.
But the important part, it will be my travel companion when I want to travel very light. Although I have to answer with a clear No, the X-T10 is not the best travel camera, maybe on of the best. But only in case of the speed, the quality is good enough for large prints. The sharpness and details are not on the level of the FF Sigma Art combination but still good enough to do large prints. So overall a nice small tool for taking pictures! But it could not be my only one.
PS: I was wrong about VSCO, after downloading the latest files, VSCO is also working with the profiles for the X-T10. That is a good news for me as a VSCO fan. And I think that VSCO is still far better then the internal Fuji colors. That brings teh X-T10 closer to be the best travel camera.
First, the VSCO result out of Adobe Lightroom, then the jpg out of camera with the velvia settings. My fav is the VSCO result.
Again first the VSCO result and than the Velvia jpg out of the camera. VSCO is winning again. But important, that is only my personal view.
And now a few jpgs out of the camera