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Fujifilm's X100T proves that two viewfinders are better than one

This excellent new camera is a pleasure worth waiting for

The X100T carries on a happy recent legacy for Fujifilm. Its predecessors have been some of the best performing and most attractive cameras in the retro compact range, so its public debut here at Photokina has been much anticipated. Beyond some glorious old-school looks and a high-quality APS-C sensor, one of the undeniable strengths of the X100T is its hybrid viewfinder system.

Having been introduced in the X100, the hybrid setup has been refined in the new model to further blur the distinction between optical and electronic viewfinders. The basic premise is simple enough: optical viewfinders are lag-free and most pleasant to use, but electronic ones provide useful information about the exposure and color balance of the image about to be taken. Instead of choosing just one of them, Fujifilm adds a switch to the front of the X100T that flips between them in an instant, allowing you to do most of your composition with the optical viewfinder and switch to the electronic one just at the end to confirm you've set everything up correctly.

The evolution this year is in adding an electronic rangefinder to the bottom-right corner of the optical view, making it that much more useful and precise. There's also real-time parallax correction — adjusting for the difference in angle to the subject between the viewfinder and the camera's sensor — which is another step on the way to perfecting accuracy of compositions. Getting used to the dual-mode viewfinder is very quick and easy. The toggle sits perfectly under the right forefinger and the camera switches modes quickly enough not to disrupt the process of composition.

Though not as unique as its viewfinder, Fujifilm's control scheme on the X100T is once again commendable for its comprehensiveness and good design. The aperture control ring around the lens and exposure compensation dial at the top have both been given more granular options, allowing for finer manual control. The manual focus ring is well placed and comfortable to use. The rear of the camera has been rearranged with a tidier layout that feels more intuitive and makes it easier to thumb at imprecisely.

Fujifilm only has prototypes of the X100T on show at Photokina, but even without the final software on board, the camera is fast and turns out remarkably sharp images. That's the benefit of having a fixed f/2.0 lens — you trade away the flexibility of a zoom lens for the better quality of a fixed one. The few sample shots I took on the show floor made that tradeoff feel well worth it.

The X100T will go on sale in November for $1,299.95, or about €1,199.99, in a choice of either silver or black. Both have the same die-cast magnesium at the top and bottom, though the silver camera is definitely the more obviously retro of the two. The black option looks more demure and timelessly understated.

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