I recently picked up the Fuji X100. It’s a type of camera that I’ve been waiting for someone to develop in an affordable package. Fuji has done a great job at delivering amazing image quality with this, and has thrown in some other interesting technology as well. After a few days of shooting I just wanted to share my experiences with it. This is not a comprehensive review by any means, but just a few of my thoughts. More pictures will be posted from this camera as well in the future but please click below to read more.
I’m not typically one for writing gear reviews, but this camera seems to fit into a category that I know will lead to images that I normally would not create so I can’t help sharing something about it. And shifting creativity is a good thing. I probably won’t be listing anything near the full list of features here, but wanted to share the things that I felt are a benefit to this camera from my normal way of working.
I’ve long been searching for something that will give me the quality of my SLR in a smaller package so that, if anything, I can always have it with me and create professional work. Alongside the physical size, I also wanted the following that can be found in the Fuji X100:
– large sensor/image quality: the APS-C size yields higher quality image with less noise and more control over depth of field than most point and shoots (especially if coupled with a faster lens). I am actually amazed at the high ISO quality and don’t hesitate to go near the top of it’s range. Additionally, I didn’t expect in camera JPEG’s to be this good. Some tweaking of settings were necessary to get good quality JPEG’s while still retaining some post processing latitude if necessary. Highlight and Shadow tone were a little too aggressive for me, and softening them a bit was immensely helpful.
– quiet shutter: self explanatory…it’s very quiet!
– optical viewfinder: I really much prefer not looking at an EVF, especially in extreme lighting conditions and other demanding situations. It takes getting used to for those accustomed to looking through the lens and not having to take into consideration parallax issues, but the benefits and joys of an optical viewfinder outweigh these to me. The ability to quickly switch to an EVF was something I didn’t expect to use often but it’s great to be able to review images in bright conditions, to use the electronic focus verification in manual focus (switches to EVF and zooms in), and for instances where you need a more accurate viewfinder view (close focusing primarily).
– fast aperture lens: useful for many obvious reasons. The focal length on this sensor size also strikes a nice balance towards a useable depth of field range that allows isolation but not so much that focus is difficult when you need lots of light. I admit to sometimes wishing there was a slightly longer lens (I really enjoy 50mm) on the camera for my work but would probably find reasons to argue if things were the other way around too.
– quick manual control: something that was lacking in most point and shoots I’ve tried. I can adjust things on this camera without having to take my eye from the optical viewfinder! And with a dedicated exposure compensation dial I can get creative exposures right before even putting my eye to the viewfinder. Having a dedicated control for focus modes is also a very useful control for me, and I’m happy I don’t have to dig around menus to find it. In fact, Once I leave the house, I hardly ever use the menu system at all.
– autofocus: admittedly, not many cameras neglect to have autofocus. Although I loved shooting with my old leicas, I’ve become quite accustomed to shooting methods with autofocus. Though I confess that I wish the manual focus was better on this camera for certain instances where I want to go right to a specific focus distance. However, that’s easy enough to work around and the X100 sort of makes up for it by actually having a very useful depth of field indication system. To me between the “focus and reframe” method and the ability to still engage autofocus even in manual mode, I rarely actually use manual focus.
All this is not to say that the camera doesn’t leave things to be desired. Things like wishing for an assignable RAW button, manual focus confirmation, better manual focus “gearing”, better battery indication among other smaller things. If Fuji gets behind some of these things they can pretty much fix all my complaints in firmware. In the end it’s as simple as: the image quality is fantastic and I can control the capture very quickly in a form factor that allows me to have this with me all the time. The first time I’ve been happy with all three!