Over the last month, I have been testing the Fuji X100s for my personal and professional use. It was the only camera, I took with me for a short holiday in Germany.
I have been playing with the thought of buying this camera since the first version, the X100 was announced, but waited for the second version of the camera. The X100 had some character traits, I was not too keen on.
Then the Fuji X100s was announced and two photographers who I admire for their work and opinion wrote their reviews. David Hobby aka Strobist bought one of the first cameras and raved about the camera in his review. Zack Arias wrote one of the most entertaining camera reviews, I ever read and did the same.
The X100s is a mirrorless camera with a fixed lens (23mm – 35mm equivalent), an APS sized 16MP Fuji X trans sensor. The design of the sensor eliminates the need for a low pass filter and with that creates images that are sharper than with conventional cameras. The camera looks more like an old fashioned range finder camera than a sophisticated digital camera.
The camera uses a leaf shutter, which is great news for flash photography with incredible sync times for flash photography (up to 1/4000th of a second).
It took me longer than I expected to get used to the optical and electronic viewfinder and setting up the camera that I wanted to. After that, it has been a pure pleasure working with it. I read about the high quality of the jpeg images and I was amazed that they are really that good. For my personal photography in standard situations, I am very happy to use jpegs only. For work and more challenging light situations the combination of RAW and jpeg works perfectly.
The images are sharp and crisp and the interplay between lens and sensor without AA filter shines.
The camera is small enough to carry with me all the time. I used to use my iPhone for a lot of photography, when I didn’t have a camera with me. Now, I carry the X100s with me and I can take images with higher image quality and more control.
The Fuji uses a leaf shutter instead of a focal-plane shutter. It is a mixed blessing. This is great, because, I can sync the camera at 1/4000th sec with my flashes. It is not so great, because I can’t use 1/4000th of a sec at aperture 2. The solution, the Fuji engineers came up with is a built in ND filter. The other advantage of a leaf shutter is the lack of vibrations, which allows longer handheld shutter speeds. Lastly, and not least, you don’t hear the shutter. It is silent.
Autofocus works great and most of the times, I didn’t experience any troubles. Manual focus using the split image is a nice touch, but I haven’t used enough to get excited about it.
I love the colour and dynamic range in the images. Most of the time, no need for adjustments in post.
A surprise for me was the flash or better said the combination between auto iso, flash and combination of shutter and aperture.
Have a look at the following two images. I shot the first one without flash. Pretty dark in the tunnel.
With just using the built in flash, I got this result. Not perfect, but much more detail than I expected. I found this impressive. ISO, shutter speed and aperture are identical.
These are some very first impressions of this beautiful camera. I will be following up on some more detailed experiences in the next posts.