it's here. my fujifilm x100. moments after taking it from it's lovely packaging i was out and about making images. the design of this tool is absolutely top notch. thework flow is straight forward and hassle free. the image quality is wonderful, and the features are plentiful. normally i'd wait a bit longer before writing up a review, but i just couldn't wait to spread the word!
if you're a serious photographer desperately wanting a compact AND high quality tool... this is the camera you've been waiting for. in the dense market of small compact cameras the x100 is (IMO) the king. sell your silly little p7000, G12,or GH2. screw your beloved olympus ep2, and Leica gear is too expensive, and the x100 stomps all over the x1. no doubt other camera makers are hot on the heels of Fuji's masterpiece, but for now this thing is the camera to beat.
okay, so lets start the details with the overall build quality and design. Fuji is very proud of their hard work. you can read through the design phases here. their main goal? "Achieving uncompromising performance and maintaining a compact design." I can confidently say they most certainly achieved that goal. from the moment you pick this baby up you can intuitively change any major setting without having to dive into menus. the body is solid, but not heavy. you can easily carry this around all day every day. i even had it strapped around my back with a light jacket on and it was hidden perfectly.
let's break this down into easy pro and con lists
- it's gorgeous and comfortable to hold.
- very sharp wide open (f/2) as long as you're not in macro mode (however macro isn't too terrible)
- the Optical View Finder and Electronic View Finder hybrid are a dream. totally totally awesome and probably my favorite part of the camera. the OVF is gigantic and the overlaying exposure, focus, and random camera info is divine. It also has a nifty feature that realigns the overlaid framing box depending on where you focus to compensate for parallax. easily convert your optical view finder to an electronic view finder by flicking the front switch and you instantly get the exact same view from the large screen in your little eye piece.
- focus is FAST, and mostly accurate depending on how much light you have. the AF assist works well too.
- iso is CLEAN. I can shoot up to 5000 fairly comfortably, but it can be pushed to 12,800.
- it's super quiet.
- shutter lag is not an issue - at all.
- battery life is fantastic. i've only charged it once and still have a totally full charge :)
- i can finally use the SD slots that Apple seems to be in love with.
- don't even put the CD it comes with in your computer drive. the fuji "finepix" software is probably the worst thing since windows ME. yes, i know you want to utilize the RAW images from this beaut, but until lightroom, photoshop and aperture have been updated you can use Raw Developer, or this free Raw converterto mess with your images.
- manual focus isn't exactly a dream. it's a nightmare. it's not a feature i'll be using very much as it requires a certain amount of light to respond quickly... odd considering the auto focus is very snappy. it's implemented like this: the software detects how quickly the ring is turned. when it's turned slowly, the focus motor adjusts focus very slowly. when the ring is turned saaaay twice as fast, instead of adjusting focus twice as fast the motor adjusts focus four times as fast. great idea in concept, however it doesn't work well at all. hopefully a firmware update will help with this.
- in video mode rolling shutter is a annoying and obvious when quickly panning... a common issue with these types of sensors.
- the jog wheel and menu/ok button are kind of small. the menu button in particular is hard to confidently press without looking until you've shot with it a while.
i have processed these images using my normal work flow in lightroom. these are not straight out of camera. sorry if that pisses some of you off, but i wanted to see how the pictures looked after i do what i normally do to my shots. there are ump-teen other reviews that show off the brick wall, iso, sharpness, and color tests so just google to find them.
okay, so lets look at bokeh examples:
to quickly toggle in and out of macro shooting:
- way 1) while holding the camera to your eye you can tap the left button twice then half press the shutter to enter/leave macro. you don't have to press OK or take the camera away from your eye.
- way2) my preferred option - push the focus selector up to MF with your left hand and press the AFL button with your right hand (auto focus in manual mode) and you'll get a solid macro lock. another advantage is that you can do this in OVF without jumping to EVF. works much better than "proper" macro - very reliable and the frame lines will jump to parallax correct when you half depress the shutter.
- to quickly engage silent mode just hold the "DISP/BACK" button for a few seconds.
and here is a bunch of random photos i've taken over the past few days with it:
if you're able to buy one of these... do it. there are mass delays in shipping due to the disaster in Japan. i've seen them as high as $2500 on ebay, but new in a retail store they'll run you $1200, which IMO is an extremely good deal. i've often come across busy professional photographers who say "i don't shoot any personal work anymore." i'm not totally sure why that happens to many photogs, but i can tell you that carrying this camera around is SO MUCH MORE convenient than my d3s. the best camera is the one you have with you and though an iphone shot is fun... the X100 is an actual legitimate tool.
i've read a lot of other user reviews at this point and though the majority of them seem to be glowing... there are a few that seem to hate the camera. well, this is what i think of them:
If you're a serious photographer desperately wanting a compact AND high quality tool... this is the camera you've been waiting for.
In my gear bag?Yes