I found the perfect travel companion. She’s small, light, sexy and always ready to go. Hello Fuji x100.
I recently had a chance to test out the camera on a short trip to Asia and it’s become my favorite camera…ever! I’ve been looking for a camera I can carry around everywhere and for vacations that’s small, light, fun and takes good photos. I’ve tried many cameras such as Canon’s G9, G10, G11, G15 G1 X, S90, Panasonic LX3 and a ton of point and shoots. DSLR’s are a pain in the neck literally to carry on vacation. I wanted to do a short review from a user’s point of view. If you want to pixel peep and learn all the detail specs, check out Dpreview’s in depth review.
The Fuji x100 is a rangefinder style digital camera with a big APS-C sensor, a fixed f/2 35mm equivalent lens and old school analog dials for manual camera settings. Unlike the DSLR cameras that we use for weddings, where what you see in the viewfinder is exactly what the picture will look like. Rangefinders have a little window above the lens to frame your subject. One of the coolest features of the x100 is what they call a hybrid electronic viewfinder. It’s basically a tiny LCD screen in the viewfinder that shows exactly what the picture will look like and what you see on the back of the camera’s big LCD. It’s awesome for framing, seeing camera settings, chimping (looking at the picture you just took), focus and a bunch of other things all without moving your eye from the viewfinder.
I love shooting natural light. What makes the x100 such a sweet camera is the huge sensor coupled with a f/2 lens. This lets you shoot in almost any lighting condition without using flash. The files this camera makes are outstanding. The lens is sharp but not too sharp, great noise control, fantastic dynamic range (difference between the lightest and darkest parts in a picture) and tones are out of this world. At high ISO the grain is beautiful with a classic film look. Almost all the photos here are shot at ISO1600 with no noise control.
This is a freaking awesome camera, but it may not be for everyone. Being a rangefinder style camera you have to work a little to get the pictures. Turn the lens to select your aperture, select your shutter speed with the analog dial on top and set the ISO with a shortcut button you assign. I love how much trouble you have to go through just to take a photo, it makes it that much more satisfying when you nail the shot. It’s got full auto settings too but I forbid myself to use them. It feels like cheating.
Is this the perfect camera? Nope. The two biggest flaws on this camera are speed and focus. Even using the fastest memory card available, the blackout time (time when the camera is processing a photo) is frustratingly slow. I miss a lot of shots because of this. The focus in normal lighting is good but crazy slow in low light. Hope they fixed these issues in the new version of this camera, x100s. Check back later for my review on that.