Fuji X100s

Image Courtesy: FujiFilm

Image Courtesy: FujiFilm

This is Genesis! I didn’t have much reason for switching systems a little under a year ago, but this camera is probably what pushed me beyond the point of no return.

I was in the market for a small camera that I could use for family holidays, days at the beach with the kids, and other such occasions, but one that wouldn’t sacrifice image quality over size. I have had a number of small Sony and Canon point-and-shoot cameras over the years, but none of the quite worked out and  I would always find myself carting my SLR kit around in lieu of whatever compact I had at the time. Eventually this changed from carrying around a SLR to not carrying anything at all – bad photographer!

You see it is very difficult to go backwards in quality, even if it is just for your own family “snaps”. I was used to glorious images from great cameras and lenses and that is what I wanted…..just in a compact form factor. I always felt that often the other brands would give you lots of things that you didn’t need, and then to make sure the camera fit a certain price point they would then cut back on the sensor!

Fuji launched the X100s in response to some of the criticisms filed against the original X100. That was the real groundbreaking camera, but it had its flaws! The X100s addressed many of the issues that working Pro’s had with the camera, but then Fuji went and did something almost unheard of in this day and age. All of the changes made which could be back dated to the X100 through firmware updates were released to the x100 users – that alone is probably why many people have switched to Fuji!!

So what is there to like about this camera? Well it turns out that there is quite a lot actually! Firstly, for me anyway, is the incorporation of a decent sized sensor in what is actually quite a compact body. This ASP-C sensor helps create amazing images that are low in noise regardless of the ISO. I have never been one to push the limits of high ISO shooting, but for the first time I am happy to put a camera on auto ISO and let it get on with it knowing the results will be perfectly useable regardless of the setting! Does this mean that my camera lives in auto ISO? No, but it is another tool in the toolbox that is nice to have! Secondly was Fuji’s decision to remove the AA (anti aliasing) filter from in front of the sensor. This has resulted in incredibly sharp images with oodles of detail. They have done that by creating their own sensor design that aims to eliminate moire pattern even without the use of the AA filter. I doubt it eliminates it all together, but what little moire I have seen has been easily removed in post processing.

Another great thing is the cameras ability to dominate the sun when using flashes. This is thanks in part to the incorporation of a leaf shutter into the lens allowing for crazy sync speeds. There are some design limitations such as not being able to go above 1/1000 of a second wide open, but they have countered this by including a built in 3 stop neutral density filter into the camera that can be turned on and off in the menu. This is an awesome feature and wedding photographers around the world have been high fiving in celebration ever since!

Something I have to mention is Fuji’s film simulation settings. I am a RAW shooter and I can’t see it changing anytime soon, but the jpegs straight out of the camera are amazing! I now shoot quite a bit in RAW+jpeg which gives me the option to upload images to social media whilst on shoots or away from the office. What the simulation settings do is really no different to what many other cameras offer, but by naming them after their renowned film brands (Provia, Velvia, Astia etc…) Fuji has made the whole process of choosing which setting to use a whole lot more intuitive! On my Canons I never knew if I wanted to use Neutral or standard, but I always know when Velvia is preferable over Astia – it just works! (I do understand that people who never shot on film might not agree!)

The size of the camera is just about perfect as well, and so to is the build quality. It reminds my in many ways of the build often associated with older cameras like the Nikon F3. It is that solid!  Ergonomics aren’t bad, but the menus could do with some work. (Seems to have been sorted out with the new X100T – lets hope we get a firmware update).

So is everything rosy with this camera – not quite! The AF can still be a little slow at times and I have had a few misses when using the optical viewfinder. Also I hate the fact that I can’t custom set the X menu, but I believe this is something that has been updated on the X100T. My battery charger also decided to stop working soon after I bought the camera which was annoying, but Fuji South Africa sorted that out very quickly which was great! I love the silent mode on the camera, but hate that it disables the flash. I can see why they are doing it, but there are times where you capturing the shot far out weighs being discreet. These are all quite small issues, but I had to mention them none the less!

So who should get the X100s? Well I believe every professional wedding photographer should have this tool in their bag……..it is that good! In fact there are guys overseas that are almost shooting entire weddings on this thing! Even if you are shooting with Canon or Nikon this should be a part of your kit! As for the man on the street that is a little more tricky. It truly is a great camera, but some might find it a bit limiting due to the fixed lens. It is hard to say, but everyone looking for a great, well built amazingly sharp camera with great image quality  in this price range really does need to give this a try! It changed the way I look at equipment these days……and that is a good thing!

If there is anything specific you would like to know just drop me a comment.



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