I’m usually not one for writing equipment reviews, although I do enjoy reading them, but I did want to share my thoughts about the Fuji X100s. If you are looking for specs or the down and dirty details about this camera you are going to need to look somewhere else. There are plenty of other sites out there where you can find that information. What I’m looking to do is answer the two questions about the camera I have been asked by my peers in the photo biz. Why did you buy that camera and do you like it?
Let me give you a quick camera gear background of what I’m use to working with. Since college I’ve been shooting with Canon DSLRs. I have used everything from a 10D as my first digital camera to the 5D Mk III and 1D Mk IV as my current bodies. Ive pretty much had my hands on every pro level DSLR from Canon. I very much enjoy working with the Canons, rarely have they ever let me down. They are solid, fast and for the most part can take a licking and keep on ticking.
Fuji X100s compared to a Canon 1D mk IV, little bit of a size difference.
The thing I never had in my arsenal though was an everyday camera. I consider the Canons work tools. It always felt like a burden to use them for anything other than work. A day at the beach, family birthday party, quick weekend trip to Chicago are all examples of times I would have loved to have a camera with me but never did because I didn’t want to lug around a DSLR with a 24-70 on the front all day long. I’ve looked at many point-and-shoot style cameras over the years as a possibility to fill this void. Needless to say they all fell short when it came to image quality and control. I wanted DSLR quality images in a point and shoot sized body. I also wanted to be able to control shutter speed and aperture with out having to go through a bunch of menus to do it.
Then Fuji announced the X100. It looked like the answer to my camera conundrum. The more I read about it the more I found out that the early cameras where plagued with slow and inaccurate auto focus issues. I battled this in the early months of owning a Canon1D mark III until Canon fixed it. I didn’t want to throw money at a camera I would hate using because it didn’t live up to my high expectations. So the search continued.
Then earlier this year Fuji caught my attention again when they introduced the improved version of the X100, the X100s. The camera got a new sensor and improved auto focus speed and accuracy. After reading reviews by other pros who had gotten one and felt is was good enough to use on paid gigs, I wanted one. I called my local camera dealer (Jeff at Badger Graphic Supply in Kaukauna WI) and he was able to get me one surprisingly way before the big stores even had them in stock. Since I’ve taken it out of the box early this summer, I’ve been hooked. It is hands down one of the best cameras I’ve owned and possibly the most fun to shoot with. I’ve pretty much had it with me every day and felt it was reliable enough to take as my only camera on a big two-week family vacation to Florida (if I didn’t have the X100s I probably would have taken my 5D with a couple lenses).
The X100s image quality rivals that of DSLRs with APS-C size sensors and even at times that of the full frame cameras like my 5D Mk III. It has a sharp 35mm full frame equivalent f/2 lens that is even sharp wide open. Best of all it is small, light weight and you have real controls on the camera for shutter speed and aperture. Oh and the hybrid viewfinder kicks butt. The camera is just a joy to work with. And like many other pros who have one, I’ve recently started to use it on paid gigs. Here are some of my favorite images I’ve shot with it so far.
The X100s plays very well with strobes. Both images above were shot using a 1/500 shutter speed to sync with the flash. Faster than you would find on a DSLR.
Thanks to it’s almost silent operation I was able to get this above shot of the King with out him knowing.
The X100s renders colors beautifully.
The X100s is a great travel camera, nice and small, you don’t feel like some creepy guy taking pictures with a monster camera and lens at the beach.
The X100s is one of the best low light cameras I have ever worked with.
Although it will never be considered a very good camera for sports, I was still able to capture some great action shots with the X100s.
Here is a quick list of my pros and cons with the camera.
– Image quality is outstanding, especially in low light and when it comes to
– Size, smaller and lighter but doesn’t feel like a toy.
– Fast, sharp lens
– Leaf Shutter (sync flash at pretty much any shutter speed!)
– Exposure controls actually on the camera not hidden in a menu
– Hybrid Viewfinder (I hate cameras with just electronic viewfinders or even worse no viewfinder at all)
– Silent (in silent mode this thing makes almost no noise, great if you are a street photographer or wedding shooter)
– Battery life stinks. (have a couple more with you, you can buy extras cheap)
– Battery meter all of a sudden goes from showing life to dead. (hopefully something a firmware update can fix)
– Menu system is a little complicated at first
All in all I’m really happy with this camera. As long as you know what it is and what it is capable of, you can make a judgment as far as if it’s a good camera to add to your arsenal. I love mine. I think if you are a pro who is looking for something compact that you can use along side your DSLRs, this is a good option. If you are starting out in photography and are thinking of buying a DSLR, you may also want to consider buying a X100s. One things for certain, Fuji has caught my attention with their line up of X series cameras. I think I hear an X-Pro 1 calling my name.