PHOTOSHACK.COM | Camera Review: Fuji X100S

Camera Review: Fuji X100S

July 17, 2013  •  Leave a Comment

The Fuji X100S is a beautiful retro looking camera, with very high end features.  I was attracted to it since it looked very much like my first 35mm camera that my dad had bought when he was in Japan in the service.  The camera is a fixed lens 23mm f2.0 (very fast) and very sharp.  They do sell converters for even wider angle, and lens hoods, etc.  It does include a built-in flash which works extremely well.  In fact, if you just left this camera on auto mode, it would work nearly effortlessly in any grabshot, family outing kind of thing.  It is small, solid but not heavy.  The quality is evident when you look at the seams, the metal finish, and well placed buttons.   

What I liked most:

1.  Cool.   Just dang cool.

2.  The Velvia simulation mode.   Velvia reverse negative film makes gorgeous saturated slides that make landscapes look amazing.  I tried the camera out on my first day, and here's what I came up with in the Velvia simulation mode:

3. EFV viewfinder; this thing is nifty since you can pop a lever on the front and it will give you the electronic viewfinder, representing the exposure level you are about to capture as well as focus points and all the other good information.   If you are having trouble seeing (as in, your manual strobe will fire but until there there ain't much to focus on) you can use the eye sensored straight through the viewfinder.  It shows you exposure info, and where your autofocus point is.

4.  Rear display; this is a very high resolution display that can also be used as the third focus preview method.  It is not touch screen, but your 41 autofocus points are easily accessible with the command wheel.

5.  The 41 focus points!   Seriously, this is good stuff for a compact camera of any kind, and really works good here.

6. Panorama mode:  I didn't discover this feature until after my first day when I stitched vertical shots together to make the Newport Back Bay shot.   It works exceptionally well, and behaves much like the iphone style pano apps.

7.  High quality images, low light shooting.   Very good high ISO shots.  The APS-C sensor on this camera has some filtering removed so you are getting more sharpness than typical dslr implementations of this sensor size.  Stick that baby in auto and see how good your impromptu shots turn out!

8. Multiple exposure mode: really cool, and something that Canon just came out with finally on their dslr's.  Street scenes would be killer with this feature.


1. Wide shots; great for street scenes, great for landscapes.  Not as good for portraits.   The depth of field at the distance of 10 feet or so is quite large, even at f2.0.  So if you are all about headshots with creamy background and the subject popping out,  you will need to move in to about 4 feet...and that does not have the same "compressed distance" effect.  Most people would not care about this though...

2. Could use a reticulating screen.  Really, I do want to be able to do nice video with my photos, and having a waistlevel viewfinder or over the head monitor is pretty important to keep a steady shot and follow focus.

3. Does not autofocus video.  

4. Expect to be able to review the shot on the back screen by just clicking the review button; however if you are shooting in evf or optical viewfinder, you are reviewing in the EFV or you will have to hit the display button after going to optical viewfinder.  Not intuitive and even after about 50 shots I kept stumbling around to get to previews.   Purists would say "hey, you are a photographer you should not even need this" but I have bad eyes and getting critical focus takes work for me....missing a shot because I didn't check is just silly.


All in all, this camera would make a great travel camera, and will inevitably make people go "whoah...looks like a film camera!"   The film modes are wonderful, and if you could get by with a "normal" focal length (35mm equiv.) then this camera is top notch quality.   If money were no object, I'd keep this simply because it is gorgeous, functional and feels good to hold.



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