Gearing Up: Fuji X100s

When Fuji released the X100S, a storm of positive reviews swept over the land. MPEX-favorites like David Hobby and Zack Arias celebrated the compact rangefinder camera’s autofocus, sync speed, its near-silent shutter, X-Trans sensor, and high-quality JPEG outlook. During our recent Downtown Columbus Nighttime Photo Walk, our walk leader Aaron Sheldon was carrying nothing but the X100S, and captured some fantastic images (which you can see on our Photo Walk Flickr Group).

Obviously this was a camera we were excited to have in our store. (And our rentals department.)

fuji x100s

Let’s get the tech stuff out of the way: the Fuji X100S is loaded with a ton of great features, including a 16-MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor, a super-fast Fujinon fixed focal length 23mm F/2 lens, a blazingly quick AF system, a hybrid OVF/EVF viewfinder (that you can’t at all tell is not totally optical), and Full HD movie recording capabilities.

All of these features should be enough to pique your interest. But the real joy, for me, and I suspect any street and journalistic photographer out there, is how fun it is to use, and how inconspicuous it is to carry around.

David Hobby gives a comprehensive rundown of the X100S‘ features in the below video, pointing out early on in the video why a photographer behind an X100S is less intimidating to street subjects than a photographer behind a DSLR:

I took the Fuji X100S for a test-run and here are my reactions (and some sample images):

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1. It’s fun to use. For someone who has never used an old Leica M mount, and has very little experience with film cameras in general, the Fuji X100S was a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong; I love using my Nikon D7000, and DSLRs in general. But there’s just something way more fun about selecting the aperture by turning the aperture ring on the lens, or selecting the shutter speed by turning a numbered dial on top of the camera. Fuji menus are historically somewhat more difficult to navigate than other manufacturers’, but I did not experience that problem with the Fuji X100S, as I barely ever needed to step into the menus.

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2. It feels good. Keeping in line with the “Fuji is the new Leica” mentality, the Fuji X100S felt very good in my hands. It has a nice grip, it’s the perfect size, and its not too light and not too heavy. Let’s not pretend like I didn’t picture myself, as I was strolling up and down High Street in Clintonville, cavorting around Europe, like a character in a French New Wave. It’s a very romantic camera, one you will want to walk around with. The only problem I had with the feel was, as a left-eye dominant person, the viewfinder was a bit awkward to use, and I found my nose leaving more greasy streaks on the back display than I would like to admit. For this reason, I kept finding myself defaulting to using the screen to compose my images, which is not my usual modus operandi. So, if you’re like the two-thirds of the world’s population that’s right-eye dominant, you should be fine, but for the lonely one-third that’s left-eye dominant, you might find yourself staring at the screen fairly often.

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3. Manual focus is sweet. Yes, the Fuji X100S‘ autofocus is, like, super-fast. So why, you might be asking, would anyone need to use the manual focus? Well, the manual focus allows you to gain focus with a razor-thin margin of error, thanks to its “Digital Split Image” feature, in addition to its Focus Peak Highlight function, which highlights the high contrast areas of your subject that are in focus. That’s two ways to gain perfect focus.

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4. The colors are beautiful. This one is probably pretty self-explanatory. The X100S‘ X-Trans sensor is the star of the show here, giving you such a vivid range of colors that you probably will find yourself tinkering and fudging a whole lot less in Photoshop or Lightroom.

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5. It’s so quiet. The leaf shutter (which syncs up to 1/1000s) is insanely quiet. This should make street photographers and photojournalists pretty happy. Check out the video below to get a shutter volume comparison between the X100S and a few other cameras:

These are just some of the features that make the Fuji X100S a really fun camera to use that creates beautiful images. Want to try it before you buy it? Call our rentals department and reserve the Fuji X100S today.

Midwest Photo

2 thoughts on “Gearing Up: Fuji X100s

  1. I honestly don’t understand the point of in-camera filters or other such shenanigans. What if you later decide that sepia tone looks like crap (you probably will)? Why not apply these filters in post production? I suppose if you don’t own any photo editing software, these would be handy, but really, who can afford this camera but not $100 for some decent software?

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    1. That’s a good point. Some people don’t like to use those filters, some people do. I mostly find them to be a fun distraction, and occasionally I get a really cool picture out of them. It’s why I like to shoot in b&w sometimes, even though I know I can shoot in color and convert later: it makes me compose differently, it makes me see my subject differently, and therefore I sometimes get a photo I would never have gotten in color.

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