I wanted to wait before writing this review about the Fujifilm X100S, and I have….but not as long as I should…Every time I use this camera, I drift a bit closer to making it my primary, even over my DSLR gear. As I sit here pondering m equipment choices for the future, I see canon or Nikon drifting further away and Fujifilm mirror getting less closer. The fact I wrote this, my longest review ever for this item should alone bear as a testament to this camera’s great worth.
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Autofocus Fujifilm X100S :
It’s not terrible. But it’s not great either. I initially used the camera with autofocus only. It does seem to function better this way. It is usable, but if you’re looking to capture something fast, you will miss the shot. I wanted to try the manual focus for this camera, focus peeking is my favorite option. I was initially using back button focus then manual focusing. But it is faster to just manual focus. Funny thing is. I’ve not gone back to auto focus. Manual focus has won me over. In the end, this is a camera intended to be more about the shooting process and less about high-speed photography. I’ve learned to work with its quirky focus and have actually learned to love the camera with its focus as a primary reason, and not to spite it.
Image Quality Fujifilm X100S :
With an APS-C sensor, it’s got outstanding image quality. On par with my DSLR’s, there’s something wonderful about the jpeg color rendition in this camera. Its film simulations are great. I use Velvia on a regular basis. for sensor size snobs, Zack Arias put a video out you need to watch about “Full Frame”
With my DSLR’s I always shoot raw. With the x100s I shoot JPEG+RAW. The idea is I will use the jpegs unless I want to change something about the photo, then I load up the raw and edit it. Incidentally, I don’t use the RAW files much. I think that to talk about the lack of raw support in the light room is overblown. Lightroom is supporting my fuji raw’s just fine for me.
The High ISO performance is simply outstanding. I get usable files at 6400 (with heavy light room editing). Its noise is rendered in a different (and superior to my eye) way from canon and noise reduction works well.
Handling Fujifilm X100S :
This camera is more solid in feel than any DSLR I’ve owned, to spite being much less weight and bulk. It’s one fixed lens is superb. Easily a match for high-end canon lenses (on par with some L lenses I’ve owned).
For me, it seems a bit small but I’m used to DSLR’s with battery grips attached. The hand hold is not aggressive at all. I have a wrist strap for now, and I’ve ordered a thumbs up grip for it which I believe will improve holding significantly. I didn’t buy the fuji version. 50-60 bucks it is just too much.
The quick menu is awesome, though, I barely use it. It is nice to have the dials on the top. I miss them when I use my canon. But with a radio flash trigger installed the shutter reading is blocked on the top view good thing the shutter displays on the viewfinder and screen! I wish exposure comp was a menu item and ISO was in its place. But these are personal things. I do find the exposure comp useful where it is and the FN button is set for ISO.
Hybrid viewfinder and flash use at 1/1000th:
The unique feature of Fujifilm X100S that drove me to this camera is the leaf shutter. Street photogs like it because it is stealthy, to be sure it is quiet…very quiet. I like it because it can sync with a flash at 1/1000th of a second. My $50-speed lights can overpower the sun, but this leads to a few operational quirks with the hybrid viewfinder…
As I mentioned before, I like the hybrid viewfinder of the Fujifilm X100S and I love the manual focus on this camera, but the manual focus features need the evf to work. When you have the shutter at 1/1000th the evf is almost always black or near black making manual focus aids useless.
There is work to do of course…
I can focus trimming scale and keep a narrow aperture, this will let me approximate focus and have a greater chance of getting things in focus. I then use the OVF to frame and get the shot. If I have to use a wide aperture for my shot, I tend to turn the shutter speed down and focus, then turn the shutter speed up for the shot.
All that said, I tend to shoot indoors, outside 1/1000th is doable and shouldn’t require any of these works. Also, studio strobes with model lights would alleviate these issues as well. I have a few wedding shoots lined up for next wedding season, I’ll update this review as I use it and as I get new lights to work with.
Modifications Fujifilm X100S :
I got some (all) of these ideas:
I put a B+W multi-coat filter on this camera. It’s got a fixed lens, so I want it protected. I also have a 3rd party lens shade as well. Again, to protect the fixed front element. I’ve got a thumbs up grip and wrist strap, as well as a small piece of tape over the speaker holes on the bottom of the camera. I don’t want any dust getting in.
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There are praises and issues outlined in my review about the Fujifilm X100S but there is an outlier here that needs to be detailed, this camera is fun to use. It’s a camera that makes me want to shoot, but it also makes me slow down and think about what I’m doing and what my goals are for a shoot. I’m becoming a better photographer with this camera in my hand and that’s why I Love it so much to spite, and because of all of its quirks.