Hands on With The FujiFilm X100S
The FujiFilm X100S is the company best camera hand's down. Ever since I got serious about the photography on this site I have relied heavily on my FujiFilm X100. Over the last couple of years it has helped me capture some of the most breathtaking images and pretty much all my editorials have been shot using the X100 so when FujiFilm gave me a chance to test out the new FujiFilm X100S I jumped at the occasion. I only had the camera for the day while I was in London so this is by no means an extensive review. Just a hands on impression especially coming from an existing X100 owner which if you are will know it has its quirks. Has the FujiFilm X100S ironed those out? Read on to find out..
The FujiFilm X100s is the X100 on steroids!
The first thing that comes to mind when you pick the FujiFilm X100S up is that it looks and feels pretty much like its predecessor with minor tweaks here and there. The same brilliant 23mm f2 lens has been maintained and paired with a brand new X-Trans APS-C CMOS 2 sensor with 16.3 effective megapixels. This gives the camera an equivalent focal length of 35mm which is perfect for most situations. There is also phase detection in-built which Fuji claims makes the camera the fastest in terms of AF in its class. Focus Peaking and Digital Split Image also aid in the manual focussing department which is a vast improvement over the X100 which was utterly hopeless when it came to manual focussing and sadly after countless software updates still is. In real world testing I found the updated hardware and AF claims performed flawlessly and I was easily able to lock into moving objects with excellent results. Low-light AF performance has been improved too. The dials on the FujiFilm X100S top seem a lot stiffer which should make accidental changes a lot less frequent like the older model. Overall I found the camera to be speedy in both its boot up and write times. The X100 was no slouch but the new FujiFilm X100S definitely seems a lot snappier in everything that it does. Battery life is advertised as the same as the old model and as I only had the camera for the day I was unable to confirm that. Keeping that in mind I used it all day without the need for a spare battery, relying only on the beautiful hybrid viewfinder to compose and review shots using the auto-review feature. I imagine if you are the sort of person that 'chimps' a lot battery life will be effected.
The FujiFilm X100S is a true competitor in todays vast array of mirrorless camera's.
Images straight out of the camera have the FujiFilm look right away. Even without any post processing colours are punchy and they have an almost 3D effect to them with incredible detail. One might argue that the fixed lens limits things slightly but in all my time with the X100 I have never felt the need to switch the lens, If anything it has made me a better photographer using the tools that I have to compose and capture the moment. Macro shooting has also been improved in the camera without having to switch the macro mode on. The rear button layout has been changed making them easier to press and adding the 'Q' button which provides quick access to the most used features is something we have seen in other 'X' series camera's.
In many ways the image quality of the FujiFilm X100S surpasses even the brands 'Pro" line
If you are looking to upgrade from the X100 then you have to ask yourself the question if the speedier AF and new sensor are worth the upgrade? As far as bang for the buck is concerned the new FujiFilm X100S delivers some fantastic features and image quality for the price. This is definitely a camera you can see yourself using for years and brings back memories of using a rangefinder style vintage camera. I am often stopped in the street and asked if I am using a Leica. They are both very different camera's while maintaing the same essence of manual photography though the Leica offers more manual controls albeit at a much higher price. The X100 is still a fantastic little camera capable of producing some brilliant images but if you have been waiting to take the plunge the FujiFilm X100S is the best the Japanese brand has to offer.