16 Mar 2011
Hands-on with the Fujifilm X100 [updated 16 March]
Fujifilm sent us a review sample of its already-popular FinePix X100 compact camera, and before we put it to a rigorous three-week test, we took it out for a spin around Soho
Update: Following comments regarding the camera's autofocus, our expert reviewer, Jonathan Eastland, says: "The question in need of an answer was whether or not the sample camera's AF mode was working properly. As soon as there was enough juice in the battery, I set all controls to standard at the highest jpeg file size, operating mode to manual with AF single shot and AF center focus and stepped outside into the yard.
Within in a few minutes I had about two dozen totally undisciplined frames of a variety of subjects mostly of people doing physical work. The FX100 AF mode manifests the typical split second focus mechanism and shutter lag delay experienced with many other types of AF equipped compact camera - digital or film. My initial appraisal is that in this case, it is short and on the nail when the camera user knows where to point the viewfinder AF segment.
The sample images are 100% crops taken from those images that were sharp - about 50% of my first shoot. On first look, I have no issues with colour palette, exposure (in this case all at 1/500th second at around f4-5.6. ISO 200.), image noise, sharpness or resolution. They are as good as AF currently gets in this class of tool. Default sensor resolution is 72ppi, delivering full size images approx 59 inches wide/tall."
Here are his sample images:
Note: This is not an official test, just a first, hands-on impressions of the Fujifilm X100. The camera is now in the hands of an expert reviewer, whose extended review will be published on BJP in the coming weeks.
BJP will be publishing in its May issue a full review of the Fujifilm FinePix X100 camera, but before it goes to our expert Jonathan Eastland, we had a quick play with it today, and here are initial impressions.
The FinePix X100 is a simply a great-looking piece of engineering. The retro design look is just perfect, and, as Adrian Clarke of Fujifilm told us earlier this week, was a conscious choice to appeal to professional photographers - the initial design for the X100 was too "futuristic," Clarke told us, and engineers had to go back to the drawing board.
The camera is not too light, but I would argue that it could be a bit heavier - you want to feel like it's worth £999.
Now, in terms of usability, it's a very easy camera to use. You want to change your aperture? Just turn the dial around the lens. What about shutter speed? That's on top next to the hotshoe. Manual focus is great as well, however, when it comes to autofocus, it needs a bit of getting used to.
After a quick stroll with this camera, I believe the X100 is an excellent compact camera - with good image performances. It's likely to be an enthusiast or semi-professional camera of choice. For a professional photographer, I don't see the X100 becoming his main camera, but I wouldn't be surprised if Fujifilm didn't think so either despite its "The Professional's Choice" slogan. As a backup solution, however, I do see it becoming part of a pro's kit.
One additional note: The hybrid viewfinder is a beauty. Switching from electronic to optical is fast and simple. Without any doubt, it's the camera's best feature!
Here's a slideshow of images shot on the Fujifilm X100, followed by quick ISO tests performed in low-light conditions (as always with Flickr, you can access the original files on each photo's individual page). Most images were shot by Tina Remiz.
Sample images (see them on Flickr)
ISO Test (see it on Flickr)
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