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Customer Review

104 of 108 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who said taking great photos should be easy?, 26 Oct. 2011
This review is from: Fujifilm FinePix X100 Digital Camera - (12.3MP, APS-C CMOS EXR) 2.8 inch LCD (Camera)
Let me get these points out of the way first: if you're a novice to photography, this camera isn't for you - buy a beginner's DSLR for a comparable price (or cheaper) and learn how to use that first. If you expect to be disappointed if the X100 doesn't operate like the DSLR or compact you already own, look elsewhere - this baby is unique. If you're in neither camp, read on...

I bought this camera a few weeks ago after owning a Panasonic G3 for a couple of months, as a portable back-up to my Canon 7D. I also purchased the pancake 20mm lens, which is a nice companion, as I only wanted to shoot primes to keep the profile of the body low and leightweight. However, I was disappointed with Panasonic's offering; the image quality wasn't as good as I hoped, its low light capability was substandard and it often didn't autofocus quite where I wanted it to.

When the X100 dropped below the original £1000 retail price to £900, I began considering it. I was meticulous in my research; almost all of the reviews raved about the image quality (some saying it's almost on a par with full frame cameras, especially in low light) but criticised its handling. ALL of the reviews admired its aesthetics.

I played with one in the shop, and I was hooked; I sold my G3 and pancake lens at a small loss as soon as I could to cover most of the cost of purchasing the X100.

I have no regrets. Why? Because when you get it right, the image quality is stunning - and what else matters? In fact the images are so good that I rarely shoot in RAW, because the jpegs straight out of camera are gorgeous. I only wanted to use primes with my G3 and I shoot quite wide, so 35mm is an ideal and versatile focal length for me. You must ask yourself though what focal range you tend to shoot at before seriously considering purchasing this camera, because once you've committed to the Fuji X100's focal length there's no going back!

If I was to grade the camera with firmware v1.10, I would give it four stars - I can't comment on version 1.01 or 1.00, but from what I've read it was much worse to handle. I recently upgraded the firmware to Fuji's latest offering, v1.11, and for me it makes a significant difference. It now focuses a little faster, but more importantly I can get much closer to my subjects. One of my biggest irritations was how I had to step quite far back for portraits, for example; the latest firmware allows me to get closer and more intimate with my subjects, which is in keeping with my shooting style. If you buy this camera check the firmware immediately, and upgrade it if you need to.

The tactile controls are great to use, so it means you can change your main settings without having to move your eye away from the hybrid viewfinder, which is also a joy to use. The electronic view is sharp and bright, and the optical view has a digital overlay which is revolutionary. I mainly use the digital view, because if you want to shoot regularly at F2 it's good to see if your image is in focus immediately. At a flick of a switch on the front of the camera (again without moving your eye away from the viewfinder) you can switch between the two views.

So what are the downsides? I began this review by stating that it's neither a DSLR or a compact, so if you're used to either and expect it to operate as such, forget about it. The X100 has a fairly unique interface, and you must learn to use it for its own merits, without comparison. It's been designed to look and operate much like a rangefinder, with tactile controls that are great, but the digital menu is a bit of a mess. Like any menu, once you get used to it it's fine, but it could have been much more user-friendly. There's only one Fn button, and this is defaulted to changing your ISO, but it would be good to have another button to be able to assign the built in ND filter, for example, or to quickly change your film settings (it can mimic old Fuji film, such as Velvia and Astia).

If you like to focus manually, forget about it. I don't often so I'm fine, but using the focus ring on the lens is so cumbersome because it takes about ten or fifteen 'twists' of the ring to get something sharp! I don't think this is a big problem though, because I reckon it was designed so that one press of the AEF/AEL switch is required to get your subject in focus or close to, so it just takes a few spins of the focus wheel to get your subject pin sharp.

To conclude; it requires perseverence. Occasionally it can drive you mad. It's expensive. But it has character, and like all characters, it has its quirks. If you're passionate about photography I doubt you'd regret purchasing this beauty. The X100 takes awesome images, the viewfinder is brilliant and once you get used to it you'll never want to be without it. Oh, and it looks beautiful too, and let's be honest, that's part of the reason why you're interested, right?!
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Showing 1-7 of 7 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 13 Nov 2011 18:00:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 13 Nov 2011 18:00:47 GMT
Mr Rugged says:
[Customers don't think this post adds to the discussion. Show post anyway. Show all unhelpful posts.]

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Nov 2011 14:32:19 GMT
Last edited by the author on 17 Nov 2011 14:34:58 GMT
Vikdaddy says:
Talk about selective quotations - I also said that "The X100 takes awesome images, the viewfinder is brilliant and once you get used to it you'll never want to be without it. Oh, and it looks beautiful too..." Thanks for leaving that bit out! Every camera requires some level of perseverence, and this is no different. It's just that it doesn't work like a regular DSLR or compact, so one must get used to it for its own characteristics. But ultimately this camera has brilliant image quality, and that's all that matters really. That's why it gets 5 stars.

Posted on 27 Nov 2011 14:04:43 GMT
You say that if you buy this camera that you should check the firmware immediately and upgrade it if you need to.
How exactly can you discover what firmware is 'in' the camera when you purchase it?

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Dec 2011 13:26:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 1 Dec 2011 14:01:45 GMT
Mr Rugged says:
The point I was making is that 5 stars suggests that it is perfect while your own review finds a number of faults with it. A 8x10 sheet film camera takes awesome images and has brilliant image quality but equally requires perseverance to master, will make you mad at times and is expensive but people don't buy them or give them 5 stars because image isn't always all that matters. In fact, if it was we would all be using much larger format cameras, but weight, ease of use and size make our choice a compromise. I am glad you like the X100 to the extent that you do, but 4 stars may help influence getting the things you don't like put right so that Fuji can rectify these and make it truly a 5 star camera.

Posted on 1 Dec 2011 15:19:27 GMT
Konstantin says:
Many thanks for your honest review, i believe this camera deserves the score you gave it.

In reply to an earlier post on 7 Dec 2011 12:12:32 GMT
Vikdaddy says:
You probably make a valid point; if I could give it 4.5 stars I would. I just felt that it deserved more than 4!

In reply to an earlier post on 6 Feb 2012 10:14:19 GMT
Ben Koerner says:
Liked your review, thanks. I bought the Fuji X100 in August last year and took it around the world with me in September/October. Apart from its size making it far easier to carry and handle than the average DSLR, it was simply a breeze to use, totally reliable and did everything I required of it. Beyond question the best value camera you could possibly buy. Mr Rugged has obviously never used one.
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