Apr 302011
 

Fuji X100 and the Leica M9

ATTN: THIS IS NOT MY REVIEW! Review is coming in 1-2 weeks! More shots posted HERE.


It’s Saturday, the last day of April 2011 and UPS just dropped off a package weighing in at 4lbs. Inside this box is the long awaited, much anticipated, shiny new Fuji X100 shipped to me from Precision Camera, which was one of two places where I pre-ordered the camera! Precision came through first and they were top class all the way. Even shipped it for Saturday delivery when I asked about it. Awesome! Here is their X100 page if you want to check them out.

A short video I made the day I received the X100…a quick first look

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The X100 cometh…

I remember when this camera was first announced and we all freaked out that FINALLY, a company was GETTING IT. A small rangefinder design, great build, manual aperture control on a fast F2 lens…it sounded like everything that the Leica X1 should have been! On paper at least.

Over the past few weeks, a few websites out there posted reviews with pre-production copies. Fuji refused to send me one after several attempts. They kept telling me mid March, and then just ignored me all together. Maybe they were worried about a Leica guy reviewing the X100, not sure. But I was genuinely excited about this camera as it was right up my alley in all aspects. The style of the Leica in a MUCH cheaper package. In no way did I ever think it could or would compete with the M9, (Though many thought it would) but it’s not about that. For me it was about having a high quality, small size camera to take with me everywhere while reserving my M for those special times.

That’s how I envisioned the X100 would integrate in to my life and daily routine, as a daily shooter. The M9 is a $7000 machine and I probably should not be shooting everything in sight with it because there is no way I could afford a 2nd M9 body if something were to happen to it. But still, the M9 is still my camera of choice, no doubt about it.

I’ve had many others…the Sony NEX-5, the Olympus PEN series, the Leica X1, and loads of others. The Fuji X100 is the one camera that excited me more than any of the other APS-C cameras. Is this THE ONE? I guess I am about to find out, and as I find out, you will hear about it all right here!

There have been loads of complaints about this camera as well as equal amounts of praise. So which is it? Most say the image quality is not up to the X1 and that the manual focus is not the best (I agree) but what about everything else? For me, the handling, controls, and feel are equally as important. I did do some digging and while I did not find any photos from the X100 that truly wowed me like those from the M9 do, we have to remember that this is not an M9, nor was it designed to compete with an M9. What I havse found were a few people with really nice shots from the Fuji and some with not so nice shots from the Fuji. Maybe it all comes down to the person using it, like all cameras :)

I have seen some fantastic shots from ~6 with the X100 so I know it can indeed take a great quality photograph. My job is to find out if it is worth the $1200 and worth more than double of competing APS-C cameras like the NEX-5 or something like $300 cheaper GXR and 28 2.5 combo.

So to be clear, I put this camera in the class of a Sony NEX, Ricoh GXR, and Leica X1 and NOT the M9. Does that mean I will not compare it to my M9? NO WAY! I love crazy comparisons so I will be shooting the X100 side by side with my M9 and 35 cron just for giggles.

This just may be the camera that stays in my bag next to the M9. I look forward to shooting with it, and plan on doing several reports on it as I will be shooting it on a road trip or two, and if all goes well with it, I will be taking it to Europe this summer for the next Seal tour along with the M9. Look for my 1st report/review really soon. I’ll post pics and my thoughts as I gather them and eventually will have a full detailed review, in my typical style, on the X100.

My 1st impressions out of the box? Nice build, great feel, very compact, and yes, it has that Fuji color that you will see in the greens for sure. It’s VERY quiet and the lens seems more like a classic Leica in the way it renders. Not as sharp or brilliant as the X1 files but not bad, more of a pleasing smooth quality. I am not writing any more until the full review :)

For now, here are a few of the very 1st shots out of the camera itself! More to come…much more! Maybe even an X100 daily diary page :)

Keep in mind: These are just the very 1st QUICK snapshots with the X100 in my house and backyard – will have better photos in the review :)

UPDATE: Posted a few more shots HERE

 

The 1st shot – click for 1600 pixel wide version. This was converted from RAW in Lightroom

As you can see, my son Brandon is as happy as ever when I take his picture!

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Went outside in the light…click image for larger and more accurate view – f2, iso 200

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again, f2 – iso 200 – click for better version

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BELOW: FULL SIZE OUT OF CAMERA JPEG FILE AT F2 – ISO 200 –  – CLICK IMAGE TO GET IT! Not bad huh?

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Click to see the vivid fuji color and a 100% crop – wide open!

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and a quick B&W…

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and a 100% out of camera JPEG – in camera B&W

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and Scrubby! Macro mode, F2

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Macro mode is not really “Macro” but it does allow you to get in closer.

 

  37 Responses to “The Fuji X100 has arrived! 1st look, 1st thoughts, and 1st shot!”

  1. Great! I actually love the way Fuji Lens renders the images, for me has a this classic glow almost dreamy feel! Can’t wait for a full review!

    Cheers
    Vlad

  2. I also love the look!

  3. Steve – that is a great news that your X100 finally arrived! I am indeed not the only one who is looking forward to see your review. I am definitely VERY curios how will this camera compare to X1 and GXR. Not to put you under pressure, but we do not expect anything less than everything :-) including head to head comparisons shots of real life subjects and all those 100% crops and the like. Show us what that little camera can (and can not) do.

  4. Great!

    Few thoughts. A) I am so used to reading your reviews and seeing your style, the few shots you’ve posted have already told me much more than the ‘strangers’ on forums. B) was there output sharpening on those shots, because they look sharper at f2 than many I have seen..maybe fuji used their extra time. C) I agree with the above comment about the rendering..it does have a dreamy look, which could be great or horrible depending what’s being shot… But, it doesn’t look as dreamy as a canon 09/1.4 wide open, which can be too much IMO.

    I’m looking forward to receiving mine and bummed it snot here today..moving messes everything up! Dily diary may be a great idea…though I wonder how far the demand outstrips the supply in the next two weeks..I’m guessing they catch up fast..normal people don want this camera, enthusiasts do..

  5. Steve, it will be very interesting to see your review. I’ve been curious about this camera ever since it was first announced at Photikina but after seeing some not so perfect images I grew disenchanted with it. Then I read Michael Reichmann’s article and saw some of his pictures made with the X100 as well as some other reviews and samples. So, my impression is now much better but my wife and I still do not consider it as an X1 replacement. Maybe we’re wrong. I hope your review will clarify the situation once and for all.

    Cheers,
    Greg

    • It’s in the same class as the X1 – APS-C sensor, fixed lens, compact size. The X100 seems to give a softer smoother file where the X1 will give a contrasty sharp file. Manual focus, not a fan of either and probably wont be using MF on the X100.

      Fuji has Fuji colors – Leica has Leica colors.

      Build wise, the X100 wins over the X1 IMO.

      I have to use it much more before I can give details.

      • “WIll the IQ beat the X1? No.” Now isn’t that a little premature?

        • Yeah, I have to agree with you (sorry Steve) this was a bit premature. I say this as someone who has done their own X1 v X100 shootout so I have already made up my mind on the IQ issue but only after careful review.

          Since Steve has not done a shot-for-shot comparison yet I wonder why he made that statement?

          • His review will be something like this…..”The handling and the built quality of the X100 is superior to the X1, but the X1 has a higher IQ file giving it that Leica magic”.

            Again, not an actual quote, but you get the picture.

        • And so I don’t sound like a cranky Fuji fanboy (I’m an equal opportunity photo geek), nice shots Steve!!! :)

          I’m glad you revised your “X1″ quality statement. Honestly, I think the X100 is such a good complete package, that I could forgive it for having slightly lower overall IQ than the X1. But since I did not see that to be the case in my shootout, I bristle at the type of blanket statement you made without a proper comparison.

          You are correct, the two lenses do have different lens signatures, of course! But I think when you closely inspect the side-by-side shots you will find that the X100 is resolving slightly more detail and renders OOF a bit smoother. Fuji really has nailed the detail + creamy combination which is pretty fantastic.

          Again, great first shots. Enjoy getting to know your new X100!

  6. Looking forward to the rest and especially anything comparing it to X! Mainly because I feel the X1 is old and the X100 is new, and are wondering if the X1 is still worth getting for one that wants a compact APS-C…

    Surprised me a little you called in very compact, btw. Did look at it in a store here and was surprised how big it was. Looked/felt “a lot” bigger than the X1 and the GF1 but didn’t have them next to each other for closer comparison. They don’t look so different in pictures.

    -iau

    • Thanks. It’s bigger than the X1 and heavier/more solid. BUT it’s not really that much larger, just taller and heavier. Imagine an E-P2 but slightly taller. Thats the size of the X100. I thought it was a bit bigger so was surprised it was this small. Its a nice size. Very nice size.

  7. Excited about what you’re able to coax out of this little camera! The images so far look promising!

  8. Thanks Steve for your honest in depth review on all the cameras that people want to buy before they make their purchases, you’re becoming the “Go To” guy and that’s cool!

  9. Thanks for having the guts to test cameras before the rest of us. Saves us dough sometimes.
    How is the texture of the camera? Good grip like the black M9?

  10. Steve, that close-up of your son leaning against the tree is the nicest, most naural shot of him I’ve ever seen.

    I, too, am bit surprised to see you’ve already determined the X1 has better IQ and you haven’t even done a proper test yet and you just got it. Perhaps that’s why Fuji didn’t ship you an X100 to test? And how does this push Leica to improve?

    You’re right. You can’t compare this camera to the M9. That’s a full frame camera. And it’s tough to compare it to the aps-c compacts you noted, none of which have a viewfinder, let alone one like this. The X100 has staked out interesting ground and at the price of the D7000 sans lens.

    I got mine yesterday. Will take me some time to adjust, being so used to Nikon. But, I’m already amazed at the sharpness wide open and the high ISO output. And I love the natural colour I’m getting from it. Otherwise, I have to play much more before coming to a conclusion. Hope you do the same and keep an open mind.

    Again, a wonderful photograph of your son.

    • Thanks. Of course I keep an open mind and nothing is final until I post a final review. This was not a review! Just 1st shots. I posted more just a few minutes ago and clarified my X1 statement some. Great camera so far but will take some time for me to get the most out of it.

      Love its style, design, build and concept. Thanks again for the kind words!

      • OK, I am going to state the obvious: so many people have nightmares about you coming out not liking this camera in your final review, as if you are reviewing their kids :)

        I think the specs of this camera are so right on that many enthusiasts are starting to worship it. Personally, I am holding judgment to see more real life (raw) images. According to ~6, X100 does deliver.

  11. ^^^ So it seems that Brandon is quite popular around here. : ) Actually, it is very nice to see so many pictures of a young person growing up. In fact, in a few of these photos, it looks like he is challenging the lens. Quite a role reversal from most people who just sit passively in front of it. For me, however, my favorite photo of Brandon is the following, shot for the X1 review. In fact, this photo made me catch my breath and it inspired me to buy the X1:

    [IMG]http://i52.tinypic.com/15psjs3.jpg[/IMG]

  12. ^^^ So it seems that Brandon is quite popular around here. : ) Actually, it is very nice to see so many pictures of a young person growing up. In fact, in a few of these photos, it looks like he is challenging the lens. Quite a role reversal from most people who just sit passively in front of it. For me, however, my favorite photo of Brandon is the following, shot for the X1 review. In fact, this photo made me catch my breath and it inspired me to buy the X1: [img]http://i52.tinypic.com/15psjs3.jpg[/img]

    • It’s funny, I was also struck by how Brandon is growing up — very nice looking, I might add :)

  13. [...] smooth quality. I am not writing any more until the full review … … Excerpt from: The Fuji X100 has arrived! 1st look, 1st thoughts, and 1st shot … ← Panasonic Lumix DMC-G10 12.1 MP Live MOS Interchangeable Lens [...]

  14. Steve – looking forward to your take on this camera. I have had mine since 8th March – I’m in the UK – and really enjoy using it. I have it set up very simply and for B&W only. Compliments my MP perfectly and is slowly forcing me to leave the Digilux 2 at home more!

    B&W at 3200 is amazing. Enjoy. Andy

  15. Stunning images. I love the equipment. I get a very E-P2/20mm feel in these shots.

  16. Hi Steve!

    Great you have the X100 now…I am really looking forward to that review…plz – check what has been reported so far so BAD about the X100 – like:

    http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1020&message=38294699

    Look at the BANDING (full size file) on the trees…horrible. So plz check this setup using described there.
    I already “asked” ~6 as he posted after getting the X100 but he said he is using not reviewing.
    ;-)

    Greetz from Central Europe!

  17. Dear Steve- whats “4lbs” (weight?) – 2 Kilos? Sorry, but here in Europe nobody understands “lbs”… Greetings
    Rob

    • Actually the entire world. I think only a few states in the USA that never got past the middle of the 20th century still bang on with imperial for measurements – unofficially. They sure as hell use metric in schools the world over including the USA. In China they will think you are on drugs for not using a base 10 system for measurement. Even their old traditional system now lines up with metric and not imperial.

      I hate when people write or say “in the fall (autumn) or spring or summer or….”. What’s wrong with saying in June 2011 or November 2010? Easier to understand and make sense of no matter where one is.

    • No its not 2kg. It’s about 1.8kg. Divide the lbs by two and deduct 10% from the result. That gives you a pretty accurate kg information. 68F how much is that in Celsius, t-shirt temperature or not? Another annoying question. After more than 8 years in the US I still have to do the math to figure it out. Once our minds are calibrated to something at young age, it seems we always go back to these reference points.

    • Dear Robert:
      Divide by 2.2 lbs. You my friend have just shown why most in the USA don’t want to go all metric, because, they don’t know how a KG weighs and are too lazy to multiply by 2.2

  18. I was one of the lucky few here in Ireland to get the camera about 2 weeks ago. I love it!
    I am no expert photographer but I am really enjoying learning how to use it.
    I have an Olympus EP2 also, which I love using but this camera’s quality is much better, so far, in my humble opinion!!!

  19. steve…thanks for your 1st shoot and 1st thought…I will wait for your next review..hope you can give a good review and detail all..including the worst about this camera…however I like this camera for the 1st look about the built and the BW image from this camera

    cheers

  20. Hi Steve
    Glad you have now got the camera so we will be able to see some X1, X100 comparisons. I would be interested in seeing some mid distance 100% crops at F5.6 of the edge of the frame as I am having difficulty understanding whether my X100 is a little soft on the edges.
    thanks

  21. [...] The Fuji X100 has arrived! 1st look, 1st thoughts, and 1st shot! I remember when this camera was first announced and we all freaked out that FINALLY, a company was GETTING IT. A small rangefinder design, great build, manual aperture control on a fast F2 lens…it sounded like everything that the Leica X1 should have been! On paper at least. April 30, 2011 [...]

  22. I love the reviews and feedback, I would just love to see way more OOC images versus processed. Not everyone uses software on every single photo. For the most part, one can make a good image with software with most above average cameras these days.

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