May 172011
 

DISCLAIMER FROM STEVE: Just so everyone knows, I did not write this and I pretty much disagree with David’s assessment here on the X100. I find the X100 to be a spectacular camera that has quirks, none of which slow me down or alter my photography when using it. My review of the camera is HERE.

I posted Davids thoughts of the X100 because, well, David’s articles always bring another view to things as not everyone will always agree with me. Enjoy!

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User Reports Article – (see the new User Reports section!)

An alternative view of the Fuji X100..

By David Babsky

A retro-styled digital camera like an analog classic? ..APS sensor, optical viewfinder, 35mm (equivalent) lens and great results? ..It must be the Cosina/Epson R-D1..!

(CAUTION: These are personal opinions which you may not agree with ..the idea here isn’t to upset people who’ve bought, or ordered, a Fuji X100, but to present other – just as valid – considerations of the X100. If you may be offended, then – as they say on TV – look away now! This isn’t a criticism of any PERSON who wants an X100, but is a different assessment of the device itself..)

Seriously, the Fuji FinePix X100..? It’s a camel ..not just an animal designed by a committee, but this quasi-retro, APS-sensor, 35mm (equivalent) automatic “rangefinder” seems – to me, anyway! – to have been kludged together by a quartet of salesmen from ideas scribbled on a Marlboro pack.

Its greatest strengths are its high resolution picture quality and its high resolution million-pixel electronic “hybrid” viewfinder; it’s like the hi-def electronic finder of Panasonic SLRs, but can be swapped, at the flick of a lever, or the press of a button, to a simple “see-through-the-glass” optical finder with electronic info overlays. The full electronic finder lets you see exactly what the camera sees, WHATEVER lens is on the front ..except that – as we all know – The Fuji X100 doesn’t take other lenses than its built-in f2 23mm (..equivalent to a 35mm lens on a ‘full-frame’ 35mm film or digital camera).

The electronic finder gives a preview of how things will look when you change colour characteristics, for example, or stop down to a smaller aperture ..and so does the normal screen on the back of the camera.

So why the optical finder? ..To pretend that it’s not an electronic camera at all, but something from a ‘purer’, mechanical age, like the venerable Leica MP ..or like the teeny £80 ($130) pocket-sized Canon PowerShot A1200 which ALSO has an optical finder as well as an electronic rear screen (and – more than Leica ever managed – the Canon’s optical finder ZOOMS along with its 4x [28-112mm equivalent] lens).

The X100 has two ways to switch between those optical and electronic finders: a lever on the FRONT of the camera – where it’s awkward to reach, but it looks good to passers-by (to increase its “retro” cred) – and a button on the back of the camera which does the same job. (More “committee” design: you can just hear those marketing guys pushing “give them the old-style finder to look like a Leica, and have the hi-tech electronics like the Panny, we win both ways”..)

And here’s what it’s trying to look like; a mixture between a Leica M3 and an Olympus 35RC:

And how does the X100 perform? Sluggish autofocus, so sluggish shooting. The older, interchangeable-lens, noisier focal-plane-shutter Panasonic GF1 focuses and shoots faster than this autofocus in-lens leaf-shutter X100 ..and that’s with the GF1 having to first CLOSE its cover-the-sensor shutter before opening it and then closing it again to take a shot. And the even older APS-sensor Epson R-D1 shoots INSTANTLY, of course – as do the digital Leica M8 and M9 – because it has no autofocus to wait for: squeeze the shutter and it fires with no delay whatever! (You can put the X100 into manual-focus mode, of course, but it uses a ‘fly-by-wire’ electronically-linked adjustment (like Panasonic’s 20mm pancake lens, for instance) which focuses – unlike the Panny lenses – in awkward jerky steps, with little fine control.)

Here are some taxis I shot in London’s Tottenham Court Road the other week: I squeezed the shutter button as the taxis came towards the centre of the viewfinder (for the autofocus to lock on) ..they were coming round the corner from New Oxford Street at about, ooh, er, 25mph. The X100 missed every one of them ..look; there they go, disappearing out of the frame.

The GF1 nailed every one of them.

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(Yes, I know they’re blurred – that’s because they were moving at 25mph, and I was shooting at about 1/200th.)

Here’s the street sign which tells us we’re in Tottenham Court Road: (shot with the X100)

And here’s the same sign shot with the slightly smaller sensor GF1:

And here’s the same sign again, also shot with the GF1:

Spot the difference? ..The GF1 takes interchangeable (and zoom) lenses.

The X100′s back-of-a-cigarette-packet design objectives seem to have been: “leaf shutter for minimal noise and for variable flash sync, ‘hybrid’ finder (optical with electronic overlay), retro styling, D-pad plus iPod-like selector wheel, RAW plus jpeg (..our own, special RAW that’s incompatible with anyone else’s..), APS-size sensor like the Leica X1 and M8 and Sony NEX for high quality pics (we may have to stick with one lens for the highest possible matched-to-the-sensor quality), chrome top-plate with big chunky knobs and a mechanical lever to look like a “serious” camera from another age”.. And do all these separate concepts work together?

Taking each in turn: The in-the-lens leaf shutter’s a great idea (silent, and sync-able with flash at high shutter speeds), but means that each lens – if there were to be more than just the one fixed lens – would need its own shutter ..like an old Hasselblad. Nothing wrong with that. (But the highest shutter speeds (1/4000, 1/2000th) are only available at small apertures, for which the shutter doesn’t have to open very far, so the fastest speed at which the leaf shutter can open and close at the lens’ widest aperture (f2) is 1/1000th. When using f2 for shallow depth-of-field, maximum shutter speed is 1/1000th, not 1/4000th.) Incidentally, having fitted a virtually silent leaf (central opening) shutter ..Fuji’s camera menu then provides assorted pretend shutter noises for you to choose from! ..which surely defeats the object of a whisper-quiet leaf shutter! ..But it’s a good marketing gimmick.

The ‘hybrid’ finder: we-ell, the optical finder seems pointless because the hi-def ELECTRONIC finder is so good (and shows 100% of what the lens sees) that there isn’t any reason to switch to (and it’s almost indistinguishable from) the alternative 90%-coverage optical finder. The optical finder’s there just for that ‘retro’ look, but doesn’t really achieve anything, except perhaps slightly longer battery life.

How’s the retro styling? ..OK if you like that sort of melt-into-the-crowd-with-a-1970s-camera anonymity, but otherwise a blatant ploy to entice those who want to PRETEND that they’re shooting with a “classic” camera. (Like the R-D1′s retro styling, but with less conviction and dedication.) The ‘mechanical’ aspect (top-plate lever plus knobs and aperture ring) provides “classic” controls only for simple shooting; for everything else (choice of colour ‘film stock’ or B&W shooting, choice of RAW and/or jpg files, selecting neutral density filters, ISO selection, dynamic range and colour filters, white balance, bracketing, panorama shooting, movie shooting, self-timer, picture playback, etc) you have to push buttons and navigate through menus just like other digital cameras. The retro look is just for show. (The panorama mode IS worthwhile – it gives far higher resolution results than Sony compact cameras’ low-res stitch-’em-together panoramas.)

The iPod-like scroll-wheel is awful; tiny, with hit-and-miss response. Sometimes it scrolls down through menu items ..other times it just jiggles or does nothing. Hopeless. Terrible design, much too small and far too fiddly. You can’t really use it without taking the camera from your eye ..in which case you may as well be using the rear screen instead of the electronic finder. (Fuji’s smaller F500 camera has a similar scroll wheel, but it’s simpler and easier to use as it’s OUTSIDE the scroll-wheel symbols, not INSIDE them like the X100′s ‘Command Dial’.)

RAW shooting? Mmm, and it can be set to just RAW, just jpeg, or RAW+jpeg. But as the buffer’s so small, you can shoot ten RAW pics in rapid succession, then wait 10 seconds for those to be written to the memory card, and the camera’s unavailable for shooting during that writing period.

“Big chunky knobs”..? One for shutter speeds plus ‘A’ (automatic), and the other for ±2 stops over/under exposure compensation. The over/under exposure knob, though, is only for use when the camera’s set to ‘A’ (automatic) shutter speed and aperture selection. To force over or under exposure when using manual settings (!? ..surely you just alter either the shutter speed or aperture!?) the instruction manual suggests “..Use the command dial to adjust shutter speed, the command control to adjust aperture..” (they’re two separate dials on the back of the camera). The “command dial” (though the manual confuses them) is the poor, vertical iPod-like wheel and pad. The “command control” is the other horizontal wheel. The idea is, apparently, to keep the aperture you want (for depth-of-field) and shutter speed you want (for freezing or fluid motion) but be able to slightly under or over expose “..by ±2/3 EV from the selected value in steps of 1/3 EV”. Simple, eh? Looks like another of “the committee’s” suggestions: turning the aperture ring or the shutter dial only adjusts exposure in one-stop increments, “..so let’s have finer 1/3-stop increments via two extra dials”. It’s needlessly and pointlessly over-complexified.

(Here, by contrast, is the simple all-in-one film-style shutter speed, ISO and over/under exposure dial of the 2003-vintage R-D1)

So besides the two top-plate knobs there’s that horizontally scrolling (and push) wheel at the back of the X100 (which can be used for exposure compensation ..the “command control”), eight more buttons (plus another variable-function button on the top), the press-or-scroll pad on the rear (..the “command dial”), and a slider on the left edge (like an old-style film-back opener) for choice of auto or manual focus. The camera designer(s) just couldn’t seem to choose whether to have buttons, knobs or wheels, or which of the controls does what.. any idea of simple ‘usability’ may have gone out of the window completely during those engineers’ – beg your pardon; “photographers” – committee meetings.

But here’s the main consideration; PERFORMANCE: what are its results like?

If you allow for the slow-ish autofocus, and the pretty abysmal manual focus, the picture quality itself is truly excellent.

But we’re talking about excellent with one lens. (Cue comments about Henri Cartier-Bresson only ever having used one lens. And how many did Don McCullin use? And Robert Capa? And Ralph Gibson? And Eve Arnold? And Arnold Newman? And Eric Hosking?) For £999 (about €1100, $1650) you’re effectively buying an f2 23mm lens (behaving as a 35mm) with an APS camera attached to it.

(Of course, as it’s roughly the price of the Voigtlander 25mm f0.95 (micro-four-thirds) lens on its own, you’re effectively getting the X100 camera thrown in for free, so I suppose I shouldn’t carp about its finicky buttons and menus!)

This is a camera (and lens) for people who want to use only a 35mm (equivalent) lens. Want to get closer to something? ..then walk. Want to shoot those interesting spiral chimneys on Hampton Court Palace? Forget it: you can’t get close enough. Want to shoot those interesting cathedral gargoyles? Ditto. Want to shoot sports pictures or children running round? Forget it ..the auto-focus is too slow, and you can’t get close. (You’d have to pre-focus on manual, and hope for the best.) Want to shoot portraits with an out-of-focus background? Forget it. There’s a reason why 85mm and 90mm lenses are called ‘portrait lenses’ ..they don’t make noses too prominent, and they produce great blurred backgrounds. They don’t emphasise perspective the way that a 35mm does, or make noses look larger than life.

Although Cartier-Bresson may have stuck to just one lens, it seems to have been a 50mm, not a 35mm. People who use(d) just a 35mm were ‘reportage’ photographers; war photographers in Vietnam who didn’t want to waste precious moments focusing, and wanted a wide view to put pictures in context: the casualty being slid into a helicopter, or the burning girl photographed by Nick Ut in 1972.

That 35mm (equivalent) lens, then, is for a wide-ish view ..not really for intimate moments; not to get close to someone ..nor wide enough to embrace a family group indoors. It’s a ‘compromise’ lens; not perfect for wide shots, not perfect for close shots ..a ‘this’ll-have-to-do’ lens. The camera is, in fact, a throwback to the (smaller) Minox 35 or Rollei 35 (though the Rollei had a 40mm lens – picture courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) but the X100 is a far larger package. There was some serious engineering in those little cameras, and today they cost far less than £999, and really do slip into a pocket (each has a retracting lens). And they’re both ready instantly – you don’t have to wait for a two-second warm-up. (Of course, their pictures aren’t ready instantly: you have to develop them – or hand them in for development – and they need scanning for digital use. But I’ve just spent this weekend with an old Leica M3, and having only 36 shots on a reel, instead of an almost unlimited number on a 16GB card, hasn’t upset me. Here’s a selection.. plus a few from that APS-sensor 2003-vintage Epson R-D1 with a Leica 75mm lens on it ..approximating to a 113mm lens, due to the ‘digital mark-up’ of multiplying the focal length by 1.5x on an APS-sized sensor..)

This was shot with a 21mm lens on the M3. I couldn’t step back far enough to get the whole car in the shot. So I’d have got MUCH less of it with a 35mm (equivalent) lens.

Same car doing a lap ‘d’elegance’ shot with a 75mm lens. The car would have been way off in the distance if shot with the Fuji’s 35mm equivalent lens. (Yes, that’s flare along the top.)

Epson R-D1 and the same 75mm lens – behaving as a 113mm on the APS-sized R-D1. I couldn’t have got this perspective with the X100.

Cookie cutters at the fair: as above, and I still couldn’t have got this with a 35mm lens.

Couldn’t have got this close, nor got this perspective, with a 35mm.

Two planes, shot with the 75mm (behaving as a 113mm) and R-D1. I couldn’t have shot this with a 35mm lens!

(Of course, feel free to say that these pictures are rubbish, and that you wouldn’t have wanted to take these kinds of shots anyway!)

Finally, this obsession with ‘IQ’ – Image Quality – isn’t really what photography’s about ..unless you’re going to blow up your pics to three foot by two foot (one metre x .6 of a metre). Steve uses his pics to illustrate this website, some photographers earn their living by selling their photos to newspapers, magazines and advertising and PR companies. They need great quality.

But the average Jane and Joe like you and I, what are we going to do with our pictures? Put them on the wall, publish them on the web, clog up a hard drive with them? Email them to friends and family? We’ll never see the full quality of good digital – or digitised – photos here on the internet. No electronic display can do justice to the fine detail and range of tones which a good paper print produces ..so why examine the minutiae of ‘IQ’ and lens resolution (which used to be my own paid job) when no web page can do justice to them anyway?

What’s important is the photographer’s mental image; what s/he chooses to shoot, and where they position themselves, which lens they use to get the composition they want, which aperture they choose, how they use the light. Steve has a terrific ‘eye’, and no matter what camera he uses, his pictures are always better than mine ..because he ‘sees’ better: he’s got a better sense of composition, of the moment to freeze the action, of the magic that’s in the air, of how to direct the viewer’s eye. He could shoot with a pinhole camera and get far better pictures than I can ever do.

Lusting after a piece of hardware is OK in its own way ..like trainspotters want to see Nigel Gresley’s “Mallard” in full steam, or bird-watchers want to see some rare or exotic species, or audiophiles want some rare or exotic turntable with a tube (valve) amplifier and (if they’ve any sense) some KEF loudspeakers. But all too often, the audiophiles don’t care for the music, or the creativity which has gone into it ..they just listen for the absence of ‘coloration’. And camera-lusters want the one which has this, that or the other new specification, without understanding that most of the bells and whistles are unimportant: it’s vision, imagination, thought, point-of-view which makes a good picture. Every new digital camera’s going to be superseded by a different – or supposedly “better”, or more lust-after-able – one next month anyway. It’s more worthwhile to concentrate on improving one’s own eye than to keep spending money on new, expendable, obsolete-within-6-months hardware.

I find the restriction of having a single (35mm) lens is as much a restriction as having only an 85mm lens, or a 105mm or a 20mm. It lets me – and you – take a certain kind of picture (semi-wide) and nothing else. That’s why I gave up my (convenient) Polaroid (instant images, just like a digital camera, but long before digital existed) and bought an SLR, so that I could swap lenses, or zoom in to get the shot I wanted.

I don’t want to go back to those days of the fixed-lens Rollei, or the Minox, or the – and this is the nearest equivalent for an instant picture – fixed-lens Polaroid. (Those big b&w re-usable negatives from ‘professional’ Polaroids were extremely fine-grained, with wonderful detail and a great range of tone, by the way!)

I want flexibility, freedom to shoot with any lens at all. I want to shoot the pictures which I want to shoot ..not just the ones which Mr Fuji and that single 35mm lens allows me to shoot.

That’s why – although I’ve spent quite some time with one – I won’t be buying this slow, inadequately thought-out and compromised X100 pretend-”classic” camera. It may have faster focusing than the similarly restrictive Leica X1, it may have chrome knobs on it and an optical eyepiece, it may be nice and sharp (when correctly focused) ..but I want freedom, not restriction, in my life.

I WILL be paying one third the price of the X100 for its brother, the Fujifilm F500EXR (..or the 550EXR if I want the in-camera choice of Provia, Velvia and Astia). The F500 doesn’t have the ‘retro’ styling, but it has the same ISO choices, shoots RAW at 16 megapixels, has FAR faster focusing with FAR less shutter lag, and has a 15x zoom lens – admittedly with only a half-inch (12.7mm) sensor. But at least it stops the traffic, in a more literal way than the X100 does!


 

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The comments have been CLOSED on this article as it appears nothing constructive is being said. The attacks have all been made and I even had to delete a few of them. I posted this article as I am a fair guy. Not everyone will like or love the X100. It does have its quirks and many do not want to deal with that. I posted Davids article to show “the other sides” view of the X100. Meaning, from someone who does not like it as much as others do.

If you want to discuss this further, without name calling and being rude, you can do so here, in the brand new Fuji X100 forum.

  206 Responses to “USER REPORT: An Alternative View of the Fuji X100 by David Babsky”

  1. A refreshing point of view, David. Thank you

  2. Hehe, love your articles David (Not that I *always* agree with them mind), you really are not afraid of upsetting anyone especially those with chronic Stockholm Syndrome! :D

    Lets face it, it’s a good camera I’m sure we can all agree but £1000.00 for a P&S – Give me a break! How much worse (If it even is, which I don’t believe) is say the Samsung NX100 which I recently saw on sale from a reputable dealer, mint/boxed for a mere £239 with lens? 1/4 of the price of the X100. I tried the X100 out myself for a day thanks to my local Leica dealer, it was OK I thought but £1000.00 ?!?!?!?!

    Re: AF – That’s the one thing I LOVE about the Ricoh GRD cameras (And I’m sure Steve will attest to this) is the wonderful “Snap” mode on these cameras which all of a sudden make a compact AF digital camera highly suitable for use on anything that moves. Select the sweet spot aperture and you’re done. I really enjoyed your article btw, the words “Cat Amongst The Pigeons” sure comes to mind though. LOL :D

    • The snap mode is great. But you can achieve exactly the same with ZF. Both, the X1 and X100 can be used very effectively for ZF, the former after its FW update.

  3. Obviously this is controversial, but I applaud Steve for allowing a different perspective on the X100. A lot of what David brought up is practical stuff that a lot of people need to know. I actually shoot with an M6 and a 35mm summicron ASPH, so the X100 is going to fit Perfectly into my kit (as soon as people have more stock)! Thanks

    • Controversial ! Did you also read the dpreview.com review of the X100. I guess Davis is right.

  4. The reason there are so many cameras, lenses, accessories, is because we all work and see differently. The X100 I know is not for me for a lot of the reasons that David talks to here. Thanks, David, for taking the time to play with the X100 and putting into words your thoughts on the camera. I love my DSLRs (although I am coming back to primes vs. zooms) and am trying out rangefinders (have a Yashica Electro35 GS and a Contax G2 with 2/45mm and 2.8/90mm and finding I like the lighter weight. I also agree with a earlier article on the GS – it is a sweet little camera.).
    But thanks to Steve for his site and allowing so many viewpoints even when he disagrees….

  5. All true. But, no one camera is perfect, I heard bad things about M9 and Nikon D3s, too.

    If you shoot fast moving objects, wildlife, sports events, or macro… X100 is not for you. X100 is for the people who likes to carry a camera all the time, see something, and shoot something. Small but high in IQ.

    Fix lens vs. inter-changeable or zoom, personaly, I hate zooms, I think the best zoom is your legs. Inter-changeable, maybe, but is fuji going to open a market with new line of lenses for X100, the market is flooded with well established Dslr, and new M4/3? Not likely, I might be wrong.

    BTW, if you aim your camera at a police car on the street of NY city, be prepared to have your ID checked.

    Just my 2 cents.

  6. David – before you get attacked for your honest view of the latest-greatest-new-thing, I want to thank you for your thoughts. I tend to see these committee-designed wonders much the same way, and I suspect you also started in photography when cameras were simple all-mechanical marvels, made by OPTICAL companies, not “imaging” companies. I see built-in light meters as the last real improvement in cameras.
    I love the M9 because I can use it just like my M6, and usually don’t even use auto-exposure. So I think there is a place for a true “retro” digital camera for us old folk. To me the ideal would be a digital version of the Pentax MX or LX, with only manual controls and no LCD or menus. I have a K-5, but the actual practice of using my Pentax-M lenses on it is maddening; so I prefer film in an MX for SLR use.
    A real “retro” digital SLR would have 4 simple controls: Shutter speed dial like the LX (with Auto option), ISO dial (maybe where the film rewind would be) (also with Auto position), “film-type” (white balance control, also with an Auto option), and lenses with aperture rings (with Auto like the Pentax-A), and manual focusing. Leave off everything else. Set all controls to Auto and have programmed exposure, or change as many to manual as you like. Then if it could work “properly” with all my 70s lenses, I’d be happy.
    Of course it would never happen, as only us old folks would buy one…

    • .
      TomB,

      You’re describing the Epson R-D1, which has been around for seven or eight years now. See the pictures of it, above. It has a Leica bayonet lens throat, and accepts just about every Leica lens ever made (including the ‘Dual Range’ 50mm which doesn’t work properly on the Leica M8 or M9).

      It has a smaller-than-35mm-film APS-sized sensor, like the X100, so you simply multiply every Leica-fit lens ‘focal length’ by 1.5 to get its equivalent focal length on the R-D1 (..indeed, the R-D1 has a simple scale on the back which shows the equivalent length of lenses from 12mm to 90mm).

      [HINT: That's why the first line of this review reads "..A retro-styled digital camera like an analog classic? ..APS sensor, optical viewfinder, 35mm (equivalent) lens and great results? ..It must be the Cosina/Epson R-D1..!"]

      “..Shutter speed dial like the LX (with Auto option)..” ..Check; see the photo above, just above the photo of the back of the X100. “..ISO dial (maybe where the film rewind would be)..” ..Check: but it’s on the same dial as the shutter speeds – see photo above. “..(also with Auto position)..” ..Check, ditto, “..film-type” (white balance control, also with an Auto option)..” ..Check: White Balance is set by a small lever and the “rewind knob”, and is shown by a set of six weird symbols (including ‘A’) on a little analog dial, shown – out-of-focus – just to the left of the shutter speed dial on the photo above, “..and lenses with aperture rings (with Auto like the Pentax-A), and manual focusing..” ..Check: the R-D1 takes manual Leica-fit lenses.

      • Thanks David – I missed those details in concentrating on the X100 comments. Yes, the R-D1 does fit my ideal for a manual digital. I’d like my M9 better if it used the same ideas – and a thumb-lever shutter wind.
        Now if there were the same concept in an SLR – maybe with changeable front lens mounts (with native aperture linakage) to take un-adapted popular lenses; and full frame 24×36 format! Then my old Leica-R and Pentax-M lenses would see new life.

  7. Thanks for posting this Steve, but to be honest I’m very much on David Babsky side today. I’m still to find a single sample show stopping shot from an X100. I wished to buy one of these, then after a hands on at my local store found it disappointing at best.

    My head said yes, but my just heart keeps saying no. Thanks David, I love my GF1 with 20mm pancake lens (Minolta 50mm & 28mm both mint from eBay both for under £25!) even more now!

    • You are welcome! I will always post others views because I know not everyone agrees or likes every camera that I do. :) Some will like zoom lenses, others will like fast AF…it’s all a personal preference when it comes to this stuff. I do disagree on the quality though but I like the signature of the X100 lens, not everyone will. :) Thanks for reading!

  8. One great thing about this site is it’s ‘fair and balanced’

  9. I don’t really get this article, if you want changeable lens get an SLR.

    I use a D700 for my work, but for family and street shots I had been mounting a 35mm F2 on the D700 but it was huge load to carry around.

    I have the X100 and whilst there are issue with slow focusing it is(for me) the a great every day, carry always camera. I haven’t noticed a delay in taking a picture. all cameras have a timing issue. I used to use a M6 for 95% of my pictures and still missed shots, yet the M6 had almost zero delay, and I missed shots which were usually me not anticipating the situation correctly.

    Admittedly I don’t take pictures of chimneys or the details on cars, I photograph people, my friends, family and the world around me these subjects make up the majority of my personal pictures (www.flickr.com/petercleghorn)

    I have been waiting for a small camera that met my needs, so far the x100 has met these. It isn’t for everyone but I’m taking more pictures then I used to on a day to day basis. For me 35mm was always the go to focal length. However if you want another view, then the X100 isn’t for you.

    This article strikes as someone knocking something not because it is weak but because it doesn’t match their needs.

    The X100 does have areas that could be improved. For me the main change would be tightening the focus area in manual focus, the square need to be smaller (please listen Fuji). I would love to have the accurate focus of the M9 but that is way out of my price range.

    It kinda of breaks down to this, if you want a small camera with a natural frame of view, and good low light performance then perhaps consider the X100. If you want a camera that allows you to change focal lengths, then get another camera (i have an SLR for this).

    Choose the tool that fits your need.

    • “I used to use a M6 for 95% of my pictures and still missed shots, yet the M6 had almost zero delay, and I missed shots which were usually me not anticipating the situation correctly.”

      I think you hit the nail firmly on the head there Peter with that post and particularly that line – One of the finest cameras ever made (I own one myself) and yet you still missed shots. How much is down to the camera as opposed to how much is down to the photographer? Can a good photographer still get a greater percentage of quality captures even when using the wrong (for him/her) tool for them?

      YMMV = My opinion.

      For me – The major reason why I have turned my back on technology to return to simple, manual focus, few features cameras. Now, if I mess it up at least I know whose fault it is. :)

    • Well said Peter… What a load of nonsense article this is!

    • It’s like Steve Huff.com became The Onion in one single post.

    • “The X100 does have areas that could be improved. For me the main change would be tightening the focus area in manual focus, the square need to be smaller (please listen Fuji). I would love to have the accurate focus of the M9 but that is way out of my price range.”

      Hi Peter, you can actually alter the size of the rectangle focus area (5 sizes), just by holding down the AF button (aboove View Mode button) and then using the Comand Control to adjust the size. hope this helps, Cheers Wolf

      • Peter, I just realized and now see what you mean, focus area can only be adjusted on auto , but not in manual mode, strange. Wolf

  10. Thanks David, I’m so glad you said this, as I have to agree: “No electronic display can do justice to the fine detail and range of tones which a good paper print produces ..so why examine the minutiae of ‘IQ’ and lens resolution (which used to be my own paid job) when no web page can do justice to them anyway?”
    Not only that, but the minute they’re out the camera and onto the computer the tweaking begins, the adding of vignettes, changing the saturation, trying to make it look like it was shot on film etc etc etc So really, unless you are printing your images half a meter wide or producing 48 sheet billboards, does all this pixel peeping really matter. I think not. ;-)

  11. David I whole heartily agree with you about the the Menu / Command Dial, it is horrible. In fact many of the buttons are the cheapest plastic I have ever used on a camera, or just about any modern electronic product. This is embarrassing bad workmanship. The sliding MF/AF button on the side can easily land in between my desired setting.

    I won’t go into the tedious GUI and badly implemented button controls, but this has been well documented at DPR: http://www.dpreview.com/news/1105/11051610fujfilmx100review.asp

    On the flip side I actually do value good image quality, for that this camera rocks. My high ISO pics are great as well, with the noise reduction looking nicely randomized, not in a grid pattern as my Canon 5D Mark 2 does. The Auto White Balance is amazing, almost spot on in just about every situation I have photographed in.

    I am taking a deep breath, living with the bad, and really enjoying what is great about this camera.

  12. Though I find your review refreshing and more in line with the other more critical reviews (just check the most recent dpreview in-depth criticism of the camera) found online, I don’t really understand why you’re reviewing a single focal length camera if you hate those. I think most people shoot with a single fixed focal lens when they go out in the streets, zooming and framing with their feet and arms.

    Many great cameras of the past only had a fixed lens, and many M8/9 users use their favorite focal length all day when going out shooting or traveling. It seems a bit unfair to criticize a camera for being what it is: a fixed lens street shooter. If you want zoom, it was already clear from the start that the X100 is not your camera. So why review it then?

    • +1

    • +1 Dude is clueless…

    • .
      Dear aadb,

      “..It seems a bit unfair to criticize a camera for being what it is: a fixed lens street shooter. If you want zoom, it was already clear from the start that the X100 is not your camera. So why review it then?..”

      Many people – in my experience – see cameras advertised in magazines and on the web, read reviews which rate those cameras highly, but readers don’t quite understand the restrictions which each camera brings ..in this case that it will only ever shoot with one ‘viewpoint’ or style of picture: the view which a 35mm (equivalent) lens gives.

      (Other cameras have other limitations: a wonderful-quality Canon 5DMkII is very versatile, but is a heavy weight to lug around with a good quality 28-300mm zoom on it. A Leica M9 is also a heavy weight to lug around, and there are no zooms for it, so you may have to carry – and pay money for – four different lenses to get a fair spread of viewpoints, e.g; 21mm, 40mm, 75mm, 135mm. A pocket Panasonic Lumix may take great photos, but they don’t bear much enlargement or cropping because the sensor’s rather small: every camera has its limitations as well as its capabilities!)

      The point of this article is to show what this camera WON’T do ..it won’t focus quickly, hence the missed action shots; it won’t let anyone shoot the pics shown here which were taken with other cameras (because it has only a fixed 35mm lens); it’s not, in many ways, as versatile as the rather old Epson R-D1 (which has the same size APS sensor); and so the idea is for the reader to ask themselves BEFORE paying for the Finepix X100 “..would an R-D1, or a Sony NEX, or another APS-sensor camera be a better buy?..”

      The idea is to better inform people before they splash the cash ..that’s all.. but for someone who already understands that it’ll only ever give 35mm-style photos – and they’re happy with that restriction – then this review just shows the “shutter lag” which the X100 delivers, compared with, for example, the GF1, the R-D1, Fuji’s Finepix F500, etc.

      • Sorry David but this is an extremely negative and superfluous outlook. I don’t think anyone needs you to explain to us that the camera only has a fixed focal length lens. If the buyer isn’t aware of this before purchase then shame on them. You take the users on this site for infants and that is quite insulting.

        As far as focusing quickly, it focuses just fine for its class. Faster then the X1 and E-P2 and very close and in some cases faster than GF1 depending on the lens you use on that camera. I’ve used all off these excellent cameras extensively and the X100 is near or at the top of the heap in terms of “shutter lag”.

        • I think David is entitled to his opinion (because he has actually spent time with the camera), and I do agree about awfulness of that menu button. However, it felt like he genuinely hates this camera, and he was trying to go over every single part of it finding something negative about it (focal length? knobs?? RAW format?). Like describing a girlfriend after a bad breakup :)

          People are in search of the perfect camera so hard, they loose the site of reason why they need the camera: taking pictures without camera getting in your way. Compared to alternatives, I find X100 an effortless camera with reasonable quality and price.

          And with that price tag, if you think this camera should be the most perfect camera ever made, you are delusional!

      • After reading some of the nasty name calling directed at you, I’m retracting my statement regarding “treating the readers as infants is insulting”, as clearly some of them are.

        • No, Chad, I disagree. Infants are nice. They smile and make funny noises and they are pleasing to the eye. Sometimes they get upset and cry and have to be cuddled and sang a song to. Infants are lovely! In this case, I think, ‘undeveloped’ would be more appropriate a word…

          Greg

          • Ok, you got me. I love infants myself, just not infantile adults.

          • Yes, Chad, I know. I would never suspect you of hating the infants.

            I was going to say ‘infantile’, too, but opted for the more neutral ‘undeveloped’. Both terms apply perfectly well to the person in question.

            Cheers,
            Greg

  13. David seems to have bashed everything except his ‘m9.5′ … That’s very much like the opposition in politics. Ha!

  14. Is it me or is David an alter ego of Ken Rockwell?
    First it was an M9 now its X100 and same crappy pictures with both

  15. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this article David. I agree with almost all of your points. I don’t necessarily agree with the static lens being a disadvantage but can understand why you and some others do. At first I was enamored by the X100 but eventually found it too fidly and it got in the way of my photography.

    It’s a nice camera but as you stated, packed with features to appease the consumer masses and not really taking into consideration the essential needs of the photographer wanting to simply ‘get the picture’. In my opinion the consumer doesn’t always know best, we don’t always know what we want but we sure expend a lot of energy professing we do. This is where Leica get it right, they don’t buckle under the pressure of the masses. They take the purists approach and give us the essentials of what we need to get the picture, leaving out all the other b**ls**t which only clutters the objective. It’s also why, despite it’s maligned AF issues I still prefer the X1 and have since gone back to it for the rare times when I leave the M at home.

    Still, it was a worthwhile experience with the X100 if only to remind me just how brilliant a camera the X1 is.

    `6

    • Hey, ~6, nice to learn about your experience with the X100. Well, I am not surprised. You have the M9. I am in the same boat. I played with Fuji for a few days and then happily went back to my M9. The only thing I miss from shooting the X100 is its spot meter. So much so, that I am buying a separate one for my M9. Not as convenient as having it built into your camera but it will do.

      I think David was comparing apples and oranges here. And he is clearly not the single lens guy. Neither am I. Fuji is cool, it’s picture quality is great, but it has way too many flaws (hopefully, fixable).

      Fuji’s not for me since I have a camera that I love already. But some people are just fine with a one lens solution and they are willing to live with Fuji’s shortcomings. Like my wife, for example. She likes it very much. She loved her X1 but decided to let it go in lieu of anticipated release of an upgraded version, which will affect the X1′s price immediately. It was just a hint, a crystal-ball feeling but it was strong enough to make us sell it and get the X100 for the time being. We even made $500 on the whole deal. It was a strategic decision. Fuji will do for a while and then we’ll see.

      One thing my wife is confused about with her Fuji is its DSLR-like plethora of functions. Just as you say, the X1 is way less complicated. So, I ended up setting the camera in a simple shooting mode for her, much in the same way as she was used to with her X1. Now she’s happy. And that VF is really an improvement. Besides, my better half likes the idea of using the ‘Bulb’ setting which was unavailable in X1. It’s 60 minutes! Wow! Another thing I wouldn’t mind having in my M9.

      Cheers,
      Greg

    • .
      So you’re not using it for six months before sticking it on a shelf. Not waiting till October 23rd? You owe me £10!

      Let’s just say that “all that glisters is not gold” ..or, in this case, is not chromed brass.

      It looks quite capable, but then so does my chocolate teapot.

      But Fuji are really doing well with their pocket Finepix F500 and 550. Astonishingly good low-light hi-def pics (..because they extract the best out of three consecutive shake-free shots and amalgamate them into one superb single shot).

      Now THERE’S a pocket camera well worth looking at..!

      • Yup, I think `6 owes you some money David!

        Our bet is still on though so hold onto that money…

      • Ok, round two.. can you make ANY arguments or discussions without resorting to fallacies? You would have more people paying attention if you actually backed up anything you said with SOUND reason.

      • Yes David you’re right and I was wrong, I do owe you ten bucks.

        `6 :-)

    • `6.

      If you don’t like the complexity of the X100, just shoot it exclusively in LCD/AF mode and you’ll have an X1 only with faster AF, faster lens/better low light capabilities, better build quality and one that does HD video, all for $800 less. Now that’s brilliant!

      • No Chad you’re wrong. The X100 is many things, a lot of them good but an X1 it is most certainly not and will never be. The IQ of the X1 is in a different league and on top of that the X100 looks and feels cheap. In fact I’d even go as far as to say I cannot stand the X100′s feeble attempt at a wannabe German camera. Fuji should stick to what they’re good at, appeasing the less discerning.

        `6

        • If i may, Seal, how do you know for sure the IQ of the X1 is in a different league from the X100? What exactly do you mean in a different league? I am just curious how you make this assumptions and would like to know your basis for such findings… If OK, lets start with the IQ stuff for a minute if you don’t mind, I am still up for a bit here, perhaps i could learn something… :-)

          • Sure Kelvin, I’ll tell you EXACTLY what I Jean and by what criteria. I own both cameras, I don’t just talk about them based on what I’ve heard or read. It is quite simple, my EYES tell ke that the IQ of the X1 is superia! I’m not talking about sharpness or any of that BS that most people seem to be obsessed with, I’m talking about the overall image and how it looks to my eye because ultimately that is ALL that matters.

            The way that Leica rend ours it’s images are completely different to any other camera. The cosest I’ve seen to it is what comes out of Canon DSLR’s but that’s about it! The algo’s that they use at Leica, their choices of how they want to rendour their images, the fact that they don’t do what the Japanese do which is bombard you with over hyped Disney coour, the natural film-like appearance of the Leica image, the fact that when I pull up an image from an M9, S2, X1 or whatever I don’t feel that I immediately have to slap a filter on it because I can’t stand it’s digital appearance! Shall I go on? Have you learned anything yet?

            Again Kelvin, I don’t just talk about cameras and knock them down because I can’t afford them, I buy, get given and am therefore fortunate enough to have any camera I want so I have no axe to grind here, I call it as I SEE it, not as I’m told about it or hear about it and for the last time, the IQ of the X1 is in indifferent league than the X100.

            `6

          • People do love their cameras, to the point of going to battle. I own an X1 and I know the image quality is simply amazing for a camera so small, not to mention well built ( I’m not too precious, I treat them as the tools they are). I’m visiting Tokyo right now and was able to try out an x100. Very nice looking, seemed quite well built but I measured it against my M8 and it’s only about 20% smaller. So in that regard It’s a bit different then the X1 as something it cannot be put in any pocket other then cargo pants.

            The X1 has a look to it, call it Leica, call it pretentious, call it whatever you want, it’s special and it is reminiscent of my M. That’s good for me as I like to have that continuous output between cameras. The X1000 does not have that look, less filmic and more digital. Now if someone says their X100 is superior I will not argue with them. It’s their hard earned money, their (maybe) hard earned opinion. These are basically computers with glass mounted in front of them that we have strapped to our necks so when we talk about loving our individual camera it has a lot to do with our preference on how the image is rendered. When ~6 or anyone else says they are inclined to the look of the X1 because it’s Leica it’s not untrue. Same goes for the X100. If Chad loves the way Fuji spits out an image then great, I’ll take him at his word.

            I do though have a problem with David’s take on image quality last point of view. I can tell the quality of a camera at 25% screen zoom or 4×6 print, I don’t need to pixel peep and I know I’m not the only one that sees the same thing. Image quality is hugely important. When the G9 came out I was excited as it looked amazing and had all these great features. Image quality, average at best. Same with every other camera I owned that I could fit in my pocket or carry around my neck easily. So when David champions these super zoom compact cameras with small sensors and bad output I feel like he’s just reached a point in his life where he wants easy. He just wants to go to his car show and be able to move his thumb back and forth and if it goes to 300 mm he’s in heaven ( yes I have read your take on the panasonic version of the V2)

            Photography is my art. Composition is my skill. The X1 and X100 are excellent tools for people who have a specific need and chances are if you are spending a 1000 dollars on a fixed lens camera it’s because you want it to fill that need. Image quality is number one, let me say that again….#1. I know I’m not the only person that feels that way. If your not a photographer but just take pictures of your family then yes maybe there are other cameras out there more appropriate, but we aren’t talking about those people in this review. Next time review the camera for the intended demographic as I respect your knowledge of cameras.

            Thanks for reading.

          • Well said John. And I agree with your point regarding the size and build of the X1, it truly is more compact and pocketable and is certainly well built (except for that peeling vulcanite). I got shots with the X1 that I would not get with the X100 simply because I wouldn’t have the camera on my person.

            The problem I have when Seal or someone else makes a blanket statement like “the X1 IQ is in a different league” is that it is not something that has been subjectively born out in any of the comparisons I’ve seen, including my own. I get that it is a personal preference and I’ve heard plenty about the Leica “glow” or 3D pop – I just don’t see it in the X1.

            If anything I have seen better IQ out of the X100 and I can point to the reasons why – more detail rendered, better subject isolation (3D pop) at f/2.0, smoother OOF rendering and better high ISO performance.

            I have no problem respecting your preference for how a camera renders, heck some people love LOMO or Holga, but no one would argue that the IQ of those cameras is better than say an M7.

          • “I call it as I SEE it, not as I’m told about it or hear about it and for the last time, the IQ of the X1 is in indifferent league than the X100.”

            Do you think that people who feel differently on this issue do so just because someone told them and that no one else in the world has had both cameras and come up with a different conclusion?

          • Seal, thanks for the response… Firstly let me start by saying i am not here to dispute what you see and how you see them, rather try to clarify IQ misconceptions at its very basic before getting technical ( i am not talking about brick walls and charts here ) which i would like to hear from those well versed on the topic to join in. I don’t think that will happen, just hoping, as i believe those who truly know are at their labs tweaking the next color engine or software for us all.

            Just like you, i don’t particularly like to make or talk comparisons between devices, i know you said you don’t like to talk about cameras, fair enough. To answer if i have learned anything from your response, not yet, you have not proven anything that me and Steve’s audience could potentially learn from… So i pose a few more questions to you if you don’t mind once more and anyone else interested is free to join in.

            What computer are you using, an All in One? If so which Mac or PC
            What display does your computer have assuming you have a display connected to a tower?
            Have you calibrated your computer display?
            Which calibration hardware did you use?
            What color space is your camera set to sRGB or Adobe RGB?
            What bit depth assuming your camera allows it?
            Are you making your own prints at home or sending it off to a Lab?
            If making your own prints at home, have you calibrated your printer? What printer?
            What paper do you prefer to print if printing at home?
            Do you have Profiles for the paper?
            Do you know for sure if your Lab have their devices calibrated properly?
            Does your lab provide you with a Print Profile?
            Have you checked to see if that Profile accurately represents what you see on your display?
            What is your environment set up? Where you positioned your display, near a window?
            What kind of light is coming through that window?
            What are the colors of your walls where you have your display? Neutral or screaming orange?
            What software? LR, Aperture, Capture One Pro or another brand?

            There are so many nuances involved, i can go on and on, we can’t simply make generalizations about IQ comparisons loosely. I understand to your eyes and your ( viewing device ) what you see on your device may please you and that may be all that matter to you, i may or will not see it the same way unless our displays and environments are exactly the same, so to say one IQ is better than the other based on your own display + environment amongst many others may be misleading don’t you think? Don’t get me wrong, this is not an attempt to debunk what you see and how you see it, that i understand. I understand how one camera or manufacturer might render its images based on the look they want to achieve, that becomes a preference thing at that point but certainly does not make the IQ better than the next.

            To accurately make these kinds of comparisons, we would have to be viewing IQ at Leica or Fuji’s Lab on the same display under the same conditions with everything being equal, then make assumptions, from what i know and i could be wrong here, none of us have done that, you may have some special pass, but i doubt if you have carte blanche to that process… Then again maybe you do, i don’t know that for a fact.

            If i am wrong here, someone please correct me, i am always looking to learn and that’s why i come to this site… Let me also add that i am not married to any particular brand, very far from it. I use a camera based on its comfort to me, what comes out if and so on, but will clearly stay away from making comparisons or assumptions based on the basic questions above knowing we all are viewing and printing with all sorts of output devices to start with…

            In response to your last paragraph, truth be told i don’t care to know how you acquire your gear, it’s irrelevant and to be clear i am not saying or ever said you are knocking one box or the other, that’s not the point.

            The point here is that it is difficult to say how one image looks under varying conditions and conclude one to be better. That dog won’t hunt at least not yet…

            I am open to further debate on this and look forward to it.

        • Wow! What a pretentious and if I may say, ridiculous comment. IQ in a different league? WTH are you talking about exactly? Details please! You must have some magic Leica eyes.

          Feels cheap? The vulcanite was peeling of my brand new X1 within 3 weeks. The X100 is built like a tank save for the jog wheel.

          Thanks for starting my day with a laught :)

          • Chad, LET IT GO! You are treading on very dangerous ground here. Say whatever you want about the camera but do jot start what you cannot finish by calling my comments pretentious. You are out of line and I do not suffer fools easily.

            `6

          • IMO, IQ can be subjective. To Seal, he prefers the X1 over the X100. No harm in that.

            Build quality though, no doubt the X100 feels sturdier than the X1.

            Now, as to being pretentious, stating that the IQ of the X1 is far better (in his eyes) than the X100 falls short of being pretentious.

            On the other hand, the following statement is definitely pretentious AND insulting to anyone that prefers the X100 over the X1.

            “Fuji should stick to what they’re good at, appeasing the less discerning.”

        • “The IQ of the X1 is in a different league and on top of that the X100 looks and feels cheap.”

          Really? I’ve held both, and nearly every review, including your buddy Steve, and I myself would agree after using both, the build and IQ of the X100 is certainly leagues ahead of the X1. Hell even those unimaginative technocrats at DPReview have agreed. I think the Red Dot is clouding your judgement Padawan.

          • Oh wait, just read your criteria. You like the draw of the X1 over the draw of the X100. That is fine. The Elmarit certainly has a more modern look than the Fujinon. I like the Fuji better as it reminds me of the draw of my old Leica lenses that were made back in the 60′s and also the draw of my beloved PenFT. In this case I can understand your preference, but on a pure technical level the X100 does spank the X1′s but.

          • No I don’t but if you start by telling me that my comments are pretentious, expecting me to take it lying down, then you make your bed and sleep in it. I am many things but pretentious isnt one of them

            `6

          • Seal, as others are commenting, your post was pretentious. Sorry if you can’t see it but it is right there.

            Move on.

  16. Im absoluteLy fine with people showing other sides of the coin, and it is in fact very very welcome. I can appreciate informal discussion articles as well.

    That said, this would make a FANTASTIC example for a debate or English class in discussing fallacies.

    I especially liked the ‘(Of course, feel free to say that these pictures are rubbish, and that you wouldn’t have wanted to take these kinds of shots anyway!)’ part.

    I appreciate the thoughts and reading the differing opinion, but the entire ‘article’ reads like a petulant child who had a broken toy and must now SCREAM about it.

  17. There are two good recommendations for the X100: don’t buy it – or bye it.

    Do everybody remember the (unjustified) laughter about the M8? Regarding the X100 experiment, the world should burst out in never ending laughing!

    My M8, I’m luvin’it.

  18. With all due respect Steve, let me first of all applaud you for allowing this BS post. Now let me just say this is the dumbest review i have ever read, is this guy David serious?

    David, no offense but you are totally clueless about cameras or tools for that matter, go figure!

    @Azx1 + 1

    Kelvin

    • Kelvin. I don`t like your style of commenting on Davids post. One thing he sticks unnecessary to is, his objections to lack of lens interchagebility. Her one may agree or not. The rest of your 18 post using expressions like BS and dumbest, proves that you know nothing about action picture taking and your post serve only one thing. To be provocative in a very childish way. David is serious enough, DPreview is serious enough, Fuji so called designers tried to be but failed on one account. They forgot to include a feature known from other japanese wonder cameras. A litlle build-in tripod allowing X100 to be put on a table and turning it to the voice saying “Kelvin knows best!” to take a blurry picture (in cross-mind mode). Kampai.

  19. I can totally understand what you are saying. I am a music guy myself and tend to knock bands that are overhyped, even if I think they are alright. The x100 is over-hyped. I mean, just look at the posts on this site alone. They are almost all about the x100 recently, and that’s that Steve is primarily a Leica guy!

    However….
    Although I don’t know much about photography, I dont see anything special about those pictures you “can’t have gotten the 35mm.” And I must say, you do sound a lot like I do when I talk about bands that although popular, are not my cup of tea. I can totally understand why you do not like the x100, and think it is over-hyped, but I have owned it for a week now and I must say, I think its awesome. And most importantly, I’ve gotten some great pictures out of it.

  20. Hah hah hah, Steve is stirring the pot again. But my head hurts after reading this scatter buckshot review. What exactly was the point?

    There are just so many ridiculous points of contention mixed in with some valid ones that I can’t even bother list them all.

    David criticizes the camera for having an optical viewfinder of all things! Really? Then goes on to trash the 35mm FOV that countless amazing images have been captured with! Again, really?
    Why exactly is he complaining about the exposure compensation system for? That Epson RD-1 all-in-one wheel looks nifty but can I change ISO with it without taking my eye away from the viewfinder like I can in the X100?

    We get it David, you want to be the “Jack of all FOVs, master of none” of photography – always ready to capture any shot – and certainly that is your prerogative but why bash the lovely X100 or X1 or DP2 or any classic fixed FOV rangefinder? It isn’t the poor camera’s fault. These cameras were all built because there is a market for them and having to listen to you berate both the camera and user is just plain exhausting.

    And summarizing that you are buying a 12.7mm sensor camera so you can “stop traffic” and because “IQ doesn’t matter in digital cameras because we never make prints with them” does not add to your arguments.

    Btw, if the X100 is so horrible at timed action shots, how does it manage these…

    [img]http://gallery.mac.com/wadsworths/101613/untitled-9/web.jpg?ver=13056807540001[/img]

    [img]http://gallery.mac.com/wadsworths/101461/Rangers-20Last-20Game-20004/web.jpg?ver=13056812180001[/img]

    [img]http://gallery.mac.com/wadsworths/101613/untitled-5/web.jpg?ver=13056806760001[/img]

    I suggest you work on your timing more and blame the camera less.

    Thanks for the laughs!

    • GREAT shots Chad!

    • Luck?

    • A bit nervous with timing, ain`t we Chad.The pool jumping picts need some clarifications. Looks like you tried to anticipate the moment but got it too early. I hope it was AF and not MF estimated dist. Both jump picts show setting or stumbling off, while an all time classic of a such situation is a jumper hanging midair or eventually hitting the water. Baseball pict is fine and AF works wonders provided, you had the camera aimed at the pitcher and then followed the throw to the batter. The laughs are on the house! Enjoy.

      • I don’t think so Stanis. If anything, I was a bit early on the baseball shot but that’s because I couldn’t see the ball until it entered the frame. That would be an indication of how responsive the X100 is, not slow. The Pool shots are as I envisioned them (that’s my son in the first lane and I wanted to try and capture his face before he was in the water) and the camera responded perfectly.

        No one is saying this is a sports camera and we all know the AF can’t follow a ball in the air from a pitcher (my 5D can’t do that). But here is a similar shot anyway…

        [img]http://gallery.mac.com/wadsworths/101461/Rangers-20Last-20Game-20005/web.jpg?ver=13056817420001[/img]

      • Since you asked, I will clarify something. 6 year olds don’t sail through the air before eventually hitting the water. Most “stumble”, jump, trip or fall in. So the shot of my son is about as close as you could hope to get to the “classic” shot you refer to.

        And if you can’t see the moment in the first photo then there is no hope for you… ;)

        All shots were AF.

      • Sorry, one more. Here is the hanging in mid air shot :)

        I think this was the exact moment of apex…

        [img]http://gallery.mac.com/wadsworths/101464/Big-20Air.jpg?derivative=medium&source=web.jpg&type=medium&ver=13056911240001[/img]

        I’ll stop posting photos now ;)

        • Last shot is wonderfully fun… Be glad we’re in the digital age so Wal-Mart employees can’t turn you in for endangering a child.. Hope the BBQ was fired up and the beverages cold!

          Cheers, joe

    • Lovin the first shot in these 3 Chad, Brilliant

  21. The X100 is a point-and-shoot autofocus camera that delivers APS-C image quality and does not require an external viewfinder.

    Any other cameras you can say that about?

    Case closed.

  22. Provocative writing style with using the old in the tooth “the glass is half empty” approach. Too obvious and not bringing anything new to the discussion. Maybe it stirs the pot, that is all. Why blaming a tool for something it has not been designed for?

  23. From David B:

    “The Fuji FinePix X100..? It’s a camel ..not just an animal designed by a committee, but this quasi-retro, APS-sensor, 35mm (equivalent) automatic “rangefinder” seems – to me, anyway! – to have been kludged together by a quartet of salesmen from ideas scribbled on a Marlboro pack.”

    From the reviewer at Dpreview:

    “The X100 is a gorgeous-looking camera, no matter what angle you look at it from. It has much the same kind of ‘real camera’ appeal as the Leica M9, and will doubtless draw more than its fair share of admirers on appearance alone. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, either; plenty of people, after all, are willing to choose a car as much on its looks as anything else, just as long as there’s substance behind the style.

    The build quality is superb. The top and base plates are die-cast using lightweight, high-strength magnesium alloy, and all the controls and dials are milled from solid metal. Some plastic makes an appearance on the back, of course, for the buttons and four-way controller/rear dial, and it’s also used for the battery/SD compartment door, but overall the X100 gives a rare impression of solidity. Indeed of all current digital cameras, arguably only the Leica M9 can challenge the X100 for its sheer build quality and beauty as an object.”

    You can’t both be right…which means one of you has your head up your…well you get the picture.

    FWIW…I think Azx1 hit the nail on the camel head.

    • Hola mister, a bit one sided citation. What about this for a counter balance,
      Final word from Dpreview.
      “The X100 is without doubt one of the most idiosyncratic cameras we’ve ever come across. It veers wildly between being delightful to use and deeply frustrating, depending on which functions you’re trying to access. It has flaws that we never expected to see on a camera in 2011, including the inability to manually focus or change the ISO of AF point while it’s writing to card – a process that can take an inordinate amount of time. And the sheer quirkiness and bugginess of its firmware means that you have to keep a close eye on it all the time, lest the camera forget or change key settings on you without warning.”
      And your part “arguably only the Leica M9 can challenge the X100 for its sheer build quality and beauty as an object.”
      So, sheer build quality and beauty as an OBJECT. David was talking of a picture taking tool while most of adorers talk about OBJECT. Can it take pictures? Of course it can, but then pinhole camera does it too.

      • Stanis this is silly. Of course the X100 can take wonderful pictures and can be a superb picture making tool as many of us, including Steve and Dpreview attest..

        “Its drop-dead gorgeous looks and excellent build make it a camera that begs you to pick it up and take it out with you, and the image quality it returns at the end of the day is nothing short of superb. And this ultimately is the key to its attraction – it just takes wonderful pictures, time after time.”

        We all understand that the camera has foibles (hopefully correctable) and most of us are willing to live with them because of the greater benefits the X100 provides.

        You seem to be saying that X100 users buy it because they want to objectify it rather than take good images with it. I’m not going to defend anyone that falls into that category, regardless of the camera they are objectifying (read Leica) but I can assure you, there are plenty of X100 shooters who are serious about making images with it.

        • Chad, no offence. We are just talking about the camera. Some like it, some are a bit disappointed. Of course it can take wonderfull pictures. I think, Davids line was like that. When Fuji decided to make it a basic fixed lens shooter aimed, as most of you guys say, for dedicated and serious photographers, then why on earth they build in it all that penny arcade and pin-ball machines bells and whistles? Serious man needs, I keep on repeating ad nauseam, in order to take a pict three settings (beside ISO) and that is: shutter speed, lens opening and distance. Then to frame selected view in most unobtrusive way.( pinnacle of RF viewing is of course lifesize finder). That`s all. I guess David was talking about inconsistences of design and of course his preferences on shooting with RFs more then, unlike many posters , commenting on others photographers abilities and intelligence level.
          p.s. you are right, kids usually don´t hang midair, they do it more so often on the street corners.

          • Typo mishapp, luther sneaked in.

          • What penny arcade bells and whistles are we talking about here? It is a modern camera but Fuji has only put in the features that appeal to a serious photographer but there are no consumer gimmicks such as face detection or scenes.

            What is nice about the X100 is that the interface can be as feature laden or as austere as the user wants it to be. You can easily set the camera up to shoot almost like a film camera – turn the LCD off, no image review and all manual tactile exposure controls with the exception of ISO. Set the OVF to display only aperture and shutter speed only and you have a camera that out “Ludites” the X1.

            Or conversely you can add a measure of useful features like such as auto leveling, gridlines, histogram display, dynamic range expansion, ND filter etc.

            Fuji gave us choice and that’s a very good thing.

          • I hope my 6 year old isn’t hanging out on street corners! :)

            And forgive some of my grammatical mistakes in the post above. Too much cutting and pasting and I need to use that Preview button more.

    • Actually, they can both be right. They are different people with different views. Something that looks good to one, may not to another.Do not expect everyone to see things just like you do. As I used to say to my boss, if I thought exactly like you, why would the company need you, I’m cheaper!

  24. The Leica M8 and M9 shutter lags are 80 and 90 (100?) milliseconds. The epson was closer to 25 ms.
    The x100 is 100 ms.
    Just the facts.

  25. I’m no x100 fanboy, but I didn’t need to read this article to know what would be in here. David Babsky wrote an article? Must be something positive then… I guess it’s a devil’s advocate kind of approach to life.

  26. I love your article. It is realy great. In Germany the ferry tale “The Emperor`s New Clothes` is very famous. Thank you for your the courage to have a different opinion and publishing it. Thanks also to Steve to give space for the thoughts.

  27. I might agree with you, Carolus, if it were something new. David only seems to have one gear, though, and it always whines.

    • .
      “..David only seems to have one gear, though, and it always whines..” ..Hey, that’s a great comment! Really! ..I’ll treasure that! ..Thanks, Jorgen!

      • Though you may not always agree with David at least he speaks from conviction and technical knowledge. He doesn’t claim to be the worl’ds greatest photogrpaher but he does have a lot of real kinwoledge about photography. Go and read the comments he left on my article M in the Mountains. I might not have liked the all of them and the way they were expressed but I did learn something from them and that is valuable.

  28. On to more important issues: ’6, do you have an M9-P? Maybe David could review it… ;)

  29. It speaks volumes how many posts address style and writer’s approach rather than content of this article. Food for thought, Steve. There are different ways of how to try to attract attention. David Babsky seems to have chosen his.

  30. well steve, i think we all have seen all about david already. he is a full of crap and a shitty photo taker(i resist to even call him photographer as he claimed to be).. and honestly, and strangely, i always loves it when you post his article, always been an refreshing “humor” after office.. thanks steve

    • Hari Om-1. It`s nice sri wijayavada that you love your guru. Remember to include flowers in your next post. I hope your talking about shitty photo taker was based on blurry cab pictures illustrating X100 instant responce. Otherwise show what you can do or just cool down long till I see your name and those you adore in Vogue, Magnum or MOMA!

      • Wow, quality of comments is definitely going down. I guess that’s the price of fame, “guru” Steve ;)

        • Well, frankly, I think David set the tone with his opening two paragraphs. Pretty clear how this conversation would devolve into name calling as David was the first to sling mud.

          I think we could all point out numerous faults with every camera ever created. After a certain point (and i think we are clearly after at this point) this point/counter point commentary isn’t necessary.

          I learned nothing new from the article that hadn’t already read in other review or peoples comments.

  31. I have to agree with a number of David’s points in the context of street photography. I rely on my M6 & 7. I find the 35mm Summicron most useful but if i can develop trust with people, I break out the 90mm Summicron. I like image quality as much as the next person and that is why I use primes not zooms. It all depends on your preferences. I used a Dlux4 for a time and have given up on it. I got some great street images under ideal conditions but it is too slow, too imprecise and too noisy. It has a zoom but it too is slow and imprecise. What ever happened to 5.6 and be there? The only digital I can consider for my endless time in the streets (street person) is the GRD lll. When I look at the Leica M work of Markus Hartel and the GRD lll work of Wouter Brandsma, I profoundly understand their choice of tools. I only wish I had a fraction of their talent. Clarity? Give me an M lens and film. Street shot Vietnam M7, 90mm Summicron, Ektar 100.
    [img]http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/4047-6391 035.jpg[/img]

  32. So let me get this straight… A digital SLR with a ruck sack full of lenses, from wide angle to telephoto, macro and zooms is more versatile and has faster auto focus than a fixed lens compact camera. Wow. I didn’t already know that.

    I’ve finally found the formula for a David Babsky article. State a fact, something everyone knows and would agree with. Say something negative about said fact. Then create a bizarre and rediculous scenario that backs up your negativity.

    Is your next article going to be about grass being green… but then you hate grass because it gets your shoes dirty or wet when it has been raining Concrete is more practical. You can’t make a sky scraper or a bridge out of grass now can you.

    • .
      Dear Strutter,

      Next time I’ll try to find something I can positively enthuse about! ..It’s just that I read so many enthusiastic articles about, say, Camera A, but when I try it, I just can’t understand the almost orgasmic ecstasies which don’t seem to take account of Camera A’s obvious shortcomings.

      In this review I’ve praised “..its high resolution picture quality and its high resolution million-pixel electronic “hybrid” viewfinder..” besides repeating that “..the picture quality itself is truly excellent..” and the “..in-the-lens leaf shutter’s a great idea (silent, and sync-able with flash at high shutter speeds)”.

      So it’s not all negative: I was just trying to balance other people’s really gushing reviews, and trying to add a few notes of “real world” objectivity; the auto-focus is slow (so there’s shutter lag), the manual focus is poor, I didn’t even mention the parallax problems with the optical viewfinder ..but I did praise the overall picture quality and the usefulness of its any-shutter-speed flash sync.

      I was trying to deliver an antidote to what seems to be the “..its retro looks are great, and so it shoots wonderfully..” prevailing attitude, and I was trying to point out that a much older camera, the R-D1, has a similar sized sensor, also has an optical viewfinder, has no shutter lag, takes a variety of lenses, (it shoots RAW as well as jpeg, too) and might be worth considering.

      “..you hate grass because it gets your shoes dirty or wet when it has been raining Concrete is more practical. You can’t make a sky scraper or a bridge out of grass now can you..” ..but grass IS comfier to lie on when it’s dry, and does have a great smell when freshly mown, and can be used for feeding cows ..so maybe my next review WILL be about the pros and cons of grass!

      Thanks for taking the time to comment..

  33. The X100 has its flaws for sure – sluggish AF and impractical MF being an unfortunate combination -, but this review is so excessive that I wonder whether it should be taken seriously or whether it is in fact irony…

  34. Seems excessive. No one is making you buy it. There are plenty of folks for whom the X100 is right. And there are plenty of folks for whom an M3 is a terrible idea (manual focus all the time? no thank you).

    Every camera has strengths and weaknesses. A useful review would be one that focused on tips and tricks to get the most out of any given camera and to talk about ways in which it could be improved.

    What is the point of trashing a device when you say that skill is what matters? You seem to care more about devices than skill.

  35. I don’t get the point of this article/review. Clearly it’s someone that does NOT find the X100 suiting they’re needs, and it’s on the power trip to bash it down as humanly possible.

    Each to their own, we all have personal preferences when it comes to choosing the equipment that work for us.

    In this case the X100 did not work for David, and his shooting needs.

    Good read anyway :)

    Cheers
    Vlad

  36. That why a rumor that x200 or 300, with interchangeable lens and hopefully better maunual focus, does has an effect on those who are interested in x100.

  37. I LOVE the red-ink disclaimers at the beginning of the article! LOL!

  38. After actually reading the bla bla above, I’m left with this sentence which pretty much sums it up: “I want flexibility, freedom to shoot with any lens at all.” I guess that’s the way a lot of potential photographers think when seeking out their first camera. I want something that does everything, nevermind if it’ll be a compromise in quality and usability. For me, true creativity comes from finding solutions when you don’t have every option available. In fact, having too many choices paralyses, as Barry Schwartz has shown in his research. That’s also the reason why I prefer to use just one lens with a fixed focal length.

    • .
      Jorgen, each to their own.

      Yours is a perfectly valid point of view; that you “..prefer to use just one lens with a fixed focal length.”

      Fair enough.

      And just as yours is a perfectly good point of view, so, I think, is mine: that I do not want to shoot with just one lens with a fixed focal length.

      They’re opposite views, and each preference is as valid as the other.

      • A view opposite of Jorgen’s is valid. Your review is not that however. It is an attempt to get attention and boost your ego.The sooner you admit this the happier we all will be

  39. No offence to Steve and David, but this review reads like one of the DPReview forum “Reviews”. While I understand the desire to show a review with counter points a la proper debate, the quality of this is counter review is lacking, to say the least. :(

  40. there’s plenty of room for a review pointing out the things an x100 doesn’t succeed at. but this ‘review’ really isn’t. it’s just some sort of rant about something the author already knew he didn’t like before he ever tried it out, peppered with errors and irrelevancies. (eg, the optical viewfinder covers much more than 100% of the frame, not “90%”.)

    if you don’t like fixed-focal length cameras, fine, don’t use one. i can understand that point of view. but there’s very little in life that can’t be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens. (this isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s been demonstrated ad naseum by many of the greatest photographers on earth.) and for the rest, well, like it or not, photography is inherently all about constraints: you choose one moment rather than another, you choose one perspective rather than another, etc. if you want everything, all the time, and only care about your own mental image and not the picture other humans actually see, then honestly, i don’t see the point of using any camera at all.

    and honestly, anyone who thinks a 35mm angle of view isn’t really for intimate moments, or for getting close to someone, or for multiple family members indoors, needs more practice with all of those subjects, and probably would benefit from fewer lens choices.

    in the end, the x100 isn’t for me, though i hoped it might be, and that’s a bit sad. imo, all they really needed in order to take things to a whole new level was to lick the manual focus problem. perhaps if they had taken the same approach to automated focus mode as to aperture and shutter speed, and made it a real ranged helicoid with a button-push stop at the infinity end to enter af mode… keep the autoshooters happy, and really deliver for the rest of us. that would be cool.

    • .
      But why did you “..hope(d) it might be..” the camera for you, xtoph?

      What made you have “expectations” of it? What was it about it that appealed to you? There are other APS-sized cameras around, and you can can fit 35mm-equivalent lenses on most of them, so what was going to be different about this one ..the optical viewfinder maybe?

      Why do you describe it as “..sad..” that this piece of equipment isn’t for you? I’m intrigued by your emotional attachment to it, and the apparent longing which you still seem to have, even though the X100 clearly doesn’t fit the bill for you.

      As for “.. there’s very little in life that can’t be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens. (this isn’t a matter of opinion, it’s been demonstrated ad naseum by many of the greatest photographers on earth.)..” ..we-ell, we can only judge by the photos which HAVE been published, and there are untold numbers of photos which HAVEN’T been published.

      I’d say that birds feeding their young “..can’t be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens”. I’d say that one horse pulling just a nose ahead of the others at the finishing post “..can’t be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens”. I’d say that the lion I shot (with a camera!) couldn’t “..be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens”. It’d be just a rather distant fuzzy ball. I’d say that there are zillions of pictures which “..can’t be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens”.

      I’d agree, though, that people standing about three feet away to about twenty-five feet away CAN “..be photographed very well with a reasonably fast 35mm (equivalent) lens..” and those may be the kinds of pictures which you prefer to shoot. Fair enough.

  41. I actually think David’s article was fairly objective. Either way, too much wasted time and anger about what is most certainly, and without a hint of a doubt, going to be another piece of worthless digital junk in 12-18 months. As a form of therapy, I suggest grabbing a 20-40 year old cheap camera and a couple of rolls of film and enjoy photography. Peace! :)

    • Well, according to David, that 20-40 year old cheap camera is rubbish because it likely has a fixed lens. I wouldn’t want to limit myself would I? David is my new savior, he has completely opened my eyes to the fact that I should be carrying either a full range zoom or every interchangeable lens I own, ALL the time!

      And you might have a point too Max, maybe we need to just all throw away our digital cameras. ALL of them!

      • Hey Chad,

        David certainly has a certain flair to get his points across :) If having one fixed lens would ever get in my way of creativity, I would have thrown out my Rolleiflex long ago. That’s a non-issue. Limiting factors for the X100 may be many but a fixed lens is far from one, unless you’re shooting birds. Anyway….
        Throw away all digital cameras? I did, and never felt better :)

        • Max,

          I don’t know if I would categorize it as flair. :)

          And unfortunately I don’t have the luxury of throwing my digital away since some editorial and published work needs same or next day turnaround, but my ratio of active film to digital cameras is about 6 to 1.

          No doubt, I love shooting film but I don’t hold digital in disdain.

          • Chad,

            I hear you..professionally, it is hard (in not impossible) to ditch digital. I feel fortunate not have it as a requirement, but if I had to do it for a living…you do what you have to do :)

    • Yeah, I mena, because film is the only real photography right? There are plenty of crap film cameras as well.

      • There sure are some but they are usually not $1,200 and nobody cares to talk about them, write about them. No, film photography is not the only real photography.

  42. [...] 12 Dpreview: Just posted: Our in-depth Fujifilm X100 review: Digital Photography Review … und ein "Verriss": USER REPORT: An Alternative View of the Fuji X100 by David Babsky | STEVE HUFF PHOTOS [...]

  43. I really don’t know what al you people are upset about..
    There is someting like freedom to say what you think..
    If david say’s that this camera sucks ass it doesnt mean he is a moron.. (not that he is saying that with that words.)
    It just says that he doesn’t like the feel an usability of this camera, that wont inmediately say that this camera is just as bad for your own shooting..
    If it does not work for him then it just doesnt work.. The fact that he speaks up about it en has no shame to say this is a bad camera unlike a site Like DPRevier who are just going to follow the rest of the world to keep their status high is only a thing i could appriciate..

    I have to say that i am not really agreeing with him as i still want one but still..

    Greets

    Excuse the bad english

    • Alexander,

      No one should have a problem with David saying what he thinks – I don’t. But we also have the same freedom to disagree with his thoughts and his review. Freedom is a two way street.

  44. Alas! If only that kind of passion in defending or discrediting our choice of cameras was translated
    into our photographs,the thousands upon thousands of boring images plastered across the web
    would suddenly become meaningfull.Difficult to imagine Davinci being obcessed with his paint
    brush.just saying.

    • Well said Sir!

      All the bitter comments over a camera review? Sheesh, people dying all over the world through war, poverty at this very minute yet *some* people get wound up and livid because one man say’s a certain camera ain’t all that in HIS opinion. Treatment for Stockholm Syndrome desperately needed for some on here that’s for sure.

      I’ve got many brands and types of brushes in my box and I don’t give a fig who loves or hates them so longs as I enjoy using the cameras, why should or would I even care?

  45. This is one of the most poorly organized “reviews” I have ever seen. It is like complaining about a Porsche when you needed and SUV with locking differentials.

    • Right on! Let’s complain about a Patek Philippe when you really need a $5 quartz watch (which keeps far, far better time at thousands of times less money). Does this mean the Patek isn’t a gorgeous timepiece? Of course not! Does the fact that the X100 doesn’t have a removable lens make it inferior to a $100 point-and-shoot? Of course not!

      • .
        That’s a really good analogy, Winestem. But what makes the Patek “..a gorgeous timepiece..”..? Is it just the “looks” (..and the looks could easily be reproduced on a cheap’n’cheerful watch..) or is it the craftsmanship and engineering which has gone into the intricate mechanical construction ..rather than simply its appearance?

        So what makes the Patek valuable ..looks or craftsmanship ..or something else entirely? (When I say “valuable”, what I should really say is “high-priced”.)

        Many people seem to think that the looks of the X100 instantly give it “value”, or maybe because the top and bottom are metal instead of plastic it’s therefore somehow to be admired, or lusted after.

        What exactly IS so marvellous about the X100 ..that’s what I’m trying to determine. There’s great craftsmanship in many cameras, and most of it goes entirely unobserved (..the multiple different helicoids in most lens bodies, the shaping and choice of glass of most lenses, the parallel signal processing of most CMOS sensors, the design of most sensors..) so what IS so special about the X100 apart from its retro looks and its double-bill electronic / glass viewfinder?

        • “so what IS so special about the X100 apart from its retro looks and its double-bill electronic / glass viewfinder?”

          Good question David.

          I think the answer is in the package. You’ve made it clear that the package is not for you but for others it is very appealing – compact size, what looks to be excellent build quality in comparison to other cameras in this class, large sensor, fast lens, AF, manual controls and optical viewfinder with data overlay. That particular combination cannot be found elsewhere so by definition becomes “special”.

          That said, I think the build quality really is impressive for the price point. More so than the Leica X1 which costs almost twice as much. The camera features the same type of magnesium alloy that my Ricoh GR had and that certainly is a step up from the steel top and bottom plates of classic cameras that many consider to be well built.

  46. Hello everyone,

    I’ve read lots of articles, previews, reviews, tests and so on, about the Fuji X100 camera.
    And what I’m going to say will not concern only Fuji X100… but also Leica X1, Sony NEX 5, Ricoh GXR, etc…

    One surprising thing comes to me : why are we totally “blinded” by these features and theses digital cameras, where many of them are just as good as older classic 35mm film cameras ?
    They’re just giving us as good photo quality as we where able to reach with some older (and cheaper) cameras. For example, the optical quality (aperture) is just coming to the quality we’ve known years before… But today, every one seems to rediscover it… And be impressed by little things.
    Am I wrong ?
    Has anyone got an answer ?
    Just got that feeling we’ve all been messed up by manufacturers…
    Just my two cents…

    By the way : GREAT SITE Steve ! Love it ! Great shots, great reviews… It rocks !

    Antonio

    • Antonio,

      The sad truth is that digital technology caught up and surpassed that of film SLRs but it has lagged behind in the rangefinder and compact camera category.

      Today we have full 35mm frame image sensors (and larger) for DSLRs but we have yet to see one in a compact mirrorless camera. Leica put one in the M9 but that camera is out of reach for many.

      I think that is one of the reasons some of us get excited by cameras like the X100 as they represent another step closer to that eventual goal of full frame in a compact body.

      • The only sadder truth is the fact that even though digital shooter rave about file quality and surpassing film, we’re all looking at these files on computers/monitors of variable quality and never fully exploiting the full potential of them anyway. Printing a 50 or 100mb file on an inkjet is certainly not going to show you the resolving power of an M9 + Summilux Asph. Optical prints, 35mm and certainly medium to large formats are still a sight to behold against which a digital image on a computer still doesn’t hold a candle. The problem is that few capable printers are out there and everyone else seems happy to look at mediocre pictures on computer screens and holding those as “gold standards”, with nothing of real quality to compare it to. Kind of pathetic if you ask me.

  47. Someone tell me I am wrong. Does the distant backround text (Tottenham sign photo) taken by the GF1 look sharper than the X100?

  48. They should not even be close.

    • Actually, they can be very, very close. The m4/3 sensor in the GF1 will do a great job in low ISO situations and you will be hard pressed to tell images between an APS-C sensor and m4/3 in good light and low ISO, especially web images.

      But my point is that you know nothing about these shots. There is no EXIF data so you have no idea what aperture and shutter speed they were taken at. You could be looking at the X100 image shot at f/2.0 and the GF1 shot at f/11 – big difference in background sharpness at those settings.

      Maybe David can provide you the original files with EXIF if you really want to use them as a comparison tool.

      • .
        Chad,

        I was surprised to find that the EXIF data has gone from some of the shots – my fault; it may have disappeared when I opened the shots in Graphic Converter or in some other program. ..though the EXIF data’s still there in the blue shot of two planes, for example, if you download it.

        I’ll look for the original data, and post it here soon when I’ve found the original shots ..that’s if you’re really interested!

        • Thanks David.

          I am not but Clyde might be. :)

          I have plenty of old GF1 images to compare with my X100 shots…I keep a catalog of the same setups around my house so I can shoot them again with different cameras and compare. Not super scientific but I try not to pixel peep too much.

          • You are correct, I should not have assumed that the settings would not be the same when photos are being compared from different cameras. Foolish of me.

      • .
        Well, here is (are?) the EXIF data from the two shots of the Tottenham Court Road sign-on-a-pole:

        X100:
        ISO 200, 1/550th, f5.6, ‘spot’ metering, ‘manual’ White Balance, no flash, 23mm lens (35mm equiv)

        GF1:
        ISO 200, 1/500th, f9, ‘pattern’ metering, ‘manual’ WB, no flash, focal length 18mm (36mm equivalent)

        I purposely used as near as possible the same settings for an easy comparison: both at ISO 200, both about 1/500th second shutter speed, both similar focal length (X100 – prime – lens was 23mm, equivalent to 35mm; GF1 14-45mm zoom set to 18mm, equivalent to 36mm).

        The GF1 shot was taken at f9, possibly because the sun had come out a bit when I took the GF1 shot. There’s a just-noticeable difference in depth-of-field between the two shots, with slightly more d-o-f in the GF1 shot when you look at the shop signs in the distance near the bottom of the picture(s).

        The reasons for this are that the GF1 lens was stopped down further (f9 compared with f5.6), and the GF1 lens was set to 18mm, compared with the 23mm of the X100.

        If you magnify both shots (..feel free to download them onto your own Desktop, but the pics have been resampled for web use, so you won’t see these effects..) it’s apparent that at large magnifications the GF1 has more speckle and jpeg artifacts, whereas – as I mentioned – the X100 image is “truly excellent” ..as it has a larger sensor (APS-size vs. micro-four-thirds), so it can withstand more magnification before “crumbling”.

        Note that this is nothing to do with the actual pixel count: the GF1 shot is 4000 x 2672 = 10.69 megapixels, and the jpg file size is about 6 megabytes. The X100 shot is – I’m looking at the RAW data – 2176 x 1448 = 3.15 megapixels, which saves as about 20 megabytes, and about 5 megabytes for the jpeg. So the “crumbling” of the GF1 shot, when magnified, is down to [a] smaller chip with less detail being captured, [b] different in-camera jpeg preparation.

        At massive magnifications, the X100 shots are far superior in “quality”, or detail, to the m4/3 GF1 shots. But at normal viewing sizes and distances on a computer screen, the noticeable differences are minimal.

        But see my comments – and Max’s in these responses – that a computer screen simply does does not show the range of fine tone and detail which a proper paper print can reveal. (Paper prints from digital shots depend primarily on the capabilities of the mechanical printer, and then of the camera’s and lens’ resolution. Paper prints from FILM depend primarily on the film’s and lens’ capabilities, and the magnification and the capabilities and focus of the enlarging lens. And – roughly – the larger the film, the better the print detail ..similarly, the larger the sensor, generally the better the final ‘digital’ result.)

  49. I’m glad that not everyone likes the Fujifilm… maybe one day they’ll arrive to my local store!!

  50. My oh my… the X100 won’t let me make my favorite cliches… so I don’t like it. Please, this was a very silly review that is more about the “photographer’s” inepitude then the cameras.

  51. Additionally, why would you write a review about a camera you don’t like for fun? There are plenty of cameras I don’t like, I just ignore them.

    • Why would anyone read a review they don’t like for fun? There are plenty of reviews I don’t like, but I think I shouldn’t ignore them.

      • That makes no damn sense. I read the review because I’m interested in the product. If I’m not interested in a product, it isn’t on my radar.

    • “Additionally, why would you write a review about a camera you don’t like for fun? There are plenty of cameras I don’t like, I just ignore them.”

      John, with this logic, i guess we can only write reviews for cameras/lenses we like. Then we will never see a negative review anymore and every single review will give the reviewed equipment thumbs up!

      Perhaps the world will be a better place if only positive thoughts are allowed to be put in words. :)

      • If you are a professional reviewer, your job is to review anything and everything… but as a person who is just writing a review for the hell of it, wouldn’t it make more sense to spend time on something you like?

        His review is so obviously made to cause a ruckus in the “community.”

  52. Good review. I felt the same way the first time I read about the X100. Its a pretender and clearly a product of japanese “gadget culture”.

  53. Thanks for the post David, interesting read. Fuji is to be commended for being innovative – something that is extremely rare in this industry – but the execution of the product is poor.

    For the reasons you mentioned, I’d have a hard time choosing this camera over an NEX-5 or MFT. The NEX is getting a sweet f/1.7 36 mm equivalent Zeiss lens this year for example, which I think will make it a far better choice than the X100 unless one needs the cool viewfinder.

    Also, I don’t understand why people rave over this camera’s styling. To me, its an utterly derivative design with absolutely no creativity. Its just bland copy of various small format rangefinders from the 60s and 70s and a little bit of the Leica M.

    • Totally looking forward to the Zeiss 24/1.7 lens for my NEX, but it will also be a chunky lens that makes my NEX 3 quite chunky. I’m also looking forward to the Pana-Leica 25/1.4 that is coming out for m4/3. Nevertheless, my X100 has its own advantages over my NEX 3, GH2 and EP2. First, it’s discrete like a point and shoot – small and quiet. And second, it produces IQ that is slightly better than the NEX, and clearly better than the GH2/EP2. The camera literally makes little to no sound. The X100′s shutter click sound is quieter than my K-5, and the K-5 is already super quiet!

      As far as styling, it’s definitely just a matter of opinion. I like the retro look and think the NEX is horribly ugly (although still a great camera). And the X100′s retro looks just happens to make it quite disarming when someone sees an “old” looking camera pointed his/her way.

    • I’m also looking forward to that Zeiss lens – I have high expectations!

      Choice always depends on the user. Some will prefer the viewfinder experience over the LCD.

      And to that point, I think the styling is just fine (I certainly wouldn’t call it bland) but it is the construction and ergonomics that impress me for a compact camera at this price point. And there is nothing wrong with paying homage to the classic rangefinders – they were popular for a reason.

  54. Thank you David, it’s an informative and entertaining read. Even tho I can’t agree with you 100% especially the prime vs. zoom argument but the point you’re making is valid. It’s all a matter of where you stand and perspective.

    And to those “BS” comments, if you really think and believe what you’ve read is “BS”, why not write something and prove this article is “BS”, and if you really do write that article, I bet you a million bucks there will be someone who will claim whatever you write is “BS”! It’s funny that in this day and age, if this review can be categorized as “BS”, what is not “BS” in life?? lol

    Enjoy the X100, or hate it, or whatever, enjoy life cause it’s short!

    Peace

  55. This review is well worth reading..

    http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujifilmx100/

    Enjoy!

    :)

  56. Also update for Apertureon me mac today..

    This update adds RAW image compatibility for the following cameras to Aperture 3 and iPhoto ’11:

    Fujifilm FinePix X100
    Nikon D5100
    Olympus E-PL2
    Olympus XZ-1
    Samsung GX-1S

  57. I enjoyed this review, as I enjoyed that typed by Steve. I also enjoy the differing writing styles of these two gentlemen. Will I buy an X100? Neither review has convinced me, either way, but I am glad to have gotten food for thought from two dissenting chefs.

    Most likely, I will not buy an X100, nor a Leica X1, as either one would significantly delay other goals, such as more Canon L glass, and further, longer-term goals of a Leica M camera and glass. There is something about a thousand (or more) US dollars that really does make me stop and think about whether I am impeding a long-term goal. On the other hand, when I finally get to lay my hands on an X100, if it feels right, and fits the way this lefty holds things, I can apply what I have
    read in dissenting reviews to help me decide if this would be a worthy detour.

  58. Why does Steve even run XXXX so called “reviews”? Thwe only thing I learned in this is an uncreative photographer tried to incompetently use a camera to0 fit his narrow and completely invalid methodology of photography. To the reviewer it’s obvious that the equipment is what makes the photo, not the photographer.

    • I enjoy this site and reviews and have only commented daily inspirations but I have to say that comments like the one above don’t have place here, it is OK to disagree with what David has written but making personal insults really distasteful

  59. There are shortcomings about the X100 that Dave pointed out that exist, but his exhaustive roar of belligerence at this very short list of weaknesses is not shared by this user. It seems that somebody bought an expensive camera they knew they wouldn’t like, didn’t like it, and then wanted to complain and stomp their feet about it. Not once did I read how he even attempted to try to work with the camera and just choose to fight it. No one has ever learned anything or enjoyed any activity by doing that.

    After 3 weeks shooting every day with it, I am still learning the “hidden functions” combo button pushes and the “best practices” that Fuji’s engineers ingeniously have built into the camera. (Any X100 user should check out the new Fuji Guys video on YouTube for some). As I learn, I am moving faster though scenes and hitting most of the shots easily. Just as a DSLR, it will be hard to learn everything this camera can do. I have yet to say that about any compact camera. Being able to shoot at 1600 – 6400 regularly without 7lbs attached makes me want to shout, “Freedom at last!”

    It is certainly a “stylistic” type of camera. Just like Holga, Diana, Polaroids and the like, either it fits your style, or it doesn’t. Raging furiously about something that doesn’t conform to you, seems rather self-centered in a very unattractive, narcissistic way.

  60. Well I’ve yet to see any camera not able to produce a good photograph, the X100 is loaded with great features which you can choose to use or to ignore.

    having shot over 2000 photos (mainly street) with the X100 I’ve found it neither slow or glitchy

    it’s quite easy to find fault with pretty much anything because everything has its faults

    lucky for me people don’t move at 25mph so I manage to get them in the frame right where I want them

  61. hehe.. nice post… I won’t be buying a Fuji x100, I like the styling etc.. but I get the feeling its style over substance… however not used it… but a fair few reviews state the slowness, so there must be some truth in it.

    The main thing is if an owner of this camera enjoys using it and can get good results from it, thats all that matters, to them anyway.

    Cheers

    Barry

  62. Pretty ridiculous. You can write something like this for every camera.

  63. David, excellent review.

  64. I look forward to your other curmudgeonly reviews like…”my remote has too many buttons!” and “Kids today are troublesome!”

    There are fundamental flaws in your write up. I honestly can’t believe you took this much time to write it, when instead of spending time trying to convice people who like this camera that they’re wrong, and you’re right, you could have just not bought one.

    And it’s too bad, because I’m out loving my X100. I took the time to learn how to use it *SHOCKER!* and now i’m making some of my favorite new images with it.

    Why don’t you just accept that this camera isn’t for you? God forbid somebody every gives you a Rolleiflex…

    And as for Seal’s comment…if Leica is so interested in cutting out the B/S in their cameras, how do you explain their line of rebranded Panasonics?

    I would have bought an X1 when it came out, I really would have…but once again I couldn’t because they priced it so only the wealthy can afford it. Not some schmuck like me who only passionately loves photography, but doens’t have the wallet to bank “luxury.” So for me the X100 is a gift. Finally a lowely guy like me can afford a camera that opperates in classic function and form.

  65. Oh and for the record, most of your shots where you were tracking the car would have been in focus if you just would have stopped down to like 5.6, and set the camera to manual focus. It’s a 23mm lens! There is a whole bunch of depth of field!

    Wait a minute, wait a minute…sorry…this would have required that you learn how to use the camera. I know! I know! Terrible.

    And you can show a million and one pictures that you couldn’t have achieved with an X100, but who is out there saying that the Fuji X100 should be your only camera and that it can get every shot? Nobody is saying that. You’re just being a contrarian, when there really isn’t a reason to be.

  66. Why do these always have to come coated in disclaimers if they don’t “follow the line”? We can see the author’s name in the article…
    K

    • Because if they don’t, people like you are the first to attack People like Steve for taking a democratic approach to such topics.

      `6

    • Because there are objective reviews (see dpreview, Steve’s own review, Luminous Landscape etc etc…) and then there are pieces like this, where some guy just feels like he has to tell the world why he’s right, and they’re wrong.

      There’s no line here, that people are jumping out of. There have been plenty of well presented complaints about this camera. I mean, sure there are improvements to be made. But this kind of writing isn’t about not towing the line, it’s about a guy who just doesn’t get the X100, and has decided he needs to rain on everybody elses enjoyment.

      • .
        It’s true, Mark, I am “..a guy who just doesn’t get the X100″. You’re dead right.

        So please do show me the errors of my ways: please do explain right here what are the great features of this camera. I know that it can give great images with its APS-sized sensor (..if the photographer has the ‘eye’ to see a great image in front of the camera, ready to be shot..) and I know that it’s discreet, with its silent leaf shutter – like many small compact cameras – and I know it has a viewfinder to look into, instead of just relying on a display screen on the back.

        But – apart from looking like a “mechanical” camera of the 70s, from the fairly early days of built-in light meters and camera-chosen automatic shutter speeds – please do tell us what are the things which are so special, or so capable, about this camera, compared with everything else on the market?

        I’m not telling “..the world why he’s right, and they’re wrong..” ..I’m trying to understand why people seem to fetishise this device, when it has – to my mind – several shortcomings: one lens only, poor controls on the rear, slower autofocus than similar cameras, and did I mention.. you can’t change lenses?

        Please do itemise here the great capabilities of this camera (..like I’ve itemised its characteristics in the review, above..) and tell us what makes it better than, for instance, the device which I was comparing it to; the R-D1.

        The floor is yours..

        • Trustedreviews says about the r-d1:

          “The Epson R-D1 is an exercise in nostalgia for people with more money than sense. Brick-like handling, poor results and a major inherent design flaw make it an expensive and pointless novelty item. The only analogy I can think of would be stuffing a turbocharger into a wood-framed Morris Traveller and then asking the same price for it as a brand new Mercedes. Who’s going to buy it?”

          http://www.trustedreviews.com/Epson-R-D1-Digital-Rangefinder-Camera_Digital-Camera_review

          Sounds familiar… :) ha!

          • +1

            Funny how you can see a trend where all that loves the x100 will say that they love using it and get great result but also cautions peple that you have to try it first to see if it fits you (basically not forcing you to buy it). While those who don’t get it would beat the issue to a pulp just to say it’s no good. LOL

            It kind of remind me of kids who don’t cut it to say, a little league baseball and starts throwing a tantrum about he didn’t want to play the stupid game anyway or it’s boring and he rather do something else.

            Bottomline, it’s a niche camera. Either you get it or you don’t. Move on …

          • .
            We-ell, aadb, I bought my R-D1 second-hand, like many of the cameras I’ve had, so I used more sense than money. (There are a few mistakes in that review: my glasses don’t get scratched, because there IS a rubber protection band around the viewfinder on mine.) Its pictures seem good enough (..see the four in the main review, above..) and it takes interchangeable lenses – which don’t actually show much vignetting, because the APS-size sensor “trims off” the edges of the view seen by each lens: it has no more noticeable vignetting than a Leica M9 ..or many SLRs.

            (..There’s definitely no vignetting on those four pics above, as you can see, because they were shot with a 75mm lens, not with a wide-angle..)

            But apart from ‘TrustedReviews’ ..what’s your own experience with an R-D1? How do YOU find it ..awkward, or easy to use, and what d’you think of its results? How do you find it compares with, say, the Fuji X100?

        • I just don’t understand why you got an X100 in the first place, you moan on about a fixed 35mm lens being near useless and then get a camera with one.

          good or bad, right or wrong I found your article entertaining none the less

          • .
            Glad you found it entertaining! ..That’s the point, isn’t it? ..Information and enjoyment, both at the same time!

            “..I just don’t understand why you got an X100 in the first place..” ..we-ell, I got one to test ..but I didn’t BUY one; I took a couple on extended tests. (I would never buy a camera without testing it first. Would you?)

            So in the days I had, I tried and tested ..but – as you can see – I didn’t buy this camera, as it has just one fixed lens on it. (The last time I bought a camera which had just one fixed lens must have been back in the early 70s.)

            So I got one – or two – to try. Simple.

        • Challenge accepted!

          If you would like me to compare these two cameras (both of which I like) I will cover the main differences, as I seem them.

          Price:

          Fuji X100: $1200
          Epson RD-1(s/x) (body only): $1,500-2,500

          So with the Fuji you get a premium lens, and it’s new, and it’s less expensive.

          Lens:

          Fuji 23mm F2 Fixed. No, you can’t change it, but it performs up there with the best from Leica or Zeiss.

          RD-1: Interchangable. But lets assume for arguments sake that the buyer was interested in the popular moderate wide angle, and on an APS-C sensor this would be a 25-20mm lens (because we’re making a comparison to the X100). Your choices are the Voigtlander 25/21mm Color Skopars, which are nice, but are two stops slower and don’t perform as well. Or the Zeiss 25mm 2.8, which is great but begins to make the camera prohibitively expensive. The Leica options bring the price to well above comparable levels. (21mm Summilux anyone?)

          Because price MUST be a real world consideration, the X100 is clearly a cost effective choice. Better? I don’t know, but for me I could afford it. So I would say that’s certainly better than having no camera at all.

          Sensor:

          Fuji X100: 12mp CMOS, ISO up to 3200 in raw, and newly developed for fantastic noise performance.

          RD-1: 2004 tech 6mp CCD. Great in low light, but half the resolution and certainly not a night time performer.

          Viewfinder:

          Fuji X100: 3 ways to compose. Heads up display optical finder, EVF finder, and LCD live view.

          RD-1: Rangefinder type optical finder with brightlines and split image window.

          Without taking my eye off the finder of my X100 I know the depth of field, the horizon level, the histogram, and my basic settings. I can also get around with one major problem rangefinders have always had, which is close focusing! The only time I use the LCD is when I’m somewhere like a concert and I want to shoot high above my head.

          What’s better? Well neither obviously, they’re very different cameras. But in terms of options the
          X100 certainly has more within it’s focal length for compositional choices.

          Focus:

          X100: Auto and manual focus. But the manual focus is pretty useless, I agree. However due to the 23mm focal length, I have so much depth of field that this hasn’t been an issue. Also my method of auto focusing is the center point, recompose method, similar to what Steve uses as pointed out in his objective (keyword objective) review. It’s not as fast an NEX, but it hasn’t been a problem for me thus far. Every camera I’ve ever owned had imperfect auto focusing systems. We work around them, plain and simple. (5D Mark II anyone?)

          Epson RD-1: Rangefinder, manual focus, precise, simple. ‘Nuff said.

          Again, which is better? Well neither! I can’t shoot the RD-1 one handed, but I also can’t really smoothly manual focus the X100. I’d say it’s a toss up. Especially because I consider close focusing a huge advantage.

          These are just a few honest comparisons of the two cameras, which in my opinion really shouldn’t be compared. The only real comparisons should be leveled against the Leica X1, Olmpus Pen’s, and Panasonic GF cameras. The X100 bests these cameras in a few key ways. Over leica, well price, viewfinder and a one stop advantage (but most importantly I’ll repeat PRICE).

          The problem with the m4/3rds options thus far has been design. A viewfinder is important to me, and thus far a camera like the EP-2 or the GF-1 are the closest equivalents. However thus far the designs have been focused closely in line with other digital cameras. They operate somewhat like hyped up point and shoots. They’re largely Automatic or Aperture Priority cameras. And the viewfinder add-ons feel like weak compromises to what I consider is a highly refined HUD in the X100.

          And the fervor surrounding the X100? Well a market has been ignored not only by major camera makers, but also by Leica, which has priced their cameras out of the hands of working artists and professionals. The Fuji X100 is a camera for people passionate about photography and design, but are of modest means. For me the Fuji is a gift. A digital camera that for every way that matters to me, operates just like my Bessa, my G1, or my Olympus Stylus Epic (another great FIXED LENS CAMERA).

          And as for you fixed lens argument. It’s a moot point. Why? Because in my camera bag my Fuji X100 sits right next to my Pentax K-5. What’s more, I didn’t have to buy the slow 21mm 3.2 limited because the Fuji covers the same angle of view, and is faster. What’s more I get a camera I really enjoy using that I literally take everywhere. And I think you’d be hard pressed to find someone out there who is seriously arguing that the X100 is a do-everything work horse. To complain about it’s fixed lens is pointless because Fuji isn’t tricking anyone by marketing it as anything other than a fixed lens camera. Smart buyers know what they’re getting. And it’s ignoring the fact that Fuji has made fixed lens cameras for years. It’s their specialty and they do it particularly well. I’m sorry this doesn’t fit your style of photography, but it suits a lot of other people just fine.

          My problem with your ‘review’ was that you started out not liking it, and basically wrote an editorial to sound off your complaints. I could argue all day and night about how the 5D Mark II is a terrible camera because it’s huge, noisy, has a sub-par autofocus, and is expensive…but I’d be totally ignoring the things that make the 5D Mark II great. Which is exactly what you are doing by dissenting so hard against the Fuji.

          • I said the RD-1′s sensor was “great in low light but not a night time performer.” That was a typo. I meant great in good light.

          • .
            Bravo! ..Thank you, Mark! ..It’s great to read an enthusiast’s real campaigning endorsement of what they use ..and WHY they use it!

            It’s great to read an informed comparison which really explains in short and simple terms what’s so good about a particular device.

            I still prefer interchangeable lenses, and I still find the dials on the back of the X100 fussy and awkward, and the focus too slow, and the menus poor ..but I’m so pleased that you’ve presented a decent, readable counter-argument to exemplify what you do find RIGHT about the X100.

            Thank you – that’s what discussion’s all about! ..You’ve almost won me over!

  67. claiming about parallax issues shows clearly that this person hasn’t understand the basics of photography in general and camera systems in particular.
    The shots of cabs made with a M9/8/7/6/5/4/3… and Barnack from this gentleman would be much worse when he does the same technique. So the question is whether he wants to fool us or does he know it not better……….?

    BTW:

    cabs can be shot without a blurry door handle, or…..;-)

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/36573929@N00/168436528/in/photostream

    • .
      Dear bernie,

      Yes, cabs can be shot without a blurry door handle – by panning the camera along with the motion of the cab. But if I’d panned the camera, we’d have had no idea how long it took for the autofocus to do its work and for the shutter to open.

      I wasn’t aiming for sharp door handles ..this was a “real world” test to see how long it took for the focus to get a grip, and then for the shutter to open.

      ..But thanks for taking the trouble to show us a nice sharp London cab!

      (..The photographer mentions “..during the turning of my body the guy dropped into the scene :-)..” confirming that he was panning while shooting. My guess is that it was shot at about 1/20th..)

  68. All I know is that you can point out every negative of a product, and then employ that camera in every situation to illustrate those negatives OR…. You could just shoot with the camera for more than a month. I’m starting to get real tired of internet reviews…

    No examples you present show any attempt at just focusing on photography with the X100. Therefore, I do not value any of your insights. Sorry, if you are the photographer you say you are it does not show in your images.

  69. David, if you do requests I’d like to read your take on these

    1: The Leica Look
    2: Nikon v Canon

    come-on you know you want to

    • .
      “..The Leica Look..” ..we-ell, I’ve gotta go out now, so I might not give a proper response for a couple of days. But a quick response would be that “shallow depth-of-field with wide aperture” tends to be associated with Leicas, as they’ve been making sharp f2 lenses for so many years. And the cumulative printed, published pictures shot with Leicas tend to have been predominantly black-and-white shots. (Cartier-Bresson, Man Ray, Stanley Kubrick, Richard Young, etc. ..Though, of course, National Geographic photographers shot Leicas with Kodachrome.

      (Leitz prided themselves on providing “suits” of lenses, say 35mm, 50mm, 90mm, all made from single batches of glass, so that NG’s Kodachrome transparencies would all have the same colours, rather than being slightly different as the photographers changed their lenses.)

      “The Leica Look” has tended to be slightly wide-angle, too. And certainly not “long focus”, as the longest lenses Leitz/Leica have made for their rangefinders (I assume we’re talking rangefinders, not reflex) has been 135mm, because the focusing’s unreliable beyond that, due to the gearing in the lens tubes and minimal movement of the cam in the camera, and the shrinking frame lines in the viewfinder.

      But “The Leica Look” is largely a marketing myth. It’s a kind of promise that – like, say, the Chanel look – you’ll seem smart and sophisticated if you use a particular camera and lenses, or wear a particular dress. No amount of smart dress will make a dummkopf seem smart (..rather as Seal was saying the other week: a monkey in a morning coat is still a monkey in a morning coat). The reason why PUBLISHED Leica photos look good is because they were taken by good photographers! ..They’d have looked good whichever camera was used, whether Reid, Corfield, Nikon, Canon, Mamiya, Rollei, Holga, whatever.

      (..There’s any amount of unpublished awful rubbish which has been shot with Leicas, too, but we don’t think of that, for the very reason that awful photos often are not published: picture editors are paid to do better things than to print rubbish..)

      So “The Leica Look” is the look of photos taken by accomplished photographers, who were using Leicas. But Mamiya have never pushed “The Mamiya Look”, so it hasn’t been emblazoned on our consciousness. “The Leica Look” doesn’t apply to most sports photos, as sports photographers – as a rule – haven’t used Leicas, as the kit’s too restricting (no long lenses). So it’s become associated with low-ish light (because of those wide-aperture lenses), perhaps indoor, rather close range, generally b&w, perhaps a little grainy (low light film), possibly “intimate”-looking pictures of people often caught unawares, or in the “street” ..because it was originally a small, unobtrusive camera which takes wide-aperture short-range lenses.

      Nikon and Minolta lenses have generally had similar resolution to Leica lenses – indeed, they’ve been fitted to Leicas ..in fact I have a Leica-fit Nikon 105mm and a Minolta 40mm right here as I write this. But you don’t hear about “The Nikon Look” or “The Minolta Look” because those camera companies have never been so “precious” about their hardware as Leica PR people have been about the supposed magic of using Leica equipment. Some of it has to do with the archaic translation of “LFI” magazine from German into English, some of it has to do with snobbery within British and American “camera clubs” ..and it’s proliferating on the internet.

      So “The Leica Look” is, or was, primarily the look of talented – and workmanlike – photographers. What d’you think of “The Babsky Look” up there in the review: those vivid-colour pictures taken with an R-D1 and a Leica 75mm lens? ..Do they have “The Leica Look” or “The Epson Look” ..or no discernibly special “Look” at all..?

  70. Steve,
    Thanks for publishing this. I really enjoy reading all the nasty outraged comments whenever David writes a review.

    I hope those who bought the x100 are secure enough with their purchase that they don’t need fawning reviews for validation. If you like your camera why do you care what David thinks? I have an EPL1 that I really like, despite its limitations. If David wants to write a negative review of it that would be fun to read.

  71. If you have preview off, it is nice to have the shutter sound to confirm the deed has been done.

  72. I read it again and it’s even worse the second time.

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