Another perspective on the Fuji X100 by Chris Bandera

(Steve’s full and thorough X100 Review can be seen HERE)

The Fuji X100 – Quirky but fun.

By Chris Bandera – Chris’s Flickr


I bought an X100, took it for a test drive, and am now debating on returning it. The camera is beautiful physically, but the interface gets in the way more than anything else. A camera should never get in the way. This camera for some reason already has a huge cult following, so I’ll probably get some flack for highlighting the negative points, but…I bought it and thought I should share my experiences thus far.

1.. It freezes, requiring a battery pull (specifically, after previewing images taken through the EVF with the main display turned off and trying to get back via a half-shutter press). A problem when a case is attached, covering the battery compartment. This is a minor point though… I mean, the X100 isn’t gonna replace a Nikon D3 in terms of dependability and continuous shooting, but still…for $1199 and in 2011?

2. Oh, speaking of the battery, it can be inserted backward by mistake.

3. Manual focus is useless. Three full rotations from min to infinity. Even though it’s electronic, it works and is smooth. But I was really hoping this would be implemented with a shorter throw, like on a Canonet.

4. ISO can only be set in small increments (200, 250, 320, etc., instead of 200, 400, 800)…sorry, I’m used to the full-stops I get from other cameras. Believe it or not, this actually slows things down a tad.

5. TIP: A $50 adapter is needed to screw on a UV filter. BUT, a 49mm filter can be screwed on backward to bypass this. Yay! I quickly discovered that shooting macro extends the lens from the body though, hitting the UV filter. Aha! That’s why the adapter is needed. Anyway, a 49mm can be stacked atop another with glass removed to fix this.

All of these are minor points, and the camera has more pros than cons. Honestly. For one, the image and lens quality is superb, which is why it’s so hard to return the camera. It’s also dead-quiet, and most importantly extremely light (the reason I bought it in the first place!). But I guess it’s just easier to nitpick and complain when you’re used to the slick, perfect interface offered by Nikon on everything including their cheapest dSLRs.

Here’s the showstopper:

6. The optical viewfinder is tiny and ‘blurred’ depending on viewing angle, regardless of diopter setting. It gives me a headache.

I’m honestly bewildered by almost every review having nothing but positive things to say… But then, maybe that’s because I unknowingly ignored any negatives when I placed my preorder months ago! Bottom-line: considering the price, I was honestly at least hoping for an interface on par with my Nikon D40 and an optical viewfinder at least as good as my Canonet QL19 (it’s more ‘consistent’ and not ‘blurred’, thus not headache-inducing).

Someone, please, just ‘digify’ an old Canonet or Hexar, and forget all the fluff. This type of camera is being sold to the same niche that uses the old rangefinders, so we don’t care for any extras. Get rid of autofocus, even the LCD screen for that matter (I exaggerate)! Just don’t sacrifice the viewfinder and focusing mechanisms. In the meantime, this was a hellafun experience, and will only mean a better camera the next go around. Thanks, Fuji. I’m still on the fence, but more than likely I’ll be waiting for your X200 while I shoot with my $5 Goodwill Canonet.

update: decided to sell it…the small viewfinder being the deciding factor. Oh well. Waiting on an improved version!

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  2. I have read alot of the comments on this post, and im glad to see the amount of positive feedback and only shocked to see what your problems are with the camera. I think alot of you are forgetting that aside from Leica there is no other camera like this on the market and at an affordable price, sure the leica’s are full frame and blah blah blah, but this camera is one of a kind and not only does it look good, but it performs well above most point and shoots, and lets not kid ourselves, thats what this camera is, A POINT AND SHOOT, i bought mine for the simple reason of, i want picture quality in a compact body, i know alot of photographers that do not want to lug around loads of gear just to have their equipment handy. i know i dont. who cares if you cant change your lens, if you want to change your lens than buy a DSLR, if you want to zoom but compact buy a ZOOM COMPACT. If you are having trouble with the viewfinder go and get your eyes checked! if your going to whinge about menus and blah blah blah, how about you design a camera and software for it and make it better. this is what is on the market and to me this camera is fantastic, the noise is that good compared to my 5D Mark ii, if any thing other camera companys need to take a page out of fuji’s book and start providing what this little battler can.

  3. Your review is useless. ( I have no intention to be unfriendly)
    Proof come from using a camera. I bought it.
    And each time I use it more and more since results are far more than I expected.
    Usually I work on Canon Eos 1 Mark IV.
    Sometimes fuji performs better than it !
    And sincerely, very, very few flaws are to be remarked.
    I strongly believe YOU are not for this camera.
    But itself it remain a superb piece of work.

  4. I feel your pain – I have one in-hand on loan for about a month. The sheer randomness of how this camera behaves is beyond me. Why can’t it wake up after going to sleep? Why do I need to exit “silent mode” just to force the fill flash? Why is the button on the back so small it’s almost impossible to press without accidentally pressing the up/down/left/right buttons? Why is it so easy to switch from autofocus to manual focus without knowing it? Why does manual focus take 25 turns to travel 10 meters? This camera BADLY needs a firmware fix. I’m sorry, everyone, but if you’re defending the ergonomics of the X100 right now you’re just looking to justify your purchase. This thing is severely crippled as of 5/6/11.

  5. I was really glad to see this design being made but then became disillusioned when I learned the lens was not threaded to accept filters. A filter adapter was necessary. Why when generations of cameras have been made with threaded lenses would they not do this. I would like to place a filter on just to protect the lens and in this case it’s a fixed lens at that.
    I’ll wait for Canon or Nikon to introduce their designs with a full frame sensor. Fuji can generate the interest and then Canon and Nikon can make it right.

  6. Chris –

    I thought you wrote a great review of your experiences with the camera. I was getting tired of reading the same praise over and over with little nuances of issues and was always left wondering what was left unsaid. Some only use a camera for a few days to write a review and have to send it back. You provided some good insight by someone who obviously used the camera and put it though the course. It is unfortunate that some have taken your review in such a personal way.

    I never believed this camera was made to replace a DSLR but be a complimentary option when one would like a different working feel and smaller option but with the same image quality not the almost of the 4/3rds and mirror-less systems.

    I’m on the fence of getting this or a M8 and a 3rd party lens (which I think almost defeats the purpose but that the $ now for me) but the High iso use is quite important to me which makes me lean towards the X100. I’ll probably try the X100 but will keep the receipt close.

    • Yeah, X100 follow up one, with gentelman Gordon e-mail. Which supports my “grappling in the dark with focus issues” (Ihavn`t used the camera). The more I read about all the wizardry put into “down to basics” X100″ in order to set such a basic thing as the distance setting (either you do it by hand using the scale on lens barrel and figuring depth of field, or use clear and bright RF), the more I got suspicious about effectivity of it. One guy said to my post “hey man it`s not RF it`s AF”. Imagine serious photog buying AF only cam with watered down operation. O.K. there`s one instance I will definitely appreciate AF. Follow focus,( selectable three horizontal bars) but it must be FAST.! Otherwise no deal. Can X100 deliver it? Superb quality in small package. Oh my, what about ROLLEI 35S loaded with Velvia50, f:8, tripod. Only real advantage is superb high ISO allowing handheld quality. Alas, looks like Fuji is good at chip making and lousy regarding real picture taking ergonomics bussines.

      • You have the same idea as me in my post – number 30 and 32 above! Nice idea badly executed by Fuji I feel.

  7. Hi all.. After using the x100 for a while now, I do not find the above mentioned downsides to be affecting my personal shooting, yes the AF does not perform up to expectation under low light condition, however that does not cause a major concern and can be resolve by changing OVF to EVF mode. Macro shots and Street shots has been quite satisfying and most importantly it has impressive IQ and high usable range of ISO.. 
    Below are few shots during my recent trip to HK hope to share with you everyone.. Enjoy!


    For more please visit my flickr:

  8. I received a X100 two days ago and have to agree with all above comments expressing some irritation with Chris Bandera’s so called test drive. Despite some quirks and warts, the X100 is an excellent camera and the OVF simply brilliant, clear, bright, big, showing all relevant information needed. A camera one simply wants to grab and go out shooting, it almost feels like an AF Leica M. Fuji landed a clear winner :).

  9. This review or commentary on this camera is really lame & unprofessional. The guy doesn’t even know how to load the battery. I think it came with a manual amigo……

  10. I’m still waiting for mine to arrive, and my M8 is in New Jersey having the sensor fixed (the dreaded line of red pixels), so lately I’ve been shooting mostly with a NEX-5+metabones adaptor and my various M-mount glass. I honestly had no idea how much I would love this combination, btw.

    What I would really like to see though, is a Contax G2, but digital. Right now though, I’ll settle for my pre-ordered X100 showing up.

    • Warren, I had a loaner X100 for just over a week and since it has gone back, I’ve been shooting the NEX with M-mount as well. Pretty awesome isn’t it? To me, the X100 / NEX combo is just about the perfect solution for 100% of my unpaid, walk around photography.

      • NEX+M is a great combination, but for some reason seems to lack the richness and sharpness of the M8. I tend to work the files a little more in Lightroom than I’m accustomed to. Right now my “walk around” kit is NEX-5, M6 + 3 lenses. Very lightweight and versatile!
        NEX+M is a good video combo too!

  11. Sticking with my M3. I have said this about 2 dozen times after a review of some new camera. It is just really hard to better perfection.

  12. It’s a truly sad state of affairs when reviews are reduced to this level of nit picking. If there is one fault with the camera it’s the wheel on the back, and I adapted to using this within a couple of hours.

    For those of you looking at this camera for all the features that have attracted yourself and many thousands globally, please don’t be put off by incompetent reviews.

    For the record, I have absolutely no connection with Fuji or related interests. I come from the DSLR stable, as an amateur photographer of fifteen years.

    I hope this goes some way to putting some people back on the X100 path.


  13. With no disrespect to Chris B, this “review” was not front page material and contained information that was either incorrect or highly irregular. It kind of smells like a fishing expedition and yes, I took the bait.

    There are plenty of things about the X100 that can be criticized, manual focus being one of them (hello X1 until the latest firmware a year later), but certainly not the OVF and to my recollection, the ISO changed in full increments just fine for me, right in the OVF and EVF so maybe Chris was referring to changing the ISO in the menus. I also never had my loaner freeze but if Chris’ did then we can’t deny him that observation.

    It is becoming abundantly clear that the X100 is an exciting camera with class leading image quality but with an interface that has its quirks. Are those quirks anything that kept me from shooting the hell out of it for a week and enjoying it more than any camera I have shot in the last several years? Nope.

    And I hate to hang this out there since we all know how long it took Leica to update the X1 firmware BUT I have a strong suspicion that we will be seeing a revision very soon. Fuji employees have been listening and forwarding on feedback so let’s see if they can turn an great camera into a true classic.

  14. Once I saw the images, the availability issues, and the general complaints about ui and experiences..I cancelled my preorder…this post reinforces that was the right move.

    Even though I’ve moved on from the x1, I don’t see a better compact out there yet. Maybe gxr.. ?

    • ouch, you could have at least tried it out for yourself and then sell it for what you bought it for or more. Why would you give up the chance to do that?

  15. 1.. It freezes, requiring a battery pull…

    You obviously have a defect. Call Fuji and they will take care of this.

    2. Oh, speaking of the battery, it can be inserted backward by mistake.

    Pay attention to what you’re doing and learn which way the battery goes.

    3. Manual focus is useless.

    Slow, but not useless. Use the AFL button on the back and then tweak manually…much faster.

    4. ISO can only be set in small increments (200, 250, 320, etc., instead of 200, 400, 800)…sorry, I’m used to the full-stops

    Since when is “more” control a handicap? This is not a point & shoot you give your wife.

    5. TIP: A $50 adapter is needed to screw on a UV filter. BUT, a 49mm filter can be screwed on backward to bypass this. Yay!

    Good tip…thanks.

    6. The optical viewfinder is tiny and ‘blurred’ depending on viewing angle, regardless of diopter setting. It gives me a headache.

    You really do need your eyes checked. I come from an age where I learned on cameras from the 60s & 70s. They had large, clear viewfinders. The one on the X100 is very comparable and in some ways much better than those.

    It’s a shame you didn’t take the time to learn the camera. It’s not a rangefinder or a dslr.

  16. Thank’s for the review.

    I used to be interested in Fuji’s med-format “Texas Leica’s” back in the film days, & later a S5 digital, but never got Fuji for various reasons. I was seriously considering a X100 – but short of a completely different hands on experience than what I’ve been reading – I’ll likely pass.

    Anyone got any thoughts between an X100 vs X1 vs DP1x/DP2s (Leica & Sigma’s with external VF)? No 4/3 please.


  17. [img] 35SP Fuji Sensia 04.jpg[/img]

    • @go
      i have used the leica x1 for a week or so compared it to my dp2s …i prefered the sigma iq x1 files are very nice but also very digital looking , sigma’s are more like 35 mm looking more depth and seperation of objects….

      • I feel the same, I just wish that foveon sensor came in a better camera, I find my DP2 incredibly frustrating and often end up leaving it at home. I did take some photos recently with the DP2 that absolutely “wow’ed” me with the amount of detail in them though…

        • @ warren,
          with this camera practice makes perfect …the more you use it the less frustrating it becomes….but the “wow” factor is correct on the iq and detail in every file…!

  18. Here’s another option ….

    Objective: To take photographs with a retro style, high quality camera with all the advantages of cameras from a previous generation (high quality lens/small metal camera/real viewfinder/accurate focusing/full user control) with all of the enjoyment and benefits inherent in their use, whilst producing a high quality full frame digital image.

    Solution: Buy an Olympus 35SP. Buy an MR-9 Battery Adaptor to enable you to get accurate meter readings from the built in meter (spot meter or centre-weighted average) with none of the disadvantages of fading voltage alkaline substitutes. Shoot Fujichrome Velvia 50. Then have your films professionally scanned when they are developed.

    You get 19+ Megapixel full frame digital images from a very high quality f1.7 lens (remember those!), proper Rangefinder viewing/focusing, in a well made, robust, metal camera, weighing only 600g. And all at a very sensible price.
    [img] 35SP Fuji Sensia 01.jpg[/img]
    [img] 35SP Fuji Sensia 02.jpg[/img]
    [img] 35SP Fuji Sensia 03.jpg[/img]
    [img] 35SP Fuji Sensia 05.jpg[/img]
    [img] 35SP Fuji Sensia 06.jpg[/img]

    • The photos I’ve added here are scans from Fujichrome Sensia 100 film, which I scanned myself on my (cheap) 12 year old Minolta Dimage Scan Dual ll, having taken them on my 40 year old Olympus 35 SP. This equates to less than 11 Megapixels, on top of which these files are only at 50% image size to which compression has also been added to post them here. The full sized files would print at 11×16 inches and produce good quality results. I added another example in the next post too.

  19. yes I am the first customer in France for this wonderful device!
    is mine I have just been delivered! (Ordered on the internet) and I can share my impressions =
    Wawh-how fast! it looks like a Leica M …. It comes in a stylish package as the Leica x1-an impression of solidity, of boutons/bagues- al’ancienne, which remain in place (not like the x1) reactivity astonishing, immediate display, and a bright viewfinder specific (hybrid viewfinder is stunningly beautiful and it automatically!) – Picture perfect (as x1 that I had and sold quickly due to its deplorable slowness and lack of viewfinder) –
    a quibble = button back end of the pad is too small and poorly easy to use-it lacks any zoom! a little big to fit in your pocket
    the price is also quite high = 1200 € approximately (- x1 expensive than all the same)
    In summary a great camera, a success, a large number who will make history!
    Finally I have a poket high quality!
    FUJI thank you!

  20. If you want to have a brilliant rangefinder camera, buy an M8 and a 35mm Summarit, and you’re done for your lifetime.

    • Except for some minor quirks like:

      1. No autofocus (of course if you don’t like auto focus this may be ok)
      2. Image quality only acceptable under ISO 800
      3. Really low end LCD

      The good part is an OK image quality, but the price is way to high for what you get in my opinion.

      • You have never worked with an M8. You missed something in life.
        There is no ISO 800 on the M8. ISO 1250 will yield beautiful film grain, that you won’t get with any other camera (except, maybe, for the M9).
        Thank all heavens, that Leica never implemented autofocus in their rangefinders! It would be completely useless for the range of applications of M-Leicas.
        The LCD of the M8 (and of the M9) is, like the whole camera, a tool, designed for its purpose. It clearly shows the metrics of image quality, that’s all you need. The rest is in your head and will be brought to the image during RAW development.

        • My friend owns one. I just recall that ISO 1250 looked bad for pictures taken indoors in the evening and didn’t recall what the ISO numbers were below that, that is why I wrote “under ISO 800” (maybe it was ISO 640?).

          I never liked manual focus for something that moves and don’t like the ergonomics of the camera. I’m shure I could learn how to use it, but I would never fall in love with it. I kind of like grain sometimes, but then it should be grain from film not digital.

  21. A non subjective remark of my own…
    After having the X100 a week I ALSO have problems with it freezing. I have to take the battery out… which by the way doesn’t lock in as nicely as I would like it to. Sometimes I have to turn it on and off again to get the camera going.

    It’s only been out a few weeks and some places a week or so. I expect many more issues to come as it is out in the field for a longer period of time.

    One more thing, I agree with chris. The interface at first glance is ridiculous. Another pro shooter friend of mine played with it for a week and said the same thing. The wheel on the back is sloppy too. I put the darn thing in “silent” mode and I wasn’t able to activate the hot shoe???? Really?
    Come on! The list goes on….. over all its great, BUT not the smoking hot item that it intended to be. However, I think a lot of this can be fixed with new firmware.

    Oh and why is the aperture ring turn the opposite of Zeiss, Leica, Voigt…… These little things add up while you are shooting.

    Oh and one more thing – my VF is nice and bright… BUT the playback images in the EVF are very very crooked!!!

  22. Hey guys, I was the one who wrote the ‘review’. Please check the Flickr page as I posted a few samples and clarified on a few things:

    I realize now my writeup was overwhelmingly negative. I’m not bashing it. My intention was only to highlight what I found distracting about the X100 considering everything that’s great about it has already been said!

    There’s still something magical about being able to shoot a rangefinder style digital cam without the high price tag, and the X100 is charming in that it just makes you WANT to shoot, bringing out a creative muse. My Nikon bodies don’t ‘motivate’ like that. Not to mention the fab image quality. That itself is worth the price of admission for some.

    I still *love* the X100. But the combo of poor-MF, user interface, and OVF (the most subjective complaint I have, mind you…and I’m going back to it now as I type this to see if I can get accustomed to it or if it’s just my eyes) kept me teetering on the fence and left me with a feeling of it being immature.

    Fuji did a remarkable job with this one and I’m eager to see what they come up with next. Thanks for all the feedback guys, and sorry if my review sounded entirely-negative.


    • Hey Chris,

      As mentioned above I think you pretty much listed all the things I had in mind after my first two weeks use ownership. Hopefully most of the items mentioned can be fixed by software.

      I also wholeheartedly agree on the motivation aspect of this camera, I have a monster 5D2 with the Canon trinity of primes but the X100 makes me want to take photos more.

    • hey chris,
      dont apalogize for writing this review ….you only wrote what your experience was with the x100 , whether all good or bad its an accurate account of you thought of the camera ….im personally greatful to you! for giving us an insight into this camera i havent had a chance on trying one out …although i really want to….+ also note your review will get fuji to look into all the issues that youve had as well as other users…..most new cameras need firmware upgrades anyway cause the companys dont take the time to put these cameras through there paces….!!
      thanks for review , im personally greatful for your honosty chris!

    • Personally, I really liked the review. You were being honest and just said what didn’t work for you. You didn’t follow the crowd. I like to hear both sides.

  23. Interesting short review – it is nice to see somebody openly mentioning his issues with this camera. Thank you for that. I have not had the camera in hand (that will take some time still), but I was always wondering how people call the 0.5x viewfinder LAGE. It may be BRIGTH or CRISP but LARGE? My Konica Auto S3 has 0.6x viewfinder – it is just fine, but certainly not LARGE.

    You mention that the manual focus is useless – would that statement change if Fuji would release a firmware that would shorten the focus throw?

    In any case – your comments made me even more curios but also cautious – I will not buy one before testing one in a shop (yes – I am in the market for camera like X100, X1 or GXR or thereabouts)

    • I’m sure so many others have said this, but… As the MF is fully electronic, I don’t see why a shorter throw can’t be accomplished in new firmware. As it stands, it’s difficult for me to notice that the focus is electronic as the ring is smooth and the camera responsive to adjustments. It’s just that it takes foooreeeverrr. So yes, a shorter throw would totally up the ante — at least in my opinion.

  24. thanks for the insight, sounds like fuji was in hurry to get x100 out to users hands…..what else is new …im sure fuji will have bug fixes soon for all these little annoyances ….but over all its a nice piece it seems?
    will have to check one out at bh or adorama.

  25. I enjoyed reading this alterantive view. I have read loads of good things about the X100 and seen a lot of stunning results from it. It’s obviously a great piece of kit, so it’s nice to get a report on it’s con’s, not just its pro’s.

  26. Wow….
    None of your complaints are about the IMAGE !
    Isn’t that what is most important !
    Ha the stuff you complained about are so small….
    Give it back…someone who wants one will be very happy !

    • Wow, tough crowd. But then this is the Internet…

      I never complained about the image quality ’cause I have no complaints. It’s great.

      I’ll accept that my eyes aren’t keen to the OVF, but the broken focus ring and UI aren’t fair. The whole experience is like driving a Merc with a flat tire. Mind you, that’s all fixable in a firmware update. When that happens, I’ll take a second look…or, as I said, wait until a revised model comes out.

      That’s just my opinion.

      (this is a good thing because my X100 now will obviously go to someone who’ll make great use of it despite the shortcomings.)


    • I thought it was a good review based on someone’s point of view about the x100. Of course, I’m not going to make a purchasing decision based on just this one review but it definitely adds weight to my overall decision.

  27. I’m surprised that Steve ran this considering it sounds like Chris gave the camera basically no real chance, and posted no shots. Leica bias perhaps? Considering nearly every other review site has fallen in love with it, has posted amazing images, I find it odd that Steve has now ran only two user reviews, both negative. Hmmmmmmm

      • Every single camera sold to this date has complaints! Has anyone bought M9 that did not complain about something? X1? M8? etc etc

        • Never heard any complaints about the D3s and very few about the d700, except “I can’t afford it”? And they’re both cheaper than an M9

      • I’ve seen all of them, and the vast majority are just people who have no experience with RF (parallax issues) or are expecting miracles. Most of the ones complaining haven’t even held the camera. So the vast majority of the complaints are just FUD

        • Yes…there are plenty of mixed reviews out there:

          I don’t think Steve is “necessarily” Leica biased. (ok…maybe a little). For the record I don’t own one, and truly could take it or leave it…there are a lot of choices out there.
          Steve does throw a lot of controversial articles onto the site just to get people’s blood pumping. He does it with photography styles, lens reviews etc…not just cameras. Sometimes when I start to read something I can almost see him back there in Arizona smirking….saying “wait till they get a load of this guy’s take on that subject!”.
          This is one of the things I LOVE about this website. Everything isn’t a pixel peeping, corporate ass-kissing take on cameras, lenses or photography. So I take it all with a grain of salt…and usually even the most biased idiot does make some valid points it I can stand back, get out of my own head and observe. Its ALWAYS entertaining if I don’t take myself too seriously….

          • “I don’t think Steve is “necessarily” Leica biased.”

            Oh? Well, that’s certainly an “out-of-the-box” view… 😉

          • The LL review while making valid complaints about the UI ends with the following statement…

            “In summary – this is a terrific, even a landmark camera, likely to be an instant classic. In my opinion it is kept from being truly exceptional by some easily fixed user interface issues. Hopefully a firmware update, which could correct all of them, is not too far off.

            Oh yes. Notwithstanding my complaints, I’m buying one. It’s that good.”

            Sounds like a positive review to me, not a mixed one.

          • Yes man, I wrote my commies about basic distance setting issues as compared to old school rangefinder before reading Michael Reichmann complaints about fly by wire crap. That`s it! Put that great sensor in a compact body with decent optical viewfinder!

    • I got the X100 in week 2 of launch and have loved it since. Its done everything I expected, but I have top say that Chris made a check list that I read and mentally ticked off one by one going YEP I had that problem.

      To sum up, Yes I love the camera, but Yes Chris made valid points =)

  28. Strange how a non-Leica product gets a very negative review whereas even X1 here can do almost no harm. Luminous Landscape reviewed X100 recently and gave, in my opinion, a nicely balanced review but in no way as negative as this one.

    • @igor
      cause this is a leica lovers site, how can a leica lover admit that even leica can make a shit camera for $1995 or a camera with lots of faults ?
      fuji on the other hand is easy to critique….cause they havent made any hi end jewelry like camera …..+ fuji is following in leica foot steps …and is 2nd not 1st with this concept technically of course ….sigma actually was the 1st company to produce such a niche camera with there dp1…but im sure olympus will be next with there version of the x1 & x100 ..cant wait to see what they come up with …but i bet theres will be even cheaper cause it will use the micro 4/3rds chip !

  29. Regarding the OVF – It sounds like it may be set to power save mode which dims it until the shutter button is depressed. Set to power save off the OVF is gloriously bright.

  30. I can only imagine the difficulty in making an AF/MF lens in such a compact package as the X100, so as much as I wish they had mechanical focusing I can see the need for the far less friendly “fly by wire” system.

    As far a exposure controls are concerned I can understand Mike Reichmann’s wish that the aperture ring was able to be set in fractional stops, but all in all I give Fuji two thumbs up for making a good, old fashioned controls for aperture and shutter speed!

    But this is what puzzles me: in digital photography we have a third user settable exposure control, namely the iso setting. I cannot for the life of me understand why Fuji did not copy the ISO control dial from the Canon G series cameras?

    Along this line, for the past year I have been begging Ricoh to enable (via firmware update) the GRD3 to allow the near useless “Zoom” rocker button to be an ISO control.

    In a modern camera, a true manual mode would require all three points of the “exposure triangle” to have there own control button/dial/switch/etc.


  31. I realise everybody has their right to their own opinion, but this is not a review, just some thoughts that should have been kept to the forums and not the front page. Please Steve, up the quality levels on your editorial, this article has no place here. Keep the reviews to yourself and maintain some standards, personally I’d prefer less articles of higher quality.

  32. Chris

    Thanks for the review. You confirmed my original position, which is that I’ll need to check it out before I decide.

    As for being subjective, all comments are subjective, even those who call other people’s subjective thinking that theirs isn’t.

  33. Thought I’d drop my comments too.
    Robert asked for the manual focus to be speed sensitive – it already is! It ain’t great, but it’s good enough when the auto focus works so well.
    I’ve experienced non of the issues referee to above but I have one issue that Fuji are investigating for me. The film modes are the wrong way around – ie astia (soft) being actually more vivid than provia (normal) mode.
    I have wondered if this could be a more common fault and could it answer why some early shots looked a little flat / soft?
    Other than that the jury is still out for me, it is a great camera, the quality is fine, I’m just left feeling a little empty, as if something is missing. Perhaps it’s a grower – time will tell.

  34. I understand emotions Chris remarks on X100 provokes. I think many reactions against cons come from a split between two kinds of rangefinder shooters. One camp, to which I belong, like Leica and similar machines for their simplicity. There are three basic operation to take a picture and all that you can do manually like on any machine produced since beginning of photography.. Shutter, aperture, distance. How complicated it has to be? That`s appeal of M9 (I am M6 shooter, cannot afford M9 yet). Only digital camera that comes closest to simplicity. The other camp, originated of course in Japan out of their duty of support of domestic industry, are gadget lovers. In this case Leica style gadget lovers. They would love to have machine that looks oh so simple and retro, but at the same time should do everything else came up lately. Funny art filters, funny close up abilities, clever automation that takes care of picture taking. What you get is halfhearted product, where, f.x. in order to set distance you have three options and four worries and so on. And Chris`s reaction is what mine is and allways would be. Take a good sensor and put it in the basic Rf body with manual distance setting and bright and big viewfinder. All the rest is unnecessary crap.

    • What are you on about? The X100 is one of the very few all-manual compact cameras on the market. And the very reason it’s having so much hype is due to the complete LACK of gimmicks and going back to using a viewfinder and dials.

      To expose a shot – dial the aperture > dial the the shutter > focus > click. Not even the 7d/5d can do this (need to use buttons / scroll wheels).

      • Well, sorry I wrote only about cons making me look as a soured critic. Let`s put it like that. It´s a shot in right direction, shutter dial and aperture ring are honey. The focus, I don`t know about that, as I haven`t handled it yet. But, discussion alone about it, indicates not everything`s simple and perfect. Most of leica wide to norm lenses go from infinity to 0,7 in quarter turn in less then second. Can you do it with X100? I know OVF looks like nice idea. I mean ability to do close-ups, hook it up on spotting scope, maybe high grade wide converter, you name it, cool. How`s optical finder? Hope bright and clean. If so, I don´t need else. To cut it short. Maybe a tough brother to X100? An X100P, rugged, dust and splash proof and please God, luscious, velvety black body.

  35. I’m a wedding photojournalist in the UK, my X100 arrived a couple of weeks back and I must say I’m very happy with the camera. I shoot with Canon 5DII’s which I find excellent for documentary wedding work, but for a long while have wanted a small quiet camera with an optical viewfinder and good high iso. The X100 delivers everything I wanted. It’s small and quiet and doesn’t shout “photographer” in the way a DSLR does.

    My only criticism of the camera is the focusing, manual focus lacks any real feel and is slow. AF could be better and I’d prefer closer focus without having to switch to macro.

    I’m getting lovely image quality with a little post processing on the jpeg’s. A lot of reviews claim the lens is soft, mine certainly isn’t.

  36. Hey there, agree with previous posters, the OVF is bright, HUGE, and crisp. Hope Chris is not making his observations based on a dud unit. And my X100 never froze on me since I laid my hands on it. Hopefully this balances out the review’s more subjective observations.

    One thing that I really with the review is the manual focus. It’s slow to the point of being unusable. Besides that, it’s pretty much a perfect camera, more than perfect considering it’s version 1.0 (on this side of the Leica world anyway).

  37. Hey, Steve.. thanks for posting my ‘review’.

    inteliboy is right. All reviews of the X100 are highly subjective, mine included. Fuji’s marketing of the camera created some crazy expectations. Anyway, the OVF is a miss for me, but that’s just my opinion. Others who’ve tried my cam praise it. Go figure. Perhaps I do have a dud, or perhaps my eyes are aging more than I’d hoped.

    It’s still a great camera! Fuji has done something nobody else dared to, thankfully. Please try before you buy 🙂

  38. I’ve had an x100 for a few weeks now — the OVF/EVF is bright, large and crisp. So be careful with these user-reviews and opinions, as they all seem highly subjective, especially with this extraordinarily scrutinised camera that is the x100.

    The things that have bothered me, I hardly read about, though the things that bother people in reviews like this – are a complete non-issue for me.

    Secondly, I’m not sure why out of all the overwhelming positive reviews and thoughts, this negative list of cons was posted… I love this site, and it’s community, but the Leica-leaning is a little too strong at times. If this had a red-dot on it, I’m sure we’d be hearing a very different set of opinions here.

      • crap?

        you own an M9 and study under russian masters. fantastic! i applaud your photography, your passion and the camera you own. not everyone is that fortunate. for some of us, doing the best with what you’re blessed with, means reading the manual, learning with your eyes and just going out and doing what makes sense. does not comparing well to something else or having limitations, relegate it as crap? does everything have to be reduced to this qualitative bullshit?

        i carry my ‘red-dot panny’ into a show in my pocket. can hold it comfortably in one hand, a beer in the other and still compose a shot. can do all that and still wrap my arm around the one lady in the world who makes it all worthwhile for me. can you do that with your M9? are you not also limited by the camera you choose to carry? does that make it crap? are you not limited only when you feel yourself to be so? when you can’t achieve what you desire, due to some external condition?

        i am a simple man, with modest reach, and i enjoy carrying my ‘red-dot panny’ which compliments that and just also happens to produce decent pictures. i think.


        • complete crap?

          [img] (1).jpg[/img]
          [img] (1).jpg[/img]
          [img] (1).jpg[/img]

  39. “Someone, please, just ‘digify’ an old Canonet or Hexar, and forget all the fluff.”

    You may get your wish:

    This looks very much like an improved version of the old ImageTek film back. Heck, it’s worth a shot; I hope they make it to market.

    — C

  40. I had been holding out for this camera and had high hopes that it would make a perfect travel camera. But, I am glad I got cold feet and went with a Nikon D7000 instead. It is hard to get SLR performance in a non-SLR… unless you splurge for the M9.

    • I dont understand why You compare X100 to DSLR. The are two very different cameras and for different purpose. I find the X100 exellent in many ways. Superp image quality. Equal to Nikon D7000 (I own X100/Leica M9 /Nikon D7000/D700). Of course X100 has not the same speed and intuitive handling like a DSLR. But I think for the money its, a hell of a good camera and concept!

  41. It will be interesting what Steve has to say about this camera after burning an M9 hard and fast in South America for 3 weeks. I wonder if he will find the interface frustrating in “real use”.
    There are some seriously mixed reviews floating around the web regarding this offering.

  42. Wow, that’s bizarre – I’ve had mine a couple of weeks now, and never had a problem with it freezing, or blur in the rangefinder…I’m wondering if you got a dud example of the camera, rather than those being problems with all of them. You’re right about the battery, and the manual focus though! I’m hoping the manual focus can be fixed in a firmware update – like, gear it to the speed it’s being turned, or allow us to choose from three speeds / ratios. As it’s just fly-by-wire, that should be a simple thing to add.

    • Me and my friend both have been getting the freezing issue in our brand new out of the box X100’s. =) The camera is awesome and it appears to be something that a firmware upgrade can fix.

  43. Very interesting Chris, thanks for posting this!!! It seems like a cool camera, but it sounds like it might be suffering from being a version 1.0 product.


  44. Tiny and blurred? Interesting. Everyone who has seen my X100 thinks the OVF is the best feature of the camera, better than any VF on any other rangefinder.

    • Agreed, maybe the reviewer does not know about the diopter adjustment on the left hand side.

    • I think everyone is more taken up with the looks of this camera than anything else. I think it looks great but not being able to change lenses is a large minus. I don’t care if the sensor is matched to the lens and blah, blah, look at how retro, blah, blah. I’d rather put my money towards a proven system than a (likely) flash in the pan trend. This camera seems to me to be false economy. Paying less now for a camera that looks cool, I admit the image quality looks great, isn’t going to change the fact that I should have saved for 4 more months kept the $1200 and bought an m9 or at the least an m8.
      I’ll still probably buy one cause I’m a sucker for good looking cameras but I have this nagging feeling that I won’t like it for very long.
      I guess I will soon find out if I’ve drank the kool-aid of a slick marketing campaign or if the x-100 is actually all that its made out to be.
      After re-reading the last sentence I realize that either way I’ve already drank the kool-aid!

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