The Fuji X100 Real World Review
Does it live up to the Hype?
By Steve Huff
WooHoo! The Fuji X100 is HERE and my review is EARLY!
The Fuji X100 has been one of the most anticipated camera releases of recent memory, and understandably so. It is so much different than the crop of DSLR’s and tiny DSLR copies that flood the market every month or two and Fuji seemed to have listened to what many photographers, hobbyists, and pros alike wanted in a camera. They also seemed to be going after the Leica X1 from day one, even going as far as naming this camera the X100. Fuji knew what they were doing, and their marketing and hype for this camera has been remarkable. Perfect.
The Fuji X100 has those luscious Fuji colors which I LOVE. Super sharp here, even at f/2
Fuji says that the X100 was designed by photographers, for photographers. Even Fuji themselves consider the X100 the “professionals choice” and at $1200 it is priced up there with some very good DSLR cameras, but those who are interested in this camera are NOT interested in a big old DSLR. Nope, those who want the X100 are looking for something fresh, new, exciting, small and classic. As I recently found out for myself, the X100 is all of that and more.
There has been insane amounts of hype over the past few months on this unique little guy, and here I am, with my very own X100 sitting on my desk! What you want to know of course is if it is all it is cracked up to be. Well, the answer to that will lie in this review, so read on. In many ways, the X100 is a phenomenal camera, and in others it almost feels like a rushed to the market product. How so? Read on to find out the details and ALL of my findings during my review time with this special breakthrough camera.
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It’s all about the photos right?
Just so you know, this review will be heavy on the photos that this little camera can produce in regards to image quality, color depth, character, lens character and ISO performance. Not so much on technical testing and freaking out over every little thing. I’m a laid back reviewer and prefer to talk about the “usability factor” of a camera rather than stress over silly tech things. If a camera works well out in the field AND gives good results AND is a joy to use, then hey, I’ll enjoy the hell out of it. But right off the bat, I knew the Fuji X100 had some serious MOJO going on with its super sexy Rangefinder style design and it’s very cool OVF/EVF Hybrid design. I also knew the image quality would deliver once I loaded up some early images…
The X100 – Love the classic rendering
The Fuji X100 – This image was shot at F2 and ISO 1250 – where is the noise? What IS there is very pleasant.
Base ISO – The richness, color and dynamic range is spectacular!
The X100 is Classic in looks, But it is NOT a rangefinder!
I was out with the Fuji this weekend and a guy approached me asking me if that was indeed the X100 I had strapped around my neck. I told him “Yes it is!” and he continued on to say how Leica is now in trouble as the M9 will drop in sales. He asked “Who would buy and M9 for $7000 when you can get an X100 for $1200”? I then went on to explain that the X100 is NOT a rangefinder camera, using manual focus with it (the x100) is slow, cumbersome, and unpleasant…nothing like an M. I also pointed out that it has a different, smaller sensor size, and a fixed lens. It’s also not built as well as the M9 nor does it give the total image quality of an M9. He thought for some reason that the X100 was a rangefinder! Made me wonder how many others out there thought the same thing? Still..an M9 is $7000. A 35 Summicron is $3000. The X100? $1199.
If you are familiar with my reviews, you have seen this shot a few times already 🙂 Driving, and I snap the image in my rear view mirror. Out of all of these shots I have taken, this one with the fuji is my fave.
True, the X100 has the look, feel and style of a rangefinder camera but this is in looks only. In operation and use it feels like a traditional digicam. In many ways, it feels like the classic Digilux 2 sometimes. It’s on the small side, its shutter is super silent, you can adjust aperture on the lens, and it has that classic look and feel. It wipes the floor with the Digilux 2 though in regards to ISO performance, image quality, and with its great OVF/EVF viewfinder. So just keep in mind that the X100 is more like an Olympus E-P2, a Ricoh GXR or Leica X1 but…and yes, I am saying this…IT BEATS all three of those in almost all areas.
Size wise, it reminds me of the Olympus E-P2, just a bit taller (due to the viewfinder). It feels about as solid as an E-P2 as well, maybe a bit more solid, which is a good thing as the E-P2 is the best “feeling” PEN camera to date IMO. Performance wise, it is up there, if not better than the Leica X1 and Ricoh GXR, both of which surpass the little Olympus PEN and Panasonic micro 4/3 cameras due to the larger APS-C sensor that resides in them.
The X100 has a smooth rich quality when shot at lower ISO’s…
wide open at F2 and ISO 200
Using the spot meter I was able to accurately expose this shot in the full AZ sunshine. At F4, the X100 is razor sharp. Click image for larger better version. The greens are rich and deep. Leave it to Fuji for color! TO BE Honest, this file challenges what I get from the M9. IMPRESSIVE.
The Specs of the X100
- Large 12.3MP APS-C Size CMOS Sensor
- FUJINON 23mm (35mm equivalent) Single Focal Length Fixed F2 Lens
- Switchable Optical/Electronic Viewfinder
- 2.8″ LCD Monitor W/460K-Dot Resolution
- JPEG + RAW (Process In-Camera)
- 100-12800 ISO Capabilities
- HD 720p Video W/Stereo Sound
- Classic Design Magnesium Alloy Body
- High Speed Contrast Autofocus
- Built-In Flash–Compatible W/Optional EF-20 & EF-42 Shoe-Mount Flashes
The Shooting Experience – Feel, Menus, OVF/EVF, AF, and Taking Photos with the X100
As I may have mentioned I was VERY excited to receive this camera and the one shop that came through for me in getting the X100 so fast was Precision Camera.They are not a site sponsor nor do I make any money from them but they were fantastic. I dealt with Robert and he was GREAT. Even shipped it out to me for Saturday delivery! Great guy and great shopping experience. B&H Photo who is a site sponsor also sells the X100 HERE.
After charging the tiny battery up I took the X100 outside to my backyard for one of those quick snapshot test sessions. You know the ones, where you go outside and shoot trees, leaves, flowers and even dirt just to see how the camera renders. I do this to see the cameras character because I can tell just by shooting leaves, or trees, or my dog how the camera is going to perform once i get it out and start shooting some real stuff with it. Then over the next couple of days I started taking it with me everywhere. In Phoenix AZ it is pretty boring photography wise. It’s hot, the sun is brutal, there are lots of “browns” due to being in the desert and there really is no cool downtown life here. So my first few days with the X100 were limited to shooting my son, my dog, my feet, and heading out on a solo trip to the Zoo. Fun 🙂
When I shot with the camera I always shot with JPEG Fine and RAW so I could judge the JPEG’s and the RAW files. When shooting JPEG you can choose between Fuji film stock like Provia, Velvia and Astia but IMO they are not really so accurate. To get the most of the X100, shoot RAW.
ISO 400 – f/2 – Lovely!
The rendering is almost…shall I say…Leica Like?
Great portrait rendering at f/2!
One of the Giraffe shots in full mid day sun. The built in ND filter on the X100 is a godsend. Leica, are you listening? This was shot at f2.8 and is as sharp as any APS-C file I have seen to date.
LOVE the way this camera renders portraits
OK Here it goes. I am enjoying the hell out of this camera. Shooting with it was pleasure and the OVF is amazing for this class of camera. I hear people saying the X100 costs too much. Huh? It’s closest competition, the Leica X1 is $1995…$800 more, yet the X100 beats it in just about every conceivable area, and I am a HUGE HUGE HUGE Leica guy! Uh oh! Now I did it. The fact is that I have extensive experience with the Leica X1, and I LOVE the X1. It was my fave compact for a loooong time, but it’s getting old and the Fuji X100 proves that fact.
The Fuji X100 vs the X1 – from a hardcore Leica guy.
Let’s take a look at the facts…
X1 – 12MP – X100 – 12 MP – TIE
To me…the X100 wins here. Just feels a TEENY BIT more solid to me. Both are very good though.
Both are awesome. Both are classic. This will be personal pref. Me? I like the X100. More classic. At the same time, when holding and looking at them side by side, I also love the X1. The X100 looks a little cheaper in looks, though the design is more classic. The X1 is more classic modern.
X100 wins SLIGHTLY, even with the X1 V2.0 Firmware update. Low light AF speed? About equal which is not the best but not so bad either.
X100 gets the nod. ISO 6400 is usable and pretty damn good. X1 max is 3200 though still good at this ISO. Still, X100 is cleaner at 3200.
TIE but X1 is sharper – Not only is the X100 lens faster at F2 vs 2.8, by 2.8 it is just as sharp by F4 as the X1 lens and appears to give more shallow DOF for some reason. BUT the X100 lens has more barrel distortion than the X1. It’s a tradeoff. DO you want super crisp lens perfection (Leica) or a more creamy smooth look with more speed but just as sharp, only with some distortion? Hmmmm. X100 = classic low contrast look – X1 = sharp contrasty modern look.
TIE – Personal preference here . The Fuji will give you those Fuji reds, blues and yellows. The X1 is more neutral, which can be good.
X100 as the X1 doesnt have one. The VF in the X100 is SUPERB. OVF/EVF – brilliant.
TIE – Both seem about the same. 250-300 shots.
X1 – The X1 wins here as it is just so simple. Nothing difficult at all. Just turn the knobs and shoot. The X100 is also excellent with it’s aperture dial on the lens but it has some issues with usability and buttons. Most can be fixed with a firmware update.
HD Movie Mode
X100 – X1 doesn’t have one.
The X100 is $800 less and honestly is the camera filled with more features. This means that the Leica X2 will have to kick some serious ass to compete.
That just about sums up my thoughts on the two cameras. The X100 surprised me as many were telling me it wasn’t up to the X1 level. I found it to be the opposite so I am telling it as it is. It’s just “different” in its image output.
I just added a whole post with my comparisons against the Leica X1 and you can see it HERE. For this review, here is a quick comparison made by a reader of the site, Chad Wadsworth (Thanks Chad, his website is HERE) – Two RAW files, processed exactly the same. One from the X1 and one from the X100. I no longer have an X1 so I could not do a comparison.
The Image that was shot with both the X1 and X100
and the 100% crops. Processed the same from the RAW files
The X100 Crop
and the X1 crop
So as you can see from that comparison, the X100 is equal, if not a tad better than the X100 in regards to detail, and IMO, color. How about one more?
and the 100% crop from the Fuji
and the X1
It’s a close call, almost equal even and when printing you would never see a difference. But there is a different color signature to each camera, so which one do you prefer? GIven that the X100 at least matches the X1’s image quality, and it has all of the extra features like the Viewfinder, better high ISO, HD video mode, same classic styling, beefier build, and a faster lens it seems to me that the X100 is the better buy at $800 less.
The X100 1st look and a more detailed look on video…
A more detailed video going over the menu system and more…
The X100’s Build & Feel
The camera felt wonderful in my hands. Light enough to not get tiring but heavy enough to know you are shooting with a quality camera. The black grip material that covers the X100 is a bit slick. It doesn’t feel luxurious or anything (but neither does the material Leica uses on the M9 or the X1) but it does its job and provides a grippy feel when your fingers are wrapped around it. The camera feels like it is built well but it is not a tank like or jewel like build that many associate with Leica or some professional Nikon cameras. It feels much more sturdy than the Leica X1, but not as nice as an M9. Hard to explain but let me say that I thought the camera looked much nicer in person than it does in the photos we all see, even the photos on this page. The camera feels GREAT slung around me with a long strap. I was happy with the build of the X100.
The X100 in action at night!
USE A FAST SD CARD for fastest performance of the X100!
When I first started using the X100 I was using standard SD cards. Start up time was SLOW ranging from 2-4 seconds! After buying THIS SD card, which is a 45 MBPS card, startup is almost instantaneous, AND write times have improved. I highly recommend THIS card! It’s what I am now using in my X100.
The X100 Has Serious MOJO- The IQ and Hybrid VF – AWESOME!
Image Quality – Wonderful!
The good news is that the X100 can put out a really nice quality image. The 35mm equivalent lens on the camera is more classic than modern, but it’s VERY nice. At F2 the camera is sharp but classically smooth. By 2.8 it is SHARP and detailed as you could want it to be. There IS barrel distortion with the lens though and if you take a close up portrait you can see it with the effect of someones face or nose being larger than it is. The lens is not perfect, nor is it a masterpiece but it is probably the equivalent of something like a Leica 35 Summarit in the way it renders along with its distortion amount. That alone makes the camera a great buy IMO. The lens is not one of those super sharp corner to corner types when wide open but stop it down and yo will get detail. Generally though it is sharper in the middle and gets a bit softer towards the edges when shot wide open.
Wide open at F2, ISO 1000
Here is a shot I snapped of a Semi that needed a wash…X100, F2, ND filter ON. Processed from RAW with a filter from Alien Skin Exposure 3 added.
Up close, macro mode in the mall. A hermit crab rests on a hand. F2, ISO 200, 1/70s – Easy to get shallow DOF and the Bokeh of the lens is nice.
When you combine super color, hugh dynamic range and fantastic lens qualities, you get amazing results
I brought the X100 to lunch with me and snuck a shot of two guys across the way. Sharp, detailed, great color. F2 at 1/125 s.
On the streets of Tallinn Estonia – X100 wide open
The Viewfinder – NICE!
The X100’s viewfinder is really the first of its kind and I applaud Fuji for thinking outside the box here. For the first time you can use a camera with it’s LCD, or its EVF (Electronic View Finder) or its OVF (Optical View Finder) and the OVF has an overlay that puts up a frame line for you as well as info on your settings. It’s VERY cool but I found that I was using the EVF the most as it was more accurate for framing and it uses less battery over the OVF. Then I started using the OVF and was blown away by the clarity and the overlay of the data. This is a GREAT idea and I hope to see something like this implemented in the next Leica X.
Just flick the lever on the front of the camera and it will switch in real time. Pretty nifty.
Also, an earlier report on this site that was written by a reader here stated that the viewfinder was small and tiny. NOT true. I found the VF to be just fine. No, it is not going to be like a Nikon D3 but it’s hardly small. I was able to frame my photos just fine using it. The X100 is a camera that one needs to use for a week or two before deciding on its fate. It does take some time to get used to, ESPECIALLY if coming from a speedy DSLR.
The X100’s AF performance – It’s NOT Perfect!
So you are probably getting the feeling that I am liking this camera! One thing I have not really talked about yet is the Auto Focus performance of the X100. How is it?
The Auto Focus performance. It’s quicker than the Leica X1 but damn, it’s tough to get it to be accurate all of the time. I have had many misses with it when using the center focus point and I just could not get it to focus on what I pointed it at.
UPDATE: When using the OVF, and shooting up close your focus may be off. I found when using the EVF or LCD the AF was spot on.
Overall, the AF of the X100 is very good but not perfect. Doesn’t stop me from loving the camera.
The turtle in the pond. Again, the way the X100 renders the light is superb.
Using the Macro mode I was able to get semi close to these leaves blowing in the wind. Notice the flare? I like it…
The X100 and High ISO
The latest group of digital APS-C cameras have been getting better and better in regards to High ISO low light shooting. The NEX-5 was the 1st to break the ISO 6400 barrier with USABLE files (in a compact, smaller NON DSLR camera). The Leica X1 maxes out at 3200 and it has some noise but it has always been a nice kind of noise. The Ricoh GXR with the 28 and 50mm modules also had great low light performance at ISO 3200 and the Pentax K5, which is a killer SMALL DSLR also has silly high ISO capabilities.
So how does the X100 fare against these already good low light performers? Very good. From what I have seen the X100 has some of the best high ISO performance I have seen in a camera this size.
It’s me! Late last night, almost NO light in the bathroom. This image is showing the scene to be brighter than it was. ISO 6400, F2…NOT BAD for ISO 6400. The color is still there as well.
ISO 6400 – My desk at night. Only light was from my Imac. From RAW with no NR! Click image for the correct size so you can see the 100% crops.
ISO 1000 – The colors are fantastic and true to life, even at higher ISO
So, this is where I would normally put a crop from EVERY ISO but why would I do that? If the performance at ISO 1000 and even 6400 is this good, we know that anything UNDER this will be even better. It’s all good.
The HD Video Quality
The X100 shoots 24FPS, 720P HD video. It is a but limited in this area because there is no manual focus during video and you can not change the aperture during video either. The mic pics up the noise of the lens focusing but from what I have seen so far, the video quality is excellent, mainly due to the lens on the X100. There is no image stabilization either so video can get a little shaky without a tripod.
The X100’s Panoramic Mode
Much like the Sony NEX-5 and A33, the X100 has a sweep panoramic mode and when I saw it included in the “drive”menu I thought it was a novelty that wouldn’t work so well. I had some luck with the Sony panorama mode so I took ONE shot today with the X100 in Pano mode and that was it.
You can click it to see the full size JPEG. You can not record a Pano in RAW mode, so you only get the JPEG. This is straight from camera using the “Velvia” preset.
The X100 Detail…
How about a look at some full size files and crops to see if this sensor can give us the detail we crave? (HINT: Yes it can!)
You MUST click on the image to see the larger version and the true 100% crop within the image. Detail? The X100 has it. This one was shot at F4 and as I would do if I were printing, I added some sharpening during the RAW conversion on this one.
Saw this woman at the Zoo with her kids and snapped one as she fed the Giraffe. 100% crop detail is in the frame, but you must click on the image to see it correctly. F2.8 – NO sharpening was applied to this file.
f/4 detail – click it to see what I mean
Here is a full size image, from RAW and some slight sharpening which is what I would use for print. Saved as a “9” quality JPEG in Photoshop. Click for full image!
The Film Presets – Velvia, Provia and Astia
When shooting JPEG you can set the X100 to shoot in one of three color presets. The Standard is Provia, which is supposed to simulate Provia film. For more vivid color, choose Velvia and for a more subdued soft look, Astia. Some early reviews pointed out that the Provia and Astia presets were mixed up…reversed. I also believe this to be the case because the Astia preset, which is supposed to be more subdued and “soft” is more bold than the Provia preset. So it appears they are reversed…
Here is a sample of Each…
VELVIA PRESET – JPEG
PROVIA PRESET (Is this one REALLY Astia)? – JPEG
ASTIA PRESET (is this REALLY the Provia preset)?- JPEG
- The Leica X1 – Already touched on this above, sorry for being repetitive. OK…this is the one that will cause X1 lovers to get mad at me if I say the X100 is better, and the Leica haters and X100 lovers to do the same if I say the X1 is better. It’s tough running a site like this because when I praise the BEST cameras I have ever shot with, usually Leica, I get labeled a “fanboy”. Do I care? NO! Because if using the cameras that give me the best results mean I am a fanboy, then so be it! Lol. But let’s get to the real deal. The Leica X1 is almost $2000 and has the same size sensor, is smaller, lighter and has the Leica red dot and great lens. It’s slow to AF, slow in operation and built on the “light side”. The X100 is built better than the X1, has the OVF/EVF that the X1 is lacking, has a faster lens that opens up to F2 (Leica is 2.8), and also has a HD movie mode, stereo mic, and the same manual dials and controls as the Leica with the addition of the Aperture dial on the lens. AF sometimes misses on the X100 but I have seen it miss on the X1 as well.
Winner – Easy really. The X100 due to its $800 lower price, better build, Hybrid Viewfinder, better high ISO performance, faster lens, movie mode and slightly larger size that is easier to hold. Yes, I like the X100 better than the X1 but my guess is there will be an X2 announced THIS YEAR sometime that will surpass the X100. Just a guess. For now though, I would take an X100 over an X1. My personal opinion, and I am the one that many call a Leica “fanboy”!
- Sony NEX-5 – The NEX-5 and kit lens is $699. ALMOST half of the X100 cost. BUT it’s a totally different style of camera. Small, odd menu based system ,and borderline crappy kit lenses. Same size sensor but I’m getting much better image quality from the X100 and it’s easier to shoot with and more enjoyable to use. I love the NEX-5 for what it is though and it is much cheaper.
WINNER – Still, the X100 has my heart here. Better quality IMO. But so much different in use.
- Ricoh GXR – This is tough. I LOVE the GXR system though it is very similar in quality to the X100, maybe a tad better. I do like the looks and concept of the X100 over the GXR but I have to give credit where credit is due. The GXR rocks and does great in low light as well, and the focus is faster and more accurate with the GXR. You can pick up a GXR and 28 module for under $1000 and it’s build and controls are top notch as well. My brain says GXR but my heart says X100. TOUGH call. I love both and either will do a great job. The X100 does have the ND filter built in though, which comes in handy since it, just like the GXR is limited to 1/1000s shutter speed wide open. I prefer the X100 color, style and just everything it stands for. AND it has a built in VF.
TIE, but leaning X100 due to VF, color quality, ISO capability, ND filter.
- Leica M9 – No contest. M9 wins. Sorry! 🙂
Well, I was going to put up a side by side from the M9 and Fuji with crops and all but why? The M9 is a $7000 camera and a 35 Summicron will run you $3000 as well. $10,000! This is not in the same class as the X100. The M9 has it all over the X100 in build, design, feel, image quality, file quality, detail, etc. I can say that in my limited side by side tests, the M9 showed a bit more detail and had smoother files even at low ISO. It also had the full frame “look” which made the X100 files looked cropped. So we all know the M9 is a better camera, as it should be for the price. It is also a totally different shooting experience, so I wont be doing a comparison. Maybe I will do a “Crazy Comparison” post one day soon.
Just for fun though, here are two shots – one from each. No crops, no full sizes, just some processed and resized images.
Shot with the X100 – f2
and this one with the M9 at 35mm – f2
PROS and CONS of the X100
- Size, Build and Feel are GREAT!
- Lens has a mix of classic (at f2) and modern (f4 and up) with wonderful Bokeh qualities.
- Virtually ZERO CA in this lens. Shoot bicycle spokes in the full sun, no purple fringing 🙂
- AF in daylight is pretty speedy.
- Colors, if exposure and light is right can be magical!
- The Retro design is so cool. Had quite a few ask me if it was a film camera.
- High ISO is up there with the best – of ANY camera.
- HD movie mode included!
- The viewfinder is one of the coolest on ANY camera to date. Optical, Electronic and an LCD on the back.
- Has a macro mode though not really MACRO, gets closer than the X1 can get.
- Smooth, rich file quality.
- All in all, a better camera than the Leica X1 feature wise and the IQ is great though a little soft at F2, wide open.
- Has spot metering that works very well
- The shutter is SILENT and the camera could be put into Silent mode for extra stealthy shooting
- You can choose between Provia, Velvia and Astia film stocks when shooting JPEGs.
- The X100 is a bit slow to AF in low light, though just as good as other compact offerings.
- Sometimes the AF misses its mark (Update: When using the OVF and shooting up close your focus may be off, use the EVF)
- Battery design is odd as you can put it in backwards or upside down by mistake
- Slow to start up at 2.2 seconds – can get annoying (UPDATE – Use a fast 45MBPS card such as THIS ONE and startup is almost instant)
- Quirky controls in regards to ISO, ND filter, etc. Could use a firmware update.
- Jog wheel in back is a bit small and can get irritating.
- Manual focus…I wont be using it. WAY to slow and cumbersome though Zone focusing is possible. You can use the AFL button during MF mode to AF, so this is good.
- Should come with the lens hood.
- There is a “quick start up” option in the menus but it uses more battery life when turned on
- The RAW button should have been assigned to either the ND filter On/Off or Movie Mode.
Took three shots of this tree trunk in FULL HARSH Az sun. Spot metering saved the day. Shot at F2.8 and 5.6. Click the images for a larger view and see how nice the rendering is from the X100. Makes for superb B&W images.
These images really wowed me in the quality department. They look amazing on my 27″ Imac but YOU MUST CLICK ON THEM TO VIEW THEM IN THEIR HIGHER QUALITY AND LARGER VERSIONS!
The X100’s Menu System and things that could be improved with usability of the camera.
Many have complained about the X100’s menu system and the (not so) ease of use in the early reviews and for this review I actually read the manual while the battery was charging just because of all of the early griping going around. The menu system is not bad at all IMO. It’s easy, just a couple of screens with options. It’s not as clean or simple as the Leica X1 or M9 menu system but it is also much easier than something like the Pentax K5 menu system. Just something that will take a day or two of getting used to.
As far as the camera in USE, there have been many quirks reported. In my time with this camera to date, I have found a couple of things to complain about.
These are things that could have/should have been perfected IMO.
UPDATE: MANY of these have been fixed/improved with firmware updates as of May 2012!
- The X100 is slow to start up. The 1st day I had the camera I thought it was broken as it would start up and the LCD would come on but I couldn’t do anything else! I realized that it just took a couple of seconds to fully power on and be ready to shoot. 2.2 seconds to be exact. UPDATE – USE A FAST SD CARD, such as THIS ONE at 45 MBPS and startup is almost instant. – This has been improved as of May 2012 with new firmware!
- The camera is also slow to write to the SD card. Not a deal breaker for me as I am used to the slow M9 but for many this may be an issue, especially if you are coming from a speedy DSLR. Im using a 45X Extreme Pro card and it helps but the camera is still somewhat slow by todays standards. UPDATE – Again, a super fast SD card will speed things up dramatically.
- ND filter & ISO access could be better. By default the camera ships with its Fn button set up to change ISO. BUT it would be better if Fuji would have put an ISO button along with a ND filter button. I found that I needed the ND filter quite often outside in the full AZ sun and it was a hassle to go through the menu to turn it on. I since changed the Fn button to turn on the ND filter but now have to go to the menu to change ISO. – UPDATE May 2012 – This is now easy and quick as the firmware updates allow you to customize the RAW button as well and the camera now allows you to have a one button press ND filter turn on. PERFECT!
- No dedicated video button. Again, Fuji should have added a small video button up top to activate the video. As it stands now, you have to click on the “drive” button and change the drive mode to “movie”. Sort of a pain and not quick! – UPDATE 2012: YOU CAN NOW ASSIGN A BUTTON TO BE THE MOVIE RECORD BUTTON!
- The battery compartment is silly. It lets you insert the battery 4 different ways but only one way will work. On day one I thought the camera died. Nope, I just inserted the battery upside down by mistake!
- Manual focus is sort of a let down. It’s slow as molasses and is the typical digi cam manual focus implementation. I’ll leave it at this…I will NOT be using manual focus unless it gets improved via firmware. Too slow and hard to use. – UPDATE – again, it’s as if though Fuji read my negatives and fixed them all! This is now improved as well.
So there are my initial thoughts on some of the quirkiness of the X100. Are any of them big enough issues to where I would not buy this camera? NO, not at all! Why? Well, because I use a camera for a specific reason, and that reason is PHOTOGRAPHY! ALL cameras have their quirks and oddities but if it can give me a great quality file, and I can adapt to those quirks, then I am fine. After a few days of daily shooting with the X100 I started getting comfortable with it and it became second nature to operate it.
So..My Final conclusion on the Fuji X100
It’s so odd to sit here and write this review as a huge Leica fan because I saw THIS POST just today where someone called me a Leica shill over at X100 rumors 🙂 The guy obviously does not know me, he just skimmed my site, saw all the Leica reviews and assumed I was going to trash the X100 and say the X1 is better. Lol. You can also see my reply to them in the comments. I often get called “Too Enthusiastic” which is silly. Just because my excitement shines through in some of my reviews? Please! Thats just me, and always will be!
The truth is I am as honest as they come. If a camera is GREAT and I enjoy it, I will write about it and say so! I can;t help it if almost every Leica I have tried has given me the best photo results out of all of the other camera systems. I just “mesh” with a Leica. It’s my tool of choice. My reviews are MY opinions and I am not a shill for Leica. Leica gives me NOTHING, believe me. I wish they did!
With that said, as much as I love the Leica X1 I have to give credit where credit is due. The Fujifilm X100 ROCKS and it ROCKS HARD. No, it is NOT perfect but neither is the Leica X1, or NEX-5, or E-P2, or Ricoh. What the X100 has is a combination of looks, size, performance and technology all wrapped up into one classic and sexy well built design. $1200? It’s priced right folks. To be honest, this could be my only camera and I would be happy. It’s light enough to take anywhere, it’s a joy to use, and once you get used to how it operates and exposes, the results are up there with the best of the APS-C cameras.
I applaud Fuji for putting out the X100. Maybe this will show other camera companies like Nikon and Canon that DSLR’s and crap point and shoots are not the be all/end all. It WILL send a message to Leica and I am sure their X2 will be the better for it.
So far, this is my favorite camera release of the year. I’m happy I now own one. You can buy the X100 at B&H Here, or Amazon HERE.
UPDATE: I published another article on seven of the X100 quirks…you can read it HERE. Also, you can see how I pimped my X100 HERE. Finally, my JPEG comparison with the Leica X1 can be seen HERE and the RAW comparison HERE.
UPDATE: A big comparison against the $7000 Leica M9 is HERE and wow, the X100 is impressive!
ACCESSORIES for the Fuji X100
This is an update to my review because I realized I forgot to talk about the accessories that you can buy for your X100! As some of you probably have seen, my X100 is now pimped out with a red strap and red soft release and it looks pretty sexy if I do say so myself. These were just add ons that I thought would look really cool on the camera, and they do but they do bling it out a little. If you are trying to be stealthy, I would skip the red and go for black. The strap is made by Artisan & Artist and Dale Photo sells the entire A&A line of bags, cases and straps at their online Artisan & Artist store. The silk straps are also very nice. Also available at pop flash.com
In addition to the strap and soft release that you can buy for the X100, Fuji has a few items available for the camera as well, like their leather X100 case and the all metal lens hood.
JUMPING THE GUN – How about some ideas for a Fuji X200?
Just before publishing this review I received an e-mail from a Mr. Svein Gunnar Kjode at blankscapes.com. He sent along some designs he made for what he feels would be perfect for the next version of the X100, possibly, an X200. Wow, imagine an all black X200! I had to show these here (with his permission of course) because I would LOVE an all black version of this camera. UPDATE: Fuji did in fact release an all black X100 and you can read about it HERE. It is gorgeous, and yes, I bought one.
UPDATE: Why shooting with a 35mm focal length ONLY can be liberating and help you in your photography skills.
There are so many reviews of the X100 out right now it is getting crazy. This has been, without a doubt, the hottest camera of 2011 so far. Fuji is shipping these cameras out to the shops as soon as they can make them, and they are selling each and every one at $1200 a pop. Still, one reason that many shooters would never bite the bullet on the X100 is due to the fact that it only has a 35mm equivalent lens.
It’s true. You can not add a zoom lens to the X100 nor does its built in lens zoom. When you invest in this camera, you are investing in a 35mm camera. Just like the old days. But I see this as a good thing and is why I also adore the Leica X1 (which also has a 35mm equivalent lens).
It’s all about simplicity and knowing what to expect from the camera. After a couple of weeks shooting with a camera like the X100/X1 you will start to be able to visualize in your head what your image will look like. You will know what angle to get, where to stand and you will get out of the “Zoom Lens” mindset, which IMO, makes you lazy. Now of course, sports shooters and wildlife guys need powerful zooms (or primes) but for most of us, including the hobbyists, it could be a great experience to just shoot with one lens and one lens only for a while.
I do it all the time. I could get by day to day with either a 35 or a 50. My favorite lens in the world is the Leica Noctilux, and right behind that the new 35 Summilux ASPH. I have shot with a 35 for months on end, and did the same with a 50. Did my photography suffer because of it? NO, in fact, it had the opposite effect. It IMPROVED it. Every silly sample image you see here was shot with the X100 and it’s 35mm equivalent lens. None of these images are award winners, but just snapshots I was able to get while reviewing the camera. At no time did I wish for a zoom lens, even when I took this camera to the Zoo.
Shooting ONLY a 35mm lens for say, 3 months, will open up your mind to other possibilities. You will not just aim, zoom and shoot but you will look around, think and ask yourself how you can get the best shot with what you have. Shooting at 35mm seems natural. You can get great environmental portraits and even normal portraits if you step back a bit. 35mm is great for landscape and urban shots. It kind of sucks you in to the image at times and is not too wide like a 24 or 28 might be, nor is it too constricted like a 50 can be in some situations.
In many ways, in my opinion, the 35mm focal length is the perfect focal length for shooting life as it happens. The things around you, the people around you, and the daily grind in general. If you have the chance, put a 35mm (equivalent) on whatever camera you own and shoot it for a few weeks. ONLY using that lens. My guess is that by the end of the few weeks you will have some amazing keepers, and you will also have learned a bit more about composition. You will also have a liberated feeling as the stress of “what lens should I use” will be gone. Just you and your 35…pretty cool 🙂
UPDATE: The hot, cool, sexy and gorgeous Black X100 arrives!
June 2012: Here we are 13 months after I reviewed the X100 and Fuji has come a long way with this camera. Yes, I loved it when it was released but the damn thing was full of bugs and quirks that I worked around just due to the camera being so cool and providing such great IQ. Well, with the latest firmware of 1.30 Fuji has taken this camera to the next level. They could have called it an X200 like Leica did the X2 but they seem committed to making this camera THE one to beat in this class.
The AF is much faster. I’d say at least 2X as fast. The AF is more accurate. The AF is no problem in low or almost no light. In fact, at the time of this writing the X100 greatly out performs their X-Pro 1 in the AF, accuracy and overall camera speed categories. I personally would rather have an X100 than an X-Pro 1. But that is just me. The size is perfect, the feel is perfect and in all black this thing is so so beautiful.
The menu system is now smooth and fast, you can assign functions to the RAW button now as well so if you want an instant ND filter, just press the button once. If you want to change ISO then you can assign that as well. JPEG film simulations? No problem? You can even assign it to movies or DR settings. Amazing.
After buying my own black X100 I can safely say I am happy I splurged the little but extra for the black limited kit because I now have the case, the filter, the hood, and a beautiful black X100 that performs fantastic. I have been without one for 6 months or so and I forgot how much fun this camera can be. I will be keeping it along with the Olympus OM-D and in fact, these two make me question wether I even need to have my M9 around anymore. The fact is that these two cameras can rival the M9 at times, and both wipe the floor with the m9 in the high ISO dept. The more i think about it, the more I think my plan will be to sell the M9 and save for the new Leica M Monochrom. This way I will have my dedicated B&W camera and these two awesome cameras for color, video, and anytime I need a HQ smaller camera.
Then again, the X100 does B&W very nicely as well…
So as for today, June 2012 – I can highly recommend the Fuji X100 and if you really want a treat, the Black X100 Limited Edition kit. Just make sure you download the latest FW because it will transform the camera and make it much more responsive. It’s a joy to use and the output is amazingly nice.
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These organizations work easily to ensure that they’re ready to give you with a wide range of decisions. All things considered, there should be no trade off on quality. Right now to answer the inquiry that has been dogging you.
Steve, I love this site, my new fave. I realize I’m writing this long after it was first posted, but, ‘barrel distortion’? That’s not what it’s called when you use a wide angle for a portrait and the person’s nose looks big. It’s just the effect of using a wide angle, any wide angle, up close and the reason an 85mm is used for portraits and a 35mm is not. If the lines on a brick wall are curved outward…that’s barrel distortion. Thanks for a great review; I just sold my X10, bought a V1 and am still hoping to get an X100.
When you use a wider angle lens for portrait and the nose looks bit that is distortion, plain and simple. Take that same shot of a brick wall up close and you will get the same distortion. I am very familiar with barrel distortion and distortion in general. Most lenses besides Leica have distortion. The Fuji lens has it but a Leica 35mm will not give you distortion of a persons face as it has none. Even the Leica 24mm will not give it to you.
yesterday i bought a brandnew x100 in Hamburg (Germany) for only 699 Euro. This morning i updated the camera to firmware 2.0.
I have a free Day because of the Storm over Northern Europe yesterday (which was really strong, phhuuu). No Train or Bus is leaving to go to Work at Hamburg. Time to Play with the x100 :o)))
Very nice Reviews and Photos on your Website! You may have a look at my one – if you like (and tell me what you think but it).
May I ask what camera big is that on the first picture?
Hello Steve! Hope you’re well. You know, I loved the way you talked about the X100 the first time you did. But it was a long time ago and now the X100S arrived and it dit it well! But the problem is that I don’t have that kind of money to spend in one camera. What I really like about this camera is that it can get you so great colors, I always look at your photos and also of other people’s taking photos with the X100 and they get imppresive photos in all aspects. I am wondering, is this camera worth it? I am awared that it costs like 890$ on Amazon now. But due to it quirks and all the negative things i’ve heard and read, I wonder if i’m making a mistake. I’d like this to be my camero for all, because i’m a journalist, not a photojournalist. But I love documenting everything from daily life to journalistic wise. I hope you help me find something, I’d appreciate it a lot. Cheers!
I like the X100 output better than the new X100s. If they kept the same sensor and put it in the new X100s body with the speed enhancements that would be in my bag. The original is superb, just a little slow to AF compared to other cameras.
So you would definitely recommend it to be as my “everything” camera?
Still trying to decide what to get. Coming round to fixed lens rather than interchangeable for convenience when travelling. Given that Fuji X100, Sony RX100 and Fuji X20 (mid Feb) are all now more or less the same price in the UK which one would you go for if you could only have one? Or save £200 and get an X10….
Between those three the X100 all day long. I would never pay £500 for a one inch sensor. Sony et al are having a laugh with their compact camera prices. Forget the X10 has/had white spot issues.
The dilemma should be X100 vs NEX 6.
Thanks for taking the time to reply Steve, much appriciated.
As I mentioned before that I’m a newby to the art of photography although I have always liked to point and shoot…… Infact I’m the guy that pisses the family off at occasions by sticking the camera in front of their faces! 🙂
( Bit of useless info but their you go 🙂
Anyway…… I am not clear what you mean by POP?? Sorry if I sound thick,,, Just never herd it before so can you (when you find the time) please tell me what it means?
Thanks again Steve!
No worries! When I say “POP” I mean the 3D-ness of the images. Sometimes you will see an image that just POPS off the screen – as in depth. Thanks for reading!
Great review and gorgeouse shots!
I have recently got myself the X100 but cant seem to find the right settings to capture sharp jpgs as you have done………Although the weather hear in the UK is dull must of the year so getting good shots in the sun will be a rare occasion :).
Could you please share your settings?
Also I have found it hard to capture moving objects so could you share some of your experience on that too please?
No points for guessing I’m a novice 🙂
Love the clarity of your shots though!
Well, most of these were shot RAW and converted using Photo Raw and Photoshop. During RAW conversion I will add sharpening, sometimes black level, boost color, contrast, etc. All depends on the look I want but the key is to do this during RAW conversion. The JPEGS will not give it to you. As for action, tough to do with the X100 – I tried to avoid shooting moving subjects 🙂 Also, one thing to remember is the most important thing to snap, contrast and pop is LIGHT. If it is dull it is tough to get that POP that you see in some of these but that doesnt mean you cant capture great photos in dull weather. Just shoot, shoot and shoot! the more you do the better you will get!
I’m also interested in the bag at the top of the review. Can it be found at B&H?
Don’t you have any compassion for some of us who need to have enough money for groceries and gas? The b& w shots of the Arizona tree blew me away.In some perverse way I think I’m even gonna welcome the challenge of dealing with the x100’s quirks . Great review , Thanks.
Lol 🙂 The X100 is beautiful. Quirky, but beautiful and capable.
Just to enquire what is the name of the camera bag; with the half exposed camera peeking out of it
Thas in advance
Just FYI….The X100 Black is on sale foe 300.00 off retail- 1399.00 now I’m a buyer snagged one,,,Sale ends Nov 1
seems like X100 still working well .
I was thinking to upgrading from my P&S. I was considering the following cameras:
Fuji X100, Sony NEX 7
As your post mentions above, the Fuji X100 will make me work without the zoom lenses. But coming from the P&S world, I would have expected to have zoom capabilities on the Fuji X100. I liked the ISO capabilities on the Fuji X100. I will be using my new Camera mostly for street shooting and I would prefer to have a fast AF. Which among the two has this faster AF? With the NEX 7, I cannot afford a lens straight away. If I buy the Sony, I would just buy the body and get a 16mm Pancake lens. Maybe a year later, upgrade to a much better lens.
Seriously, my heart says the Fuji X100 but mind would not give up. I have been deferring my purchase for quite some time now. I would wait a bit more until the Photokina and hope by then I would have made a decision.
…..Just waiting to hear if there is an X200 imminent (rumours, rumours…)
Has anyone used this camera with a flip down mirror attached to the lcd screen for waist level viewing
e.g from flipbac.com
An X100 or a Digilux 2 ? – only asking lol
Interesting and thanks for the reply
Thanks for your review! I found it very helpful and informative. I was thinking about getting this camera for myself and after hearing about all the issues and bugs that it had I was skeptical. But after reading the improvements Fuji has made, I’m strongly considering getting this camera again. I was just wondering, in the section about the black addition of the X100, you wrote about the major performance improvements. Are these improvements only with the black limited addition of the X100, or is it with the recent 1.3 firmware update released by Fuji?
Thanks and keep up the good work!
The black and silver X100 are exactly the same camera. One is just black, one is silver and the black comes with all of the extras. The firmware is what makes the difference and it can be load on any and all X100’s.
I’m a wedding photographer, when on the job 2 5D, one on each shoulder.. When i’m shooting for myself, I bring along the X100. Great litle camera.
You are so right about 35mm, it’s t he perfect focal length for every day stuff, even for wedding work, my 35L does about 80% of my shots.
This review makes me buy my Fujifilm X100 3 months back:D
Very rarely leave comments to be honest as I am too lazy browsing around the web, however fantastic review and confirmed enough of what I have seen. x100 coming. Thanks.
I’m a Nikon user for my work…..BUT NOW…….everything else is about the X100……
I’m even bringing it to client sessions…..
thanks for this review (I’m posting a bit late, I know)…..it helped me decide…..now this little baby is always with me.
i was torn apart between the x100 and xpro-1 for the past few weeks. i knew i liked the x100 the moment i held it. i just needed someone to really convince me. your review helped a lot. now I’m ordering the gray x100. is there a hardware difference compared to the black limited edition? also ordered artist and artisan straps already even though I’m still waiting for the camera itself.haha and i was wondering where you got your red soft release? as it is somehow different compared to what i see online. it doesn’t have the “grooves” like yours. many thanks.
Thanks Steve for your down to earth no crap approach in writing reviews. I am from Scotland UK, I have a nilon DSLR and a fujifilm x10, after reading your review I am getting a Black sexy x100. Once again thanks Steve, Keep up the Good Work….. Kevin.
I’ve been reading your reviews over and over for the last few months, endlessly debating whether to buy the Fuji X-Pro 1, X100 or the Olympus OM-D E-M5 as an alternative to my big Nikon DSLR for day-to-day stuff and travel. (Once you have a baby, those DSLRs are just too big to lug around!) I had decided on the Olympus based on your and others’ reviews, but your addendum to this review in June 2012, which I read today, changed my mind and convinced me to go with the X100. I just ordered the limited edition black one (I used your link!), so I really hope I’m not disappointed. Either way, thanks for what you do. Your reviews are great!
Make sure you update the firmware as it does not come with the latest installed. Then learn the camera, assign your buttons and shoot! I love the X100 and feel it is one of the best choices for a mirrorless today.
I love my X100. My other camera is a Nikon D4 with 6 primes and 3 zooms. I use the X100 a lot, but I shoot RAW and use DXO v7, which is simply unbelievable. The pseudo HDR correction + distortion correction is just amazing.
Having the latest X100 firmware and Power Saving turned OFF, I get good AF an it’s sensational. I use an after market clone lens hood, which means I can get away without a lens cap as the lens is recessed enough to be protected. I also have a Soft Release which is fun, but unnecessary, IMHO, but the LensMate LM X100 thumb rest is essential to protect the exposure compensation dial. http://www.lensmateonline.com/store/media/extraImages/x100_thumbrest/180164.jpg
Too bad I have to remove it every time I want to use a hot shoe mounted flash. Which brings me to the only gripe about the X100: I have to go through all this stupid menu system just to enable a show mounted Fuji flash! WHy in Heaven’s name???
Otherwise a brilliant camera. Wouldn’t part with it for anything.
Thanks for the great review.
I almost ordered my x100 when I stumbled upon Olympus OM-D EM-5 and now stuck with the dilema on what to do. I have done my research and know what each model gives you, but just wanted to know what you would have done if presented with both and could only choose one : ) ?
Personally I like the look of Fuji way more and still leaning towards it mainly because of the hope that the fixed lens will help me to get over my laziness and help me with my in-camera composition skills (nowadays I do it in post processing), build in ND filter, the awesome flash sync (although not a fan of flash photography this featured has captured my imagination), but the weather sealing, image stabilizing and the option of changing lens with Olympus is the pros I see over the Fuji x100 …
Hi, great review Steve, really in depth. I was wondering if you could give me some advice, a few months ago I bourght my first camera, which was the fuji X10, which i use pretty much most of the time for street photography, and I love it to bits but I keep thinking whether or not i should upgrade to an X100 as it has a fixed focal length and it’s sensor is bigger among many other things. Something which I want to continue to do is to improve my photography and I feel that having a zoom lens repeatedly makes me think shall I just zoom instead of get closer etc. and I was just wondering whether you think that the step up to a X100 is a big enough leap to do?
Thanks for your review. I read it before getting my own X100 and it was helpful in understanding the camera. Of course, love my X100, and no sticky aperture blades here.
I wrote my own review here with lots of full-size real life sample pictures at all different apertures and ISO settings
It’s a fantastic camera, and it feels so good buying it and not having to “invest” in Fuji. You buy it and you have one great camera. I was thinking about the NEX-7 but I was just do disappointed by the lens lineup. Whereas with the X100 you don’t need to worry about them releasing more lenses or having anxiety about investing in a lens mount with no future. You just buy it, use it and be happy!
Great review! Thanks!
Noted with great interest your X100. Any comments about all of the sticky aperture blade problems that still seem to haunt the X100?!?!
It just seems that it’s not a problem that’s going away and for a lot of people, not a matter of if but when the problem will arise for them. Googling the problem shows up tons of hits with some people having been hit with it on multiple occasions, after taking x no of shots and still no formal acknowledgment of the problem from Fuji.
Also, anyone buying a used X100 is completely on the hook for paying for fixes even if the unit is still under warranty as Fuji will only repair the SAB problem without cost for an original owner!
Would love to hear your comments on this issue and thx in advance.
Steve: darn you, you make this baby sound so luscious that I’m gonna have to convince my wife I need one. 🙂
Just a comment on the fact that this is a fixed 35mm equivalent lens: My two favorite cameras of all times had a single unadjustable focal length. I got my first serious camera when I was a teenager in the sixties and my parents got me a Konica Auto S2 rangefinder which came with a fixed 45mm lens. I learned to shoot with that one, and I have to say it was one great little camera. I recently got one from eBay for $40 or so, and that camera still takes wonderfully sharp pictures. I never found it to be much of a deficit not to have interchangeable lenses. I then dabbled around with SLRs for a while, then got a used Rollei 2.8E2, which is also wonderful…but it looks like I can get all of that quality (and much more versatility) in a much smaller package in the Fuji X100. Thanks for your insight into this camera, and for taking the time to post the review.
Thank`s Steve it`s a long review and i really enjoy it
this is ” the real person who love photography” review,..clamp down you convince me,..X100 is on the way to my hand 🙂
So did you ever buy the black special edition??? I know it’s wasteful and vain, but I too kinda want the black one now. Your review (and others) is making want to wait on the X-Pro1 for now…
No, but I am tempted!
Had mine couple of weeks now. V1.2 update dramatically improves focus both mf/af. Still need to get used to its metering but otherwise a quality piece of gear so lightweight and always by my side.
Great review btw.
Thank you for this review Steve you have helped me decide to place my order for one along with the accessories you recommend.
Thanks for taking so much time and trouble to write this review, and make the vids. Just unwrapped my X100 and being used to a 5D, had been twiddling around and looking puzzled for a bit too long! Can’t wait to get out and about with my new toy now 😉
Just found your review – Very insightful. You are one of very few photographers who’s digital black and white work stands out. You get tonality and gray scale. Most shots by other “digital” photographers I see have shadows blocked up – no detail and often underexposed. Contrast way to harsh. Your design content is great as well. I speak as a professional photographer – Scientific Photographer – Skylab, Viking I/Mars – JPL, Cal Tech, etc., college level teacher, Photographic Engineer/Vivitar , Degree in Design/Photography and having seen many original Adams and Weston photos while attending UCLA photographic classes – not my first rodeo. Keep up the good work and thanks for the informative , non commercial articles.
Thanks so much!
I am confused about the X100. I have read a lot about the camera and based on what I have read I am hearing that the camera is very complex to use and that you have to be an advanced photographer (which I am not). I am always willing to learn but is the camera too much for a novice photographer? If so, what would be a good alternative?
So here it is, almost a year after this review was written, i’m reading it. Great review!! Lovely photos. I’m currently trying to sell some of my musical instruments to buy the X100. Even though i already own 2 Pentax DSLRs and a Panasonic GF2. The X100 is calling my name. And your review didn’t help my lust =o] I’m a little worried about the slow aperture blade issue that seems to be popping up lately, but i guess careful serial number selection will take care of it.
Oh yeah, killer sunglasses in the rear view mirror shot =o]
Steve, thanks for this thorough review. I have been looking for a small compact camera to cart around with me all the moments I am not shooting a wedding. I’ve tried to do this with one of my 5D Mii and end up leaving it home after a day or two. I think I can deal with the few quirks you mentioned, since the pro’s so out-weigh the con’s. Tell me, are you interested in the X-Pro1 that’s soon to be released? The thought of interchangeable lenses is tempting, but then I’d be carting around a load of “stuff” again. I’m curious to hear the reviews, but I do think I will end up with the X100. Would love to hear your thoughts anyway! Thanks again… and for providing so many visuals. This is probably the best X100 review out there.
Thanks for the great review, I’m buying my X100 today, it should complement my 5D quite well durring wedding shoots. I’m hoping the smaller camera will let me get better candids and be less obtrusive.
The Fuji ST605n was my first ever camera. So read your no BS review with interest and decided to take the leap from DSLR. Have not regretted it one bit. I stalk the streets of Istanbul ready and prepped like an old photo journalist – lol.
However, what I was really after at the time was a Leica without the cost, interchangeable lenses and such and shortly after my purchase bang! The X1 Pro is announced.
Now I have a dilemma. The X1 Pro is the camera I was looking for to start with but…do I trade in the X100? I am so impressed with the sharpness and handling of the X100 and love this camera so much I am actually thinking of selling my pride and joy D300 and all the kit to get the X1-Pro instead!!!
Am i crazy or just in lust?
Steve, great review. However, I could swear that I saw both the X100 and the PEN EP-3 on your list of gear you actually use on a daily basis just a few days ago. Any particular reasons for the switch? Thanks for your response and for your honest, in-the-field reviews.
Dropped the X100, and sold the E-P3 for the upcoming OM-D. Reviewing cameras and all, I always need the latest and greatest 🙂 I have the X-Pro 1 on order so…
I guess you were smarter than I was and sold the EP3 body only. Stupid me sold all mft lenses I had with the EP3. And thanks to the OM-D, I’ll buy the 12mm and 45mm again, of course with the new super exciting Olympus camera body and the WS zoom;)
Thanks for mixing different locations for this review. The pics with sun and brown look awesome and was wondering how great it can perform here in Kenya. Will decide purchase after your review for the X-Pro-1.
If you can please mix the locations again, Thanks. 🙂
Love your reviews……..
This review is a masterpiece. Well done Steve. Thank you for the interesting and intelligent insight into the camera. 🙂
I have only used large DSLR’s with bulky bodies but after reading this and seeing the impressive images produced from such a small lightweight design I’m looking forward to testing out an X100. Really thorough article, thanks.
The best and the most honest review of the Finepix x100. Extremely helpful and tempted me to purchase the camera. I did at last. Thanks heaps.
Thank you as always for your helpful reviews. I have been shooting with the X100 for about two months after having traded my Leica X1 for it. I have experienced similar issues that you mentioned but I don’t mind them too much. I enjoy having it along side my trusty M6 or M7 but start to miss my X1. I looked at my old images from the X1 and felt something special toward them, which I don’t have with the images from the X100 (it is by no means that the files from the X100 are bad as they are very good as well). I don’t really know the reason for it, I don’t even know how to describe that feeling. I am not sure if you have ever felt anything like that.
Great user review, thanks very much – still debating one of these puppies!!
On another topic, the chap signing something in Estonia looks remarkably like Seal…
Thanks, and that is Seal. See my portfolio pages 🙂
Well that certainly explains it!
I went ahead and bought one – very happy so far.
I was wondering if you had any thoughts on how the camera would stand up to shooting in freezing conditions? I’m heading away to the snow shortly and have heard some horror stories about condensation, moisture etc. in camera’s that aren’t properly sealed and i’m guessing this isn’t. It would be kept in an insulated bag etc. so more worried about damaging something than the batteries losing power quickly for instance.
The full black version is there!
About the same price, which one do u prefer in image quality and user friendliness? Nex 7 or x100??
The first day I received my X100, I wasn’t extremely impressed, but knew it had its quirks. After a week, I am in love with this camera. It takes a little practice and time to get the camera to work for you, but once you get it down it’s a very rewarding camera, as you probably know. In my opinion it has great IQ and high ISO/low light capabilities, especially for it’s size.
I was also a little worried about the fixed 35mm equiv. but I completely agree with you about the fixed lens improving photography skills. I think it really helps me improve my composition.
I own an EP3, although a great compact camera as well(the 45mm is awesome), I prefer the x100 for it’s little better IQ, high ISO, and aperture/shutter/ec dials. Two different cameras though imo. I never feel like I need better IQ from my camera when using the X100, although I don’t shoot action or sports etc. I’ve come to learn how to make the AF work, and although my first couple days were frustrating trying to get camera to accurately focus in low light, I no longer find myself trying to make it work. The EP3 AF is superb, so it was a little bit of a transition in low light situations, no big deal though.
Steve’s review got me to purchase the X100 too, I’m really happy I did!
As I am currently evaluating both the X100 and EP3, I especially appreciated your comments. For me, it’s all about the IQ so I am heavily leaning towards the X100 at this point. Thanks again for your thoughts.
Thanks for this detailed look at the x100 – this was the review which clinched it for me, and I now have one of these lovely cameras. I know it has its little quirks, but they do not make life too difficult once you learn the camera.
What I have noticed is that the x100 seems to be easier to hand hold at low shutter speeds than my trusty, and bulky, DSLR. Here are some studies of doorways in Milan, Italy which I took recently – in black and white and at night. I’m pretty pleased with the results.
Before getting the x100, I got a little Samsung EX1 – TL500, hoping it would do as a carry around camera. It’s OK, but the images lack that little something you tend to get with a bigger sensor and despite the big 1.8 aperture, it was not easy to get bokeh. With the x100, on the other hand, you can and it’s not at all bad.
I know the x100 cost a whole lot more than the Samsung, but you tend to get what you pay for and with the x100, you get it. After seeing the first captures on the ‘big screen’ I realized I’d got what I was looking for. I do not view the fixed lens as a problem – it just gets you to think more, which is good.
Thanks for convincing me 🙂
All the best from Milan, Italy,
Hi Steve, I just came across this camera today and I love the look, the sample photos and surprisingly the video capture too especially if shot with a tripod 😉
QUESTION: have you heard about the next release of this camera supposedly being introduced in a few days time at CES? If so would you buy this one or would the option to change between 35mm and 60mm on the next edition be a deal breaker to resolve barrel distortion?
Thank you very much for your review <3
Just received my Fuji x100 a few days ago, and was wondering if after your extensive use of the camera you have any suggestions or preferences regarding camera settings. Such as SHARPNESS, Highlight Tone, Shadow Tone, NOISE REDUCTION etc.
Everything is set to Standard on my x100, but I know you seem to figure out the optimal settings for your cameras. For example, EP3 really benefited from turning off the NR and NFilter and turning down the sharpness.
Just jumped on board. Friday I’ll have the x100 in my hands, very excited, and interested to see if it’s quirky issues turn out to be real issues at all. Mainly hoping the below average AF doesn’t get in the way of my shooting. I also own an E-P3, which has incredible AF. Planning on selling one of the two after a week of comparison.. I’ll probably want to keep both, but I promised my self I’d sell one after shelling out another 1200.
I’ve been enjoying your site pretty much. The human touch approach vs. pixel counting. I noticed the following statement “It’s (Fuji X100) VERY cool but I found that I was using the EVF the most as it was more accurate for framing and it uses less battery over the OVF”. Would this be the reverse? I thought an EVF would consume battery power rather than OVF…?
Also, it seems that that Fuji could easily correct the auto focus issue with another firmware update, what took them so long? I’ve been sitting on the sideline and am anxiously waiting for some good news, perhaps CES 2012..?
Keep up the good work and best wishes!
Hi Steve, great website!
Steve I want to buy the best camera for taking long exposure pics, which one would you say it will have the best image quality: x100 or nex-5n? Having in mind that the pixel pitch in the x100 is bigger I am assuming that this is the one to go for, but I ve reading in your post that the nex-5n is the best for low light conditions even tho its pixel pitch is smaller than the x100.
Thanks a lot
Great review as always! I am actually torn between this fuji x100 and the oly EP3. From what I have read you really enjoy both. Which do you prefer out of the 2?
I have been shooting with my Nikon D7000 since it was released but I tend to leave it home now and again due to the size.. I just want a fun but solid camera for day to day shooting. I am kind of leaning toward the fuji because I don’t want to invest on lenses when I can buy glass for my Nikon instead. But other than that both the fuji and oly seem really good!
You seemed to have answered your own question! Since you are not keen on buying lenses for the E-P3 (which it will need for best performance) then go with the X100. I think you will love it.
Haha yea I did didnt I? ;P I just didn’t want to rule out the Olympus for it seems real good as well. Any way, thanks for your input 🙂 keep up your awesome reviews! The fuji x100 will be a late x-mas present for my self 😉
are these all sooc pictures?
or did u use some cs
Many are OOC, some were shot as RAW and adjusted during RAW conversion (contrast, color, etc)
Hi Steve, great website!
Steve I want to buy the best camera for taking long exposure pics, which one would you say it will have the best image quality: x100 or nex-5n? Having in mind that the pixel pitch in the x100 is bigger I am assuming that this is the one to go for, but I ve reading in your post that the nex-5n is the best for low light conditions even tho its pixel pitch is smaller than the x100.
Thanks a lot
I just got the X100 based on what I’ve read here, thanks for the review, I love the camera. when I cant be bothered carrying my 5DII and lenses around it will be very handy
What’s that shutter release button you use? I really like the tactile part. Think it matches the on/off switch really nicely.
Bought it at popflash.com. Just search their site for “soft release”
Thanks for a great review, Steve – I could really feel your passion for this camera. Ordered one for myself yesterday – hopefully will have it before X’mas. Just wondering what your view on lens protection is. Some people seem to think you’d be crazy not to protect your valuable lens with a quality UV filter; others say it exaggerates flare and ghosting, and generaly degades the image. What do you think? I assume using a hood is all good, apart from problems with the carry case.
If I want a good and light shooter for those day outs with friends and family or when carrying heaps of gear aint helping my back (I have a Nikon D700 which I use as my bread and butter most times)
Should I get the X100 or EP3?
Leica M9 is kinda off budget. Though it’s a target.
Thanks for complete and thoughtful review. I had already ordered a Fuji X100 when I came across your site, and it hasn’t arrived yet, but you have given me some great ideas about how to use it.
In your review, you said, “None of these images are award winners”. IMO, your B&W shots of the tree (especially the first one) made me think immediately of Ansel Adams. I am an amateur photographer, but I hope to shoot as well as this someday.
Hi Steve, quick question, have you heard of the leaf shutter sticking issue with the fujifilm x100?
I have heard from two people (who emailed me) that had the issue and it was repaired by fuji in about 1 weeks time. I never experienced it (yet) and hope I do not.
great review Steve! any rumors of an x200 yet??
a very fair review, being a leica man!!!!! Bravo!!!!!!!!
The Erwin Puts (premium Leica guru) has a review putting x100 head to head with M9.
Thankyou thankyou thankyou. I have been pondering this or getting the new X10. The problem has been I’ve read too many opinions online, many calling the camera rubbish because of aperture blade lock up and auto focus problems. This review put everything into perspective for me. all I want is an easy light compactish camera for when I go overseas next year with, that will give me good images. I don’t really want to carry my 5DII or 7D. This looks a real gem and Im pretty sure I will own one as soon as I can get a hold of one as they are hard to get here in western australia right now, must be very popular. Julie
Great review. I’ve been thinking about this camera for a little while as an alternative to my 5dMk2 when out and about. The Micro four Thirds systems are great but defeat the object slightly as you still going to end up with carrying lenses around (albeit small)
So I think this has made upo my mind
this review helped me to decide between the leica x1 and the fuji x100. I always wanted to own a leica, specially an M9 but unfortunately its too expensive for me. I was crazy about the x1 but after reading your review on the x100 i was sure i want the x100, and that way i could save some money too 🙂
I live in Hungary, and there was a waiting list here for the x100 but lucky someone did not come to the store to pick up his x100 so i could have it. I got the sandrive 16 GB pro card with it (as u suggested), so the starting up is ok like that, about 1 sec.
So again thanks for all this useful info, and ohh yess your pimped up x100 looks divine.
Hello, there is one thing I am a bit confused.
I would like to shoot in RAW. I work with MAC OS X 10.6.8 & with Lightroom 3, but on the internet I have found the following:
RAW File Converter: Windows7/Vista/XP
Does this mean I can not shoot in RAW as I am using a MAC?
you don’t need a RAW file converter if you have Lightroom 3 no matter what OS you have.
Thanks for the review. It was practical and easy for casual photographer like myself to understand. I have a dilema that I hope you can help. I’m trying to choose between Sony NEX-5n, Olympus EP3, and Fuji X100.
Can you give me your thoughts?
Great review Steve! I’m just curious about something, and I don’t mean to turn this into a film v digital thing. But, how you would you compare the results of the X100 to a high quality 35mm film camera like the Contax T3 or G2?
You can’t adjust the manual focus when in video mode? Why would Fuji allow that to happen? Does this mean there’s no such thing as manual focus for this camera? Sorry for my ignorance.
Your review is the best on the web, Steve! 🙂 Thanks!
Great review – you have sold me this camera, I’ll probably get it in a weeks time!
I had a quick play on one in a shop, although you did pretty much cover every thing in your review. I did find one thing a bit strange, I was trying to focus on a black camera about 30cm in front of me and it just couldn’t do it. I then switched on macro mode and it worked fine.
From my limited experience with DSLRs, you can focus to any range without using the macro button (presumably macro does some other adjustment?) but do you have to on the X100?
After reading your review, I bought my wife an x100 for her birthday. It (along with some 35mm film gear) recently went on a family vacation to Italy. What can I say? This is the *perfect* travel camera.
It is small, light, and intuitive with superb image quality (even wide open). And its fill-flash performance is amazing. This camera handled everthing we threw at it.
My only complaint is that the exposure override button is easily dislodged and there were a few shots that were unintentionally overexposed. (Maybe Fuji will put a lock on future models.) However, overall I am very impressed with the results.
If Fujifilm comes out with an interchangeable lens model, I’ll likely be dumping my dslr gear.
Well done Fuji!
(and Steve for the great review)
I enjoyed perusing your review of the X100. What I enjoy even more is that while on vacation in Vegas recently, on a whim, I called Casey’s Camera because, what the heck, they might have had one. And they did. Steve, the very knowledgeable and helpful rep who picked up the phone told me they had two of them still in the box. So I rushed over and sprang for one. Steve even had the lens hood/adapter kit.
My experience is that the X100 is all it’s cracked up to be. Like other users, I’m amazed at the beautiful look of the images and the low, low noise at high ISOs even ISO 12,800 which appears noisy to me mostly only when I compare it to 6400 on down. By itself, shooting in impossibly dim lighting, I’m happy to get a good image that’s not reduced to impressionistic painting by noise reduction.
The menus take some getting used to. The instruction book is 122 pages long, and a week later, I’ve yet to plumb its depths. I really like its versatility such as being able to set manual focus, shutter speed, and aperture and get what seems to be a very quick shutter release, a method which also avoids the very good light meter from being fooled by, say, backlighting while shooting candids of people with their backs to a large window.
If you’re on the fence, I hope my comments are of use to you.
Hey Steve. I love your real world approach towards reviewing the X100. I have spent much time going through websites that scrutinize every aspect of this camera and am often left with mixed feelings about lots of stuff. Your review I must say, is refreshing. And looking at properly taken photos really helps much much more!
I will probably be getting an X100 soon as a carry around since I don’t want to lug my 50D around. Thanks for the awesome job!
Thank you for your photography-user-friendly and relevant review. I just bought Fuji X100 and am testing it – so far so good i.e. within the specifically defined uses of this specialty camera, I am perfectly happy with X 100’s performance and price i.e. i can live with some of the peculiarities of this innovative little camera – except perhaps its AF performance under low-light situations. Meanwhile, Sony and Olympus have just announced up their larger sensor interchangeable lens (which I don’t care about) small-camera models i.e NX 7 and P3. I do understand the market and conceptual differences between these competing cameras but, I WOULD APPRECIATE GETTING YOUR COMMENTS on how these 3 cameras specifically compare in terms of their AF performance under low light conditions. My test for low light performance is simple: can I take a decent photo inside the TOPKAPI palace in Turkey or any other museum – without having to use my heavy Canon 5D II full-frame DSLR with a heavy prime lens plus a tripod and a flash lights? Your advice would be most appreciated. Thank you. Nizar
All I can say is wow……why lug around 2 or 3 big SLR bodies when you can get some amazing pictures from this as your second body. I am amazed!! I NEED TO GET ME ONE ASAP!!!
Great review and pics 🙂
Thanks for your review. It’s refreshing to see a review based on real-world samples rather than pixel peeping. I’m intrigued about the Alien Exposure filter that you used on the truck shot; could you please tell me which one you used? Was it one of the Kodachrome filters?
Btw. I bought a X100 a couple of days ago. Still haven’t received it but having been a Fuji S3 & S5 user for years I am confident the results will be Fuji-like as expected.
Steve I have a Konica Hexar since 1999. I would love to get an x100 but with my limited knowledge of photography I wonder if this camera is too much of a camera to handle. Thanks to your reviews I have a whole new interest in photography.
Thnx for your great info about the Fuji X100
I was doubting between Leica +Fuji(as an extra next to my camera Canon 5D 70-200mm.24-105mm)…but after reading your comment…I decide to buy the Fuji X100
Has anyone seen Scott Kelby on “The Grid” Episode 18 trashing the X100? It can be found here: http://kelbytv.com/thegrid/2011/08/04/the-grid-episode-18/
I think it is over the edge…what do others think?
Thanks Steve for such a wonderful review. I’m no expert when it comes to photography having not done anything serious for years now after selling most of my kit. I’m now looking to buy a new camera and couldn’t decide between the Sony Nex-5 or the Fuji x100 until I read your review. This has to be the best review I’ve read to date on any subject matter and has helped me in my decision on buying the Fuji X100.
Well done mate. I’ve bookmarked the site and look forward to reading more
This is a very good and informative review of the X100. In addition to the performance of the camera, I like its size and weight too – perfect. I am still debating if I should get it or getting the Nikon 35mm/1.4G AF-S for my D700. What do you think Steve? by the way, I am not a professional, just love to take pictures. Thanks for your comments.
This is such a great review. Very informative.
I’ve been looking for a compact cam that suits me and you got me convinced that this is “the one”. I used to shoot with my LCA+, yes, a film addict. So the x100 is perfect for me, I love the film simulation feature and its pretty classic look.
I expect to be the happy owner of an X100 by the end of August. Your review was a very influencing factor in my decision – in fact I never considered a Fuji, but was seriously considering the X1. Seeing your review really changed my mind.
I’m curious about one thing. Your write than the X1 is sharper. Based on the evidence you have produced yourself I’m wondering what you’re looking for when you say its sharper. I have been seeing the two pictures of the pretty lady on several monitors just to make sure It was not a feature of the screen I was seeing.
The X100 has a slight reddish tinge to the ladys face. She’s blushing a little more on the X100 than the X1. I suppose you did not say anything naughty to her between shots 😉 I have seen the same from other reviews as well. But sharpness . . ? One the monitors I have used the texture of lips, skin, eyebrows and eyelashes is . . . more visible on the X100 than the X1.
So can you explain ewhat you mean when you say sharp?
You are welcomed 🙂
One of the most famous cameras made by Fuji is the TX 1 and 2, better known as Hasselblad X Pan in the western world. Fuji is the OEM of this big size camera for Hasselblad. It is the only dual format film camera that can single shoot a full frame 26 x 65mm panorama from a roll of normal 135mm film and it can also be set for shooting normal 24 x 36mm format.
Another one is Fuji GF670 also better known as Voigtlander Bessa III. Same like X Pan which is OEM by Fuji. A medium dual format 6 x 6 and 6 x 7 rangefinder with folding up lens.
People still have to pay premium for these 2 cameras in the used market.
Since the OEM work for Hasselblad and tight relationship with Carl Zeiss, rumors pointed out Fuji has obtained the lens coating technology of Carl Zeiss *T through Hasselblad. Now, Fuji fonds of their own development EBC coating lens and people often compares Fuji EBC & Carl Zeiss *T.
In 2006, Fuji made a 135mm format high-end P&S film camera called Klasse S and W. S has a 38mm ( I have one ! ) and W ( I sold it !! ) has a 28mm wide angle, both are EBC prime lens. They are all made for Japan domestic but you can still get a new one from eBay for I think $600-700. I really admire Fuji has the guts to invest into a P&S film camera in the years of DC dominated world so I bought both but finally has to let the W goes and now still keeping the S 🙂
So this is my too cents about some stories of Fuji.
Leica is another unique story, it is purely German made master piece, used by many photo journalists and art photographers over the world from the old era til’ now, many world famous journalistic or art photos in 135 format were taken by Leica. I mean even some other makers maybe able to produce similar or even better image quality, Leica will still be able to beat the hell because of it’s exceptional built quality and value and no one can make F 0.95, only Leica. So no matter how many bugs, Leica is Leica and it is always on top notch and worth a premium. Leica means famous and luxury camera which supported by it’s quality and history. To own a Leica feels like you own a Porsche 911GT3 or Ferrari Enzo, can’t drive fast so what ? It is a master piece of art, drive it out step hard and kicking ass or just park it outside a cafe and enjoy your afternoon tea, both ways feel great !
M9 is the only choice if you want a DC rangefinder now. I’m in film as well so I do have choice of Leica, Voigtlander or Zeiss Ikon. They all give you great photos and it’s all about the money in your pocket. Practical shooter less budget would probably go for Voigtlander or Zeiss and save the money for couple of great lenses but not me, I would like my Leica optics snap on a MP rather than a Zeiss, haha but less budget so I still have no Leica 🙂
Leica M9 ? No..I don’t have that much and I’m not willing to pay for a DC than much. I feel comfortable to pay for a new MP but not M9. The reason is in most situations, DC comes up newer and better every year, think about M8, M8.2 then M9 and the latest M9-P. Sensor, hardware, firmware & electronics can be improved generation after generation so you really need a big pocket to follow and update your DC M. Film is film, it is real RAW nothing more so personally I would rather paying for a new MP for a pure mechanical experience of the tradition of Leica and I believe it’s more worth for an investment of a mechanical Leica rather than a DC.
Going back to X100, yes I’m happy with it because it’s worth for the money I paid, price is actually a bargain if comparing to X1 but of course according my theory of ‘ Leica is Leica “, X1 wins here and X100 wins for the price only 🙂 It is equipped with APS-C sensor in a relatively compact retro drop dead body and hybrid VF. Guess this is the reason why Leica has to mention using at least APS-C sensor for their new system. If you compare image from micro 3/4 and APS-C, especially in higher ISO, you will know the advantage of bigger sensor.
Ricoh just announced a new M-mount module with APS-C sensor for GXR and seems very exciting too so let’s wait I’m sure Steve will try it out !
So for whether Fuji is going into micro 3/4 or X100 Mark II, no one knows but one thing I learned from Fuji is, besides their compact P&S DC consumer market, they tend to stick with one successful high-end model rather than making new or revised version year after year.
So what I think is you will not be too late if you make decision to buy X100 now but ” not too late ” means you don’t have to worry X200 or a Mark II is coming soon from Fuji. However, you don’t know whether Leica or other brand may have something exciting coming up soon.
E-P3 is also not a bad idea, I mean not for me but it may suit for many others, especially it has the M-mount adapter so you can play with Leica optics. It also has a wide range of lens options for you to choose, zoom or prime so you may want to try it out and see. It also has the retro look and many options like EVF you can add on.
Me too I’m always lust for a Leica M back here Hong Kong have to wait 1/2 year to order a new MP from dealers or you pay a little more for the now in stock. For M9 or M9-P, go for it if you have plenty. This is the way – M8, M8-2, M9, M9-P then ? Be careful, haha !
My pleasure sharing with you but listen more from others and gathers what is useful for you and I’m sure you will be able to choose and make your decision 🙂
Hope you don’t mind if I wanna share some thoughts as being X100 owner for awhile ago.
I love it very much and it always sits next to me at home 🙂 Most of us here no matter X1 or X100 owners will agree this is a great and unique camera. Image quality is no question here or this X100 will not be one of the hottest topics. Besides image quality no matter high or low ISO, I think both the traditional controls dials and the hybrid VF are the keys of success for this cam. You can control everything without your eye leaving the VF, it is stunning bright and clear. Not to mention the beautiful retro rangefinder outlook, all these add up and making X100 stands out from the crowd.
I have read an article from another major DC review site and it seems Leica will make a new system camera with interchangeable lens similar to those E-P or GF mirrorless but with EVF and at least APS-C size sensor just like X100. However, Leica always takes their time to make something unique and different so no one knows when will this cam available. Also, no one knows if Leica is going to make an X2 or not and if yes, I’m quite sure the X2 will beat up Fuji.
As for Fuji, I also went through some articles saying they are very interested to make new camera system with interchangeable lens, entering the popular mirrorless market now but they mentioned there will be no built-in EVF or OVF.
Talking about the next generation of X100, I’m sure Fuji will also improve and more refine if there’s any but think about this, unless the next generation of X100 accepts interchangeable lens, there will be more or less same as the X100 now. So if Leica will make a new X2 or something with built-in EVF, it seems more exciting than a further refined X200 or 300, but still with fixed lens.
I really wish if the next X100 is a interchangeable lens system but that will take Fuji lots of time and efforts to work out the EVF/OVF for different focal lengths, as well as to develop different lenses to associate.
The prime lens, micro lenses matching with the sensors of present X100 are all tailor-made to juice-up this cam. Like what Fuji said, they put almost all their best into X100. So if they have to make an interchangeable lens X100, I believe it will take awhile, probably longer than what Leica mentioned about their new APS-C system becoz Leica has all the lenses already.
When is the next Photokina this year ? As you said you will need to save up 2-3 months for the X100 so maybe you should wait and see if there is anything new coming up ?
Thank you so much for writing such an in-depth response; it’s great to see what other photographers alike have to say on this topic.
You seem very pleased with your X00, which is great! I am happy for you =)
I’ve read about the Leica rumors too, something along the lines of making a camera that is right between the X1 and the M9 – a fusion of the best of both. As for Fuji, the x200 would be a point-and-shoot and possibly the x300 would implement the interchangeable lens – these rumors make it so much fun!
I have to say, I agree with you. I am VERY new to photography and I currently own a Canon so the company backgrounds such as Leica/Fuji are still very new to me. I understand completely what you mean when you say that the x100 is already at its best. The probability of Fuji creating a better product whilst keeping the same format (no interchangeable lens) is very low.
After reading your response, I do have a question for you. What is the history of Fuji? Because these are businesses after all .The time between the introduction of EP-1 and EP-2 was very short, do you think Fuji would implement the same marketing plans? I’ve noticed that many Japanese companies tend to take three steps forward, one step backwards. So what are the chances that Fuji will come out with a slight improvement of the x100, such as a Mark II version?
After all, I will always have a lust for a Leica M – maybe I should just save up for 2-3 years for that instead =)
Thank you for your time.
Thank you for such an amazing review. Personally I use a Canon 550D + 35mm f1.4 L USM (bought it because of your review) but I have been looking around for a smaller camera to bring around since a DSLR is too obvious in Toronto (in comparison with my home – Hong Kong).
I want your opinion on my problem:
I will be wanting a second camera – not a DSLR, something small like the x100. However, it will take me 2-3 months before I can gather the funds to purchase this. Do you think I should wait until 2012 for the possible upgraded version (say the x300 – according to rumours) or should I purchase the x100 when I can?
Anyways, keep up the amazing work. I’ve been looking for great reviews / blogs for a while now. Thank you for your words – believe me, it helps a lot of people with questions for such ameture photographers like myself.
Just got back from vacation lugging a D300s and a 16-85 and a 35/2… which has me reading all sorts of X100 reviews.
I agree with the one lens idea. I often put the 16-85 on the camera before heading out for the day because a little voice in my head says, “It’s more flexible and you’ll be able to get more shots”. Now there’s a voice in my head saying, “Did you really need to get all those shots? All that lens is doing is enabling you to get more crap shots. Sure you can go wider or longer and fit the subject in the frame but maybe you shouldn’t have…” I really miss my Contax G1 with the 45/2
Thanks for the review (plus the walk around Vilnius) – great stuff.
I own one for a few weeks now and I love it!
Thanx for the early and thorough review.
This is my daily p’n’s now cause it fits into my pocket, absolutely great cam.
Hi Steve, I’ve been thinking of getting myself a DSLR camera when I came across your review on X100. The compact yet retro design really appeals to a lomo-fanatic like me. But I’m abit apprehensive as all along I’ve been using idiot-proof SONY digital cameras. For someone new to the whole DSLR thing, is X100 user-friendly?
amazing review Steve. i just bought the ep2. so far it is a great camera, however, there are some things about it that does not work as well as i had anticipated. i do wonder tht by the time i get the panny 20mm and the vf… i will be up to 1500.00. now i am reading about the x100 and am very interested. this camera is my everyday camera / street photography. it allows me to not carry around the 7d.
question is… is the x100 that much better than the ep2? definetly cheaper. the x100 also looks like a camera i would not outgrow. any insight would be greatly appreciated.
Great review, thank you. I tried one of these over the weekend and loved it… and now after reading your view and watching your vids, definitely.
I sold my D700 and bought an M8. For the same reasons you are thinking about changing.
Google plus? Chris bampton.
I have just read your review and found it one of the best, most detailed and most understandable so far. I currently own a Nikon D700, and I love it! Yet once I found myself climbing mountains with this massive camera (imagine a girl carrying that + a 24-70mm lens and a few extra lenses in the bag), I decided I wanted something lighter. Also, something that wouldn’t put me to such danger! My dad recommended me Leica M9 yet I don’t think I should buy it – it’s just way too expensive. However, I don’t want to buy something cheaper and regret it later. My question is, with Leica M9 being around 10000 (with lens) and x100 being 1200, would you say photos with M9 are 8 times better? 😉 If not, I’ll just go get the x100!!!
As a DSLR owner with the same recent dilemma I feel I can offer my own opinion.
The x100 and the M9 are often compared, but are really very different cameras behind their external similarities. Both are great on their own merit but are in practise entirely different investments.
The massive price difference is testament to this. On the one hand you have the Leica, with urivalled build quality and the Rolls Royce of optics, brand heritage, something you’d keep for life with a view to eventually owning a number of the fantastic lenses that are available.
On the other hand with the x100 you have a fixed lens camera with tons of new innovative features, a great fixed lens, superb low-light potential, those great tactile manual controls, DSLR quality and great looks to boot.
It’s about workout out which of these suits you, as trying to quantify the Leica as being ‘8x better’ is a very tricky prospect. Like premium cars, you’re paying for a lot more than just the physical advantages.
I did a lot of homework and eventually went a different route, one that makes more sense to compare to the x100 as it’s in the same price bracket and offers the same portability; I bought an Olympus E-P1 for a bargain new on ebay and a couple of really good lenses.
The E-P1 is a few years old now and has been superceded by two newer models, so it can now be picked up for a bargain leaving you money for excellent lenses. Ultimately this was what led me away from the Fuji, personally, as I wanted more flexibility. It’s a different format (called micro four-thirds) but is similarly portable and offers comparable quality.
To help make a balanced, informed decision, here’s some more homework!
E-P1 with Panasonic Lumix 1.7 lens:
some of my pics with the same camera with manual 1.4 Voigtlander lens:
Steve’s great review of the E-P1
and the top Flickr groups for the x100 and M9
A friend has the M9 and loves it, but works professionally as a photographer and can justify the outlay – for hobby photography it’s hard to contemplate a spend like that for most of us, however nice it would be!
I’ve never owned an x100 so I can’t speak as an owner but came within a whisker of buying one and still think it’s a fantastic camera on many levels, I just ultimately wanted a little more flexibility and feel I made the right choice.
Hope this gives some more food for thought! Take some time over your decision and chat to owners on flickr, pick them up in a camera shop and get a feel for them… you might just know instinctively!
… would that mean the Zuiko 50 mm (100 mm equivalent) on EP-3 is a superior lens in comparison with the Fujinon 23 mm (35 mm equivalent) on X100 .. ?
… again, following my just sent previous post => To ALL : As you most probably already know, once selected the 1st image (On LH and on RH), you must click again on it, in order to get it (them) in full frame. (The only way to compare)
Hi Steve. I need your advice in regards to this link : http://www.imaging-resource.com/IMCOMP/COMPS01.HTM
Please, on the left side select Fuji X100 and below, select “New indoor 200 ISO”
And on the right side, select Olympus EP-3, and, same further below, select “New indoor 200 ISO”
What is your opinion ?
What I hate about OLY EP-3 is its shutter sound (Higher than even some DSLRs) IMO
What I love about Fuji X100 is its shutter sound (Silent)
But, what I love about about OLY EP-3 (here with excellent Zuiko 50 mn Macro _ 100 mm equiv. 35) is its Superior IQ vs X100. IMO
I’m just asking myself about Ricoh A12-50/A12-28 (Shutter sound _ leaf as X100, but known as to be much higher shutter sound than X100_ and IQ vs X100 and EP-3
Thanks for the review Steve. I was about to add an X1 to my 8.2, read lots or reviews on it and the X100 and your review put me over the top for the X100. Since I received it I have no regrets whatsoever it’s a great little camera with superb IQ.
I may weaken and buy the X1 as well, it’s tough to get Leica out of your blood !
Very well written and I like your style. Will definitely bookmark your site!
Can someone please explain to me why the manual focus is so slow? I have read that criticism a bunch on here and just don’t understand what makes a manual focus slower on one camera than another.
Thanks in advance,
Many thanks for such comprehensive and enthusiast review! I am seriously considering this camera to carry it everywhere because I’m really tired of carrying my bulky and heavy Canon DSLRs and lenses, (they’re not an option for everyday snapshots) and I was awaiting for THIS camera, since I hate the severe limitations of tiny sensors.
I’m eager to put my hands on it!
Regards from Spain.
Thanks for the review. I’ve been on the fence regarding this camera and I appreciate someone laying it out on the line. Nice photo of the semi all dusted up.
Nothing worthwhile, of value is ever accomplished without passion…so it has been said… Steve – you are a passionate man and photographer…continue to share your blessed gift. Great review.
My best regards,
This is the way a modern digital camera should be made – simple, intuitive, solid with beautiful pics.
Love the classic camera concept.
Nice going FujiFilm.
Thx for your amazing review! But where can I get the X100 from? Will fujifilm be shipping more??
I came across this camera late. I am already beginning to love it. It could be the semi wide angle counter part in my wedding shots. I would get on as soon as the initial rush for it is over. I am not seeing this in stock any where. Also saw the ads in Professional Photographer magazine and Rangefinder magazine.
ahh the Fuji x100 aka poor mans Leica.
Thanks for the review steve! I actually just returned an Olympus EP-2 with the EVF to get this sexy camera after reading your review and seeing the pictures you posted. I tried buying from one of your sponsors, but no one had it in stock or had it priced at 1,500 (amazon). A local dealer had one left and I snatched it up a few minutes ago.
Because of your review Steve I bought one. This is a great camera! Made over 300 images with it so far in all kinds of light. This is not a begginers camera. I can see Y some may be frustrated with it if they don’t hav a full comprehension of analog photography. I have used it in portraiture, street, still life, and general point and shoot applications. Shutter is virtually silent all one hears is a slight whisp of a sound. WOW. Color and detail awesome, monochrome beautiful. Excellent camera. Thank you for your review for without it I would in all probability not be holding it. The same can be said for our new E-PL2 by the way. Wife saw some of the images from the x100 after some street shooting and said “you sure are sneaky!” LOL. Cheers.
How do you compare the picture quality of X100 with the Fuji DslrS like S5 pro, S3 pro and S2 ?
great review. I just P/U my X100 today!
Where did you purchase your red soft button?
X100 Review… Used at a wedding ( http://www.adorama.com/alc/blogarticle/Hands-On-Fujifilm-FinePix-X100 )
Hi Steve, great reviews and website. Top notch!
Question: I saw what was listed as your Fuji X100 for sale on another photography forum…did you indeed get rid of the X100? I’m curious why? Did it’s performance ultimately disappoint?
That was 2-3 weeks ago and I had TWO of them. The X100 did not disappoint at all. It’s performance is superb IMO.
Thanks for the review, Sean Reid has some similar thoughts ref Ergonomic quirks…. but in terms of IQ… M8 with CV 25mm Snapshot Skopar or X100 for trip to Paris, France…..
That was a question…. sorry for neglecting the ?
In my opinion, and ONLY going by the photos you’ve put up, the Fuji photos still don’t give that mood and feel that the X1 photos did on that review.
Great review as usual.
Just bought it and back here Hong Kong, the X100 is bundled together with the leather case, filter adapter and lens hood so has to buy everything.
The original hood is a bayonet fitting so it must associate with its own adapter to fit, which means if you can’t live without the original hood, you must buy both.
For those who don’t really like to put on the cap but would want a filter upfront for protection, just take off the ring, get a 49mm female thread filter and you are all set. Mine is a 49mm Marumi MC-UV free gift from the shop. You can also get a 49mm female thread lens hood instead of buying the original hood and adapter.
The lens cap becomes quite loose after the filter adapter installed. For this combination get a filter as thin as possible so the cap can go in further and stay. I don’t care because I don’t use cap.
The leather case is nice but I don’t really use the upper part and I don’t like much the leather neck strap that comes with the case because I use hand-strap mostly. It is kind of wide strap and it should be comfortable wearing around the neck, just my preference.
The menu of X100 is not very user friendly. Switching on and off the auto ISO is a pain in ass, it burned deeply into the set-up menu and it can’t be customized or assigned to any button outside, can’t believe it.
OVF is great I love it, it will correct the parallax and give you corrected frameline after you focused your subject. Once AF confirmed, the corrected frameline will appear so you know where you are taking & composing.
Under 80 cm distance, it won’t focus or it will wrong focused unless you switch on the macro mode. If you are in OVF, once you switch on the macro mode, the OVF will automatically changed to EVF. I think this is great and I don’t think it is a issue , a bit different than what Steve has experienced & commented.
Besides, nice, bright VF image, framelines & clear information no matter E or OVF.
Buffering time is no good so like Steve said, get a faster card will help both start up time and buffering. I tested with a Toshiba SDHC 4GB card which is also a free gift from the shop I bought and it takes 2-3 sec to power on ( my roughly estimate ).
The ISO performance is amazing to my standard ! I’m very satisfied even photo is taken at ISO6400.
To my standard as well, F4 & up good & sharp, F2.8 is okay not bad and F2 is bit soft off from center.
So that’s it and no intensive testing, just a roughly comment from a user.
Well said, Steve, on both 35mm lens and the lengthy reply to “Ron”, couldn’t agree with you more. Was that the longest reply ever?
If there is an occasion that only ONE lens is allowed to bring, I’ll take my 35mm any day. I’ve been shooting with my EP2 w 20mm Panasonic 75% of the time in the past year or two, it has been my workhorse. It has the right lens with speed, the IQ, the look, and fits right into your pocket. I left my Nikon at home more and more often, the only time I’d grab my nikon dslr is to shoot sports event, wildlife, bird, together with the 5lb telephoto lens. Now I have my X100, it has all the things I mentioned above, plus better lens, better looking, real ovf/evf, better IQ, build-in ND filter, and I love the quiet mode. of course it has it’s flaws, of course there are times that I have to leave it at home and take other camera, to me, X100 is JUST PERFECT.
Focus speed wise, since I have both X100, and EP2, they are identical, X100 is little faster in daylight, and much quieter, in low light situation, none of them get the job done easy. I’m talking about near total dark, with only a night light, or tv light, this is the common problem with mirrorless system you just have to live with it, until the next technology breakthrough.
Keep up the good work Steve, love everything you’ve done on this site.
Love your site-daily reading for me- and your review of Fuji X100. I bought it 3 weeks ago as a stepping stone to Leica M9. I love it except for one flaw- the inability of the AF to focus in low light. Whilst everything else is wonderful on the camera, I believe that this one flaw takes so much away from enjoyment of the camera.I am amazed that given the marketing spiel from Fuji pre launch as having spoken to professionals etc they failed to improve on the focus issue. All the other flaws one can live with but the AF definitely drives me crazy and times i feel like throwing the camera way. Having said that it’s definitely a keeper-hoping that Fuji will fix the flaw through future firmware releases.
keep up the good work!!
Thanks Hemant! In my use, I find the low light AF no worse than any other contrast detect AF camera. I have tested the X100 in pretty low light and had no issues obtaining AF. Use center point and when you focus try to aim the AF box on something with contrast or an edge. This will help. Also, like the X1, the AF of the Fuji most likely can’t be fixed or changed to be faster or more sensitive. With this type of AF, this is about as good as it gets.
Thanks Steve. Your suggestions re AF are much appreciated. I’ll try out your suggestions and see if it improves my focusing skill!
Hey everyone, I have been quite devoted into films for the last couple years and obviously, X100 is a god sent to me. Anyway, I don’t think there is any camera using OVF will get you down to marco without wearing attachment or marco lens.
My Rolleiflex & Rollei 35 – 2.8 feet shortest.
Ricoh GR 28mm film cam – 0.8 meter
I also owned both Fuji Klasse S / W film cam which are 2 of the latest 35mm film cam made by Fuji in 2006, only available to Japan domestic market.
The S with 38mm lens gets you down to 80cm & W with 28mm gets you into 50 cm. The OVF contains 2 frame lines so you will know, similar to the Ricoh GR 28mm film cam.
So if you are talking about OVF, I think Fuji has already pushed to its limit and did great job, an OVF gets you down to under 1 meter. Well what I can compare here is film cams as none of the DC on the market combines both OVF and EVF, plus a LCD.
What I think Fuji is better upgrade the firmware and add some sort of warning lights when user is shooting under 80cm with OVF, as most of the users not familiar with OVF limit.
Besides, I don’t know how many of you will really enjoy shooting marco with whatever E or OVF ?! Wouldn’t be easier using LCD and moving your hands around instead of shifting whole body to compose ? For street snap, how many of you can snap candid closer than 80cm with your cam up to your eye level and pointing at them ? That is 2.5 feet distance mind game, I would love to learn.
And what is wrong with a DC that can record movies ? It only goes wrong if you are taking a Leica to measure. I will say Leica lens impressed me the most out of all 35mm photos I have seen, it is the lens and juice up with the M9 or films. One day Leica comes with video mode, AF or DOF preview and you will say God sent, wonderful bonus for all fans.
I don’t own X100 but I will buy one and I love Leica as well 🙂
Steve, You seem like a “next best thing” guy… preferring the newest to the older. Fuji has had quite some time to copy the concept of the X1, which they’ve done in an o.k. way, but not surpassing the X1. I had the opportunity to use the X100 for a few hours and preferred the image quality of the X1. Movie shooting and stereo mic? The X1 was made for photographers, and the X100 should have been the same. Shooting movies with a 35mm lens makes the X100 a silly product, which is why Leica wins. And, more importantly, the output of the images is what it’s all about and the X1 just has the magic written all over them.
Hey Ron, thanks for the comment but you are off the mark a bit. As for being a “Next Best Thing” guy, not so true. It is now my JOB to review cameras that are sent along to me. As for the Fuji, I love it. I think it will be camera of the year for 2011.
There have been plenty of new cameras that have come through here that I hated. The Canon S95, the GH2 and GF2 just to name a few. There have been others that I feel are great but not worth ME buying. Most cameras today are fantastic, just comes down to what YOU WANT in a camera. Me, my fave camera is still the 2 year old M9 and I am sure when an M10 comes out I will want one. Not because its the “Next Best Thing” but it will be an improvement on the camera I have enjoyed for the last two years. I donut I will be able to afford one, but of course i would “want” one.
You lost me when you said you used the X100 for a few hours. It takes more than that to not only learn how to use the X100 properly, but how to process the RAW files for best results. The Leica X1 has AWESOME IQ. No doubt. I love the X1 as well! If I could, Id own both!
But the X1 does not have a VF (though I wished for one from day one). The X100 does. The X100 has video, not a must have and its not the best but its good to have for family, personal videos. X1 does not (though the X2 will, mark my words). The X100 has a manual aperture dial and an F2 lens, though it is a little soft at F2. The X1 does not have a manual aperture dial (always said I wish it did) and it starts at 2.8 (though great at 2.8). The X100 has better high ISO performance as well as being built slightly better. The list goes on…
The kicker is the X100 is $800 less than the X1. That is what pushed it over the edge. To many, including me, $800 is quite a chunk of change.
I see all of this is a good thing as it will make the future X2 something special I think.
You will not get the same look to your images with the X100 as you will with an X1 as its a different lens, different sensor, etc. But at $800 less with all of the features I listed, makes it a no brainer for someone looking for classic design and great performance.
After 3 weeks of shooting the X100 I have learned it inside and out and shooting with it is quick, easy and problem free. Do I miss the X1? Sure, I miss the X1 for that extra sizzle in the photos and for the Leica style and size. BUT I cant own them all. Sometimes when we get a new camera the “love affair” wears off after a few weeks. In fact, the only camera this hasn’t happened to me with is the M9. Will the X100 last for me? Maybe, maybe not. Will the X1 make its way back to my collection? Maybe, maybe not.
I am getting ready to do a 4 day shooting spree with the X1 and X100 to see which one I prefer on a day to day basis. My results will be posted here next week, keep an eye out. My guess is the X1 images will look nicer and more “WOW” than the X100 images but at the same time, the X100 is no slouch and it all depends on the “look” one is after. Of course I could be wrong as I have yet to shoot them side by side.
Thanks for stopping by.
Diana images are magical too. Define “magic”. Movies? I am a photographer not a cinemaphotographer. That is just a whistle as far as I am concerned on any still camera and I don’t need it. A huge advantage over the X1 with the X100 is stealth. If there is even a slight buzz (sound) going on in your environment you will not hear the shutter. You are hard pressed to hear the shutter if you are the subject and you are standing more than 5 feet away in a totaly silent environment. If the image seeker wants magic go buy a view camera and make some platinum palladium prints that is where real photo magic steps in. My point being is that all of this is subjective to the artists eye and vision including that last bit about palladium printing. They, here it comes… I will say it again are just tools to reach and end. Being digital most of these tools are just the beggining. The end result for most artists using digital is post processed imagery where the original is lost completely or partially. I personally use the tool that meets my needs. So far I have not felt the need to reach for a Leica other than my vanity ocassionaly slipping out and wanting the label. Not that I am knocking leica but there are plenty of “tools” out there that achieve exactly what I want. A few hours is definitely not enough time spent. Did you spend a few hours making images then open them in lightroom and make prints or did you just spend a few hours clicking and looking at the lcd screen? To Steve: then they will make an X200 after the X2 and it will still be cheaper LOL Cheers mate! Thanks for everything Steve.
Couldn’t agree more with Steve on the 35mm FOV, especially for depicting everyday life as it happens.
X100 shots are looking great!
I’ve recently been introduced to your site by a friend and it’s a goldmine of great, balanced and enthusiastic info!
I have the x100 on pre-order but I’m currently wrestling a decision between this and – for the same price – a voigtlander f 0.95 25mm for my Olympus Pen e-p1, another camera I know you’re enthusiastic about.
I’m loving the results and colour signature I get from the Pen with a Nokton 40mm, but find the 80mm equiv focal length limiting. Some samples here:
The x100 has a gorgeous colour signature, and heart over head I’ve decided this is the camera I want.
That said, the Nokton 25mm produces some stunning images on the pen from what I’ve seen. I see David Babsky has a review on your blog, which I’ll read now!
Tough decision as it’ll likely be my last camera spend of the year…
Keep up the great work!
Congratulations Steve. Great review.
I’m desperate to buy a X100 but before doing it I’m trying to understand if the X100 is really a good buy. Last week I tried one on a Fuji stand at a shop. The camera is amazing but I was a bit concerned/disappointed with the focal range: 80cm. I find it to much for a 35mm lens. The seller told that I could change to macro and go until 10cm, that’s great but when you’re shooting on the street and having to change to macro to go under 80cm is a bit annoying.
I would like to know your thoughts on this matter? thanks!
Steve, I couldn’t agree more with your latest update on shooting with a 35mm lens. Sticking to a fixed focal length for extended period of time is hugely beneficial to one’s photography! It’s been proved a thousand times throughout the history of the craft. For some people it was 50mm (think of Henri Cartier-Bresson), for some even 28mm (Gary Winogrand) but for majority of rangefinder-style photographers 35mm has always been the focal length of choice.
I personally prefer 50mm as I find its perspective geometry more suitable to my eye (and that’s why my Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 stays on my camera 95% of the time) but I really love the 35mm FL, too. Despite 50mm being my favourite FL, I wouldn’t be interested in Fuji X100 if it had a 50mm equivalent lens. I think it would have limited the usage of the camera greatly. 35mm was the perfect choice and I am glad Fuji went with that. 50mm as a standard is great for an interchangeable lens camera system but for a fixed lens camera 35mm is a must.
Typo alert: it should say ‘proven’ instead of ‘proved’.
Steve, I shot the x100 yesterday for a few hours. I am absolutely with you on everything except image quality. The first thing that I noticed was pretty visible level of chromatic aberrations, both plain and longitudinal. What was the most disconcerting, it didn’t go away even at f/8. While wide open, spherical aberration is also very much there. Closer to the center it somewhat reminds proverbial “Leica glow”, except it is colored by CA. Closer to the sides, especially to the longer side, there is very visible smearing, which is by all accounts not a good thing. Wanna see?
The one thing about the Fuji lens is its LACK of CA. I have yet to see ANY in my images. Maybe the sample you tried was defective? My Noctilux has CA, the X1 had CA, and the Oly I am shooting with now has CA but I have yet to see it in any FUJI shots.
where should i send the pictures?
Sent you an email, you can just reply to it with the pics. Thanks! Am interested to see what you found because after over 1000 images I have yet to see CA in any of my X100 images but maybe I just got lucky. That or you shot with a defect 🙂 Thanks again,
I haven’t seen any CA either. Are you shooting JPGs or RAW?
Yes, that sounds completely atypical of the X100 look. CA is controlled to an amazing degree with this camera.
Great review Steve!
I’ll make a long story short. I’ve been a photo enthusiast for many years with a real passion for digital photography, especially as a work of art. I’ve had around my neck every new digital camera that has come out on the market since the year 2000. To this day, when I look back on my catalogue of photos on my Mac, I see the best colors and clarity in the pictures that came from one of my first digital camera’s, the FinePix S602. From the Nikons to the most recent Canon T21, I’ve never been able to achieve the vibrancy and color of my old Fiji S602.
After having had a hands on experience with Fuji’s X100 at the Henry’s Photography Show this past Sunday in Toronto, I believe I’ve found what I’ve been looking for! From the look and feel, to having seen first hand the results of both stills and video from this camera…I believe the Fuji X100 is the walk around, no lens bag required, straight shooter that I’ve been looking for all these years!
Fuji has created a camera that will make picture taking an artistic experience!!!
Hi Steve, please do some side by side test with X100 and M9 35mm Summircon F2. I know M9 will beat the hell that is for sure, so let’s just to proof to those ” fanboys ” that they should cherish what they paid for 🙂 More important, I wanna understand more about the perception of ” cropped ” with APS-C sensor when comparing to full frame. I mean let’s putting the resolution and pixel counts aside, what is the difference from the perception of the viewer when he is viewing 2 same composed photos but one full frame and one in APS-C ? Many thanks !
What I love about your reviews is that you write as a photographer, not a technogeek. You place greatest emphasis on what really matters–usability and real world results. Though you tend towards over-enthusiasm at times, other photographers can get a good sense of what a camera or lens can do for them, just from your experience.
Before reading your review of the X100, I was already intrigued by this camera. Now I am even more so. However, as a Pentax user, I am currently in the mode of building my collection of Limited lenses, so the beauty from Fujifilm may have to wait.
Just one small criticism of some of the photo examples that you posted. I think that you tend to oversharpen your images, the desert vegetation being a prime example.
I already have a EPL1 with 20mm 1.7 and I really love it. X100 is a beauty but it has a very similar focal length and aperture compare my old one. Do you think this is a good up-grade? I try to shoot something wide open and find X100 soft than 20mm f1.7 …
None of the sample shots from the X100 do it for me?
I find them all just OK?
Are you clicking on them to see the larger versions, and are you on a high resolution display? The quality is certainly there. Don’t judge the photos so much, but the qualities of the lens and sensor. 🙂 On my Imac 27″, they rival just about anything out there in regards to overall image quality.
Yes.. but the colour balance sort of leaves me a bit cold?
Wish I could explain how I feel about them more.
I love all the actual shots of the camera, but not the ones from it?
Steve, your review echoed my thoughts about the camera exactly. I guess that’s why you are in this business: to eloquently put into words what we are all feeling about these cameras. Keep writing and we will keep reading!
Btw, I have to guiltily confess that I stole from you after reading your review. I saw a truck parked at the local Canadian Tire on the weekend and flipped on the ND filter and took a shot with the aperture open. Framing is a bit off, but i was happy with it nonetheless. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thanks Steve! Nice shot!
I love my x100 and found your review very insightful and a great help. Please forgive if my questions seem elementary to you and your readers. You mentioned that you have an iMac, as do I. Mine is relatively new, less than one year, Mac OS X, version 10.6.7. I am familiar with and enjoy using iphoto, however, I am unable to view, open, or download RAW photos in iPhoto. I do not have experience using RAW, but I became inspired by your beautiful RAW photos and thought I would take your advice and try RAW with the x100. I downloaded the Finepix Viewer, but it seems so visually junky, confusing, and useless–I would much rather continue to work in iphoto and photoshop. Sorry to take your time for what may seem like very elementary questions to professional photographers.
I am using Photoshop and LIghtroom to process the X100 RAW files. Iphoto can not read them yet. Neither does Apple Aperture. Hoping for an update soon.
216 comments and counting! New record?
The X1 review is 226….this one is close!
I have noticed autofocusing issues with my X1 with firmware 2. When I shoot wide open (f2.8), the accuracy of the autofocus is much lower than what it was before the firmware upgrade. The speed of autofocusing noticeably increases but the accuracy deteriorates. Many shots are out-of-focus at almost all range of lighting conditions (available light to bright sunlight). When I stop down to f4 or 5.6, the accuracy improves a lot (i.e. way back up to the same level that I had got before the firmware upgrade). I don’t think I have significantly changed my approach to taking images across different apertures (in terms of handling a camera and so on). Is it a mechanical or firmware problem? I am not sure whether you have heard of this issue. Many thanks in advance for your thoughts.
I cant say as I no longer have an X1, Sorry. But I have not heard of this issue yet.
Bythom.com has a mini review, and it is very mini of the Fuji X100:
http://www.bythom.com/ Scroll down to the title “In Lieu of Reviews” to see it. Interesting.
Liked your approach to the review. Looks like an interesting camera but I really dislike the reddish magenta skin tones and also the images are a little too soft for my taste.
Make sure you view the large samples by clicking on the images. If the images are anything, soft is not one of them. 🙂
My X100 arrived Saturday, it’s being returned today as there’s a speck of dust under the lens thats visible. Hope its not going to be a problem with this camera.
My observation on x100:
1. Picture quality comparable to Nikon D3 with 24-70mm if not better (in the center, resolution vise) due to lighter antialias filter.
2. Dynamic range very close to film @ some settings.
3. Hard to use AF in low light, MF is useless at the same time. (camera is not responding to multiple turns of MF focus ring in low light)
4. OVF framing and lightmeter display not always visible in sunny day. So you have to switch to evf which has some time lag…
5. Camera function lock during write up is PITA.
6. I have speck in the lens behind first element, so the camera is coming back to store.
7. I don’t use P or A exposure settings since matrix metering is not very precise.
8. I like colors in jpg std mode with highlights and blacks modified to medium low.
9. I wish to have good raw converter comparable to nikon view.
10. LCD screen plastic is very easy to scratch, Why it is not simple piece of glasss… ?
11. AR-x100 is not a part of the kit. I don’t use lens caps since my all lenses have clear filters.
12. OK button is too small.
Hell Yeah It Does! Serious Soul…
I had a chance to play with the X100 in a store yesterday. Impressed with picture quality, viewfinder, build, etc. Unimpressed withslow startup time, strange MF operation and AF tendency to miss the target. Found it more reliable shooting with MF and AFL button. But that was a very quick test. Overall impression is very positive. I think I could live with this camera if I didn’t have an M9. My wife is seriously thinking to replace her X1. But, remembering Seal’s advice, we’ll sit tight for a while.
Tough purchasing decision (a lady from Columbia is buying guess what):
From expression of her face I`d say it`s Makarov 9mm. Bloody serious.
Hahaha, Stanis, love your sense of humor! No, it was Fujinon 23mm. A dangerous type of shooting instrument!
Well, actually it was she who held the poor sales guy at gunpoint. She tried to bargain with him real hard. And neither she spoke a word of Russian, nor he a word of English or Spanish. I ended up being their interpreter. Had to calm her down and explain that it wasn’t exactly a suitable place for bargaining. She was surprised…
It’s the shocked look of spending so much money. It’s the “What did I just do?” look. LOL! If she keeps spending, that feeling and look on her face will go away. Pretty soon, she will be a pro.
“So as you can see from that comparison, the X100 is equal, if not a tad better than the X100 in regards to detail, and IMO, color. How about one more?”
You gonna change that soon? How can X100 be a tad better than itself?
Just found some sample images from a M9 and Fuji X100 comparison. Note: the actual comparison is done in the first 30-40 images, the rest of them are just random test shots shots from the Fuji- http://fotop.net/ahtai80/Fujifilm_X100?page=1
IMO the M9 images, as expected, are definitely better, but the margin is pretty slim. Enough to justify the price differential?? I guess thats an individual call..
Steve, thanks for the reply! Yeah, Google translator often gives very funny results, particularly for those with language translation – native. My last question would sound like this: “By the way, Steve, you sold your X1?” Yes, when comparing the X1 and X100 you gave links to specific sites. So what? You are so confident in the competence and impartiality of the author? I saw a site that compares these devices and show images from RAW Fuji and jpeg-Leica. Is this normal? In the network there and fake-tests comparing the X100 and the Canon 5D, when in order to win the X100 counterfeited EXIF, and specifically-ISO shooting. Such examples are many. So, Steve, that your authority is not falling, leads, please feel free to sample images taken by you, or you may be in a stupid position. And finally, give a couple of links to albums Fuji X100 in the Russian forum iXBT, and I think you and all will be interesting to see the pictures that do not cause any excitement almost no one, moreover, many forced to cancel the purchase Fuji X100 http://fotkidepo.ru/?id=album:34956&page=2 and http://fotkidepo.ru/?id=album:34638 Thank you, all good luck and objectivity. Michail.
well … Steve . i have watched your site many times , enjoy your reviews …
but this is the first time i comment ,,, because i see the joy in this review , in photos ,texts ,…i saw you smile with x100 (in yourself portrait) i think you’re in love ..haha
Steve, you provoke an endless pursuit of “the most perfect camera.” Of course, your view is not bad, but in my opinion – too emotional and nekonkreten. And why did you give examples, taken not clear by whom, it is unclear how and where? And what about the disadvantages? I could give you many options with live examples on the forums Russian sites, such as iXBT, Foto.ru and others, where, along with the advantages listed numerous deficiencies on the part of both management and image quality. Very controversial assessment of the correctness of color reproduction, the quality optics. My friend bought a X100, and I had the opportunity to compare it with my X1. We can say that X100 – it’s not a camera, a gadget for fans of any high-tech stuff in the clothing retro – design. X1-it is really a camera, intuitive intuitively and immediately. Common minimalism, backed by excellent quality, especially after a firmware update to 2.0. Sorry, after your review of the comments to him the impression that the owners of X1 were a fool, and urgently want to change it to X100 … but after all but with the release of Fuji X100 Leica X1 does not become worse, does not it? By the way, Steve, you sold my X1?
Thanks for you response. Im crazy busy but had to respond to you.
“Steve, you provoke an endless pursuit of “the most perfect camera.””
No, not really. I just run this website, full time – 70-80 hours a week and it is now my job to write about cameras. Cameras that I like, or think will be worth writing about. MY perfect camera is still the Leica M9. 🙂
” And why did you give examples, taken not clear by whom, it is unclear how and where? And what about the disadvantages?”
The one example between the X1 and X100 – was clearly stated who took them with a link to his website. He also used same settings on both lenses, same light, etc. Also, I listed many disadvantages of the X100, it’s all here in the review. Image quality is NOT a disadvantage, whoever says so is delusional.
Operational issues are there, but they are more quirks than anything and fixable via firmware, much like Leica did two years after the X1 release.
“it’s not a camera, a gadget for fans of any high-tech stuff in the clothing retro – design. X1-it is really a camera”
The X100 is just as much of a camera as the X1 is. Both are gadgets, both take lovely photos. One does it with a viewfinder, better build, faster lens with manual aperture dial, HD movie mode and for $800 less.I love the X1 but have to give credit where credit is due. The X100 has it over the X1 in so many areas. This is good as I am sure Leica will answer with an X2 eventually, and if it has a built in VF, movie mode, higher ISO, faster AF and a manual aperture dial, I am in. I do know a few things the X2 will have and I think it will be fantastic.
“Sorry, after your review of the comments to him the impression that the owners of X1 were a fool, and urgently want to change it to X100”
Where did I say that X1 owners were fools? I stated facts…never ever said X1 owners were fools nor would I ever say that. The X1 is a fabulous camera capable of taking splendid photos. For ME, I prefer the X100 over the X1. Period. Some may not.
“By the way, Steve, you sold my X1?”
Have no clue what you are talking about 🙂
Wow, Google translator at its best!
Greg, maybe I misunderstand your post. But I think it is great that people from all over the world who are not native English speakers can and do participate in the discussions on Steve’s site.
Retow, I didn’t mean anything bad or dismissive. Google translator is a great tool, no doubt. It’s just funny sometimes how it can twist the meaning of the original text. I am Russian myself and I could see what Michael was trying to say and how the translator handled it. But of course, it’s great when, with the help of such tools, you can express yourself in a foreign language.
No you’re not. You’re Armenian. 🙂 🙂 🙂
Michiel, you caught me. I lied. I am Armenian. But then, I didn’t lie: my native language is Russian. I am also a Kurd, a Jew, a Bulgarian and a little bit Russian, by the way. Very strange cocktail…
you’re as english as me. by the way i have an armenian in my family. unfortunately auntie bergie just passed away…bless her she had a good innings
Great, now I have “The Joker” song by Steve miller in my head. LOL!
Putting all gadgetry aside, the X100 beats the X1 by two stops (sensor plus faster lens), has a brilliant OVF, an EVF for low light, close up and macro shooting and a superior lcd screen if screen focusing is preferred. These criteria alone simply make the Fuji the better camera. I use the X1 since it was released and the X100 since about 4 weeks and can assure you that for still, the Fuji is as simple and straightforward to use as the X1. With OVF it feels actually more fluid and intuitive (certainly to the M shooter) than the Leica, all important settings can be changed on the fly without taking the camera from the eye, including shutter seed, aperture, exposure compensation. Try this with a X1 as you are looking through its external viewfinder.
Not really seeing anything that cant be done with the mFT and the 20mm in your pictures. And knowing I can play around with macro, fisheye, swa and tele as well makes me not jump on this train.
You have hit the nail on the head with your review! I have had mine for 2 days now and have had the same experience.
You didn’t touch on was being able to change menu items in the viewfinder. I found this really helpful when shooting at F2 and needed the ND filter or changing to Macro mode all without having to pull away from framing your image.
It is an amazing camera. As a Nikon user as well, I picked up the use in less then 10 minutes and felt at home with it. It has a few quirks but none that I have found to make me stumble.
Being a Leica fanboy I was very skeptical of how you would receive the X100, having had mine for quite some time now I’ve seen for myself what it can do.
kudos to you Steve for a very cool review
> It wipes the floor with the Digilux 2 though in regards to ISO performance, image quality, and with its great OVF/EVF viewfinder.
Come on, give the D2 a bit more credit than that! At least in the image quality department…
Awesome examples throughout this thread: http://www.l-camera-forum.com/leica-forum/digital-forum/20265-do-digilux-2-photos-have-distinctive.html
Brilliant, candid, and accurate review Steve. Thanks a lot for sharing
Steve, you say it pretty much compares to a point and shoot in terms of shooting. How is it in terms of shutter lag (the delay from the time you press the button to the time the picture is actually taken) ? Is it DSLR like or more similar to the P&S’s ?
It is a long time since my last P&S, so I might not have an accurate idea how shutter lag is on most modern P&S’s.,
Shutter lag is not an issue, at least for me it isn’t. You are not going to get the responsiveness of a DSLR but once you lock focus and press the shutter its pretty instantaneous. I did not do any scientific testing on this, but have yet to notice any lag.
How I WANT that X200 Black one…. make it now and I will buy it, what ever the price… 😉
@Steve nice practical review, I like it, more balanced than all the others..
Another review of a wedding photographer confirming the bad design of the control wheel respectively the “OK” button:
Comparing the Fuji X100 to Epson R-D1S or XG, which one do you prefer image wise. I am leaning of buying the R-D1XG because interchangeable lens option but really options are limited to 50, 35 and 28mm lens without adding an external viewfinder. I know it’s hard to compare a 7 year old 6 MP APS-C sensor to the newer 12.3 MP. Is the $2k price tag (new) of the R-D1XG justifiable if you already own some M and LTM lenses.
Thanks Steve. Very helpful as always. Yeah, the M9. Just need to find the other 8,8K.
Brian, I’ve got good news. It’s not $8,8K. It’s a little bit less. You can save on the lenses. I paid $500 for my Zeiss Sonnar 50/1.5 (in like new condition). You don’t have to buy Leica glass in order to explore the full potential of the M9. I paid another $500 for my Zeiss Biogon 35/2 (again, in great condition) and about $600 for my Zeiss Biogon 28/2.8 (also in perfect shape). So, for half-price of one 35mm Leica lens I got three great Zeiss lenses that cover 99% of my shooting needs. Too bad there isn’t an affordable FF rangefinder body to match.
Lovely choices there.
The reviews are coming out.
Thanks for the user review. As some of your other readers your non-stop information has me confused since we all can’t be trying out every new product so we are forced to make accurate choices.
I am an amateur street photog who concentrates on people and their neighborhoods. Novel for me as I am an American living in Asia. My primary kit is an M7 with 35 and 90 Summicrons (also have an M6). I back up the M with a Dlux 4 that has delivered some good shots at low ISO. I actually hate the camera at high ISO/med to low light.
I am taking a month+ journey to Xinjiang Western China, Kyrgyzstan, and the Karakorum highway next month and I would like to back up my M (I have additional lenses but will travel with my usual two) and would like a digital as well that can handle available light as well as landscapes. I cannot afford an M9 at this time.
While I like the portability of the X100, I recently read your review of the K5 and I am wondering if this would not be a better alternative for my purposes. I like most of your readers are zeroed in on the value of size to image quality to available light capability with the least amount of trade offs. I would appreciate the comments of you and your readers to help hone my choice. Thanks to all.
Hey Steve, great review ! However I need to ask you something about the auto focus speed …
You said the AF is faster than the X1 right but is this test after using the latest firmware update for the X1 ? As i heard from my friend who owns the X1 that its AF was slow and after the firmware update it became better. So i just was wondering if the test regarding this issue is compared to the latest firmware.
That way I can have a clear mind regarding buying the X100 finally 🙂
Hope to hear your reply soon. Thank you for the great help you are giving us all 🙂
Having used both, they are pretty close at this point. About .5 second in good light, a second in less light. I find the X1 to be more accurate, however. What was kind of skipped over, understandable as it is an X100 review, not a X1 review, is that manual focusing on the X1 is vastly improved and much more usable than the X100, especially as the X1 now remembers the previous setting, has better gauges while focusing manually, and you don’t have to crank it 20 times to get to infinity..
I appreciate the X1’s light weight and small size, especially when carrying it in a pocket. Even with the viewfinder. The x100 is significantly heavier, not an M9, but heavier as well as bigger.
just a quick question. What can you tell us about shutter lag? I’ve always found this very annoying on compact cameras. It takes forever to take the damn picture. Any of the Canon G series cameras are unusable in this respect.
So.. what’s it like to press the shutter on the x100? Compared to a dslr that is..
Steve, you didnt comment on the AFlock and EVlock in the EVF mode. When I half press the shutter button to lock focus and exposure in EVF mode I would expect to see a “final” exposure meaning WYSIWYG what you see is what you get. This is not the case with the Fuji x100. This works well on Olympus Ep2 though. This is a bug that can be fixed by firmware if Fuji wishes to.
That is why my X200 design has removed that stupid ring-wheel around the D-pad.
And yes- I really start to have some serious doubts on the claims that “photographers” designed the camera. They may have talked with the engineers, but I doubt they got to do any actual designing.
There are plenty of industrial designers out there who also shoot a lot, hire them! (hint, hint)
I bought it yesterday evening and had no time left for any test shots. So I was playing with the menu in the bed before I fell asleep.
The first drawback is the badly designed control wheel. The up/down/left/right functions integrated in the wheel are not on the ring outside with the symbols (where you actually expect them) but located on a smaller ring around the “OK” button.
That close distance to the ok button makes it nearly impossible with a normal thumb to confirm something in the menu settings.
My fingers are actually small, but in regards to that layout I have to use my fingernails to hit the ok button “only” in order not to activate one of the other functions located around 🙁
I will never understand how this badly design of a control wheel can reach any production line. Is there nobody testing this before or do have Japanese all long fingernails?
Yes Gernot, i got mine yesterday and noticed this as well and that is the only gripe i have with the X100, i am getting used to it though… 🙂
I agree, not a good design IMO. Considering that other buttons are placed well, I am surprised how they missed it. On the other hand, this camera was designed originally for small demographic of kinky photographers inside Japan, so I assume the prototypes were not tested by anyone outside Japan.
I should also say that having access to aperture, shutter speed, exposure comp., and ISO, I barely go through the menus when I am shooting with the camera, so this doesn’t get in the way of enjoying the camera.
thanks for all your work Steve. this review helped tip me over the edge on the x100 and i placed an order for it at Amazon today (using your link of course). cheers.
Great review Steve, its good to see what your getting from the camera. I’ve had mine a few weeks and just need to get out and use it! What I have seen from shots I’ve taken has really impressed me so far though.
A few points readers might like to kno wI spotted in the last few days.
A faster memory card can apparently really speed up the camera, I’ve yet to try:
Also there is something users should be aware of when using the OVF and focusing on subjects at short distances. Basically you may think you have focus but your shout will be out of focus, this thread explains why:
Basically the camera is focusing from the centre of the sensor. You align the focus point in the OVF but this focus point is actually out due to parallax, so the camera is actually focusing from the sensor and not the exact point of the dot in the OVF. The thread exaplains all with a diagram.
Finally I like to keep my cameras ‘naked’ usually, but I picked up the leather case for this and it is gorgeous!! Its so well made and the camera looks even better in the half case, it suits it so well. My cameras normally sit out of sight in my camera draw, but I leave the X100 out on the side now in the case just to admire it 🙂
Robin, you are right about the card, i had read this somewhere as well, i got my X100 yesterday and purchased a new card ( San Disk Extreme HD Video 30MBs 8 GB Class 10 ) formatted in camera. Also, my X100 came with the updated firmware 1.01, in the manual it also says to reformat the card when you take it out and use it on the computer… In any case, to me the AF seems fast enough, i guess if one follows these steps.
Great review, I am just in love with this little turtle, cannot stop thinking about the light on the image.
I would just LOVE if you could make real life test comparison of Fuji x100, Olympus E-P2 and E-PL1.
Before now I used only compact camera, but the introduction of all these small cool cameras make me dream to step into this field, and actually get nice photos without carrying 1,5 kg-thing in hands.
But which one to go for? ISO, shatter speed, etc. – so much to take in consideration for such inexperience person as me. But what I care most of all is to be able to get that “analogue-y photo” feeling. It is more the mood of an image what I am looking for. In this respect which camera wins from Fuji x100, Olympus E-P2 and E-PL1? And is the difference so big (meaning that Fuji is twice as more expensive)?
Your assessment of the X100 is bang on how I feel about it. There are the annoying things about it as you mentioned at the end but the negatives are completely blown away by the positives. This camera rejuvenates the excitement about photography that I had before I started shooting professionally.
Thanks for the review!
Great review, got me tempted. Keep my 50 1.4, sell the 35 1.4 and get the X100 instead, and have the rest of the cash from the 35 go towards a 24 or 21 for the M9?
Hi Steve, thanks for the detailed review! I appreciate such real-world experiences much more than those typical lab tests. I’m missing only one thing: A “compared to Pen E-P2 (or PL1/2) with the Panasonic 20mm 1:1.7” because this is a quite close match in terms of 35mm focal length and depth of field. I expect that the low ISO performance and the EVF compared to the OVF is worse, but there are probably small advantages price-wise and through the a half stop faster lens. Not to forget that you can change lenses on the pen.
All the best,
I’m sorry to say it. I owned an E-P2 and in my opinion it is no match at all to the X100.
Steve compared the X100 to the NEX and the Ricoh, so, in my opininion, there is no reason to NOT compare it with a pen.
Great review (again) Steve,
Six month ago I sold my 5D MKII and all lens to buy M8 and never regret. Now i am going to change my wife’s D Lux 3 to X100.
Hope she will agree with me 😎
Thank you again for a great review. I just ordered one from Amazon, hopefully available to ship soon…can’t wait.
I own both the X100 and Leica X1. I agree, the optical viewfinder is a great feature and is why I bought it in the first place. The
Being constructive here, I don’t understand the need to declare a certain camera a winner over others. Kind of silly to me. Should investing in a camera be a contest? I’d imagine some folks don’t enjoying reading the camera they bought a few months ago is head and shoulders inferior to the camera being reviewed today.
That said, I enjoyed your review otherwise.
I know Steve meant no ill will but I could not agree with you more. Both cameras are great tools for shooting photographs.
Well, there is certainly no “winner” if you like both…But if someone was interested in this type of camera you would have to assume they would only buy one, not both. Clearly the X100 would be the obvious choice. So in that sense there very much does have to be a winner.
If current X1 owners want to trade they can sell their cameras for around $1500, and make $200 bucks on the deal. But given what the X100 can do I seriously doubt anyone but those most diehard Leica fans will purchase an X1 now. The only advantage I see would be availability and resale value, but the last is not set in stone…
Micheal Richmann said that this camera is an obvious shot across Leica’s bow and I agree. And seriously Leica needs some competition so they step up their game. They have been releasing cameras that are outdated from the day of release and riding their good name since the M8. And their prices are historically many times higher than they ever have been, even accounting for inflation. If Fuji decides to develop a system camera based around this design, Leica will be forced to compete. Prices will go down, innovation will go up, and consumers will reap the benefits.
I am not sure the X100 is a clear choice over the X1. Like you said, Leica has diehard fans, something Fuji can only wish for. The used Leica market is a big business.
To date, the only digital rangefinder camera’s are made by Leica. Their lenses are legendary. Their dSLR system S camera retails for $23,000.
Like most technology products from cameras to computers, the day something is released, another company is working on improving it. Not a Leica exclusive.
Finally, it would be nice to see Fuji and other companies develop a real range finder. Even if the X100 becomes a system camera, it will compete with the ever growing 4/3 market. I am not sure Leica will lose much sleep over it if they do.
Steve, it would be great to see some more film reviews of the Fuji medium format rangefinders. The 6×9 and 645 series cameras are pretty cool, and I think a lot of readers would be interested in them. Especially the 645s since they’re SO cheap. I got my GA645 for $250 bucks.
My X100 shows up from B&H tomorrow, and I’m saving for a Fuji GF670. I really like their designs, and the X100 may be the best yet.
Amazing files. And you already commented on the robustness of them in postproduction, which is NEVER commented on via the other sites. Some cameras have files that just fall apart when you muck around in PS, so it’s nice to know that these look good.
Going to have to sell a few cameras to get this one. Really seems amazing.
As usual, a great review with just the right amount of DOF!
Funnily enough I didn’t think the M9 pond pic did look better than the X100’s, but conversely I thought the skin tone of the red haired girl was noticeably more realistic on the Leica X1 – GO FIGURE!!
(I know only so much gets accross on a monitor….)
The Fuji seems a lovely bit of kit – even though you’ve proved categorically it should have been all black. Stop spoiling things Steve!
Can you elaborate on the AF accuracy of the X100? Is it really hit or miss? Is there any situation in which the AF is prone to be less accurate, other than low light as you already noted? Thanks!
The secret to getting good and accurate focus when using the OVF is to realize the focus box is large as it is to cover the focusing parallax error that occurs because the camera cannot tell whether the object you are placing in the focus box is close or far away. You can use the box by using the lower right corner for close objects and the middle for intermediate objects and the upper right corner for more distant objects. Focus will be on over 95% of the time using this technique. If the camera had used an IR sensor optically aligned with the OVF this would be no real issue but the focus sensor is located in the center of the image sensor and that is offset to the right and below the optical viewfinder.
The X100’s AF is not hit and miss, it is actually quite accurate and reliable.
However, as with all OVFs, the X100 suffers from frame line parallax error. And in addition there is a focusing “box” parallax error. Half pressing the shutter makes the frame lines move to adjust for parallax, but not the focusing point. The latter stays centered in the viewfinder window, whereas the frame lines moved down and to the right once the system calculated the distance. So the camera’s actual focusing point is slightly down and to the right as compared to what the OVF shows. When focusing on close subjects I get reliable results by aiming slightly higher and to the left to compensate for focusing parallax. It takes little practice to get used to this.
Still waiting for my camera but found this comment very helpful and logical. I presume this issue would be the same even using manual focus and using the AEL/AFL button to auto-focus. Thanks for tip.
Great review Steve. If my wife does carry out her threat and take custody of my EP2, now I have the M8, I may have to think about getting one, or waiting to see what the X2 brings.
Hi – nice review & sums it up so well.
Had mine 6 weeks and I now trust it entirely ( unlike the M9 that stalled once too often and has now gone )
To fix the focus leave it on manual & focus on the AFL AEL button, that way you can control it..
Its a keeper, they just need to build one with a fixed 90mm for portraits & fix the firmware for ISO selection ( fn button has to be ND )
Ta ta Jim
steve, another great review.
i am a M9 owner and also purchased a like new x1 with the leica OVF and the leica grip for $1
800. i really wanted something small and deliver leica like iq ,which i beleive it does.
evertything about the x1000 looks great except the size. looks like it closer to the size of a M9
then an X1.
Once you add a grip and finder to the X1, the difference in size is negligible.
Simplicity, size, weight still speak for the X1. Otherwise, the Fuji is the better tool. Maybe one needs both:)
Awesome and pretty accurate review Steve.
Thank’s Steve for your day to day review. No doubt you spend a lot of time to share our passion with all these anonymous people like me. Of course I ordered mine and I am looking forward to catch my mailman, like all of us for sure.
Hope to see you in Montreux July 12! With my X100 !
Viewed at full-size, everything about the X100 image looks sharper than the M9.
The turtle, the sand, everything.
No wonder you don’t want to do a head-to-head comparison 🙂
Although, to be fair, the M9 has less depth-of-field at F2 because of the size of its sensor, which explains why the sand in the foreground is less sharp.
But even with that, there’s nothing in the frame that’s sharper in the M9 shot.
All in all, it’s hard to see a $5800 difference between the two.
I had pointed this out in my previous comment (see above). I think this is because of the focus point. It seems that Steve was focusing on the turtle, when he shot with the Fuji the subject was closer to the sand bank in relation to the M9, hence that area is in sharper focus. I could be wrong- just a guess.
Steve also mentioned that he would be doing a “crazy comparison” at some point of time.
Thanks for the review. I’ve read soooo many reviews on this and many other cameras and one thing comes to mind that they are ALL missing, and that so many people of all skill sets and peculiarities I think would be interested in but has yet to come to digital cameras; the USB/data port. Why not supply the camera with a data port, firmware software with a good GUI and let me, according to my way of working and preferences, rewrite what the menus control and what each button does, within the capabilities of the original device. If I want to baseline all the menus, delete 97 preprogrammed custom presets, let me. Let me drag and re-arrange the menu order as I’d access them. If I’m left-handed let me work more easily. Fuji could also App Store custom presets for a few bucks each! And, of course this would spawn a huge number of hacks that Fuji, etc. could incorporate into the next model. After all they make the money on the hardware. Oh yeah, also include a big red reset button ’cause you know I’m gonna screw it up the first six times!
Well done review, and as one who mentioned the “Leica Bias” earlier, I am happy to see that you 1) Gave the X100 a chance and 2) Actually used it for about a week and really figured out what the camera does well. Now where is Ashwin Rao to comment here and eat a little crow when he dismissed this camera out of hand without actually using one?
I doubt that I summarily dismissed the camera, but I had my doubts, and to some degree, still do. I have ordered the camera and will test it to form my opinion on my own terms. Can you refer me to where I dismissed the camera?
Of Course – http://www.stevehuffphoto.com/2011/04/22/finally-my-fuji-x100-will-arrive-next-week-full-review-soon/
Okay, time for me to cook up some crow and eat it.
It was not my intent to overcall anything, but I see that people took it as such, and reading my comments, I see how this may be the case. I shouldn’t generalize when reading the sentiments of others. However, one needs to formulate some judgement in considering whether or not to acquire the camera, and at the time, the comments seemed more negative than positive. Steve’s impressions and review, as well as those of others whom I trust, swung the tide in the other direction, enough for me to conisder the camera worth trying out.
So in summary, I’ll eat my crow and move on.
Would you like that with or without fries?
Hi Steve ,
thanks for your Review. I have one question. My Friend told me ,that exposition time is usable only with certain apertures.
•1/1000s at f/2 – f/3.5
•1/2000s at f/4 – f/7.1
•1/4000s at f/8 – f/16
It must be Mistake , i hope. Thank you
Yes, you are correct and I forgot to mention this BUT it is easily fixable by using the internal ND filter to bring your shutter speeds down on Sunny days. I had no problem shooting at F2 in the bright AZ mid day sun.
I´m sorry, but this is unlogical.
I understand 1/4000 at f2 – f/3,5 and 1/1000 at f8 – f/16 ,but why 1/4000 at f/16 ?!
I had never used 1/4000 at f16 !!! I need by full open f/2 the shortest shutter speed .Why only 1/1000 ? I know i can use ND filter,but this setting primary is unlogical and stupid,i´m sorry .
Иван, я думаю, тут все как раз наоборот должно быть. Кто-то что-то напутал. Надо на сайте производителя посмотреть. Иначе действительно глупо и нелогично получается.
I ´m sorry ,i don ´t understand , i ´m not Russian 🙂
(P mode) 1/4 sec. to 1/4000* sec., (All other modes) 30 sec. to 1/4000* sec.
Bulb (max. 60min.)
*1/4000sec at F8 or smaller aperture
Sorry, Ivan. I thought you were Russian. What I wanted to say was that I agree with you. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to have max 1/4000 at f16 and 1/1000 at f2. Should be the other way around.
60 min Bulb is good. I wish I had that with my M9. That is one of my major complaints about the M9 — a meagre 4 min Bulb. I really hope Leica will address that in future firmware updates. Unless it’s an unreconcilable hardware issue of course.
My friend tested X100 4 days in Bratislava and Vienna and he says me,that can ´t get under 1/1000 by f2 . Also by sunny day is impossible shot without ND filter by f/2 – f/7,1 .
X100 is sure great camera,but this limitation is sure “not from photographers for photographers ” 🙂
Thank you Greg
It’s this way because of design limitations. The aperture is larger at f/2, thus the shutter takes longer to get across it. It is smaller at f/16, therefor can cross it in shorter time.
It’s because the leaf shutter isn’t able to cover the full distance quick enough when the aperture is wide open.
I think ,this is not mechanical problem. In full manual mode is possible use 1/4000 at f/2 !
Why not in priority modes A,S ? Can you explaine this to me?
Loved your write up. One note:
It’s “you can use a camera with its LCD”
“you can use a camera with it’s LCD”
Seems to me the original is well written. And the review overall too.
1. Where do I send my money for a black one?
2. The battery-shape thing is an on-going problem for the whole camera industry. They seem to use a new-and-different battery for every camera. Seems like if several companies could agree on the m4/3 standard, they could all get together and decide on a set of battery shapes: tiny, small, medium, large. I discovered last year that if you accidentally take one of the two-loaves-of-bread shaped batteries from a Canon (I think that was it), and put it in a Pentax, it mostly fits, until it jams up in there, won’t come out and doesn’t power the camera. Sorry. Off topic rant, but a pet peeve.
3. Finally, I’m really looking forward to the arrival of my X100. I think that one of the best things about the camera is that it’s a wake up call to Leica.
Without the X100, in a year or so Leica would introduce the X2, which would be basically an X1 with different covering material, maybe faster focusing, some other upgrades, and priced at $2,500.
Now that’s impossible. Leica will really have to think about the next model, and they don’t have a completely free hand on pricing. I really want to see what they come up with.
Congratulations on an honest assessment of the X100. It’s a great camera that hopefully will be improved with some firmware upgrades.
One area where the X100 beats the M9, however, is high ISO. Sorry to say it’s not even close.
…how about just sticking an optical viewfinder on the X1 or NEX or whatever…
The optical viewfinders for those cameras don’t give you any traditional exposure readouts like the X100’s. If you can live with that, and keeping track of an extra piece of kit I think they make a lot of sense.
Although, I’ve had the NEX for a couple of months and I’ve yet to hold it up to my face (zombie style), maybe when the Zeiss 24mm comes out…
Which most X1 users do. However, it’s only good enough for framing. The X100’s OVF can do much more. And then it has an EVF for low light, close ups and macro plus a better lcd screen if screen focusing is preferred. So no matter how you prefer to expose, focus and frame your shots OVF, EVF, screen, the Fuji does the better job.
Steve! Now wait a minute…you convinced me last fall to buy the Leica X1 with your stellar review and are now changing the equation with yet another stellar review? 😉
J/K…Great Fuji review, and if I was in the position of looking for a new camera *right now*….it would be hard to buy the Leica.
However, I’ve no regrets, as nobody can keep up with electronics when the bar keeps getting raised. I’m sure this camera will be eclipsed by someone by years’ end.
Glad I still have my 1966 Fender Esquire guitar, which cannot be improved upon, IMO.
If I had the X1, I’d have little reason to give it up, it is a great camera, no doubt. That said, you could easily sell it used and have enough for an X100, case and hood!
I gotta say, if I was still on edge about this camera, your images alone would have sealed the deal. So happy for this to be coming in today! I cannot wait! Come on UPS! 😉
My only concern was that people were saying the bokeh was bad – but I had yet to see it in the hands of a capable photographer. Thank good you debunked that statement cause the bokeh in that flower shot is creamy enough for my standards.
Great in depth review here. I was getting tired of hearing the technical data so it’s always refreshing to read your reviews and see all of those real world pictures and comparisons.
My question is, is it off-putting to auto focus through an OVF? I can’t seem to get over the fact that this design seems like it could allow for really great manual focusing if only they had put a bit more thought into that area. I personally would have rather seen the EVF dropped in return for a better manual focusing system, if it had that I’d already have one in my hands. Is this as big of a deal as I think it is? Or do you forget about it as soon as you start taking pictures?
Steve, thanks for this great real world review. Now I almost have the entire picture about this camera. It will be complete when and if I get a chance to play with it myself.
I don’t think I need it at all but still it’s cool to play with some exciting new gear.
Great review with plenty of great photos. You really need to start hating some these cameras! 🙂 You leave us too many choices! Keep up the great work.
Steve, the fist picture with the ND Filter is just AMAZING. I love the colors. First you made me buying a Nex-5, now I WANT the x100. Please stop making reviews …
LOL! I agree. I sometimes don’t want to come and read the reviews, because then I want the gear! HAhaha! It’s an addiction though. I can’t sop coming around to peak. The Fuji did pretty well for it’s first effort, I think. It can only go up from here. I also love the Leica X-1 too.
Steve, I loved the review and the pictures. I’m kind of bummed out that the Phoenix, AZ area is not a good place for photography though. I’m moving there in 2 months. Geez, now I don’t want to move there if the photography sucks. I’m seriously bummed out now. The camera is wonderful though. I think Fuji did a lovely job going by the review here. Thanks for doing this review. But now I wish I wasn’t moving there. I wonder if my family will be mad if I ducked out of moving? LOL!
Phoenix and surrounding area has some of the most unique geography on the planet. It’s an amazing landscape for photographers, plus has all that great light from the constant sunshine. I think what Steve was alluding to is just that the downtown scene isn’t the kind of urban jungle that you’re going to find in a New York, Chicago, or even Boston (where I live now). So perhaps it won’t be as good for gritty, urban street photography, but that certainly doesn’t encompass all the possibilities in photography. Enjoy what is unique about where you are and exploit it!
A bit off topic here : I’m more concerned now about the extremes in heat, if it’s that oppressive compared to say Florida’s humidity or Connecticut’s which was terrible last year. I was also looking at North and South Carolina, but quite frankly, the humidity drives me nuts, and winter is the worst time of year for me. Being that my family is moving to Arizona, in the Gilbert area, I’m also going.
I love New York and Boston. I live in Connecticut, but the winters, excessive rainy season, and jumping from no real Spring to humidity, along with high cost of living, is driving us out of here.
Thank you Steve for the fast review – I really expected it next week. For whatever reason your reviews of X1, GXR and X100 do not make the choice any easier 🙂 Still – I am wondering whether you could bring a few more real life comparison shots (not necessarily 100% blow ups) from X1, GXR and X100 – just to get a better feel about the difference in rendering of these cameras.
I also raise my hand for a black X100. It looks much better.
Chris, just can’t see a reason to give up my NEX. Expecting the new Zeiss 24/1.7 native E Mount to make it even better. Just saying.
Great review. You always have a meaningful point-of-reference for every comment that you make which gives your assessments a lot of validity.
I have read about this camera at length and your review has convinced me that this camera was definitely rushed to market. Some of the obvious “sniglets” Fuji overlooked like the battery compartment are a little hard to comprehend????
Looks like they have a winner here in spite of the downsides, tho!
Long time reader, first time poster. Always find your reviews a good companion to reading the more straight-faced technical reviews, and this one’s no exception.
Quick question – how does the OVF size compare to, say, the M9?
Great review. Would be fun to try one. I assume that many readers think that viewfinders and rangefinders are the same. Even some new M users don’t know of the second window and they are surprised when focus patch doesn’t show p because they are covering it with their finger.
Anyhow, have to convince someone to buy a X100 so that I can use it. Thanks for the great write-up. Stay enthusiastic. Anything else wold be boring. D!RK
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!
Wow this little camera packs a punch!
Congratulations, Steve, on a blindingly FAIR evaluation of this intensely lovable and maddening cam. I really like how you nailed the sweet, classic, rendering of the lens. It is a very sensual rendering which, when mixed with the deep, gorgeous color, leaves you smiling and shaking your head when you look at the files. That lens is not super contrasty, but in a very useful way, as Sean Reid pointed out, and reminiscent of the old L-mount Canon 35mm F2. Sweet…
A great, enthusiastic, brave review. One of your best!
I have 1 question,
What about lens filter? what’s the size and does it accept filters?
As you know, this is the only lens you’ll have on the X100, so u need to protect it well by NC or UV filters.
Thanks Steve, nice real world review..
Waiting for my X100 to arrive. Just picked up my M9 month or so ago. But not expecting to compare them, just to use them in different situations. For those “Steve bashers”………those are your opinions. Why do you think you’re right, and Steve is wrong? If you don’t like the “show”, change the station! As Steve says, IMO!! Steve, I have enjoyed your site since I discovered it a few months back. Keep up the good work. IMO.
I just ordered my Summilux Asph 50mm Silver version.
Now you’ll let me rethink of the Leica M9 . . .
Excellent review BTW.
Thanks for your Review: my english is Not the best so i hope you’ll understand my question ( im 15 years old): i have Sigma dp2s and would sell it for x100 if the IQ is better… What do you think about it! Thank you so much if you find Time to answer Tina
D U S T exists in real world, and when talking about advanced, expensive cameras (X100, GXR, X1, DPx, etc.) please, remember about it. Those cameras are not environmentally sealed, far from it, and some dust WILL eventually get in.
Very nice review, Steve, BUT: what is your advice for a user of a camera with a non removable lens and dust on the sensor? Is it: it will never happen if you are carefull? Or: do not worry, post processing will fix it (at small cost or extrapolating or “guessing” some details)? Or is it: just send it back for servicing, they will dissasemble your camera, (possibly butchering a few screws) and clean the sensor?
Ask yoursef this: is a non removable lens a clear engineering arrogance and a serious design error, or is it something a user should not care about at all?
$1200 is roughly the cost of cable TV over a year for most people (or gym membership, vacation, etc.). Imagine you can only use this camera for a year (I am sure it will last more than that), and the money as an expense for your entertainment. Go out shoot with your camera and enjoy your passion!
And no I am not rich, don’t have bad spending habits, and I am not implying $1200 is small amount of money. I know many people who are not rich enough to afford M9 based on their income, but the pleasure they’ve got from using it stays with them for the rest of their lives.
great review Steve, as always.
Great job, Steve. By far the most USEFUL review of this camera yet. Now if I could just get my hands on one…
I own a fuji F31fd, it’s an amazing little camera, quite snappy and takes great photos sometime people just think they come out from a DSLR. I’m very happy to find the X100 share the same battery with F31fd, that’s really a plus for me.
Here’s a trick for X100 manual focus: push AEL/AFL and the lens will simple do an auto-focus to the subject and stay there, then you could slightly fine tune the focus with the ring. I usually use MF mode to make the camera hyperfocal. X100 also indicates current DOF in the distance bar too. But i doubt fuji calculate the DOF with wrong parameter, it seems they use 35mm focal length instead of 23mm.
Interesting review as always! I knew the X100 had the guts but seems like no one have explored them by now! Now I’m definitely sure I want one!
The bokeh reminds me little bit of my Sigma 50 1.4 (Sigmalux 🙂 )
GREAT review as always-
I must admit, I had my doubts about the x100, as the details was slowly unveiled-
Could it really be? An affordable digital rangefinder?
Now, it seem to me that we’ve really got an entirely new breed of camera. After the initial disappointment in the lack of a coupled rangefinder, I must admit it has a lot going for it.
Having played around with it briefly, I must say the compact build, direct interface and the viewfinder deserves much praise. And Fuji’s choice of fixed lens/focal length just adds to the strong photographic idea.
-Come on guys, will the lens be really limiting our ability to make GREAT photos? I doubt it-
Will the camera limit “the TYPE” of photos we take? sure- ofcourse, as any other camera do.
I recently moved from a huge Nikon rig, to Leica/M43 – and to me that just revived my photographic effort. The “limitations” of these cameras just slaps (rudely) bad photographers in the face.
I love how I now rant about my lacking skills when reviewing my photos- where I’d be just silly and annoyed by my camera/lens before.
I won’t be getting a X100- My M’s and EP-2 just work, and I’m done investing in cameras for a long time. I got these baby for the Leica lenses anyway!
If my sketches for the X200 come through though, I might be interested 😉
I admire the way you graciously responded to the people bashing your opinions and site on the Fuji blog thing. I bought a Zeiss lens because of one of your reviews and it was one of the best choices I ever made with a lens, that’s what makes a great site, and a great reviewer.
Dang. You had me with the color of the first image and its sharpness. Oh well, I guess I will be parting with my GF-1 after all. Just bought the EVF for it too and it stinks. Although it’s better than not seeing the screen at all in bright light. And I have to keep taking the EVF off to but it in the pouch. I’m so looking forward to the Fuji’s veiwfinder. Great idea.
I love using the GF-1 with the 20mm 1.7 in low light but was never too excited about the high ISO performance. Looks like the Fuji kicks butt in low light and I especially love the images with the high ISO you did!! So it’s a no brainer.
And it’s just a little more than what I paid for the GF-1 when that came out. So realistically I think it’s a great value. And no sensor dust!! Thanks for the great review.
Go look at Wouter’s photos before you dump your GF-1.
If you can Mike, keep the GF1 it’s an astounding camera. I’m keeping mine even though i have been tempted to get rid of it, it has a place in my work flow as well as my EP2’s which i love very much with a collection of old minolta lenses.
I’m well aware of what it can do. I’ve done it. LOL. And after having another great weekend of shooting with it, it won’t be going anywhere. I just can’t get rid of it. Just a momentary lapse of judgement. Just means I’ll have ANOTHER camera. Oh the humanity. 🙂
Brilliant review of a brilliant camera! Thanks!!
Great and enthusiastic review (as always) Steve!
You don’t make it easy for me NOT to buy a X100.
How about those banding issues written by early customers on dpreview at high iso and small apertures with the X100?
No banding in your pics?
As a X1 user I really would love to have 720p Video and a viewfinder to accompany my M9 where up to now the X1 is being used as 35mm equivalent. Seems you made a point to exchange this place in my camera bag with the Fujifilm X100.
As for the FUJI – I have been a long-time fan of Fuji’s compact cameras – like the legendary F30/F31fd.
Thx for your efforts,
Wonder why Fuji did not implement the classic lift-and-turn the shutterspeed dial way to change iso?
That is one thing I really miss. Thankfully Epson did it on the R-D1. Maybe this will entice them and Cosina to finally make a R-D2 with a more modern sensor.
Thanks Steve for your interesting review. I would be interested to know what you think of the edge sharpness on the X100 compared to the X1 at f5.6. I find mine to be somewhat soft but have nothing to really compare it too as my other camera are the M9 and Lx-5 so I would really like to see an X1 comparison. thanks
Steve used my crops and RAW images for the X1 v X100 comparison section in the review and I from what I saw, edge detail was comparable with the X100 nudging out the X1. The X100 appears in my samples to be slightly out resolving the X1 even at f/5.6
I no longer have my X1, but I have shot the same scene with my recently acquired X100 and edge sharpness is almost the same. The GXR/28 combo, however, is much sharper than both with respect to edge sharpness and achieves this resolution pretty much from wide open.
Outstanding website and reviews. So, looks like the X100 gets your thumbs up vs the X1…technically at least. Funny, but I have read your X1 review over and over again and you just seem to express more passion, at least in my eyes. A question of terminology or wording I guess.
So the question: Is your heart rooting for the X1 but reason for the X100? 😉
PS: just bought a used X1, with 35mn Voigtlander VF and hand made Luigi Crescenzi case, 2 days ago, and not regretting it a bit!
As an M9 owner, I’m slightly disturbed by Mr Turtle. The X100 file looks better, dammit!
Great review, and enthusiastic to say the least! The real world samples show this camera is a capable walk-around photographer’s camera.
It’s obviously being well received by professionals, but it does seem like a few tweaks could make the X100 mark2 an even better proposition. Personally, I’d be keen to try one out and learn more about the responsiveness of the X100 before shelling out. If it can handle the demands of discreet street photography, I may well be in.
At last a review of a camera – as a camera and not a collection of parts and menus. I have had a five minute play with a X100 (one of my customers got one from the first batch to hit the UK) and it is now top of my ‘want list’ as I feel it is the perfect camera to compliment my Nikon based DSLR kit but not replace it. I have read comments/moans/reviews saying it should have been a system camera. It shouldn’t be a system camera in the same way the X1 isn’t a system camera. It gives you one set of parameters, it is up to the photographer to use them to take the picture they want. DSLR’s are boxes that fits within a system and they fill that part of the market very well.
This review confirms the stuff I have been writting about X100, even before it came to the market. ” Fuji says that the X100 was designed by photographers, for photographers”!!!!!!. That`s a lots of balooney. If mr. Steve Himselv writes that manual focus is a pain in …. and he won`t be using it, that AF is slow and incertain in low light, that start-up times are 2-3 sec., that write down times are to long, then how Fuji can con people into beliving it`s a camera for proff? The above mentioned cons are the very stuff proffs rely on. Ten of ten proffs will tell you that he will sacrifice any time superiour lens and chip quality to a reliable tool that gets them picture any and every time. So lets summ up. It`s a proff lens and chip in a amateur body. Fuji says that it listened to proffs when designing this product. What a laugh!
It’s too bad the AF is slow and manual focus is a pain. Maybe a firmware update will fix these?
Elaine, just got mine today and have been playing with it. The AF is not as bad as it seems, its about as fast as my EP2 and like most things you get used to it and carry on. I love the X100, to me so far, its a winner!
Have you tried the manual focus yet?
Elaine, i haven’t tried it yet but will do later on today.
Great review as always Steve. The UI on this camera would have to be improved a lot before i would buy one and there is NO excuse for slow autofocus in 2011.
It doesn’t feel so amazing in the hand ( just my opinion )
Your crop shots are quite remarkable.
It looks like a Holga in black!! Ha ha!
I think it’s looks are rated way too high. If you like it’s appearance you must feel like you are in heaven when you look at old Yashicas!!!!
Great review, as usual. Couple of questions:
1. The distortion, do you ever use lens correction profiles? If I’m right, some one can create a custom profile for this lens/camera and share it. Do you think using that would allow the X100 to represent the final nail in the coffin (in image quality terms) for the X1?
2. That concept for the X200 looks great. We’ve all been looking for an affordable alternative to the M9 – how do you think the X100 would translate as an interchangeable lens camera?
Personally I’d like to see that (X1000 maybe) with the metal controls left where they are and a set of autofocus primes with aperture rings. Maybe also they could make the rear controls like the Leica S2, simple.
Awesome review from someone who is more into actually taking pictures than examining obscure gear issues. Well done.
Great review, Steve! Too great… I have a feeling it might cost me a trip to my camera dealer when it becomes more available. I have a D700 + 50mm combo which I love but a smaller camera would be great. Right now that spot is taken by the Leica D-lux4. A great little compact but I miss a viewfinder badly… So much that I never really use it.
ps. Keep ignoring all the BS and Huff bashing! I for one appreciate your efforts in running this site in a real world manner, as you call it. It’s very inspirational to see reviews mixed with editorial and user-generated stuff!
Hi steve, I always look forward to your tests, I like ..Frankly you destroyed dpreview ^ ^ (which has still not fully do its test). I know you don’t like isn’t quiet dslr but it could be interesting to compare the famous Carl Zeiss 24F2 on the small A55?
Kit price:1250+700= 1950$
Nice way to approach the X100. Especially your ISO 6400 remark, everything under is better.
I use the M9, and indeed that’s a different approach. Camera’s like tehe M9 or X1 or X100 doesn’t improve your Photographic capabilities, nor do they limit them. They are tools which fits into a way of working to reach a goal.
X1 vs X100, X2 vs X200, X3 vs X300 and so on a never ending ‘technology leaping’
What Fuji did really nice imo is that they understood that it was time for a change and put a ‘Heart’ camera on the market between all the ‘Head’ camera’s
Leica M9 is also a ‘Heart’ camera, it do something with you, it doesn’t make you taken better pictures, although that is allowed!, but it pu the smile on your face…and that is worth every $.
I have used now the Panasonic DMC-GF1 with the 20mm/1.7 and OVF 40mm for 1 year, I love that camera, but I may change that one to the X100… Not because the X100 will be so much better (it will) but because the X100 is Fashion…….and are we all not….’Dedicated Followers of Fashion”?
Great review, maybe even the first one which really brings the “character” of the X100 across.
I’m using mine since about 3 weeks and will put my X1 up for sale soon, despite being a Leicaholic. Excellent lens-sensor combination and a brilliant OVF/EVF make shooting this camera so much fun.
Thanks for steering me to this review, which is just great. It sounds like an awesome camera. Just one question – how limiting do you think the fixed 35mm (equivalent) lens is, especially if you want to be doing some portrait work as well?
Other post had many mistakes. This one should make more sense. Sorry.
Hey thank you for the great review. I really like your relaxed real world style of review. One really important question that could make this a deal breaker for me. In your AF section you said it was really hard to get this camera to focus on the proper thing you were pointing at. You even said it was real difficult enough that it resulted in many misses. So the question is this:
If manual focus is a bust and autofocus is very difficult to focus where you intended with having many misses, how did you overcome this problem enough to find it satisfactory and reliable enough to make pictures with it? If I can’t depend on a camera to focus where I want and manual focus is not a good option, how could I trust such a camera?
Hey thank you for the great review. I really like your relaxed real world style of review. One really important question that could make this a deal breaker for me. In your AF section you said it was really hard to get this camera to focus on the proper thing you were pointing at. You even said it was real difficult to do this and also had many misses. So the question is this:
If manual focus is a bust and autofocus is very difficult to focus where you intended with many misses how did you overcoming thing problem enough to find it satisfactory and reliable enough to make pictures with? If I can reply on a camera to focus where I want and manual focus is not an option, how could I trust such a camera with my images?
great review Steve, you’ve got me tempted.
Thank you Terrance.
Can the function of the RAW button in the lower right corner on the back of the camera be changed to do something else?
NO but I am hoping that Fuji enables this with a future RAW update. IMO, the RAW button is useless. Should have been something more useful…
You can assign other functions to the iso button. E.g. when shooting in bright light, I’m using it as the ND filter “on-off” switch. However, I hope there will be a FW upgrade soon allowing to assign different functions to other buttons.
The review the world has been waiting for. Well done. I currently have both the X100 and GXR/28 in my possession and wanted to note a couple of points.
The AA filter on the X100 seems a little lighter than that on the GXR and renders fine foliage, for example, with a little extra clarity. But the 28mm lens on the GXR seems to be quite a bit better than the lens on the X100 with respect to distortion and, more importantly, edge-to-edge performance.
With respect to ISO performance, I have shot the same scene a number of times with both and after compensating for exposure differences feel that the X100 is over stating ISO by a factor of about 1.5 times. I have verified the results using my Pentax K5. I would appreciate your thoughts.
Finally, the LCD on the GXR has a non-reflective finish and is much easier to view in daylight than the highly reflective finish on the X100’s LCD. The OVF on the X100 is superb, but it is not particularly accurate and I often find that I resort to the LCD for shots that require any level of accuracy.
I have also owned the X1 and both the GXR and X100 best it by quite some margin.
Thanks for your findings…great info. I also feel the AA filter is weaker on the X100. Let me look further into the ISO thing but thanks for bringing it up!
Many thanks for your wonderful review. One issue that you haven’t touched on but I am quite sure some Leica X1 owners may wish to ask you: Should we get rid of Leica X1 and go for Fuji X100 as a travelling companion?
Steve! Great review once again! You’ve gotten me into buying the GXR with your review and now you are making me clicking the links for X100 again!
But before i ask my fiancee for forgiveness for another camera, in your opinion, should i sell my GXR in order to get X100? i know you mentioned “your head says gxr and heart says x100”, but say 10 months down the road, do you think you will use GXR more or X100 more? I really want to get X100 but I am worried about after GXR comes out with the killer M-mount later this year, I will regret my decision!
I can’t say wether you should sell the GXR..it’s about personal preference really. Both are great and capable of fantastic results.
Buy the Fuji and keep the Ricoh too. Go work some overtime. LOL!
Listen. I bought the GXR too after reading about the camera from ~6 and Steve…I’ve only been shooting it for about 2 weeks, but so far its a great buy. I was also waiting around for the X100 but after exploring the GXR it made more sense to me because it is at least a modular system. I’m sure the X100 will become a classic, but I tried to use my head on this one. I love the look of the X100 but price and flexibility won out. I’m glad to see that Steve and others believe the quality is comparable.
But hey, if you have the cash for another camera…go for it!
One more note on the GXR: Who says the M8/M9 cameras are inconspicuous? Anytime I’ve gone out with my 8.2 I get asked questions and stares, even with the black tape. But the Ricoh? No one knows what the hell it is. I’m growing to love that about it…industrial look is growing on me.
Great review Steve, I really enjoyed it and based on what I have read elsewhere, your criticisms and praise are fair and consistent with other users experience. You are right in stating that Fujis quality cannot beat that of the M9, because it is not meant to. However– I usually don’t do this so I beg your forgiveness in advance– in the two shots of the turtle pond, I think Fuji has the edge. Yes, I guess one could say that the color rendering and highlights from the Leica are more natural, but if you look at the sand bank in the image foreground, you will see that the X100 has more texture and detail as well as better exposure in the corners. The reason for this is perhaps that the subject (mr Turtle) was closer to the sand bank in Fujis case, hence the foreground focus was sharper. This illustrates the fact that for all our masturbatory pixel peeping, photography usually boils down to one simple thing: the Descisive Moment and how the photographer chooses to capture it..
Thanks for the comment and your thoughts 🙂
One more thing that you can perhaps cover is the X100s flash performance. According to some reviewers the X100 has flash sync up to 1/1000, which makes it excellent for outdoors and studio action shots. In fact, some contend that this is better than some pro DSLRS on market. IMO this is a very useful function for pro Photographers using this as a backup and also makes it more versatile compared to its competitors.
Great review.How would you compare the X100 to the M8 (I’ve been looking at getting a used M8 and it seems to almost be in the same price range as the X100). Thanks! Josh
If you can find an M8 for $1200, go for it! Totally different cameras. The M8 is an M, manual focus, and you will need a lens to go with it. It also has not so good high ISO but it does have a great sensor that yields super detailed and film like results.
An M8 and lens would probably set you back close to $3k, the X100 – $1200 new. Image quality wise, they are pretty close actually with the X100 giving much better high ISO performance. But shooting the M8 will be a totally different experience.
Ah you’re right, sorry I was thinking about the price of a used M6 (saw one of those for about 1.4-1.6K). The M8 is going for about 2.3k. Hmmmm…Going to have to get my hands on an X100 to play. But reading your site is really making me want to get a Lecia!
Steve, ignore the idiots who bash your site. It’s well done and fits a nice gap that was left by the other review sites (dpreview, cameralabs, etc.) Thank you for doing this in record time–I know getting this up that quickly was a lot of work.
The internet is both a wonderful place where we can learn and share information and experiences. Unfortunately, it is also a place where people can gripe and slander in anonymity.
Keep up the good work. Cheers, Jack
p.s. 1) How does the viewfinder compare to the fuji/voigtlander 6×7 folder you reviewed on this site (I assume it is much smaller). 2) do you find the FL to yield distorted faces up close–that was my only complaint about the gxr–try and get up close and wipe out the background and you end up with big noses?
Thanks Jack. I enjoy the banter about me and my site. Why? It brings more traffic, and when you get other sites talking about you then it must mean you are getting popular, LOL. I welcome it all. Good, bad, whatever!
As for the VF…I find it clear, and plenty big enough though probably not as large as the Fuji folder MF camera. Distortion…yep, get close and you will get lens distortion and the big nose effect, though it is correctable with one click in Lightroom.
Great review. Have had this camera for a month or so now – it really is something great. Mind you, I do find it pretty different and quirky then anything else I’ve shot with… if you’re undecided I recommend trying one out in the store before buying!
Not surprised you love the X100… It’s an instant classic IMO, can’t wait for the UPS guy to show up later on today. I plan on shooting mine strictly in B&W at least 80% of the time. Thanks for the review, would love to see what you do with it on your next tour with Seal.
Haaaaaaa…. Sweeeeet…. Just arrived, first i am going to spend the rest of the day reading the manual… 🙂
Hey Steve, you may already be familiar with this LCD protector, found on eBay thought I’d share it with everyone who owns an X100. Just got mine installed it and it looks pretty good. ( http://cgi.ebay.com/ACMAXX-2-8-HARD-LCD-ARMOR-PROTECTOR-FujiFilm-X100-Fuji-/230609552556?pt=Digital_Camera_Accessories&hash=item35b16684ac )
Thank you for the brilliant reviews. I have learned so much from reading your reviews and found your opinions far more entertaining and satisfying than watching that intolerable clown of a mule on DigitalRev and trust me coming from a 25 year old from an urban background i genuinely hope you take that as a compliment.
Can i ask you how you become associated with Seal, he is an artist i have respected since i was a child i could only dream of working with an artist of that calibre! k.r
There is a way to increase write speeds and start up time. The write speed issue is to do a format of the card in camera. That will make sure the card writes at proper speed. The start up time is reduced by turning off the power saving features.
GREAT GREAT review, my friend.
From a former X1 owner, I am lusting for a X100 now. Well done!
Thank you Carlos!
Carlos, I got the X100 and you know I loved the X1… the X100 appears to be the better camera so far. I believe it is what you have been waiting for.
So nice to hear that from YOU! Now I am sold on the X100. I remember we used to have similar opinions about our X1s. So how does it compare to your Ricoh in your opinion?
Just a noob question from a noob who’s looking for a great camera (micro 4/3 or Nex-5 or X100) to buy soon. When you say ‘slow’ autofocus for X100, how would you compare its AF speed/accuracy to a mid to high end point and shoot?
The X100 is slow in low light. In normal light its quick. Not DSLR quick, but faster than the X1 and about the same as an Oly E-Pl2 or equivalent. Macro mode is a bit slower, but macro mode usually is. Thanks!
Thanks for the review Steve. Love the desert shots. Remember that some city dwellers view that as exotic, even though it is all you have to work with.
I am intrigued by the “Velvia” mode. I would love to see some side by side comparisons of a scene shot on real film and the Fuji digital version. I could send an M6 your way and you ship over one of your many X100s…
Thanks Tyson…I do not think the Velvia preset would match the film. Plus, I would shoot this camera in RAW and the presets do not transfer over to the RAW files. Only JPEG. Still, I love the colors from this camera! I also loved the Fuji S2, S3 and S5 colors.
Hi Steve! There should be a “fast start-up” option somewhere in the menus…
Great review Steve! Couple of my friends got their hands on this camera yesterday and I had a play with it myself. I love the hybrid viewfinder! It is amazingly clear, and love how you can even view your photos in there as well!
I have to agree with the manual focusing, I thought I was doing something wrong as it wasn’t focusing and my friend had to explain you had to wait for ice to melt for it to start focusing manually. Nevertheless, coming from a canon user, I found it quite easy and enjoyable to use! =D
Thanks! yea, the MF is seriously lacking…but thats OK, I wont use it as a MF camera.
Great review, just about the gist of it from all level headed parties. Blows away the X1, but if you are making comparisons between it and the M9 you have not business buying a manual focus camera.
It is almost 2am here in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and I wont be able to sleep until a read it ALL.
Thanks for reviewing it in record time!!!
Great follow up to your initial impressions. I will be selling my X1 and getting an X100. I love you, Leica, but sorry, you have been trumped.
Hi Steve, thnks for the fantastic x100 review. I’m going to trade in my 40D and G9 against one of these. I’m so in love with the 70’s looks and picture quality.
On another note; could you explain to me how to go about getting a watermark sorted out, like what you have.
Thanks in advance. Kind regards, Jana