The top 7 complaints of the Fuji X100 and how I get around them. By Steve Huff.

OK guys, here you go! Decided that since the Fuji X100 has been so popular, and because I get so many e-mails on it asking me about the “quirks” that I would write up a list of the top 7 complaints on the camera (from users and reviews, not necessarily ME), and what I do to get around them (well, they are not really issues for me in the first place as you will soon see).

So in this brief article I will list out the quirks and imperfections of the X100, and then tell you how I overcome and work with each issue. This is spurred from seeing a reviewer today who said to forget about buying the Fuji, mainly because of the menu button. Odd. This camera has so much going for it with so much potential that anyone who skips out on it due to the small (or is it?) menu button will be missing out on a fantastic photographic tool that not only looks cool, but takes some amazing quality images.

Am I saying that the Fuji is for everyone? NO way! Many will want to skip it just due to the fact that it is not really their style of camera. It doesn’t have blazing fast DSLR AF, it doesn’t “Zoom” and no, it does not have the ability to change lenses. These are the reasons I LOVE IT, but some of you will hate it for these same reasons. Anyway, enjoy this rundown of the X100 Quirks 🙂

Ok…first things first – The small menu button

USER Complaint #1: The Menu Button is TOO small. I agree with what everyone here has said about the menu button, it sure does appear to be too small. It seems when you press the menu button that you are also pressing the jog wheel as well. The menu button itself is not  raised out enough from the jog wheel so it just feels like you are pushing the whole wheel in with the menu button. This is what most of the reviewers are saying about the button.

In USE/Solution: The Menu Button Is Not Really An Issue. In actual USE of the Fuji X100, when the camera is on and you are taking photos, the menu button works just fine! Try it! Turn it on, press the menu button and you will see the menu screen pop on. I looked at the menu buttons, side by side next to the X100 from the Olympus XZ-1, the Panasonic GH2 and also the GF2 and guess what? The X100 menu button is LARGER than the GH2 and XZ-1 and just about the same size as the one on the GF2. Again, it’s not that the button is too small, it is that it does not stick out enough from the wheel so it “feels” small. In real use, the button works perfectly fine. For me it does anyway. Never caused an issue which is why it wasn’t brought up in my review. It worked and continues to work. For me anyway. SO once again, the button and the jog wheel work fine and dandy for me and my hands.

How about the slow start up time?

USER Complaint #2: Startup time is insanely slow. When I received my X100 and powered it on I was freaking out a bit I think it took like 10 seconds to start up! I immediately regretted the purchase. There were times when I though the camera had froze up when I started it but in reality, it was just taking forever to start. It was unacceptable.

The SOLUTION: Startup time can be almost instant! I decided to buy a super fast SD card for the X100, hell, I bought two, one for my M9 and one for the X100. I bought these Sandisk Extreme Pro cards, the 16GB version. THEY ALSO COME IN 32GB.  Sandisk says that they are waterproof, shockproof, and X-Ray proof. They also write data at up to 45MBPS so they are pretty speedy. Once put in the camera I was still seeing slow startup times, UNTIL I formatted the card in the camera. I then turned ON “Quick Start Mode’ in the settings menu. Now it takes less than 1 second to turn on. Its actually just about instant. So if you have an X100 and are suffering from slow start up times, buy one and format it in the camera. Not only will your start up times be quick, your write times will improve as well.

You may have to format each time though, which is odd and quirky.

OK…what else? Hmmmm. Inaccurate Auto Focus.

USER Complaint #3: The AF is not accurate most of the time. This CAN be correct, if you are using the Optical View Finder. After using both the EVF and OVF I would not go back to the OVF full time as it is just not accurate with the AF of  the camera in MANY situation. If you are shooting anything up close, forget it. Your shot will be out of focus when using the OVF. I am talking 1-3 feet distances, and in many cases, the AF confirm will pop up and the camera will focus way behind the subject (when using OVF and shooting CLOSE). The OVF is nice and bright and I have used it for landscape shots and it did great, but anything at close distance, forget it! It took me a few days to figure this one out.

The SOLUTION: Use the EVF for close subjects. I use the EVF 90% of the time, and believe it or not, it uses LESS battery than the OVF. The EVF is plenty good, so I would recommend using it unless you are taking shots of something at a distance, which is where the OVF will be OK. Just remember that when using the OVF, you must frame within the frame lines, and they are not 100% accurate! BTW, my camera is NOT defective. Had TWO of them here, both USA production cameras – both gave me the same results.

Macro? What macro?

USER Complaint #4. Macro – I have seen at least one review complain that there is no macro on the X100. Well, no, you are not going to get the macro performance of a specialized Macro DSLR Lens but you can get much closer to your subject than you may think. There IS a macro mode accessible with a left click of the jog wheel.

The SOLUTION: Use the EVF, in MF mode and use  the AFL button to focus. I found that when using manual focus mode, combined with the EVF you can get pretty close to your subjects. Closer than using the OVF (forget about close ups with the OVF, remember) and you do not even need to switch on the macro mode to do so. It’s really easy to do and you can get semi close. Still, this is no real “Macro”, just a way to get closer than you normally can.

Low Light AF. Daytime AF. No good?

USER Complaint #5 – Low light Auto Focus Performance is not so hot and day time AF is slow. The low light comment is somewhat true, but in my experience, the light has to be pretty damn low for this to happen. I was sitting on my couch the other night, in the dark, with the only light source coming from my TV. I had the GF2, GH2, and the X100 on the table. I picked up each one and tried to AF on my foot. None could do it. I turned on a small 40 watt lamp and ALL could do it. I found that the low light AF, in reality, is no worse than the GF2, GH2, or Leica X1. Plus, I was not even using the AF assist light as I have my X100 in silent mode. Turn this off and you will have access to the AF assist light. As for daytime AF, its pretty speedy. DO NOT compare it to a DSLR and you will be just fine. Compare it to cameras like the Oly E-P2, Leica X1, GF1, etc. I have no complaints about daytime AF. This is not a sports camera, an action camera or a let’s chase my kids around camera. For those activities, buy a DSLR.

The SOLUITION for low light AF: Turn of Silent mode and use the AF assist light if you are shooting in near blackness. AF is plenty fast in good light.

Limited Shutter Speeds when wide open?

USER Complaint #6 – The X100 shutter speed is limited to 1/1000s when shooting at F2. This is 100% true! When shooting at f2, your max shutter speed is 1/1000s. What does this mean? It means if you want to shoot in full sun at f/2 to get the soft bokeh and creamy look, you can’t! (But you still can) – The Ricoh GXR had this same limitation at f/2 and it is due  to the lenses using Leaf Shutters, which is why they are so silent. Luckily, Fuji added a feature to the X100 that allows you to shoot in full sun, at 1/1000s.

The SOLUTION – Turn on the built in ND filter. Then you can shoot all day long in full bright mid day sun at f/2 is you so desire. Indoors, 1/1000s is plenty fast if you want to shoot wide open. Me, I set my Fn button that sits on top of the camera to control the ND filter on/off toggle. This way, when I am out in the blazing sun, I just switch on the ND filter and I can shoot at any aperture I want to!

Manual Focus SUCKS with the X100

USER Complaint #7 – The Fuji X100’s Manual Focus is unusable. All I can say about this is YES IT IS. I hate it, but luckily, this could be fixed via a firmware update. Will they fix it? Only time will tell but I am fine using a camera like this in AF mode. It is NOT a rangefinder camera and if I want to shoot manual, I will shoot with my M. But yes, the MF implementation is horrible with the X100 but there is a solution if you still want to shoot in this way.

The Solution: Use the AFL button when you can not seem to dial in the focus manually. When in MF mode, you can turn the lens barrel to focus but it will take about 20 turns of the ring to get you there sometimes. Painfully slow, and it is even hard to see when your subject is in focus. BUT if you must shoot this way, and if you are having problems finding focus, a quick press of the AFL button will whip it right into focus. Easy!

So there you go. The 7 main complaints that reviewers and shooters have worried about…explained. Will Fuji release a firmware update to fix the manual focus/ I have no idea but my gut tells me that they are working on one right now to fix a few things like speed, manual focus, etc. I did not mention the video and the fact that you can not change the aperture or use manual focus while recording but you can set the aperture before you press record and manual focus beforehand as well to avoid the camera hunting for focus when your subject moves. That can also be changed with a FW update. If any of the quirks above bother you, then you should probably skip the camera. If you can live with them, like the thousands of others who are already shooting this camera, then go for it! The image quality is fantastic and the Fuji colors really can’t be found anywhere else. Amazon is the only one I know who is taking pre-orders and shipping every few days. You can pre-order HERE.

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  1. I have been messing with the settings on my camera and when I take a picture it just comes out black (and no I don’t have the cover on). Its a Fujifilm X100s and it must be a setting I changed but I can’t figure it out…do you know what the problem might be?

  2. Thanks for sharing this nice blog. I read it completely and get some interesting blog information from it.I am waiting for your new blog please share new blog information my Email id.
    Thanks a lot.

  3. Very, Very insightful, really helped me when I first got my X100, it’s a quirky camera that takes a lot of getting used to but this guide helps overcome most of the hurdles you will come across- good job!


  4. Dear sir,

    as you mentioned, in case of MF and macro mode, using AFL button. could you please share with us about ur setting for AFL button in that case and also for FN and Raw button.
    my setting: AFL/AEL was set default is AFL/AEL also. and FN for iso setting, Raw for ND filter.

  5. I have put my 5dMKII and L series lenses on eBay and have just purchased the X100 LE black version. Mad? Possibly! But when I came to digital around seven years ago I said good bye to my lovely contax G2 and a fistful of those beautiful CZ lenses. The X100 is reminiscent of the G2 and so far I’m a happy bunny. I am waiting now for the latest (up to 95mbs) SanDisk Extreme Pro to arrive and I will be in business. Start up time is around 1.5 seconds without the card in and for me that is fine as I don’t shoot like the machine-gun kid anyway. Fixed lens is perfect for street and urban landscape so I have no qualms about that. Focusing is fine if you understand how to use contrast detection focusing and you understand that it doesn’t need the same technique to focus as phase focusing – the type you get with a DSLR. This is a camera best used in ‘street’ situations. It is the wrong tool for sports or beach activity. Most of the focus complaints seem to come from people who have never used a rangefinder style camera before and would be happier with a DSLR or point-and-shoot. My advice is to slow down and see the shot before it happens so that you can prepare. That’s how Henri Cartier Bresson did it.

    I am making one or two changes to the way I carry this camera: I will ditch the top part of the E/V case (put it away in the box it came with) and purchase a small Billingham Hadley bag to carry it in – with hood and filter permanently attached. The bag will also carry my car keys, specs, lens cloth and other bits and pieces we tend to put in our pockets. Once the menu has been set up to the way I like to shoot then the menu will be used very sparingly and changes can be made on the top plate. I will also purchase a decent wrist strap and put the neck strap back in the box it came in.

    I used to miss the odd shot with film so it doesn’t bother me if I miss a few with the X100. Cameras are like children inasmuch that they are all different and need to be treated differently too. Now I can’t wait to get out and about with it.

  6. Stop trying to focus this camera like a DSLR (half-press to focus) and you will never have an out of focus shot again. Dslr’s use phase detection which brings together two points of light. The half press is needed to merge these two points before the image is taken. Contrast detection is actually faster and does not need the half press. Just compose and take your shot and you stuff will be in focus every time.

    • **though with a delay as the camera still has to focus and lock on. Even the full press X100 trick is not an answer for catching any kind of action or moment as it still takes time for the camera to lock on and focus and it is possible the camera will mis-focus using this method so it not in focus every time, especially when shooting wide open up close.

  7. Can anyone post how post-latest-firmware, the camera has improved [or not], in their humble experience?

    Also, does anyone use a filter with the lens?

  8. Why anyone would put up with all this b.s. is beyond me. I absolutely hated mine even after the software upgrades and it went back to where it came from. My Nikon G9 & Nikon D300 work like real cameras should.

      • Agreed, since asking my question above I have bought one and it really is superb. My worry about zone focusing was based on a quick 1 minute tinker with a firmware 1.0 display model and forum/blog comments. Having owned it now for a month or so these worries were not irrelevant. The camera excels at zone focusing. Manual focusing is a breeze- not the headache many reviews would have you believe.
        There is more noise than I had hoped for in high iso images but so far it is bearable/concealable. Cannot recommend it enough.

  9. I want to defend the X100. The AF is not DSLR fast but you can work around it.

    I was snaping my daughter on a swing. No way will I get her fast enough on AF. So I switch to MF. The focus ring works great after 1.13. Now the response is instant and turns are (a lot) lesser.

    Back to snaping. I estimated the distance that my daughter will swing into the frame. Turn the focus ring and get the distance. With smaller aperture, it’s even more forgiving with focus.

    So each time she swings into the frame. Snap. Swing in. Snap. I almost could take my eyes off the VF totally and enjoy the moment.

    So perhaps, X100 is a “rangefinder” in a way i.e. find a subject within range for manual focus.

  10. If you are having trouble getting the camera to focus in low light switch from AF-C to AF-C.
    Switch back when you can as the camera does get pretty busy in this mode trying to focus all the time. Works though!

  11. Thanks for your ideas, I have all the same problems with my X100, but your suggestions are really helpful. Almost solve all our concerns now. But I still hope Fuji can do a faster AF:(

  12. Recently I have faced the present problem. TThe border of frame in OVF suddenly became yellow. Now the camera constantly is mistaken in an automatic mode and gives out awful things. In the elementary situations the camera does or all very dark, or very light. Sometimes simply all parameters burn red (shot speed and a diaphragm). How such it is possible in automatic mode at very simple conditions of shooting? (Firmware v. 1.10.)

    Besides, in menu DR only 100 %. Points of the menu of 200 % and 400 % I have never see active.

  13. I have never thought about “start time”, but your comments did. I take stop watch and turn on the camera. The time it started was 2,8 seconds. Then I select in menu a “quick-start” mode. The time it stared was 2,5 seconds. I have an 8GB, 10 class SD card. What I am thinking about all of it? Less than 3 second is just enough. But I don’t see sense in a “quick-start” mode if it don’t really increase the result.

  14. Regarding #2-Slow startup times. I just ordered a 32Gb Sandisk Extreme Pro upon your recommendation for faster startup/write times. Now I’m a little concerned as I just saw Ken Rockwell warning not to go over 16GB as it can cause up to 20 seconds to startup with larger:

    I’m just wondering what Steve or others experience with this is, and hopefully Ken is correct only when you have a slower card?

  15. Hi Steve,
    I just got my X100 yesterday !! Yesssss ! 🙂
    I have a question for you : I shoot raw only, and I realized that I easily press the raw button with my hand, which may sets the camera to jpeg by accident.. I didn’t find it, is there a way to lock this button ? Have you encountered the same problem ?

  16. Regarding complaint #5, specifically, AF speed: “This is not a sports camera, an action camera or a let’s chase my kids around camera. For those activities, buy a DSLR.”

    Why should it be an either or? Why not complain about the focus speed of digital compacts, even the x100? Why can’t a compact camera have a fast focusing system like a DSLR? Subjects move, especially in street photography.

    Before you poo poo the idea–I ain’t the only one making this point. Thom asks for the same damn thing

  17. Hi, here’s an interesting link that you guys can use to give fuji your comments and suggestion to improve on the firmware of the x100. These are reps from Fuji itself. By their tweets they are very interested in knowing your feedbacks about their camera especially the x100. Also on the april 6 posting, it says that they are looking into reviews of the x100 and some recommendations for inprovement were already sent to Tokyo. Probably a good time to be sending them more user suggestions to speedy up the next firmware upgrade. Don’t you think?!/fujiguys

    • No, it isn’t, check the “Delkin Elite” cards.

      I have to say, I own an X100,
      and Sandisk Extreme Pro seems ok to me.
      But I might be ordering a Delkin card just to see the diffrence annyway.

      If you search for “Delkin Elite” on adorama, you should find the cards.

  18. Thanks Steve. I appreciate your input, just got my X100 and need to go grab a fast card and start shooting. Cheers, JT

  19. Steve,

    A few additions to your post.

    1. Menu button – Don’t forget, a half press of the shutter also serves as an “OK” for some changes. For example a shortcut that will get you into EVF Macro mode FAST is (macro, macro, half shutter). I do this when I am shooting OVF and want to enter Macro quickly without fiddling with taking my eye away from the finder.

    3. Accurate AF in OVF – The more you use the camera the more the “Force is with you” in terms of knowing where to place the AF box to get accurate focus on closer objects. Don’t give up on it. Also, get in the habit of glancing at your distance scale to confirm the focus distance.

    4. Macro – Skip the MF mode if you are using the EVF, you might as well just be in Macro mode and use the smaller AF box. However, I do use MF mode with the OVF to get close focus (not necessarily macro) with very good results as long as you know to use the lower right portion of the focus target the closer you get.

    One other suggestion:

    Unfortunately Lightroom isn’t properly supporting the extended DR feature in RAW files (Phase One does) but given the X100’s excellent noise handling, I suggest shooting at 800 with DR at 400% as much as possible. You may be a bit limited at shooting open in bright sun even with the ND filter, but the difference in DR is significant.

  20. Nice summary.
    I don’t understand what you mean here:
    “I did not mention the video and the fact that you can not change the aperture or use manual focus while recording but you can set the aperture before you press record”
    I read elsewhere that while the camera is writing on the card, aperture and speed can still be changed ?

    • Basically, what I said is what I meant. After you start recording your movie you can NOT change Aperture or use manual focus. Sure you can turn the Aperture dial but you will not be changing the aperture.

  21. Thanks for bursting my bubble Steve, was going to order one now it seems it’s just another customer funded beta testing of the camera. Sticking to my M9 😀

    • I would hope you would stick to your M9, as am I. The X100 is no replacement for an M9 but it is an excellent second camera, one that you can take anywhere and be rewarded with superb quality. It’s the lens, the color, the dynamic range and the style. Function is another story…lol.

      • Hah, you said it before I could Steve.

        But the more I use the camera the less the “function” is an issue. If anything, it is getting to be second nature to use and extremely functional. I mean, once you are in manual exposure mode, and have a firm grip on quickly switching to macro when needed, what else besides direct access to the ND is there? I have ISO set to Fn but I see many are sticking ISO in auto and assigning ND to the Fn button. Not my cup of tea but it works.

        I also have it on good authority from Fuji that they are working on (1) Allowing the RAW button to be re-assigned and (2) unlocking the interface during a card write.

        I think the “problem” some have is the perception of what they wanted this camera to be (an M9 without lens interchangeability) and the reality of what it is – a somewhat complex (due to its 3 finders) AF camera with a hefty amount of customization available. But isn’t THAT complex and some time behind the wheel reaps great rewards and makes for a very satisfying shooting experience, at least for me it does.

        • Well said.

          I believe most people who have tried using this camera appreciate it for what it is. Most of the criticism (on all forums) are coming from people who haven’t touched this camera! I am impressed how good this camera is for a first generation device.

  22. Well, I just sent a private message to Steve. Because of this website and his reviews, I bought the Leica X1. I loved it. The #1 thing I did not like about the X1 was that there was no built-in viewfinder. The slow AF and loose dials didn’t bother me too much. The cheap “vulcanite” on the X1 surely bothered me, especially for the $2000 purchase price. In the end though, I loved the image quality and simple ergonomics of the X1. For my purposes, there wasn’t a better camera. With that said, today is a different day. Because of Steve’s reviews of the X100 I am convinced the X100 is qualitatively a better camera than the X1. I will be purchasing the X100 and tonight I listed my X1 on ebay:

  23. Whenever my x100 fails to focus (which happen quite often in low light conditions) I get the following message
    After the message when when turn off the camera I hear lens motor sound for few seconds and then switches. I have been getting this quite often, specially in Macro modes (day light or low light) I am able simulate this error very easily. Is anyone else are having similar issue with their X100?

    • DP007,
      I assume you have a filter attached to your lens.
      In Macro the lens moves towards it and bumps into it. Hence the error msg.
      You need to buy another filter withour glass in order to give the lens more room.
      have a look at the There is a whole thread about this.

      Jochen (Germany)

      • Thank you. Yes, your assumption is correct. I have ordered a cheap 49mm filter in silver finish to make some extra room.

        BTW. if anyone interested; I was able to use he Fuji X100 lens cap on the filer by sticking a narrow RUBBER weather tape on inside wall of the cap. The tape size is 1/8 in (T) x 3/8 in (W) from a local hardware store.

  24. I’m sorry Steve, your analysis is slightly out. 1) The issue isn’t just the button but also the command dial which is difficult to control 2) You can speed up start-up by turning off power saving functions, you can get it down to 4 seconds, SD performance can be very variable 3) I don’t understand why you are having such focus problems, even closer up, is there an issue with your camera 4) Macro is as you would expect for this category of camera 7) If you need rangefinder manual focus performance than yes it doesn’t even compare, but you have yo ask what people are using manual focus first before saying it is no good.

    Reviewers need to be much better at putting assessments into context, one man’s problem is another man’s useful feature.

    Otherwise, keep up the great work.

    • Hey Xman!

      The dial is small as well. Remember, these were not my complaints, but USER complaints that I keep reading about on other sites.

      1: I find the command dial small but never had an issue using it yet.

      2. I can get start up to 1/4 second using the card I write about.

      3. Close focus using the OVF does not work, nor was it designed to do so. I am having no focus issues because for closer shots I used the EVF. Just do not use the OVF from within 1-3 feet and you will be OK. The EVF at these distances will give you focus, the OVF will not.

      4. Yes it is, I agree.

      7. All I said was the MF is horrible, and it is. There is no doubt about that at all. BUT it could be fixed.enhanced via firmware.

      All of this is laid out pretty clearly in this article IMO. Thanks for the comment.

      • Regarding the MF, I was watching th ‘FujiGuys’ youtube video and they were suggesting that the MF focus ring is kind of speed sensitive – you turn it slowly for fine focus, or quickly to speed up the main focussing process.

        I’ve been trying this on my X100, and think it kind of works, although I’m conscious that the sensitivity isn’t in tune with the ease of turning the ring (does this make sense?). I agree that this should be something that can be fixed (or tweaked) in a firmware update.

  25. Steve, thanks a lot for posting this. I will look forward to more tips and tricks as you spend more time with the camera.

    Just a general note to other commentators regarding the AF issue: I own a fully manual Nikon FM2n (with 2 lenses and that is my entire kit) and have very limited experience with digital, hence, auto focus cameras. The other day, I had a chance to play with my friends Canon 5D Mark II with a 85/1.8/4(?) L and while it is an absolutely fantastic tool, it too, had a relatively slow focus and there were some limitations vis a vis shooting with a prime. The Canon 85 L, I am told, is primarily a portrait lens but I wanted to experiment to see how it would record action shots. The results were pretty interesting. Here is an example (image is OOC) [img][/img]

  26. All of the faults with this camera are way overblown… the OVF works perfectly fine in normal focusing ranges. The AF is not slow. The OVF is not meant to be used for up close photos… just as any rangefinder is not.

      • If you guys would read what I wrote, I said the above were the top 7 complaints from users and reviewers. I have 30+ emails from the last two weeks from users, that when using the OVF get out of focus shots. In my experience I can see why this is happening but most every day shooters do not understand parallax, etc.

        Retow, you must have written 3-4 times now in this comment section on this post, defending the OVF. The OVF is fine, but you will not be able to focus on something up close with it, accurately. Every day shooters who have no idea about the parallax correction will miss shots.

        I can use the OVF and I do, just not for close subjects as it is much easier and IMO, better, to use the EVF in this situation because your shot will be in focus.

        • No issue with you Steve. I understood that. However, there is a lot of misinformation being thrown around the web by non-users. Your article helps to clear that up.

        • Steve, it would help if you were a little more specific. Exactly what distances are you missing shots at? I’m getting in to within about 4 feet and am not getting problems. And yes, I do understand parallax.

        • I did read what you wrote, and by saying that you use the EVF 90% of the time it implies the focusing errors make the OVF near unusable. In reality there are plenty of photographers that rarely take photos of cups or flowers and the city, landscapes, people at normal distances, etc all will focus perfectly fine. I use the OVF 90% of the time and don’t have problems. (and when I do go to do a macro shot, I do switch into EVF). To me the OVF was 90% the reason to buy this camera, and I don’t want anyone to think it isn’t great, because it is. Same size and brightness as a full frame camera’s viewfinder on a tiny half kilo package.

        • I agree with Steve here that many inexperienced users are going to not understand what is happening in OVF close focus due to parallax and become frustrated or lose confidence in the camera, and we all know how critical confidence in your gear is.

          IMO, this is a communication/education issue. The camera WILL focus at close distances with absolute accuracy if you use the EVF or LCD – just like the Leica X1 or any other compact – Pen, Lumix or NEX. The expectation is that the OVF will provide that same level of close focus accuracy and it does not.

          This will be a consideration for some and for a short while it nagged at me as well. But the more I used the camera, the faster this concern fell away and my confidence was regained. Some will have the same experience, others will not. Regardless, it is a fair point of contention and I do not know if Fuji will be able to do anything to improve the close focus accuracy in OVF mode, given it is not a true rangefinder design.

          My suggestion is to shoot the hell out of the camera and you will quickly become comfortable in all modes of focus and view.

      • Wow, as someone who owns the X100 and loves it BUT also knows its limitations, you are dead wrong about the OVF close focusing errors being the user’s fault.

        Anytime I put the AF marker on a subject and it focuses 5 feet in back, it is not my error. In the camera’s defense it isn’t technically an error in the system either, but it IS a limitation of the OVF. The OVF does not provide focus parallax correction (it does have framing correction) so the closer the subject gets, the higher the chance you have of missing focus that you would not miss if you were in EVF or LCD mode.

        And that’s the point right there. If EVF and LCD focus are accurate, the user expects the OVF to provide the same exact accuracy, but given the OVF design, that is not going to happen currently.

        Can the user greatly minimize or eliminate the percentage of OOF shots taken with the OVF by understanding where to place the AF marker as the subject gets closer and by paying attention to the scale distance? Yes, but the fact remains, it is not user error, it is a limitation of the OVF implementation.

        • No, I am spot on. Read what I wrote as a reply under 1. of this thread. It is exactly what you are saying here re focus parallax versus frame lines parallax.

          • uh, actually you are not “spot on”. I was replying to your comment here. Let me quote you: “Alleged AF problems with OVF are user errors and not system faults.”

            Yet you go on to confirm my point that there is in fact an issue when using the OVF – AF parallax. Not really an error in design but more like, Fuji implemented the OVF as best they could without using a true rangefinder solution.

            We all get it. The AF mechanism itself is the same, whether you use OVF, EVF or LCD but the implementation is naturally flawed for close focus with the OVF, not the user.

            So in your world, it is a “user error” if the user does not know how to compensate for this, undocumented by Fuji, AF parallax?

            I’m with you in that it isn’t a big deal and I’ve come to figure out just where to place the focus marker to nail AF at close ranges. I was just being fair to take issue with your comment that it was user error.

            Why not just say this is an issue that people need to be aware of and learn how to work around instead of blaming the shooter?

  27. Honestly, I would sell the X100 as soon as possible. Its pre-owned price will drop RAPIDLY, as it is a camera full of quirks – which get annoying in the longer run. If Fuji dare to bring an X200 to the market, the X100 will be swamped.
    Apart from those market facts, it is a nice looking, stylish camera. But that’s not enough to keep it.
    A good camera is the one to which you feel a bond.

    • Who says we don’t feel a bond? Sounds like Steve does. I know I do. None of the “quirks” new owners have mentioned bother me a month in. It’s just my always with me camera that delivers the same results as my 5D+35L did, in a smaller easier to use package with an optical viewfinder just as big and bright.

    • Do you own the camera? Or are you just regurgitating what you hear from the internet? Because what you are saying is pure nonsense.

    • JR’s right, it’s a rotten camera.

      Despite that, I’ll offer you $500 cash for your pre-owned one.

      Move quickly, I expect to be swamped with offers.

    • It is not an investment! You are not buying Fuji stocks. Go take some pictures with your camera, and enjoy photography.

      (I have a feeling you don’t own this camera)

  28. Steve

    While I don’t have the x100, I read that for macro shooting you need to select macro either in the menu or pressing one of the buttons on the back.
    According to the specs, Fuji X100 can shoot macro approx. 10cm when macro mode enabled.

  29. Mountain won’t turn, but the road turn. When the road don’t turn, you turn! (translate from chinese phrases)

    Steve, I love the way you thought and action. A lot people out there just no brainer… complaint, complaint and complaint…. but how well they can built one? Or even a simple pinhole camera? They can’t!!!

  30. Steve, good assessment of some of the niggles that keep coming up. However, I would strongly recommend you get your X100 checked out as most people are using the OVF very successfully. Unless you are VERY close to subject and get parallax challenges, the AF through the OVF is very sharp. In fact I’ll go as far as saying the only time I have had subjects slightly out of focus is if I have taken a shot before getting focus lock. I notice you are using, silent mode, are you sure you are getting focus lock?

  31. Thanks, Steve. Glad to hear a “These are the quirks, this is how I handle them” review. Rather than “this camera isn’t perfect, I don’t want it.”

    I haven’t heard any comments about how good the lens is! I personally find it up there with Zeiss and Leica.

  32. @Paris a write test has been done. The Fuji very clearly benefits from thefaster card. It’s twice as fast in cam as a class 10

  33. Two things that I’ve read on the internet, so they must be true:

    1. One user solved the too-short-button problem by gluing an extension on it, about the size and shape of a pencil eraser.

    2. The high speed UHS memory card does make a difference. Apparently, only 2 or 3 currently available cameras can take advantage of the new features of these cards.

    In addition, smaller cards may be faster than larger ones. Maybe the camera reads the card on start-up, to see what’s out there? (pure speculation on my part.)

    So, maybe 2 eight Gig cards would be better than one 16 Gig?

  34. Seems like a great camera. Surprisingly, I still prefer my X1 (which the post office found and Leica fixed by the way). I was ready to upgrade too. I love the simplicity that goes beyond the looks on the X1. If I had to choose between the two today, at 1k more expensive on the X1 with a viewfinder, I may go with the X100. But having the X1 I prefer it to the X100- especially street shooting on manual zone focus.

    • Having used both, I agree. The X1 is much simpler and more logical in its use and the manual focus is infinitely better. The simplicity is a Leica thing, and does involve going without things like video, but it allows one to not have to fuss with the camera and just take pictures without digging around. Same with the Ms. I agree that the external viewfinder adds a lot to the experience (and the cost). With Firmware 2.0, the AF is almost as fast as the X100 (and much more accurate). I also appreciate the smaller size and the lightness. Both are excellent cameras with wonderful image quality. A lot of it comes down to personal shooting style and usability preferences.

      • Let’s be clear – it isn’t fair to pit the AF focus accuracy of the X1 to the X100 if you are comparing the X100’s OVF to the LCD on the X1. But hey, the X100 has an LCD too, and an EVF! So if you really want to compare apples to apples, the AF (in LCD mode) is faster and just as accurate on the X100. It is also just as simple to use in LCD mode.

        The X100 gains complexity only when you start switching between its three viewing modes, but many would consider this added flexibility as a big positive, especially since it comes at an $800 discount over the X1.

        Since I don’t usually shoot street, I wouldn’t use MF on either of these cameras but until the X100 gets a firmware update to address it, the X1 trumps there. But if Bradley is interested in using zone focus only, then the X100 is perfectly capable in that regard.

  35. how do you know they are shipping every few days?

    “Amazon is the only one I know who is taking pre-orders and shipping every few days.”

  36. I love my Fuji and I can definitely live with it’s shortcomings. My only gripe is OOC JPEGs, my EPL1 + 20 1.7 still smokes my X100 at low ISOs. If I could get the Olympus jpeg engine and 20 1.7 permanently mounted on this camera I would be in heaven !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Generally the technical image quality from the X100 is way superior to the PEN output in my opinion. Olympus PEN has a good deal of noise in high contrast scenes already at ISO 200.

  37. I have also found that I can get a tight head shot by using EVF and then using MF with AFL to quickly focus. Very functional.

    And I never max out the shutter speed in bright sunlight at f2 when using the ND filter.

    Wish you could turn down the flash power more, though.

  38. Good thoughts Steve. In playing I’ve found most of this as well.

    That said I disagree about ovf focus reliability, providing the light is decent. I think the issue is, I can’t make it any smaller and parallax creates issues (someone pointed that out in a thread when discussing low light focusing). I haven’t had any inaccuracies at say, party distances in moderate to good light. But I agree, the evf is better for some things.

    I don’t think I’d leave it in evf all the time though.

    One request, can you tell us what you think of the quality of the evf vs something like the gh2 or oly addon? I’m really curious to see how you think it stacks up. I consider the evf to be a mediocre experience in the x100, a little too cctv… but my only point of reference is the gf1 evf which is flat out awful imo. How much better is the gh2/pen addon?


    • All EVF’s are a bit CCTV 🙂 The best I have seen is the Olympus EVF, but they all will have the same feel to them as you are looking at at tiny video screen really.

      I prefer the EVF as the framing is more accurate and you can focus at all ranges, far and close. The OVF is nice and clear but my pref is the EVF after shooting both.

      • Yes, they are a bit CCTV, I have a Lumix G1, and it’s pretty good, better than I expected, but no match for just looking through a bit of glass.

    • I have used the EVF on the Sony A55, the Oly EVF (with my EP2), G1, GH2 and now the X100.

      In my opinion, in terms of clarity and less tearing and ghosting, the Oly is the best followed by the A55, GH2, G1 and X100. I actually like the Oly, GH2 and A55 EVF’s better than the OVF’s of all other cameras I’ve ever used. Nice and big, and also good exposure and WB preview. Well, the GH2’s is a little less reliable on the exposure and WB preview.

  39. I wanted to like this camera for a dozen reasons. Wanting did not help. While the optical system is excellent (lens, sensor and even the base processing) the camera’s operation is stupidly complex to the point of disorientation. The retro look is OK but the electronics and operational controls seem either not to be given enough thought or given way too much thought.

    I have owned a number of Fuji cameras (film and digital) and I expected more from Fuji. This camera felt like it was the first camera Fuji had made. Like Canon or Nikon you expect a certain level of performance from established camera compaiers, I do not think the X-100 delivers.

    Instead of a fine, compact camera, the X-100 has this odd feel of old tech mixed with some interesting new features yet the blend is not complete at all. Firmware updates will help for the moment but nothing short of the X-200 will solve the design flaws of the X-100.

  40. In regards to #6, that’s true in aperture priority, but not in manual exposure mode (perhaps not in shutter priority, I haven’t even tried). I shoot mostly in full manual exposure mode and f2-f2.8, and it gives accurate exposures all the way to 1/4000, even if the number shows in the VF red.

    Also, perhaps the biggest complaints I’ve seen, and that you didn’t mention here, is the desire for an additional programmable button (the RAW button?) and for Auto-ISO not to be buried 3 pages deep in the Setup menu. Hopefully those will both be fixed with firmware, or at least the auto ISO.

  41. Hi Steve!

    Great add-on to your review and it really gives a better, more “neutral” look at the X100 which got so much (over)hyped in the last months – by previewers as by first users.

    Personally the one thing that “hurts” reading your 7 points is the one about the hybrid viewfinder – which has been one of the most advertised features of this camera.

    Thx for your efforts…

  42. Great post Steve. I’ve been loving the X100 ever since that second batch hit Amazon while we were emailing the night of your review. The X100 quirks remind me when I first picked up the E-P1 when it first came out. Slow focus too, but much more severe problems than the X100 has now. The fact that Fuji has gotten so much right the first time out is impressive.

    The X100 gives me as good or better color and much richer files than the EP series. I’m still hoping Olympus delivers a good high-end m4/3 camera eventually, but I have a killer camera now that will get plenty of use.

  43. Thanks a lot for a nice review of the “quirks”. It turns out that these quirks are more or less minor stuff. It seems to be a really great camera for AF usage with an excellent image quality and a very resonable price. I’m sure I’m gonna get one when they start arriving in larger quantities.

  44. I have one day with my new X100 under my belt so far, and I really like it so far. For me, it was worth waiting for. The viewfinder isn’t a perfect implementation, but it gives a lot of great shooting options and, at least for me, is smoothing the transition to rangefinder use.

    If Olympus had built the E-P1 with a hybrid viewfinder like this it would have been a huge leap forward for them. I think that – an interchangeable lens E-P1 with a hybrid rangefinder/EVF – would have been my absolute ideal camera. Until that day comes, I’m going to keep using the Fuji. Also, the images are beautiful…now I just need Aperture to support the RAW files and I’ll be set.

  45. just heard from Amazon UK that mine has been dispatched for delivery tomorrow…has been ordered since 7th March. Delighted!

  46. Regarding the ‘OK’ or ‘Menu’ button, a half press of the shutter button performs the same function and once you have the hang of it, much easier than the ‘OK’ button to select changes.

  47. Great post!

    How do you adjust ISO quickly if you have the ND filter set to the function button? Hopefully Fuji will open up the RAW button to be a second function button.

  48. About Complaint #6
    I read somewhere (X100 forum I think) that if you are in manual, you can shoot 1/4000 at f2.
    I get my camera tomorrow, so I have not been able to test this yet.

    Thank you for another good read, I love this place.

  49. Always finding the positive, even within the negative. Thats what I appreciate about you Steve. Lets see some more x100 photos and keep up the good work!

  50. Another excellent post Steve. One thing you may want to correct though…with reference to the memory card size, I assume you mean GB not MB.

  51. Thanks for the informative solutions. This looks like a cool camera.

    My main concern is with the Hybrid VF. If, as you mentioned, you’re questioning why Fuji even included the Hybrid VF, I have to start questioning the appeal of the camera at all to me. The Hybrid VF was/is the standout feature (again, for me.) Without it, we’re looking at just another mirrorless with a nice prime, albeit the build and look is great. If the optical VF isn’t one that you’re comfortable using all of the time, my interest in this camera has dropped dramatically 🙁

    • Yes but what mirrorless cams even have a built in VF besides the GH1 and GH2? Those are DSLR like, more bulky, and the quality is not up to par with the X100. The X100 has a built in VF which is what I originally wanted to see in the Leica X1 and it keeps us from having to add a huge external to the camera. The OVF works, just not up at close distances. Thx for your thoughts.

      • Many of us are using this “nexviewer” on the NEX cameras with great success. It works incredibly well, has a Hasselblad sized view of the whole screen, adds little bulk when folded down, and only costs $40. Plus, the camera is still smaller than the X100 with this thing attached and folded up, and you can tilt it up and down. I’m not even interested in an EVF, anymore, unless someone comes out with a significantly improved one from what is currently out there:

        If I have to go EVF/LCD, I’ll stick with the much smaller NEX cameras. The OVF is/was the main appeal of the X100, to me. I may wait until an improved version is released.

        • Hey DF,

          No offense but it seems like everything you post is how no other camera reviewed stacks up to your custom NEX. I saw your viewfinder in another post you put up previously; very impressive actually. That said its a completely different camera and setup then the camera featured in this post. To dismiss a camera you have not held seems a bit premature. Why not try it for yourself? Maybe you will find its not that bad after all.

          • No offense taken. There are tons of things about the NEX that I don’t like, and other systems certainly have various advantages over it. Since the NEX is the only mirrorless camera that I own, I obviously am going to look at comparisons and be pragmatic about it.

            All that I’m saying is that the OVF is/was the most appealing feature to me of the X100, outside of the looks/build, but I’m not sure I can just buy it based on looks alone…I think. 🙂 Heck, I was defending this camera months back, when so many shooters were criticizing the single lens. I’m just a little bummed that I’ve seen so many issues from various users in regards to the OVF and manual focusing, and, while the EVF is nice, it isn’t enough to draw me to the camera. I’ll certainly try out an X100 whenever they’re in my local stores, because I really want to like it, but, at this point, it’ll have to be pretty special to lure me away from the NEX-5 + ZM C-Biogon 35/2.8.

            I really don’t have an intense brand loyalty. If Nikon or Pentax or whoever made a much better mirrorless camera, I’d jump in a second.

          • I agree the viewfinder is one thing definitely sets it apart, but I think (I don’t own one, I’m actually an x1 guy) its large sensor and picture quality in a small package that makes it really special. Is it that much better then a nex or other m4/3 with good glass? Thats debatable I’m sure. Thanks for the reply, I appreciate your input in these comments as you have a lot of knowledge to share.

          • Yeah, John, that’s kind of my point. I don’t think its picture quality is any better than your X1 or my NEX-5 with a C-Biogon 35 attached. Surely, each has it’s positives and negatives, but they are all in the same ballpark IQ-wise, and, size wise, I think our cameras still have the advantage. That’s why the hybrid OVF on the X100 was the differentiator, to me…outside of it looking cool 🙂

        • As a NEX and X100 shooter, I find they compliment nicely. And at $300 for a NEX 3 body, you can practically have one for the price of the X100 case and shade (almost). I use the NEX when I want a specific look from my “good glass” and have time to compose and focus and the X100 gets the call as an everyday shooter.

          Once the Zeiss 24 1.7 comes out and the peaking firmware update, I’m going to have to think hard about keeping both.

          Not much to complain about really. We have so many great options out there.

      • The AF is the AF is the AF. It is not accurate with one VF and inaccurate with the other. The way you describe it it reads as if the AF was technically flawed when the OVF is used. With OVF frameline parallax error and focusing box parallax error can be observed. When half pressing the shutter, the framlines move to the right and lower to adjust for frameline parallax, but the focusing box stays centered in the VF window. Aiming slightly to the left and higher when composing compensates for af parallax and mostly eliminates AF misses on close ups.

          • Complaint: The AF is not accurate most of the time. Steve’s answer: “This CAN be correct, if you are using the Optical View Finder.”
            I’m saying the AF is technically always the same and accurate, and the actual AF focusing point at the same spot, namely in the center of lens/sensor whether OVF or EVF are being used. The issue with the OVF is that the finder shows frame lines and AF box slightly higher and to the left because of parallax error. It’s a user challenge and not a system fault as Steve’s text suggests. The same problem exists with all OVFs of AF cameras. So if X1, mft. Ricoh GXR, SIgma DP are used with OVFs the same challenge has to be dealt with with the difference and disadvantage that their OVFs do not show an AF box/hairline.

        • Yay!!!! Tech geeks who waste time worrying about stuff that no real photographer would! Dude stop wasting time in your mommy’s basement and get out and take pictures

          • That’s exactly what I did for the last 5 weeks with the X100. And that’s why I’m saying the AF with OVF is just fine, and not flawed as Steve’s phrasing suggests. It’s upon the user to deal with parallax error.

          • That’s not in my experience. I Have the X100T and I was wondering why I have the !AF (cannot focus) message when I was zooming in close on my optical view finder (OVF), but when I tried to take the same shot using the LCD screen or the electronic view finder (EVF), the autofocus (AF) worked right away. This is what actually brought me to this page, the fact that AF is not usable at close range through the OVF. Works well from about a meter away from target or so.

        • Retow is 100% correct.

          In layman’s terms though, the X100’s OVF is not a “through the lens” view of the image like in all non-rangefinder cameras. Looking at the X100 from the behind, the OVF is slightly higher and to the left of the lens. So the closer you get towards the target subject, the captured image will not be what was centered in the OVF. Rather, the captured image will actually move further and further to the lower right hand side of the OVF.

          With the EVF, the image seen on it is a through the lens image. So everything stays centered.

    • I agree with you DF, the optical finder was the main attraction for me over Micro Four thirds cameras. I loved everything about the EP1 except for framing photos, since I don’t like to use an LCD. The optical viewfinder attachment left room for focusing error. The EVF attachment on EP2 was clunky and suboptimal, plus you have the slight gap in what you see and what picture actually gets taken.

      As soon as Steve said that the optical viewfinder was not good for focusing, I felt my interest in trying the camera drop. That would explain the complaints of some that many of their pictures are out of focus.

      I applaud Fuji for trying something so different. I’m not their target market since I shoot with M cameras, but my curiousity was piqued.

      • I think what Steve was trying to Say is that the OVF doesn’t work well with the way he shoots. I tried out a X100 for a few hours recently and found the OVF perefect and reliable for the way I shoot. Paralax is always going to be an issue with this type of layout (same would Happen with a M9), it’s just folks nowadays rely far too much on AF IMHO

        • What I said was it is not accurate for focusing close. This is 100% fact. As Retow said above ” It’s upon the user to deal with parallax error.” – Problem is, the majority of users will have no idea what that even means. So the ones who have been complaining about it, (missed AF with OVF) that was my explanation to them, and using the EVF will yield better results in close up situations. Simple!

          • So we basically agree on what you are saying Steve. I notice you like shooting up close, why you find the EVF more useful IMHO. Nothing wrong with that man

    • I used the OVF almost exclusively at a party this past weekend. Dim light. Used the flash. Shot wide open. And I didn’t have too much trouble with the focus. Steve is right about not being able to focus in close. When my friends wanted to use the camera, I just set it on EVF and macro mode since they always seem to get too close to the subjects. But once you get the hang of it, I had no problems with the OVF.

      I think it just depends on how and what you shoot. Personally I shoot mostly in OVF mode and only when I get close do I switch. I like the layout of the OVF and how bright it is. I just like the fact that all it takes is a flip of the switch to go from one to the other. Best of both worlds.

      Oh, and I like the fact that there’s really no “auto” mode. So random people can’t just start using your camera like a digicam 🙂 This one is mine. MINE!!! hahahahaha.

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