My first shots and impressions of the Fujifilm FinePix X100 by Lee Craker

My first shots and impressions of the Fujifilm FinePix X100.

By Lee Craker – His website is HERE, his BLOG is HERE and his Flickr is HERE

Yes, the X100 is still a valid choice in a compact mirrorless camera that will not break the bank. Thanks to Lee for writing about his experience with the Fuji X100.

A few months ago I started a quest looking for yet another point and shoot camera (It seems in the last 10 years I have owned so many). I travel quite a bit and in the last few years have found my professional Nikon DSLR’s have become a burden to carry all day. In fact the weight of a bag or backpack with 2 bodies 4 lenses and other paraphernalia becomes a detriment to making the kind of images I enjoy, candid, fast-moving, people and street shots. A couple of years ago to help solve this problem I purchased a Leica M8, and then the M9. The Leica M’s solved the problem of weight, and produced amazing image quality (IQ). I found however, that with my age, eyesight, and my inability to manually focus quick enough I was missing many shots. So I decided to compliment the M’s with a small auto focus camera. I purchased a Leica X1. The large sensor and IQ appealed to me. Alas, I only carried the X1 for serious photography for a few weeks. A trip to Diyala Iraq on assignment with the X1 and my pro Nikon proved to me that the X1 could not be used for anything other than static shots. The slow focus did not cut the mustard. So on the shelf it has sat for 2 years, with only a few shots put through the camera.

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With an upcoming trip scheduled in March I thought it was once again time to look for a small autofocus camera to compliment my Leica M9. The research has been long, but fun. Since I live in a remote part of rural Thailand testing cameras in person is impossible, so I have read every review available on the 3 cameras I narrowed my search down to, The Fujifilm FinePix X100, the Olympus OM-D E-M5, and the Leica X2. The OM, although reportedly has fast focus, which is a necessity for me, I ruled out because of it’s DSLR like handling, and removable lenses. While interchangeable lenses are a must for my pro cameras, for a point and shoot I’d rather be assured I will never have to clean a sensor. The Leica X2 was in the running up until the end. I am familiar with the IQ and handling, so if the focus problems were fixed, it would be a good little camera. However the price factor of the X2 was just too much. After Thailand VAT I was looking at close to $3000.00 for the the Camera and the EVF. So this left the Fujifilm FinePix X100. In all honesty I would have probably opted for the X100s, but unfortunately that will not be available until after my trip in March. So I want on eBay and found a black X100 like new for a reasonable price and ordered it. I had read about of all the problems, and also read about the work arounds and great IQ, so I crossed my fingers and waited for delivery.

I tracked the order on line so I knew the camera would be delivered yesterday. My stomach was in knots. Thailand is a strange place to order on line. The customs duties and VAT are applied without any rhyme or reason. I have purchased clothing on line from one place and have been charged 50% duties and ordered the same amount from another manufacturer and was charged nothing. I had made up my mind that if it was going to cost me three or four hundred dollars in customs fees and duties to receive this camera then it was going back, I would refuse delivery. I got the notice from the post office around noon that the fees for receiving the camera would be $100.08 USD. I breathed a sigh of relief and went to pick up the camera.

I picked up the X100 and dropped my wife at a local market to do some shopping while I unboxed the camera. I found the battery was charged and put an SD card in the camera. It took a couple of minutes to figure out how to take a photo, and then I headed to the market to catch up with my wife.

Less than 5 min. after unpacking the box I made my first X100 photos. The camera was at default settings, and has the latest firmware upgrade. I saw a woman in the market raised the camera focused recomposed and fired. The focus was fast and sure. What a relief after all I had read. Would my Nikon D3s or D800 focused faster? Well sure, but I think that is a strange comparison. This camera is a point and shoot, and it focuses as fast or faster than any point and shoot I have ever owned and many times faster than the Leica X1 it is replacing. When I got home I opened the files the way I process any image, with Photoshop and ACR. For a B&W I use Silver Efex Pro 2. The image files are impressive, even in jpeg. I’m used to looking at files all day long and I can tell you the IQ of the X100 is not hype, it is real.

Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

This morning, after playing with the camera settings for an hour of so last night, I went out to shoot my daughter going to school. I thought for sure I had missed this shot. I saw the wide eyes and expression on my daughters face raised the camera and fired, just as I would have done on my pro Nikon’s. I really thought the camera would not have had time for focus, but no problem. This image was from RAW converted with ACR.

Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

The last test I did this AM was to test auto focus continuous mode. Every review I have read says it does not work. I set the camera to AF-C and focused on a motorbike coming towards me. I waited with the shutter pressed half way and fired with a panning motion. This is not a conclusive test, and sure the camera focus drive makes all kinds of noise while constantly trying to acquire focus, but the proof is in the pudding as they say. This image is in focus just as I had intended. Will I use this allot? No way, this is not a sports camera, but I proved to myself that if I want to use it creatively I sure can. This image was again from RAW converted with ACR. The whites in the shirt are blown out somewhat, and I found that the recovery was not as good as if this had been shot with my pro Nikon’s. But I think I can live with that, or I think I can modify some contrast settings, I’ll play with that in the future.

Nakhon Nayok, Thailand

Overall I’m very impressed with my first 20 shots with this little camera. It will find a home in my small camera bag along side the M9 and 3 Leica lenses.

Thank you,


Lee Craker


  1. I’ve had my x100 for about half a year and so far, I’ve been enjoying taking shots with it. There’s a steep learning curve though but once you’re past that, the camera is always in my hand.

  2. For continuous mode try this: press the shutter depress button in one continuous motion at the instant of capture. Don’t half press. It works very well this way.

  3. I have had my X100 over a year, taken around 10,000 shots and only issue I have had was the electronic blind stuck, I could still shoot but not with the EV, Fuji fixed it free of charge. I wont sell this camera unlike some of my previous P&S I love it

  4. Nice little review.

    A few things I noticed:

    – You must really like your M’s if you feel the urge to compliment them. 🙂
    – Regarding the OM-D: considering that the ability to change lenses does not imply a necessity to do so, why did that deter you from opting for this camera? Also, I wondered what you referred to as, and dislike about “DSLR like handling”.
    – why do you consider the X100 to be a point and shoot despite a full range of manual features?

    Not trying to second guess your decisions, just curious.

    • c0ldc0ne, thanks for the questions.

      — Yes I like the M9, but it is limited to fixed subjects. Some people can shoot moving subjects by using a small aperture, but I like wide open when possible.

      — “ability to change lenses does not imply a necessity to do so…” True but I’m referring to dust. Any removable lens has a weak point because the lens comes off, dust can and does get in through the mount point. Again not a deal breaker, but is is nice not to have to worry about dust. I’m going to do some documentary work next week and am having the D3s the D800 and the Leica sensors cleaned. so I can shoot at smaller apertures with dust bunnies.

      — I know this will make some angry at me but I’m aways truthful and remember it is just one man’s opinion. The x100 is a fun little camera, but next week I will be in the jungle in extreme conditions, heat, rain and whatever comes. The shoot is important to me as I will be documenting the effort to save the Asian elephant. In the field I will carry the Nikon D3s, 3 lenses, 5 extra batteries and 300 gig worth of cards as my main camera. I will try to do some Leica work when in base camp. And will use the D800 for video interviews. The x100 if used at all will be for fun. I just have to go with what I know to be my best and most rugged camera for this job, and after carrying it for 3 years in Iraq, the D3s is my choice.

      — By DSLR like, I meant rangefinder – I prefer that in a smaller camera, the X1 that the X100 replaced had no viewfinder at all. I don’t like holding a camera at arms length to use it. But nor a big deal, the OM-D was ruled out early, but not because of the viewfinder because of sensor size.

  5. Great photos Lee. The image quality of the Fuji X100 is excellent indeed. I hope the X100S will be even better with super high resolution and good colors and contrast. I do find the fixed lens a little limiting though. That’s why this camera was not for me. Only one focal length and it’s a mildly wide angle too. I prefer a classic 50mm field of view. It’s more versatile I think. My choice would have been an Olympus like the the E-PM2 or if money, size and weight are not important, the EM-5.

  6. Great little review, Lee. I had one of these too, and liked it very much, bur sold it when the OM-D came out. However… I have pre-orderd the X100s—my main reason is not the improvements (the x100 images are perfectly fine as is, but to have both my cameras uses the same sensor (the X-Trans). My other camera is the X-E1. Fuji is punching above its weight, for me, and I have sold all my pro. Sony and Nikon FF gear. What a relief. And all the accessories work on the smaller cameras; yesterday I was shooting coastal landscapes with the X-E1, plus the CV 12/5.6 and Cokin grad filter—all handheld, and incredibly portable.

    Good luck with the X100!

  7. I’m really thinking about buying a second hand X100 when the X100s comes out. If it’s like 300-400 euros. Currently I can find a second hand x100 for 600 euros.

  8. Great short review. I’ve been eying up the X100 for a while. When the X100s was announced I wondered whether to wait but it’s twice the price of the ‘old’ (wow, all of 2 years…) X100 so I’m thinking of saving the money and going for the original. It sounds a lot like the firmware updates have dealt with some of the early teething problems and that seems to be your experience as well.

    • True … the updates were the reason I bought one. Way to much negative press on the original kudos to Fuji for updating the firmware.

  9. Hi lee. The x100 is a very capable camera and a lot of fun to use.

    By the way great shots on your blog, I really like the colour and feel of them.

  10. I think the X100s will be a great upgrade too but would be nervous about long term support and availability of RAW processing with the XTRANS processor.

    • I would not worry about that. Adobe (and others) have been amazing in keeping up with new cameras. You may have to wait a few weeks if you get one of the first ones, but Adobe will release a new camera raw and all will be fine, if you use Adobe, if not I’m sure the others will follow suite. I have not had an issue with a new camera and raw files for 6 or 7 years, again hat’s off to those guys they are amazing to keep up with all the new stuff.

  11. I totally agree! I love my X100 and I’m really thinking of getting the X100s if it really lives up to the hype. Would love to have a small compact/high quality camera with me for shooting receptions at weddings.

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