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Fujifilm X100s First Thoughts

Discussion in 'Other Systems' started by Yohan, Mar 20, 2013.

  1. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    I've played around with the Fuji X100s for just a day now. Here are some very first thoughts on the camera for those who are interested. I'll draw some comparisons with my kit which is a NEX 7 and CZ 24mm. It's not meant to be a fair or technical comparison. Rather, it's simply a report on user experience.

    AF in low light/indoors
    This is where I was surprised and not in a good way. After reading many X100 vs X100s comparisons and the claims that Fuji has been making in regards to the AF performance, I expected the X100s to be much better. X100s is slower and hunts more often than the NEX 7 + CZ24 here.

    EVF
    I don't know the X million dots specs.. I know that both look good. X100s has a bit of a lag compared to NEX 7.

    OVF
    X100s has a nice looking OVF. But it's easier to nail focus and exposure with the EVF. Once I focus through the OVF, it seems to "shift" the frame, usually to the lower right corner. Not sure why, I'll have to research some more.

    Handling/external controls
    X100s' main appeal was dedicated dials. They do not disappoint. Aperture clicks from 2 to 2.8 to 4 (full stops?). You set to 2.2, 2.5 etc with a dial in the back. Shutter speed and exposure dials are also nice to have. Tri-Navi, although not as customizable as I want, offers these controls at your fingertips too. I found the NEX 7 more comfortable to hold.

    Peaking/MF Assist
    X100s has peaking. It is done with white highlights but feels much different than the NEX. It's not as obvious even when set on high. Digital split screen is a cool idea. Don't see myself using it much. I really missed the "DMF" mode on the NEX. I wish the X100s has something like that. Peaking on while it's set to AF. Enlarge on a subject if you turn the focus ring.

    Aesthetics
    X100s is a nice looking camera. Not much to add here.

    Image Quality
    I'm not a pixel peeper and I don't do any technical comparisons. It's not how I look at photos AND I don't possess the technical knowledge. But I will say this... if you want sharpness, CZ 24mm runs circles around the X100s. I know the NEX 7 sensor is capable of capturing more.. but like I said, it's just user experience. I'm not going to account for the cost difference, sensor, etc. I'd say you need to stop down the X100s to F4 until it matches the NEX 7 + 24mm in center sharpness.

    This is where I need to spend more time with the camera. That "X-trans look" that people talk about and its exceptional image quality... I'm simply not grasping it quite yet. Also, I'm quite possibly spoiled with the amount of detail NEX 7 + CZ 24mm capture. 16MP suddenly feels so small. I'll post some RAW samples later if anybody wants to play with them.

    Update on IQ: X100s seems to perform better in medium distance to infinity than with closer subject. "Seems" being the key word..

    I'm hoping to update this post with more thoughts and photos later. Vancouver rain isn't corresponding at the moment.

    03.20.2013


    First Update

    Built-in Flash
    X100s exposes quite well with the built flash used as fill flash. You can't tilt it back for the bounce flash effect like the NEX 7. When used directly on a subject, X100s seems to adjust flash output quite well without the user having to adjust flash compensation. NEX 7 has unless I adjust flash compensation or bounce flash, I get pretty harsh results.

    Auto-ISO
    This is where I wish NEX 7 is more flexible. X100s gives you the option of choosing max ISO (to 6400), min shutter speed. You also have three custom menus you can easily switch between.

    Battery Life
    Bad. I ran out of juice just playing around with the camera today and taking it out on lunch. I'll amend this section if I begin to see a different pattern. An extra battery is a must. I'm thinking two extra batteries.

    Silent Mode
    Disables navigational and shutter sounds. Actually allows for a virtually silent operation.

    This is a camera that I want to like. It actually hasn't been a love at first sight.

    Here are some glitches/annoyances/surprises.

    It seems like the max shutter speed at F2 is 1/1000. I kept overexposing outside today until I figured this out. I had to use the built in ND filter to get a somewhat correctly exposed photo.

    AF is nowhere near what Fuji claim to be. It's fast in good light. But NEX 7 actually does much better indoors.

    Woeful Battery life.

    EVF lag. Funky OVF "reframe."

    03.20.2013


    Second Update

    Few RAW files here at different apertures: https://dl.dropbox.com/u/51923200/X100sRAW.zip

    Photos from the market are focused on the green sign.
     
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  2. Rich

    Rich TalkEmount Veteran

    253
    Nov 20, 2012
    Salisbury UK
    Richard
    Interesting little report Yohan, thanks.

    I am not surprised by your findings at all. I have the original X100, and it is a very capable little camera, I like it very much.

    I am not the slightest bit tempted by the X100S, simply because it has the X Trans sensor, which, in my opinion is set to become Fuji's albatross. The hype that has surrounded the X Trans cameras is just unbelievable.

    I am one of many seriously unhappy X Pro 1 owners. Perhaps I should thank Fuji for producing such an appalling camera, as it was the X Pro1 that drove me to use Sony NEX's!

    The NEX is streets ahead of Fuji with the right lenses mounted.

    I look forward to your next instalment on the x100S.
     
  3. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Interesting report! Looking forward to more impressions
     
  4. freddytto

    freddytto TalkEmount All-Pro

    Dec 2, 2011
    Puebla, Mexico
    thanaks Yohan....good review, I'm still interested in the fuji (ex1/ x100)
     
  5. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    I'm willing to explore this. X Trans is definitely garnering some praise. I've even read "condescending" comments regarding NEX cameras in the Fuji forum. I simply don't find this to be true. NEX with a capable lens makes a formidable compact kit.

    I thought of getting the X100 instead. But the improvements in AF and MF assist really steered me toward the X100s. MF assist is still not up to par with NEX and AF is actually nothing groundbreaking. I think a X100 would be a good move.
     
  6. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Thanks for sharing your impressions! :)

    In many ways I am intrigued and tempted by Fuji's X offerings but user reports like yours keep steering me well away. (And that's just fine because I really love my NEX-7.)
     
  7. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Jeff, I don't mean to bash the camera in any way. I just thought it would be a more natural love affair. :) It's becoming clear to me that Fuji didn't intend this camera to be a simple point and shoot. It'll take some time for me.
     
  8. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    That's when the OVF compensates with the lens parallax error.
     
  9. Jefenator

    Jefenator TalkEmount Top Veteran

    876
    Nov 23, 2012
    Oregon, USA
    Jeff
    Not to worry - I didn't take your impression as bashing. Like I said, I am still very much intrigued with - sometimes even envious of - the X system. But it does seem like the very cool "retro" look belies an interface that is actually very tech-intensive and found by many to be flawed and awkward. (I must say I am quite thoroughly hooked on the sense of control I usually feel with the NEX-7...)

    The X100 has caught my gaze for being about the same price as just the SEL24 lens in a nice compact standalone package. And the OVF and shutter dial are almost too cool to resist! ;)
     
  10. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    good to know. Is that something that all X cameras with OVF experience?
     
  11. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    That's pretty much the same with all cameras that doesn't focus ttl, e.g. Leica rangefinders, Epson RD-1, Contax G2, Fuji X, etc.. because the OVF is only used for framing the shot while focusing is done separately through the lens.

    You will find that this will not occur if you shoot the X100(s) using the EVF as the camera frames and focuses ttl.
     
  12. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Yeah, I've been shooting mostly with EVF for framing and exposure. Thanks for the info.
     
  13. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    30
    Feb 9, 2013
    Try C-AF in low light - all but eliminates hunting. There's a menu item to show both normal and parallax corrected AF boxes in OVF - it's very helpful in learning how the whole OVF / parallax thing works. To me, the OVF is one of the best things about these cameras, but there's definitely a learning curve - you have to put in some time with it.

    -Ray
     
  14. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Corrected AF frame is turned on. :) Still find it a bit gimmicky. It has the focus box in the center of OVF, "corrected" focus box lower and to the right.. but sometimes the green focus confirmation box will still show up in between those two. But yes, as you say, more time required.
     
  15. Ray Sachs

    Ray Sachs TalkEmount Regular

    30
    Feb 9, 2013
    It's not a gimmick, it's an educational tool. There is one actual focus box, but it will show up at a different location within the OVF depending on how far away your subject is. The two initial boxes define the range of where it could be depending on whether your subject is near or far. Once you half press to AF, the camera calculates the distance of the subject and then shows you the third green box, which is the actual box. The upper left box is where the OVF would naturally think the focus point is - remember that the OVF is a couple of inches above and to the left of the center of the lens and so the point it sees as the focus point is also a couple of inches above and to the left of the actual point the lens is focussing on. When you focus on a distant object, that couple of inches is meaningless and the focus point for the lens is indistinguishable from the focus point perceived by the OVF. So when you focus on something in the distance, the actual focus point that is drawn is more or less identical to that upper left box. Because at that distance, the lens and the OVF perceive the same center focus point.

    As your focus point moves closer and closer to the camera, however, that couple of inches between the OVF and the lens starts to matter more and more in terms of the perceived focus box. So the lower right box in the OVF is what the lens is perceiving as the focus box for the closest subjects the camera can focus on before hitting the macro range. So, for a subject 15 feet away, the actual focus box is basically the same as the upper left box. For subjects 2-3 feet away, the actual focus box is basically the same as the lower right box and when you focus on something close, that's where the green box appears. And for subjects in that middle range, the actual focus box shows up at the appropriate spot between the two initial boxes.

    So that third box is the real box. With some experience, it becomes second nature to know about where that actual box is going to appear based on the subjects distance from you. You learn quickly to anticipate where tha actual point is, and then the third green box just confirms your judgement. This is what parallax is. It's also why the camera forces you to use the EVF at macro distances because the OVF simply isn't precise enough at those close distances. It's why true rangefinders don't do close up work well at all.

    So once you understand it and work with it a little while, it'll become second nature and you'll barely need the second box as a guide. When the original X100 was released, it didn't have those corrected framelines as an option, so people who hadn't used a rangefinder before were really confused! And it's why a lot of DSLR users sent the X100 back within days. If you want a point and shoot, this isn't it. But if you're willing to put in a little time with it, it can be a highly rewarding camera to shoot with.

    -Ray
     
  16. Yohan

    Yohan TalkEmount Veteran

    325
    May 21, 2012
    Vancouver, BC
    Yohan
    Thanks, Ray. That makes much more sense than other explanations I've read.
     
  17. Amin Sabet

    Amin Sabet Administrator

    Aug 6, 2011
    Ray, that's a great post. Please consider copy/pasting it to the front page of the Fuji site - no doubt a lot of new Fuji users are going to have these same concerns!
     
  18. Phoenix

    Phoenix TalkEmount Top Veteran

    859
    Aug 25, 2011
    Melbourne, Australia
    Phoenix Gonzales
    I agree with Ray, I also believe that it is why most reviewers advise to have a good play with X cameras before going ahead in purchasing one as there is a steep learning curve involved if one is used to using point and shoots and DSLR cameras, for these cameras operate on a WYSIWYG system and the camera will show you the difference in the depth of field when shooting at f2.8 and at f1.4, while shooting with an X camera (and rangefinders) using the OVF will not give you a preview to what your depth of field will look like, instead you will have to know the difference between between shooting at f2.8 and at f1.4 and what the image will look like, this is something photographers used to point and shoots and DSLRs find challenging. As for the sensor, the variations might be slight, but when you start to shoot at ISO speeds of 2000 and above on 28 x 36 prints then the differences become really apparent.
     
  19. quezra

    quezra TalkEmount Top Veteran

    916
    Aug 22, 2012
    Thanks for this thread everyone, I've currently got a X20 in mind as a compact replacement for my wife. But I held off at the last moment picking up my pre-order because I got spooked. I absolutely love the aesthetics of the X20 but I was wondering whether the image quality can hold up against the RX100. A second thing is while I swoon at the thought of all those manual dials on the X20, I wonder what use it will be for my wife, and given the comments on this thread about the X100S I have to ask, does the same difficulty of use apply to the X10/20 series? I had the Panasonic FZ200 for a while, and although the controls on it were far superior to the NEX-5N, the desire to not go above ISO200 meant I basically was stuck shooting f2.8 for everything and it turned out all those pretty dials didn't give the range of satisfaction as I felt when I tried it in the store. I'm now really worried about the X20.

    If I may ask, between the X20, the RX100, and the NEX-3N as a compact replacement, which would you go for? I know a EPL-5 or GX1 is also possible but if I were to go MILC I'd want to stay in the family.
     
  20. serhan

    serhan TalkEmount All-Pro

    Aug 27, 2011
    NYC
    See the review X20 vs RX100:
    Google √úbersetzer

    Size comparison:
    Compact Camera Meter

    Bigger sensor will give you better iso performance, but the lenses are also a factor:

    Fuji X20 F7.9-11 full frame equivalent
    Sony RX100 F4.9-13.4 full frame equivalent
    Sony nex pancake kit lens F5.4-8.7 full frame equivalent

    Nex 3n is the best performer. Sony RX100 is the smallest and has the fastest lens at wide angle, but slowest at the long end. Fuji X20 is the tallest and has the smallest sensor, but will give you a good fast lens, viewfinder and more controls... On the long end it might be equal or better then RX100 but short side Sony has a sensor advantage. I think you should find a place to check which one you/your wife might be comfortable with and figure out which of the +/-'s are more important for your selection ...