When Fujifilm announced the X100s I have to admit I was excited. I had grown to love the X100, I had grown used to the quirks and foibles of the original incarnation and learned to focus on the positives, as they were plenty. The X100s may look almost identical to the original X100 but in short it is a completely different animal (photographically speaking).
The X100s is a phenomenal leap in performance and image quality to the original X100, the new X-Trans sensor is brilliant and especially shines in low light environments and as a result I am using it for literally everything.
Although the X100s is only out a few months I have already taken it to most of the counties in Northern Ireland (and also Donegal). I’ve used in every weather condition Ireland can throw at it in this very long Winter of Spring. I have used it up mountains on the Northern Ireland coast, in City Hall and the dark Belfast pubs and the X100s has yet to let me down.
This was the first shot I took on a pre-production X100s one early December morning on the Whiterocks beach in Northern Ireland’s County Antrim. I was struck at just how quickly the camera performed and just how sharp the image was even at 100% zoom.
This photo was taken a few month later on the long path to Murlough beach, this time in County Down. This was a rare sunny day following the Spring blizzard and it was the first time I had seen the Mourne mountains caked with snow to such low levels, again the X100s performed brilliantly. I am using the original X100 case and use the half case section when out and about. I can lift the camera to my eye, flick the power switch and snap in seconds.
Game of Thrones fans will recognise this next location as the Dark Hedges in Ballymoney. Again this was one of my early X100s images and I was so taken by the detail I dedicated a whole post zooming in on the people in the distance. You can see the zoomed images in this post.
The X100s retains all the features of the X100 and my favourite the sweep panorama option. This image was shot in County Donegal and is definitely best viewed large on flickr (click the image). I haven’t ventured to printing a panorama but the quality is certainly there and they are remarkably easy to shoot.
Another day out and another snap along the salmon leap in Rostrevor. You can see the X100s offers a brilliant dynamic range and the colour clarity is amazing.
My favourite stretch of beach in County Down has to be Tyrella. The speed performance of the X100s allows action to be frozen even at a distance.
If you ever visit Belfast you have to include a visit to the Duke of York in the Cathedral Quarter of the city. This venue was used in Phil Harrison‘s latest film ‘The Good Man‘ and is always a hive of activity. This is a low light environment and this image was captured without the aid of a flash.
The beach from Whitertocks to Portrush, early evening towards the sun.
This is the same beach early morning, although this time on Boxing Day 2012.
The famous Bad Eddie boat wreck in Bunbeg is a popular location for photographers. I had set out to capture some long exposure images of the area with the X-Pro1 and 14mm lens but found the X100s was able to capture some really high detailed images perfect for mono conversion.
Another snap shot opportunity in Lisburn’s historic railway station.
Yet again the X100s demonstrates an ability to capture stunning landscapes. This is Murlough beach following the heavy snow fall in March.
Regular visits to this site will remember the ‘Mini Adventure‘ series that followed a little mini car around the sights and scenes of Northern Ireland. I captured one of the last shots of the series in Belfast on the X100s.
Another example of the dynamic range offered by the X100s, another shot of Bad Eddie in Bunbeg, County Donegal.
I did say I had used the X100s in every type of weather condition. I do take care to ensure my cameras don’t get (too) wet but the heaviest snow fall in living memory needed a visit to the Mournes.
This was the lowest point in the snow which was still at fence height.
The same camera that captures the cold ice of winter can equally captured the glowing sunrise on the north coast of Northern Ireland.
Another road trip alongside Errigal mountain in probably some of the remotest parts of Ireland. It was great to have a light camera that was capable of capturing the sheer scale of the area.
The area is know as Gweedore and features a little valley called Poison Glenn. Here lies the rather scary Dunlewey Church.
One of my favourite locations in County Down has to be St John’s Point home of the famous yellow and black lighthouse.
I take the X100s everywhere and have had to attend a number of functions in Belfast’s City Hall. Again it is great to have a subtle camera capable of picking up the detail of the wet streets…….
…. yet at the same time be capable of a quick point and shoot shot while crossing the road.
With the X100 I was never really sure it was a replacement for my DSLR. Yes when it hit the mark the image quality was remarkable but it was relying on it delivering in all situations and environments that was the real issue. The X100s is different, it performs, it out punches other cameras I have used but best of all it performs in a subtle lightweight body that you can carry everywhere without a rucksack or backache.
I took these shots under an umbrella at Lisburn’s recent Mayor’s parade. I was able to document the day snapping away with every shot being pin sharp, even the action shots are razor sharp.
More often than not I use the X100s in aperture priority mode I set the camera to auto ISO capped at 3200 and concentrate on composition. Even in low light and a high ISO the X100s is a remarkable performer.
From the action shots of summer carnivals (albeit wet summer carnivals) to the stunning landscapes of Northern Ireland the X100s offers a photographic experience that is almost addictive.
It is photography as it should be, the prime lens means you don’t have to stress as to what lens to use which means you are forced to be creative with composition and exposure.
Over the last few weeks the only time I lifted another camera was when I needed to take a photo of my X100s for this post. The only thing that confuses me is the name, simply adding a S suggests a few minimal refinements on the original model yet this couldn’t be further from the truth.
The X100s is a powerhouse and really has become my everyday goto camera. From the dark corridors of Belfast City Hall to the fifteen foot snow drifts of Silent Valley the X100s has consistently impressed.
Check out the X100s a One Year on Review.