Going Wide with the WCL-X100
It is exactly one year to the day to when I first bought my Fujifilm X100. It was refreshing to travel light and take photos of exceptional image quality.
A year later and the X100 is a completely different camera thanks to some amazing firmware updates throughout the year. At the time the retail price for the X100 was over £1000 but if you have waited this long the good news is you can now pick them up for around £600).
I think what is most remarkable is how much Fuji have improved this camera with each firmware release. I expected what could be achieved via a firmware update would be limited yet Fuji have shown again and again the X100 is a marvellous piece of kit that is capable beyond the software.
Following the release of the X-Pro1 Fujifilm have shown their commitment to the X100 camera with the release of the WCL-X100. A simple yet beutiful screw on lens adaptor it converts the camera from 23mm (35mm equiv. ) to 19mm (28mm equiv.) which works out at a magnification of 0.8%.
Fuji kindly let me borrow one of the adaptors for a few days and I am particularly impressed with the quality of the lens from the build through to the quality of the images.
I would really have loved to have seen a 24mm equivalent ultra wide option but 28mm creates some fantastic landscape photos (see my 18mm X-Pro1 samples here).
The lens converter requires the 1.30 firmware update available from the Fujifilm website here.
The update adds a menu option for the WCL-X100 to enable automatically image processing to shots taken using the WCL-X100 to reduce image distortion, ensure balanced illumination across the frame and reduce chromatic aberration, commonly found in wide conversion lenses.
The first thing I noticed is the adaptor shares the excellent build quality of the X-Pro1 lenses, it is remarkably well built and finished to perfectly match the colour of the X100 body. (It comes in both silver and black).
When attached to the camera is doesn’t actually look like an ‘extra’ attachment and screws on securely to the front by simply removing the little lens surround and tightening the threads.
The design compliments any X100 accessories you may have invested in (apart from the case which didn’t work with the lens hood either). The LH-X100 lens hood and PRF-49S protective filter can be used on the conversion lens and the Fujifilm lens cap for the WCL-X100 can be attached with both the lens hood and filter in place.
In use with the optical viewfinder selected, you get around 80% of the frame field of view, while selecting the EVF a 100% field of view is shown, with AF frame compensation ON, the AF frame with parallax compensation appears according to an icon to check the focus. I did notice that the autofocus speed was slightly slower with the adaptor attached but not slow enough to cause me annoyance or any real issue.
View without WCL-X100 :
Converted to mono with the this preset for Lightroom 4.
View with the WCL-X100
Click either image for a larger view.
At 100% Zoom
The quality of the WCL-X100 and added software support means images retain their quality, it performs like a quality prime lens rather than an enhancement adaptor.
I spent most of today playing with the X100 and WCL-X100, I was concerned the attachment might have changed the balance and perhaps make the camera ‘front heavy’ but this really isn’t the case. It obviously makes the camera a little heavier albeit by just 15o grams but it retains a nicely balanced feel in use.
0.8x magnification factor (19mm / 28mm Equiv.)
All glass optical construction using four elements in three groups.
“Made in Japan” for optimum quality.
FUJINON Super EBC coating.
Personally, I really love the ability to shoot wide and many photographers use the X100 as a street photography camera where 28mm is a popular focal length and the WCL-X100 really opens up the power of the X100 while keeping the f/2 speed and classic quality Fujifilm image.
I completely love the fact that Fuji have shown their support for the X100 camera. Instead of pushing photographers to the X-Pro1 and 18mm lens they release an affordable adaptor that transforms an already excellent camera.
There are many X100 lovers out there who simply won’t part with their camera, there are people who will see the X-Pro1 as too much of an investment step for their type of photography and for them the WCL-X100 is the perfect shooting companion.
I think there will be many out there who will attach the WCL-X100 and won’t ever unscrew it, the added focal width makes an already fantastic camera even more versatile.
It opens up landscape photography and gives the street photographer a bit of added coverage ideal for busy city locations. The fact that it works with all the accessories and comes with a working lens cap is an added bonus.
If you don’t plan the upgrade to the X-Pro1 and are looking for a way to enhance your X100 and open up new opportunities the WCL-X100 is definitely the lens for you, you won’t be disappointed. The WCL-X100 is available now.