In December 2012 I received my first X100s, a pre-production camera and was tasked to capture some images of Northern Ireland in advance of the world launch in February.

As a big Fujifilm X100 fan I was obviously excited to see how the latest release performed and boy did it perform!  I posted my first “Hands on the X100s” post in January and since then little camera has gone literally everywhere with me.

I pack my X100s in the original X100 leather case and it rarely escapes compliments from people often when it is still in the stylish leather case. The leather case offers a great deal of protection yet manages to keep the whole package small and portable. I can carry the camera in my everyday bag without the fear of damage.

I love everything about the X100s, the 35mm focal length is perfect for documentary photography, the f/2 lens is perfect for shooting with a shallow depth of field. The X100s is a versatile camera capable of capturing stunning images in everyday situations without drawing the fear factor often associated with a DSLR.

All of the following photographs were captured either on days when I wasn’t setting out with the aim of taking photos or in the case of the music photography images the X100s was acting as a second camera. I take the X100s literally everywhere, not just for the portability but for the fact I can rely on it to capture stunningly sharp and vibrant images. Click on any of the photos to view large on flickr.

Towards the Mournes
The X100s is a constant companion on family days out. This image of the Mourne mountains was taken during the Easter break after one of the heaviest snow falls in a decade.

Early Morning
This mono image was captured on White Rocks Beach in County Antrim during a cold morning just after Christmas 2012. This photo was captured with the pre-production camera and I was struck my the sharpness and speed at which the camera performed.

Jim Broadbent
This candid portrait of the brilliant Jim Broadbent was captured backstage at the Belfast IF concert in Belfast’s Botanical Gardens. I captured one shot of the main artists with the X100s, it performed perfectly and the detail, I think is quite remarkable.

The Duke of York
Stripes were definitely in last June. This lowlight image was captured during an evening out and a visit to the brilliant Duke of York in Belfast.

Dark Hedges
The Dark Hedges was one of the first photos I took with the pre-production X100s. Check out the hands on the X100s post to see just how sharp this image is zoomed at 200%. It was a dull winter morning yet the X100s captured the remarkable detail of these famous trees.

While Belfast riots the Duke of York rests.
Another lowlight image captured on an summer evening in Belfast. The Cathedral Quarter was a vibrant hive of activity yet one of the worst riots for years has happening on the next street.

X100s Fight Scene
I was stills photographer on the Circuit 21 music video. The video took on a Sin City look and the X100s offered some gritty detailed black and white imagery. The performance of the camera can be seen in the rain falling on the actors. I was blown away but the dynamic range of this camera and the range of tones it  was able to detail.

Long Exposure Photography

X100s and Lee Filters
The real versatility of the X100s can be seen by the fact it is often my goto camera for long exposure photography.  Using the brilliant Lee Seven5 system I was able to capture a range of long exposure images while still traveling light. I have written a complete overview of the X100s and Seven5 system here.

Belfast Lough
This shot was captured along Belfast Lough with the Lee Seven5 adaptor and Bigstopper filter.

The Bar Mouth
Again, this image of Lawson’s Jetty near Castlerock was captured with a mix of the Bigstopper and a graduated ND filter.

The old jetty
This image is of the old jetty at Oxford island, a regular location for testing new equipment it was the first image I shot with the Lee Seven5 system.

Dunseverick
Dunserverick Harbour, home of the Game of Thrones, famous for its rock pools and ragged coastline, a brilliant location for long exposure landscape photography.

The Long Exposure eBook

Music Photography

Viv Campbell
It wouldn’t be the obvious choice for music photography but as it is always with me I generally use the X100s as a second shooter. Above is guitar legend Vivian Campbell (Def Leppard).

Rams' Pocket Radio - X100s
This image was captured at the Rams’ Pocket Radio album launch. You can read more about Beton here.

Simon McBride
Another remarkably talented guitarist, Simon McBride performed with Sweet Savage supporting Last in Line.

Mojo Fury

The brilliant Mojo Fury during their recent album launch in Belfast’s Mandela hall. I keep the Fujifilm X100s around my neck and it definitely gets the attention of the other photographers in the pit.

Viv Campbell
Another shot of Vivian Campbell who I’d list as one of my favourite guitarists of all time. Although the X100s doesn’t necessarily have the reach or image buffer for professional music photography it can really nail it and copes brilliantly in the environment in ever changing lighting.

Everyday Photography

Belfast at Night
The X100s offers amazing performance in low light situations. This image of Belfast was captured by setting the camera on a handrail for balance.

Evening Fishing
Harbour jumping was one of the big family activities of 2013 and it was great to see the daily catch arrive back and be processed straight off the boat.

st John's Point
St John’s point in County Down. One of Ireland’s most famous lighthouses you can see more images from this series on the St John’s Point Lighthouse post.

Dandelion
The X100s also features a macro mode that allows closer focusing to subjects. It isn’t equivalent to a proper dedicated macro lens but it does offer sharp, close up images with beautiful bokeh at f/2.8 and larger.

Road to DonnardThe Road to Donard following the heavy snow of March. You can see more in the Mourne the Snow post. I enjoy the fact I no longer miss images like this as the sheer portability of the X100s means it is always packed in a bag or car. Personally I think the image quality from the X100s is as good as those from my professional DSLR system both in terms of colour clarity, dynamic range and sharpness.

BunbegBunbeg beach in County Donegal is home of one of the most famous ship wrecks in Ireland. Bad Eddie has been on this beach since the early 1970s. Read more about Bad Eddie here.

KJS plays at the opening of Twenty Continued.My good friend Kyle John Suckling performs at the opening of the second part of the TWENTY Exhibition.

Two Door Cinema ClubThe brilliant Two Door Cinema Club performed at the Belfast IF event. It was a great opportunity to meet the local band who posed for a few backstage candid images. Lead singer Alex Trimble is also a big Fujifilm X100s fan.

Silent ValleyA hike up Silent Valley in County Down was a great opportunity for the X100s. Travelling light I was confident that the leather case would offer a great deal of protection in my rucksack. The view at the top was stunning following one of the worst snow falls in a decade.

X100s Church
Dunlewey Church in County Donegal captured with the X100s. A freezing winter’s day Dunlewey is a naturally cold location it is said no birds fly over this area, you can read more here.

Conclusion

The X100s is a powerhouse of portability and style. It is capable of capturing images that are sharp with magnetically appealing colour rendition and dynamic range. My X100s goes everywhere, it has captured plenty of images I would have missed  if I was reliant on having a digital SLR system packed. In a split second the camera is ready and capturing images whether it be live music, detailed long exposures, panoramas or just everyday documentary. I pack a second battery, the lens hood and the Lee system but rarely have I had to call on the second battery when on a day shoot.

I love the X100s and after a year of shooting it still holds the same excitement it offered on day one. I can’t recommend it enough.

About The Author

David is a documentary and landscape photographer covering everything from dramatic long exposure landscape photography through to live music. David is also an official Fujifilm X Photographer.

  • http://billmccarroll.com Bill McCarroll

    Nice summary of your year with the X100s David. I like your selection of images from the year, a nice mix that really highlights the capabilities of this great camera. Looking forward to 2014 to see what you get into with your Fuji gear.

  • http://ledesmaphotography.wordpress.com Jorge

    Excellent review David !! Great varied display of what the X100s can do in a multitude of scenarios.

  • http://davescaringe.tumblr.com/ David

    I have an X100 and continually contemplate the upgrade. Not for the speed or any of the other minor changes. But for the image quality. Not sure if you played with the X100 after the most recent firmware update. But whats your opinion on IQ between the X100 and X100s. What things make it the better camera for you?
    Thanks

  • http://www.flixelpix.com David

    David, I have and it is a brilliant upgrade to a great camera. That said the X100s has the edge for speed and image quality. The IQ is brilliant and I honest carry mine everywhere.

  • Andrew Areoff

    Impressive stuff. But tell me, one year on how is the camera holding up physically? Any bits that look like their wearing, in danger of breaking, actually broken etc??

    I’m looking at the new XE-2 as well – any opinions and experiences with that yet?

  • http://www.jiriruzek.net Jiri Ruzek

    Great review and photos. I have the X-E1 because I need to change lenses, but this is an amazing camera.

  • http://www.flixelpix.com David

    Still like new. I have the Fujifilm leather case mentioned in the review and that offers brilliant protection.

  • Eric

    I bought x100s in Mar 2013 and it is such a joy to use the camera. Wonderful pix you have shown there.
    waiting for the s/w update as it goes below the min speed i set and the max iso i set when it is too dim.
    if Fuji were to improve on the auto AF under indoor lighting.. this will be perfect

  • Chris Hwang

    Great article David!

    I’m on the lookout for a new camera and although I’m a beginner (as I only have a basic digital camera), I quite like the x100s.

    I understand with all its features there is a steep learning curve but do you think it’s a camera that a beginner could handle?

    Thanks

    Chris

  • http://www.flixelpix.com/ David

    Yes. It is a great camera and can be automated By putting it into A mode. This will get you started and as you get used to it you can stretch to the manual features.

  • Chris Hwang

    Awesome. I think I’m going to get it now.

    Do you use any accessories with it? I saw the lens hood from Fuji but it seemed quite expensive for $100.

    Thanks

  • Antoine B.

    Hi Chris,
    I bought the X100s some time ago, wanting to change from an old Canon DSLR and I can tell you I don’t regret that purchase at all!

    There is a learning curve, indeed, but as some reviewers noticed, after a while, you start seeing in 35mm!! It really pushes you to concentrate on the composition rather than playing with sub-menus.
    I use the auto mode quite a lot, I admit, but it’s so easy to venture into the semi-auto modes, with those physical dials! The drive modes also help a lot learning the exposure compensation or the different film simulation modes.

    As for accessories, I’ve never been too much into lens hoods, but why not. I am also seriously considering the wide-angle converter.
    Enjoy your X100s: this camera is really bringing a lot of fun in photography!

  • Douglas Quintanilla

    Hello David. Great article! I always enjoy your articles and I have learned a lot from your Long Exposure eBook.

    One question I have about the incredible photographs in your articles is if they are post-processed or if they come like that out of the camera. I have always assumed there is some post-processing involved, so I decided to ask.

    Thanks,

    Douglas

  • Mike Gatiss

    great review david, I’m curious – how did you find the focus speed for the music photography? I’m tempted by the x100s as a second to my canon but have heard complaints around focus speed

  • http://www.flixelpix.com/ David

    I’ve had no problems with focus speed, it won’t rattle the shots off in succession but the focus is fine.