Hands On : The X100s
In July 2011 I purchased the Fujifilm X100 camera. I was struck by the liberty offered by such a small yet powerful camera. Coming from a full frame DSLR setup I have to confess the initial months were a love hate relationship. I loved the stunning image quality while hating the focus accuracy of the initial release.
Fujifilm quickly addressed the frustrations with a series of firmware updates that catapulted the X100 camera to the fore of my photography habit. Like many I found the X100 offer a photographic experience that developed my skills as a photographer, rather than rattling off a series a shot I learned to be more thoughtful and controlled making each shot matter.
I headed out to a local jetty and took four quick images from four different angles. I used the same technique as documented in The Long Exposure eBook The first long exposure at f/11 / ISO 200 was for 20 seconds.
The X100 taught me that you can be creative in the camera without having to rely on post production processing. In short the X100 became my every day camera.
2012 brought the mighty X-Trans sensor in the X-Pro1 and more recently X-E1. Both cameras have the same sensor and are capable of producing breathtaking images, ultra-sharp with simply beautiful colour rendition.
Fujifilm are certainly leading the way in the mirrorless camera market and we all knew it was only a matter of time before we saw an upgrade to the X100. Despite expecting to see the Fuji X200 the announcement of the X100s came with a very large wave of excitement.
I was lucky enough to have the X100s for a week in December and I used it to capture some images around Northern Ireland. Like the X20 I decided to visit Belfast, County Down and my favourite location ‘The Dark Hedges’.
Physically the camera is almost identical to the X100, there is the addition of the ‘S’ to the logo and the all important Q button but also the focus options are now M-C-S rather than M-S-C as they were on the X100. The big changes come on the inside, a 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II a a Lens Modulation Optimiser and the new EXR processor are just a few of the highlights.
Please note all images were captured with a very early pre-production version of the X100s with basic firmware. Please note these images are copyright and should not be used without permission. Click on an image to view it large on Flickr.
Anyway, I was already a massive fan of the X100 and was the X-Trans sensor going to make that much of a difference? In short, in complete certainty and after just a few hours I was able to conclude the answer is a definitely YES. The image output is breathtaking and I can’t wait to use the X100s to capture long exposure photos.
If I was asked to describe the X100s in two words they would have be “Super Sharp”. I was restricted to shooting JPG but I was blown away at just how sharp the photographs are and how quick the camera is to focus and capture.
Look closely at the thumbnail image on the left of this screenshot to see just how far I had zoomed in. The man at the end of the road is easily missed zoomed out yet you can see just how sharp the detail is zoomed in. Also if you can think this is the two people you can see in the above image it isn’t he is further on ahead. Click on the image to view it large on flickr.
Even with fast moving objects I was able to focus and capture the action quickly. Jumping from sand dunes is easy to miss but the X100s captured each jump with accuracy beyond my expectations.
Like the fujifilm X20 had a very early pre-production version of the camera (number 84 ever made) and a very, very early firmware.
The camera has the performance of a professional camera. Focus is quick and accurate, I could only shoot JPG with the pre-production camera but I couldn’t be more excited at the output.
The improvement on the already great X100 is certainly significant enough to see current users upgrading. I also think the X100s will welcome a whole new wave of photographers turning their back on large, heavier dSLR cameras.
I spent the day around Belfast getting to know the pre-production camera.
See A Mini adventure for more information on the little mini car.
I really wanted to try the X100s in a range of different locations and found myself on the North Coast. I called in on the famous White Rocks beach and captured the Dunluce Castle coastline and the Christmas surfers. Being in this part of the country a visit to the ‘Dark Hedges’ was essential. The famous hedges (see more here) featured in the recent ‘Game of Thrones’ series.
The X100s also came along on our annual New Year’s Day visit to the County Down coast and Dundrum. By Day 3 I was familiar with the early firmware and how the camera handled. It was remarkable to grab fast action shots while retaining the pin sharpness of the shot.
This is just a few samples from my experiences with the camera. I will add more to flickr in the next few weeks. Again current X100 owners should remember all their current accessories are compatible with the X100s.
Genuinely I think both the X20 and X100s are cameras to get excited about. I suspect they are names that will appear on the “Camera of Year” lists of 2013.
Check out the Official Fujifilm X website for detailed specifications and more information. You can view more X100s photos in my flickr set here.