Thursday 7 March 2013

Impressions of the Fuji X100S after (Very) brief hands on.

Readers of this blog will know I have been keenly awaiting the Fuji X100S, wondering if the revised offering was going to be a significant improvement.

I only had limited time to play with the camera on the Fuji stand at 'Focus on Imaging' but I did get an impression of what the company has achieved.

Firstly, when you pick it up it feels exactly the same as the outgoing X100, and is none the worse for that.

A very quick run through with the camera reveals a massively improved(if a little long) intuitive menu.

Shooting random objects on the stand the camera felt very 'snappy' and fast, a noticeable improvement on the X100, and I did enjoy the selectable autofocus points too.

Another department of improvement is the manual focus.

The super low geared 'focus-by-wire' manual focus on the outgoing X100 was about as useful as a chocolate tea pot.

Fuji have listened.

The manual focus gearing on the X100S is vey good indeed, in fact I nearly forgot it was 'focus-by-wire'....

What about the manual focus aids?

I found the split image was excellent and I was able to accurately manual focus.

Focus peaking? I'm not quite so sure.

It does work, but I found it difficult to read at times, particularly when I used it on people's faces.

I think though that the user will work out which manual focus assist works best for them in particular circumstances.

The X100S does also use the same battery as the outgoing X100, the good news being they are as cheap as chips, but with a question mark hanging over battery life for some users, though a Fuji spokesperson told me the new sensor uses less power.

From my fleeting time with the camera I would say the camera is a massive improvement.

Some existing X100 owners will see little point in upgrading their cameras, others, myself included, will covet this promising camera.

I will leave the final word to David Hobby of Strobist who owns one of the very first X100S.

'This camera is pretty close to perfect for the type of camera it purports to be'

You can read his overview of the camera over at


François Sechet said...

So, about the autofocus... Did you get a chance to test whether when after taking a picture and keeping the shutter half-pressed, it kept the focus and everything and you could take a second picture instantly instead of having to wait for the camera to remeasure everything?
That was my ONLY concern with the X100, so I'd like to know if I need to put 1200€ aside... :-)

Unknown said...

Hey F

Great to hear from you.

I had just a few short mins with camera and did not take that part in somehow, sorry.

It feels less 'toy' like and much more grown up.

The price IS very strong and I will be waiting for it to drift downwards before I buy one, hopefully any bugs will be ironed out that way too.

Lets chat soon


Libby said...

I can hear the wheels in your head turning all the way over here ;-)

What's so very unfortunate is that they just couldn't get it right the first time. And it's not only Fuji, look at that Canon EOS M and the focus - it's dreadful and now there are rumors of another iteration of that camera.

Regarding the Fuji upgrade for yourself, if it's the camera you have with you all the time, then the upgrade is a sensible decision if you can make the finances work.

Unknown said...

Hi Libby,

Ah the finances...that small but thorny matter.

It is a damn fine camera I think.


Brian Kraft Photography said...

Thanks for the insights, Drew.

To answer F's question and perhaps several others, I've been keeping a running log of my findings with the X100S. I address that very question within the comments, so have a look (in short-- 'no')

Unknown said...

Hey Brian,

Firstly you lucky thing!

Secondly I have read your very useful and insightful post on your two days with the X100S.

F will be disappointed regarding the 'back to square one' with the AF between shots.

Overall though you seem to share Davids view, and my suspicion, that it is a marked overall improvement.

Why they did not change the battery compartment so it would only go in one way is beyond me, it would seem to be an 'easy win' to implement.

Baffling as to why the much used ND filter is missing from the 'Quick' menu too.

I will stay tuned to your blog to follow you on your journey.


Unknown said...


Both David Hobby and Brian Kraft are of the view that the focus peaking is effective, they are both experienced shooters and have spent days with their cameras not minutes so I am prepared to accept that my initial assessment may indeed be wrong.

My opinion was drawn from using focus peaking to manually focus on a Fuji representative at a distance of about 2 to 3 metres.

I initially made the 'peaking' happen on the persons eyes.

As part of my experiment I continued to turn the focus ring to see how quickly the focus peaking dropped off (as it should)

My findings on this little test was the peaking seemed to hold longer than the focus did. i.e. I carried on turning the focus ring and it was still peaking like it was in focus, though when I did in fact shoot a frame my suspicions were confirmed and the image was soft.

There are three possibilities.

1. It was very early in the morning and did not spend sufficient time with it.

2. The camera was possibly pre production and not quite the 'full shilling'

3. Focus peaking is something that needs to be 'learned' and interpreted.

I think the third reason is the strongest possibility, particularly in the light of positive findings in more comprehensive reviews.


François Sechet said...

That's all very sad. :-(

I don't understand why they would do it that way. I can't think of ANY other camera that also behaves like this.

But since they didn't "fix" the battery compartment either, I'm not so surprised...

François Sechet said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Hi F

I feel your pain brother, a deal breaker for you I know.

For others it is down to weighing the pro's against the cons and seeing if it works for them.

It did feel to me like a massive improvement to me over the old X100.


Anonymous said...

Got to test it at a local camera fair and the x100S did seem to focus faster than the xPro1 or the XE1 so I feel Fuji did a good job on improving this. For me the XE1 would be the perfect one of the family but thats mostly because I prefer a bit longer lenses than the focal lens that the x100 provides.

Libby said...

I apologise in advance for sending these links ;-)

From David Hobby

From Zack

Have a great weekend ;-)