An update to the X100 with higher resolution, faster autofocusing and a new hybrid viewfinder that combines optical and electronic systems.

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Superficially, Fujifilm’s X100S may seem like a minor update to its popular predecessor, the X100. But, below its smart, ‘retro’ styled exterior, some important changes have been made. The first is a new 16.3-megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor, which is installed without an optical low-pass filter. The second is improvements to the Hybrid Viewfinder system.  

The body of the new camera is almost identical to the  X100, with the upper control deck and base plate cast from magnesium alloy and the front and rear panels metal   finished with leather accents that provide a secure grip. The front panel has a subtle grip moulding for the second finger. All control dials on the top panel have been fabricated from metal.

The 23mm f/2 Fujinon lens is the same as the previous model’s. It covers the same, modest wide viewing angle as a 35mm lens on a film camera. An in-lens leaf shutter supports flash synchronisation at the fastest shutter speeds and makes the camera relatively quiet to operate.

Fujifilm UK has published a list of 68 improvements the X100S has over the X100, most of them resulting from feedback provided by X100 users.
 1. 16-megapixel sensor, up from 12-megapixel
 2. X-Trans CMOS II sensor eliminates need for Optical Low Pass Filter
 2. The resolution has improved to match Full Frame domain sensors
 3. The Signal to Noise ratio improved to be on a par with Full Frame domain sensors
 4. Phase detection pixels allow 0.07 sec Auto focus (Note: Fujifilm doesn’t provide much information on where these pixels are, simply stating they ‘are distributed on nearly 40% of the total area of X-Trans CMOS II Sensor and the centre of its screen’.)
 6. 1080p 60fps full HD movie
 7. Improved start-up time. From 2.0 seconds to 0.9 seconds
 8. Continuous Shooting from 5 fps up to 6 fps
 9. Number of consecutive frames while using Continuous Shooting from 10 frames to 31 frames
 10. Improved Shooting Interval from 0.9 seconds down to 0.5 seconds.
 11. EXR Processor II Lens Modulation Optimiser reduces diffraction
 phenomenon and peripheral aberrations.
 12. EXR Processor II features X-Trans processing & new noise reduction.
 13. Outputs 14bit RAW files
 14. EVF has a 2.35 million dot LCD
 15. A new protective coating on the surface of the view-finder window prevents fingerprints and smudging.
 16. The handling and response on focus ring has been improved.
 17. The shooting range of the OVF has been expanded from 80cm-∞ to 50cm-∞
 18. The world’s first MF system ‘Digital Split Image’.   It uses the phase detection to show accurate focus peaking. (See demo:  http://youtu.be/_fJDX1hzUIg)
 19. ‘Focus Peak Highlight’ function helps you to check the focal plane. (See demo:  http://youtu.be/PMdQpgOzd4o)
 20. In Movie Shooting, it is possible to choose 3 kinds of focusing modes
 MF/ AF-C and AF-S.
 21. Expanded AF shooting range from   40cm ““ infinity (X100) to 21cm ““ infinity (X100S). (excluding Macro mode)
 22. Quick (Q) Button for speed and instant access to shooting menus.
 23. Multi Tab Menu easy and fast navigation
 24. Two new Film simulation functions added: Pro Neg. Std and Pro Neg. Hi
 25. ‘F-simulation bracketing’ function – one shot can produce 3 different Film Simulation images which can be pre-set.
 26. ‘Advanced filter’ mode
 27. ‘Multi Exposure’ function. While viewing your first shot on EVF or LCD as overlay, you can shoot a second shot.
 28. ‘Shutter Counter’ counts every 100 shots.
 29. The shape of viewfinder window changed to help prevent dust build-up
 30. The strap attachment rings are double coated with stainless-steel layer
 31. Improved the shape of ‘Viewfinder lever’
 32. Improved the layout of ‘Focus lever’ (goes MF > AF-C > AF-S now)
 33. Improved the operability of the ‘MENU/OK button’
 34. Improved shape of the ‘Q button’ (was previously the RAW button)
 35. Improved the shape of ‘Front Ring’
 36. Improved the torque of   ‘Exposure dial’
 37. Improved layout of ‘Shutter speed dial’
 38. Improved the design of Battery-chamber
 39. Improved the shape of Hot shoe
 40. Max. ISO from 3200 to 6400  in ISO AUTO Mode
 41. WB shift available in any mode
 42. Variation of aspect ratio 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1
 43. Improved functionality in MF mode
 44. Able to reset the setting separately
 45. No formatting on the setting when updating FW
 46. Change the default LCD information setting -> standard
 47. Reset function added for every custom mode
 48. Information of all F-simulation modes
 49. Add ‘MARK FOR UPLOAD TO’ MyFinePix.com
 50. Support ‘Eye-Fi Connected’
 51. Holding Q-button is short-cut function
 52. Remove ‘ISO AUTO’ to Shooting Menu
 53. Change the location of ‘AF area select button’
 54. Change the sub-function of   ‘AF area select button’
 55. Change the sub-function of ‘AE button’
 56. Add the sub-function of ‘Fn button’
 57. In Playback mode, add the ‘Information function’
 58. In low light scene, LCD display becomes smooth.
 59. After release the shutter button, immediately switch to playback mode.
 60. After release the shutter button, could immediately use some key.
 61. After bracket shooting ,immediately switch to playback mode.
 62. When holding shutter button, LCD doesn’t freeze.
 63. Support the SD-card used Macintosh.
 64. In low EV scene, the exposure of LCD will adapt.
 65. In Manual Exposure, the histogram will adapt.
 66. In Post-viewing, eye sensor function can work
 67. Support external microphone and electric release.
 68. Change the information of   setting external Flash
 69. The ND filter is now available in panorama mode.

Who’s It For?
Like its predecessor, the X100S has been designed for DSLR users who need a compact back-up camera. So, let’s look at how well it’s suited to specific tasks serious photographers might use it for.

1. Landscape photography: The 35mm angle of view may not be wide enough to provide the dramatic coverage some landscape photographers desire. However, it’s close to ideal for using vertically to capture a series of shots for panoramic stitching because it shouldn’t introduce excessive distortions. A lens hood is a must for most landscape work.

2. Portraits: Wide enough for environmental portraits but too short for head-and-shoulders shots. Too short, as well, for candids.

3. Sports and Action: Only if you can get close enough and you probably won’t be able to take close-ups of individuals.

4. Close-ups and Macro: The close focusing limit of 10 cm precludes macro photography but should be fine for close-ups of larger subjects, such as pet portraits. However, you must use the EVF or monitor screen to frame and focus shots in order to avoid parallax error.

5. Photojournalism and Street Photography: The camera is just small enough to be inconspicuous and the manual controls are easy to adjust on-the-fly, although you have to dive into the menu to change ISO settings. The threaded shutter release   allows use of a cable to trigger the camera’s shutter inconspicuously. Superior low light performance allows high ISO settings to be used in poorly-lit situations but the lack of stabilisation may present problems.

6. Indoor Photography: Depends on the subject and the photographer’s approach. The 35mm lens may not be wide enough for cramped situations but the camera’s low-light capabilities are a big plus.

7. Architecture: Inherent barrel distortion and vignetting could present problems, although in-camera corrections are available.
8. Wildlife: Although the lens focal length will be good for shooting large groups of animals in the medium distance, it can’t get close enough for individual portrait or action shots.

How Does it Handle?
 The X100’s control system pleased many photographers and all the key features carry over to the new model. Only four shooting modes are provided: Program AE, aperture-priority AE, shutter-priority AE and manual exposure. As before, apertures are set with the ring around the lens and shutter speeds via the dial on the top panel ““ and both have ‘A’ positions for programmed automatic exposure control.

Taking long exposures is tricky. When you choose the B setting the shutter remains open for up to 60 minutes, depending on the aperture setting and ambient light levels. When the aperture ring is set to the A position, the shutter speed is fixed at 30 seconds.

 If you want to use shutter speeds between these limits you have to select the T position. In this mode you can rotate the command dial around the arrow pad and select shutter speeds between 1/2 and 30 seconds in 1/3EV steps. Third-party cable releases can be used to trigger exposures or you can set the self-timer to two or 10-second delays.

Like its predecessor, the rangefinder-style body of the X100s  is mostly metal, with metal control dials. The illustrations below show front, back and top views of the new camera.

The ‘hybrid’ viewfinder is a big improvement on the X100’s, although the optical finder is largely unchanged but with improved parallax correction that can adjust the framing guide for close-ups to within about 50 cm from the lens (the limit for ‘normal’ focusing. However, this framing guide only shows about 90% of the area captured by the sensor.

The resolution of the EVF has been boosted to 2,360,000-dot, which is about double the resolution of the X100’s 1,440,000 dot screen. An integrated prism enables it  to display shooting data overlaid on the scene. Fourteen functions can be displayed, including shutter speed, aperture, focusing distance, selected focusing point, exposure compensation, electronic level and histogram.

The switch on the front panel makes it easy to swap between optical and electronic finder modes. In addition, a built-in eye sensor switches quickly from the rear monitor to the viewfinder when the camera is raised to your eye.

For details of other aspects of  the camera’s body design and controls. go to our  review of the FinePix X100.  

 

In summary

Good for:
 – Landscape photography.
 – Group portraits.
 – Street photography, especially scenic shots.
 – Shooting in low light levels.
 – Travel, provided you can tolerate the fixed focal length lens.
 
Not so good for:
 – Shooting sports and action.
 – Close-up shooting.
 – Shooting movies.

Rating

Build

9.0

Ease of use

8.5

Autofocusing

8.5

Image quality JPEG

9.0

Image quality RAW

9.0

Video quality

8.3

OVERALL

8.8

RRP:  AU$1449; US$1299.95

SPECS

  • Image sensor: 23.6 x 15.8 mm X-Trans CMOS II sensor with primary colour filter and 16.3 megapixel effective resolution
  • A/D processing: 12-bit
  • Lens: Fujinon 23mm f/2 lens (35mm in 35mm format)
  • Image formats: Stills ““ RAF.RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.3), RAW+JPEG; Movies ““ MOV (H.264) with  Linear PCM stereo audio
  • Image Sizes: Stills ““ 3:2 aspect: 4896 x 3264, 3456 x 2304, 2496 x 1664; 16:9 aspect: 4896 x 2760, 3456 x 1944, 2496 x 1408; 1:1 aspect: 3264 x 3264, 2304 x 2304, 1664 x 1664; Motion panorama 180 degrees vertical 9600 x 2160, horizontal 9600 x 1440; 120 degrees vertical 6400 x 2160, horizontal 6400 x 1440; Movies: 1920 x 1080 pixels (60fps/30fps)  
  • Image Stabilisation: No
  • Shutter speed range: 30 seconds to 1/4000 second plus Bulb (max. 60 minutes)  
  • Exposure Compensation: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV increments  
  • Bracketing: AE and ISO Bracketing: +/-1/3EV, +/-2/3EV, +/-1EV; Film Simulation Bracketing: Any 3 types selectable; Dynamic Range Bracketing: 100% / 200% / 400%
  • Self-timer: 2 or 10 seconds delay
  • Focus system: Intelligent Hybrid AF (TTL contrast AF / TTL phase detection AF) with area and multi modes; AF-assist lamp; minimum focus 10 cm (macro mode)
  • Focus modes: Single-shot AF, Continuous AF, Manual Focus with distance indicator
  • Exposure metering: 256-zone TTL with multi, average and spot modes
  • Shooting modes: Program AE,  Aperture  priority, Shutter priority, Manual
  • Film Simulation modes: Provia / Standard, Velvia / Vivid, Astia / Soft, Pro Neg. Hi & Standard,  B&W, Monochrome+ yellow filter, Monochrome+ red filter and Monochrome+ green filter, Sepia
  • Filter effects: Toy camera, Miniature, Pop Colour, High-key, Low-key, Dynamic Tone, Soft Focus, Partial Colour with Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue and Purple options
  • Colour space options: sRGB, Adobe RGB
  • Other functions: Select custom setting, Motion panorama, Auto red-eye removal, Framing guideline, Frame No. memory, Histogram display, Preview depth of focus, Focus check, Electronic level
  • ISO range: Auto,  ISO 200 – 6400 (extendable to  ISO 100 or 25600 for JPEGs only)
  • White balance: Auto, Preset: Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Daylight), Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Incandescent light, Underwater, Custom, Colour temperature selection
  • Flash: Built-in Auto flash, range 50 cm to 9 m;  Auto, Forced Flash, Suppressed Flash, Slow Synchro modes (red-eye reduction/removal available); hot-shoe for accessory flash
  • Flash exposure adjustment: +/- 2EV in 1/3 EV increments
  • Sequence shooting: 5 fps/3 fps selectable for up to 31 JPEGs, 8 RAF.RAW or RAW+JPEG frames
  • Storage Media: Approx. 24MB internal memory plus single slot that accepts SD/SDHC/SDXC cards
  • Viewfinder:  Hybrid Reverse Galilean viewfinder with electronic bright frame display and 90% FOV coverage and 0.48-in., approx. 2,360,000-dot colour LCD viewfinder with 100% FOV coverage; approx. 15mm eyepoint, eye-start sensor; dioptre adjustment -2 to +1 dpt, built-in eye sensor
  • LCD monitor: 2.8-inch TFT colour LCD monitor with  approx. 460,000 dots, 100% coverage
  • Playback functions: RAW conversion, Image rotate, Photobook assist, Erase selected frames, Image search, Multi-frame playback (with micro thumbnail), Slide show, Mark for upload, Protect, Crop, Resize, Panorama, Favourites tagging
  • Interface terminals: USO 2.0 Hi-Speed, HDMI (Type C Mini)
  • Power supply: NP-95 rechargeable lithium-ion battery; CIPA rated for approx. 300 shots/charge
  • Dimensions (wxhxd): Approx. 126.5 x 74.4 x 53.9 mm  
  • Weight: Approx. 405 grams (without battery, memory card or accessories); 445 grams with battery and card

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