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.
Who’s 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.
How Does it Handle?
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.
Not so good for:
RRP: AU$1449; US$1299.95