Tested: Fuji X100s Camera
Photography is obviously important to us here at Adventure Seekers. Our content heavily relies on the talent and creativity of our contributors who all share a varied background in writing and photography and not only are our contributors based in different parts of the world, they all have different needs and their previous experience dictates what kind of cameras they currently use.
Because of the nature of our goals here, travel photography is a common theme and the issues of lugging around heavy DSLR cameras and their accompanying lenses is quite cumbersome and quite honestly, a bit embarrassing. You never want to be “that guy” on your adventures and I always argue against lugging all that camera gear along with you for fear that it removes one from the experience – Girlfriends and wives only have so much patience and the fact of the matter is, I’d rather share an adventure with people I care about and live in the moment, rather than review it later and prefer to take a quick snap of the moment and tuck the camera away again, continuing on.
So what’s the solution to carrying around a large camera when high quality images are needed? Well, the Fuji x100s is a very good start. The Fuji X100s is an evolution of the rangefinder in a modern, practical application. There are many variations of the travel camera and some are better than others – Ultimately it’s up to you and deciding what your needs are and what you need out of a camera – to some people, a fixed lens especially with travel photography is daunting but to others it’s the perfect tool. We have field tested this camera hiking in the Adirondack mountains (you can read about that here) and also on street walks in Ottawa and Toronto and throughout day-to-day life.
Disclaimer: This is not a scientific review as found on many other photography websites. There aren’t any random photos with the supplied RAW files to test for sharpness. All example photos are to represent any persons ability and reasonable results from using this camera. If you want to pixel-peep, look elsewhere.
– The Camera –
The Fuji x100s is a compact, fixed lens camera with a 16mp aps-c sensor and a 23mm f2 lens. Beautifully styled, compact and with a very robust build quality is what the Fuji brings to the table in terms of it’s aesthetic and control lay out. The dials turn with a “snickity” click and show manual adjustments for exposure compensation, shutter speed and the aperture ring turns smoothly on the lens. The camera is truly a cohesive unit that makes sense to work with; there’s no fumbling about trying to adjust your settings it all becomes second nature quickly.
It’s a resto-mod camera and it takes classic styling and adds modern touches to them. The controls are nicely laid out and make sense to the user and after a few minutes getting comfortable you’re off to the races (here’s a pro-tip – set the ISO to auto with your range from 200-6400 and shoot in aperture priority so you don’t miss the shot fooling around with it). The camera has enough processing power to pull out details from all over the frame – Don’t be shy to skirt the limit here, the Fuji can handle it.
The fast and super sharp f2 23mm lens is fixed to the body, with an 16mp APS-C sensor tucked under the hood making this pack quite a punch when it comes to resolution and when shooting in RAW, expose for the highlights and pull everything out in post – It’s really that easy. Fuji has a special witches brew of processing happening under the hood here and the results are simply beautiful. For more tech specs and the nitty gritty details, refer to Fuji’s details here
It’s clear to see that almost any photographic style can be done with the x100s – Gritty street photography, general photos, landscapes, macros and snapshots.
-What We Like –
+ It’s probably the best overall travel package, at this price. Coming in at $1400 CAD there isn’t much that has the same aesthetics, usability and range of the X100s.
+ The ISO and dynamic range is better than some DSLRs and there’s a ton of information to pull out of the shadows for a complete image. If RAW isn’t your thing, the jpegs are fine for travel use as is the film emulation modes pre-built into the camera to replicate the famous Fuji prints.
+ The design. Fuji really nailed the hybrid of modern and retro and allowing an old-school shutter button but still packaging in the rear LCD screen so it doesn’t look too out of place.
+ Built in ND filter at the tap of a button? Amazing.
+ The fast (in this case, just so you don’t have to ask anyone – “fast” is referring to how wide the lens aperture opens and the smaller the number, the less depth of field) and super sharp 23mm lens (35mm FX equivalent) is a real treat.
+ The handling. Everything just makes sense.
+ The auto-shut off feature to save battery life. Honestly, we left it on by mistake for a few days before taking it out to shoot only to have it “wake up” and still have most of its juice left.
-What Needs Work-
– The auto-focus just kind of chugs along and depending in the light hunt around before it locks. If you are shooting any fast action or low-light movement with the X100s you’ll probably come away frustrated but don’t fear, there’s a totally different camera for that (your dslr). That’s not to say it is crippling, you just have to be more aware of what’s happening with the camera while you shoot with it.
– The software running on the camera doesn’t have the same aesthetic or intuitive feel you’d expect from looking at the camera. It’s clunky and slow and looks a little too pedestrian. Users will know what we mean when they delete a photo and it crumbles away in pixelated blocking.
– There is no mirror slap so the camera makes it’s own fake noise when taking a photo, we promptly turned this off and used it in silent mode.
– Would love for the focus points to be easily changed without digging into the menu or taking it away from your face.
The Fuji X100s surprised us, hands down.
Believe the hype, this well designed and equally well executed imaging device is exactly as advertised; functional, modern and technologically impressive in a small package. The camera is ideally suited as a second or third body for the acting photographer or the only camera for hobbyists and travel enthusiasts.There may be better ones out there, but we like this one based on how strong of a player Fuji is currently with it’s compact camera series including the XT-1 that’s available.
There were very few circumstances where we wished something different about the camera or felt that it had a fatal flaw that impeded our shooting, especially used in true rangefinder fashion in manual focus…Our throwaway rate when using the X100s was surprisingly low and depending on your level of commitment to the photos (hammering out jpegs or shooting in raw + post processing) we’re totally cool with doing either. This will either retain your memories or create as beautiful images as the user so pleases, it’s totally up to you.