The Fuji X100s…Where to start?… This camera is the business. Being heavily involved with photography since 2009, I’ve had my fair share of cameras. Although I prefer to shoot film photography now a days (I just like the look, ritual, experience), I’ve had my fair share of digital cameras. I purchased the X100s back in 2014 somewhere in the middle. I needed to have it. In a lot of ways, the camera is perfect. It’s small, light, has a hybrid viewfinder (super sexy), a leaf shutter, a lightning fast 35mm equivalent lens! It goes on and on. This camera comes fully equipped and truly is a photographers best friend. That being said, this isn’t just a camera that newcomers grab and go with. This camera, although it comes with automatic modes for the newbies, demands manual photographic controls. You’ve got to know what you’re doing to really enjoy this camera. It also sports nice onboard flash unit to provide some fill light when you need it.
I’ve taken this camera just about anywhere. Why? Because it fits, its light enough, its silent enough (electronic shutter), and its fast enough to go with me anywhere and everywhere. Its durable! I’ve dropped it here and there, not down stairs or anything, but it has had its peril. The fixed lens might deter some folks to committing to this camera, but I can tell you, the marriage between the lens and the body ensure optimal image quality.
The hybrid viewfinder and just the ability to even be able to switch between the two should be enough to get any photographer a little moist. The Fuji doesn’t upset here. The EVF on this camera has a ton of configurations to help make you nail the shot just the way you want. I’m not going to go over the menu system, because it’s just a lot of shit. Just know that if you want it, it probably has it. You just have to go look for it in the Fuji Menu Abyss (FMA).
A lot of my printed digital images have come out of this camera. This is largely because this camera was often found on me when the money shot lured its face. I forgot who said it, but “the best camera is the one you have with you” yada yada yada… Now that I predominantly shoot film, this camera doesn’t get much hang time, but when I’m in a squeeze and need quick results, the X100s always has my back. All my colleagues know how boss this camera is. They used to laugh at it and think “that thing? What’s that gonna do?” and boom they see the results and gain respect for this device.
Now for the ironic part. I know plenty of you guys out there would bash me silly for saying this, but I do NOT shoot this camera in RAW. This is simply because the JPEGs that the X-trans Censor produces are spectacular. In conjunction with the film effect settings in the FMA, I get excellent tonal quality from the JPEGs to the point where I don’t even want to edit them. If you don’t believe me check it out yourself.
The one con I would have to admit I don’t personally find an appeal for is the cropped sensor. I know, I know…this old debate. But I don’t care what you have to say. The 23mm lens on here is sharp! Sharp as hell and used in the digital macro mode (found in the FMA) can provide stellar results. However, the lens to me will always feel a little wider than I’m comfortable with. I primarily shoot 35mm focal length. This is why this camera works exceptionally well for me. The 23mm lens seems to distort images a bit more than a true 35mm lenses would towards the edges and the further away I get from the plane that is being shot. This is a very, very nominal give for such a great camera. And for the money, it’s not even worth mentioning. But since this is my honest opinion, that’s honestly the only con I could make note of for this item. If Fuji popped in a full frame sensor and a true 35mm lens, this camera would take over the world, but it also wouldn’t be affordable and I don’t see Fuji jumping into the full frame market anytime soon.
All in all, I know this review is pretty damn late, but even now with the X100T (its successor with Wi-Fi) the camera is still amazing piece of equipment. I know there’s an upgrade looming ahead for this camera line, but there hasn’t been any concrete announcements. Let’s stay tuned! Hope you enjoyed my review. For what it’s worth, I’ve bought and sold plenty of cameras through the years. This camera is the only one I kept. Simply because it’s awesome.
I write these reviews because as a consumer I know how difficult at times it can be to shop for high cost items. Where I can, I like to provide my insight in hopes to drive fellow consumers to a product that better suits their needs. If you have any questions feel free to post them below!