June 13th, 2014 … Fuji X100s … Observations

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For me, a camera has to meet or pass certain expectations without compromise. Obviously size, interface, build quality, image quality are among the most important elements to make a camera a friend and not a tool. The Fuji X100s meets all my expectations, flies above them and introduced some I hadn’t expected. I have no interest in comparing the camera with any other camera at all. Other shooters do that and way better than I can. What I will do is explain some of the things that make the camera unique among it’s peers without comparing.

06-14-0061-EditI can’t get it all done in one post and I don’t want to anyway. I’ll keep this going as my use with the X100s grows and update as new things come to the surface.

The Fuji X100s has a feel to it that is very nice in the hand. It has enough heft to it to make it feel solid but to too much to burden the wrist. The buttons are well placed with enough space so that you don’t have the camera playing tricks on you. I am using a Thumb Grip and I’m not 100% with it yet. For horizontal shots it’s perfect but turning the camera to do verticals is maybe not so perfect. This is the fault of the grip and not the camera. When you raise the camera to the finder, it places perfectly every time and there is also a diopter adjustment that doesn’t slip out of adjustment. I have but don’t use the lens hood, The camera fits in my front jeans pocket east even with the thumb grip. WHAT A PLEASURE!  I will get into this more but the basic flavor is here.

User Interface:

Here’s where Fuji really has it mastered.  I won’t talk about the other Fuji cameras just the X100s. When I’m working, I set the camera to Auto ISO topped at 6400. I tested the high ISO and it’s good to 6400. Now that’s impressive. The idea of Auto ISO for me is to enable M Mode without an intrusion from the camera. So using M Mode, I set the aperture and shutter speed and the camera sets the ISO. This is standard with many cameras and it’s a feature that must be there for or any serious shooter.

Image Quality:

Well, it goes without saying that if you like APS-C, you will love the X100s. The files are nothing short of superb. I booger them up of course but they do so in a good way without breaking up. They respond to Nik Plugins excellently and better than any camera I have used to far. I’m really not a IQ freak but I must be able to extract the details I want especially  during preset design. This camera delivers wonderfully. I shoot Raw only and the files process great after converting to DNG in LightRoom.

So to the nitty gritty. I guess it’s really about seeing with the camera.

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Now I have been known to use a 35mm FOV for many years. I guess, it’s the Natural FOV for me as I don’t have to move when the camera is at the ready. The other thing of utmost importance is Aspect Ratio. The aspect ratio of 3:2 is desirable for me because it’s what I have been using since last century. 4:3  is nice also but the dynamics are with less visual tension.

With this camera, the Fuji X100s, I get my stance and usually within 90% of the time,  I am at the spot I need to be to make the frame. This for me is crucial as any movement from the camera changes perspective. I also don’t shoot to crop and it’s a very rare occasion that I would crop an image. That brings me to the most important feature of the X100s.

The Finder System:

The camera has a very nice screen and for the most part, I only use it for settings. This is very different for me because I am a screen shooter. This camera begs for the eye finders. The EVF is great  but I only use it for extreme close up or Macro. The camera really want’s the OVF to be used.

Ok, so the OVF system has some critical things that must be addressed. The Parallax is one, Frame Line accuracy is another and of course, Auto Focus Accuracy.

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06-14-0083-EditThe OVF is the business end of the Fuji X100s. Let me qualify my opinions. I have been a RF user since 1969. I have used many, (to many) Leica M cameras and know the by heart. The X100s is more accurate than any RF camera made. The reason is that it has a fixed Focal Length Lens. This allows Fuji to tighten the frame lines and get them very accurate. I can not stress this single fact enough. The camera has the most accurate frame lines I have ever used. The Leica M4 with the 35mm frame is very accurate to around 94%. I am finding the X100s to be even mor accurate than that. To the point that I can’t see any edge of the frame line that is off enough to even notice. This is very remarkable and makes the X100s a master camera for anything using a 35mm lens.

06-14-0068-EditI probably have a lot more to say but I’m enjoying the experience of the X100s very much. I’ll do more over the  weekend.

…………………………..End Transmission ,…………………………………………………………………….

17 thoughts on “June 13th, 2014 … Fuji X100s … Observations”

  1. Glad you’re enjoying the x100s Don. I love mine and don’t plan to part withit any ttime soon. On the other hand, I’ve just picked up a Leica M2 to go with my Summaron so I’m looking forward to revisiting shooting with film once iit’s back from it’s CLA. Hope the neck continues to improve!

    1. Thanks Treve.. the beloved M2. One of the best they ever mad, It’s a great camera to use… enjoy and thanks again…. don

    1. Thank you, very kind of you. I must admit I am on the start with the camera so I expect much better work shortly… thanks again my friend.

  2. Hi Shooter. Great images to go along with this post. Some of your best in a while. The X100S does inspire you, clearly. A camera that has the best interface for your shooting style is vital to get you in the flow, and you clearly are. Great BW conversions too. How do you build your borders? I love the organic look they have.
    Keep shooting!

    1. G, Thanks man. The X100s is really a dream. I just use it the way I always used my Leicas. The conversion are done in either Nik Silver Effex 2 (borders) or in LR.

      1. Hi Don, you’re right, it’s Leica minus the $$$ and the weight… Ok, I still am fond of my M’s but you’re right, whenever I’ve gone out (and even on short trips) without the brass bodies but just rely on the little X, I rarely if ever missed the bigger brothers. My Rome series earlier this year was all Fuji and I enjoyed the discipline it forced me to. Night performance is also great, better than the M9 (though not as good as the Monochrom I guess).

        I have yet to play intensively with NIk’s SE2, came with the Monochrom as a freebie (ahem…). All I know is that it produces super-heavy TIFFs and that has stopped me from experimenting more heavily: I am quite happy with what I can get of out my Lightroom 5 presets without adding files to the hard drives. Except, to the point, the borders, for which I use the Mogrify plugin for the basic black frame but it’s a very ‘digital’ box, nothing pleasant…

        1. G, the M’s are great but the changing of the guard has happened and so far I am extremely happy with the X100s. I don’t miss the darkroom even tho’ it’s still setup and the door is locked. The X100s is here to stay for sure….. read the blog this wee cause I’m starting something new

  3. Thanks for another great posting Don. I took GRD4 and X100S downtown a couple days ago – first outing with the X100S. I rapidly realized that X100S is no mere point&shoot and that I need to spend some time getting acquainted before using again. So did the majority of shooting with the GRD4. So your post here is very helpful. And duh…I better read the manual first. Take care and look forward to your next post – as always. https://www.flickr.com/photos/121791849@N03/

    1. Dave, Thanks again. I find the X100s to be about as perfect as a camera can get, for me. It’s very fast and compact and a pleasure to use. I haven’t touched any other camera since I started using it. It’s a very intuitive camera for sure…..
      don

  4. Very interesting and I really like your pictures.
    I was shooting with canon but had the same problem you had with the weight, now I only use the x100s even tough I own the xpro1 and xt1.
    the 2 extension lens are also a joy to use and makes the perfect trio 28 35 and 50mm.
    I enjoy your blog very much please keep up the good work.
    Happy shooting.

    1. Bernard, thanks for the comments. You are always welcomed to post anything. I don’t think I would use the extension lenses. The camera is soooo compact… well….. you get it….

  5. Hi Don. I usually keep up with your blog via my RSS reader so it’s unusual that I comment but I thought I would here. It’s great to see you so enthusiastic about the X100s, I have the same camera and I love it. I don’t have the experience shooting with as many different great cameras as you do so I can’t draw similar comparisons but what I can say is that the camera is a pleasure to use. I look at it on the shelf and it just begs to be picked up and used, i feel a real connection to it and it looks lie you do to.

    I love the “limitations” of the fixed lens and I think that it’s these “limitations” that will help me grow as a photographer. I find the interface to be very intuitive and I like that I can just turn everything off and work with the OVF, it leaves me to focus on my subject and not the camera. I’m looking forward to more posts from you on this great camera and lots more great images.

    Cheers

    1. Lee,Thanks first off.. welcome home. Listen, that reference about limitations… forget that all together. In photography as in life we must abide by the rule of the Inverse Square Law. This means that using a single focal length lens (LESS), that our vision must do (More) because the camera sees less. So what may be seen as a limitation by many, should be seen as more less intrusion by the few. I know you get this and follow the blog because starting this week, I am looking for readers to show work.

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