Four years ago I bought my first big DSLR camera, and of course I was absolutely stoked with it; how professionally the camera works and what can be created with it. When you’re out and about with such a big camera, shooting street or lifestyle snaps, you receive one or the other look from people, and often wind up having a discussion about it. It’s simply a cool thing, and everyone, no matter how uninformed, associates a certain professionality with it.
At some point however, such a large, expert camera for everyday use becomes tiresome. More importantly: you eventually come to the realisation that it’s not the camera that makes the photo, but the photographer. Proof of a true photographer’s merit can be that despite those times when you don’t have a “professional” camera at hand, you can still create great photos.
Besides, such a DSLR is simply heavy, clunky, and often too bulky and conspicuous. Therefore, what I wanted was a smaller camera. It should, however, be able to shoot photos in RAW, have good ISO capabilities, allow uncomplicated manual adjustments, and ideally have a prime lens with wide aperture and manual focus. May I introduce: the Fujifilm X100s.
What i like
The Operating Concept
The Camera abandons the mode dial for various automatic modes on the surface. Instead, there’s a dial for exposure time and one for over/under exposure. The aperture can be set directly on the lens, and the “fn” button can be used to change the ISO. On top of that, all of these control dials have a very nice feel. For me personally, they work more than perfectly, and I like them a lot better than the operating concept of my Canon 5D Mark II.
Fujinion 23mm / f 2.0 with a possibility of manual focus. Through the APSC sensor, the whole thing becomes a “real” 35mm lens. It captures really very sharply, and provides excellent picture quality and in combination with the sensor, a nice bokeh.
The Picture quality
Definitely way higher than my expectations! Beautiful details that are actually not so far away from the 5D Mark II. But what’s even better is the ISO capability. I have shot photos at ISO 2000 and couldn’t believe what I saw: NOTHING. I checked my EXIFs but it was actually ISO 2000. I didn’t expect such quality from this camera. Absolute WOW effect. My 5D Mark II produces more noise!
The assistance for manual focus
Various focussing helpers can be set for the Liveview and digital viewfinder. Among other things, a sectional view and – my personal favourite: “Focus Peak Highlight” an oversharp representation of the area in focus which results in white lines on the display. I only knew of this from professional videocameras, and it works for me wonderfully.
HDR and Panorama Function
The camera offers the ability to create HDR-photos over multiple exposures. On top of that, there’s a panorama function, similar to that of modern Smartphones in the way that it works by moving the camera horizontally.
The Digital Viewfinder
Basically the display is presented 1:1 in the viewfinder. Personally, I find this very comfortable, even though it’s something to get used to. Cool: the image area is able to be zoomed in on like in the liveview, and therefore easier to focus.
What i don’t like
Of course! I wanted a smaller camera, but it feels somewhat strange in my hands and I feel a bit cramped, even though I don’t have particularly big hands. Maybe it’s simply a matter of getting used to.
In bad lighting conditions, it functions a bit unreliably, and isn’t the fastest. For me personally that’s not a big minus point, because I focus 98% manually.
The Manual Focus
Works great, except the translation of the mechanical focus ring is unreliably slow, so that I’m sometimes not sure if it’s doing anything or not.
The rotary dial
In principal a really good thing: similar to the big Canons, the camera has a rotary dial on the right of the display, that can also be pressed. Although here it’s so flimsily and sensitively built, that I worry that it won’t last long in my hands.
No WiFi & Folding Display
This is too bad. The camera has an extra menu with settings for Eye-Fi-cards but no WiFi of its own. Cheaper cameras have had this function for ages, and it would have been a really useful and comfortable addition here. It’s the same with the folding display. Almost state of the art technology, and it would make things a lot easier for me.
Short and easy: Yes, it does what a professional photographer would expect of it. Yes, it’s worth the money. Hell yes, it looks sexy!
Shot with the Fuji X100s
ISO 4000 out of cam, full resolution
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More photos to follow in the next Blogposts!