Fuji X100 – a quick review

Fujifilm Finepix X100

Fuji X100

I’m really, really late to the party on this as the Fujifilm X100 has been around quite a while now. But this is such a fantastic little camera, that I feel compelled to do a quick, non-techie write up on it.

I have to start by saying that this is my absolute favourite camera at the moment. Forget the Hasselblads and Canons that I use on a daily basis for work – they’re all great but none of them put a smile on my face like the little Fuji. That’s not to say it’s perfect or doesn’t have flaws; for instance it sometimes goes to sleep on you and takes a frustrating moment or two to wake up. And it’s certainly not as fast to use as a DSLR. It also has a few other minor niggles and quirks but they’re really too insignificant to worry about. And anyway, if you just invest just a little time in getting to know the X100 and you’ll soon find ways to manage these little quirks until you forget about them completely.

So why is it such a great camera? Here’s a list of it’s best features:

•  it has a super-sharp, 35mm equivalent F2 lens – perfectly matched to…

•  the large APS-C sensor which delivers amazing image quality

•  ‘proper’, positive manual controls for aperture and shutter speed

•  it’s built like a small tank

•  the hybrid viewfinder is superb

•  almost silent operation

•  great at high ISO’s

•  lovely retro design

If you need to check out some technical reviews, go ahead as there are plenty of them around. I just think this isn’t a camera to buy because of it’s technical specs, although they are very respectable. No, this is a camera to buy because you love photography. It’s so great to use: it handles brilliantly, the viewfinder is a revelation, the fixed focal-length lens – yes, fixed, no zooms here – is fabulously crisp and the wide aperture/high ISO performance combination means it will shoot decent images in near-darkness. Add to this an incredibly reliable metering system, auto white balance that is nearly always spot-on and great out-of-the-box, hi-res jpegs (if you don’t want to shoot RAW) and you have a very convincing camera indeed. You’ll also find that the silent operation and relatively small size mean you can take it with you anywhere and get images with this camera that you’d never get with a hulking great DSLR.

It’s fair to say that the Fuji X100 has changed the way I feel about taking pictures outside of my work life. It’s so lovely to use, so tactile, so immediate, that I pick it up at the least opportunity. My kids have never had their photos taken so often! And as it never fails to deliver image quality that is an absolute wonder for so modest a camera. I never feel I’m resorting to second best if I take it out instead of a DSLR and I’ve even used it to shoot commercial work where a DSLR would have been too noisy and obtrusive. Praise Indeed.

8 Responses to “Fuji X100 – a quick review”

  1. Chris Tweed says:

    I’ve owned an X100 since March this year. I loved it from the start, but the more I shoot with it the more I love it. I tend to pick the X100 up first rather than my EOS 7D now and when I took my family for a holiday in Rome earlier this year it was the X100 I took with me for the trip. It didn’t let me down, I was glad not to be lugging around an entire backpack full of kit and I didn’t waste any time with all that lens swapping. Hope you enjoy yours as much as I do mine, it certainly sounds like you do. A photographer’s camera.

  2. Keith says:

    Hi Chris
    Yes, totally agree with all you say. Very little fuss and effort to get great results. And definitely a photographer’s camera.

  3. Brian Carroll says:

    Hi Keith

    Interesting post. I recently sold all my old Nikon bits (use Canon now for video) and neeearly went for the x100 due to the brilliant and passionate reviews. But went for the X-E1 and the 35mm lens instead, as I liked the sound of the new lineup of Fuji lenses coming out in near future. Love it.
    ‘Hope you’re well?

  4. Keith says:

    Hi Brian
    The X-E1 looks like a lovely piece of kit too. It’s a great range they’re putting together.
    I think I’d have to go for the X-Pro1 if I wanted interchangeable lenses as I couldn’t do without the optical viewfinder – I think it’s a photographer thing! Though part of the charm of using the X100 is the fixed lens which doesn’t give you the option of buggering about changing lenses.
    All’s well here thanks, trust you are too? You should call over when you get 5 – it would be good to catch up.

  5. Brian Carroll says:

    Hi Keith
    Sorely tempted by the OVF and 35mm lens on the X100 – but had to make a choice on where to spend the dosh! The current X100 price on Amazon is very tempting (especially the batman-black one) but I will resist.
    Catch-up sounds good – I’ll check free dates in coming weeks and give you a shout to check you’re free.

  6. Keith says:

    Always a trade off about where to spend the cash, Brian!
    I often have lunch or a beer with Jonathan Morris – I think you two know each other? I can let you know when we next get together if you fancy it?

  7. Brian Carroll says:

    Lunch and a beer sounds great.
    Always good to catch up with Jon.

  8. Keith T says:

    Had mine a couple of months now. I bought the black beauty. Sold all my Canon gear – 5dMKII and L series lenses – and purchased the X100 instead. I haven’t loved a camera in the same way since I parted with my Contax G2. This little camera is a sheer joy to use.

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