Saturday, February 20, 2016

First Impressions - Fujifilm X100S

I have been itching to purchase a high-end point and shoot camera such as the Leica Q or the Sony RX1RII, I mean, I have it real bad for either of those two cameras. But the Leica Q costs around $4,500 used and the RX1RII costs around $3,200 new, both cameras are out of my price range for the time being. Besides, I keep looking at my Sony A7R and A7II and wonder why I even need any other cameras. But there's something about a fixed lens point and shoot that captures my imagination, and having seem some amazing sample images, it just makes my mouth water even more.

My photography buddy, Turner, recently purchased the Fujifilm X100T for his soon to be ex-wife, and it's a fantastic camera. And as it so happens, it is also a fixed lens point and shoot, like the aforementioned Leica Q and Sony RX1RII, just not as expensive. I got to shoot with the X100T for half a day when we were shooting our final episode of and it made quite a good impression on me. The FujiX100T comes in around $1000 new, I still didn't want to spend THAT much on what was to be a fun camera that I was going to use for travel and street photography. So what else was out there?

Well, the predecessor to the X100T is the Fujifulm X100S, but what are the differences? Well, for starters, the X100S came out a couple years ago and is available for around $650-800 for a used model, ok, now we're getting into my ball park. Both cameras feature the same 16mp APS-C sensor so the only big differences are that the X100T has a third option for the viewfinder which is a hybrid optical and EVF option. One the X100S you get two choices for the viewfinder, either an optical OR an EVF. That feature is not really a big deal to me, as both the optical AND EVF viewfinder on the X100S are outstanding! Another difference is that the X100T is wifi enabled and the X100S is not, again, not a real deal breaker for me. With all that in mind, I made my mind up to add a Fujifilm X100S to my camera inventory as a stop-gap go-between until I have saved the 3 fricken grand for a Sony RX1RII. Hopefully prices will come down in a couple years, I'm sure there'll be some nice used models available in a few years as well.

But maybe I won't end up buying a Sony RX1RII after all? (Who am I kidding?) The Fujifilm X100S really knocked my socks off today. Today being my first time venturing out onto the streets of Seoul with it. I didn't buy the X100S, I traded for it. And it was a good, fair trade. I found a guy on one of the plethora of Facebook photography pages I belong to, that was willing to trade a nice Fujifilm X100S with lens hood and 2 extra batteries for my Leica 50mm Summicron f/2 DR lens with near focus goggles. It was a tough lens for me to part with but I recently purchased a brilliant Zeiss Planar 50mm f/2 lens and I like it better which made the Leica 50mm expendable. 

The first thing I noticed about shooting with the X100S is just how quiet the shutter is, in fact, it makes almost no noise at all, which is great for street photography. The colors are brilliant and life like and the camera captures images with mixed lighting conditions quite well (see the sample photo below of the mother and child exiting the subway station into the sunlight). 

The X100S fits my hand quite nicely, the trade also included a thumb rest which helps with my grip on the camera. The camera starts up quite fast, so I am able to see a subject, turn the camera on and capture the image within a second or two, I found that I wasn't missing many shots throughout the course of the day.

The battery lasted all day and was still above 90% when I got home. I shot around 100 images.

The lens is really sharp, but don't take my word for it, check out the sample images below!

I really enjoyed my first day out with the Fujifilm X100S, I'm happy it's found a home on my shelf here and I am quite positive I will be reaching for it when I run out the door for whatever photography I happen to be engaged in.

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