Fuji My re-review of X100 (Owned one, Sold it. One year later, bought another)

phdezra

Regular
Jun 11, 2012
Hi all. I've owned a few cameras over the past two years, but I kept coming back to my experience and images with the X100 that I owned in early 2011 shortly after it first came out. Naturally, like all of us who use cameras regularly - I have matured as a photographer over the past two years, so I recently re-purchased an X100. Here are my quick re-review thoughts on the major, major issues that prevent people form buying this superb camera or alternatively that spur people to sell it:

Auto Focus
- Way, way better than I remember it in May 2011. The X100 I have now came with ver 1.1 firmware which I promptly upgraded to 1.3. The AF is not as peppy as my O-MD EM-5, but it's better than my Coolpix 995 (2002) ever was! Really now, it is still so easy to jab at less-than-perfect AF camera performance, but it is well more than ample. Heck, I still remember marveling at my brother's ability to manual focus his Minolta XG1 in the early 1980s... I have little kids, as well as like doing street photo work, it's more than capable. Remember, Cartier-Bresson did all that "moment" work with a MF camera...

Image Quality - Yes, this is the reason I re-bought one. Even though I owned an O-MD E-M5 recently with the new 12-35/2.8 lens from Panasonic or even the PanaLeica 25/1.4, nothing really compared favorably to the X100. When I was in B&H (which I am lucky to work near), I chatted up the salesman behind one of the counters and his reaction was: "Of course. The X100 lens is hand-ground from superb glass. It's better than some Leica lenses."

Fixed focal length lens
- This was also a relative complaint of mine (and others) of the X100, but I really dont mind it now. If I need to zoom, I use my feet. If doing that is not an option, and if I really really need to have zoomed in, I'll crop part of the photo. The IQ and sharpness is *so* good, that even cropping for print purposes loses nothing. Ergo, the 135 equiv of 35mm can easily be cropped to 50mm (or even 75mm) and printed to 5x7 with no major loss. But, if one is going to pixel peep and blow it up to 500%, then of course it will appear inadequate if you need zoom.

Re-Loving it and image quality...

Cheers.
 
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
... if I really really need to have zoomed in, I'll crop part of the photo. The IQ and sharpness is *so* good, that even cropping for print purposes loses nothing. ...

Cheers.
This is something which blows me away time and time again, when I actually manage to nail a shot (I often get camera jolt when I hit the shutter release, technique needs VAST improvement). Its an amazing camera. I have not been able to get sharp like this even out of my K5. But that, too, is probably down to my inability to hold still at the critical moment.

Thanks for the mini review, glad you saw the light :)
 

phdezra

Regular
Jun 11, 2012
(I often get camera jolt when I hit the shutter release, technique needs VAST improvement). Its an amazing camera. I have not been able to get sharp like this even out of my K5. But that, too, is probably down to my inability to hold still at the critical moment.
Camera jolt as hit shutter release could be ameliorated a few ways. Firstly, have you purchased a small "soft" shutter release button? I own one from match technical, called the Red Bop, linked: Bop Red Satin for Fuji X100) but you can find many on ebay. It really can make a difference in the slight-squeeze-to-prefocus and then full-squeeze to snap. That last full squeeze is smooth as silk with the soft shutter release.

Also, I have owned cameras (digital and film) before everything had IS/VR/etc built into the body or the lens, and these days I think people are relying too much on the Image Stabilization properties, which admittedly do help in many situations, and yet still not learning basics of how to keep the camera body stable/still at the critical moment.

This is something which blows me away time and time again, when I actually manage to nail a shot
Indeed - the ability to crop an X100 image is the best Ive come across, and again this is even better than fro my O-MD E-M5 with the 12-35 on it. For instance, in succession here are three shots taken SOOC, JPEG of my youngest daughter. Note this was taken indoors with nasty lighting combo of incandescent overheard but large bay window with sun from the right (of photo) - good luck metering that one :doh:

The crops are insanely good. In fact, by the third crop below you can see that in fact what appeared all in-focus in first shot, was not. Meaning, I quickly snapped this photo wide-open (F/2) and was too focused on her eyes, as such the hair on her left (right of photo) was OOF. Only by the third crop can you see this detail! The fineness of her hair (look above forehead) on the third image is lifelike and tack sharp even on a crop of this magnitude. Enjoy.

Equiv focal length of these photos I believe is something like a) 35mm (no cropping), b) 50mm, c) 75mm.






 

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thekeddi

Top Veteran
Aug 15, 2011
South Australia
Stop it! lol

Your making me want to get another X100, I too have bought and sold :-(

I regret it again and have been thinking the unthinkable lol

Nothing comes close in my price range to the quality of photos I was getting from my old X100, ahhhhhh I do miss it :-(
 

jloden

All-Pro
Jun 30, 2012
Jay
phdezra said:
Fixed focal length lens - This was also a relative complaint of mine (and others) of the X100, but I really dont mind it now. If I need to zoom, I use my feet. If doing that is not an option, and if I really really need to have zoomed in, I'll crop part of the photo. The IQ and sharpness is *so* good, that even cropping for print purposes loses nothing. Ergo, the 135 equiv of 35mm can easily be cropped to 50mm (or even 75mm) and printed to 5x7 with no major loss. But, if one is going to pixel peep and blow it up to 500%, then of course it will appear inadequate if you need zoom.

Re-Loving it and image quality...
I picked up a used X100 a little over a week ago and have been using it since then trying to decide if it's ultimately for me. I am for sure more comfortable with my m4/3 gear, but I'm trying to give myself enough time and effort to learn the X100 fully before I decide. Usually, I know right away when something is a go or no go, but the X100 makes me change my mind daily!

So far, I have not been able to get used to the controls, the fixed 35mm equiv (I'm used to 20-25mm on m4/3), and the optical viewfinder. The parallax focus area adjustment and composition are difficult as heck for me. The past day or two I've been focusing on the EVF instead, which I had initially expected not to be using very much. Oh, and I abhor the manual focus. I have a hard time even calling it manual focus, it's more like "manual frustration", so I just don't use it and treat the X100 as an AF-only camera.

BUT - the IQ and fuji colors (shooting JPG for the film modes, especially Velvia) are what suck me back in every time. That, and the aesthetic of the camera appeals... if I leave it out on the table I can't help but pick it up and look for something photograph :biggrin: I completely concur about cropping too. The 35mm equiv is a little wide for a lot of shots, but I've been really astonished how much I've been able to crop and still get a usable image. This in many cases has rescued compositions for me that were too wode or just off due to framing with the OVF incorrectly. I begin to see what I miss out on using smaller sensors in some instances!

At least five times now I've made up my mind to sell the X100, and then I look at a couple images from the past week and change it back :rolleyes: Just before reading this thread I was thinking about selling it again, and someone posted a really positive comment on one of a couple dozen photos from a winery tour today. And of course, it was the only one of the set taken with the X100. I'm beginning to get the feeling that if I do sell this camera I'm going to regret it shortly thereafter!
 
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Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
... Oh, and I abhor the manual focus. I have a hard time even calling it manual focus, it's more like "manual frustration", so I just don't use it and treat the X100 as an AF-only camera.
Oh god! I hate it, too. You wouldn't want to be doing a manual focus for "the decisive moment"... unless you were looking for "the decisive 5 minutes". I have tried to like the manual focus but I utterly detest it and the camera stays on AF-S 99% of the time.
 

kwaphoto

Regular
Jun 16, 2012
Colorado, USA
Ken W. Andrews
I'm still in love with my X100 (purchased 11/15/2011). I started with digital back 2002 with a Canon D30 (the original 3.3MP) and have since shot with a lot of different gear. The X100, hands down, has the best metering, jpg processing/color, manual feel and overall VF I've used. Sure, I had DSLR's that can run rings around it with AF or some really nice L series zooms, but this X100 is just magic.

The closest I can come to it was my original Olympus E-1 in 2006. I had it for a couple years and then sold it as it was "old". Even after I had a great E-3, I still missed it. There was something special about it, so bought one used and kept it for quite a while - I should have keep my original.

I've learned from that experience and truly feel that the Fuji X100 is like that E-1 for me. It may not be the fastest, the most MP, etc., but it's never let me down and it has that magic about it. For a compact, I feel the same way about my little X10 as well. Sure, it has its' quirks and I've sent it in for the sensor blooming issue, but I want to back and do miss it after a few days in the mail. I think Fuji just replaced the camera. It arrived at Fuji late Thursday evening and they have a package that shipped back to me on Friday afternoon. It will arrive on Tuesday.

Maybe it's the X series for me (without the XS-1)...hmmm, maybe I'll have an X-Pro 1 in the future?
 
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nippa

Top Veteran
Aug 7, 2010
Cheshire UK
Dennis
I chatted up the salesman behind one of the counters and his reaction was: "Of course. The X100 lens is hand-ground from superb glass. It's better than some Leica lenses."
When it works I really enjoy using my X100 but wide open the lens cannot match my Leica X1 lens and therein lies my biggest disappointment with it having read all the hype.
Currently talking to Fuji UK about why it won't start up every time causing me to lose a lot of important shots.... not a memory card problem ...possibly a heat/power problem using it at close to 40 degrees centigrade!
Now that I'm back in cooler temperatures it seems to be working OK but my confidence in it has gone.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Oh god! I hate it, too. You wouldn't want to be doing a manual focus for "the decisive moment"... unless you were looking for "the decisive 5 minutes". I have tried to like the manual focus but I utterly detest it and the camera stays on AF-S 99% of the time.
Except that the vast majority of "decisive moment" shots that have been done with manual focus cameras / lenses over the years have been done using zone focus so the camera is pre-focussed and the only thing the shooter would have to wait for is the shutter release, which is plenty quick on the X-100 once you understand how to anticipate the "aperture dance" it does in bright light. MF not much use for critical focus unlesss you've got some time on your hands, but for zone focus it works fine...

-Ray
 
Jan 31, 2011
Newcastle, Australia
Sue
Except that the vast majority of "decisive moment" shots that have been done with manual focus cameras / lenses over the years have been done using zone focus so the camera is pre-focussed and the only thing the shooter would have to wait for is the shutter release, which is plenty quick on the X-100 once you understand how to anticipate the "aperture dance" it does in bright light. MF not much use for critical focus unlesss you've got some time on your hands, but for zone focus it works fine...

-Ray
I get that, Ray, but after spending minutes twisting and turning the focus ring and wondering if it would *ever* focus, I've just decided to leave it alone. Not worth it just for the few times I might want it. Snap focus on the GRD3 will do me :)
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
I get that, Ray, but after spending minutes twisting and turning the focus ring and wondering if it would *ever* focus, I've just decided to leave it alone. Not worth it just for the few times I might want it. Snap focus on the GRD3 will do me :)
Yeah, I get that. I find both Ricoh's system and any good manual (not by wire) lens better and quicker for zone focus, which matters if I'm switching back and forth a lot or changing distances a lot. I love the Olympus 12mm on an m43 body for this - I like that "snap" focus ring even better than Ricoh's approach and I like Ricoh's approach a LOT. But zone focus is often a set and forget proposition for me, with changes to distance and/or aperture happening pretty rarely, so I found the X100 and find the X-Pro perfectly adequate for it, if not quite perfect...

-Ray
 

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