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Author Topic: Fuji X100s First Impressions vs. LL Review  (Read 3483 times)
RFPhotography
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« on: June 29, 2013, 06:50:54 AM »
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I may have managed to find the one remaining X100s here in North America.  It arrived yesterday and I started getting used to how it operates.  Quirky would probably be the best word to describe the operation of the camera.  

I spent a lot of time with the optical and electronic viewfinders as well.  The OVF isn't connected to the focus point at all so it can't be used for manual focus, of course.  The EVF is pretty laggy, particularly wrt brightness changes.  The digital split image MF focus aid is neat and it does work.  I find it a little large in the frame.  

AF is not overly quick at all.  Not nearly as quick as my D800 or D700.  The LL review, http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/fuji_x100s_review___fallinin_love_all_over_again.shtml indicates that the two aren't all that dissimilar in terms of focus speed.  I have to disagree.  Where I really have to take issue with the LL review; however, is with the low light focusing ability.  I know it's probably a bit of hyperbole on Nick's part but this camera can't focus in the dark.  Not even close.  In fact, I'd say the low light AF capability is pretty poor.  I tested this in my family room with the TV on, a light on a side table beside my chair on and the room has a small window at the top of one wall - the small, typical basement emergency egress window.  The room really wasn't all that dark and the camera struggled to focus.  Really struggled.  I also tested it in my office which has two computer monitors and a small light that shines through a heavy frosted glass shade.  Again, not all that dark and the camera repeatedly couldn't attain focus.  I've got the most current firmware, 1.03, installed so any AF updates have been applied.  I will add the caveat that I was working with the camera in silent mode.  In addition to turning off all camera sounds, this mode also disables the flash and the AF assist light.  I'm going to do more testing with the AF assist light enabled.  I really don't like all the beeps and chirps the camera makes, hence the preference for silent mode.  I think it would be a welcome firmware update to disconnect the flash and AF assist light from the camera sounds being on or off.  That said, if the camera truly could 'see in the dark' it wouldn't need the AF assist light.  One feature that I haven't seen mentioned elsewhere is the DOF indicator in the viewfinder distance scale.  The distance scale itself is cool, allowing you to easily pre-focus.  But the DOF indicator is also a neat feature that places a white band around the distance mark.  This band adjusts as you change focus distance and aperture to give you an 'on the fly' estimate of DOF.  Handy.

No images to show as I haven't used it for anything other than grab shots around the house.  Hope to get out with it this weekend to put it to use in the field.

In terms of handling, it is small.  I have fairly large hands with long fingers and it's a bit of work to hold it comfortably, but certainly not unworkable and over time it'll get better as I get more used to it.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2013, 08:08:57 AM by BobFisher » Logged
Sheldon N
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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 09:17:50 AM »
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Agree that the AF is not as fast nor as surefooted in low light as a DSLR. Of course I'm comparing it to my 1DX so I can't really expect that. Smiley

Once I got over that, I've found it to be a great picture taking machine. I'm on vacation with both it and my 1DX and I've probably shot 60-70% of everything with the X100s rather than the 1DX. It's just light, unobtrusive, and easy to shoot with.
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david loble
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« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2013, 10:45:42 AM »
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Bob,

I may have gotten the next to last x100s on 19 June when I drove to Milford (CT) Photo and bought one off the shelf. Parenthetically I'll add that a couple of nice things happened that day: I closed on the sale of my condo and I could actually go the speed limit on I-95 between Norwalk and Milford. That interstate is an incredibly clogged stretch of highway.
Based on my experience with the Fuji XE-1 I put a thumbrest on the 100s and the handling improved greatly, just as it did on the "E-1."  The camera is quirky but as Sheldon said it is easy to shoot and the output is terrific.

David
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2013, 01:11:41 PM »
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I'm thinking of adding the thumbrest.  Will see how it does in a day's worth of shooting tomorrow.
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snoleoprd
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« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2013, 08:32:51 AM »
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I'm thinking of adding the thumbrest.  Will see how it does in a day's worth of shooting tomorrow.

I added a thumb rest to my  x-pro 1 and it really improved handling. I am sure tempted to get a 100s as well, nice auxillary camera to have around.

Alan

edited to correct typo....
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 08:40:30 AM by snoleoprd » Logged

Alan Smallbone
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« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2013, 08:35:05 AM »
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... nice axillary camera to have around.

For those armpit photos?  Wink
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snoleoprd
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« Reply #6 on: July 01, 2013, 08:41:56 AM »
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For those armpit photos?  Wink

sigh.... it is way too early on a Monday morning...  Grin so yes quite possibly...  Grin corrected the typo.... I hope this week goes fast....off to find some coffee

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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« Reply #7 on: July 01, 2013, 09:39:07 AM »
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This week will go quickly, at least in my office, as most everyone is taking Friday off to make a 4-day weekend with the holiday.

To get back on topic, the thumb rest makes a difference in the larger Fuji cameras, and I expect it would be just as useful on the X100s. 
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #8 on: July 01, 2013, 02:43:59 PM »
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To continue with my thoughts on this camera... I shot with it for about 5 hours yesterday.  For the most part I was pre-focusing in manual and using DOF to keep things in focus.  This was street shooting.  The DOF scale is nice, but I think a bit conservative.  I was shooting at f8 with focus set to 7'.  The scale told me I had a DOF from about 5' to 10'.  That seemed a little narrow to me so I checked it when I got home.  Two different calculators indicated DOF from about 4.25' to about 15'.  Conservative is better than liberal but accurate is better still.

The camera does not wake up that quickly.  I lost a few shots because I didn't wake the camera up soon enough before taking the shot.

AF is really not that fast. Conditions were bright and sunny.  There should have been no problems for an AF system.  It didn't hunt and it did find focus, but not quickly.  Most definitely not comparable to my D700 or D800. I'd say not really that much quicker than my cell phone.

Won't know for sure till I get the images onto the computer but based solely on the LCD, I'd say there may be a bit of a bias toward overexposure.  Everything on the screen looked very bright even with the screen brightness turned down some and even after dialing in -2/3 exp comp.  As I say, will know for sure when I get them onto the computer.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2013, 06:12:42 PM by BobFisher » Logged
douglasf13
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« Reply #9 on: July 01, 2013, 05:26:27 PM »
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Yeah, the DOF indicators on the X100 and X100s are known to be very, very conservative.  I basically ignore them.

I've tried thumb rests for a few cameras, and, while they do improve handling, I find that they dig into my body when I'm carrying the camera on the strap, so I stopped using them, although YMMV.

Overall, I like the X100s, and I appreciate it's general speediness over the old X100, although I'd prefer that Fuji stuck with a Bayer sensor.  However, while prices are still high, I plan on selling my X100s, because I prefer the RX1+OVF.
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #10 on: July 03, 2013, 08:13:15 AM »
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Yeah, the DOF scale is very conservative.  I took another look at it yesterday and it's even more conservative than I originally thought.  Same aperture f8, focused to 7' and the scale told me I had from about 6' to 9' as a focus zone.  I obviously misread it when looking at it quickly the other day when shooting.  Will definitely be ignoring that and using the calculator I have on my phone going forward.

My concerns about a possible bias toward overexposure were unwarranted.  The exposure is fine.  The LCD is just very bright, even when turned down 2 notches.  Will have to turn it down further in the future.

Viewing images on the computer and working with them, shadows seem to open up quite well without an objectionable introduction of noise.  On close examination noise is there but it also cleans up fairly well.  In the images I took, the shadow noise was all luminance as well, which is interesting.  The character of the noise is peculiar.  Unlike the typical blotchy noise pattern, this appears almost as a squiggly pattern.  Maybe due to the design of the sensor? 

All in all, it seems like a very nice little camera that can produce terrific looking images.  Quirky operation and carrying/handling issues can be overcome.  But definitely can't agree with the comments from some of the reviews about the AF speed or low light AF ability. 
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soboyle
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« Reply #11 on: July 03, 2013, 09:17:58 AM »
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A bit off topic, but what thumb rest are folks using on their X camera (I have the X-E1)?
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k bennett
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« Reply #12 on: July 03, 2013, 09:43:30 AM »
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I bought the Thumbs Up device after using an X Pro 1 with that brand. They are not inexpensive, though if you order from Popflash you can get the Thumbs Up and a Bop (soft release) at a discount. (The soft release is great, but it keeps getting loose and I find it inside my camera bag.)

I find the thumb rest invaluable for handling my XE1. YMMV, of course.
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snoleoprd
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« Reply #13 on: July 03, 2013, 12:03:22 PM »
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I bought the Thumbs Up but there are tons of knockoffs now, check evil-bay. I use a soft release and it works well, once I got mine tight it stays put,

Alan
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Alan Smallbone
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RFPhotography
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« Reply #14 on: July 03, 2013, 03:30:13 PM »
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Yep, plenty of knock-offs on Evil Bay.
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