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By the time this post was made, Fuji has released a newer version, X100T. A better X100S in some major areas (auto focus, new button layout, 2 stops aperture, and 1 more stop for exposure compensation). So why not choosing X100T instead? A better question will be : do you need the better version?

Fuji X100S Front

Fuji X100S Front

First and foremost, Fuji X series are a rangefinder camera with leaf shutter. A rangefinder camera is nice to use in every occasion, but it’s now more like to be a characteristic to a street photographer. It’s different from others because of the optical viewfinder on the top left side. While holding the camera and using your right eye to do the viewing, your left eye can observe any objects outside the camera frame. This is important so you can prepare yourself if there is someone or something which will enter your frameline. There is no lag whatsoever since it is an optical viewfinder. With the switch, beside the flash (the red dotted switch) can change the optical viewfinder to be an electrical viewfinder. There’s framerate lag though. See a video below what you can do with the viewfinder :

Let’s talk about the leaf shutter. It is silent. You can call it dead silent I suppose. See the video above to hear the shutter. It is also a big feature. First, with the leaf shutter, there is no mirror slams inside the camera body. It reduces vibration. Second, because there is minimum noise, it’s perfect for street photography. People will not be as afraid to be shot with it. No DSLR typical noisy sound. Even if people hear it, it just feels natural.  I use “natural” word a lot because it is the best word to describe Fuji X series. All the sounds, clickiness, and feeling are perfect. It’s not as “digital” as DSLR.

Fuji X100S Top Layout

Fuji X100S Top Layout

What is superior between Fuji X series and other cameras is the button layout. All important stuffs are out there ; from shutter speed, exposure compensation, and aperture (on the lens). This rangefinder and buttons combination you get is the basic of photography technique. Compared with Canon or Nikon DSLR, you still need to meddle with all the settings. Scroll here to change the shutter, scroll there to change the aperture. It is alright, but it does not feel so natural for a photography purist. That is the reason why until now (2015), Leica still does not change their camera layout.ISO setting can be accessed from the Q menu. In fact, you can change everything from this Q menu.

Fuji X100S Q Menu

Fuji X100S Q Menu

What settings are inside this Q menu button :

  • Custom setting
  • ISO
  • Dynamic range
  • White balance
  • Noise reduction
  • Image size and Image quality
  • Film Simulation
  • Highlight and shadow tone
  • Color and sharpness
  • Timer
  • AF mode
  • Flash mode
  • LCD brightness

Aside from that complete menu, Fuji X series are made for someone who needs all purpose camera with street photographers need in mind. They usually shoot with manual focus anyway, so improved AF speed on the newer X100T does not seem significant. If you are a street photograper who enjoys taking photo old way, X100S is enough. Rangefinder, manual focus, great buttons layout, what’s missing? Nothing. For you who needs all around compact camera and fast autofocus, X100T seems to be a better choice.

 

PROS

  • Small body size
  • Great buttons layout
  • Rangefinder style with optical viewfinder
  • Leaf shutter – minimum noise
  • Macro mode
  • ISO performance is good
  • Great white balance and flash light
  • Great color simulation ala Fujifilm

CONS

  • Wide open f/2.0 is soft
  • Macro mode can be frustating using autofocus
  • Autofocus is not as fast as X100T (still acceptable)
  • Dust can get inside optical viewfinder easily

SPECIFICATIONS

  • APS-C – CMOS – EXRII – 16MP
  • 35mm f/2.0 lens
  • Max ISO 12,800
  • Minimum shutter speed 30s
  • Maximum shutter speed 1/4000s
  • Normal focus range 21cm
  • Closest focus range 10cm (there is macro mode)
  • Weight 445 grams

CAN YOU BUY THIS CAMERA?

PRICE : $865

EXTRA

To give a filter and hood to X100S, you must purchase the original filter from Fuji and guess what, it’s quite expensive. There is other way of course :

Remove silver filter thread

Remove silver filter thread

Step 1 is to remove this silver thread. Unscrew it so you see the filter thread on the lens.

 

Use 2 filters

Use 2 filters

Use 2 49mm filter thread. I REPEAT, USE TWO FILTERS. Buy 1 cheap filter and 1 filter you want to really use. Smash the cheap filter glass (I use a fake kenko UV filter). Put it on. Then put the better filter after the smashed one. Fail to do the first filter step will make your lens hit the filter glass when doing autofocus. Once it hits the glass, it’s somehow stuck and you cannot undo it.

3rd party hood filter

3rd party hood filter

Search on Ebay or other side and try to find a 3rd party bayonet hood. The bayonet hood will come in handy. It blocks the sunray better but it also blocks the flash. So if suddenly you have to use the flash, you can remove the hood easily. And yes, you can also see it from the optical viewfinder.

Fuji X100S with 3rd party hood

Fuji X100S with 3rd party hood