My X100S - Even More Seriously

Following up on yesterday's post with a few additional thoughts that incorporate some sporadic discussion that ensued along with a smattering of other randomness regarding the mystical Fuji X Series-ness.

First off there are a couple of things I want to state very clearly given that some of my commentary could lead one to believe that I don't much care for the Fuji cameras. I will say it again for absolute crystal clarity - I absolutely adore them. I am just not the type that errs on the side of gratuitous praise. I love my little Fuji X100S. It's absolutely the very first camera to come along with the right mix of stuff that's important to me in a compact camera.

I love the pictures it makes not because of close examination at the pixel level because of what they look like at the macro level. In some ways this is "technical" like the sensor size vs the focal length vs the maximum aperture - APS-C is probably the limit on the small end of what I consider acceptable in terms of that equation. That may have an effect on noise performance but of more import to me is that angle of view to focal length to subject distance ratio and how that actually looks. I would probably like it even more with a bigger sensor and a longer lens with the same aperture at this subject distance/angle of view…

I love the way the lens draws at f/4 to f/2. A very important factor to the way I want my pictures to look. No matter if by accident or by design I find the way the little Fujinon 23mm lens renders very very attractive… I like that it's performance is not clinical or linear and changes drastically between that range of apertures. Contrast the image at the top to this one…

Both shot at f/2 under different lighting conditions both attractive one showing the halation/flare characteristics one not. Here's one in insanely backlit conditions - worse than the top image at f/4…

Sorry I didn't do any apples to apples tests of nothing to show you lately. Even so you can probably see that the difference between f/2 and f/4 are like completely different cameras - yes all the post is the same - VSCO film 01 400H on import. Just to for illustration here's another at f/2

It's still sharp for sure when it comes to low frequency edges but it looses a bit of that high frequency detail bite. I guess you could look at that resolution falloff and flare performance difference as a defect or a flaw that somehow must be eliminated at all costs as if resolving fine details is somehow the ne plus ultra of imaging characteristics to be sought after. Me - I look at it as a versatile tool and one that I happen to like.

I like the viewfinder - especially the optical viewfinder with no "lag" reasonable framing accuracy - or enough at normal distances and enough magnification where I can actually see what the hell is going on on peoples faces etc… I guess that's not important for static stuff - for people. More important than anything else. Especially for the subject matter I gravitate towards in combination of the way I like to shoot them.

In summary I praise Fuji for making this camera along with the X-Pro-1 and some very attractive lenses at very attractive prices all things considered and frequent rebates applied. Am I excited about the XE-1 or the XM-1? Not really - we already have a bunch of companies doing those cameras I don't even understand them. Why would you choose to have no OVF? Why would you choose to have no viewfinder at all? Cheaper? Really? I am not a big fan of the big zooms either - I guess it's okay for them to make them. Guess they are okay if you need them and all you have is a Fuji body. I don't see the point at all of buying into the X-Series for the sole purpose of an XM1 and two big giant zooms. This is why I don't have a NEX or other ill-conceived camera of that sort.

What would I love to see sometime from Fuji? Here's a fantasy list in no particular order.

  • How about an X200 with a 35mm f/1.4. With that and the X100 I would be pretty much set nothing else required. Truth is I would rather those two than a larger X-Pro-1 with two larger lenses of equivalent focal length.
  • I hate, hate, hate, hate that I have to fiddle with the little lever on the back of the camera to change 1/3 stop increments of aperture in manual. Hate it. Would love to see this fixed with 1/3 stop clicks on the fly by wire traditional aperture ring.
  • Hey how about the X100/X200 with a 35mm film sized sensor and associated glass? Keep it the same size - EXACTLY. If the film guys could do it in the 70's with a prism and a mirror and space for film why can't Fuji do it with micro electronics, no prism, no mirror, no space for film???
  • How about selectable color for the focus peaking - Yes I use the EVF every once and a while.
  • Better buttons for the really important stuff.
  • Gimmie an option for a black one without paying for limited edition nonsense. Who the hell do you think you are? The old Leica? Is that who you want to be? Do you want to make cameras for "collectors" or photographers? WTF?

Okay that's about all I want - oh and give me some negative film dynamic range in the highlights. I am pretty pleased with the way the highlights leave when they do go - good progress but not done yet. Work on that vs the DR400% bullshit of underexposing and boosting the dark parts up. Doesn't really look that good imho plus you Fuji is confusing the idiots into thinking this is somehow "better" actual DR.

One last thought on the X100S vs the original X100. Yes the X100 is "better" in some ways. In most ways it's pretty much the same camera and if you are happily shooting the X100 I wouldn't worry too much about the awe-inspiring (not) better-ness. Forget it, especially if you are a bit limited on the cash. Spend your money on other stuff like gas to go make a trip to shoot what you want to shoot. Or a great hotel room as a location - far bigger difference in the images than the X100 vs the X100S. Fact is there is one thing I like about the X100 better - it sounds better in actual operation. It's quieter and more refined feeling. Don't know why but it is… The S is "grindy-er" maybe because it is faster but it definitely feels less smooth. The "S" has a shitty box too.

The X100 makes nice pictures too… Here's one from a while back at f/2 ISO 1600 processed with VSCO film 01 Fuji 800Z. Just for reference all of the above shots were ISO 200. All of them have added grain via VSCO preset.


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