Monday, June 9, 2014

My review on Fujifilm X100S

After craving for it since launching, I bloody got it - the Fujiflim X100S.

My pre-own review still valid and you may refer here.
First thing I got this little machine, I immediately went for a Firmware update. It comes preload with Firmware 1.10, but I update it into 1.20. You can follow the instruction from the Fujifilm Global website here.

I only write this review after I have use it for about a month. The shutter count on it is already near 5,000. I did not pamper my toys obviously. There are few addition / accessories that I think is good to have.
  • Extra batteries
  • This is number 1 priority for mirrorless camera that eats up battery juice like nobody business. On paper they say the battery can last for 2-300 shots. From my 1 month experience on it, it last only about 100 shots. Probably it caused by high performance mode. When the low battery indicator shows up, you might have left around 10 shots. So, be prepared, its that quick!
  • Lens hood
  • Lens hood is important because without this, you can't attach 49mm uv filter on the lens, which is vulnerable in my opinion. You have spend quite a fortune on it, so might as well get this as a little insurance. Get a good filter on it. I don't have to speak much here. 
  • Leather Case
  • I got the leather case and strap comes FREE with it. It looks al-right, it holds al-right, so I will just leave it on it. Please tie your strap securely as I almost got it fall off because of a loose strap. (You have been warned).
  • Thumbs Up
  • Fancy thing. Not really important. Ergonomically feel awkward and some thumbs up can be really expensive. I got mine from China for about 10 USD.
  • Soft Release button
    Fancy thing x 2. Just that it got holes in the middle of shutter button. Decided to get a button from China as well to cover it. It come loose easily. Don't expect much from it anyway.
  • Fujifilm WCL-X100 Wide Angle Converter
    I get this used and I find it make the X100s even more versatile. It converts the 35mm to 28mm field of view. In practice, its really make a different. Check out my trip to Taiwan using this setup.
I would like to start the review on the plus point first. Most obvious is the image quality. With the absence of optical low pass filter, and great sensor, it really produce good looking image out of the box. Excellent high ISO performance. I have no problem with images up to 3200 (which is common now days). It is dead silent after you turn off the flash, focus beep, and fake shutter sound. It has f/2 lens which is very sharp overall.

However, but, never the are the not so great thing about it. I will start with the AF first. Sometimes it can be fast, and sometimes it can hunting for the whole range and throw you a random focus point especially back lighting, low contrast and low light area. The macro button is there so that when you turn it on, it will still hunt though the whole range even you told the camera you wanted a macro shot.  I hope Fuji can fix this in the coming firmware.The hunting also caused me to missed some shot where it just cant seems to focus. They have improve the manual focus quite alot, introducing highlight peaking and split image for MF assist but I hardly use it. It is an autofocus digital camera. I will discuss on the way I operate the camera in the next section. So the AF have killed some fun to me on this camera. The battery life on this machine is not fantastic. I have explained this on the extra batteries section.
At ISO 1250, it is pretty much noise free.

Macro at wide open produce noticeably softer image.

Far end bokeh is pleasant and not distracting.

Again, macro works wide open. I will never do it again!

Bring it to the street, the real street.

It handle flare quite well, even with my additional Hoya UV filter.

That's me, and this is what you expect from environment portrait wide open.

It's quite wide, the water actually ends up about 2 feet from me. Almost get a free shower.

Good dynamic range out of camera. 

Excellent street / travel companion.

Another environmental portrait of myself. damn, I look good don't I?

Oh, it does panorama as your I-phone did. Nothing special, if you pixel peeps, you might see there is actually not much details on it.

This is the best macro works I take with it so far.
How I Use it.

  1. Auto ISO. I have turned on the auto ISO 99% of the time because it just works. I set the max iso to 3200 (that's just my preference, there are other photog that goes as high as 6400), min shutter speed to 1/60s.
  2. I DID NOT turned on the silent mode. HOWEVER, I just turned off the shutter sound, AF assist light, and focus confirmation beep and off the flash. Isnt it the same? I dont know. I will turned on the flash when needed and the rest just stay the same all the time.
  3. I use AF-S, middle point only with focus and recompose method.
  4. I ALWAYS shoot RAW, + FINE jpeg of course. However, you cant do film simulation bracketing if you shoot RAW + jpeg. I don't play much with the film simulation. So, it's okay for me.
  5. I set it to be on high performance mode. It drains battery, but it improve wake up time and read write speed.
  6. First, I though I will enjoy using the optical view finder, but later when I discover you can preview the exposure, focus and depth of field more accurately in EVF, I use EVF almost entirely.
  7. I use eye-sensor mode to switch between EVF or the LCD screen. It is also easier to tweak the setting using the LCD rather than looking into the tiny EVF.
At ISO 3200!

Pop Color Filter (Red) direct jpeg from camera. It's fun isn't it?
Miniature effect!
NEW!!! - Astronomical Use.
With a combination of WCL-X100 wide angle converter, paired up with the f/2 wide aperture, this is a great combo for milky way shot.
ISO 1600 | f/2 | 15 sec @ 28mm (35mm equiv.)

Again, this is not a perfect camera, but it is fun to use. If you can only have one camera, then this might not for you. People buy it for the looks and user experience and of course the image quality. There is no such thing as a perfect camera. It is up the the hand of person who holding it who knows how to drive it, so that they can make full use of it to make the most out of it. It kills my dslr, it just did.

You might also want to see how it performs during my trip to Bangkok, Penang or Taiwan. Don't miss the additional function guide for X100s here.

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