Fujifilm x100s Review: Indulge Yourself in Pure Photographic Pleasure

fujifilm x100s camera

Fujifilm x100s Takes Your Photographic Passion to a New Level

Inspired by the aesthetics of analogue film cameras, the Fujifilm X100 series has received positive reviews since its release in 2010. After the launch of the Fujifilm x100s model that comes to upgrade and address some of the imperfections of the x100 camera, the series got comparable with the impressive Leica M line. Now with the new Fujifilm x100s Black firmware release this year, we would like to reconsider the qualities of this capable and exquisitely designed camera. Enjoy!

Fujifilm x100s Review: Key Features

The x100s is a versatile camera, designed to please both pros and enthusiast photographers. The latest Fujifilm Finepix x100s firmware comes with a series of improvements to brightness control and an added editing function (the possibility to edit your file names). Otherwise, the striking black model sports the following x100s capabilities.

Strengths: 

  • powerful EXR Processor II that enables faster image capture;
  • high-speed hybrid AF that makes the camera more responsive;
  • LCD panel for improved image clarity and information display;
  • maximum high-speed continuous shooting speed of 6 frames per second;
  • high-performance mode;
  • movie recording with stereo sound;
  • full HD video recording capabilities;
  • film simulation mode for more dramatic effects and vivid colors;
  • advanced filters  (OLPF-less architecture – no need for optical low-pass filters)
  • multiple exposure and low noise performance;
  • manual focus system that helps you take photos with greater precision;
  • remarkable dynamic range;
  • RAW shooting.

Weaknesses:

  • the x100s is quite expensive and targets mostly professional users;
  • it has non-interchangeable lens  which may be a downside if you compare it with mirrorless cameras in the same class;
  • it has a short battery life and some users say that the battery level goes from normal to dead in just a few images;
  • it does not allow you to review images when shooting in burst mode.

Price: $1,299.95 (list price on Amazon). We recommend you to check the list for better prices and discounts. Now you can buy the Fujifilm x100s for about $900. That means you save around $400.

fujifilm x100s black firmware

Fujifilm x100s Black Firmware Update

Fujifilm x100s General Specs

  • Full Model Name: FUJIFILM X100S
  • Release Date: January 2013; Black Firmware released in 2015.
  • Type: large sensor compact camera (35mm full frame camera equivalent).
  • Resolution:  16.3 Megapixels (effective pixels)
  • Sensor: APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor – 23.6mm x 15.8mm with primary color filter.
  • Viewfinder: hybrid (optical and electronic) with 2.35 million dot LCD monitor.
  • AF: Intelligent Hybrid Autofocus (contrast and phase detection control).
  • Aperture Range: F2-F16 (9-blade aperture diaphragm).
  • Focus Distance: from 50 cm (1.6 ft) onwards in Normal mode; between 10cm and 2.0m (3.9 in. – 6.6 ft.) in Macro Mode.
  • Light Sensitivity: AUTO (equivalent to ISO 200 to 6400).
  • Extended ISO: extended sensitivity equivalent to ISO 100, 12800 and 25600.
  • Modes: Programmed AE, Aperture priority, Shutter Priority, AE, Manual exposure
  • Continuous Shouting Rate: six frames per second (max. 31 frames in JPEG setting).
  • Shutter Speed: 1/4 to 1/4000 seconds in P mode; 30 seconds to 1/4000 seconds in all other modes.
  • Image Processor: EXR Processor II
  • White Balance: Preset + Fine, Shade, Fluorescent light (Warm White), Fluorescent light (Cool White), Fluorescent light (Daylight), Incandescent light, Underwater, Custom.
  • Flash: Auto (Flash Modes: Auto, Forced Flash, Red-eye Reduction, Slow Synchro).
  • File Format: JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG, MOV (movie).
  • Media Storage Options: Internal memory; SD, SDHC, SDXC memory card.
  • Size:
  • Weight: 445 g (15.7 oz) including battery.
  • Lens Construction: eight lenses in six groups (23mm F2 aspherical lens)
  • Movie Resolution: 1920 x 1080 pixels (Full HD video recording)
  • Included Fujifilm x100s Accessories: Li-on battery, battery charger, USB cable, Viewer software, Lens cap, user’s manual.
  • Optional Accessories: Wide conversion lens (28mm angle of view equivalent) and Tele Conversion Lens (50mm AOV equivalent); flashguns (EF-20, EF-x20, EF-42).
fujifilm x100s sample image of a blue car in an urban setting

Fujifilm x100s Sample Image: ISO – 400, Aperture – f/4.5, Shutter Speed – 1/60, White Balance – Auto, Film Simulation – Velvia.

Fujifilm x100s Image Quality

One of the major assets of the camera is the image quality it delivers. The 16-megapixel resolution of FUJIFILM’s custom-made APS-C 16M X-Trans CMOS II sensor, the integrated prime lens, and powerful processor are designed to please the needs of a professional photographer.

The x100s knows how to elevate your photographic pleasure with its vivid display. The high-definition LCD of 2,360K-dot resolution enables better framing and review of results.

The camera also comes with an ND filter (equivalent to 3 f-stops) intended to reduce the amount of light to 1/8. This is ideal for low shutter speed photography such as the capturing of running water or flowers swaying in the breeze. It also helps you take portrait with artistic diffused backgrounds.

fujifilm x100s sample images taken by applying the ND filter

Fujifilm x100s Built-in ND Filter

Fujifilm x100s vs x100: Performance & Usability

When it comes to performance, a Fujifilm x100s vs x100 comparison brings into view new features and improved capabilities. The new model sports a hybrid autofocus that cleverly combines an optical and electronic viewfinder. Plus, the AF system has a built-in phase detection function for a more precise manual focusing.

As compared to the previous model, the advanced EXR Processor II of the x100s makes it even faster and more responsive. Other features that credit the cutting-edge capabilities of the camera include a quiet shutter, fast shutter speed, extendable ISO and good performance in low light conditions.

As regards its usability, Fujifilm x100s is packed with a wide array of functions.  Apart from its control dials for shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation, it has an on-screen control panel and quick menu. This way you can easily set functions such as RAW conversion, see images in slide show, take panoramas, crop, select favorites, switch to silent mode, and the list can go on.

hybrid viewfinder on fujifilm x100s

Fuji x100s – Hybrid Viewfinder

Fujifilm x100s Design and Style

We love the retro-styled design the manufacturer created for the entire x100 series. Yet the vintage touch is not the only strength of the x100s model. Not only the camera is compact, ultra-slim, and lightweight, but it also has a well-defined grip and numbered dials that allow you to better control the image composition.

Both top and base of the camera are made of magnesium, inducing a sense of authority and, of course, enhancing the pride of the owner. The lens is integrated for a slim fit look and come with an aluminum cap that matches perfectly with Fuji x100s’s metal body. Also, the leatherish finish makes the camera resemble even more the film age devices.

Fujifilm x100s Review: Our Final Word

In 2015, Fujifilm x100s remains a capable and functionally rich camera. Adding its impressive design comparable with the much-desired Leica M series, we have to admit that the x100s is still a hit. We love the way it fits in the palm of our hand, featuring at the same time the performance and precision of SLR cameras. Both the image quality it delivers and the ergonomics of its design make this camera a winner and a device to add to your camera collection.

However, the x100s is a niche product, intended for more experienced users. The only downside we want to highlight is its value for money. At the price of $1,300 there are high-end professional compact system cameras to choose from for enhanced versatility.

Even so, such a high-performance collection model would make any owner proud of his or her toy. It’s hard to resist indulging in pure photographic satisfaction.

Rating: 4.5/ 5. 

We hope you enjoyed our Fujifilm x100s review. For any questions and suggestions, feel free to drop us a line in the comment box below. Feedback is always welcome. Cheers!

Photo Credits: Fujifilm Digital Cameras – Fuji x100s.

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