Fujifilm X100 Digital Camera Review

On 3 November, I ordered the well regarded Fuji X100 camera.

The same list of pros and cons have been repeated over and over about this camera. I’ll focus here on the things that bothered me and the things I loved, as my purpose is to record my own experience for later reference.

The Great

The flash on this thing uses some kind of magic that makes it not only omniscient but really omnipresent. It doesn’t overpower faces, even across a restaurant table. I wish my Nikon D90’s flash could be as amazing for close-up people shots as this Fuji’s flash. Totally unbelieveable. This is the feature I’ll miss the most about the X100. To get close, I have to be able to bounce my SD400 flash, which isn’t always possible and is always a fireworks show compared the the subtle, relatively unobtrusive firing of my X100. Nikon needs to bottle this magic or I’m probably buying Fuji’s next

Quiet! This thing is nearly silent. It made me hate the mirror noise from my D90, which I’d previously only found annoying (as it distracts my subjects, which is often kids, who stop smiling as soon as they hear that shutter click.)

The focal length and field of view are great. These suit me just fine. No complaints. I like to take pictures of family and friends and the X100 frames things beautifully.

The Bad

One function button. Suck. Really, I’d like this to have about three function buttons.

Price. This thing is a casual photography masterpiece, but it’s overpriced to me considering its numerous design flaws.

As others have stated, the menus aren’t smartly designed. Since I was taking most of my X100 shots with flash, I don’t care much to tweak my settings so the poorly laid out menus don’t bother me much.

Battery life sucks. This whole blog is a reminder list for me, so I don’t feel obliged to expand on this with pictures counts and such. But I shot it for a night at a Daisy Scouts campfire thing with my daughter and when I came home it was pretty much dead. My Nikon D90 would be able to handle three such outings on a single charge.

Only SanDisk (and one other make) SD cards? Please.

Slow writing to card. Annoying. Nikon wouldn’t let such designs out the door.

Close focus (<3 feet) was disappointing. Had to switch to Macro mode manually very often, or else it just wouldn’t get a positive focus lock.

The Awful

The manual focus takes about five hundred turns to travel its entire range. What the hell were Fuji’s engineers thinking? Is this a gearing issue or a software issue or both? I don’t know but MF on this camera is plain shit. This feature might be the one that turned me off the most. I just felt bad owning something this expensive with such a screwed manual focus, even though I don’t take manual focus people shots and all I really take are people and walk-around environment snaps.

The grip on this thing is actually not that great. I don’t get the positive purchase I do from my wonderful CanonĀ S95. (But the S95 hasn’t got the big APS-C sensor or magical flash of the X100 — I’d settle for the flash by about three lengths.) But whatever, I didn’t drop it and I could get a wrist strap if I were keeping it.

Too long, didn’t read

In summary, I couldn’t spend $1200 on something with this many annoyances. The pictures are fantastic and I think so many people would be well served by this camera, as would I. But that’s a lot of coin for me. I’ll wait to see what Fuji comes up with next in this line. I do believe I’ll be back trying another Fuji X-series camera inside the next two years.