My day with the Fuji X100

My day with the Fuji X100

Photo of me, my Fuji X100 and my Brent Black Panama – by Hariman Abd Rahman


First, let’s get something straight – this is not a review. These photos are not straight out of the camera and put on this blog post (with the exception of one). I imported them into Lightroom and then did my normal workflow on them. Most of these were shot in raw, though not all. I will give you my thoughts on this camera, with one caveat; I just bought it yesterday and only used it for about 4 to 5 hours.

For the most part I really, really like this camera. I know there is a lot of controversy over the cost of the camera and its abilities. Some folks call it nothing more than a glorified point and shoot. Others think it’s the best thing since sliced bread. I think it’s somewhere in between. There are several things that are frustrating with it but there is a lot that is good. The image quality both in JPEG and raw is astounding. When I shot JPEG, and there were a few that I did with the built-in presets, there was still enough latitude to tweak them in Lightroom. Lightroom now has the ability to import the X100’s raw file with no troubles.

My likes:

I like the feel and the look. I mean honestly, what is there not to like, this is a sexy camera. It’s heavy enough to feel substantial; the metal is brushed and beautiful even the name etched in the top of the camera looks nice. The analog dials are a joy and come in a wonderful relief after using my G9.  I love the fact that I can adjust the aperture on the lens (where it should be!) and the shutter speed with the dial on the top of the camera. I can set it to aperture priority, shutter priority or full program mode just by turning the dials to “A” on the aperture ring or on the shutter dial. The viewscreen on the back is bright and crisp. The hybrid optical viewfinder is everything it’s cracked up to be. In a word: AMAZING! It gives you more information in a viewfinder that I’ve ever seen before and it’s all bright, crisp and clear.

My dislikes:

The  dial on the back does seem a little flimsy at times. It is rather small. When I go to use it I often hit the wrong button and make the wrong changes. Toggling between the viewscreen on the back and the viewfinder is confusing when trying to view images. Oftentimes the image will appear in the viewfinder rather than on the back of the camera, and this is frustrating. I’m sure it’s just a matter of me getting used to the right sequence of buttons to push, but it wasn’t very intuitive for me. The camera is very complicated and after working with it for about five hours today, there is still a lot to learn. It definitely has a high learning curve. I actually think it’s harder to figure out how to use this camera than my 5D MK II. But again, it may just be a matter of playing with it and learning and it should all become second nature after a while. Others have complained about the shutter being slow. It’s not so much the shutter being slow as it is the electronic viewfinder catching up with what’s happening with the camera, at least I think so. I don’t feel I missed any photos today, but I did not see what I took at times.  Frankly, I will not be using the electronic viewfinder much as the optical viewfinder is so stellar. It’s kind of hard to explain. The whole optical viewfinder is a completely new bird and something that you just have to pick up and play with. The camera makes some noise when you flip between the optical and  electronic viewfinders. It is a rather tinny and cheap sound. At first I was quite concerned, then once I figured out what was making the sound and seeing the tiny little metal shutter over the viewfinder closing, it made sense. Lastly, the battery went pretty quick… as in, after five hours of shooting it was dead. I have heard this is an issue. I hope there will be a firmware update to fix this soon.

It sounds like there are more dislikes than likes. Not really. I think it is a matter of getting to know this camera and how it works. In the end, the good out weighs the bad. It is not a camera for everyone. I wanted a sophisticated small rangefinder and this is as close as it gets today. If you want a full review check out  Ken Rockwell’s review HERE. Also, checkout this rather silly hands on review video by DigitalRevCom and a comprehensive look at the camera by What Digital Camera. In getting to know the camera I found the best option is to put the manual aside and visit Ken Rockwell’s online manual he has made. You can find it HERE.

Like I said, at the beginning, this is not a review,  I wanted to just highlight some of the pictures I shot with it today. I think you’ll see that these images are as good as anything you can do with the DSLR given its limitations. I look forward to using this camera.  Certainly, there is no buyer’s remorse here.

Click on the images below to view it and read any comments.

 

 

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About The Author

Matt Brandon

Matt is a Malaysia based humanitarian and travel photographer. Well known as a photographer and international workshop instructor, Matt’s images have been used by business and organizations around the globe. Matt also on the design board for Think Tank Photo, a camera bag manufacturer. In 2013 Matt founded the On Field Media Project to train the staff of non-profits to use appropriate technology to produce timely as well as quality images.

40 Comments

  1. Nathan Watkins

    SUPER cozy pic up top.  I love the colours on this camera.  Also, it feels almost Steve McCurry sharp, giving the photos a presence that says “I’m really there”.   

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      To be fare, the only shot with real color from the camera is the one of the motorbike panned. Everything else was put through lightroom.

      Reply
  2. Jere Judd

    I’m with you in thinking that using this type of camera means getting used to the camera. In fact I hope this is represents a paradigm shift in the way we photograph.  It would seem that smaller means more flexible giving us a better chance of capturing ‘the moment.’ One of my favorite pictures from the Tibet trip was taken with a Nikon P7000 which I bought quickly when my D200 failed to make it out of the shop.

    And I long for the day when we don’t have to schlep 40 lbs of gear half way around the world.  

    I hope we will continue to see improvements in these cameras and thus improvements in our ability to take meaningful images. What you shot after 4 to 5 hours is pretty amazing in my book.

    Reply
  3. Keith

    Why did you buy this?

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      Because I am tiered of schlepping 50 lbs of gear on non-assignment situations, like a vacation. Because I don’t want to take a monstrosity like a 1 Ds to a dinner party or a friends house. But, I still want creative latitude that the other digital range finders can not give me. Because at the same time, it is something that my wife can use and be be afraid of. and the list goes on…

      Reply
  4. Anonymous

    Add this to the list of things that I’d love to have but can’t afford… (right now)

    Surprised at some of the images I see coming out of this.

    Great job,
    B

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      Never thought I would ever hear a comment like that on this blog. 😉

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        It’s a lot better than that polar bear costume you were wearing the last time we went out to shoot.  As cute as that was, this is more practical…

        Reply
        • CathyTopping

          I don’t know..I think it’s the hat. Makes you look dapper. 😉

          Reply
  5. Magda

    How much I’d like to have this camera! I love my Canon 5d Mark II but it’s big and heavy so I don’t carry it with my everywhere (which I should do)

    Reply
  6. Mark

    Good review and some great shots…….sexy camera, and sexy sandals! 🙂

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

       What is it with you all and my clothes!?

      Reply
      • Anonymous

        It’s high fashion AND photography…

        Reply
          • CathyTopping

            We, your loyal readers, obviously need more shots of Digital Trekker style tips in your posts!

          • Mark

            could be a good niche market . . . . . .”today’s shirt and hat matches the retro chic of the X100.  Read tomorrow where I’ll be featuring the Nikon D3S and which socks to wear with it to stand out”

          • CathyTopping

            As long as it’s not socks with sandals. There’s no camera on the market to excuse THAT fashion faux pas.

          • Matt Brandon

             Knee high tube socks.

          • Hariman Abd Rahman

            You forgot the Tissot which goes well with the look as well..

  7. Brian Miller

    I want your hat! Oh, I want the camera too, but the hat first!

    I can empathize with your reasons for wanting that camera. With two little children and a wife that wants to take some pictures too I need one of these. I’m kinda tires of schlepping gear around too.
    -Brian

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      It is a sweet one for sure. A custom, hand made Brent Black original Montecristi Optimo. It was a gift and huge surprise from a very generous friend and past  client. The Optimo was chosen as it can be rolled up and traveled with.

      Reply
  8. George Neill

    Not sure if it’s the camera or the eye behind it, but I like the output from the combination.

    Reply
  9. Jim Matiko

    I just picked up an x100 as well, glad to hear that you’re having as much fun with yours as I am with mine.  

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      Jim, how does it compare to your Lumix?

      Reply
      • Jim Matiko

        Not as “user friendly” as the Lumix but overall image quality is better.  I often use a small P&S (offensive term to some x100 users) indoors for family snaps and the higher ISO (up to 6400 in some cases) is a welcome option to have.  I also believe that the Lumix is a bit quicker when it comes to focusing.  BTW, I’m still waiting for word on you Viet Nam trip next yr.

        Reply
  10. Nancy Lehrer

    Thanks for the overview. I bought the Olympus E-PL2 just before this camera was announced. If I were to write an overview article of the Oly it would be just about the same. Likes – image quality, interchangeable lenses, as fully adjustable as the 5dMkII (maybe more). Dislikes – I’ll just quote you “The  dial on the back does seem a little flimsy at times. It is rather
    small. When I go to use it I often hit the wrong button and make the
    wrong changes.”

    All-in-all it is a great time to be a photographer.

    Here are some of mine. http://www.flickr.com/photos/rovernl/sets/72157626044912038/

    Reply
  11. Venus

    Great Pictures!
    Can you recommend places where i can get Fuji x100 in Penang ? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      Sorry, I missed this question. If you haven’t already bought one. I would suggest two places. I bough mine at Click-n-Snap by Komtar. But I would try Ky Digital at Gurney Plaza first. They had a good price but included the original case in the price.

      Reply
  12. Peter Pham

    If you have one and like it, then I’ll buy one too, no brainer … Very nice shots…

    Reply
    • Peter Pham

      Well I got mine two days ago and I must say that this is the most joyful camera to own and use. I absolutely love it.

      Reply
      • Matt Brandon

        It really is a fun camera. But, everything for this camera is crazy expensive! The Fuji case is $170 here in Malaysia. So I found a guy who sells the original case (so he says) for $25. I figured even if it was a fake, it was a good deal. you can see it HERE. You know what they say, if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.  I got it today after a 15 day delay. I gotta say, it is nice. I doubt it is leather, though it does smell like leather. But, it looks good. The strap is not like the original as it has a different backing and no embossing. The case fits good and is made just like the original but, again without the embossing on the lens cover. But over all it gives it a good look and feel and for $25 I am happy … for now.

        Reply
        • Peter Pham

          Thanks Matt, the case does look very nice indeed even it is not original Fuji. I would buy one immediately, but living in Vietnam it is going to be hard to get one.

          Reply
          • admin

            Peter, Really, why? I ordered mine via the website with no big issues, other than it being slow. Why couldn’t they ship it to you in Vietnam? (BTW the price is now $18 HERE.)

        • Frankie

          Hi Matt,

          I bought my x100 a few weeks ago in cathay photo near city hall in Singapore. I paid S$1450 and they threw in the fujifilm brown leathercase. I wonder if it actually was a free case or the cost was added in.

          Frankie.

          Reply
  13. General Electrics

    This is suck!  This not compare to my $100 GE point shoot!  that one make bigger pictures with 14 megapixel!

    Reply
  14. yuliang11

    whow, the x100 looks good for street photography 

    Reply
    • Matt Brandon

      Yes, it is perfect for street work!

      Matt

      Reply
  15. Frankie

    Hi Matt,

    I see in your photo with the X100 you were in Emerald Hill in Singapore. I was in Singapore a few weeks ago and bought the X100. It took some getting used to but I love the way the images come out. It is great for street and my Nikon d2xs has been getting out a lot less because of this.

    Great photos and great work. Keep up the good fight.
    Frankie.
    http://www.BruneitheBeautiful.blog.com

    Reply
  16. Jon Ball

    Saw the x100 for the first time tonight. I was surprised at how light it was. But the finish is excellent as was the overall balance and size. Fuji hit a home run with this one. BTW I really like the close up of the bottle. thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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