P&S Digitals Reviews

Fuji X100: Exceptional But Frustrating

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Nothing beats a real–world user review, right? Michael Reichmann ( recently had a go with a Fujifilm X100, which he summarized as “exceptional but frustrating.”

The review highlights what we’ve all been anticipating about the X100, but with a few caveats. Here’s his noteworthy observations:

  • This is a no nonsense camera. None of the various dummy modes in consumer cameras are available.
  • Build quality and handling is good, while keeping weight ideal.
  • Autofocus performance is good, but not as fast as a Panasonic GH2.
  • Manual focusing is a little disappointing, confirming that the manual focus ring is fly–by–wire and not mechanical. The optical and electronic viewfinders both have their downsides and may not be as good as everyone expects.
  • Despite being just 12 megapixel, the APS–C sensor is “comparable to a Nikon D3.”
  • The rear control dial is not as useful as it needs to be and seems to be just an afterthought after the camera’s initial design.
  • The software’s menu system (and rear controls) is rather not as user–friendly as expected.

There’s a lot more in the said review so you’d probably want to check it out. For now, this helps us see the Fuji X100 in its true form, with less of the nostalgia magic it has been so full of.

Product Announcements

Fujifilm FinePix X100: 1,000 USD

Fujifilm FinePix X100

Yes, what you’re seeing is a new digital camera. It is not from 20 or 30 years ago. In fact, it is not yet in production and will not sell until March 2011.

It is the Fujifilm FinePix X100, perhaps the best camera Fuji has tried to produce in the past few years. Equipped with a 12.3–megapixel APS–C sensor, image should be as good, if not better, than cropped–frame digital SLRs you can buy now. The lens is 23mm f/2 Fujinon that would effectively be a 35mm fast prime, a good mate for this camera since it will not be removable.

  • ISO range will be from 200 to 6400
  • 5 fps continuous shooting
  • 720p HD video
  • 2.8 inch LCD

The X100 shoots in full manual or aperture priority, with the aperture adjustable through a proper aperture ring in the lens itself! Old school shooters will be very pleased indeed. I can fully understand the appeal having been shooting with the LX3 for almost two years now. But at 1,000 USD, that’s twice the money I paid for the LX3, or the current LX5. It’s even more than you’d pay for a more usable Canon or Nikon entry–level digital SLR. If Fuji cuts the price to a reasonable level, I wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes everyone’s must–have compact shooter.

For more details, Engadget had a brief hands–on with the X100 at Photokina.