Fujifilm Updates X100 Firmware

We are beyond impressed. Never before have we seen such support from camera manufacturers as shown by the relative newcomer to large-sensor digital camera market, Fujifilm. Only a while ago, Japanese company has released yet another firmware update for the original X camera, the X100. And a big one, at that. I can already hear the owners rejoice. They bought a quirky, charming camera and now, three years later, it is all grown up. So much, in fact, that we may have to append our initial review.

Fuji X100

1) What We Think

Over the past three years, Fujifilm has produced a number of extremely lovable cameras. Until 2010 when the original X100 was launched, I don’t remember myself paying attention to any of its digital cameras, including the legendary S2, S3 and S5 Pro models. Maybe because all they had in the line-up were compact point-and-shoot offerings. For me, Fujifilm was the maker of great lenses, photographic film and film cameras only. Not anymore. In our opinion – and trust me when I say I am trying not to let my personal affection for the firm get in the way of objective statements – Fujifilm makes some of the greatest digital cameras right now. But they way they keep improving them is frankly staggering. If you ever imagined a manufacturer that cares most of all about the loyalty of its customers and truly does its best to make their products as good as they can possibly be, well, I think it is safe to say Fujifilm is at the top of the list of such camera manufacturers right now. The slightly sad part is – it shouldn’t be. What Fujifilm is doing with its continued support is really only unexpected when compared to the likes of Nikon, who prefers to launch new products to fix old ones, and other manufacturers. It should be the gold standard, but isn’t. And right now, Fujifilm seems to be the only one who knows how to truly build a loyal customer base. Bravo.

As much as I love my D700, Nikon has a thing or two to learn from the charismatic folks at Fujifilm.

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Fuji X100 Review

To be honest, I was not planning on writing a review of the Fuji X100 camera. First, because the camera was sent to me in error. As I was preparing to send it back, I was asked if I wanted to try it out, so I agreed to check it out and ended up shooting with it for a week. Second, I did not have a chance to do a thorough analysis and comparison, because I was busy testing 35mm lenses. That’s why this is a “mini” review – I will just lay down my thoughts about the Fujifilm X100 and show you some image samples from the camera.

When I asked about the X100, I was told that “it was a hot, almost revolutionary camera”. I guess that’s why I decided to give it a try and see what it is capable of. Once I unboxed the camera, I immediately put the battery into it and started playing with it at home. It took me a couple of minutes to figure out the basics and once I put it in Aperture Priority mode and took some pictures, I was actually pleasantly surprised by what I was seeing.

Fuji X100

Positives

  1. The first thing that struck me was the optical/digital viewfinder/rangefinder that not only provides all the camera information, but also displays captured images. Now that is one cool thing I wish all DSLR cameras had! Being able to look at captured images in an enclosed space is great. With DSLRs, you either have to block the light hitting the rear LCD or you have to use third party tools such as Hoodman Loupe to be able to look at pictures in daylight. And the X100 does it in a smart way too – if you put your eye close to the viewfinder/rangerfinder, the image is shown there. Once you move the camera away from your eyes, the image gets transferred to the rear LCD.
  2. The second surprise was after I transferred the first images to my computer and started looking at them at 100% – the image quality was outstanding. Indoor images were shot at ISO 800 and above and the amount of noise present in the images was very low, at least when compared to APS-C sensors. Sharpness, colors and contrast looked good right out of the camera (first shots were taken as JPEGs).
  3. Third, the camera felt great in my hands and for the first time I felt like I could take this little camera with me everywhere I go. No matter how good images from my iPhone might look, I just do not like taking pictures with it. Sure, iPhone images might look great for the web, but you can’t print them large or use them in your portfolio. Lugging around a large DSLR is not an option either; I forget it at home most of the time anyway. It felt great when I was able to put the X100 into my jacket pocket before I left the house.
  4. Fourth, because of the 4 leaf shutter on the X100, the flash sync speed can be super fast (see the 1/2000s shot below).
  5. And lastly, people did not look intimidated by the camera when I took pictures of them. They seemed to think that it was just a point and shoot (which it kind of is), so it felt like this camera would get super popular among street photographers.

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