Fujifilm X100 First Impression

I’ve been looking forward to the X100 for months, and have been in and out of a couple X100 forums, so it’s been interesting to finally have one in my hands now. (Actually, due to the way preorders overlapped with shipping, I’ll have two, but obviously one is going back, unless someone in LA wants to pick one up).

It’s still early days – I’ve only gone out shooting once (I’ll be heading out shooting tonight as well) and I’m still getting used to how it handles. I know it’s capable of capturing fantastic images, but coming from shooting tens of thousands of frames on Canon DSLRs over the past decade, adapting to the X100 has been a bit of a challenge so far.

The lack of rangefinder patch, focus screen or some other equivalent is killing me right now (the EVF is not my idea of a good time), but maybe that’ll pass. That being said, I’m actually looking forward to shooting the heck out of this thing. I’m sure it’ll make me a better photographer in terms of thinking about what I’m shooting, estimating distances, and thinking about DOF. It’s certainly not a P&S, and I’ll no doubt miss a lot of shots, but I plan on trying to carry it everywhere, so we’ll see how it goes. (I’ve ordered a Luma LoopIt strap.)

For those considering the X100, I’d probably have to say that this isn’t the camera you want to take with you to evening social events, not unless you really want to work for your photos. While the bright lens (F2.0) and amazing High ISO performance (totally usable at 3200) and quiet leaf shutter would seem to make it great for low-light candids, the AF seems more finicky than average, and sadly, the fly-by-wire focus ring is pretty much useless right now.

That being said, I plan on working primarily in MF mode and zoning, so we’ll see how that works.

Happy Accident

Also, there are a lot of niggles in the firmware. On the bright side, these could all be fixed and there seems to be some noises from Fuji that they will work on the firmware. On the negative, that historically hasn’t been the case. I’ll be keeping a running list of things I’d liked fixed here:


  • Startup Times: I’ve managed to get it starting up fairly quickly (about 1s?) but out of the box it took so long that I kept thinking it was broken.
  • File writing: file writes seem to block operations? Is this 2011?
  • ISO settings don’t persist across modes
  • Even in full manual mode, the aperture doesn’t seem to be physically set, so there’s shutter lag. More of an annoyance than a dealbreaker
  • Yep, the battery goes from “low” to shutdown in < 5min; in general power usage/management seems to be rather poor. There must be a better compromise for responsiveness/power usage. Canon DSLR powerpacks are about the same capacity and last forever.


  • My current #1 focusing issue, at the cause of most of my misfocused shots is the OVF AF parallax. The FW fix that would help this greatly would be to recompose the AF point with the focal plane (just move it along with the framelines). More discussion here.
  • Low light AF; is this the best it gets?
  • The focus-frame size can only be adjusted in AF-S; I’ve find it enormously useful if it could be adjusted in MF


  • The biggest problem is the focus ring doesn’t work at all for covering distances; it’s not helped by it being incredibly laggy as well. This should be an easy fix with a better acceleration curve, and allowing that to be user adjustable/distance-dependent
  • In MF, since the command lever is used to enter EVF zoom mode, wouldn’t it make sense to allow the lever to be used for focusing as well? Actually would be a lot less finicky than the ring; you could also use one or the other for rough/fine focusing


  • It’d be nice to reassign the RAW button (I’m always shooting JPG+RAW, I’d much rather be able to assign that to movie mode or the ND filter)
  • Macro should just be a toggle instead of popping up a menu – it’s either on or off! Same w/ ND – these are probably my biggest usability quibbles after the first week.
  • Auto ISO should be a toggle in ISO menu (so you can easily flip it on/off in the OVF fn mode); actually, for night shooting, being able to toggle Auto ISO off even easier (long-press?) is even more important; it really screws with you when the metering if off by more than the exposure compensation…


  • Manual focusing while shooting. The AF is especially clueless when shooting video
  • It’d be nice to be able to set the fn button (or the RAW button) to go directly into recording


  • The histogram doesn’t seem to be right? It doesn’t reflect aperture or shutter speed changes?
  • The range scale is good, but would be nice to show the hyperfocal distance as a marking (or as others have suggested, a mode/way to jump to the hyperfocal distance like the GRD)
  • In the post-capture EVF review, it’d be nice to have an option to show brights/histogram; being able to have a 1s or even 0.5s preview would be nice as well

I’ll be trying to post more regularly to my flickr account.

After a couple weeks with the X100, I posted an updated list on Engadget.