Cameras

Fujifilm X100 Digital Camera Review

The Fujifilm Finepix X100 made a huge spash when it was announced nearly a year ago at Photokina.

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Introduction

The Fujifilm Finepix X100 (MSRP $1199.95) made a huge splash when it was announced nearly a year ago at Photokina. We salivated over it at CES, and ran to get our hands on it at CP+. The performance and manual controls may be everything we dreamed, but a number of design and handling quirks make this a definite try-before-you-buy camera.

Design

Front

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Back

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Sides

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Top

Top Tour Image

Bottom

Bottom Tour Image

In the Box

Box Photo
  • Fujifilm X100 camera
  • NP-95 rechargeable lithium-ion battery
  • BC-65N battery charger (with power cord)
  • lens cap
  • USB cable
  • shoulder strap
  • CD-ROM
  • Owner's Manual

Lens & Sensor

The "kit" lens (which is to say, lens that is permanently attached to the camera) is a 23mm f/2.0 Fujinon lens, designed specifically for the X100. If you remove a small metal ring on the front of the lens, you will expose filter threads, which you can use to attach a lens hood or an optional 49mm filter adapter ring.

The lens is surrounded by both a manual focus ring and aperture control.

The Fujifilm X100's image sensor is one of the biggest selling points of the camera. Its fixed lens and compact body may be common in the world of point-and-shoot cameras, but an APS-C sensor is traditionally reserved for SLR cameras only. The X100 falls into a small group of compact cameras with APS-C sensors: primarily the Sigma DP2 and Leica X1. This particular APS-C sensor was custom-designed by Fuji to work in conjunction with the lens.

The APS-C sensor is larger than the Micro Four Thirds standard and similar sensors in mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras. It's also a great deal larger than the tiny sensors in most point-and-shoot cameras. It's why the X100 has performance to rival an SLR, despite the compact form factor and lack of a lens mount.

Viewfinder

The unique hybrid viewfinder is certainly another main attraction on the Fujifilm X100. A toggle switch on the front of the camera allows you to easily swap between an electronic and optical viewfinder. Even when using the rangefinder-style optical viewfinder, there's an electronic overlay that displays basic shooting information. If you want to know more about the X100's Reverse Galilean configuration and prism design, you can read about the viewfinder in excruciating detail on the official X100 site.

While the technology is certainly exciting, the user experience is what really counts. In this department, the viewfinder delivers in spades. It's comfortable, convenient, and gives a great view of your subject. The toggle in the front works well—we won't deny that we spent a lot of time switching between the two modes just for fun. It's definitely an awkward way to view your images in playback, but it's a great way to line up your next shot.

Related content

Display(s)

Given the technology that went into crafting the superb hybrid OVF/EVF, the quality of the 2.8-inch LCD is actually quite surprising. Fujifilm didn't seem concerned about saving space (the LCD sticks out nearly an eighth of an inch), but the risk pays off. The screen is bright, crisp, and vivid. It's also surprisingly resilient to fingerprint grease and glare. A small View Mode button allows you to switch between live view, viewfinder, and sensor-activated viewfinder.

Flash

The small flash is located above the lens and is rated for a range of about 50cm–9m (1.6 ft. – 29.5 ft.). There are plenty of options associated with the flash, including fill flash and slow-sync, but it's still just a small built-in flash. If you're interested in a more powerful or higher quality flash, you can use the TTL-compatible accessory shoe.

Flash Photo

Connectivity

The X100 has very small handful of ports. In a small compartment on the right side of the camera, you'll find a proprietary USB connection and miniHDMI output. On top of the camera is an accessory shoe for attaching an external flash. We were surprised by the lack of a regular composite or component AV connection.

Battery

The X100 ships with a rechargeable lithium-ion NP-95 battery. The battery is rated for about 300 shots. That number obviously varies greatly depending on whether you use live view, OVF, or EVF. The battery shares a robust compartment with the memory card slot on the bottom of the camera.

Strangely, the battery charger ships with a removable piece that is the only thing allowing the NP-95 to fit in the charger. The piece is unlabelled, unintuitive, and prone to falling out. It's certainly a strange choice on Fuji's part.

Battery Photo

Memory

The primary recording media for the Fujifilm X100 is SD/SDHC/SDXC flash memory cards. The camera also has a small amount of internal memory that you can use to store a couple of pictures in a pinch.

Memory Photo

Image Quality

Sharpness

Sharpness is probably the X100's best area of performance, with incredibly sharp detail at multiple apertures. Our one disappointment is in the fallout at the far edges of our test photos—a disadvantage that is probably the result of the in-camera distortion correction. Even so, photos taken with the X100 are sharper overall than photos taken by the vast majority of point-and-shoot cameras and many interchangeable lens cameras as well. More on how we test sharpness.

Other Tests Images

Image Stabilization

The Fujifilm does not have any kind of image stabilization. Fuji claims that the fast, fixed zoom F2 lens will allow users to photograph in low light conditions without the need for image stabilization.

Color

The Fujifilm X100 has good color accuracy, easily contending with mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and SLRs. Color accuracy in standard (Provia) mode with no color adjustments was 3.46, with a saturation of 114.1%. Accuracy was improved further by setting the camera to its "low color" option, for an accuracy of 2.88 and saturation of 104.2%. As we've found with other Finepix cameras, Fuji seems to believe that consumers prefer oversaturated colors, even if it means sacrificing accuracy. More on how we test color.

Unsurprisingly, the results using the Provia film simulation are the most accurate. We also tested color accuracy using the camera's Velvia and Astia options, which proved to be even more saturated than Provia. This is more or less in line with Fuji's storied film lines that serve as the namesakes for the modes; Fuji color film was well known for its bold colors.

NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.

When it comes to color performance, the comparison models we selected for the X100 turned out to be... well, comparable. All of these cameras have incredibly strong color performance, with slight differences being mostly a matter of personal taste. The Olympus E-P3 had by far the most accurate colors, following the tradition of earlier PEN cameras, which all knocked this test out of the ballpark.

Color Modes

Color modes on the X100 are labelled as "Film Simulation" modes, each one named after a popular color reversal film branded and manufactured by Fujifilm in the 90s. The "standard" mode for the X100 is Provia, which Fuji describes as "ideal for a wide range of subjects." Velvia is essentially a vivid mode: "Vibrant reproduction, ideal for landscape and nature." Astia is intended for "softer color and contrast for a more subdued look."

In addition to the three primary color modes, there are four monochrome modes and a sepia option. You can see samples of these (and Provia, Velvia, Astia) in the Picture Settings section.

White Balance

The Fujifilm X100 had adequate white balance performance under most lighting conditions. Whether you're in auto white balance mode or taking a custom white balance, color temperature didn't have a negative impact on most of the shots we took. The White Balance Options section below describes the slew of additional controls that allow the user to tweak white balance.

Automatic White Balance ()

The auto white balance performance of the X100 is actually quite strong, especially in daylight and fluorescent light. Like most cameras, the Fuji struggled a bit in typical indoor incandescent lighting, but it fared better than many of the cameras that come through our labs.

Custom White Balance ()

The X100's custom white balance function is surprisingly inaccurate, given that many advanced photographers use this feature to obtain accurate color temperatures. The vast majority of cameras in this price range have much better custom white balance functions.

If you are intent on using a custom white balance, at least Fuji has made the process simple and intuitive. You can't save a custom white balance for future use, but taking a new one is fast and easy. We suggest you use auto white balance settings for most of your shooting needs, reserving custom white balance only for trickier indoor lighting conditions.

The cameras in this comparison group all had better white balance performance, primarily due to superior custom white balance functions. Many of these models also had more consistent auto white balance performance; the X100 tended to skew either too cool or too warm somewhat randomly, while the competition skewed in a certain direction every time.

White Balance Options

The Fujifilm has one saving grace to compensate for mediocre white balance performance: a slew of controls that allow the user to make adjustments to color temperature. You can begin by selecting one of the camera's white balance presets (sunlight, shade, incandescent, underwater, or one of three fluorescent light settings). If you don't like those options and aren't keen to do a custom white balance, you can manually select the Kelvin color temperature. The X100 offers a range from 2500 K to 10000 K, with a total of 36 increments.

An alternate method of tweaking color temperature is buried a bit deeper in the menus. White Balance Shift allows the user to alter the white balance along two scales (red to cyan or blue to yellow).

Surprisingly, there is no white balance bracketing option.

Long Exposure

The Fujifilm X100 scored very well in our long exposure test, besting most of the interchangeable lens competition, including many DSLRs. Color and noise performance remained strong across a range of exposures, with long exposure noise reduction having little impact on the already strong results. More on how we test long exposure.

In aperture priority mode, shutter speeds max out at 1/4 second, but the camera's Time mode allows you to select exposures up to 30 seconds. The X100 also has a Bulb mode that will capture exposures of up to 60 minutes long (in full manual mode). We only test exposures from 1 second to 30 seconds, but the results were very good. Noise topped out around 1.02% and color accuracy never rose above 3.51.

The X100 does come equipped with a Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature, but we found that this made very little difference in the amount of noise captured in our tests. It's possible that noise reduction might have some impact at exposures longer than 30 seconds, but we're doubtful.

Despite the ineffective noise reduction, the X100 had some of the best long exposures we've seen, with very little noise and excellent colors in the full range of exposures. The camera outperformed much of the competition, with the exception of the surprisingly impressive Samsung NX100. Though the X100 had more accurate colors than the NX100, the Samsung had unbelievably low noise totals across all exposures. It averaged just 0.53% noise with noise reduction turned on.

Noise Reduction

The X100 offers five settings for noise reduction (in addition to the special selection for long exposure noise reduction). On most cameras, noise reduction tends to lessen the amount of noise, but also reduce sharpness. The X100 certainly had its share of reduced sharpness, but the blurring was only distinctive at the higher NR levels. Medium and Medium Low noise reduction was incredibly effective—especially at ISO 400 and above—but did not deteriorate image sharpness significantly. More on how we test noise.

We were impressed with the X100’s noise performance, with clear photos up through ISO 3200. While we wouldn’t necessarily suggest using ISO 6400 or ISO 12800, even those noise percentages were reasonably low with noise reduction applied. (Noise stayed well below 1% through ISO 800.) Overall, Fujifilm is offering excellent image quality when it comes to pristine, noise-free photos.

Compared to the compact mirrorless cameras we’ve tested, the X100 had excellent noise performance. These are typically the numbers we see on many DSLRs—and certainly above what we see in even high-end point-and-shoot cameras. The inclusion of five different noise reduction settings makes the X100 even more compelling. Well done, Fuji.

ISO Options

The X100 comes equipped with an incredibly robust set of options. To start, the range of ISO settings is quite broad: from ISO 100 (marked as Low) to ISO 12800. The Fuji also allows you to choose from numerous intermediate increments, for a total of about 18 discrete levels. The only drawback is that you have to go into the menus to alter ISO—unless you choose to leave ISO mapped to the camera's customizable Function button.

If you prefer to shoot with auto ISO equipped, there is an auto ISO limiter, enabling the user to set a maximum sensitivity of ISO 400, 800, 1600, or 3200. (The minimum sensitivity in Auto ISO is 100.) As an added bonus, you can set a minimum shutter speed as well; when using Aperture Priority or Auto modes, sensitivity will be adjusted only when required to prevent a shutter speed lower than the selected value.

For a little icing on the ISO cake, the Fujifilm X100 offers an ISO bracketing option, which will capture a single exposure, then process two copies: one with sensitivity raised by the selected amount, and one with sensitivity lowered by the selected amount.

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Dynamic Range

First, an important word about dynamic range on this camera: the X100 comes equipped with two level of dynamic range expansion (200% and 400%), but these settings have a peculiar relationship with ISO. For starters, the minimum ISO at DR200 is 400, while the minimum ISO at DR400 is 800. To make matters a bit more complicated, the relationship is a bit hidden: adjust the ISO down to 200 and the DR will automatically get knocked down too. And if you swap between Aperture Priority and Manual mode, your DR settings (which are inconveniently buried in the menus) are reset.

Our dynamic range score does not include the slight improvements that can be made using DR200 or DR400. Instead, it focuses on the results that can be achieved with standard dynamic range settings. In this regard, the performance was a bit disappointing. Even at ISO 100, the dynamic range maxed out at about 6 stops—poor results for a camera that costs over $1000. Most cameras at this price point manage at least 7 or 8 stops at the lowest ISO. The good news for Fuji is that the results at higher ISOs are actually pretty good: 4 stops of dynamic range at ISO 1600 isn't terrible. And while dynamic range expansion isn't particularly intuitive or convenient to use, it does improve performance slightly. More on how we test dynamic range.

You can boost dynamic range using the dynamic range controller, with options of 100%, 200%, or 400%, but this is only recommended when shooting in high contrast conditions.

The mirrorless competition for dynamic range isn't particularly strong. The sensor in these cameras—particularly the Olympus PEN lineup—doesn't typically perform well in our dynamic range testing. One notable exception is the NEX line; Sony has developed a sensor that captures fantastic shadows and highlights. We were surprised that the X100 didn't do better in this test; the target demographic for the X100 is comprised of photographers prize dynamic range and will certainly notice the X100's limitations.

Noise Reduction

The X100 offers five settings for noise reduction (in addition to the special selection for long exposure noise reduction). On most cameras, noise reduction tends to lessen the amount of noise, but also reduce sharpness. The X100 certainly had its share of reduced sharpness, but the blurring was only distinctive at the higher NR levels. Medium and Medium Low noise reduction was incredibly effective—especially at ISO 400 and above—but did not deteriorate image sharpness significantly. More on how we test noise.

ISO Options

The X100 comes equipped with an incredibly robust set of options. To start, the range of ISO settings is quite broad: from ISO 100 (marked as Low) to ISO 12800. The Fuji also allows you to choose from numerous intermediate increments, for a total of about 18 discrete levels. The only drawback is that you have to go into the menus to alter ISO—unless you choose to leave ISO mapped to the camera's customizable Function button.

If you prefer to shoot with auto ISO equipped, there is an auto ISO limiter, enabling the user to set a maximum sensitivity of ISO 400, 800, 1600, or 3200. (The minimum sensitivity in Auto ISO is 100.) As an added bonus, you can set a minimum shutter speed as well; when using Aperture Priority or Auto modes, sensitivity will be adjusted only when required to prevent a shutter speed lower than the selected value.

For a little icing on the ISO cake, the Fujifilm X100 offers an ISO bracketing option, which will capture a single exposure, then process two copies: one with sensitivity raised by the selected amount, and one with sensitivity lowered by the selected amount.

Focus Performance

We found the autofocus to be terribly disappointing on the X100, with the camera struggling to find an accurate focus in anything but the brightest scenarios. In situations where virtually any camera had no trouble autofocusing, the X100 would either refuse to focus or get the focus wrong. When shooting in any dim indoor light, the AF assist lamp is virtually a necessity—and its disturbing brightness won't earn you any new friends.

There's also no face detection on the X100—a feature we take for granted on modern cameras. We wouldn't usually complain about this conspicuous absence, but with the Fuji's numerous autofocus woes, the camera could use all the help it can get.

Long Exposure

The Fujifilm X100 scored very well in our long exposure test, besting most of the interchangeable lens competition, including many DSLRs. Color and noise performance remained strong across a range of exposures, with long exposure noise reduction having little impact on the already strong results. More on how we test long exposure.

In aperture priority mode, shutter speeds max out at 1/4 second, but the camera's Time mode allows you to select exposures up to 30 seconds. The X100 also has a Bulb mode that will capture exposures of up to 60 minutes long (in full manual mode). We only test exposures from 1 second to 30 seconds, but the results were very good. Noise topped out around 1.02% and color accuracy never rose above 3.51.

The X100 does come equipped with a Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature, but we found that this made very little difference in the amount of noise captured in our tests. It's possible that noise reduction might have some impact at exposures longer than 30 seconds, but we're doubtful.

Despite the ineffective noise reduction, the X100 had some of the best long exposures we've seen, with very little noise and excellent colors in the full range of exposures. The camera outperformed much of the competition, with the exception of the surprisingly impressive Samsung NX100. Though the X100 had more accurate colors than the NX100, the Samsung had unbelievably low noise totals across all exposures. It averaged just 0.53% noise with noise reduction turned on.

Video: Low Light Sensitivity

With its fast f/2 lens, the Fuji X100 was able to churn out quality videos in our low light testing. The camera required just 8 lux of light to record an image that could pass the minimum illumination standards of broadcast television (50 IRE). This is a much better result than what the Olympus E-P3 showed us recently, although the Panasonic GF2 and Sony NEX-5 also did well in this test.

Chromatic Aberration

Chromatic aberration was the X100's greatest weakness in our resolution testing. This noisy discoloration popped up throughout our test photos—particularly in the extreme corners of the image. This won't impact most photos or most photographers, but you will definitely notice chromatic aberration in high contrast photos shot in RAW or even maximum resolution JPEGs.

Distortion

We typically do not score distortion for SLRs (given the fact that each lens of a given system will have differing distortion). The X100, however, does not have a lens mount for interchangeable lenses, so the distortion produced by the lens is critical. Fortunately, distortion scores were excellent. Judging by a close examination of the test shots, our guess is that Fuji is employing a heavy amount of in-camera distortion correction. The correction is visible to the human eye, but subtle enough it won't have a negative impact on most of your shots.

Motion

The Fuji X100 cannot record Full HD video and it only makes use of one frame rate: 720/24p. Luckily, this single record mode produced fairly good results in our motion tests. Moving images looked smooth, although there was some blur and trailing, and the 24p frame rate produced a decent film-like aesthetic. We noticed some fuzzy pixelation around the edges of certain subjects in our motion test, though, and the camera did suffer from a rolling shutter effect (wobble) when we panned back and forth rapidly. More on how CamcorderInfo tests motion.

Video Sharpness

Being a camera that only records 720p HD video, the X100's so-so results in our video sharpness test shouldn't be all that surprising. The camera managed a horizontal sharpness of 650 lw/ph and a vertical sharpness of 550 lw/ph. While these numbers are definitely lower than the elite class of consumer HD camcorders, the X100 was able to hold its own against most of the video-capable DSLRs we compared it to. It managed a much higher sharpness score than the Panasonic GF2, nearly the same as the Olympus E-P3 (which records Full HD), and a bit lower score than the Sony NEX-5 (also records Full HD). More on how CamcorderInfo tests video sharpness.

Low Light Sensitivity

With its fast f/2 lens, the Fuji X100 was able to churn out quality videos in our low light testing. The camera required just 8 lux of light to record an image that could pass the minimum illumination standards of broadcast television (50 IRE). This is a much better result than what the Olympus E-P3 showed us recently, although the Panasonic GF2 and Sony NEX-5 also did well in this test.

Usability

Buttons & Dials

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Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes

The X100 does not come equipped with a large variety of picture settings. There are no scene modes and no special filters or gimmicky effects.

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Instruction Manual

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Shooting Modes

The Fujifilm X100 doesn't come equipped with very many shooting modes. There are no scene modes and no true auto modes. Even Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual aren't really modes—they're just a byproduct of what combination of auto aperture and auto shutter speed you happen to have selected. Set the aperture and shutter speed dials to auto and you'll be in Program Auto mode. Set just aperture to auto and you're in Shutter Priority mode.

The closest thing to a mode selection that exists on the X100 is in the Drive submenu. Selecting up on the d-pad allows the user to put the camera into burst shooting, bracketing, motion panorama, or movie mode.

Focus

We found the autofocus to be terribly disappointing on the X100, with the camera struggling to find an accurate focus in anything but the brightest scenarios. In situations where virtually any camera had no trouble autofocusing, the X100 would either refuse to focus or get the focus wrong. When shooting in any dim indoor light, the AF assist lamp is virtually a necessity—and its disturbing brightness won't earn you any new friends.

There's also no face detection on the X100—a feature we take for granted on modern cameras. We wouldn't usually complain about this conspicuous absence, but with the Fuji's numerous autofocus woes, the camera could use all the help it can get.

Unfortunately, manual focus wasn't much better. You have to place your hand in a very precise position in order to not cover the lens while adjusting the focus ring. The focus ring is very precise, but sometimes requires you to spin it round and round before you're even in the right neighborhood for focus.

The easiest workaround is to set the camera to auto focus, achieve an approximate focus, then switch to manual focus for fine-tuning. Unfortunately, the focus mode switch is atrocious; the most commonly used mode (single autofocus) is in the middle and incredibly difficult to select. You can't really make the switch quickly and you certainly can't do it without looking at the switch.

A basic autofocus assist can be activated by pushing down on the command toggle. This switches to Live View and displays an enlarged portion of the screen.

Recording Options

The X100 has only a modest selection of resolution options, with two aspect ratios and three sizes to choose from. You can also select either a fine or normal JPEG quality setting, which you can shoot separate from or in combination with RAW.

As a nice added bonus, the X100 has a dedicated button on the back of the camera that allows you to shoot in RAW for a single shot. This is a great feature if you typically shoot in JPEG, but want an individual photo to be shot in RAW without the hassle of going through the menus. There's also a full-featured in-camera RAW conversion if you want to create JPEGs after the fact.

Other Controls

Fujifilm has clearly tried to position the X100 as a professional photographer's compact camera. As such, it's managed to cram in a slew of other controls to augment the typical exposure options, dynamic range expansion, and white balance shift.

ND Filter

The X100 has an optional ND (Neutral Density) filter that reduces exposure by the equivalent of about 3 EV. This lets you use slow shutter speeds and/or wide apertures in brightly lit scenes. This is how many photographers achieve motion blur or soft backgrounds without overexposure in bright light.

Color

Five color settings allow you to adjust the color density, ranging from low, mid low, and mid to mid high and high.

Sharpness

You can manually tweak sharpness by choosing one of the following options: hard, medium hard, standard, medium soft, and soft.

Highlight Tone and Shadow Tone

You can adjust highlight and shadow tones separately, with each setting having the same five options: hard, medium hard, standard, medium soft, and soft.

Motion Panorama

Like many cameras today, the X100 is equipped with a motion panorama setting, which allows you to move the camera along a vertical or horizontal line and capture several photos at once. The camera will then automatically stitch these together into a single photograph. The option works well on the X100, though we're not sure most people would think to locate this option in the Drive menu.

Speed and Timing

The drive motor in the X100 is surprisingly fast, allowing Fuji to pack in a number of added benefits, like bracketing and motion panorama.

The Fujifilm X100 offers two different burst options: 5fps and 3ps. In our testing, Fuji's estimate of the burst speed was very close. The burst is limited to 10 photos in JPEG, 8 RAW, or 8 RAW+JPEG. Decreasing the speed to 3fps does not increase this limit.

The camera also offers several bracketing options (exposure, ISO, film simulation, and dynamic range). However, only exposure and dynamic range bracketing make use of the camera's drive motor to take three quick shots in succession. Film simulation and ISO are digital adjustments made to a single exposure.

Shot to shot speed on the X100 is remarkably fast, beating out many cameras in this price range. Of course, the continuous shot is limited to a 10-shot burst, but the average of about 5fps promised by Fuji is just about dead-on. Even RAW photos can be captured at nearly 5fps.

The self-timer options are very limited: you can choose from just a 2-second and 10-second timer. There's no option for interval recording or for multiple exposures. Most annoyingly, if you choose a timer option, it only remains active for a single photograph. After each shot, you'll have to go back into the menus and set up the self-timer again.

Focus Speed

We found the autofocus to be terribly disappointing on the X100, with the camera struggling to find an accurate focus in anything but the brightest scenarios. In situations where virtually any camera had no trouble autofocusing, the X100 would either refuse to focus or get the focus wrong. When shooting in any dim indoor light, the AF assist lamp is virtually a necessity—and its disturbing brightness won't earn you any new friends.

There's also no face detection on the X100—a feature we take for granted on modern cameras. We wouldn't usually complain about this conspicuous absence, but with the Fuji's numerous autofocus woes, the camera could use all the help it can get.

Unfortunately, manual focus wasn't much better. You have to place your hand in a very precise position in order to not cover the lens while adjusting the focus ring. The focus ring is very precise, but sometimes requires you to spin it round and round before you're even in the right neighborhood for focus.

The easiest workaround is to set the camera to auto focus, achieve an approximate focus, then switch to manual focus for fine-tuning. Unfortunately, the focus mode switch is atrocious; the most commonly used mode (single autofocus) is in the middle and incredibly difficult to select. You can't really make the switch quickly and you certainly can't do it without looking at the switch.

A basic autofocus assist can be activated by pushing down on the command toggle. This switches to Live View and displays an enlarged portion of the screen.

Features

Effects, Filters, and Scene Modes

The X100 does not come equipped with a large variety of picture settings. There are no scene modes and no special filters or gimmicky effects.

Recording Options

If you're not a fan of multiple record modes or compression settings, the X100 camera may be the right model for you. Fuji keeps things simple in this area by offering just one solitary record mode on the camera: a 1280 x 720 resolution video mode that records at a 24p frame rate. The compression system used on the camera is H.264, which is one of the most common formats for compressing HD video. There are no standard definition record modes, and no video quality options on the X100. Find out how the performed in our video image quality test./r:link_to_content

Video Controls

The Fuji X100 may appeal to semi-professional or even professional photographers, but the camera certainly doesn't cater towards those with a strong interest in video. The video quality is decent, that was cleared up in our testing, but the controls on the camera are very limited when recording video. The only major control that you can set in video mode is aperture, and we're glad to see Fuji offers this control. You can set aperture by rotating the dial on the lens, just as you would for shooting photos. The problem is, you can't change the aperture during recording. This may perturb some videographers who like to play around with depth of field in the middle of a shot.

The shutter speed dial, while it looks enticing, does nothing in video mode. Yes, you can change and rotate it to your heart's content, but it won't do anything to change the shutter speed used to record your video.

Auto Controls

You'd think that without the option of controlling things manually in video mode that Fuji would have at least tried to offer a set of superior auto controls on the X100. That's not the case, however, as the camera's autofocus system is downright awful when recording videos (it's awful for photos, too).

The camera does have a continual autofocus system, but at times it seemed like the system didn't work at all. When it did work, sometimes the X100 took up to five or six seconds to focus using the continual focus system. The single-push autofocus option works better, but it too occasionally produces terrible results—and it's much more annoying to use when recording video than a continual autofocus option.

Auto exposure adjustments were nearly as bad, as we noticed the camera blowing out bright portions of the frame, as well as taking a long time to produce an accurate exposure adjustment.

Focus

Here's a shocker: you can't set focus manually while recording video with the Fuji X100. This is rather absurd when you consider the camera is prominently equipped with a focus ring. Yes, you can use the ring to set focus prior to recording, but once you start recording the ring is locked. It's strange, quirky, and terrible design flaws like this that make using the X100 to record video a frustrating challenge.

Exposure Controls

That fancy exposure compensation dial that is such fun to use in photo mode does work in video mode as well... but it also has its problems. For starters, the dial won't provide exposure compensation during recording, so you must adjust exposure before you begin shooting. It also has a strange delay in initiating the exposure change after you start recording.

As we said previously, aperture can be set manually in movie mode on the X100, but shutter speed cannot be altered.

Other Controls

Don't expect to adjust ISO or anything else on the X100 when you're in movie mode. In fact, the only options you see in the video menu system are for adjusting the film simulation color modes. You can choose from standard (Provia), vivid (Velvia), soft (Astia), a variety of monochrome settings, and a sepia option.

You can't perform a custom white balance in video mode, and you can't use a custom white balance that has been set in photo mode when you're recording videos. You do, however, have the option of selecting from the X100's variety of white balance presets (including a manual Kelvin color temperature).

Audio Features

Surprisingly, the X100 has a built-in stereo microphone. We say this is a surprise because the camera doesn't look like it has a stereo mic upon first glance. If you look closely, though, you'll see two small dots on the front of the X100. These dots represent the left and right channels for the built-in stereo mic. It looks kind of funny to have the mic spread out like this, and both channels are located in the vicinity of noisy knobs and dials, but the mic worked adequately for picking up audio.

Mic Photo

Overview

The Fujifilm X100 (MSRP $1199.95) is the kind of camera that should only be purchased by someone that can appreciate its intricacies—and overlook its eccentricities. While the camera is capable of capturing incredibly good photos, you have to have some patience to really get the most out of the camera. The autofocus is slow and unreliable, several of the controls are a bit complicated to use in tandem, and many options are buried in a menu that can only be navigated with unwieldy controls.

In other words, don't buy the X100 for its trendy look. If you're a savvy photographer, you should buy the camera for its responsive control dials, APS-C sensor, F2.0 lens, and all little tweaks you can make to capture incredibly high quality photos. Just be prepared to suffer a bit for your art.

Performance

Just about every aspect of the X100's performance presents an opportunity for bragging. Color accuracy, noise, sharpness, and long exposure results were all incredibly strong. Dynamic range was perhaps the most disappointing aspect of the camera's performance, but you can augment this by using dynamic range expansion at high ISOs. The X100 does have one other unusual quirk: the custom white balance is not as accurate as it should be, leaving you to use a white balance preset, Kelvin temperature set, or white balance shift in order to get the most accurate colors indoors.

Video

The FinePix X100 combined impressive video performance with a dismal set of controls and features in movie mode. Even though its recording resolution topped out at 1280 x 720, the camera managed to capture sharp, clean images that were almost completely noise free. That being said, there are plenty of better—and cheaper—cameras and camcorders that you can use to record video. And most video-capable DSLRs these days have less quirks and frustrations than what we dealt with on the X100.

Hardware

Most of the X100's hardware is a dream come true... this is why most people will want to buy this camera. The camera boasts a full APS-C sensor in a compact body, a bright and fast F2.0 lens, a unique dual optical-electronic viewfinder, a magnesium chassis, and solid metal control dials. It's enough to make most photographers take notice. Even the modest 2.8-inch LCD is surprisingly bright, vivid, and resistant to fingerprints. The only thing that you might feel is missing is a lens mount that allows you to swap lenses.

Handling

The handling experience on the X100 is very Jekyll and Hyde. On the one hand, you have these gorgeous metal control dials. You will love adjusting aperture, shutter speed, and exposure. You'll love using the hybrid viewfinder. On the other hand, you have these flimsy rear controls: the scroll wheel and d-pad, the under-utilized jog lever, and the horrible focus mode switch. If you spend a lot of time navigating the menus and changing up your settings (or switching between manual focus and single AF), you will hate your life. You will be annoyed that Fuji didn't put the same love and care into these buttons and switches that they put into the rest of the camera design. You will think twice about buying the X100.

Controls

Aside from the handling issues mentioned above, the controls are a definite strong suit of the X100. Your main exposure controls all have dedicated dials (aside from ISO, which can be assigned to the custom Function button). The more intricate controls are relegated to the menus, where you'll have to use that annoying d-pad to activate them. Do some digging, however, and you'll be rewarded with bracketing options, a variety of controls to impact dynamic range, Kelvin selection and white balance shift, color and sharpness adjustments, and more. The camera is packed with options that will overwhelm a beginner, but give advanced photographers hours of playtime to enjoy.

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