With all the hype on the world wide web about the new Fuji x100s, I couldn't resist trying it out. Truth be told, I was looking for a smaller, lighter camera to use as a carry around and street camera. Something more inconspicuous and less threatening than a DSLR, but that had the features and image quality. The Fuji seemed to be the answer so I bought one. They are tough to get, had to get mine from Hong Kong.
I got it just in time for a weekend trip to San Francisco to visit some friends and while I didn't leave the DSLR at home, it was my primary camera for the weekend. Long story short, this thing is fun to shoot with. I won't go into a lot of tech details but here's a few observations and photos of my experiences with it.
The low noise performance is almost unbelievable for an APS-C. The first two images were shot at ISO 6400 and 5000 respectively, and are very very clean.
The 6fps burst is really nice to have. Granted, the buffer seems to be a bit on the small side, but it's super helpful for catching the right moment.
The camera is so quiet, often times I'm not really sure if it has fired or not. Great for street shooting.
The JPEGs off this camera are as good as everyone else has been saying. I'll admit, I haven't had time to play with the RAW files in Lightroom, but I am assuming the base image will be very nice to start from. The colors are really excellent and it is extremely sharp. Nothing to complain about in the image quality department.
There are really only two concerns I have with this camera honestly. Battery life is awful and I don't like the focal length. It's listed as a 35mm "equivalent" lens, but the only thing that really equates is the FOV. While that may seem like a small thing, it actually has a huge impact on aesthetics in your photo. The longer the focal length, the more the lens tends to compress the elements within the frame. The shorter the focal length, the less compression and more exaggeration of near and far. Plainly put, a 23mm lens on an APS-C size sensor will never look the same as a 35mm lens on a full frame sensor, even if their FOV is technically the same.
The photo above is a good example of this. The Golden Gate Bridge (and the girl for that matter) looked much bigger in real life. But because of the short focal length, and the bridge being so far away compared to where I was standing, the lens exaggerates the emphasis on near and far. Yes, the fix for this is to move closer to the girl, and in fact, that would have made this image much stronger. But, staying where I was, and using a 50mm would have yielded a very similar photo, but the bridge would have been more "life sized".
I really like the compression that a 50mm lens has. It looks right to me (largely because it's very similar to how the human eye sees). Sometimes, it's just not wide enough in 35mm land, and I have to pull the 24mm out of the bag, but aesthetically, the 50mm looks right to me. Don't get me wrong, there is a place for a good wide angle shot. I'm not saying I dislike short focal length lenses at all. You can create some very dramatic and beautiful images with them when pushed in close. It's just not my preference, or I guess, it's not what I'm used to.
Other than that, this camera is amazing. It is so much fun to shoot with: quick autofocus, great image quality, outstanding sensor performance. This was my introduction to the rangefinder world, and I'm hooked (which is why I now own a Mamiya 7). I can't wait to get the RAW files in Lightroom.