Ease of Use: 3.5 / 5
Pricing: 2 / 5
Video Quality: 2.5 / 5
Photo Quality: 3.5 / 5
Features: 3.5 / 100
The Fujifilm X100 is a stylish, retro beauty. Fujifilm pulled out all the stops in order to have a camera that looks like an old-school film SLR, yet functions like a modern DSLR.
The spec-sheet is a bit of a mixed bag, with some high-end functions mixed with some other very average functions.
Starting with the bad – The X100 has a very retro 12.3MP. I know it’s not all about the megapixel count, but for a pricey camera like this, you have to be able to justify the price with more than just a retro body. The aged 720p recording is also a deal-breaker, as even most smart phones today can shoot 1080p video. The low data-rate of the video also doesn’t help and the LCD screen also has a very low dot count, which unfortunately showed its aged resolution while shooting. And then as mentioned, the price. The price puts this camera above some very good competition from the likes of Nikon, Canon and Sony, making this very much a niche piece with a limited audience.
Then the good – The camera has 49-point EVF auto focus system which is really snappy. The Hybrid Viewfinder, which is bright and really nice to use. And most obviously – the design which is absolutely gorgeous.
Let’s talk design. This camera is a supermodel amongst other “retro-type” cameras. The X100 makes others look like cheap pretenders. The ergonomic design is also extremely clever. The way some of the digital functions have been incorporated to work like the old analogue functions is pure genius. It took a bit of getting used to, as the layout is a bit different from normal DSLRs, but you quickly get into your stride with the “old-new” way everything functions.
Shooting with the camera took a while to get used to. The actual “taking of the photo” works as per usual DSLR, but fiddling with settings took some time. The camera felt solid in my hands and with the smallish lens, the overall package never felt heavy or a burden to carry around. The only let down was the LCD screen. Although it was bright and had good contrast, the low dot count makes it really hard to be sure whether the focus on a photo was good or not.
The metering was very accurate and colour reproduction on the photos was excellent, as you’d expect from Fujifilm. It’s really become a trademark of Fujifilm. While in video mode, the metering also performed very well, with transitions happening quickly between high contrast areas and those transitions being very smooth.
I’m in two minds about the lens. Although being an F/2 fixed focal length lens, it just never seemed as fast as its specs suggested. As the only lens this camera has, I’m also not sure whether 23mm is the right focal length. One of the best and most useful focal lengths I’ve found for a APS-C sized sensor is 35mm. But this might be more of a personal preference.
Let’s get to the video first. Firstly, the 720p was very disappointing. In an age where even mid-range smart phones now shoot 1080p video, it’s almost unacceptable for a high-end camera such as this. Even the data rate from the 720p footage was quite low, coming in at around 8-9MBps. Audio quality, as with any other DSLR is basic, to say the least. Overall the video just wasn’t something worthwhile.
Now the photos. Apart from the low pixel count, the photos were richly detailed and colours very accurate. There were a few artefacts if examined at 100% focus, but nothing to worry about. This sensor wasn’t the best at handling noise though. At lower ISOs there weren’t too much problems, but from ISO 800 onwards artefacting just gets worse and the noise levels rise dramatically. Although this camera utilises a newly developed version of the EXR sensor, I’m still not fully convinced by the noise handling of this sensor.
The final word. The X100 is a seriously good-looking camera that oozes style and clever ergonomics. The mixed bag of specs and some disappointing real world results (video) and steep price tag finally left me feeling that the X100 is a bit of a style of substance affair. I’m sure this camera will find an audience and will serve those well.