In 2011, the Fujifilm X100 took the world by storm, offering the style of a Leica M but at a more affordable price. We test its successor, the X100S, with upgraded 16.3-million-pixel sensor. Read the Fujifilm X100S review..
Build and handling
The bodies of the Fuji X100 and X100S are the same size, weight and form, with the same button positioning. The X100S looks great, and is well made, with a solid metal top-plate and dials. ‘Made in Japan’ is etched onto the rear and bottom of the camera. The textured leather exterior both looks and smells the part. As on the X100, there is no pronounced handgrip or thumb grip for a firm hold, but the X100S is large enough and light enough that this doesn’t matter.
It is the ‘S’ on the frontplate that differentiates the X100S from its predecessor. There are also a few minor changes to the functions of some of the buttons: the raw button of the X100 is now a quick menu button, as on Fuji’s CSCs; while the drive-mode button has switched places with the AF button and is now on the left of the rear screen, rather than on the control wheel. AF-S and AF-C have also swapped places on the focus switch, with AF-S now at the bottom to make it easier to flick the switch to this setting from MF as AF-S is more commonly used than AF-C. These are all minor changes.
A function button remains, and can hold up to one exposure control at a time. By default, it is set to ISO. Handily, auto ISO can be limited to particular sensitivities, set to a default ISO, and a minimum shutter speed is permitted up to 1/125sec. Therefore, for general use, auto ISO can be relied upon.
Image: The X100S may well have a fixed 35mm focal length, but the wide conversion lens transforms the focal length to 28mm. There is virtually no impact on image quality, so the conversion lens is in effect a second lens
The fixed 23mm lens is just like a pancake lens, and therefore adds very little depth to the camera. The whole unit can just about fit in a trouser pocket. The aperture ring of the lens rotates in full aperture stops, with suitable resistance. A 28mm (equivalent) wideangle converter is available, and removing the front lens ring exposes the thread onto which it screws. There is an on/off option in the menu when using the converter, in order to view and compose the scene correctly.
Manual focusing is around twice as fast as that on the X100, with the X100S requiring half the number of turns of its focus ring to go from its close-focus distance to infinity. This has been achieved by doubling the encoder pitch of the electronic focus ring of the X100 and is a welcome improvement.
Given that this camera is likely to be popular with street and reportage photographers, a quick start-up time and response are vital to its effectiveness. Thanks largely to the new processor, start-up time has been halved to 0.5secs, which is the same as the X-E1. Shutter lag is measured at 0.01secs, and there is a shooting interval time of around 0.5secs, again halved from the X100. With the X100S and X100 side by side, the difference in speed is clear, and not an improvement to gloss over.