It looks like a classic rangefinder, yet it features Fujifilm’s latest EXR technology and, controversially, a fixed-focus, non-interchangeable lens. So has the FinePix X100 really been worth the wait? We find out
Viewfinder, LCD, Live View and Video
The X100’s viewfinder system is a clever design and will give the makers of mirrorless cameras something to think about. However, it has some flaws. The viewfinder is activated with an eye sensor, although the correct view mode must first be chosen and it is not immediately obvious if you’re not in the right one. When using the optical view, the electronic crop marks provide a less than accurate composition, which can cause objects to creep into your frame that you thought you had avoided. The full electronic view is then the natural choice for accuracy as not only does it give 100% coverage but it also allows you to see a scene as it will be saved, including any film-simulation effects. In bright conditions, however, I found it difficult to see clearly so I swapped back to the brighter optical view or the rear screen.
The LCD screen, although not the largest at 2.8in, is still a decent size and offers a crisp resolution and an impressive angle of view, making it easy to use even from extreme angles. However, there isn’t an auto brightness sensor and it is necessary to increase the screen brightness for outside viewing. Due to the camera’s size and shape, more than the viewfinder itself, I often used the rear LCD screen for composition out of habit. This is very effective and has little effect on the process – aside from slight stability issues. It also allows more covert street photography to be taken without attracting attention by holding a camera to your eye.
Although video was never going to be a priority for the X100, its abilities seem slightly basic by today’s standards. While the MOV (H.264) format means decent compression, it only offers 720p resolution at a single, though filmic 24fps. Its clip length is also limited to 10mins, which has now been surpassed by most advanced cameras.