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
Build and Handling
The X100 is relatively large by compact standards and compares more naturally with a compact system camera. The size is down to the restrictions of space to fit the large APS-C sensor on board, but also because if the camera were any smaller it wouldn’t have the same authority. With its current size it compares to an old rangefinder, although it is still significantly smaller and lighter than the recent Leica M9. The body is solid, weighing 445g with battery, and features die-cast, magnesium-alloy top and bottom panels. Dials on the top and front are metal, but revert to plastic for the back panel and the focus mode selector on the side.
The camera is generally flat and therefore has no pronounced grip. There is a small ridge on the front and the textured plastic material of the main section allows you to keep a fairly secure hold, although using one-hand is not recommended. The lens is quite small and stubby, so you need to take care not to let your fingers cover it when adjusting the aperture. Being a sealed unit, there is less concern about dust getting on the sensor, hence no dust-reduction system in operation. The dials on the top of the camera are large but reassuringly stiff to turn, but due to their protrusions they are still easily knocked and moved when taking the camera out of a pocket or bag and this can easily go unnoticed until after you have taken a shot. Some form of push-button lock would be handy, especially on the exposure-compensation dial, as it sits right on the edge of the body. It is a shame the buttons on the back weren’t kept to the same style as the dials on the top but the main buttons are still functional.
The main let-down here is the multi-directional, rotating D-pad. Although I freely admit that I never really got on well with these controls, this one is extra fiddly, with the central Menu/OK button requiring the use of a fingernail to press it due to its size and the fact it is hardly raised from the surrounding panel. There is also no dedicated ISO button – it can be chosen as a use for the function button, but this then means accessing the menu for the film-simulation modes. Changing the autofocus point is also a more complicated process than it should be, requiring a holding down of the AF while changing the point on the D-pad.