Riley J.B. - Photographer


Calgary photographer, Riley JB, writes essays, photo stories, reviews & tutorials in his photographic Journal.

Preview:: The Fuji X100s, the Little Camera with a Soul gets Better

It is no secret that I love gear. I love buying gear. I love selling gear. I love talking about gear. Gear!

I have always been a dSLR guy. I started with a Canon Digital Rebel XT back in 2004 or 2005. I went to a Canon 40D from there in 2007 and then graduated to full frame with the Canon 5D Mark II in 2009. I have since traded that in for a Canon 5D Mark III last June. The image quality with the 5Dmk3 is phenomenal. I really have nothing bad to say about it. The only thing that I don't like about it is that carrying it around places is a huge pain in the ass. I can do it when I am going somewhere I know I want the speed and quality of the 5dmk3, but not for traveling. Which lead me to buying the Fuji X100. It had great image quality with an APS-C sensor in a awesome looking package.

Immediately upon buying the X100 a few things really annoyed me. The focus was the main one. It usually was pretty good in daylight. But in mid to low light it would do a lot of searching. The other pain was the minimal focus distance was 80cm (2.6') in the normal mode. So if I was closer than that I had to switch it to macro which changes the distance to 10cm. I guess I like to be close with the 35mm (equivalent) focal length. Another thing that I did not like was the 12MP file sizes. They were alright for snapshots but not great for printing as large as I like and made cropping not an option for me.

In May of 2012 I wanted a smaller second system that would fill these needs of mine. I was going to Maui for most of July and wanted a smaller system. At that time the Fuji XPro1 and 3 lenses were out. My plan was to buy the full Xpro1 system and pay for it by selling my 5Dmk2 and my lenses and switch fully to a Fuji system.

I went to The Camera Store and brought home the Xpro1, 18mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4 and 60mm f/2.4. I charged the battery and I started shooting boring stuff around my house. The first thing I noticed was the Xpro1 was pretty big. It was not heavy but it was quite a bit bigger than my X100. Another was the focus, and I didn't know this could be possible, was worse than the X100. The files did look great but the soul wasn't there. While I was fiddling trying to focus on the TV remote on our coffee table my wife said to me "You're going to regret selling your Canon, you know." And like in most instances.. my wife was right. I was already regretting it and it wasn't sold yet.

I returned the Xpro1 and lenses, bought the 5dmk3 and sold my 5dmk2. I went to Maui with it and my X100. I had the 5dmk3 on my shoulder about 40% of the time and my X100 60% of the time.. it was my take everywhere camera. I even had it with me when I did take my 5Dmk3.

Fast forward a few months to the release of the Fuji X-E1.. the advantages of the Xpro1 but in a smaller package.. and a return of the retro silver/black body! I checked it out.. and I just couldn't fall for it. Did I really want more lenses that cover the same focal lengths as my Canon? Did I want to carry all the lenses with me for fear of missing a shot? That is what I love about the fixed lens on the X100.. I don't have to take a bag of lenses with me and I don't have to guess what focal length will be best. 35mm is a great, classic focal length for most situations. It really makes me thing about composition. Which I think is really lacking in most people's photos.

The Fuji X100s

After an eternal struggle that had lasted months I was at peace with it. Until January 7th, 2013 when I heard "Extra! Extra! Fuji releases X100s!".. well I actually read about it on Twitter.. and I watched The Fuji Guys' first look at the X100s on YouTube. Pretty much everything that annoyed me about the X100 was addressed. Phase & Contrast detect focusing, 16mp sensor, new focusing aids, higher res EVF, new processor. And not only that  but it has the same classic looks as the X100.

The only thing that worries me a little with it is that it is using a X-Trans CMOS sensor.. (The version II) and I have read all over how Lightroom has trouble processing the RAW files. When I had the Xpro1 before returning it I found that Lightroom did handle the files well. I would feel better if Adobe came out and announced an update announcing they have solved the X-Trans sensor. But I won't hold my breath.

Availability is apparently sometime in March. I have my pre-order in so I hope to have a post on here reviewing the X100s in comparison to the X100. And more importantly I am taking a trip to NYC with my wife in May and it would be nice to have a it on my side for the entire trip.

If you do not want to shell out $1,300 for a X100s I would recommend grabbing a used X100. There should be lots hitting the market as people, like me, prepare for the X100s release. 

Happy New Year.