Riley J.B. - Photographer


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

Fujifilm X100s Review {Part II}: The Legend of Curly's Gold

It has been a couple of weeks now that I have owned the Fuji X100s and it still amazes me every time I use it. When I had the X100 I knew when I was using it. It was a bit awkward to use. I had to try and focus a few times. I did not realize it until I upgraded to the X100s, but I was more focused on the camera than making photographs with it. It did get in the way for me.

The X100s is really the opposite. It seems to open the door for making photos and disappears very easily. It just works! The styling is beautiful, the weight is perfect, the controls are all in the right place, the EVF is crisp and clear.. it is great.

Versus the 35L

I received a few tweets and emails asking how the X100s compares to a 5dII or 5dIII w/ the 35L. The easiest answer is that they are both excellent and are both a 35mm field of view. But the 35L has a aperture of f/1.4 compared to f/2 on the X100s and on a full frame sensor the bokeh is stunning. The X100s will not be able to achieve that same 3D quality in a wide open shot just due to science.

But.. I would feel fine bringing along the X100s and leaving the 35L at home and know that I would not miss it. The 35L will have a place in my bag for when I want to make a higher resolution photo with a wider aperture than f/2. So far I have not reached for the 35L when going out to make photos.

In the Streets

Every few weeks my pal, "Burger" Curt, and I take out gear and head out someone to take some cityscape or landscape photos. It keeps us using our gear and uses the buddy system.

We of course start every adventure off by heading to the local 5 Guys Burgers & Fries and having.. burgers and fries.

X100s | 1/60th | f/2.0 | iso 200

The weather rarely seems to cooperate with these photo outings. This day winter returned with snow, fog, ice & cold. I brought my 5Dmk3 and lenses with me in a 20lbs backpack. And my X100s hung by my side.  I ended up using the X100s 95% of the day. It was so easy to just raise the camera and compose a shot. Especially knowing how great the image quality is.

I know a big complaint is that the X series cameras are not weather sealed like the Olympus OMD is. This day it was driving ice and snow for a portion and it did not affect the camera at all. I did make some effort to shield it and I did wipe it off a few times. I didn't baby it though.

X100s | 1/450th | f/3.6 | iso 200

You think it would be easier to dispose of a tire properly rather than lugging it about 800 meters up a hill and leaving it there.

X100s | 1/60th | f/2.0 | iso 800

I am not a street photographer by any means but I can see why the X00s is so popular. It is very quiet and discreet. You are walking, see something, raise it up, click (which you can barely hear), review the shot in the EVF and keep walking.

X100s | 1/60th | f/4.0 | iso 200

Did I mention how I love the 35mm field of view. It is a classic focal length that everyone should have. And use it to capture super ugly buildings in your city. Like this one.

X100s | 1/40th | f/2.0 | iso 500

I would not have been able to make this photo at 1/40th hand held with my 5Dmk3 and have it come out this sharp. With the soft shutter release I bought I can hand hold to 1/8th of a second and achieve great results. Coupled with the ISO performance of the X100s it could be considered nocturnal by zoologists.

The End

If you have not noticed yet, I highly recommend this camera as a compact. But it is a photographer's camera. It really confuses the hell out of my Mom if I hand it to her at her request to take a photo of me.

As I posted the other day I acquired a Fuji X-Pro1 with the XF35mm & XF14mm lenses. Together with the X100s this is my travel or go anywhere kit. I am starting to really enjoy the X-Pro1 despite its limitations that mostly could be taken care of with firmware. Am I going to drop my dSLR & lenses for the X-series system? That is a question for a whole new blog post.