UPDATE: this shot was one of the 500 selected on March 14th flickr explore
Once “Newness” wears off, our judgement tends to be more level headed. The loss of gear euphoria also occurs when I get my hands on a new camera or lens during a model shoot or an assignment. Because at the end of the day it is about the pictures and not the camera
more after the break
I was pleasantly surprised when a good friend of mine came by early to drop off his brand new X100s (and he left with one of my D800E‘s) as I was in the middle of prepping for the shoot with Stephanie.
I checked the battery, it had three bars and decided to give it a try right away. Already familiar with the UI from my X-E1, the X100s felt like an old friend. We started with head shots on a white backdrop. I was really itching to take the X100s outside but the weather was nasty. Counting on Stephanie’s ambition to become a super model (in case you didn’t know, we don’t just call them super models because it sounds good) I dared to ask her if she would mind to take a few shots in the rain. Stephanie agreed and was excited to try something different.
I hope you enjoy the shots!
So here are my “level headed” impressions from this shoot:
The X100s feels very solid and it appears to be a notch above the X-E1 in craftsmanship.
This might be due to the weight (a little heavier then the X-E1 with 18mm mounted) and the slightly better feel of the focusing, aperture, shutter speed and +- control rings (more resistant to accidental turns) when compared to the already excellent X-E1 and Fujinon lenses. I totally forgot the X100s was not weather sealed, and it didn’t matter, it was soaked after we were done shooting outside and it worked fine! Of course I enjoyed using the hybrid finder in “rangefinder” mode and the EVF is total state of the art. This brings us to the viewing/framing/experience:
The increased refresh rate and resolution when in EVF mode makes this one of best EVF to date. It is stunning, especially when switching between the rangefinder mode/EVF mode, in some situations, one can easily mistake the EVF for the optical display, it is that good!
Of course I had to try the new mf split focusing mode and I liked it, however, because of my video work (mostly with the Sony FS100/700) I am used to focus peaking and I found it much easier and faster to use, however, I am sure this is only a matter of preference. It was great to have both options. It was also great that the full range from infinity to the closest focus point required only a two inch rotation of the fly by wire ring!
I also liked the AF-S/AF-C/MF switch, out of the way, recessed, in perfect position. Not prone to accidental changes.
AF performance: The big unknown, how good is the latest contrast/phase detection af performance? Well, after a couple hours of intense shooting I can tell you this much: In good as well as mediocre lighting conditions auto focus can be blazingly fast. Nikon V1/V2 fast. Olympus OM-D fast. Yes, my friends, it is that good! BUT, it still missed and hunted from time to time for no particular reason. Overall, a huge improvement. In very poor light, it is as good as the Sony Nex-6 or 7 with a fast focusing af lens. Fuji is close to the top and I am hopeful that they will improve on it again with firmware updates. To be clear, if your life depends on extremely fast, consistent auto focus, you will live longer with the Nikon V2 or the Olympus OM-D. If you can live with a few missed shots and appreciate incredible image quality rivaling results of full frame sensors, take a close look at the X100s. How does it compare to the 18mm, 35mm and 14mm Fujinon lenses? Hunting speed falls right in between the 18mm and the 35mm. During its fasted focus acquisition, the X100s beats them all.
Image quality/new sensor: Image quality looks every bit as good as I am used to from my X-E1. There might be a measurable difference, however, I highly doubt it will have practical impact. I love the way the X-trans sensor renders skin colors, the high dynamic range and the low light performance.
I am also planning to compare the X100s with the Nikon Coolpix A and possibly the Sony RX1, stay tuned
UPDATE: if you are interested in how the Sony RX1 handles, check out this post
UPDATE: a real street capture with the X100s here and another here
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