Two years ago Fuji created a storm in the camera market with the launch of the X100. The retro styling, large APS-C sensor and f2 prime lens was a breath of fresh air and for six months or more after the launch date they were nigh on impossible to get hold of such was their popularity! I owned one myself for about a year and you can read my review HERE if you need a refresher. Today Fuji have unveiled the cameras successor and it looks as though they have kept all the good bits of the previous camera and concentrated very hard on fixing the universally disliked features like the poor AF speed and the manual focusing.
So confident are they that they have solved the AF problems , that in fact it’s a leading feature and Fuji claims it to be the worlds fastest AF system ! THAT is a bold claim and signals some serious confidence! How have they done it? By adding phase detect AF as well as contrast detect into an intelligently switching package. Similar to what is seen in the Sony NEX cameras I would imagine.
On top of the ground up redesign to the AF system they have added the superb X-Trans sensor from the X-Pro 1 and beefed it up with a new EXR II processor that doubles the processing speed to provide up to 6fps of continuous shooting as well as huge speed improvements in start-up time and general handling.
To tackle the manual focus issues they have added a dual system that both provided focus peaking on the LCD screen as well as a new technology called Digital Split Image with shows a left and right image to be overlaid and lined up on the screen to achieve focus. Kind of like a rangefinder view for the digital age. Of course we’ll have to wait to try it first but all these things sound well thought out to me.
The best bit though ? They didn’t change the look of the camera one iota ! Thank you Fuji 🙂
In my opinion THIS is how cameras should evolve. Even when the X100 came out they took notice of the things that people disliked and they implemented one of the largest camera firmware updates ever seen within just a few months of launching the camera. They listened to the customers ! This time the customers said ‘hey we love how the X100 looks and we love that lens , so just fix the AF for us and make it all a bit snappier’. I think they have delivered on that and I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on one at some point!
- · 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor
- · EXR Processor II
- · High Definition Hybrid Viewfinder (OVF / EVF)
- · FUJINON 23mm f/2 lens
- · Intelligent Hybrid AF (with the world’s fastest AF speed of 0.08 secs (*1))
- · Start-up time of 0.5 secs
- · Shutter time lag of 0.01 secs
- · Shooting interval of 0.5 secs
- · High-contrast and wide viewing-angle 2.8-inch Premium Clear LCD (460K dots)
- · Super Intelligent Flash
- · Burst shooting rate of up to 6 frames per second at full resolution (max. 29 frames)
- · Focus Peak Highlight function
- · Digital Split Image display
- · Artistic filters
- · Full HD movie recording (60fps / 30fps)
Two years ago, FUJIFILM launched the prestigious X100 with a FUJINON 23mm f/2 fixed prime lens and superb image quality, in a beautifully designed compact camera body. Its unique style and international acclaim has carved out a niche for a new genre of Premium Compact Camera, designed in pursuit of optimum operability. Today, FUJIFILM is proud to announce the launch of the FUJIFILM X100S, the successor to the FUJIFILM X100, inheriting its elegant design and high-performance lens, whilst evolving further to meet customers’ demands with the introduction of a higher-definition Hybrid Viewfinder and a new sensor and processor.
The X100S has the ability to capture high resolution images, comparable to those taken on full-frame sensors. This is down to a combination of its newly-developed 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor and EXR Processor II, which together increase resolution by approx. 25% (*2) and reduce noise by more than 30% (*3). Clear images with minimal graininess, even at high ISO settings, can also be produced, thanks to the removal of the optical low pass filter and the introduction of a more powerful processor.
The newly-developed X-Trans CMOS II sensor has built-in Phase Detection pixels which provide the X100S with the world’s fastest AF in as little as 0.08 seconds (*1). Additionally, the EXR Processor II offers very speedy response times with a start-up time of approx. 0.5 seconds (*4), and a shooting interval of 0.5 seconds. Plus with its shutter time lag of only 0.01 seconds, it allows you to react quickly and capture each precise moment you want to with no missed photo opportunities.
Also new to the FUJIFILM X100S is the world’s first (*5) “Digital Split Image” feature, which displays dual images on the left and right to be lined up for manual focusing. This enables accurate focusing especially when working with an open aperture or macro shooting. What’s more there is a handy Focus Peak Highlight function, which shows you precisely which area of your composition is in focus.
Depending on the subject and scene, users can switch between two viewfinder options: optical or electronic. The Optical Viewfinder (OVF) is useful when users want to see their subject in the same bright clarity that they see with the naked eye, or when time lag is an issue. The high resolution 2.36 million dot electronic viewfinder (EVF) is useful when you want to be able to visually check focus, exposure, white balance and depth of field whilst composing the shot.
(1) Sensor performance comparable to full-frame output
The X100S features FUJIFILM’s newly-developed 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor with a unique, highly randomised, colour filter arrangement. The benefit of the new array is the elimination of the need for an optical low-pass filter; these are used in conventional sensors to reduce false colour and moiré effects but they also reduce image resolution. The removal of the optical low-pass filter allows the X-Trans CMOS II sensor to maximise the light it receives directly, enabling users to capture much finer detail and optimise resolution levels.
The X100S uses a Lens Modulation Optimiser to reduce optical effects such as lens diffraction, which occurs when light passes through a lens. Even when stopped down to f/16, the X100S retains sharpness and texture in the smallest details, demonstrating the extent of the sensor and lens combination’s capabilities, perfectly.
The excellent sensitivity of the X-Trans CMOS II sensor is coupled with the new EXR Processor II’s advanced signal processing capacity, which can reduce noise by more than 30% (*2) compared to its predecessor. Even when shooting in low-light, at a high ISO setting, the FUJIFILM X100S will produce crisp images with minimal grain.
(2) The World’s fastest Auto Focus and High-speed EXR Processing
With built-in Phase Detection, the X100S offers the world’s fastest AF speed of just 0.08 seconds(*1). The Intelligent Hybrid AF can switch to Contrast AF, dependent on the demands of the subject or scene, to ensure that the camera always auto-focuses quickly and with precision.
The EXR Processor II delivers processing speeds twice that of FUJIFILM’s previous generation processor (*6). The fast responses result in an impressive start-up time of approx. 0.5 seconds (*4), and a shooting interval of 0.5 seconds. In addition the X100S delivers a burst shooting rate of up to 6 frames per second (max. 29 frames) at the full resolution of 16.3 megapixels and the shutter time lag is a mere 0.01 seconds.
(3) Enhanced manual focus performance with the world’s first (*5) ‘Digital Split Image’ display
Making use of the built-in phase detection pixels for AF action, the X100S is the world’s first (*5) camera to offer a “Digital Split Image” feature, which displays dual images on the left and right to be lined up for manual focusing. This enables accurate focusing especially when working with an open aperture or macro shooting.
In addition, the X100S offers a handy Focus Peak Highlight function, which highlights high contrast areas of your subject. It provides the photographer with a guide, even in situations where it is difficult to calculate focusing accuracy, allowing users to enjoy manual focusing comfortably, however challenging the conditions.
(4) Premium Hybrid Viewfinder for easy image composition
Offering users freedom when composing photos and adaptability for a range of shooting conditions, the X100S’s Hybrid Viewfinder combines both an Optical and an Electronic Viewfinder.
The electronic viewfinder uses a 100% coverage, extra high resolution, 2,360K-dot High Definition LCD panel. It shows depth-of-field during macro shooting, as well as white balance settings, allowing users to accurately compose their shot while continuously looking through the viewfinder.
The premium quality optical viewfinder offers an easy-to-see magnification of 0.5 at a 23mm focal length and a horizontal apparent field of view of 26 degrees. The all-glass construction uses high-refractive index glass to minimise chromatic aberrations and distortion.
While in the optical viewfinder mode, users can make adjustments to shutter speed, aperture, ISO and other settings without having to take their eye off the viewfinder. The shooting frame (Bright Frame) and text brightness automatically adjust according to the ambient light available, to ensure that the information on the display is easy to see at all times.
The system features an OVF Power Save mode, which activates the power-saving function in the optical viewfinder mode to double the maximum number of images per full charge from 300 (*7) in normal operation.
With FUJINON’s proprietary coating, the viewfinder cleverly resists fingerprints and can easily be wiped clean, so that users can enjoy the optical viewfinder’s clear display without compromise.
(5) FUJINON 23mm f/2 lens offering premium image quality in a compact body
Specifically designed for this model, the FUJINON 23mm f/2 Single Focal Length Lens has a fixed angle of incidence of light into the lens, which facilitates optimum optical design. Taking full advantage of this, the X100S demonstrates advanced levels of image clarity, not only in the centre of the image, but also through to the edges of the photo. The versatile focal length of 35mm (*8) delivers an angle of view ideal for a diverse range of subjects and scenes.
The lens consists of 8 elements in 6 groups, and includes a high-performance double-sided aspherical element and highly-refractive converging glass elements, which deliver a high level of detailed performance with minimal aberration, excellent sharpness and beautiful colour reproduction. Moreover, FUJINON’s proprietary HT-EBC coating is applied to effectively control image flares and ghosting.
Other benefits of this lens are the beautiful, soft, round-shaped Bokeh that is produced from the 9 blade lens diaphragm. In addition the lens allows you to get as close as 10cm from your subject in macro mode for stunning close-up shots. And its built-in 3-stop ND filter enables blurring of the background in portraits, or applies a gorgeous creamy look to flowing water even in a bright setting.
(6) Elegant design and sophisticated functionality
The front of the X100S proudly bares the letter “S” as confirmation of its extensive evolution from the FUJIFILM X100. Down to the tiniest detail, the premium build and feel of the X100 is continued in the X100S. FUJIFILM’s top quality Japanese engineering is evident from the high precision components used and the perfectly optimised body.
The X100S’s top and base parts are made of magnesium alloy to achieve a lightweight, resilient, yet delicate design. A specially-formulated coating is applied to give its surface a steel look for an added premium feel. All the dials and rings have been milled from solid metal, with attention paid to the finer details such as finger grips and enhanced operability. The exterior is finished with synthetic leather, which is durable and resilient to the environment yet reproduces the texture of real leather, while still offering the practical benefits of additional grip and comfort.
The layout of the dials and rings allow users to operate the aperture ring on the lens with their left hand, and the shutter speed dial and exposure compensation dial on the top panel with their right hand, meaning all the settings can be adjusted comfortably without having to take your eye off the viewfinder. And to make you feel even more at home, you can even customise your shutter sound by choosing between the four different sounds available: Lens Shutter, Focal Plane Shutter, Mirror Up and Silent Shutter.
The menu system has been also updated to incorporate a Q “Quick” button which allows you to quickly call up frequently-used menu items such as ISO setting and Film Simulation modes. In addition, the Fn (Function) button allows users to assign functions frequently used while shooting, for convenient use at the touch of a button.
(7) Artistic photography
The X100S features FUJIFILM’s proprietary ‘Film Simulation Modes’. Users can choose from ten simulation options which replicate the results achieved by FUJIFILM colour reversal films (Velvia / PROVIA / ASTIA), professional colour negative films (PRO Neg. Std / PRO Neg. Hi), monochrome filters (MONOCHROME, Ye filter, R filter and G filter) and SEPIA.
Also available on the X100S is the Advanced Filter function; users can choose from 8 different artistic effects which can be previewed on the LCD screen:
Pop Colour – great for boosting contrast and colour saturation
Toy Camera – create shaded borders as if you were taking a photo on a toy camera
Miniature – adds top and bottom blur for a diorama or miniature effect
Dynamic Tone – create a fantasy effect by dynamically-modulated tonal reproduction
Partial Colour – highlights one colour and leaves the rest of the image in black and white (choose from red, orange, yellow, green, blue or purple)
High Key – enhances brightness and reduces contrast to lighten tonal reproduction
Low Key – create uniformly dark tones with few areas of emphasised highlights.
Soft Focus – blurs the focus of the image edges to create a softer effect
In addition a Multiple Exposure function enables users to combine two separate images together for special creative effects. And for greater artistic freedom, the aspect ratio can be selected from 3:2, 16:9, and 1:1 (square) to accommodate a wide range of photographic styles.
(8) Full HD Video Shooting
The X100S can shoot at 60fps during Full HD video recording (1920 x 1080) for very smooth video capture. Plus shooting at the high bit-rate of 36Mbps will result in reduced noise and enhanced image quality that reveals every detail, from individual leaves in the trees, to subtle changes in facial expression. During video recording, users have access to many of the additional modes available in still image capture. Film Simulation modes can be used, White Balance settings can be adjusted, you can even make the most of the fast lens to produce beautiful bokeh and also operate the Intelligent Hybrid AF for high-speed and high-precision focusing.