Mike Kobal: Fujifilm X100S low light and torture test


 photo 8575029198_46513eef0a_z_zps3c3744d4.jpg

image courtesy: Mike Kobal

 “The scene was dark and quiet and I tried to capture that feeling by keeping the ISO down, I did not want the trees to look grainy or noisy and kept the 1/30 shutter speed. Switched focus to AFC and focused. Failed. No problem, my subjects weren’t going anywhere, just running around in circles, re-framed, focused and captured. AF FAIL again. Now this was a pretty challenging scenery, low light, nothing reliable to focus on and after a few more failed attempts I switched to manual focus, which, from my previous setting was in split mode and I realized instantly split mode wont get the job done here, the subjects are moving too fast, the snow on the ground didn’t offer anything vertical and the trees were too far away. I pressed the toggle switch on the back for a second and this took me to focus peaking, which was the perfect aid for this scenery and thanks to the short throw of the mf ring, I had them focused properly and followed their movements with ease. I never took my eyes off them until I had the shot (after about 30 clicks). […] Back in the East Village, I spotted this lady waiting for the light to change and just caught her, still in AFS mode I switched to AFC mode, left the shutter speed at 1/30th and was pleasantly surprised, the X100S nailed focus the first time, I took a few shots to get the step right and autofocus was spot on every time. Impressive.”

It sounds like a “photografic adventure” in NYC and I really enjoyed reading it. No ISO-charts, no comparisons… just walking around in a cold, snowy winter night, hunting for a good subject to capture with the X100S and writing down his experience. At the end Mike Kobal says that “[…] the X100S is a street photographers dream. AF issues have been fixed and the improved EVF was a joy to use, MF options are in a league of their own. No contenders for now, and I almost forgot, in good light, we have the fantastic OHVF. Do I like this camera? Will I get one? Hell YES![…] ” Read it here.

P.S.: US citizens can now purchase the X20 at ebayUS here.
X100S: BHphoto / AdoramaAmazonUS / AmazonDEAmazonUK / AmazonITA / DigitalRev / your ebay / your Amazon
X20:  BHphoto (blacksilver) / Adorama (blacksilver) / AmazonUS (blacksilver) / AmazonUK (blacksilver) / AmazonDE / AmazonITA / DigitalRev / your ebay / your Amazon


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  • http://flickr.com/inthemist InTheMist

    I’m really motivated by Mike’s review.
    Thanks Mike!

  • Photosama

    Hello nice shoot,
    But what a wast of time looking for the right focus method.
    The distance is between 20 to 30 meters… just turn your focus ring to a value > 10m.
    And forget about auto-focus or focusing method…
    just concentrate on your subject 😉

    • Eric Duminil

      I kinda agree.

      • mike kobal

        @photosama, Eric, you both missed the point here, this was a camera test, trying to evaluate af/mf etc, not a photographer test :) and Photosama, you talk the talk, now show us (pix) that you can walk the walk…..

        • Photosama

          Hi Mike your right, this was not the goal.
          All I say is that finaly MF still the fastest focus method ever made.
          for me it only make sens with telephoto lens and zoom lenses above 80mm.
          Here after you have 2 links with full manual use of XE1+35mm/f1.4
          I’m still experiencing so be gentle 😉
          See you.

          • mike kobal

            awesome shots, Photosama,
            love your work. Respect. still browsing…..
            you certainly walk the walk, na, you run it 😉

  • kuishinbou

    That is great to hear. It sounds like Fuji how finally done it. I love everything about the X100s except for it only having a fixed lens. To be honest, I like the design of the X100s more than the X-Pro 1/X-E1, but unfortunately it does not have interchangeable lenses. So, I am very excited and waiting impatiently for Fuji to introduce the new sensor and features in upgrades to the X-E1/X-Pro1. Hopefully they come out soon. The only other things they should do is provide minimum shutter speed and in-camera TIFF (or their own RAW conversion software just for the conversion). I am looking forward to becoming a Fuji x-series user…hopefully I don’t have to wait too long.

  • Meep

    Mike really makes this camera sing.

    The story behind the photos is really helpful. Gives a good sense of the camera operation in real use.