15
Mar
2013

X100S vs. X100

by Rico Pfirstinger

Talk to Rico (questions & feedback)Sample images setComparison images set

The X100S is an evolutionary camera, improving the classic X100 without taking away what most users valued in the first place. Sales of the original X100 (about 130,000 units globally) did beat expectations. The camera also inspired competing manufacturers to enter the mirrorless fixed-lens compact market, and it served as a blueprint for Fuji’s own line of mirrorless system cameras. Without the X100 and its (then revolutionary) hybrid viewfinder technology, there wouldn’t be an X-Pro1. Make no mistake: The X100 is the foundation of Fuji’s X series.

DSCF0136 - Lightroom 4.4RC / Aperture

Alas, it’s foundation with some flaws—many of which have been addressed with numerous firmware updates. However, firmware can’t fix everything, especially not hardware oversights, and even though the X100S very much looks like an “old” X100 at first and second glance, it is a different and better camera thanks to extensive user feedback.

DSCF0139 - f16, Silkypix 5 & Aperture

Let’s have a look at some of the changes and improvements that have been made regarding operation, features and design of the new X100S vs. the classic X100.

Speed

The X100S is not only faster, it’s also more responsive. Startup time and writing speed to SD cards have been accelerated. Of course, you need to use the fastest SD cards available (such as SanDisk Extreme Pro UHS-1 95 MB/s) cards to fully take advantage of this feature. The X100S shoots a maximum of 6 frames per second (vs. the X100′s 5 fps) in FINE+RAW, with no actual limit in the number of frames that can be continuously recorded. The X100S never locks up in burst mode, it just slows down. Unlike the X100S, the classic X100 needs an actual break after 8 frames and locks up until all 8 images have been transferred to the card.

With the X100S, the shooting interval in single frame (still image) mode has been reduced from 0.9 to 0.5 seconds, and you can immediately playback an image directly from the buffer, even while the camera is still saving shots to the SD card in the background. Image display (preview) options have been changed from 1.5 and 3 seconds to a more suitable 0.5 and 1.5 seconds. Of course, “off” and “continuous” preview modes are still available. Oh, and the eye sensor now also works when image preview is engaged.

Autofocus is has become more responsive, too, both in the classic contrast detection (CDAF) and even more so the new phase detection (PDAF) mode. On-sensor PDAF is now available in an focusing area roughly as large as the center 9 AF fields, and it will automatically engage at suitable light levels of about 5 EV or higher.  PDAF is also available in Movie mode (which now offers Full HD at up to 60 fps), as are all three focusing modes (AF-S, AF-C and MF). In manual focus (MF) mode, the MF ring is more responsive and actually quite usable. The AF distance range for the EVF and LCD has been improved  from 40cm-∞ (X100) to 21cm-∞ (X100S), and the shooting range in the OVF has been expanded from 80cm-∞ to 50cm-∞, so you will have to switch to macro mode less often.

Like the X20 and X100 (and X-Pro1 and X-E1 with current firmware), the X100S operates with AF priority: When you fully depress the shutter button in one swift motion (vs. first half-pressing it to lock focus and exposure), the camera will take the picture immediately after it has acquired focus. This “trick” can be used to catch moving subjects, like this pony trotting towards the camera:

DSCF0037 - X100S "AF trick"

Focus was directed at the horse’s head, with open aperture (f/2) to minimize the depth-of-field (DOF). As you can see in the cropped image above, the pony’s head is perfectly in focus. Click on the image for larger viewing options.

Split Image

Another notable improvement are the camera’s new manual focus aids: Digital Split Image and Focus Peaking. The former uses PDAF pixels on the sensor to simulate split image focusing as you may know it from older MF SLRs. Click here for a demo: http://youtu.be/_fJDX1hzUIg. The latter, called “Focus Peak Highlight”, delivers classic focus peaking over the entire image frame by outlining/highlighting those areas of the image that are currently in focus. This is a software feature, so I’m confident we will also see it in future firmware releases for the X-Pro1 and X-E1. Click here for a demo: http://youtu.be/PMdQpgOzd4o. By pressing the command dial for about a second, you can easily rotate between the different manual focusing aids.

DSCF0140 - f16, Silkypix 5 & Aperture

Smart

The X100S is smarter than the classic X100. For example, it remembers your in-between aperture (like f/6.4) and shutter speed (like 1/80s) settings even after you switch-off the camera. Once you switch it back on, it will continue with those settings. In full manual mode, the Live View display will now actually simulate the brightness of the resulting image once you half-press the shutter button. Auto-ISO is now part of the ISO menu, it works up to ISO 6400 and it allows you set the ISO floor, maximum ISO and minimum shutter speed. Even better, these Auto-ISO settings can be stored in custom user profiles, so any of the camera’s three custom profiles can contain a different Auto-ISO configuration.

When you update the firmware, the X100S will remember the camera’s settings instead of performing a reset like the classic X100 did. Also, inserting a memory card that hasn’t been properly unmounted from an Apple iPad or Macintosh computer won’t slow down the startup of the camera, anymore. Fuji has also improved intelligence and accuracy of Auto Exposure (AE) metering (especially Multi mode) and Auto White Balance (AWB). Take a look at these two ISO 6400 shots (taken with AE and AWB). One is from an X100 and one from an X100S:

DSCF1141 - X100 ISO 6400 JPEG SOOC Provia, AWB

DSCF0175 - X100S ISO 6400 JPEG SOOC Provia, AWB

Whoa! Speaking of AWB: White Balance Shift is now available in every shooting mode (even Movie or Motion Panorama). There’s also direct support for Eye-Fi cards and an odometer-like frame counter (Fuji rates the shutter beyond 100,000 shots). There’s now an option to connect an external microphone (MIC-ST1) to the camera’s tiny USB port, and the input levels for both internal and external microphones can be manually adjusted in the camera menu.

Simple

The X100S offers a significant number of small and simple improvements that quickly add-up to an “all new” camera. For example, a protective coating on the surface of the viewfinder window is supposed to prevent fingerprints and smudging, and the shape of the viewfinder window has been changed to prevent dust build-up. The strap attachment rings are now double coated with a stainless steel layer to reduce wear and tear. The shapes of the Viewfinder Lever, the OK button and the Q button (formerly the RAW button) have been improved to enhance their usability, and the layout of the Focus Mode Switch has been changed to “MF/AF-C/AF-S”, which is more useful than the “MF/AF-S/AF-C” layout of the classic X100. The improved Exposure Compensation Dial has more torque, so it is harder to involuntarily rotate it, and the layout of the Shutter Speed Dial has been modified to better separate A(utomatic) mode from manually set shutter speeds. However, the most important change in this department may be swapping the AF and the DRIVE buttons. Changing AF fields is now much more convenient and can be performed solely with the thumb of your right hand, while the left hand is supporting the camera.

Another major improvement is the higher-resolution EVF with 2.35 million dots, now matching the EVF of the X-E1. However, there’s some blurring in the EVF and LCD display while panning the camera at very low light to quickly track laterally moving objects—even when the shutter button is half-depressed. The classic X100 does not exhibit this behavior, but practically, one would use the perfectly lag-less OVF for this kind of shot, anyway.

By the way, Fuji redesigned the EVF and LCD displays to reduce information clutter and scene obstruction. Take a look:

X100:

X100S:

Pressing and holding the Q button for a few seconds brightens the LCD and EVF, a shortcut that comes in very handy in glaring ambient lighting. Tapping the Q button opens the new Quick Menu where one can quickly set or select all common JPEG parameters (including white balance), ISO and dynamic range options, the self timer, AF modes, flash modes or LCD/EVF brightness. Speaking of flash modes: Everything, including settings for third-party external flash units, is now part of one single flash menu, and the regular Shooting, Playback and Setup menus of the X100S are now multi-tabbed to make it easier to navigate through them.

DSCF0219 - WCL, Lightroom 4.4RC & Aperture

There are two new film simulation modes: Pro Neg. Std and Pro Neg. Hi. Both are great for portraits as they deliver pleasant skin tones. Speaking of which: Fuji enhanced the gradation of some of its film simulations, notably Provia. Provia’s shadow contrast is now pretty much identical to Astia’s, resulting in crisper images. In order to simulate the “old” Provia, you may try to set Shadowtone to -1 (medium soft).

There’s also a simple multi-exposure function to merge two consecutive shots into a composite, and there are several effect filters such as Toy Camera, Miniature, Partial Color, High-Key and Soft Focus. Like the X20, X-Pro1 and X-E1, the X100S also offers a new aspect ratio 1:1 option for shooting square images.

Sensor

For some users, these above-mentioned features alone could justify upgrading from a classic X100, but there is more, of course: The X100S contains an APS-C-sized  X-Trans sensor with increased resolution (16 MP vs. 12 MP). Like in the X-Pro1 and X-E1, this sensor can do without an optical low-pass filter thanks to its more random 6×6 pixel color filter pattern. Fuji also claims a much improved signal-to-noise ratio, and indeed: The X100S is fully usable up to ISO 6400.

Let’s take a look at two sample images, one from the X100S and one from the X100, both developed in-camera with matching white-balance and standard noise reduction settings.

Here’s the X100:

DSCF1147 - X100 JPEG SOOC Provia, WB 8300K, WB Shift, Push 1/3 EV

And here’s the X100S:

DSCF0178 - X100S ISO 6400 JPEG SOOC Provia, WB 8300K

As usual, click on the images for additional remarks, EXIF information and a choice of high-res options, including full-size.

Since Adobe Lightroom/ACR finally offers decent RAW support for X-Trans sensors (it always offered great support for the X100), we can also compare noise and detail using that external RAW processing option. I applied Lightroom’s standard import settings for noise reduction and sharpening, and I adjusted the white balance of the X100 shot to the settings chosen by the X100S. I also adjusted exposure and activated Adobe’s lens profile in the X100 shot.

X100:
DSCF1141 - X100 ISO 6400 Lightroom 4.4RC, default + WB matched to X100S, +0.57 EV exp. correction, Adobe X100 lens profile enabled

X100S:
DSCF0175 - X100S ISO 6400 Lightroom 4.4RC default import

Again, click on the images for larger views. But honestly, you can already spot some differences here—in sample images as small as 640 x 427 pixels! Apart from noise, artifacts and banding, the X100 also displays a tendency to a cooler and slightly more magenta look than the X100S, even with identical white balance settings.

Please don’t use Adobe’s dedicated X100 lens profile for shots that were taken with an X100S. Like other current Fujifilm cameras, the X100S stores lens correction profiles as metadata in the RAW files, which are automatically interpreted by RAW converters like Lightroom, Silkypix or Capture One. Adding Adobe’s custom X100 lens profile would effectively add up two lens profiles and thus correct an already corrected image. That’s definitely overkill!

DSCF0206 - WCL, Lightroom 4.4RC & Aperture

Like the X20, the X100S features a new and faster image processor, dubbed “EXR Processor II”. In the X100S, this processor outputs larger RAW files with 14 bits of color depth. According to my Mac (OS X 10.8.3), an X100 RAW requires 19.9 MB of hard disk space, whereas an X100S RAW file occupies between 33.5 and 33.9 MB (yes, the size is somewhat variable). Keep this in mind when purchasing new SD cards and allocating storage space on your computer or on backup media. A 16 GB SD card is good for 405 FINE+RAW images shot in aspect ratio 3:2 at size L.

Another feature of the new processor is the so-called Lens Modulation Optimizer (LMO) that is supposedly reducing diffraction effects at small apertures by means of sophisticated deconvolution algorithms. Unfortunately, this feature only works with JPEGs coming from the camera. In theory, Fuji could also store LMO data as metadata in the RAW file (for external RAW converters to interpret and apply), but as of now, that’s not the case.

Here’s a series of SOOC JPEG shots taken at f/8, f/11 and f/16 with the X100S set to minimal noise reduction (-2):

DSCF0153 - X100S f8

DSCF0152 - X100S f11

DSCF0151 - X100S f16

Here’s the same scene shot with my classic X100, also at f/8, f/11 and f/16, with NR -2 and Shadow Tone +1 (to match the “new” Provia):

DSCF1123 - X100 f8

DSCF1122 - X100 f11

DSCF1121 - X100 f16

Click in the images for larger viewing options. Once again, we see that the X100 offers a “cooler” tone and white balance. As for recognizing the effect of the new LMO, I leave that happily to you.

Shall I upgrade?

For me, the answer to this question is clearer than in last week’s “X20 vs. X10″ comparison. I can hardly think of any situation where I’d prefer using my classic X100, when I could also use a new X100S. Don’t be fooled by the rather subtle changes on the outside—on the inside, the X100S is an all-new camera: it is faster, more responsive, easier to handle and simply more convenient than its predecessor. It delivers better exposure and AWB, more resolution, improved colors, and it is significantly more capable in high-ISO situations. It’s also compatible with legacy accessories such as Fuji’s wide-angle conversion lens (WCL-100), TTL flash units, lens hoods or (protective) filters, batteries and chargers.

DSCF0252 - WCL, Lightroom 4.4RC & Aperture

While I intend to use my proven X10 in concert with the new X20, now is the time to retire my beloved classic X100.

Click here for my slowly but surely growing set of X100S sample photos.

Click here for the full set comparing different aspects of the X100S and the X100.

Please scroll to the bottom of this post if you’d like to consider reading my book “Mastering the Fujifilm X-Pro1″ in English or German.

X100S: BHphoto / AdoramaAmazonUS / AmazonDEAmazonUK / AmazonITA / DigitalRev / your ebay / your Amazon

For your convenience, here’s a TOC with links to my previous X-PERT CORNER articles:

Rico Pfirstinger studied communications and has been working as journalist, publicist, and photographer since the mid-80s. He has written a number of books on topics as diverse as Adobe PageMaker and sled dogs, and produced a beautiful book of photographs titled Huskies in Action (German version). He has spent time working as the head of a department with the German Burda-Publishing Company and served as chief editor for a winter sports website. After eight years as a freelance film critic and entertainment writer in Los Angeles, Rico now lives in Germany and devotes his time to digital photography and compact camera systems. His book “Mastering the FUJIFILM X-Pro1” (Kindle Edition) (Apple iBook Store) (German version) is available on Amazon and offers a plethora of tips, secrets and background information on successfully using Fuji’s X-Pro1 and X-E1 system cameras, lenses and key accessories.

  • GreyOwl

    A very interesting, clear and informative article, giving much food for thought. Thanks Rico, you’ve got me thinking……..

  • http://www.colinnichollsphotography.com Colin Nicholls

    Nice Article, really makes me want to upgrade, but I think I’ll wait until the price drops a little! Thanks-

  • MK

    Thanks Ricardo. Interesting review, and well-written. As an X100 owner, upgrading certainly sounds tempting. It’s just hard to justify buying a whole new lens when, as I understand it, the lens is basically the same!

    Two quick questions:

    1. The only way to switch into manual focus mode from one of the AF modes is by hitting the switch, is that right?

    2. Pixel-peeping I know, but in both the RAW and JPG 6400 comparison shots you posted, at 100%, the X100 seems to pick up the drops of condensation near the top of the glass with the candle in it, whereas the X100S smudges them over so they can’t be seen. Am I seeing this correctly? Is it a result of the settings you used to process them, or did the condensation evaporate between the shots? :)

    Thanks again for your work.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      1. Yes, you simply switch to MF mode to use MF.

      2. The “drops of condensation” are molten snowflakes that weren’t there during the X100S capture. The X100S may be fast, but it’s no time machine. ;)

  • Tim

    Hello Ricardo,

    I’m a litte weary of Fuji X-series reviews. The pattern from x100 is repeating again with x100s, in the extreme case “high profile photographer Z” has his 3rd or 4th exotic trip paid for by Fuji to test an X camera … and also always the review is likely to be super objective and honest. I like “high profile photographer Z”, however I also work for money and know too well that its all just a matter of managing perspective. Focus on the Good, mention the Bad … somewhere, only once … and everyone is happy for the next trip.

    Would you be able to list the things Fuji got wrong, or forgot, or are still missing?

    For instance I have noted the following from various places,
    - Custom settings, still can’t rename them and they still don’t include most/all settings (other than JPEG and now ISO).
    - Video, still long way of the competition. Translates to “basically useless”.
    - HV lag in low light.

    Have you disclosed your relationship with Fuji? Can you? I get the impression you have at least access to individuals from Fuji and information that is not generally available.

    Thanks, Tim.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Tim, you can compile and find such lists in camera forums (dpreview, the various X forums etc.) I once made one, too (for the X-Pro1/X-E1), and like other camera reviewers, I sent it to the manufacturer. Many requests and complaints have since been addressed, so Fujifilm is definitely listening to customers and experts. I already mentioned the large number of firmware updates Fuji made available for the classic X100. So I recommend visiting a forum and join the discussions in suggested firmware improvements.

      My relationship to Fuji is simple, as described in the last paragraph of each article: I am a free-lance journalist and author currently specializing in topics about Fuji’s X cameras. Why? Because it’s fun and interesting, and because I receive plenty of positive feedback, so it appears this might be a thing that I’m actually good at. Hence the funny “X-Pert” name. Like everybody who’s dealing in writing and journalism, I’m hopefully well-connected and have several sources and contacts. This includes background information that may or may not be part of NDAs. I haven’t received any compensation for my writing (neither money or gear) from Fujifilm (or Fujirumors, for that matter). I have received great support, though, but I’m sure so does dpreview, The Camera Store and many other reputable outlets.

      My “X related projects” are self-financed and labors of passion that have so far resulted in monetary losses that I’m happily covering from my own pocket, and all review samples I receive from Fuji and other manufacturers remain their property until they want them back. Many are “not for sale” pre-production samples, anyway, and I’m also buying plenty of stuff I write about, as it’s quicker than jumping through the hoops of marketing and PR departments. Some of my family members are using X cameras, too, but they have bought them in regular shops at retail prices. Of course, I’m trying to minimize my losses by helping my publisher sell as many books as possible, and I’m certainly not adverse to additional forms of income that can keep me afloat. We all have to eat. However, if you are in for the money, I recommend finding different topics with broader mass appeal. You know, like “How to take better pictures with your iPhone”.

      This column is a free service to the Fuji X community, and there are no guarantees about its long-term future. It basically depends on how much longer I can afford providing it (and how much fun I have writing it), so in the end, it depends on the support (material and immaterial) I get from you, the readers.

      • Tv

        Great reply Rico. Keep up the good work. I am reading your xpro1 book on kindle and I strongly recommend it to any one with or considering an xpro1 or xe1. Look forward to your next book.

      • Peter

        Thanks for taking the time to enlighten us about the Fuji X cameras. I always find them very useful. I thnk that peole will miss nfo when they only look at dp-review and alike. So keep up the good work (also on fujixspot). I love your book on the xpro1!
        Peter

        • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

          I agree, and that’s why I started this series. I also try to help in forums and will keep doing so (at least in those that don’t prohibit me to link elsewhere), but some kind of information is simply better suited for topical blog articles published at places that ensure a large readership among X series enthusiasts. Fujirumors.com is such a place. It’s using WordPress (which I already know from my riding website http://www.lets-ride.de), so there was no learning curve for me when drafting articles. It’s quite convenient. Fujifilm was a little bit worried at first (FujiRUMORS of all places!), but as I said, I’m pretty independent, and there’s obviously no information (as in rumors) flowing between me and Patrick. He doesn’t ask, and I don’t tell, it is that simple.

      • Tim

        Thanks. Based on your description I would suggest that your relationship with Fuji is not described at all in the last paragraph, which is why I asked.

        Also, please don’t take my post as a criticism of your writing efforts or choices. Rather think of it as helping me to interpret the objectivity of your reviews (as opposed to the tips and hints which are a different category).

        Tim.

        • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

          I readily admit that there is no objectivity in my articles (or books), as everything is based on my personal experience and my knowledge. The best I can deliver are informed opinions – plus some images that may be helpful in forming such opinions by yourself. So in the end, you are getting my subjective (and hopefully useful) views on things. I am also reporting facts, of course, but as far as my opinions, views and conclusions are concerned, these are subjective. :)

  • yashaka

    Thanks for review!

    It would be great to here more about manual focusing with “slit image” feature… How is it close to old film cameras experience?

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Didn’t you click on the video demo?

      • yashaka

        I saw demo… But it’s not enough…. First I did not understand from it, whether magnification is turned on… I believe that split image will work fine once you magnify the image you see in the EVF… It would be great if it is usable even without magnification, this would be just quicker, and that is what you have on old film cameras… Also image on the demo is not too complicated…. How will it work in the street? How does it work in comparing to for example Leica M9 rangefinder? What will be the difference between manual focusing with M9 and Fuji x100s, in the speed? in the accuracy?

        :)

        • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

          Magnification is obviously turned off, but you can also use it with magnification.

  • Roger

    Could be a great complement to the X Pro system. With the price of the new X mount lenses getting close to triple digits (e.g. XF 14mm) and the release date/performance of the new 23mm unknown, this could cover that coveted focal length (albeit weigh the bag down more than just a lens alone), replace my 18mm in the bag, and provide a back up body to the X Pro. I’d rather do that than pick up an X-E1.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      AFAIK, the 23mm is still scheduled for a fall release.

  • kuishinbou

    Great article and information, always. If it had interchangeable lenses, I would buy it, as it has all the features I want and it’s performance is likely as good as my DSLR’s now. As much as I love the design and features, a single focal length ( or two) is too limited for me. So, now I am waiting impatiently for them to introduce the new features and sensor in upgrades to the x-pro 1 and X-E1. If they are smart, they will do so very soon, as I am sure there are a lot of people waiting for them to do so, like me…but, they must do so now to capitalise on sales, as there would be no better option in mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras with AF at the moment, but that will likely change if they wait too long…

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Most of the improvements of the X100S are already part of the X-Pro1 and X-E1. And I’m confident that software features like focus peaking or better Auto-ISO will make it into future firmware updates. Hey, Fuji even brought the Quick Menu to the X10.

      So what’s actually missing on the hardware side? PDAF (but that feature may be overrated by some), Digital Split Image (which depends on PDAF), the faster EXR Processor II and its 14 bit processing. As for LMO, that’s easier with a fixed-lens-camera, but honestly, did you really see significant improvements in my JPEG samples?

      So what other X100S features are you actually missing in the X-E1? Quick Menu, tabbed menus, re-organized EVF/LCD display, high-res EVF, improved mechanical UI (button layout, dial torque etc.) It’s already there! Yes, several firmware improvements are still lacking, but that’s for the next major (and free) update to address. Wait till summer.

      Sure, the new processor makes the camera faster and more responsive, but compared to a classic X100, the X-Pro1/X-E1 already are quite fast and responsive. They don’t take breaks in burst mode, either, just use a super-fast SD card and you’ll be fine.

      This article is about the classic X100 vs. the X100S, not X-E1 vs. X100S. The number of improvements the X100S offers compared to a current X-Pro1 or X-E1 is smaller by a fair amount.

      • kuishinbou

        While the PDAS may be overrated to some, the more efficient AF is a key feature to many…And , Fuji has yet to introduce minimum shutter speed settings for auto ISO for the X-E1/X-PRO 1, which is shocking. I will wait for the upgrades, as those differences are important to me.

        • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

          It’s more of a good light feature, and I am okay with CDAF performance in good light, anyway. I rarely miss shots. So for me, it’s more of a nice to have feature than a must have, at least as long as the PDAF doesn’t offer object tracking in burst mode. Which, I am sure, will be possible in the future. I also tend to use AF fields outside of the 9 center fields, so even when using the X100S in great light, PDAF is often not engaged.

  • Les

    Great article! X100s looks very impressive.
    Is it possible to post an AF comparison video between the x-e1 in low light without using the AF assist beam? I’m sure everyone wants to see just how quick it is in real situations. All the AF videos only show the x100s in good lighting at a constant distance which will always look impressive on any camera.

  • Nick

    Hi Rico,

    Thanks for all your hard work at this site. You have so many great insights. Am I crazy, or do I see extreme watercolor effect in the snowy field shot? When viewed at 100% it looks like Van Gogh painted the picture….. Maybe that’s just the way the snow looked, but I could be wrong.

    Thanks,

    Nick

  • Tailwagger

    First, thank you Rico, not just for this article but for all the thoughtful writing you’ve done here in the past. When it comes to reviewing equipment, the more credible points of view, the better!

    I know you’ve offered us your opinion about the X100s vs X100, but if I might, I’d like to broaden the question and make it a little more theoretical. Given that we expect FujiFilm to release a 23mm 1.4 prime this year, some of us are weighing that future option for our Pros and XEs against getting in line and buying a second body in the form of the X100s. Assuming this new lens delivers similar quality to the current primes and given it will cost at least half of an X100s, a number of us are wondering if the added advantage of a second light weight fully self contained camera replete with PDAF, built-in NDs, etc is a more compelling proposition than adding another lens. So I’m curious if you have any thoughts on the superiority (if any) of the X100s versus the current gen X-Pro and X-E1 cameras.

  • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

    Well, X100S has a leaf shutter, the system uses focal plane shutters. So that’s quite different when it comes to (portrait) shots with minimal DOF & flash, as the X100S offers superfast flash sync. With the WCL, the X100 and X100S are two-lens “mini systems” with leaf shutter and fast 28mm/35mm (equiv.) options. Since I have no idea how good, costly and heavy the 23mm lens will be, it’s impossible for me to comment on that. I only write about products that have used myself.

  • Carl-Erik

    Loved reading your comparison – specially since my new X100s is on its way from HK. This looks very promising indeed.

  • autoy

    “Like the X20 and X100 (and X-Pro1 and X-E1 with current firmware), the X100S operates with AF priority: When you fully depress the shutter button in one swift motion (vs. first half-pressing it to lock focus and exposure), the camera will take the picture immediately after it has acquired focus.”

    I do not find this is the case on my X-E1. Perhaps this kinda works if the focus happens to be acquired quickly but not on every occasion at all. My Canon gear would not even take the shot if focus wasn’t locked, this is not the case with my X-E1, it takes it regardless and resulting sometimes in OOF shots, so I always half-press.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Half-pressing and waiting doesn’t do you any good when the object is moving towards the camera. You can only use the AF priority trick and hope for a good lock, or you have to pre-focus and wait for the object to pass the mark. Of course, the camera will eventually also take the shot when there’s no focus lock at all, too bad, no risk, no fun. But this is all explained and illustrated in my book, anyway, so there really isn’t anything new about this. It was just important to confirm that the trick still works with X20 and X100S cameras, as there’s always a chance that Fuji changed the firmware, like they did with X-Pro1 firmware 2.00. Back then, the AF trick suddenly stopped working.

  • rasterdogs

    Rico,
    I’d like to add my thanks for this fine article. As usual you write clearly and readably. Your contributions in these columns and your book have added much to my understanding and enjoyment of my Xpro-1. This article has confirmed my decision to pre-order a X100s.
    Mainly I’m doing this in order not to wait for the forthcoming interchangeable XF23mm lens.

    Like most here I’m not at all suspicious of your intentions, enthusiasm, and expertise with and for the
    Fujifilm X series tools.

    With sincere appreciation,
    rasterdogs

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Always happy to help, enjoy your cameras. The X100S is quite easy to like, and with the WCL, you basically have a two-lens mini system with leaf shutter, fast aperture and terrific IQ.

  • bashar

    when will you release the X-100s book? can’t wait!

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Unlikely to happen from my side. Michael D. will hopefully find the time to update hisX100 book. It’s a lot of work, given the huge number of tiny but important changes. I’m currently looking at an eBook about the new X20.

      • rasterdogs

        Rico,
        I hope you won’t find this to be too presumptive.
        Perhaps you and Michael D. could find a way to collaborate on an X100s book?
        He has the X100 ins and outs to leverage and you have the X-trans sensor content from your Xpro-1 work. Might be too complex to make work but could be synergistic.
        Cheers

  • http://kristiandyg.dk Kristian

    I really like the first picture.

    Which Fuji filmmode did you use for that one?

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      Why don’t you click on the images to see for yourself (and see the comparisons between JPEG and RAW)?

  • David

    In the first two pictures comparing the X100 with the S, on a quick glance I can see that the S is a touch brighter and less contrasty than the X100. look at the snow and the detail in the glass and snow, the S appears a bit washed out than the X100. This may be mean that the contrast in the X100 has been pushed a bit.

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      I only see a few drops of water that weren’t there in the X100S shot. As for contrast, the improved Provia has more shadow contrast than the old Provia in the X100.

  • tristan

    Hello Rico,

    Many thanks for your great effort. I like your clearly and balanced way of reviewing. They are, as always, enjoyable and informative to read.

    Greetings, Tristan

  • Mr. Norway

    Great stuff to read..

    I have one queation. I love doing street-photography and editing. I really dont care to mutch is the picture is a little bit “off” in color angle or othere small details as long as i can fix it in editing. Burst speed is also not that important. Video sucks on both cameras so that is not a factor at all.

    The only thing i know is a bit better on the x100s is a higher iso and better auto WB.

    But is it woth using all that extra money to get the x100s or do you think i could live good with the x100?

    • http://www.lets-ride.de Rico Pfirstinger

      I very much think a current iPhone is more than sufficient to make great photographs, so sure, I could easily live with only an X100, or an X10. Can you? I have no idea, only you can answer that. There’s also a difference between “can live” and “want to live”. For many, using new and better technology is an important part of the hobby and the fun. Others don’t care and will happily shoot with their 30 years old film camera.

  • jav

    “Fuji rates the shutter beyond 100,000 shots”.
    this information comes from the manual?
    really?

    Wow!

  • Steve

    Great article and pics!

    I have just got the X100s and love using it.

    Do/Can i update the firmware or is the update for the X100 only.

    Thanks

    Steve

  • tagesk

    On my X100S, I fail to see that the lens moves beyond the barrel. Could it be a modification from the X100?

    [TaSK]

  • http://nikond7000.pricestomper.net/details/nikon-d7000-digital-camera-battery-charger-110220v-with-car-eu-adapters-replacement-charger-for-nikon-en-el15-battery-/A.B008TWNN46 itbooze

    This charger is cheaper ($ wise) comes with a car charger
    and Adapter. Works as good as the Nikon charger. I depend on
    this for a living! Don’t hesitate!

  • ThomasT^

    Now that FUJI have sorted out the X100S color saturaton for landscape, that still missing on the X100, I wonder when FUJI will incorporate these uipgrades into e Pro2, so we can have an interchangeable-lens camera, with no more need to upgrade very 6 months. I still haven’t jumped from velvia to experimental digits,, as I dont need to spend my life upgrading, nor do i want do do PP. I need out of the cam. ready shots aka Ken Rockwell can now get with the 100S st on Velvia/saturation3.

  • Richie

    hi!
    is there any chance to REDO/UPDATE this “comparison” considering the new FW for x100?
    i suppose that in some aspects the difference between the 2 camera is narrowed…
    many of us might consider buying a cheaper used/new x100 instead of a x100s

    thanks :)

  • Larry

    Just discovered your site.. thank for all the great information, I have been using a Sony RX100 and have been thinking Fuji X20…. the 100S which seems to offer way more, but fixed lens? may be an issue for me… I would be using the X20, mostly for street photography, night shots at clubs, etc. Good choice?