This is certainly not going to be a full review of any kind. For now it's merely a list of observations from my first few days of owning the Fuji x100s from the point of view of a Canon dSLR and Leica M4 user. Here we go:
- It's small, somewhat smaller and lighter than I expected. I have a JB Camera slip-on case coming that will add to the bulk just a bit, perhaps enough for it to fit my hand a little bit better. Overall it's almost exactly the size of the broken Canonet I bought off of ebay a few years ago.
- The battery life is pretty horrible, but take that with a grain of salt as I'm typically used to my 5D3 which gets 1500 photos on a battery. So many that I don't carry and extra or a charger with me on vacation. I already bought an extra aftermarket battery on Amazon.
- Also added an aftermarket lens hood so that I could worry less about the lens cap and scratching the front exposed element of the lens. However at this focal length the hood covers a good 1/8th of the frame, sort of putting a poison pill in the use of the otherwise lovely OVF. And I bought this camera because of the optical viewfinder.
- The lens and image quality of even jpegs straight out of the camera is superb. As is the auto white balance, which is something my Canon cameras have never done particularly well. Here's a 100% crop from the image above. Again, straight out of the camera. Oh and it was taken at 1600 ISO. Try to get a color image on ISO 1600 film that looks that nice.
- It is does not however have the same feel or responsiveness as a more simple and manual camera like the Leica M. Even with settings optimized to 'high performance', manual exposure, and the use of manual focus it feels like too much computer between me and the shutter. I feel required to 'half-press' to have it ready. Maybe this will improve the more I handle it, but it's a little frustrating coming from cameras which take a picture the instant you press the shutter. It feels like the exact opposite of an extension of me, at least so far. Maybe I'm missing something, but this feels much more like an overachieving compact than a slimmed down digital rangefinder.
- It's quiet alright. For me it's too quiet. To the point where I have a hard idea knowing when the picture is being taken. Tactile feedback it does not do well. Oh, and a crappy 8 bit recording of a shutter sound being played through a 1cm speaker is not the panacea that they'd like to make you think it is.
- While I get the handiness of the Q menu, the thumb wheel is way too loose and responsive, to the point that I end up changing settings when I'm trying to move between menu items.
- I can't quite get the View Mode to be what I want it to be. I want to change settings and see image playback on the rear screen and only picture taking in the viewfinder, but I can't seem to make that happen. I end up getting the viewfinder on the rear screen and settings in the viewfinder far too often. Can't it just act like every other digital camera I've ever used in this regard?
So, overall some good stuff and some bad stuff. Overall I like it, but it's handling is very very different than the Canon's I'm used to. Tomorrow I'm going to take a nice long walk with it and see if she and I can become better friends. I want it to disappear for the trip to Italy that I have coming up. That'll be the ultimate test.