The X100s is far a better camera than the X100, but...

Started Mar 25, 2013 | Discussions thread
cptrios
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Re: The X100s is far a better camera than the X100, but...
In reply to itairom, Mar 26, 2013

itairom wrote:

cptrios wrote:

palincss wrote:

I don't get it. In view of this: "Wow. What a better camera it is. Faster in every possible way. AF now caught my kids as fast as any camera. Manual focus is a dream." why wouldn't it be a "keeper"?

Not worth all of the extra money, perhaps? It costs around twice as much as a used X100 right now...definitely not chump change.

I too am a bit reluctant toward the X100s in IQ terms. The X100's RAW files have a bit of unquantifiable "magic" that the X100s's (OK seriously, they should have chosen a different letter than "s!") lacks. The X100s's IQ is definitely better in plenty of other ways - high ISO being the biggest - but the prospect of giving up that je ne sais quoi is kind of sad. The X100s is undeniably a better camera mechanically, though.

I'd like to see a comparison that demonstrates this difference. So far, I haven't seen one. I'm not saying that it's not true, just that I wonder how much of this is simply nostalgia and how much is really a visible difference in the images. The use of terms like je ne sais quoi leads me to wonder if it's really just nostalgia. The X100 was a remarkable camera that revitalized photography for a lot of people, so I'm not surprised that people find they still love it even after its 'replacement' hit the market. That kind of emotional connection tends to manifest itself in ways that are hard to quantify. It's still a great camera.

I know je ne sais quoi is sort of a ridiculous thing to say - not entirely dissimilar to something like "Zeiss 3D pop." It's obviously a completely subjective thing, and I'm sure there are loads and loads of people who dislike the X100's output. I'll try to describe it as best I can without photos, as I don't have my library with me. There are two major things that set the X100's IQ apart from other cameras as far as I'm concerned:

(These are only relevant for RAWs, mind you. The X100's JPEG engine is quite good, but it's still...well, a JPEG engine.)

1. The combination of that lens and that sensor produces a level of detail and microcontrast that rivals some extremely expensive glass. They remind me quite a bit of images from the original 13MP Canon 5D, which was a uniquely "sharp" camera. One thing I particularly like is the falloff between the focal plane and OoF areas.

2. RAW colors. This is where the je ne sais quoi comes in. Even at very small sizes, I can immediately tell images from my X100 apart from images from my NEX-7. This is most obvious when shooting people in good natural light. Skin tones just look good, and I can't exactly describe why. I'll often shoot some portraits and candids at, say, a barbecue with my X100 and then have the results shock me when I load them up on my computer later. My reaction is almost always "I wouldn't have been able to get my photos to look like that in PP without a ton of work."

#1 should be the same with the X100s. It's #2 that I worry about. Everyone's always talking about "Fuji Colors," and they're typically referring to the S-series cameras with CCD sensors. That, in my opinion, is just as subjective as what I'm talking about...but indeed if you look at the photos those cameras have produced, the colors are definitely unique. I'm guessing that the Bayer-patterned CMOS X100 is already removed enough from those colors (though clearly Fuji made a strong effort to keep a lot of that quality), and my concern is that the X-Trans will be even further away.

Really, I have no doubt that the IQ of the X100s is generally better. Better DR, certainly better resolution, much better high ISO performance. If I had the money to spend, I doubt my hesitations toward buying one would last very long. Actually, if someone deposited $1300 in my bank account just this instant, those hesitations would last exactly as long as it'd take to place an order with B&H. I'd just like to be more confident that it'd have that same immediately-identifiable quality.

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