Initial impressions: Fuji X100s vs. Sony RX1

Started Dec 1, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Daniel Lauring
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Initial impressions: Fuji X100s vs. Sony RX1
Dec 1, 2013

I've only had the RX1 a week so I'm still figuring it out, but these are some first impression from the perspective of Fuji X100s user, for others who might be swayed by that big FF sensor and Carl Zeiss lens of the RX1.  RX1 prices have dropped considerably with the introduction of the A7/A7r.  They can be found for about $1000 less than they cost new...still a big chunk of change more the X100s.

First the good stuff.

Sharpness and resolution:  The RX1 clearly wins here.  The extra resolution is apparent everywhere but even more so at the edges wide open.  Fuji's lens is sharp.  Sony's is sharper, and produces beautiful star patterns from light sources.  Ditto for low light performance.  The Sony's larger sensor definitely has less noise, or better signal to noise ratio at lower light levels.

Speed:  The Sony seems a little quicker with regard to shutter lag and picture processing.

Focus:  Neither of these cameras is great.  They are pretty similar in focus performance.  In some cases the Fuji acts better, in others the Sony.  One oddity of the Sony is it focuses at selected aperture, which causes it to have more issues when stopping down in lower light.  It is easy to work around this but odd that it does it.

Leaf shutter:  They both have leaf shutters.  The Sony's shutter performs a little better with regard to high speed flash sync and minimum aperture.

Exposure compensation:  Sony has a +/- 3 EV dial, Fuji only 2.

Video:  Sonys better.  I don't care.

Now the not so good.

ND filter:  Miss the built in filter.  It means something else that needs to be carried around in the bag.

Size:  The lens sticks out a lot further on the RX1.  This makes it much less pocketable.

Handling:  The Sony's smaller size makes me really miss it not having a grip.  I find I get motion blur much more easily from it, than the Fuji which I attribute to holding it in closer to the center...and the forward heavy lens.

No EVF/OVF.  I've got the add-on EVF but, of course that adds considerable cost and size to the camera, and it doesn't even lock in place (though it does seem to stay put pretty well.)

The very bad.

Flash (specifically low speed sync/fill flash):  Not sure if the flash is just limited to a certain minimum power, or if Sony's engineers just don't know what they are doing, but the low speed sync is broken.  When you turn the flash on it changes the exposure, boosts the ISO, or increases the shutter speed....very frustrating.  You can switch to manual mode and manual ISO, but then the flash just blows out everything up close.  Turning the flash compensation down doesn't work well...possibly because you hit the lower limit of flash power.  The only possible fix I see is to add some type of diffuser in front of the flash to limit it's power and shoot in full manual mode (including manual ISO.)  Going to try attach a little piece of plastic/cloth to the flash with a rubber band when using it inside for fill...something that one should never have to do with a professional camera.

Firmware:  It would be great if Sony could fix the flash with a firmware update, but their record of providing firmware updates is the opposite of Fuji.  They are more inclined to fix things on the next release.

Fujifilm X100S Sony Alpha 7 Sony RX1
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