The X100S sees Fujifilm revisiting the concept, but while the external design is essentially unchanged, it's a very different camera inside. It uses a 16.3MP X-Trans CMOS sensor similar to that seen in the interchangeable lens X-Pro1 and X-E1 models, but now with on-chip phase detection promising much-improved autofocus speed. This is supported by a new processor, the 'EXR Processor II', which includes a new 'Lens Modulation Optimizer' function. According to Fujifilm this 'overcomes' lens aberrations such as diffraction and peripheral aberrations, and should give improved image quality at the largest and smallest apertures. The electronic viewfinder has been upgraded to a higher-resolution 2.35M dot display (from 1.44M dot); however this isn't the OLED unit used in the X-E1, but an LCD instead.
Two additional manual focus aids are available when using the EVF or LCD - a focus 'peaking' display that outlines in-focus elements, and an all-new 'Digital Split Image focusing' display that uses phase detection data from the sensor, and is designed to offer a similar experience to manual focus film cameras. In addition, the movement sensor on the manual focus ring has been upgraded to detect movement with greater precision - which Fujifilm says will make it more responsive.
The user interface gains all the improvements Fujifilm has made in its X-series cameras over the past few years, including an onscreen 'Q' menu to access major settings, and a much-improved tabbed menu system.
Fujifilm X100S key features
- Fujifilm-designed 16.3MP APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor
- On-sensor phase detection autofocus
- Novel color filter array designed to avoid color moiré, no optical low-pass filter
- EXR Processor II image processor
- Hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder with 2.35M dot LCD
- Dedicated dials for shutter speed, aperture and exposure compensation
- Fixed 23mm F2 lens (same as X100)
- Improved manual focus system (more responsive focus ring, focus peaking and split-image displays)
- 2.8" 460k dot rear LCD
- On-screen 'Q' control panel and tabbed menu system
- Full HD 1080 60p/30p movie recording, (H.264 MOV - 36Mbps bitrate)
- Socket for electronic remote release/stereo microphone
Aside from these headline features, Fujifilm is promising a whole host of smaller tweaks and improvements covering every aspect of the camera's design and operation - no fewer than 70 in total. Many of these address bugs and quirks highlighted by users and reviewers, demonstrating once again Fujifilm's laudable desire to listen to feedback and learn from it. Some controls have been subtly tweaked, movie mode is much improved, and small but important operability issues have been addressed.
Side-by-side with the Fujifilm X20
Here's the X100S side-by-side with the X20 that Fujifilm announced at the same time (we reviewed it earlier this year). The two cameras are very different beasts, of course, but share a lot of common features, and the family resemblance is obvious.
Compared to Sony Cyber-shot RX1R
The X100S's most natural peer (forgetting the massive price difference) is Sony's RX1R, which offers a full-frame 24MP CMOS sensor and a similar 35mm (equivalent) F2 lens as the X100S.