DPReview Gear of the Year - Part 1: Fujifilm X100S
16MP sensor | 35mm (equiv.) F2 lens | Hybrid electronic/optical finder | DR expansion to 400%
Picking our favorite gear from among the great many new products announced every year is usually pretty tough, but this year, for me the choice was easy. The Fujifilm X100S is without doubt my favorite product of 2013.
Fujfilm X100S - What I love:
- 16MP X-TRANS sensor gives excellent image quality - virtually noiseless JPEGs up to ISO 3200.
- 35mm (equivalent) F2 lens is sharp at all apertures and excellent for day-to-day photography.
- Built-in Hybrid electronic / optical finder is luxurious and addictively useful.
- Manual aperture, shutter and exposure compensation dials look classy, and are great to use.
- On-sensor phase-detection AF means fast, accurate focus in most conditions.
- Focus peaking and 'Digital Split Image' MF guides make manual focus easy.
Reviewing the Fujifilm X100S was a great lesson for me in what I should and shouldn't try to take on. At first it seemed entirely feasible - it's not like I haven't reviewed a camera before, and I know its predecessor the X100 very well, so yeah - sure. I'll review it. I'll have it done in a month. No big deal.
That was the pride. The inevitable 'fall' came as days became weeks and weeks became months, and every week I struggled to devote more than a few hours to the review. I don't know exactly how long I was working on the X100S and I can't bring myself to work it out, but I do know that it was longer than I've ever spent with a single camera since I joined DPReview. But although the process of creating the review was incredibly frustrating, I enjoyed every minute I spent with the camera.
The X100S builds upon the strengths of its predecessor in some smart and valuable ways. It handles better, it starts up quicker, it has a more sensible menu system, it focuses faster, and the hybrid viewfinder has a higher-resolution electronic view. Resolution went from 12MP in the X100 to 16MP, and although the real-world impact of this bump is relatively small, the X100S's new X-TRANS sensor allows for hybrid on-sensor phase-detection autofocus, and also new manual focus aids - focus peaking and digital split image display. In my review I also highlighted the X100S's excellent, fast 35mm equivalent lens and its useful dynamic range expansion settings.
Meanwhile, all of the elements of the X100 that I really valued are either unchanged in the X100S or subtly improved. The final result is a thoroughly likable camera.
The X100S offers a beguiling combination of 'traditional' ergonomics and cutting-edge technology (especially when it comes to the finder) which, following my experience with the fascinating new Nikon Df I would definitely term as 'retro done right'.
Some people might find a focal length of 35mm limiting, but I love it, and find that it's a great focal length for general photography which matches my field of vision. And thanks to its near-silent shutter there's nothing to beat the X100S for candid portraiture, in my opinion.
When reviewers are working on a camera for DPReview, they are expected to live with the product for an extended period of time. It's like this scene from 'Full Metal Jacket', but with less shouting (usually). The average in-depth review of a major camera takes at least four weeks, and that's assuming that the reviewer isn't working on anything else at the same time. As a consequence, at the end of the process, there's not much we can't tell you about the product.
So in a sense, embarking on a review is rather like agreeing to travel around the world with someone you just met. At the end of the trip you might be best friends, or you might want to murder them but either way, you'll know their habits (good and bad) pretty well.
Needless to say, by the end of my X100S review I had truly fallen in love with the camera. It isn't the most innovative product I've seen this year, nor the most accomplished in terms of specifications, but it's the one that I've used most, and continue to carry with me almost everywhere I go. It takes great pictures, and damn, it looks good too.
This is part 1 in a series of articles where DPReview staff will be highlighting their personal standout products of the year.
Barnaby Britton: Editor
Fujifilm X100S Sample Images
The Honor 20 Pro looks like an attractively priced alternative to some more established flagship competitors.
We've been playing around with a prototype of the new Peak Design Travel Tripod and are impressed so far: it's incredibly compact, fast to deploy and stable enough for the heaviest bodies. However, the price may turn some away.
Peak Design is back at it again, this time crowdfunding the Travel Tripod, the company's 9th Kickstarter to date.
The Camera Store has reported that on May 15, 2019 their store was robbed of a Sony lens and camera, and an employee subsequently sprayed with bear spray while attempting to apprehend the suspect.
Voigtländer's 21mm F1.4 Nokton lens for the Sony E mount has been officially announced.
Google complies with an executive order and resulting blacklists that prohibits US companies to do business with certain foreign entities.
Dutch public broadcaster VPRO has published a documentary called '#followme' that takes a behind-the-scenes look at how some Instagram influencers game the system trough shady tactics.
Nikon says it will fix affected Z6 and Z7 camera units free of charge (including shipping), even if the camera is out of warranty.
Looking to get in on the instant camera fun? We tried every model and think the Fujifilm Instax Mini 70 strikes the right balance between price and features – the Instax Wide 300 is our choice if you crave a larger format.
We talked to executives from Ricoh about the company's broad portfolio of imaging products, the GR III's warm reception and what they make of the surge in popularity of mirrorless cameras.
A new week, a new special edition Leica.
Reuben Wu's ethereal landscapes are lit by drone-mounted light sources rather than the sun or the moon. We talked with him about his process, the equipment he uses and what inspires him.
Earlier today, the Federal Aviation Administration issued a notice stating that recreational drone users are limited to where they can operate.
Chris and Jordan take a look at Canon's latest, tiniest Rebel and get a serious sense of déjà vu as they take a look at its still and video capabilities.
Nature photographer Erez Marom shares his experience shooting the famous Ijen volcano in Indonesia – from the best time to begin the hike to the crater to the equipment needed to withstand the toxic environment.
While Canon and Nikon have lost double-digit percentages year-over-year for their respective imaging divisions, Sony has managed to come out in the green, albeit not by much.
Photo software developer On1 has introduced an update of its raw processing application that it claims is up to 50x faster than the previous version and which includes a host of new features.
Don't expect any new features or functionality. These updates are simply to improve the overall stability of eight Sony camera systems.
A rotating mechanism on the Asus ZenFone 6 does away with the need for a front-facing camera.
Canon's diminutive Rebel SL3 (also known as the EOS 250D and EOS Kiss X10) is currently the smallest DSLR on the market, but it comes with a proven sensor, an updated processor, and more. We've taken our review copy to New Orleans and back, and put it in front of our studio test scene – see how it stacks up.
Instagram has brought live the update to its Explore tab that brings more content and better organization to the forefront of the user interface.
No one ever said 1TB of storage in a form factor smaller than your thumbnail would come cheap.
Honor has already revealed some sample photos including EXIF-data from its upcoming 20 Pro flagship phone.
The latest in a line of celebrities caught using pictures without permission, singer Ariana Grande is being sued over images she posted on Instagram.
Now that we've wrapped up our final review of Sony's mid-range a6400, we're taking it into account as a whole; here's how we think it stacks up for some common photographic use cases.
Nikon has released firmware version 2.0 for its full-frame Z6 and Z7 mirrorless cameras, and its all about autofocus. The update adds Eye AF, improves performance in low light, and allows for full-time auto-exposure subject tracking at 12 fps.
Adobe has released an update to Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Lightroom Classic CC and Adobe Camera Raw that includes a new tool it calls 'Texture.'
DJI has strayed away from drones and gimbals to unveil what might be one of its worst-kept secrets, the Osmo Action.