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
Feb 28, 2016
Dec 30, 2015
Dec 28, 2015
Dec 23, 2015
|Douaumont Ossuary by Eric 54-BNF|
from Armistice Day
|Silhouette at sunset by Jill Hancock|
from Portrait Lens (around 80mm or equivalent - please check the full rules)
Sigma is discounting 13 different high-performance 'Art' series lenses from today until November 30th. The company is calling it an 'unprecedented' sale.
See DJI's 'AeroScope' drone-tracking technology in action. This is the system that DJI says can help law enforcement and airport (among others) track and identify rogue drones.
iPhone X owners can already accessorize their new phone with high-quality smartphone photography lenses courtesy of Moment's new lineup.
Considering buying Sigma's exciting new 16mm F1.4 DC DN Contemporary lens for crop-sensor E-Mount and M43? Check out these official full-res samples first!
Vimeo has just added support for 8K HDR 10-bit content, making it possible to show up to 75% of the colors the human eye can perceive vs the usual 35%. Take THAT YouTube.
The holidays are coming, but your gear isn't cutting it? It's time to treat yourself!
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and sitting pretty at #5 is the Fujifilm X-T20.
See some of the most iconic black-and-white photographs throughout history brought to life by a community of colorization enthusiasts and professional retouchers in the new book Retrographic.
Shopping for a photographer? Whether you are one yourself or not, chances are you could use some ideas. From stocking stuffers on up, we've got some photography gift suggestions for every budget.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. Drum roll please... the #6 spot belongs to none other than the Sigma 85mm F1.4 DH HSM Art.
Read the story behind this gorgeous wedding photo captured at Trolltunga in Norway by husband and wife duo Priscila Valentina Photography. The 14 hour hike in the rain that preceded this shot was TOTALLY worth it.
Go behind the scenes with filmmaker Nick Arcivos, who recently created a beautiful cinematic short film in Paris using only the iPhone X, a couple of gimbals, and a few lights. The results are very impressive.
A Bay Area startup offering a pay-by-the-photo camera service cleverly addresses the pain points photographers experience when they pick up their first DSLR. But can it survive the smartphone?
It's been a big year for software innovations, dual cameras and huge displays. Take a look at our picks for the top smartphone cameras and why we think they stand out.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017. At the #7 spot is the ready-for-any-weather Olympus Tough TG-5.
By combining his skills as a time-lapse filmmaker and an engineer, Julian Tryba created this out-of-this-world creative 'layer-lapse' of New York City that alternates between night and day in time with the music.
Canon Japan's new lineup of novelty camera-themed gifts was just revealed online, including a lens mug and lens thermos, two retro camera-themed USB drives, and a picnic mat.
The Profoto A1 most certainly isn’t for everyone [...] But for those who are used to using the Profoto systems, and want something that pairs seamlessly with the strobes you already have, there is no better companion.
Fujifilm has asked a US district court to clear it of any wrongdoing, after allegedly being threatened with trademark litigation by Polaroid.
While a couple of our reviewers are out testing the Sony a7R III in Arizona, back in Seattle we slapped the camera in front of our studio scene to get a close look at its image quality. See how it stacks up against the competition.
We're counting down our top 10 most popular sample galleries of 2017, and the #8 ranking belongs to the Nikon D7500.
B+W has announced a new aluminum filter holder that offers three slots so users can use multiple filters at the same time. The holder goes with the 2mm thick 100mm square filters it launched earlier this year.
8K video is coming a lot faster than you think, and Blackmagic is ready for it. Meet the DeckLink 8K Pro, a new high performance PCI-E capture and playback card built to handle 'real time high resolution 8K workflows.'
"Glass is everywhere in photography. From Eugène Atget’s reflective vitrines to Lee Friedlander’s sly self-portraiture, photographers have long been in thrall to the visual complications glass can inject into a composition."
Former Apple Aperture lead developer Nik Bhatt has designed an iOS app called RAW Power that lets you edit raw photos from your professional camera using your phone and tablet.... color us intrigued.
Advertising photographer Blair Bunting got his hands on the new Microsoft Surface Book 2, and it blew him away. Bye bye MacBook Pro...
The OnePlus 5T retains many of the 5's features and specs, but comes with an edge-to-edge display and a dual-camera that is optimized for low light.
Sony's recently announced IMX461 backside illuminated medium format sensor will bring 100MP resolution and almost 2x the speed to the next-gen Fuji GFX and Hasselblad X1D.
With the ‘Rent a Hasselblad’ camera equipment renting program, the camera makers is aiming to give enthusiast and professional photographers easier access to its medium-format photography products.
They say seeing is believing, and that's exactly what happened when one DPR staffer took the Google Pixel 2 out for an afternoon shooting under challenging conditions.