Fujifilm FinePix X100 In-Depth Review
JPEG Tone Curves / Dynamic Range
Our Dynamic Range measurement system involves shooting a calibrated Stouffer Step Wedge (13 stops total range) which is backlit using a daylight balanced lamp (98 CRI). A single shot of this produces a gray scale wedge from the camera's clipped white point down to black (example below). Each step of the scale is equivalent to 1/3 EV (a third of a stop), we select one step as 'middle gray' (defined as 50% luminance) and measure outwards to define the dynamic range. Hence there are 'two sides' to our results, the amount of shadow range (below middle gray) and the amount of highlight range (above middle gray).
To most people highlight range is the first thing they think about when talking about dynamic range, that is the amount of highlight detail above middle gray the camera can capture before it clips to white. Shadow range is more complicated; in our test the line on the graph stops as soon as the luminance value drops below our defined 'black point' (about 2% luminance) or the signal-to-noise ratio drops below a predefined value (where shadow detail would be swamped by noise), whichever comes first.
The X100's default tone offers a decent highlight range of about 3.7 stops, with just enough of a roll-off into the highlights to prevent harsh-looking clipping. This places it fractionally ahead of its most obvious competitors such as the Leica X1 and Olympus E-PL2, but marginally behind the Nikon D7000, which is perhaps the benchmark for APS-C sensor cameras.
Film simulation modes
The X100's three colour Film Simulation modes show subtly different tone curves, which translate into visible real-world differences. Velvia/Vivid is very contrasty indeed, clipping more abruptly to both white and black, while Astia/Soft echoes Provia/Standard across the highlight range but is more contrasty below middle grey, resulting in somewhat deeper shadows. The basic Monochrome mode matches Standard exactly.
Dynamic range expansion
The X100 has two dynamic range expansion settings to bolster its highlight range: DR200 (200%) adds an extra stop of information in the highlights, and DR400 (400%) adds two stops. The mechanism by which this is achieved is technically different from the company's SuperCCD EXR compacts: rather than exposing half the sensor's photosites using a faster (electronic) shutter speed, the X100 applies less amplification to the sensor's output than usual prior to AD conversion to avoid clipping highlight data, then pulls-up the midtones to the correct brightness in JPEG processing. This is essentially the same process as Canon and Pentax use for their highlight-expansion modes.
An alternative way of thinking about this is that DR200 is like underexposing a stop to retain highlights then adjusting the brightness afterwards, and DR400 is like underexposing by two stops. Because of this, the minimum ISO available in each mode is limited: ISO 400 at DR200, and ISO 800 at DR400. The flipside to this approach is shown by ISO 100, which is effectively the opposite; i.e. ISO200 overexposed by a stop then pulled-down in processing. This results in the loss of stop of highlight range - to all intents and purposes it counts as DR50, and should therefore normally be avoided. (Note ISO 100 is only available in JPEG anyway).
In this comparison we can see the impact the DR setting has on highlight range. DR200 offers a huge 4.7 stops of highlight range, and DR800 goes another stop beyond this, disappearing off the scale of our graph. On paper at least this is very impressive indeed; we'll see how it translates into real-world results later.
Shadow and Highlight Tone controls
Unusually, rather than having a single 'Contrast' or 'Tone' control, the X100 allows you to tweak Highlight Tone and Shadow Tone completely independently around a fixed point of middle grey. Each control offers 5 settings, and here we're comparing Normal (as used in the comparisons above) to the two extremes, Soft and Hard. Naturally the Highlight Tone control interacts with the DR setting, so first we'll look at DR100. In the graphs 'N-N' means Shadow and Highlight Tone are both set to Normal; S denotes Soft and H denotes Hard.
Here we can see that the Highlight Tone control technically has no effect on the white point of the image, and just on the contrast, although the H setting attempts to compress the brightest 0.7 stop of dynamic range into such few levels that visually it will appear to clip earlier. Meanwhile the Shadow Tone setting gives a wide range of control over the openness of the darker regions of the image.
Switch the DR setting to 400% and it's much the same story, only more pronounced. Now setting the highlight tone to Hard results in earlier clipping according to our measurement tool, effectively throwing away the most of the benefit of that expanded range. The results in the shadow range are, as expected, essentially identical to those at DR100.
The adjustments offered by these controls are large compared to the differences between the film modes, and in principle this allows you to tailor the camera's JPEGs very specifically to your taste. For example, if you like the colour of Velvia but find it too contrasty and prone to highlight clipping, then you can tame it by softening the Highlight Tone. But as so often with the X100 there's a catch - the tone adjustments are universal, and any change is applied to all of the film modes. One way around this is to save your preferred options to one of the cameras 'Custom Settings', which can then be recalled through the Shooting menu. However yet again there's another catch; these also include ISO and DR settings.
German brand Rollei has revived its iconic Rolleiflex twin lens reflex lineup with the new Rolleiflex Instant Kamera. This model—Rollei's first TLR camera in decades—retains the brand's iconic look but adds modern features including support for Fuji Instax Mini film.
We know more about the surface of the moon and Mars combined than we do about our own ocean floor, which is why NASA Ames scientist Ved Chirayath is developing a camera that can 'remove' the water from our seas to reveal 3D images of what’s below the waves.
Snapchat has just introduced version 2 of its Spectacles camera glasses, and they come with a bunch of new features, including: photo capture, water resistance that can handle shallow water snaps, a sleeker design, better battery, and more.
German lens manufacturer Meyer-Optik Goerlizt is expanding its range of F0.95 aperture lenses with the release of the Nocturnus 75mm. That makes it the world's fastest lens for that particular focal length.
“He was a pillar of Magnum, a godfather for a generation of younger photojournalists. An Iranian transplanted to Paris, he was a citizen of the world he relentlessly documented; its wars, its disasters, its revolutions and upheavals, and its beliefs – all his life. It is with immense sadness that we lose him."
When you're traveling with kids, it's not always practical to bring all of the camera gear you'd like to take. That's why DPR's Wenmei Hill packed the Panasonic ZS200 on a recent theme park trip.
Cinema camera manufacturer Arri has started a certified sales program for used Alexa bodies. The company says these pre-owned Alexa Plus and Classic models have gone through extensive servicing and testing before being put on sale.
Philips' new Momentum 436M6 43-inch Quantum Dot HDR monitor really deserves that designation. In fact, it's the first monitor in the world to earn VESA's DisplayHDR 1000 badge.
Find out how astrophysicis Donald Olson used a combination of topographic maps, astronomical software, and webcam archives to figure out exactly when and where Ansel Adams snapped two of his iconic photographs from Alaska.
Xiaomi claims its latest smartphone, the Mi 6X, competes with rivals such as the iPhone X or OPPO R15 in the camera department. Yet it costs just 1,600 Yuan (approximately $250 USD).
Adobe has put together a video tutorial that shows you how to create custom Creative Profiles in Adobe Camera Raw that can be used in ACR, Lightroom CC, and Lightroom Classic CC.
What do you get when you combine a Lamborghini Huracan with $500,000 dollar gimbal setup? You get "the world’s fastest purpose-built camera car."
The Japanese electronics manufacturer—one of the pioneers in the digital camera segment—is leaving the compact camera market behind after concluding that no market growth or increase in market share can be expected for the future.
You can now download a zip-file, including all images and videos you ever posted on Instagram, plus comments, messages, settings and other data in json-format.
The Pentax K-1 II features a hand-held Pixel Shift mode that creates a 'super resolution' image. Here's how to create a better-looking one in Photoshop using four files.
One of the weirdest copyright cases in the history of photography is finally over. The courts have sided with photographer David Slater and rejected PETA's claim that the monkey who took the infamous selfie has any claim over the photograph's copyright.
In his latest video, Ted Forbes of The Art of Photography shares his thoughts on how equipment nowadays is seen less as a means to an end, and more as the end in and of itself.
The latest update to Lightroom Classic CC brought with it a slew of major bugs, including some that would cause the program to crash. Adobe has now released an update to address these bugs, along with an apology.
The new drives come in the M.2 form factor and with the latest PCIe Gen 3×4 lane interface, offering NVM Express (NVMe) bandwidth. In other words: they're an interesting option for anyone editing large batches of photos or 4K/8K video.
Photographer Alexander Gee has created something pretty cool: the first (to our knowledge) E-Mount film camera. It's called LEX, and when it's finished, Gee intends to make the camera's design files open source so that anybody can built their own from scratch.
Researchers at the University of Washington have developed a low-power HD video streaming method that could eventually allow tiny, maybe even battery-free wearable cameras to stream high definition video.
Nikon Corporation has warned investors that an assessment of its Belgium-based metrology business based is worth much less than expected, and that they should brace themselves for an 'extraordinary loss' of 10,343 million yen.
In 2009, photographer Michael Benanav joined a family from the nomadic Van Gujjar tribe on their annual journey from the lowland jungles of the Shivalik Hills to the alpine meadows of the Himalayas. This is the story behind the images he captured.
NVIDIA's Content-Aware Fill competitor is getting better and better. A new demo from shows how the latest version can fill in entire chunks of a person's face, or pieces of an image that are missing, with incredibly realistic results.
This hacked Polaroid Sonar Autofocus 5000 puts a digital spin on instant photography, but not in the way you're used to seeing. It's one of the most ambitious and well-executed DIY camera projects we've seen.
Chinese smartphone manufacturer Meizu has launched a new high-end model, the Meizu 15 Plus. And based on specs alone, the phone is well-worth a closer look for mobile photographers who are open to buying from a less established brand.
Open source photo editor GIMP is a popular (and free) Photoshop alternative, but can it really be used on a professional edit? In this video, photographer Shane Milton shows you that it most certainly can.
Photographer Jolyon Ralph pit the new Huawei P20 Pro against his beloved Canon 5DS R, and was "somewhat stunned" by how well the 40MP smartphone performed against the 50MP DSLR.
Thanks to a low-res proxy version of the Insta360 Pro 8K footage, stitching times and computer processing requirements are reduced significantly when editing 360° footage from the six-lens system.
DxO Labs has filed the initial proceedings to start the bankruptcy process in France. The company is currently under "judicial administration," which allows it some time to restructure and find a buyer before the liquidation process occurs.