Neutral Density filter

As we've already seen, the X100's lens-shutter design limits the available shutter speed / aperture combinations - the shutter simply can't open fast enough to uncover the entire aperture opening at the top speeds. With the lens set to F2, the fastest available shutter speed is 1/1000 sec, which will generally result in overexposure in bright sunlight. When the camera detects that the image will be overexposed, it warns you by displaying the shutter speed and/or aperture in red.

To deal with this problem, Fujifilm has installed a neutral density filter, that slides into the optical pathway and reduces the amount of light reaching the sensor by three stops. Accessing it is typically circuitous: it's on page 2 of the shooting menu (you can also assign it to the 'Fn button'). Once it's in place you can shoot away at F2 in all but the very brightest light without problem. The effect of this can be seen below.

1/1000 sec F2 ISO 200 - overexposed 1/550 sec F2 ISO 200, with ND filter

This isn't all the ND filter can be used for, of course - it can also be useful for setting long shutter speeds to blur motion, the classic example of which would be moving water.

Other features

The X100's conservative styling hides an array of additional features, most of which are accessed from the Drive Menu. A number of them are aimed solely at JPEG shooters, and as usual with these things, some are more useful than others. But this being the X100, hardly any of them behave quite as expected.

Motion Panorama

As it's name might suggest, this mode allows you to create wide-angle panoramas, by pressing the shutter button and rotating the camera (rather like Sony's sweep panorama). The camera shoots continuously as you sweep, and stitches sections of multiple frames together produce a panoramic view. The camera makes it easy to choose your angle of view (120 or 180 degrees) and sweep direction (left-right, right-left, up-down, or down-up) before you start. This gives four image sizes dependant upon angle and sweep direction:

7680 x 2160
15.8 Mp
7680 x 1440
10.5 Mp
5120 x 2160
10.5 Mp
5120 x 1440
7.0 Mp

Motion Panorama is somewhat sensitive to how fast you move the camera, and sometimes you'll get error messages saying you're moving the camera too fast and need to start again. On the plus side though it's pretty consistent in terms of what ends up in the final image - unlike Sony's implementation on the NEX-3 and -5, which has a bad habit of chopping off the start or leaving empty black space at the end.

120 degree angle of view, right-left sweep
100% crop showing ghosted joins (look at the 'a' of Arena and the lights on the right)
180 degree angle of view, showing 'striping' between stitched segments

Motion Panorama is certainly fun to play with, and when it works well it can give quite decent results. However it's very susceptible to stitching errors (we've never obtained a panorama without some), and frequently gives ugly 'ghosted' joins. Occasionally it will even miss out or repeat entire sections of the scene. It's also a little prone to showing brightness variations between segments if you shoot in A mode (we'd have thought it would lock the exposure at the start, but apparently not). Overall the results simply aren't as good as we got from the Sony NEXs, and we certainly wouldn't use it for anything resembling 'serious' work.

Continuous drive mode

The X100 has a continuous drive mode which offers speeds of 3 or 5 fps. While you're shooting, it behaves quite sensibly, although it does lock the camera up completely while writing to card. This wouldn't normally be worthy of comment; it's what happens afterwards that's strange.

When you view your images, the camera enters a playback mode that shows the first frame in the burst, inlaid with a small nausea-inducing animation of the burst sequence. In this display, pressing 'Delete' will delete all of the shots in a burst without warning. Viewing individual frames in the sequence is slightly circuitous - you have to press the 'down' key first. This is all a bit odd and annoying, but the bigger problem is what it does to your filenames:

Images shot in continuous drive mode mode use different filenames: the usual 'DSCF' prefix is replaced by 'S' followed by a burst number (001, 002, 003 etc).

The irritation with this is that, if you naively tend to use file management software that usually sorts by name, all these 'Snnn' files will move out of sequence to the end of the list.