Date with the Fuji X100S ~ First Impressions

This is not meant to be an indepth review. It’s an account of my first impressions of the new Fuji X100s.  After just a couple of dates with it, I think I’m in love!

I’ve been a Canon shooter for many years. I love my gear, it is my bread and butter and it has never failed me. As I am spending less time on commercial shoots and more time teaching workshops, I’ve been thinking of adopting a smaller camera for the days when I want to spend hours roaming the streets of a large city or going on photo walks with local friends. As a matter of fact, I even started using my iPhone a lot more this year and found it a great creative tool when I didn’t feel like logging heavy gear around. I considered purchasing one of the many micro 3/4 systems now available on the market but that meant a smaller version of what I was already using. I have great glass, I’m not getting rid of it, so why duplicate in a smaller system? My main goal with a smaller camera is to look less conspicuous when I do street photography while producing the highest quality of images.

That’s when the first reviews of the new Fuji X100s started coming out. I’m not a gear junkie, but it didn’t take me too long to press the ‘Add to cart’ button on Amazon.

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s-1

The expected wait was 1 to 2 months but it arrived after 2 weeks! I was very anxious to get a feel for it. I’ve been shooting with a heavy DSLR for so long, anything smaller and lighter feels awkward.  The first impressions were great. Nice weight, very solid and well built. And how can you resist its retro look? It’s considerably smaller than my 5DMarkII but it feels right.

If you haven’t heard of the X100s please read detailed technical specs here. Basically, it is a rangefinder style camera with a fixed focal length lens. You cannot change lenses! A 23mm (equivalent to 35mm) is what you’re stuck with. If you are not used to shooting with a fixed lens, it may be quite an adjustment to get used to it. As far as I’m concerned, I love to shoot with a 50mm or a 40mm when I’m not on a client assignment. I’m a gear minimalist when it comes to personal projects: One camera, one lens on every photo walk. I like simple. I don’t want the camera to come in the way, it should only serve as an extension to my vision. I believe in the power of limitations, shooting with a fixed focal length lens will get the creative juices flowing! A few more things about this little camera: 16MP, Fujinon 23mm F2 fixed focal length lens (35mm equiv.) It has the new APS-C 16M X-Trans CMOS II Sensor & EXR Processor II. You have the choice of Optical Viewfinder (OVF), Electronic Viewfinder (EVF) or LCD display. Super fast auto focus, full HD Movie (1920 x 1080) mode at 60fps and so much more!

So far, I’ve used it in its most basic form and mostly in aperture priority mode. I haven’t used any of its many filters yet. It offers several monochrome filters (Pro Neg, Yellow, red, green, sepia), film simulation (Velvia, Provia, Astia), as well as some fun filter effects. It also has a panorama function. All these will be the subjects of new blog posts as I continue to play it.

During my first week with the Fuji I took it out on a couple of photo walks and photographed random things mostly to get used to the new dials and buttons.  Some of those subjects may look familiar as I visited a favorite antique store where I’ve shot several times with my 5DII.

The following selection of random images was minimally processed in Lightroom 4.4. No noise reduction was used on any of them, either in camera or in post.

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-9

Shot handheld at 3200 ISO

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-4 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-6 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-7

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Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-18

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-1

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Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-3

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-19 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-17 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-23Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-10 Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-14

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-16

Valerie Jardin Photography - x100s test-8

Valerie Jardin Photography-1

I haven’t even scratched the surface of what this little camera can do yet. I am more than impressed with it for far!

To find out more about me, my work and my photography workshops, please visit my website. To read my list of favorite photo books, gear, podcast, and more click here.

11 thoughts on “Date with the Fuji X100S ~ First Impressions

  1. I have this camera on the way. I love to hear your chats with the Twip crew. It is my fav. Podcast ever 😉 This camera is exciting. Did yours come with a book? If you have times how do you set up your camera, the x100s. Thanks. I hope you can take over the podcast someday 😉


  2. Thanks for the great “first impressions”! I’ve been wanting a smaller camera to always have on me while walking around and man, I have to say, I love the images you have posted! Again, thanks for sharing. 😀


  3. Thanks for the quick response Valerie. I just read a review which I cant find now, but the guy was shooting street using raw + jpeg in a square format using the b&w with yellow filter I believe. This apparently gives him a good idea of what the B&W converted file will look like although he doesn’t use the jpg and processes the raw himself. Sounds like a good approach as apparently the raw file retains the 3:2 format as well.


  4. I got the X100s about 2 weeks ago and have also fallen in love. I heard your comments on TWIP so decided to check out your blog post. However I am not getting consistently sharp images like you are. I wonder what aperture you are typically shooting at and what focus mode you are using?


    • I’ve been using auto focus, I’m very impressed by its speed as it was supposedly one of the issues with the original x100. I’ve been using AF-S. Center focus point which allows me to focus lock on my subject and recompose quickly as I do with my dslr. I mostly shoot between 2.8 and 5.6.


  5. see you are enjoying the “zoom with your feet on the street” . The X100S makes me feel a sort of connection to some of the great photographers of film days. I like the Gariz half case for this camera and the JCC hood seems as good as the Fuji at a fraction of the cost and that is what I count on to protect the lens. I look forward to seeing more of your photos.


  6. These are all pretty impressive, Valerie. I am not sure yet that I’d want to limit myself to one focal length. But this camera would fit in my purse and seems to have a lot of creative possibilities. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you.


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