I don’t usually mix business with pleasure but in this case I feel it’s my duty to blog about this camera that cost just over £ 1000 and is reported as being “The professionals choice”. I have been waiting for a good second camera for a while, one I can stick in the pocket rather than take my Canon 5D2.
I have had various cameras over the last 6 months, the Sony HX5V and latterly the Canon G12, but the same old story the ability to take a good picture when you need it especially with fast subjects and low light. I entered the hype about the Fuji x100 about 5 months ago, claiming to be the camera made with the professional in mind, so I pre ordered one and it duly arrived last week in the post.
Just look at the presentation…fantastic, I took it out of the box and felt it was a wee bit bigger and heavier than I was expecting, considering this is a “pocket camera”, that aside I looked around for some budding snaps.
The camera has an f2 23mm fixed lens with an APS sensor so it was about 35mm in focal length and looked very retro from the 60s…fine by me.
The camera has what’s called a hybrid viewfinder and is in the style of the old rangefinder cameras. I took some pics of my dog as my wife was at work and my son was also out.
The first thing that struck me as being odd was the quality of the lens itself it seemed to be a thin bit of glass with a black band painted around it, I assume the other elements were behind the iris itself, I did read a review the day I handed over my card details and the chap was far from complimentary about the lens at f2, it was soft. I tried f2 myself and yes its soft but as we all know as you go away from f2 it gets sharper. I find it really strange that a company like Fuji with such a prestigious background in broadcast lenses could put such a poor lens on such a supposedly professional spec camera.
This is a 100% blow up of my dogs face and as you can see it’s not very sharp, not what I was expecting from such a special camera, I decided to change from the quicker rangefinder mode to the live view mode via the LCD.
Now we are talking turkey the live mode certainly helped me see if I was in focus and what a cracking shot of my dog, this gave me confidence for my mothers birthday party in the evening, a chance to give the camera a run through without using it on a paying job.
Mum opening her presents was as sharp as a tac but more often than not the pictures were slightly out of focus like the one of my dad and as you notice the smaller pic looks to be fine as I saw it in the LCD but when I opened the pics in Apple Aperture most of them were duff. I tried full auto to manual settings, changed the focus from single to multi and from single to continuous. I sent the camera back for a full refund, I really wanted this camera to work for me !
CONCLUSION : I also noticed how long it took to autofocus or not as it happened and how easily it was fooled into not focusing, trying to use manual focus was impossible. This camera was no way near the hype it was given, as a pro second camera…forget it. I did like the lack of noise up to about 1600ISO and even at 6400ISO was very acceptable. It was with a heavy heart that I decided to return the camera, it can produce some stunning shots when it behaves but on the whole it produced slightly out of focus or very out of focus shots and for professional reportage its a no, no.
Was it worth £999, not in my opinion, it’s clearly riding on the initial hype a very clever campaign by Fuji but falls short on a poor autofocus and a soft wide open lens, the menu system was not as intuitive as I am used to with Canon or Nikon but it is good up to 1600ISO and can produce very good shots, maybe I did not give the camera the time it needed but comparing it to my recent purchase the Canon G12 £350 the Fuji came a poor second at almost 3x the price !
There is also the possibility that my camera was faulty but the company never gave me the option to swap it out.
UPDATE : I think the general consensus is that I had a duff camera which is sad, I was really looking forward to having the quality of an DSLR in my pocket especially for reportage work but my experience has put me off this camera maybe I will get the x300 when it comes out !
PS. The comments on this subject are now closed so don’t bother trying to master your Commodore 64 to reply.
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