This update of the celebrated X100 has faster AF and a larger sensor
For manually focusing, the new Digital Split Image is quite nice. It zooms in on the center area of the finder and divides it into four horizontal bars. Turn the focusing ring on the lens so that these bars align, and your image is in focus. It’s not the same as a traditional coupled split-image rangefinder, but focusing this way is a pleasant experience nonetheless.
Occasionally we encountered a subject that didn’t lend itself to horizontal alignment. In such cases, you can use focus peaking, as well as zoom assist. The distance scale remains on the bottom of the display. We should also mention that the focusing ring is significantly more responsive than the one on the X100. If you make a couple of quick movements of the ring, you can get from one end of the focusing range to the other.
Autofocus is definitely faster than with the X100, especially in bright light, where it rivals the fastest ILCs we’ve tested. As any AF system will, it slows considerably in low light. But, for a mirrorless hybrid AF system, the X100S performs well.
We doubt that many people will buy the X100S specifically to capture video, but for those photographaphers who plan to use this option, the X100S does a fine job. Video maxes out at 1920x1080p60, and footage that we shot showed plenty of detail and minimal artifacts. We did find it strange, though, that you have to use the drive-mode function to enter video. Perhaps it’s not all that odd, given that there’s no shooting mode dial—instead, you select A on the shutter speed dial or the aperture ring to enable auto or priority-mode shooting. Once we got used to where the movie selector was, this wasn’t a big problem.
Ultimately, we really enjoyed using the X100S. It showed itself to be a noticeable improvement over the X100 while still retaining that model’s virtues. We particularly appreciate that Fujifilm retained the threaded cable release socket in the shutter button—kudos for that.
The Bottom Line
Given the price of the X100S, it is difficult to draw comparisons. For the same bucks, you could easily get a camera that performs as well and accepts interchangeable lenses. But the compactness and the overall experience wouldn’t be the same.
Furthermore, with the possible exception of Olympus’s OM-D E-M5, few ILCs look as stylish as the X100S. One of our editors found that people on the street struck up conversations with him by asking about the camera—there’s no denying the cool factor.
While we’re quite pleased with the imaging performance of the X100S, the large-sensored compact market recently welcomed both the Nikon Coolpix A and the Ricoh GR. Fujifilm certainly threw down the gauntlet, and we’re looking forward to seeing how the competition stacks up in the Popular Photography Test Lab.
IMAGING: 16.3MP effective, APS-C-sized X-Trans CMOS sensor captures images at 4896x3264 pixels with 14 bits/color in RAW mode
STORAGE: SD, SDHC, SDXC stores JPEG, RAF RAW, and RAW + JPEG files
BURST RATE: Full-sized JPEGs (Fine mode), up to 31 shots at 6 fps; RAW, up to 8 shots; RAW + JPEG, up to 8 shots; when using a UHS-I compatible SD card
AF SYSTEM: TTL hybrid contrast/phase detection AF system with 49 selectable focus areas; single-shot and continuous AF
SHUTTER SPEEDS: 1/4000 to 30 sec, plus B (1/3-EV increments)
METERING: 256-zone TTL metering, evaluative, average (full frame), and spot (approx 2% of frame).
ISO RANGE: JPEGs, ISO 100–25,600 (in 1/3-EV increments); RAW, ISO 200–6400 (in 1/3-EV increments)
VIDEO: Records at up to 1920x1080p60 in MOV format; built-in stereo microphone; proprietary microphone input allows use of MIC-ST1 accessory stereo microphone; maximum clip length 10 minutes
FLASH: Built-in pop-up flash, range covers 1.6–29.5 feet at ISO 1600
VIEWFINDER: Optical: Reverse Galilean with electronic bright frame display, 0.5X magnification, 90% accurate; Electronic: 2,360,000-dot LCD, 100% accurate
LCD: Fixed 2.8-inch TFT with 460,000-dots; 11-level brightness adjustment
OUTPUT: Hi-speed USB 2.0, mini HDMI BATTERY: Rechargeable NP-95 Li-ion, CIPA rating 330 shots
SIZE/WEIGHT: 5.0x2.9x2.1 in., 1.0 lb with a card and battery
STREET PRICE: $1,299