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**FROM OUR EDITORS AT PHOTOKINA: **Fujifilm entered the all but non-existent large sensor compact camera category this morning, with the launch of the Finepix X100—a 12.3MP APS-C sensor camera with a 35mm equivalent f/2 lens, a newly developed EXR processor and a 1970’s feel.

Attempting to capitalize on the mass number of professional photographers looking for a compact with the image quality of a high-end DSLR to be used as a backup, as well as advanced amateur shooters looking for a high-end compact, FujiFilm built the Finepix X100 from the ground up. It is meant to compete directly with the Leica X1 and the Sigma DP2.

The X100 features a hybrid viewfinder that allows users to switch between a rangefinder-style optical viewfinder and an electronic viewfinder. Other key features include 720p HD video capture, a magnesium alloy body and old-school analogue controls.

The camera is well equipped for low-light situations, offering a maximum ISO of 6400. Other notable specs include 5 fps continuous shooting, support for the SDXC card format and a 2.8’’ LCD.

Expect this beautifully crafted high-end compact to hit stores sometime in 2011. We will keep you updated as our editors over at Photokina in Germany have a chance to get their hands on this bad boy.

We couldn’t wait to get our hands on Fujifilm’s new high-end compact, so when we saw it on the show floor here at Photokina, we jumped at the chance to touch it. Unfortunately, neither prototype model they had on display was equipped with the CMOS sensor. They were, however, using a simulated digital image to preview the method of switching between electronic and optical viewfinders. The process is simple and, at least in the simulation, happens fairly quickly.
The X100 will be available in early 2011 for about $1,000, which is pricier than the Sigma DP2, but a bargain when compared to the Leica X1. Even though this is a proto, the build felt like near-final quality. The dials were all snappy and responsive.
Feel is an essential element for a camera like this and it seems that Fujifilm has absolutely nailed it. The unit we worked with was mostly on a tripod, but the heft and solidity of the body itself is immediately apparent.
Switching between viewfinder modes is handled by a switch, much like the one many film cameras use for their timer function.
Because there was no sensor in the camera, we couldn’t quite get a feel for the fixed 23mm f/2 Fujinon aspherical lens. The Fujifilm reps on-hand, however, made it very clear that lens quality was of top priority, which is why they decided to skip the zoom.