The Quality Of The Fuji X100s

I took the photos in the previous post (Ditch and Stream) with the Fuji X100s that I have mentioned a couple of times before. It is a fixed lens camera with a 35mm equivalent focal length lens. There are screw-in adaptors that can give it a longer or shorter focal length, but the adaptors are bulky. And that kind of defeats the idea of having a go-anywhere camera that packs up small.

The X100s – the ‘s’ model – was the second iteration in the series. I am not sure how long I have had it, six or seven years at a guess. Things have moved on and there are new models of the X100 with sharper lenses shot wide open, and other refinements. And from time to time I am tempted. Such is the appeal of things in the world.

This is a close-up of part of the scene in the photo above. I think it is sharp enough, no matter what the later models might offer. But… there is still the attraction of new shiny things.

And then there is the algorithm that compressed the image to a useable size here on WordPress. The camera is capable of sharpness that one cannot really show on a computer screen.

This is the camera – and one of its nice features is that you can switch the view in the viewfinder between an optical finder and a digital one.

What that means is that with a flick of a switch (the lever with the red dot that’s on the front of the camera) you can switch between looking through the little glass window that’s over on the side of the camera, or you can look through a digital overlay of the scene.

Digital viewfinders were fairly new when I bought this camera, and I wasn’t happy to make the jump. Digital viewfinders were very ‘laggy’. That meant that if you moved the camera it took a fraction of a second for the view to catch up.

And the view was very contrasty, which meant the the bright areas were super bright and the dark areas were dark black. It didn’t look natural, so I was glad it had an optical finder. At the same time, the digital viewfinder wasn’t too contrasty and it wasn’t laggy. But still I clung to the ‘old’ way of seeing the scene with an optical finder.

This camera offered an easy introduction to digital viewfinders. And for the first three years I almost always used the optical viewfinder and hardly ever used the digital viewfinder. But then after experimenting for a year or so I switched over. There’s a reason for it, and the biggest reason is that with a digital viewfinder you get an accurate picture of your exposure before you press the shutter.

That’s important because while it is true that you can bring up the shadows in post-processing in Photoshop, you are still operating with less digital information in the file than you could have captured with a proper exposure. For well lit scenes that isn’t the end of the world, but with scenes in low light it makes a lot of difference to how good the final photo can be.

And now I use the digital viewfinder all the time. True, when something I want to photograph is too far away, I wish it had a longer lens. But a longer lens is a bigger and heavier lens. For the right subject it is a good compromise between image quality, usability, and weight. The photo at the top of this post – the street scene in Bhaktapur in Nepal – is the kind of subject the camera seems built for.

That said, the Provost from the previous post – here he is again – also made good subjects.

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