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Fujifilm X100S review: A great camera improved, but still a bit quirky

While I still dislike the command dial/navigation control, which is nearly impossible to operate without fumbling, shooting doesn't require nearly as much menu hopping as it did for the X100. The self-timer doesn't sit with the drive modes, but it does appear in the Quick Menu, which is as good if not a better location. Movie recording resides under the drive modes, though, and there still isn't a dedicated record button.

You can lock most of the back controls by holding down the menu button for a few seconds, which is a nice touch, but the "sorry, I'm locked" screen should really indicate how to unlock it. I locked the controls by accident and lost an evening of shooting trying to figure out how to unlock them to turn off the flash. I had to look it up in the manual.

One minor irritation I had with the X100 but didn't mention before persists: the battery compartment isn't keyed to a particular direction. Though the battery itself is asymmetrical, the compartment is rectangular, and it's not clear which way the battery goes in; you have to memorize that it's label-side out. It's too easy to put it in backward.


Fujifilm X100Fujifilm X100SLeica X2Nikon Coolpix ASony Cyber-shot
DSC-RX1
Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX100
Sensor (effective resolution)12.3MP CMOS16.3MP X-Trans CMOS II16.2MP CCD16.2MP CMOS24.3MP Exmor CMOS20.2MP Exmor CMOS
23.6 x 15.8mm23.6 x 15.8mm23.6 x 15.8mm23.6 x 15.7 mm35.8 x 23.9mm1-inch
(13.2 x 8.8mm)
Sensitivity rangeISO 100 (exp)/ 200 - ISO 6400/12800 (exp)ISO 100 (exp)/200 - ISO 6400/ 25600 (exp)ISO 100 - ISO 12500ISO 100 - ISO 3200/ 25600 (exp)ISO 50 (exp) / ISO 100 - ISO 51200 / ISO 102400 (exp, via multishot NR)ISO 100 - ISO 25600
Lens
(35mm-equivalent focal-length multiplier)
35mm
f2
35mm
f2
1.5x
24mm
f2.8
1x
28mm
f2.8
35mm
f2
1x
28 - 100mm
f1.8-4.9
3.6x
Closest focus (inches)3.93.911.847.91.9
Continuous shooting5fps
10 JPEG/8 raw
(burst only available with focus and exposure fixed at first frame)
6fps
31 JPEG/ n/a raw
(burst only available with focus and exposure fixed at first frame)
5fps
8 frames
(raw + JPEG)
4fps
n/a
2.5fps
(5 fps with fixed exposure)
n/a
2.5fps
(10fps with fixed exposure)
n/a
ViewfinderOptical/EVF switchableHybrid
Reverse Galilean
90 percent coverage
EVF
0.48-inch/ 2,360,000 dots
100 percent coverage
Optional
EVF
Tilting LCD
n/a
($449.00 est)
Optional
Reverse Galilean
($449.96)
Optional
Reverse Galilean
Zeiss
n/a
($599.99)
EVF
Tilting OLED
0.5-inch/ 2,359,000 dots
100 percent coverage
($404.99)
None
Autofocus49-area
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF
11-area
Contrast AF
n/a
Contrast AF
25-area Contrast AF25-area Contrast AF
Metering256 zones256 zonesn/an/an/an/a
Shutter30 - 1/4,000 sec; bulb to 60 min20 - 1/4,000 sec; bulb to 60 minutes30 - 1/2,000 sec30 - 1/2,000 sec; bulb30-1/2,000 sec; bulb 30-1/2,000 sec; bulb
FlashYesYesYesYesYesYes
Hot shoeYesYesYesYesYesNo
LCD2.8-inch fixed
460,000 dots
2.8-inch fixed
460,000 dots
2.7-inch
230,000 dots
3-inch fixed
921,600 dots
3-inch fixed
921,600 dots
(plus another set of white dots for brightness)
3-inch fixed
921,600 dots
Image stabilizationNoneNoneNoneNoneElectronic (movie only)Optical
Video
(best quality)
720/24p H.264 QuickTime MOV Stereo1080/60p/ 30p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
Stereo
None1080/30p/ 25p/24p
H.264 QuickTime MOV
Stereo
AVCHD: 1080/60p/ 50p @ 28Mbps; 1080/60i/50i @ 24, 17Mbps; 1080/24p/ 25p @ 24, 17Mbps
stereo
AVCHD:
1080/60p/ 50p
stereo
Manual iris and shutter in videoIris onlyIris onlyn/an/aYesYes
Optical zoom while recordingn/an/an/aNon/aYes
External mic supportNoNon/aOptional
(with WU-1a Wireless Mobile Adapter)
YesNo
Battery life (CIPA rating)300 shots330 shots450 shots230 shots270 shots330 shots
Dimensions (WHD, inches)5.0 x 2.9 x 2.15.0 x 2.9 x 2.14.9 x 2.7 x 2.04.4 x 2.6 x 1.64.5 x 2.6 x 2.84.0 x 2.4 x 1.4
Weight (ounces)15.815.512.2 (est)10.6 (est)17.68.5 (est)
Mfr. Price$1,195.95$1,299.95$1,995 (est)$1,099.95$2,799$649.99
AvailabilityMarch 2011March 2013August 2012March 2013November 2012July 2012

There aren't a lot of glitzy features aside from the viewfinder, just basics (for its price) like a built-in neutral-density filter and the ability to adjust color, sharpness, highlight tone, shadow tone, and noise reduction. Other features carried over from the X100 include Motion Panorama, which operates like Sony's Sweep Panorama: as you pan it records a 120- or 180-degree scene either horizontally or vertically. You can 3-shot bracket the dynamic range and film simulation presets, as well as ISO sensitivity and exposure, but as with the X100 I couldn't help but think it should have more exposure bracketing latitude than 3 shots up to 1 stop for HDR work, and how nice it would be to have an intervalometer.

Conclusion
There's enough improved in the X100S over the X100 that I think it's worth the extra money over the now-reduced-price model: it delivers better performance, photo quality and usability. While the photo quality and lens can't match that of the Sony RX1, it's still a great camera at $1,000 less. And though I haven't yet tested the Nikon Coolpix A, that camera lacks a viewfinder, which for some folks may merit the X100S' extra cost.

Shooting speed (in frames per second)

(Longer bars indicate better performance)

















1.5110.70.6

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-RX1

2.30.30.30.70.7

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