The Fujifilm FinePix X100 is the newest entry into the mirrorless fixed lens category, and adds an entirely unique feature of not only an optical viewfinder, but a hybrid optical viewfinder with electronic overlay, or alternatively you can just use the electronic viewfinder.
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Features
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 joins a limited selection of compact cameras with a fixed lens, and APS-C (DSLR) sized sensor. This enables, in theory, image quality that should equal Digital SLRs, but without the added size and potential expense of having to buy and carry an SLR lens with you.
The switch on the left lets you switch between MF, AF-Single, and AF-Continuous
The limited number of alternatives in this area have a number of noticeable strengths and weaknesses, for example the Leica X1 is one of the more compact cameras, but has a high price and sluggish performance. The Sigma DP series has high image quality, but again is known for slow performance. The challenge for Fujifilm is to introduce a camera in this area with both the image quality and speed of a Digital SLR, which is what, rightly or wrongly, most users of these cameras are expecting.
The back of the camera features: Diopter adjustment control, Viewfinder window, Eye sensor, Playback / AE / Playback Zoom / AF / Playback Zoom out / View mode buttons, 2.8inch LCD monitor, Command control, AFL/AEL focus lock / exposure button, indicator lamp, Menu / OK button, Command dial, Display / Back button, RAW button.
Magnesium Alloy Body, synthetic leather like finish, metal dials
Prime f/2.0 f=23mm, equivalent to 35mm on a 35mm camera, with Neutral Density Filter
ISO100 - ISO12800
HD Video 1280x720 at 24fps, with stereo sound
Continuous shooting: 5fps at 12mp
2.8in screen with 460k dots
Dynamic Range mode(s) 100%, 200%, 400%
12-bit RAW files, Built in RAW development
AF-S, AF-C, Manual Focus modes
10cm Macro mode
Motion Panorama: 180° Vertical 7680 x 2160, Horizontal 7680 x 1440, 120° Vertical 5120 x 2160, Horizontal 5120 x 1440
Film simulation: Velvia, Provia (Standard), Astia, Monochrome, with Red/Yellow/Green filters, Sepia
Built in ND filter (equivalent f-stop reduction of 3)
The top of the camera features (from left to right): Hot-shoe, Shutter speed dial, ON/OFF switch, Shutter button, Exposure compensation dial, Fn (Function) button. The function button can be customised, however the default setting is to change ISO. Here you can also see the aperture ring on the lens with settings from Auto, f/16 to f/2, and in front of that is the manual focus ring. The manual focus ring direction can be changed in menu, and is an electronic ring (drive-by-wire) rather than a physical focusing ring.
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Handling
The front of the camera, with provided magnesium lens cap. The lens cap does not have a strap loop so will need storing in pocket or camera bag. The inside of the lens cap is padded to avoid damaging the camera. The red switch is the viewfinder selector, you use this to switch between optical / optical and electronic, and electronic viewfinder modes. Next to it is the microphone (R), and the focus assist lamp. Above the lens is the flash, and next to this is the microphone (L), and finally the viewfinder (in optical mode).
Optical / Hybrid / Electronic Viewfinder: You can use the camera's optical viewfinder on its own, with an electronic overlay, or alternatively purely as an electronic viewfinder, as shown below. The camera will automatically switch from the rear screen to the viewfinder thanks to the eye-sensor detecting your eye when next to the viewfinder. (These images were taken directly through the viewfinder, click to enlarge).
Optical Hybrid + Electronic Overlay
Electronic Viewfinder (Custom is also available)
Rear screen: The rear screen can be used as an information display much like a Digital SLR, or used as a live viewfinder, as shown below. The live view rear screen can be customised to show an electronic level, focusing distance and more information. A live histogram is also available, as well as a 9 line grid (shown), 24 line grid or HD 16:9 grid lines.
Information rear screen
Normal rear screen
Custom rear screen
Menus: The menus are split into three main areas: Shooting (colour coded red), Setup (colour coded blue), and Playback (colour coded green). There are four screens of shooting options, six screens of setup options, and three screens of playback options. The menu highlight colour can be changed.
Playback views: There are four main views available in playback, accessible by pressing the DISP / BACK button. The third screen shown below is accessed by moving the command control.
Detailed Information View
Text (Command control)
The basic playback view, above left, shows the shutter speed, aperture, ISO, shooting mode (RAW/JPEG), and DR setting. The information can be switched off so you just see the photo, and you can also rate your favourite photos out of 5 stars. Detailed information, in the middle above, shows further information and a histogram, and for even more information you use the command control. Pressing the control in switches the display to full zoom so you can quickly check focus.
The bottom of the camera features a speaker, central tripod mount, and battery / memory card cover. The battery is a "minimum 1700mAh" / "typical 1800mAh" rated battery. The position of the tripod mount means that it is difficult or impossible (depending on the size of your tripod) to open the memory compartment while the camera is on a tripod.
Battery Life: According to CIPA / Fujifilm testing the battery life is rated at 300 shots. The battery charging time is 210 minutes / 3.5 hours. Under normal use we were able to shoot 240 shots (file type set to JPEG+RAW) before the battery went flat.
The side features a covered HDMI / USB connection. The command dial where your thumb rests is used in playback to show extra photo information, and in photo mode can be used to magnify the centre of the frame when using manual focus.
Aperture blades f/11
Side focus switch MF/AF-S/AF-C
Speed - In our tests we took on average 6 or more shots to test the speed of the camera, and calculate the averages. We also compared it to some of the most recent compact and DSLR cameras available, the Nikon D3100, and Panasonic Lumix LX5, both offer good performance in their respective classes. The results can be seen below.
Fujifilm rate the start up speed as: "Approx. 2.2 sec. (Approx 0.7 sec at QUICK START mode)* evaluated by FUJIFILM method" so it will be interesting to see if we get the same figures.
Shutter Reponse (seconds)
Wide - Focus and Shutter Response Average
Full zoom - Focus and Shutter Response Average
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo
3.7 / 2.0**
Shot to Shot (without flash)
0.9* (2 shots)
0.4 (3 shots)
Shot to Shot with Flash
1.6* (2 shots)
1.2 (3 shots)
Continuous Shooting (at full resolution)
5fps (8 shots)^
2.5fps (3 shots)
3fps (3 shots)
Testing notes: Fastest in bold. Nikon D3100, and Panasonic Lumix LX5 tested with central focusing point, RAW+JPEG, and continuous shot times were only counted at their fastest setting, with the number of shots before slow down shown in brackets. Page 22 of the manual says that switching OVF Power Save mode ON will "approximately double the number of photographs that can be taken" however, it also "increases the time required for auto-focus to about 0.4 seconds, compared to about 0.2 seconds when OFF". Quick start mode can also drain the battery life.
^ 10 shots in JPEG, 8 shots as RAW+JPEG
* Not a typo! As near as instant as possible.
** Normal mode / Quick Start Mode switched ON. I have not yet been able to re-create Fuji's rapid startup speed, although I suspect theirs may involve just switching the camera on, and not taking the photo. Switching quick start mode on reduces the battery life of the camera.
View our sample photos - you can click to view full size samples.
Sample Photo - Tree
ISO200, 1/300, f/4.5
Sample Photo - Worksop Shopping Street
ISO200, 1/300, f/4.5
Sample Photo - Trees and sky
ISO400, 1/320, f/4.5
ISO400, 1/110, f/8
Dynamic Range: The dynamic range of the camera can be extended by using the Dynamic Range modes, this can be set to Auto, DR100, DR200 or DR400. Alternatively you can use dynamic range bracketing and the camera will take three shots in quick succession. Examples are shown below, click to enlarge.
DR100 - Shooting into the Sun
ISO800, 1/1300, f/16
DR200 - Shooting into the Sun
ISO800, 1/1300, f/16
DR400 - Shooting into the Sun
ISO800, 1/1300, f/16
The camera copes surprisingly well, especially considering the camera is shooting directly into the Sun. The Dynamic range mode, particularly DR200 and DR400, show excellent detail in the shadow areas, and copes exceptionally well with the bright Sun. More example shots are shown below.
ISO800, 1/220, f/4.5
ISO800, 1/220, f/4.5
ISO800, 1/220, f/4.5
The dynamic range mode helps retain detail in bright or dark areas, and is particularly noticeable in bright skies or dark shadows in these photos.
ISO and Noise Performance
Fujifilm FinePix X100 ISO speed test: Click on the thumbnails, or text for larger images.
Noise: The camera has five options for noise reduction: Standard (default setting), High, Medium-High, Medium-Low, and Low. We tested on the default setting. Noise performance is excellent - the camera produces excellent low noise images up to and beyond ISO3200 / ISO6400 with usable results. The results at the lower ISO settings are extremely clean with extremely low levels of noise, even in the dark areas of images.
Inside, Flash On
ISO200, 1/30, f/2
Outside, Flash On
ISO200, 1/240, f/4
Sample Photo - Macro
ISO800, 1/340, f/5, DR100, Flash off
ISO6400, 1/30, f/2.8, Handheld
Some of the film effect / creative modes: Click to view full size sample images.
Astia / Soft
Black and White plus Yellow Filter
Black and White plus Red Filter
Black and White plus Green Filter
Black and White
Auto White Balance - Incandescent Lighting
Preset Incandescent WB - Incandescent Light
Auto White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Fluorescent White Balance - Fluorescent Light
Auto white balance does an excellent job under fluorescent lighting. Results are good under incandescent lighting, however results are slightly better using a preset. For optimum results when auto white balance doesn't produce the results expected, custom white balance is recommended.
Macro Performance: The camera will focus with subjects 10cm away from the front of the lens in macro mode. The optical / electronic overlay viewfinder is not available when using the macro mode, just optical only or electronic only. The minimum focusing distance when not in macro mode is 80cm, which could cause some problems when you simply want to take a close-range photo, without necessarily thinking you're taking "Macro" photos. However you can focus closer when you switch to the electronic viewfinder or live view, or when using manual focus, it's just unfortunate that the Fujifilm specifications don't mention this closer focusing distance. We tested the camera using manual focus, automatic white balance, and went from f/2 to f/16 to show the lens stopped down, this should demonstrate sharpness and background blur / bokeh of the camera.
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 has an HD 720p video mode that records at 24fps with stereo sound. You can use continuous focusing when recording, however manual focus is not available. When switching to the video mode, your options become more limited, and you can't switch the camera to macro mode, which makes focusing on close subjects much more difficult (but not impossible). Focus, Exposure, and White balance are adjusted automatically throughout recording. You can't change the aperture while recording but can set it before recording. You can't change ISO before or during. The maximum video length is 10 minutes, and class 4 or above memory cards are recommended.
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sample Video.
Value for Money
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 should be available for £999 or less from some retailers, and is more expensive than the Sony NEX / Olympus PEN / Panasonic Micro Four Thirds and Samsung NX series of mirrorless / interchangeable lens cameras, and also more expensive than the Sigma and Ricoh series of large sensor cameras.
However, it is cheaper than the Leica X1, and perhaps more importantly, the X100 is the only camera to feature a built in optical and electronic viewfinder. With the cameras mentioned previously you can attach an optical viewfinder that will work with a set lens, or add an electronic viewfinder if available (for example, this is currently available for the Micro Four Thirds cameras).
The X100 is more expensive than most entry level Digital SLRs as well, although the Fujifilm is definitely much smaller than all current Digital SLRs, and an f/2 aperture lens is very rarely included as a kit lens (if ever). With the unique blend of features it means it's very much up to you personally whether the features this camera has are something that you would be willing to pay £999 for.
Fujifilm FinePix X100 Verdict
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 is a unique camera in an increasingly competitive category. For a long time the difference in image quality between compact cameras with small sensors, and Digital SLRs with much larger sensors has been well known. The Fujifilm FinePix X100 aims to bring the image quality of a large sensor to a smaller camera, and should also bring the speed of DSLRs with it. Thankfully Fujifilm has delivered both excellent image quality with extremely low noise levels, as well as high speed performance, such as 5fps shooting, quick focusing, and extremely quick shutter response.
It scores extremely well for image quality performance, only missing top marks for the lack of closer focusing distance, 80cm default is quite limiting when using the OVF, however switch to EVF and the camera will focus much closer without necessarily having to switch to macro mode. Also the lack of manual focusing during video recording is disappointing. If these issues could possibly be resolved with a firmware update it would definitely score 10/10 for performance.
The camera's handling is very good, only losing points due to the lower than expected battery life. Considering the large 1800mAh battery, I would have expected longer battery life, than the CIPA rating of 300 shots. The silent shutter and the ease of use of the menus, viewing systems and controls make it an enjoyable camera to use, and it doesn't take long to learn the camera. If you are in the market for DSLR quality images, and a much smaller body, with an optical and electronic viewfinder then the Fujifilm FinePix X100 fills the niche very nicely.
FujX100 Camera, Li-ion battery NP-95, Battery charger BC-65N, Shoulder strap, USB cable for the FinePix X100, Lens cap, Metal strap clip, Protective cover, Clip attaching tool, CD-ROM (Viewer software, RAW File Converter etc., Printed owner's manual (123 pages)
126.5 (W) mm x 74.4 (H) mm x 53.9 (D) mm
Approx. 445g / 15.7 oz. (including battery and memory card)
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 costs £999 and is available from Warehouse Express here: Warehouse Express
We spoke to Fujifilm about the X100 focusing and movie options based on your feedback and questions, and got the following information. If you have any more questions you'd like to put to Fujifilm about the X100 please ask in the forum.
Question 1: Do you have any feedback or thoughts on the focusing distance issues when using the OVF / OVF viewfinder as mentioned in the review? Will this be updated or addressed with a firmware update?
- When using OVF in close distance, the camera usually needs to have a parallax correction. Especially if the distance is under 80cm, huge parallax correction would be needed and actual image area in OVF would move to the right and lower side. Also, the position of focus target should be moved in response to the volume of parallax correction. But our development team thought this would make it confusing for users because the focus target point move depends on focus distance. As you pointed out in the review, when using EVF or LCD screen, the camera can focus closer than using OVF without switching to macro mode. Therefore, we decided to limit the focus distance to 80 cm in OVF.
- Regarding the specification sheet, actually we haven't mentioned the focus distance difference between OVF and EVF. In the camera manual, we just explained that the focus distance of OVF is limited to 80cm, but don't mention about the focus distance in EVF. This is because we recommend to use macro mode when taking closer photo. When user push the macro mode button, the viewfinder is automatically changed to EVF/LCD mode and user don't need to change OVF to EVF manually in macro mode.
Question 2: Are there any plans to add more creativity to the video mode for example allowing the adjustment of aperture, or manual focusing?
- When we developed this camera, it was important to focus on the core functions as part of it's key concept. Actually we cut off a lot of 'nice-to-have' functions so that the advanced camera user could control the camera quickly as they require. But if customers would really need some function, we would consider upgrading the firmware if possible. At the moment, we think the chance to use manual focus and to change the aperture in video mode is not so high. If you have an idea about how user could use these function and what situation is appropriate for these functions, please let us know. We will discuss with the head-office development team for the possibility.
If you have any more questions you'd like to put to Fujifilm about the X100 please ask in the forum.