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Fujifilm X100s Review

We review the new updated Fujifilm X100s, with improvements in a number of areas, how does it perform?

|  Fujifilm X100S in Compact Cameras
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Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (1)

The Fujifilm X100s is Fujifilm's update to the Fujifilm X100, and provides a number of upgrades over the previous model, including a new 16.3 megapixel APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor, new EXR II image processor, hybrid phase-detection focus for improved focus speed, 6fps continuous shooting, focus peak function, higher resolution 2.35million dot EVF, digital split image display for manual focus, as well as artistic filters, and full HD video recording.

Fujifilm X100s Features

Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (7)

The Fujifilm X100s is a significant upgrade to the X100 in specifications alone, and with a 2 year gap between the original model and this newer model, it's packed with the latest technology and upgraded features making it one of the highest specification cameras in Fujifilm's lineup.

Borrowing X-Trans CMOS II sensor technology from the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and XE-1, the camera no longer features an anti-aliasing / optical low pass filter for improved image quality, particularly sharpness and detail. The X-Trans CMOS II sensor also offers improved low light performance thanks to lower noise. In addition to this, the camera features an updated EXR image processing engine for higher speed shooting and performance from the camera.

Video has been upgraded to full HD recording at 60fps, and the EVF has been improved with a new 2.35million dot unit, instead of the 1.44 million dot EVF in the X100. The camera still features the hybrid optical / electronic viewfinder operation at the X100, where you can switch between the optical view, an electronic overlay, and the full electronic view, using the dedicated switch on the front of the camera.

Another new feature is "Digital Split Image Display" which lets you focus the camera manually in the same way as older film SLR cameras, except this time as it's digital, you can enlarge the view on the screen of the camera.

Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (5)
The switch on the right lets you switch between MF, AF-Continuous, and AF-Single

Key Features

  • 16.3 million pixels APS-C X-Trans CMOS II sensor
  • EXR Processor II
  • Hybrid Viewfinder (OVF / 2.35 million dot EVF)
  • FUJINON 23mm f/2 lens - equivalent to 35mm in 35mm film terms
  • Intelligent Hybrid AF (with the world's fastest AF speed of 0.08 sec.*)
  • Start-up time of 0.5 sec.*,
  • Shutter time lag of 0.01 sec.
  • Shooting interval of 0.5 sec.
  • High-contrast and wide viewing-angle 2.8-inch Premium Clear LCD (460K dots)
  • Super Intelligent Flash
  • Burst shooting rate of up to 6.0 frames per second at full resolution
  • Focus Peak Highlight function
  • Digital Split Image focus display
  • Artistic filters
  • Full HD movie recording (60fps / 30fps)
* manufacturer provided figures.

Fujifilm X100s Handling

Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (3)

Handling - The camera comes with a solid 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 lens. The red switch is the viewfinder selector, you use this to switch between optical only view, optical and electronic overlay, and electronic only 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).

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.

The back of the camera features: Diopter adjustment control, Viewfinder window, Eye sensor, Playback / AE / Playback Zoom / Drive / Playback Zoom out / View mode buttons, 2.8inch LCD monitor, Command control, AFL/AEL focus lock / exposure button, indicator lamp, Menu / OK button, Command scroll dial, Display / Back button, and new Q button. The Q button gives quick access to options on the rear screen without having to go into the menu options.

Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (4)

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). 

Fujifilm X100s Ovf Evf (2) Fujifilm X100s Ovf Evf (3) Fujifilm X100s Ovf Evf (1)
Optical with Electronic Overlay Electronic only EVF - Split Focus Zoom

Rear screen options: Q button - The Q button gives quick access to options on the rear screen without having to go into the menu options. Split focus can be used to aid manual focus, or alternatively the camera has built in focus peaking.

Fujifilm X100s Rear Screen  (5)
Q Screen
Fujifilm X100s Rear Screen  (3)
Rear Screen
Fujifilm X100s Rear Screen  (1)
Split Focus Zoom

Menus – Like other new Fujifilm cameras, the X100s benefits from the new menus that are more neatly arranged, and therefore more easy to use. The Fujifilm X100s has the same number of buttons and controls externally as the X100, and will benefit from the Q button for quicker access to options on the rear screen. The ample external controls for aperture, shutter, exposure, Q button and the Fn button should suffice for the majority of settings, without the need to enter the menus.

Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (6)

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 - Battery life is rated at 330 shots according to Fujifilm / CIPA test results, this is reasonable, although if you are likely to be away for some time then a second battery is recommended.

Fujifilm Finepix X100s New (8)

Speed - We took a number of shots to test the camera's responsiveness, from switch on to first photo, shot to shot, focusing speed etc. We take a number of shots and then use the average to ensure accurate and consistent tests, making it easy to compare with other cameras.

  Fujifilm X100s Fujifilm X100
Shutter Response 0.0 0.0
Wide - Focus / Shutter Response 0.3 0.35
Switch on Time to Taking a Photo 1.3 2.0 (Quick Start on)
Shot to Shot without Flash 0.9 1.1
Shot to Shot with Flash 1.8 1.1
Continuous Shooting - JPEG
(shots before slow down)
5fps (45 shots) 5fps (10 shots)
Continuous Shooting - Flash N/A N/A
Continuous Shooting - RAW
(shots before slow down)
5fps (8 shots) 5fps (8 shots)*

Shutter response is excellent, and focus speed is quite quick although not as quick as we had hoped. Switch on time is better than the X100, and shot to shot is also improved. Although we were not able to shoot at the expected 6fps, we were able to take 45 JPEG shots before the camera's continuous shooting speed slowed. *RAW+JPEG

Fujifilm X100s Performance

Additional sample photos and product shots are available in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.

Fujifilm X100S Sample Photos

Sample Photos - Some red-eye is visible in the flash portrait shot, although with a 35mm equivalent it isn't ideal for portrait shots. Colour reproduction is excellent, with bright colourful images with pleasing saturation levels, and for added impact Velvia film can be selected. 

Fujifilm X100S Lens test images

Lens Performance - Dynamic range is good, with reliable exposure. Dynamic range can be expanded using the DR options or the auto exposure bracketing. Image quality is excellent across the frame with excellent detail, even into the corners, with very little distortion, vignetting or chromatic aberations. Some purple fringing was noticed in the shot of the trees above.

Macro performance is reasonable, letting you focus on subjects roughly 10cm away from the front of the lens, although results are soft if shooting wide open. Thankfully this isn't a problem when shooting at normal focus distances.

Fujifilm X100S ISO test images

ISO Noise Performance - The Fujifilm X100s has extremely low noise right up to ISO3200, where noise starts to appear with a slight loss of detail, although with usable results. Noise is higher at ISO6400, and again at ISO12800, although results could still be usable. ISO200-6400 is available when shooting RAW / RAW+JPEG, although ISO100, 12800 and 25600 are available as JPEG only.

Fujifilm X100S White-balance test images

White Balance Performance - Auto White Balance (AWB) performs reasonably well under tungsten light giving a warm result, with the tungsten preset giving a slightly colder image. AWB performs well under fluorescent light, with the fluorescent preset giving a slightly orange cast.

Panoramic DSCF9993 | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 23.0 mm | ISO 200
Panoramic | 1/250 sec | f/8.0 | 23.0 mm | ISO 200
Panorama mode - Panoramic mode lets you simply press the shutter release button and pan the camera around, with the camera automatically stitching the photos together. Results are quite good with the camera recording a high resolution image, although there are some signs of ghosting.

Fujifilm X100S Digital filters

Digital Filters - The Fujifilm X100s has a number of film simulation modes, including Velvia, as well as a number of artistic filters, as shown above.

Video - Full HD can be recorded at 60 or 30 fps, and the camera lets you choose film simulation, adjust the microphone level, as well as the white balance. You can adjust the aperture pre-recording, and can use manual focus during filming. The video length is limited to 10 minutes in length.

Value For Money

When the Fujifilm X100 was first released it was one of very few compact cameras with an APS-C sized sensor. Since then a number of competitors have popped up, although none of them with built in optical viewfinder. Alternatives to look at include the Nikon Coolpix A (28mm equivalent, £999), Leica X2 (35mm equivalent, £1499), Sigma DP1 Merrill (28mm equivalent, £799), or DP2 Merrill (45mm equivalent, £799), or you could look at one of the many mirrorless cameras available.

You'll also need to buy a memory card and a case or bag to keep your camera safe and protected - have a look at our complete guide to camera bags.

Fujifilm X100s Verdict

The Fujifilm X100s improves quite dramatically over the Fujifilm X100, with a new 16 megapixel sensor that delivers excellent noise performance and detail in photos. The X100s gives the same familiar controls as the original X100 as well as a higher resolution electronic viewfinder, that when combined with the hybrid optical viewfinder, makes this camera a unique proposition. With retro styling and handling, thanks to the two-tone silver and black design, the camera feels great in the hand, and with a large number of external controls you have direct access to aperture and shutter speeds making the X100s feel like a "real" camera, with responsive controls.

The camera has a bright f/2.0 35mm equivalent lens and as long as you are happy with this focal length then the camera would make an excellent choice, delivering extremely high quality photos. The Fujifilm X100s is priced somewhere in the middle of APS-C compact cameras, and for many happy X100 buyers, the X100s will deliver many useful updates, including better image quality, a better EVF, quicker controls and response, although the price is likely to put some people off. For those that have the money the Fujifilm X100s is highly recommended.

  The Fujifilm X100s delivers excellent image quality and a set of unique features including the excellent optical / electronic viewfinder.


Fujifilm X100s Pros

Excellent resolution and detail in photos
Low noise up to ISO3200 and above
Excellent colour reproduction
Unique optical hybrid electronic viewfinder
Aperture / Shutter controls
Excellent build quality
Silent shutter sound
Bright f/2.0 lens

Fujifilm X100s Cons

Quite high price
Fixed focal length
RAW not available with "Advanced Filters"


Fujifilm X100S Specifications

Max Aperturef/2 - f/16
35mm equivalent35mm
Optical Zoom0x
Image Sensor
Pixels16.1Mp (Megapixels)
Pixels (W)4896
Pixels (H)3264
Sensor TypeCMOS
Sensor SizeAPS-C
Sensor Size (width)23.6mm
Sensor Size (height)15.8mm
Aspect Ratio
  • 3:2
LCD Monitor
LCD Monitor2.8in
Screen resolution460k dot
Touch ScreenNo
Min Focus10cm
Focusing modes
  • Autofocus
  • Manual
  • Multi
Exposure Control
Shutter speeds shortest1/4000sec
Shutter speeds longest30sec
Bulb modeYes
Exp modes
  • Program
  • Manual
  • Centre-weighted - Average
  • Multi Pattern
  • Spot
ISO sensitivity100 - 25600
White balance
  • Auto
  • Manual
  • Bracket
  • Outdoors/Daylight
  • Incandescent
  • Fluorescent
  • Shade
  • Underwater
Exposure Comp+/-2
Shooting Options
Continuous shooting6fps
Movie modeYes
Video Resolution
  • 1920x1080 FullHD
Video FPS60fps/30fps
Stereo SoundYes
Optical Zoom with VideoNo
Other Features
Image StabilisationNo
Card Type
  • SD
  • SDHC
  • SDXC
File Type
  • RAW
  • JPG
  • RAW + JPG
Power Source
Battery TypeLi-ion battery NP-95
Battery Life (CIPA rating)330shots
Box Contents
Box ContentsLi-ion battery NP-95, Battery charger BC-65N, Shoulder strap, USB cable, Lens cap, CD-ROM (Viewer software, RAW File Converter etc.*4), Owner's manual

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Photographs taken using the Fujifilm X100S

The old churchfamily day outTwo by Twoarmy rationsgetting booted uptaking a breakrunning repairgoogly-eyeddressed for the parton dutyhurry up i can't waitThe Gatheringhappy

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josa 10 25 Czech Republic
25 Mar 2013 8:56PM
Sonnar 9 2 United Kingdom
4 Apr 2013 6:42PM
Ultra yummy!
18 Apr 2013 7:27PM
Great review! The x100s has several filters as well, partial color mode being one.

If you want to see how the x100s stack up against its competing rival cameras like the Leica x2, take a look at this comparison chart. Anyone who's seriously considering to buy one needs to know the info found on this chart.
sasan 9 36 England
20 Feb 2014 8:19PM

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