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Monday, 20 September 2010

Comments

Oooooooooooo......!

Has that little switch on the right as you look at the camera been added since your first posting Mike? It seems to suggest manual focus but it appears to be missing from your first picture.

Patrick,
The camera isn't in production yet. I'm sure these are all just prototypes and mock-ups.

From the press release: "Design and specifications subject to change without notice."

Mike

Just to say that I hope they get the focus right. That's all I can think that it needs that isn't already mentioned (by Fuji)

MIke

Sorry to crash the mass celebration party, but here's a question: how does manual focusing work on X100?

The main reason manual focus works on m4/3 (EVIL) cameras is the focus magnification on their LCD / EVF. Rangefinders apparently work their focusing magic by having two separate images shown on the OVF, which align together as you get the subject in focus (my apologies if I'm wrong, I've never tried one).

But how does the hybrid OVF of X100 help with manual focus? Or is it auto-focus only when using the viewfinder, and manual focus can be only done via the back LCD or digital mode EVF (assuming it supports magnification)?

I guess another possible answer is that you can try to align the digital image projected into the viewfinder and the real image from the direct light path. But would it work well, especially in dim light?

Just a thought: how much smaller, and cheaper would a version of this camera be without the LCD and various playback controls be? I think you'd only need to add in an ISO-dialler, maybe where the M6 had the ISO dial on the back, where the right thumb could dial in changes without removing the camera from the eye, or maybe around the exposure compensation dial on the top.

I often choose to disable the image auto review function on my D200 menu, to stop the temptation to chimp after each shot. Mostly, for a reason I cannot understand, I get better photos when I take out the CF and review the shots on the computer in the evening, rather than after each shot. For a camera Fuji are targeting as a companion to the full-on DSLR, perhaps simplicity is a virtue.

It may not even necessarily be an either/or choice for Fuji. Body shell apart, the 2 versions could largely be made on the same production line. It looks likely that the new camera will retail for about £1000 in the UK: if there was a version for say £800 but without the LCD I'd be tempted by that. If it was MF only, it would be cheaper still, with still less to go wrong.... I seem to be like my father, who once in the late 60s bought a version of the Mini called the Tropical, because it had everything stripped out of it, like the heater, radio, cushioning on the door panels, it had plastic not cloth seats - it was designed for third world markets, but it was 20% cheaper than the normal model. We used it in Germany in the snowy winters for nearly 10 years.

Another difference is the indication of the focal length on the lens. In this photo it says f=35mm whereas the pic in the previous post says f=23mm. I wonder if this is just attributable to 23mm=35e on aps-c, or if there was an earlier iteration that played with putting a 35mm=52e lens on this camera. It is also kind of quirky that the arrow above the little lever to switch viewfinder modes points in opposite directions in the two shots.

Actually now that Patrick points it out, the previous picture also shows hints of that same switch for focus mode, but it is just around the side of the camera more than it appears in this shot. Photo #6 at the link also clearly shows this same switch tucked around the side rather than in front, and it also appears to have a manual focus setting.

I like the fact that the arrow over the little viewfinder switch points in different directions in the two pictures. So we now have conclusive information that there are at least two distinct models, one for the Western hemisphere and one for the East...

Guys, really, I wouldn't sweat details just yet. These are prototypes and mockups we're seeing now. Like show cars. Might or might not resemble the eventual production camera in the details.

Mike

Just remember, at the end of the day it is just a digital compact camera with a (fancy) finder that looks a bit like a classic rangefinder.

And the lady has quite short fingernails.

One model indicates focal length and a MF/AF switch labelled on the camera's side. The other indicates equivalent focal length and a MF/AF switch labelled on the front. Two slightly different prototypes, I would imagine, with the former being the newer version.

Mike
I think we might just have got our DMD after all...

Harold

"Just remember, at the end of the day it is just a digital compact camera with a (fancy) finder that looks a bit like a classic rangefinder."

A good camera is not merely a collection of specifications. A good camera is more than the sum of its features.

The bicycle frame builder Richard Sachs, working in another context, understands this.

There's a reason that many of us still shoot with film rangefinders, you know. And for many of us it has very little or nothing to to with either feature lists or cheap sentimentality.

Short of an M8 or M9, the digital cameras available for purchase have not permitted us to work in the manner in which we prefer, yielding an image quality that approaches 35mm film.

This little Fuji has some hope of changing that.

I wonder what the odds of that woman buying that camera are.

To me, this camera looks like it's taken some design cues from the Contax G2. Indeed, if it also had interchangeable lenses, it is what the G2 could have evolved into.

John

It's quite beautiful, but I have doubts about the market's response to a non-interchangeable, non-zoom lens. 40 years ago I had a Canonet QLIII f/1.7, and I remember being very frustrated by the 40mm lens. Today I have a Canon S90 which stays on full wide most of the time, but it's sure nice to be able to zoom for some shots. I don't want to turn back the calendar.

I consider this camera to be the first step, probably involving many manufacturers, towards an eventual digital equivalent to the Nikon 35Ti/28Ti: Full optical quality and an adequate amount of manual control in a compact body. It appears that the 35(28)Ti was significantly smaller in both height and especially width(as viewed from the front). Of course the 35Ti was thicker to accomodate the 35mm film cartridge.

Now this is what I'm talk'n about! This is a camera that could bring the fun back into taking photographs!

OMG!!! An apparent lesbian holding the holy grail camera! (short nails and an OVF!)

Today is a very good day to be me.

Guys, really, I wouldn't sweat details just yet. These are prototypes and mockups we're seeing now. Like show cars. Might or might not resemble the eventual production camera in the details.

Mike

Very true. However, I are the Googlemeister and I used my superior webz skillz to find the first photo of the final production camera design...

You can thank me later.

(C'mon, Fuji! Please keep this under $1500!)

Today is the first day of photokina. Nikon will announce FM2/FM3 based full frame digital 12MP with new manual focus 28mm f2 and 35mm f2 for the start. If that does not happen, then Fuji is my next camera.. this camera WILL rock !

It's an interesting beast, for sure, and Fuji is to be commended for bringing it to market. I'll look forward to seeing how it pans out.

Still, I suspect this is not a camera for me. My preference is to work in manual mode, picking an aperture to suit the subject and then running shutter speed as I shoot. To do that I need ready access to the shutter speed control with the camera in shooting position. It might work for right eyed folk, but I don't think there's any chance for us lefties, as illustrated in this image from your links above:

http://i.i.com.com/cnwk.1d/i/tim/2010/09/20/Photokina-10_540x367.jpg

James.

Lest we forget that we are talking about Fuji... the company that has a digital division produced under the name of Fujifilm. When it comes to professional-grade digital cameras with the Fujifilm name on it (excluding Hasselblad H-series cameras etc.), it is safe to assume that the X100 will be like its Fuji predecessors with these characteristics:

* Will be released too late for the trend that spawned it. When the S5 Pro was announced, the 6MP/12MP was on par with the competition. By the time it hit shelves, the rest of the digital world had passed it by.

* It will be overpriced. Again, using the last Fujifilm S5 camera as an example, by the time the 6MP S5 was released, it was priced twice that of the soon-to-be-replaced 10.2MP D200 that the camera was based upon.

* It will be rife with software, firmware and/or mechanical glitches that anger users.

Note - this was written by someone who has owned every Fuji S-series camera. Fujifilm always develops a stunning sensor, then crams it into a painfully pricey camera, with unintuitive and incompatible software and onboard menus that are reminiscent of DOS.

"My preference is to work in manual mode, picking an aperture to suit the subject and then running shutter speed as I shoot. To do that I need ready access to the shutter speed control with the camera in shooting position."

James,
Then you would like the K-7 / K-5. For some reason I really like the K-7 in manual mode. Easy and slick to work with. No reason why it should be better than other cameras, yet I seem to like it more. Something about the way it falls to hand I guess.

Mike

"The announced price of $1600 seems stiff"

According to Chasseur d'Images who are at Photokina, they were told "We expect one thousand dollars" when they asked about the price. They think that it would mean 1000 euros for Europe.

Damn they got me. Take my wallet.

Hmm... just like the $10 Vivitar, apparently one can shoot the Fuji X100 without looking through the viewfinder or at the LCD.

I hope this camera works out for all concerned cause it can only lead to more and better of this class in the long and short term. But the new Fuji I'd want by far is the GF670W!

I'm as gaga about this lovely camera as the next TOPper, but I've gotta say my GF1 is still a pile of fun.

The pictures aren't bad either.

I think it will probably be a great camera but given the demand, the exchange rate, and amount of development that new finder and all the guts are going to require, I bet the X100 comes in at well over $2K and not until Fall 2011. Even if they tell us otherwise.

What Fuji has accomplished is killing a lot of sales of nice u4/3 cameras made by its competitors ;-) It absolutely obliterated Leica X1 sales. And it positioned itself as "first" and a leader before Canikon could pre-announce theirs a year or two ahead of delivery.

They did make some nice looking mock-ups though!

It's like Chess or Shakespere.....

Mmmh... Wish much luck to Fuji: that E-OVF doesn't look like a cheap investment (nor does the lens).
Have this camera selling good numbers, and it will become a system, despite some people saying it's a boutique one.
Me, I'm already saving. That is exactly the modern OVF I dreamed of. Optical, plus Electronic aid/superimposition. Fine job Fuji, and apparently someone there is actually reading forums and doing what Mike himself said being wrong: following customer desires... :-)))

And, for the marketing people:
"Here is the definitive solution to dust on the sensor".

"My preference is to work in manual mode, picking an aperture to suit the subject and then running shutter speed as I shoot. To do that I need ready access to the shutter speed control with the camera in shooting position."

I see no reason why this won't work with the Fuji. The shutter speed dial is about as recessed as the one on my M6, which I adjust with my index finger. Like James, I'm left-eyed, and this setup is fine. What I'm really looking forward to is a rangefinder-style camera without a wind lever (yes, I know about Rapidwinders; not my thing).

David,
I purchased Fuji S5 pro new in June 2008. Today, two years and 3 months later and after about 9000 pictures taken the resale value of the camera is same as my purchase price..
Many new cameras have come but not a single one of them (well maybe D3x) have better jpeg streight out of camera.
Martin

All good. Mind you, would be nice to see a Hasselblad-branded version in black...(a la Xpan/Fuji TX)

If all these images of the camera are actually of various prototypes with the camera itself not due until next year, then it strikes me that Fuji are actually carrying out some very clever pre-release research. From this and other blogs they will learn which features are deemed really welcome by a large proportion of their target consumers and amend the design accordingly. That's good, of course. But perhaps also, from the degree of enthusiasm displayed, they will be able to take a much better guess as to how high they can pitch the final selling price before alienating the buyer. So our understandable excitement over this design will probably adversely affect our pockets in the long run. Oh dear...

James, don't hold your breath for a camera without an LCD. Not going to happen. See what Olympus apparently decided because of the market. Fuji might be a company that goes its own way, but they won't ignore the market that much.

David L, they also sell printer dyes under the name of Fujifilm.

No distance mark or depth of field scale like panasoic/leica lx digicam and no distance mark. How to zone foucs?

Hmmmmm - now which should I buy: twenty-two of these or one M9Ti? Decisions, decisions...

The left eyed thing is just a fact of life we lefties have to live with. Even on a DSLR, I'm always smearing the LCD screen with my nose.

Mike, my way of using "manual" mode with my Pentax bodies is this; Aperture priority, spot metering, meter on the spot you want with the AE lock button, you can then recompose and focus with the exposure locked. If you don't like the shutter speed you get with the aperture you originally selected, you can use the command dial as a "hyper-manual" function to pick a different but equivalent shutter speed / aperture combination. Works great in difficult light.

Wow, it's much bigger than I thought it would be, nearly the size of an M9!

A note on the update: "Engadget is now quoting a selling price of $1000. . ." Other sites are suggesting that's actually 1000 Euros--so more like $1300.

Well umm... cancel that remark about it costing over $2000 then. Even with a few hiccups we're looking at a best-seller if it comes in at only a grand.

Quality screw in tele and wide converters (like the Yashica Electro shipped with) could alleviate a lot of the agida over the lack of interchangeable lenses.

That price changes everything...and there will be an interchangeable lens version in the future because I predict the X100 will fly off the shelves.

Where can I preorder!?!?

Further to my previous heart-in-my-mouth comment:

In view of the recently announced price of US$1,000, I need to change my initial conclusions about this camera and its target audience. This price puts the X100 in a whole 'nother segment: The affordable luxury segment. $1,000 is pricey for a second camera, but not unethical, and for a main camera (assuming it lives up to its promise), it's practically affordable, especially if you compare it to similar focal length offerings from the competition (Sigma, micro-4/3, etc.). I can see those who appreciate what this camera has to offer buying one as a main camera and then having a MILC for wider and longer focal lengths. If you're a street shooter who lives at 35mm-equiv., you might never even need anything else. HCB spent most of his career with what was essentially a fixed-lens 50mm camera, so this isn't as crazy as it seems. And at this price, if Fuji decide to release other focal lengths, I can very well imagine buying two at your preferred fields-of-view and calling it a system.

My only worry concerns the corners Fuji might have had to cut to bring it in at this price.

I'm not worried about quality tradeoffs at $1k. A fixed focal length lens is simpler to design and build than a zoom; they save considerable there (or, you know, invest it back into optical quality). It's only f/2, same as the wide end of the LX3/5 and the S90/95; they're not going for something extremely fast and hard to design.

The APS-C size sensor costs more than the tiny one, but not that much more -- the price we've been given is twice the LX5 price.

The viewfinder, obviously, will cost more. But it doesn't have to, for example, zoom; moving parts are what really cost. It's just an overlay on the optical. So mostly it's another screen and some minor optics.

Of course volume is the question; all the design work has to be amortized, and for that matter they choose production methods partly based on expected volume, and if they expect enough, they can make investments that pay off in cheaper per-unit costs.

I hope it's on time, and that there's nothing serious wrong with it.

Nice. I was thinking in the back of my head that this camera would be really nice to have at about the grand mark. Doing some rough I-have-no-idea-whatsoever-what-these-things-cost-to-produce, I'm thinking a good prime 35e/2 to be 'worth' about $300.- and the body/viewfinders to be probably about $300.- and then throw in a couple hundred for sensor and voila, about a thou.

If this thing is the real deal at a grand, it IS my next camera. I love what I'm seeing so far!

Semilog:

"I see no reason why this won't work with the Fuji. The shutter speed dial is about as recessed as the one on my M6, which I adjust with my index finger."

Ah, index finger over the top on the front edge - that might work. I was thinking thumb on the back edge.

James

Times 100 what? Nitpicking a lustful camera, but the name is unimaginative. Recalls an engineering project by fellas wearing white shirts and skinny ties. V=I squared R with 12MP CMOS? Uninspiring unless one reads the specs. Gotta admit the exterior design is Leica M-MMM nice!

My two favourites so far:

NX 100 (Samsung)
X 100 (Fuji)

Er, come on Messieurs Manufactureurs - any chance of a little innovation in the name department too?

The electronic VF really is the most exciting thing about this camera... Most of the possibilities won't even be exploited by this camera, but one can dream. Imagine a hybrid MF mode, where you frame using the optical finder, but as soon as you touch the focus ring, the VF changes to a zoomed-in "live" view to aid in focusing. After a half second or a half shutter press, it would revert to the optical again.

You would have the clarity of a real optical viewfinder, the control of manual focus, yet faster and more precision than a Leica thanks to digital live view. That would be truly revolutionary.

What with all the translations I am not 100% clear whether the "fixed lens" means that it is not removable from the body (which seems to be the case) or that it is a "fixed" focal length (i.e. not a zoom). Though the 35mm equivalent lens is a nice choice, it would be a shame if it is not interchangeable. This camera seems to have a likable size (somewhat in the mold of a Leica), which could be a smash hit if it were to become an affordable M8 alternative.

Richard,
The X100 lens is a single-focal-length 23mm f/2, which has the same angle of view as a 35mm lens on "full frame," and it is permanently attached to the body and not interchangeable.

Mike

There's tough competition out there:

"Furthermore, the Leica logo has been restyled and is elaborately hand-engraved in pure resin, inlaid with white enamel, sealed with a clear varnish and then polished."

Does it have a leaf shutter ? (Would be another reason why it's a fitted lens.)
And for those wishing it were an interchangeable system, I'd guess that such a camera would have taken Fuji at the very least another year to develop, even if it were commercially possible.

If so, I'm hoping it's whisper quiet. And syncs up to at least 1/500s.

If it really does come out round $1000, it's moved back from the envy list, to the buy list...

Automatic parallax correction in finder?

I don't know much but:

It seems like a machined metal body, lens and digital innards would be a great buy at $1k, aka hard to produce for that price. Looks like a Bessa rangefinder starts at $800, not sure how much metal is involved.

I saw a short video clip of Fujifilm's Adrian Clarke giving a press conference about the camera.

A couple of interesting tidbits: he starts the press conference by saying "I've got one here ... unfortunately it doesn't work." Most cringeworthy!

Later he answer the question of why a fixed focal length lens: because that's what our engineers wanted to do. Also cringeworthy. Why not say that it's because that's what customers want?

At the end, he suggests an estimated price of around 1000 dollars (rather than euros).

Given how late in the cycle we are, I doubt that Fujifilm can make many changes to the camera. They are probably showing pre-production prototypes and the released camera will likely look quite similar. Assuming, that is, that they hit March 2011.

A leaf shutter would very likely mean a limited shortest shutter speed. 1/500?

Fuji confirmed $1000 to dpreview as well, available March 2011: http://www.dpreview.com/articles/photokina2010/Fujifilm/.

Has anyone been able to identify the pinout on the flash shoe? Wondering what's in the pipeline there. Fuji have in the past licenced things from Nikon, but that's not a Nikon pinout...

If this is the Hexar AF for the digital generation I'd love one.

But: it'd have to have great, great bokeh as well. Quiet. How does the OVF indicate focus? and parallax compensation?

I'm a little concerned with the flash so close to the optical axis. Why not put it further away (or, a la hexar, as an external altogether)?

Oh, can we have it black too?

It's kinda gratifying to come back from a couple of weeks in the wilderness and discover that someone's finally decided to produce the camera I've been waiting for (and had pretty much given up on).
As Tse-Sung Wu says, this camera is very Hexar AF like, which is the highest praise for me.
It remains to be seen, though, how quickly the X100 focuses, what the shutter lag is, and how much noise it makes. Based on the high shutter speeds on the dial, I imagine that the shutter is focal plane, which means noisy, at least by Hexar standards. Let's hope the X100 makes a giant leap forward in AF performance.
Anyway, if this camera is a good performer, I don't see how I could live without one!

"Based on the high shutter speeds on the dial, I imagine that the shutter is focal plane, which means noisy, at least by Hexar standards."

Don't most of these new compact digitals with EVF have no real physical shutter at all? Isn't the shutter is just an electronic sampling of the sensor for the prescribed duration? This is distinct from the live view mode on Nikon SLRs, in which the shutter is open for viewing, and then it closes and makes a regular cycle for the exposure.

With an electronic (fictional) shutter, there should be no noise at all.

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