When the Fuji X100 site went up the other day (something we announced here), a tab called "The Story" was left blank and listed as "coming." It has now been published. Or at least, the story of the lens has been published—and it's interesting enough (back focus is only 5.3mm—take that, SLRs!). As for the story of the viewfinder, it's available—but only by guessing and plugging in the likely URL. Maybe we're jumping the gun just a bit in saying it's been "published"—it doesn't seem to be linked to the main site yet and probably isn't intended to be "live" yet. You might want to take a look soon, as Fuji might yank it. (Although it will certainly be back eventually.)
Some cynically say that the X100 offers nothing new: very wrong. What's new about this camera is the hybrid viewfinder.
"...For those who have a deep familiarity with cameras, it was wondered whether such users would like to once again experience the pleasure of shooting photos through an extremely clear and sharp viewfinder."
Even through the translated, careful and somewhat opaque language of the marketing website, the excitement and enthusiasm of the design team's "'Eureka' moment" comes through.
This sparked an idea. If we were considering a custom LED display, why not a custom LCD panel? This would not only enhance the freedom to display information content, but also open up a broad range of display item variations such the display of histograms and 'floating' text. This concept suggested one after another display patterns and applications.
One look through the prototype confirmed the development team’s confidence in the selection of an LCD panel as they viewed the sharpness of the frame and floating text—a quality that they likened to looking at the control panel of a luxury car.
The result? Hitoshi Miyano: "I am proud to say that we have developed the best viewfinder on any camera that has ever borne the Fujifilm brand." Takashi Soga: "This is the only viewfinder of its kind in the world."
It remains to be seen how good the viewfinder actually is, but it is the only one of its kind in the world, and it is a genuine innovation. Seems significant to me.
One small revelation: the brightness of the viewfinder's LCD projection is tied to the camera's light meter! And the viewfinder has its own shutter. Interesting.
Here's the link, with the caveats mentioned in the first paragraph. I'm about to shut the site down for Christmas, so I won't be around to correct this if the link breaks—just be aware of that.
(Thanks to Bharat Singh)
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Original contents copyright 2010 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.