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Monday, 11 July 2011

Comments

Thanks Ken. That seems a very succinct and rational summary, without any of the emotional static. My instinct was to wait for (as you put it) the X200 or X300 and you've reinforced that. I'm hanging out for a debugged interface and some limited availability of interchangeable lenses. I'd like a 28 and 50 equivalent to straddle the current fixed 35 lens. Doesn't have to be M-mount. Fujinon lenses are excellent. The viewfinder technology is such an advance that it must flow to other cameras - it will be fascinating to see where it next emerges.

A perfect review for these leaner-than-I-like times: It makes me want the camera even more, while somehow making me feel okay that it will be a while before I can get one in my hands!

Interesting review, Ken. Maybe the X100 will be in my budget one day. But my gawd, what is that tumor on the front of the Leica M9? I never noticed that monstrosity before! Is it a finger grip or an accessory oil drum?

It's too bad that any future cost of upgrading is so expensive... because if one ever wants to get the next generation of sensor which will inevitably make its way into the next version, one will need to replace the entire lens-and-body unit. (The same problem I will have with my pocket cams, of course, but not with the m43 solution).

Ken, thanks for the detailed review. I only had the occasion to play with the X100 for a few minutes and I am somehow tempted, but there are two things the camera would need to be a real winner for me:

Focusing:
Fuji, please have a look at the Pentax Pancakes and their quick-shift focusing. This is what I would like to see in this camera. For me it ideally combines the auto-focus and manual focus aspects.

Sensor:
The ideal sensor for this camera would be - from my point of view - a sensor in the like of the super CCD or the Sony sensor used in the D7000/K-5/A55. The higher dynamic range is a big plus in bach-light situations and the better high-ISO performance would extend the use range to light situations where the optical view-finder still can be used.

I really like the concept though.

Interesting conclusion! While I don't have the X100, but a DP2, a lot of what you said applies to both (I think).

It certainly couldn't be my "only" camera. But even after 2 years of owning it, the fixed-focal-length-compact is still my "first choice" - with my DSLR having the "long-term aspiration of being my regular second camera." :)

I could imagine that this is the case for at least some of the X100 owners as well...
I'm glad that there are cameras like these around... :)

Similar to its ancestors it sports the wrong focal length.

Oh man, I hate you so much. I own a Canonet QL 17 G III and its form is just perfect for me. I already wanted badly to get the X100, and now, because of you, I even more want to try it.

I only wish it could get a second firmware update, better than the first one, to get rid of the easily fixable handling issues like the awkward buffering stuff and the wacky menus.

Thank you, Ken, for that practical assessment.

Correction: I originally stated that the X100 has an "electronic shutter", which is only partially true. The X100 manual specs list the shutter as "combined mechanical and electronic shutter" (p115). But p.27 of the manual remarks, "Because the camera uses a lens-internal shutter, fast shutter speeds may not be available at large apertures.", suggesting that the camera does indeed have a mechanical leaf shutter. Shrug.

I can tell you that the X100 is utterly silent in operation. The loudest natural sound you'll hear is the lens focus servo motor.

I apologize for the misstatement.

As opposed to the GF1 which I have fallen in love with and am using a year after purchase. Its magic in part comes from the ability to use all kinds of other lenses. ( the Lumix 14mm is on it most of the time.)

This is a pretty even handed review, nice job. But I'm still going to have to lump you into one of the two piles of reviews this camera has generated. People who love this camera, and people who just can't groove with it. I think neither parties have been able to wrap their heads around the whole story. Maybe that's not possible with such a tool that has such a specific market.

My personally feeling about my X100 is that it really HAS made me fall in love with photography again. There has never been a camera that I could throw in a daily satchel (here in NYC, we men have satchels, not to be confused with purses), that I also had full confidence in as a photographic tool. Advanced small sensor point and shoots never really satisfied me. In fact I honestly figure that my phone with a good camera app takes as interesting pictures as a Canon G12, many times more so.

With the X100, I get images similar to some über expensive DSLR prime lenses I can't afford, I get a viewfinder, I get a stylish camera (yeah, I'll admit it), and I get a tool that is just fun to use. It's certainly not perfect the way a DSLR just WORKS. In fact at a wedding my main camera will still be my Pentax K-5, but the X100 will be on my shoulder too. Because it's so small, and the quality is so good, it really lends itself to certain portrait situations where a less threatening camera is to be desired. That's one serious advantage Leica has. I have no idea why, but people let their guard down.

As for the "impractical" argument against it's fixed lens design. I really think it's a moot point, because I can't imagine anyone buying this camera, not having another more versatile system available to them (like me with my Pentax DSLR), or not knowing exactly what they're getting into. Sports cars are less versatile than Camrys, so odds are the average Porsche owner has a 2 (or in that case more likely 3) car garage.

My biggest–not my only–but my biggest complaint against the X100 is that it really makes me want to save for an M9. Confound it, I blame Voigtlander Bessas for being so damn affordable. They're a gateway drug, I tell you!

"if one ever wants to get the next generation of sensor which will inevitably make its way into the next version, one will need to replace the entire lens-and-body unit."

Peter,
The fixed lens is the cost of the viewfinder. How willing you are to accept the fixed lens depends how much you want the viewfinder.

Mike

"Similar to its ancestors it sports the wrong focal length."

Fie!

Mike

Well written Ken,your views are much the same as mine,however I think I'll hopefully still find use for the X100 in a years time but mainly for candids of grandkids,street and some travel.

Good and fair write-up of a unique cam. I've been shooting with mine for a month and have been enjoying it immensely; but also realize it's not perfect.

35mm (equiv) was probably the best choice of focal length but it does have it's limits. Since this is the case I rarely will go out for serious shooting with just the fuji... which kind of defeats some of it's intentions. Having said that I will use it every time it makes sense to... even times it might not! It's image quality is really very nice and I am finding myself appreciating big quality in small cams more and more (still love my D7000 tho!).

Here's what I wrote while trying my X100.

I've spent a couple days with it now, and am undecided. It still might go back to B&H. My quick take--unlike many here, I think the Image Quality and high ISO quality are the camera's strong points. The files are lovely. And I like certain things, like the real aperture dial and real shutter speed dial, which can either or both be set to A. But operationally, at least for those of us used to "normal" cameras (I use the Canon SLR system, and my current PS is the Lumix GF1 with the 40mm and a Voightlander finder--an excellent, snappy street camera), it is a nightmare.

As many have noted, the menu system, etc., just doesn't make sense. Trying to get the LCD on require synching two different buttons, and I still haven't got it down. The fact that it locks up while writing files is IRRITATING, especially since the cameras I just mentioned have this down. The viewfinder is nice, but the LCDs are DARK. You can't really see the back LCD in sunlight, and turning up the brightness all the way does little, and this also blows out the highlights on the viewed image!

God I had high hopes for this camera. It is a beautful device, no doubt. I love the retro looks and feel. But again you wonder if they had Photographers actually use it. Twenty minutes with this thing and I could have provided a list that would make it 10x more photo friendly. For instance, the +/- dial is extremely easy to knock. It doesn't click in hard, and is in a bad spot. ISO needed a button, and not the FCN button. And we need only ONE button to make the back LCD work. And clean up those menus!

Some of this might be addressable in firmware. But much isn't. Today I will decide whether or not to send it back. The image quality, though , definitely the attaction, over my Lumix. Oh, and I forgot to mention it is somewhat slow to use, especially if you don't prefocus. Quite a bit of noticeable lag. More than the Lumix.

So it is kind of an also ran.

Frustrating, though. I wish Canon or Nikon would do this and get it right. And hey, just give me real Rangefinder focus, that would be fine!
-----
I sent the camera back for a full refund. I note the firmware updates, but they don't answer most of my frustrations. It is a pity what could be such a simple elegant camera was so overly complicated-ified. I don't miss it.

Instead, I continue to use and love my Lumix GF1 (not the new and unimproved GF2 or GF3) with the 20mm and Voightlander 35mm finder. It may lose slightly at high ISO, but otherwise, for use and responsiveness, it is a terrific "Leica" for me now.

I would really love to get my hands on the X100. But for now, I am happy with my Olympus 35 RC (which is also a pleasure to use, and I shoot with it every single day!).

Also got it to be my second camera.

I am now about to sell my 5D2 and lenses. Don't need it anymore; the X100 does everything I want for 99% of my shooting.

If I could easily afford an M9 it might be a different story.

My blog has much more for anyone interested.

Very nice review, Ken. One comment I do wonder about though: "But it's also worth remembering just how limited those simple little rangefinder cameras really were. There's a reason they became extinct. Canon sold well over 1 million of those small Canonet cameras...until the SLR became affordable."

I'd call a million cameras sold a major success. I doubt SLR prices had anything to do with the the phasing out of the Canonets, since the Canonet was targeted towards a different market. I think what killed the Canonet was auto-focus, starting with the Sure Shot in 1979. Auto-focus meant NEW and IMPROVED, i.e. something else to market. A refurbished Canonet QL17 GIII still goes for around $200 these days, so I'd say it's a continuing success story.

I also think in a fast moving situation a Canonet in the right hands could shoot circles around the X100. No hesitation for focus. No lock up while writing file. Very straightforward, ergonomic controls.

Some of those SLR's that allegedly killed the Canonets were more compact than today's DSLRs - they were a real alternative. The only current DSLR that somehow - just somehow - might be comparable in size to the X100 is the Pentax K-r with a couple of Limited lenses - say the 21mm and the 43mm.

The first (and only) time I had an X100 in my hands, my first impression was how surprisingly light it was (I guess in comparison to my M3 that I haven't had in decades). Which is not to suggest it's shoddy at all; but it's not NEARLY as dense as old-style cameras.

So basically all of us are waiting for a mirrorless, full frame camera. Its the destiny of the mirrorless. Question is, how much time it will take...

Mike:

Why does the viewfinder mean you cannot have interchangeable lens?

I think the review misses the crucial killer advantage of this camera: compact, light and quiet but delivering fantastic DSLR quality images. As one commenter mentioned, he hasn't used his 5D since getting the X100. Most reviewers have not had time to learn how to use manual focus or zone focus options. MF using the AFL/AEL button works brilliantly, and with the command wheel locked allows close focussing without switching to macro. In AF-S mode the focus distance can be locked at a hyperfocal setting, if focus lock alone is set for that button in the appropriate menu. The is the digital Hexar AF. Have a look at the threads on rangefinderforum. This is a game-changing camera, clearly. Not using it in a year? Ridiculous.

Ken Tanaka has it right. The X100 is a digital trip back in time to our analog past, for those of us old enough to remember. I did not hesitate to spend the money and I enjoy the camera immensely. It wasn't supposed to be the next big thing. Although the viewfinder is a big "wow" to me. The fixed 35mm equivalent lens takes me back to the way I started out: using "foot zoom" to compose. You want wider, move back. You want tighter, move in. I'm starting to dream in B&W. Mike wrote an article once about putting away the zoom lenses and use a single focal length of your choice for a week [actually a year —Mike] and fine tune your vision. Fuji must have been listening. And at least with the fixed lens there is no more concern about dust on the sensor. I must have taken my Nikon D300 in to the dealer at least 10 times to have the sensor cleaned. (They do it quicker and better than me while I wait.) So, I like it. The IQ is outstanding and more than worth the hassle of learning the camera functions and constantly referring to the manual.

Bill,
Because the field of view of the viewfinder would have to change with the change in addition to changing focal lengths, which, even if it could be done, would add complexity, but also...inelegance.

Mike

"I think the review misses the crucial killer advantage of this camera: compact, light and quiet but delivering fantastic DSLR quality images."

Richard G,
True enough, if you don't already have that. But as Ken indicated by comparing them, he already had that in his M9 and his E-P2.

Mike

I haven't seen a picture from the X100 that shows anything that's moving or is otherwise hard to focus. Well... except for the images used in the Japanese commercial short video used to market the camera itself ;-p

I wonder if anyone would like it if it was ugly?

I'm confused as to why Steve Rosenblum thinks it offers no convenient way to zone focus. I think this may be down to lack of practice with the camera. I was shooting it zone focussed all today with great results and used it like that on my recent Hong Kong trip too. It works just fine and I'm very happy with the results.

I second Ken's endorsement of the Thumbs Up grip. Without it, the X100 feels a little loose in-hand. Slap that thum grip on though, and it feels as if the camera is welded to your hand!

As for my own use, I have a nice D700 kit with the 2.8 lenses that sits in my bag unused for the most part, because it's simply easier to carry the X100 everywhere. I get 90 percent of the D700 image quality in a package a third of the size (unless I have the 70-200 mounted; then it becomes about a tenth the size.

As for the manual focus faux pas, the hyperfocal distance scale makes it easy to dial-in a manual setting, and all you have to do from there is click or hold down the shutter release. And at 5 fps, it's pretty darned fast.

The size, and the advanced viewfinder, are very laudable. But in most other ways this camera seems to be a collection of poor choices and undesirable compromises. I hope an eventual gen 2 version is better.

'"So basically all of us are waiting for a mirrorless,
full frame camera." Anurag Agnihotri.

No we 're not! My Lumix GF1 and G3 with the 7-14,14-45,
100-300,and 20 F1.7 suits all my needs with superb prints
up to 13x19. The G3 beat Fuji x100 in just about everything.

I had hoped this camera would be the "digital Konica Hexar AF" that I've been waiting for...is it?

Yes..and no.

It is certainly as sharp as a Hexar - the lens is outstanding. It handles well. Focus speed is ok - not great, but like the Hexar if you pre-focus then the shutter lag is pretty much non existant.

The viewfinder is excellent, but I did found myself adopting a bit of a strange grip that allowed me to flick the switch to change between optical and electric finders quickly to confirm composition/focus.

The camera I used had the latest firmware..but I hope that Fuji introduce new fimrware that allows you to manual focus quicker - at the moment I wouldn't ever consider using manual focus for anythign other than fixed focus point and press shooting...

Summing up..nice camera...but I'll wait for the X200 before I buy one..

My challenge is that back in the day the canonets and ricohs and 35rc's and himatics and yashica gsn's used to top off around $100 US. At the same time, decent SLR bodies like the Minolta SRT101 or Olympus OM1, with no lenses, used to go for close to $200 (way before the cascade of the dollar).

In other words, the rangefinders were lower cost alternatives to taking a nice picture. They weren't perceived as much else. They certainly didn't have the magazine or internet cachet of being "unobtrusive" or "ultra quiet" or being able to "pre-visualize" "outside the frame."

So I have a challenge getting over the price of this model vs something like, say, a Sony A55.

Richard G:

I think the review misses the crucial killer advantage of this camera: compact, light and quiet but delivering fantastic DSLR quality images.

These were covered. I think this is missing Ken's point that there are plenty of cameras out there and you don't have to put up with design shortcomings. Maybe Fujifilm just need to get the team used for the GF670/Bessa III to show them how it's done. If a feature only half works, is poorly implemented or gets in the way, just leave it out. (Though a piece of masking tape over the focus mode selector would likely fix one of Ken's issues.)

I don't have a horse in this race as I've never seen the camera nor made an effort to do so, principally because its 35mm equivalent lens is too wide for me for general use ... great for getting everybody in at family outings though, hey Mike :).


I like this camera not because of it's "retro look" (or simply it's look, for that matther), the small size, the brand, the cool viewfinder or anything like that.

I like it, plain and simple, because of the fixed fast lens.

I used to shot with zooms, but the last couple of years, I've only used 50 and 135 primes. My next purchase, probably next month, it's gonna be a Sigma 28 prime.

My mind just "sees" pictures in those focal lengths.

Nothing wrong with zoom lenses, I just feel they have a lot of extra mm that I don't need.

Let's check back in a year to see if anyone's still using it, shall we?

How great is the "limitation" of a 35mm lens in the digital age, anyway?

One can easily crop to get a 50mm field of view for portraits with little loss of image quality.

I'd hazard a guess that a sizable portion of classic rangefinder photography (ahem, not that the X100 is a proper rangefinder) takes place within the field of view between 35mm and 50mm.

The X100 will never be a camera for long-lens or superwide photographers -- but these are the same arguments you often see mounted against rangefinder cameras as well.

Thanks everyone for your comments and for the lively discussion. Thoughtful discussions, as are so typical on TOP, are powerful instructive and informative vehicles, particularly on topics involving expensive stuff.

@ John Roberts: ”...what is that tumor on the front of the Leica M9?” It’s Leica’s new GPS antenna, the “GPS-M”. Naw, it’s just the standard handgrip. I generally carry Leicas strapped to my wrist and gripping with my right hand. I have a hard time holding the camera securely for long periods unless it’s outfitted with the grip.

@ Steve Rosenblum: Actually, the X100 is pretty easy to pre-focus. In fact, it’s the normal way I use the camera. Here’s the basic setup. From screen 4 of the “Set-Up” Make sure that “AE/AF-Lock Button” is set to “AF-L” (to only set and lock auto-focus). As you shoot, simply use your thumb to press that AEL/AFL button to lock onto a target near the front of your desired focus range and you’re set. No need to re-focus on each shot until you move or make a big change to aperture. Yes, it requires some practice but it’s quicker and often more accurate than pre-focusing with my Leicas.

@ Anurag Agnihotri: I’m not sure that a “full-frame mirrorless” is a necessary destiny for such a design although I’ve little doubt that it will happen. Moving from the (1.3x) Leica M8 to the full-frame M9 didn’t make the planets move. Yes, having the full 35mm sensor frame is nice to bring parity with the lens focal lengths. But it doesn’t substantially change the photography or the photographic experience, per se. It’s far more important to have the best sensor/lens (system) relationship, in my opinion.

@ latent image: Yup, I’d be the last person to deny that nearly any camera in hands skilled with its use represents an infinitely sharper tool than a more advanced camera in unskilled hands.

And actually, that brings us to part of the point of this particular camera. As I briefly remarked at the top of the review the X100 really is a camera that invites not just use but study and practice. A large part of the camera’s gestalt is to become not just familiar with it, but comfortable to the point where it’s almost a prosthetic extension of your eye. After several weeks with the X100 I can say that it seems to be repaying my own practice much the same as my first Leica did. (I initially hated that damn thing, by the way.) “Trying” an X100 is probably not going to be a satisfying or compelling experience for the majority of prospective owners. But I think those who stick with the camera, and experiment with it, will be rewarded by having a comfy, trusty baseball mitt for years.

Dear Folks,

This is minor, but several folks have talked about waiting for the "X200." Fuji has a history of making lovely boutique cameras that may come out in a few different models but don't engender camera lines. It doesn't seem to be about success rather than how their design concepts develop.

I don't closely track their future plans, so maybe I've missed information they put on out this. But I wouldn't assume a successor, unless Fuji has suggested there will be one.

pax / Ctein

Thanks to Mike J and a few others I bought this, my first digital camera and I really like it.

I have no intention of relinquishing film photography, I've thought about a "notebook" digital camera (and for happy snaps, of course) to take when recc-ying [reconnoitering? —Ed.] possible locations for real pics. I usually shoot 6x7cm or 5x7" and the backpack can become heavy.

It does take a little time to set up, but it's all new to me so I have no benchmark.

I believe that I'd be lost if I didn't have the basic concepts of photographic principles under my belt. It may be confusing to operate for a new photographer.

My "notebook" idea was always haunted by the thought that a quick snap might be one that I was proud of, but annoyed that it was of inferior quality via a cheap camera.

My only problem with this camera is that, being left eyed, I keep leaving nose marks on the rear display.

One word: G3.

Okay, another word or two. The Fuji is a day late to the party. Yes there are people who love the RF experience who can't or won't go to the Leica party. Yes the retro styling is pretty. And yes, the lens sounds pretty nice. But in the end, you have a slow(ish) camera which can produce (by all accounts) a nice-looking file (if things go right).

Now, if what you want is a camera to create candid or street photography (which appears to be the real target audience for the Fuji) what's the single most important control you need?

That's right, fast, accurate focus.

What's the other control you need most?

That's right, exposure compensation.

And that's it. Everything else falls into the "I like to have it" category, kind of like climate control in your car.

From Ken's description, and others I've read, this thing is slow (err, quirky). You have to hunt around for adjustments. Why would I really care if the VF is convertible? I want to compose fast, frame the photo, and focus where I want to focus. You don't think an electronic VF lets you do that?

I've had a Pany G3 for a week now, following a year and a half with the GF1, and it's a street shooter's wet dream. Fast, accurate, and files a clear step up from the GF1, which were not too shabby. From all reports the new Olys have even faster AF.

You can't fight the big budget R&D at Pany and Oly. The Fuji is like Leica, it has to cobble the thing from old technology, buy its sensor, and write its own software. It won't get the latest AF module, so like Leica it has to use the retro gimmick to get any traction in the market. What I think it's getting is the middle-aged, former Leica-toting, occasional walk about town kinda guy.

I've been using a loaner for a few days and apart from the image quality on the few occasions I've hit the mark, I'm not that happy. I'm reminded that some cameras seem to be designed by engineers who are not photographers - there can be no other explanation.
My usual carry around is an Olympus E-P2 with EVF and Panasonic 20mm. The X100 is lighter and more interesting in some ways but far less flexible. And yes, I am old enough to have used Canonet GIII's and Oly SP's and the like as well as the original Konica Hexar which seems to have inspired this one.
It is SLOW. Around 5 secs. to start from cold? I normally shoot RAW with the image review set to 'hold' so I can check focus. It takes some time for the review to appear and before I can shoot again. It's so slow that at first i thought it was broken. I'm thinking 1999 2mp speed.
Getting a precise point of focus at f2 - that's hard work - damn near impossible. Street shooting at f4-5.6 is fine but enviro portraits with the point of focus on the front eye - forget it.
Drag it out of the bag and you've just reset the EV dial to -2. And possibly knocked the shutter dial just enough off A to put it into 1/4000s shutter speed. Needless to say, unless you check every time, you miss the shot.
No hood or filter without an adapter. That is unforgivable. You'll lose the cute push on cap in no time and there is no filter thread ring to attach a protective filter or cheap no-name cap. Good grief. Using a 35mm focal length without a hood is like driving without a seat belt.
I'm annoyed - I really wanted to like it. Good lens, good sensor, good design, hopeless package.

Good review - honest and insightful.

BTW, I'm glad there are "early adopters" out there, but I prefer to hang back and wait for the 2nd or 3rd release of a product.

The viewfinder of the Fuji X-100 may not be of a rangefinder, but more of a "clear view finder" as in everything is seen clear and sharp. That may be more the common trait among this one, the Leicas and the old simple Canonet, OlympusRC-35 and others. The various focusing devices are different indeed but that may not make the difference in the photographic experience as much as seing everything sharp.

Do not like to spend $ without ability to change lens. I would wait to see the review of the GXR M module just posted here.

I have one small beef with the above report, something that appears over and over about this camera.
Everyone seems to complain that the manual focus is ineffective and slow.
Am I the only one who feels that people are not using the M/F as it's probably intended?
ZONE FOCUSING!!
That hallowed trademark of the Leica toting street shooter of the 50/60's.
On manual focus with this camera it is very easy to prefocus (say 12ft), set the camera to F8 and everything from about 6ft to 25ft is in focus...the ultimate point and shoot street camera.

My wish: a "MP" digital camera, meaning a high quality, small, camera with almost no options. It should accept M lenses, have a high quality sensor that performs well at high ISO, a shutter dial, and a rangefinder. I don't even care if it doesn't have a LCD screen, since it seems to me most photographers spend as much time, if not more, looking at a screen than they do their subjects.

Thank you for this excellent review.

Well, I AM a middle-aged (is 63 middle-aged?) guy who sometimes walks around town. But, I'm not a former Leica-toting guy, posted by -- above.

I've almost exclusively used my dear old Pentax 645 over the years, and it has endeared itself to my style of photography, which is to shoot landscapes in the local temperate rain forests.

I bought the X100 at about "half price" because I've helped a friend in Thailand with some favors over the years. I would not have purchased it otherwise.

Because I don't need too many bells and whistles, the X100's complexities don't affect me too much. I'm finding that it really DOES capture beautiful image quality. In fact, I was bowled over when I first put images on my monitor from this nice little camera. Image quality is my bottom line over anything else.

I think it is an "unusual", but nice complementary camera with my P645. And, of course, I'm finding myself reaching for the X100 much more often than I expected.

I do think that my familiarity with the workings of a good image from film does actually carry over to the X100. I don't have to get too excited about the "wrong way" menu and other anomalies. I just go on shooting, which is what it's all about. The X100 is simply another nice tool, and a lot of fun for me.

Maybe a little more manual then.

Isn't manual zone and hyper focus the way you do shoot street anyway? Unless you want to frame a face in the crowd by selective focus? But is that street? I don't know. Can you do that with autofocus? Probably not, since most autofocus systems don't know which face you want to focus on (unless it's in de center of the frame). So for street manual focus is to be the name of the game. Hyperfocal or DOF for steet panorama, and 1.4 aperture and lightning fast manual focus for the rest. Nothing has changed that game I guess.

But having heard Ken's long lament about buttons and opposible thumbs, why not limit buttons to this.

1) Shutter button
2) Aperture on lens
3) Multi Exposure
4) Exposure wheel with A,T,P and shuttertimes up 1/4000 up to B
5) Focus on lens and through rangefinder/EVF and autofocus setting integrated in focus ring please!
6) Self timer (on the front) for those family portrets
7) Use only RAW
8) ISO setting + exposure compensation -3/+3

Then loose al the rest (including display) and seal the damned thing against rain best you can. What you then have is in escence an M6 D (if you include interchangeble primes). Transfer all other settings to the computer. Coloursheme, film mode, white balance, black and white, aspect ratio, the works if you use RAW you can change these anyway. A display in my opinion only distracts from the proces of taking a picture and is usually not readable anyway in harsch sunlight so the combined EVF/range finder view finder would suffice. A real old school digicam I would buy in an instant. Don't include stuff like direct printer connections, cropping in camera etc. since no serious photographer is ever gonna use that so don't waste time and energy on that. Include a jawdropping sensor (fovean anyone?).

Greetings, Ed

I've thought about a "notebook" digital camera (and for happy snaps, of course) to take when recc-ying [reconnoitering? —Ed.] possible locations for real pics.

Umm, yes; guilty of using trade jargon. I was an editor, but I well remember cinematographers "reccy-ing" locations before undertaking the full on shoot: figuring out where the light came from at whatever time of the day, where the mains power might be had for lighting, where to park the honey wagon (damn, I've done it again)

Regards

For some reason, some folks seem downright affronted, even personally insulted to find that this isn't the camera for them. The only way I can account for the strange reactions I've seen is that the X100, which I've used but not purchased, is a camera many people would like to think is their ideal camera, even though it isn't. By that, I mean that, for whatever reason, they like to think of themselves as the kind of photographer who would really be into this kind of camera. But in reality, they're more suited to other kinds of camera, such as DSLRs or point-and-shoots, and this seemingly innocuous discovery seems to touch a nerve with some people, though of course everyone is different and has different shooting styles and needs.

My Pentax MZ5n was primarily used with a 43mm ltd, my Pentax MX a 35m f/2.8. My Pentax K20 a 21mm ltd. My RB 67 first choice is the 65mm with the 90mm as back up. I'd love an X100 and would see no problem at all with a fixed 35mm equivalent lens.

Having had an X100 for the past few days I suppose I would say that it's 'problems' are somewhat overstated. Whilst true that there are several things that could have been done better I find that once you have configured it the way you like it you can essentially forget its quirks. Get the ISO set where you want it and then go and take pictures - something that the X100 does extremely well.

If you like spending your time navigating around camera menus then the X100 is not good. If you like taking pictures without all the baggage a DSLR brings then it behaves admirably.

For someone who routinely uses a 35mm prime this camera is fantastic but for anyone else it will seem pointless and expensive.

The X-100 looks and sounds amazing. People complain about camera operation because they haven't spent the time to learn it. I look at my cameras as friends and your best friendships are not instant--they become good over time. The camera reminds me of my old Olympus Stylus Epic P&S- small, great images and a few quirky features that work once you get to know them. Would love to own the X-100 and someday I just might.

The digital camera that I have always dreamed of is a Rolleiflex-D or a Yashica Mat 124 Digital.

@ Laurence: You've tangentially hit upon an important point that I failed to make in my remarks. Specifically, that many owners will use the camera (or most cameras) in mostly a set-and-forget mode. Once we settle-down with a camera we tend not to make frequent excursions into its menus of tweaks. In this regard, the X100 poses few annoyances or distractions to "just shootin'" each day.

I bought this camera and after 3-4 days I decided to sell it. After 1 more day I removed the ebay listing. It is an addictive little camera with a learning curve but then I think my EoS camera works more as a point and shoot that this camera. It have learnt more about photography with the X100 than I have from any book.
Sample shots http://www.flixelpix.com/featured/fuji-finepix-x100-sample-shots/

I love it.

I love street photography, my combo was a nikon D700 with 50mm, i tried zooms and got sick of there flaws... I value image quality and colour rendition/image quality out of the camera, i prefer to get my exposure right on the spot and learn my gear instead of mastrubating over raw at home... Got the X100, it did not take 2 days to realize that this is the camera i have been dreaming about, Sold the D700 for a profit, because everyone and there dog believes that they will be better photographers if they move to full frame... while big SLRs will always have there place, mostly for working professionals, this camera have opened new horizons for anyone who just wants to ENJOY photography and doesn't want to be a body builder lifting heavy gear.... I disagree that everyone NEEDS a zoom, some of the great masters of photography lived there life with a fixed lens... The camera is not perfect by any means, but once you get intimate with it you will learn its flaws.....

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