« New LensAlign: Better and Cheaper | Main | From Film Holder to Memory Card »

Tuesday, 08 February 2011


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Cats aside, you are only making my interest in that camera worse.

Dang - beginning to wish I hadn't seen those samples! It's bad enough the camera is so pretty, but the images are rather beautiful too (cats notwithstanding)!


The only cats I like are Jaguars with leather seats.

Why is it when camera manufacturers show sample images, they always look the same? Why don't they give their cameras to photographers that shoot a little more diverse images? Isn't that how marketing is supposed to work? Don't show what the reality is, show what the consumers want it to be. Showing photos of cats, flowers, boats, random 'old' urban details, etc. is what most cameras are used for, but why would I want to see pictures that anyone can make with any camera? Show me some low-light, contrasty scenes. Or, maybe there could be some true street photography. What about giving the camera to an accomplished wedding photographer? Don't take pictures that justify that I don't need to by the camera because my old one takes the same photos. Show me pictures that only that camera can make.

Of course I like cats!

--Gordon Schumway

(for those of us who used to watch ALF)

What's the "single-use device"? I'm with you though, in that while it's going to be a lovely camera (I think of it as the digital AF Hexar),I won't be an early adapter. The fixed-lensedness of it renders it too impractical for the price. Truly a luxury for me. While the viewfinder is 'brilliant' , the soon-to-be-released 'pro' m4/3 from Olympus will need to be considered.
I am still waiting for your pronouncements on the K-5 however.

"I'll have to do a closet dump"

You're taking up installation art?

I guess it's better than I cat dump


And don't forget the cat's revenge....



No doubt about it the camera is a great cat shooter. As soon as you publish a link to an actual X100 order page from one of your sponsors I'll do the deed. Can't wait.

"... why would I want to see pictures that anyone can make with any camera?"

Having worked for a long time with two of the big camera companies, I think I can answer that. Partly it's because they want "safe" images -- non-challenging, reassuring, lowest-common-denominator stuff. Rightly or wrongly, they believe that's what most of the market wants to see.

The other part is that these sample shots are seldom very carefully planned. They tend to get rushed through at a certain point in the pre-release marketing process, and in my experience there's often nobody really taking charge to assure their quality.

Anyhow let's be thankful for cats. For a while the favorite subjects for these shots were pale-skinned girls in weird green and purple makeup.

Not solely to be contrarian, the first one especially doesn't strike me as very sharp. Looking at the big version, the detail around the eyes and nose is okay, but there just isn't much of it, and the rest of the picture has even less. It almost looks more like noise reduction results; but at ISO 200 (what the EXIF says, anyway) that shouldn't be in play.

You know you can get cat to pay iPad game much easier than get a dog to do it. They are smarter.

But both cat picture have them looking outside the frame. Somehow do not think that is any good.

My fund for X100 just gone today as I got a Nex 3 for my old lens around the house. Good luck all of you for your advantage.

You sure are right about the "rushed with nobody in charge" aspect. For a while I had a small collection of brochures, some of them specifically about lenses, that were illustrated with incompetent shots that actually made the lens or camera look bad. One brochure picture with a caption touting the lens's amazing sharpness actually had obvious motion blur. I don't know if I still have any of those.

One friend at a camera company told me that early on in his employment, a camera was thrust into his hands and he was ordered to "go out and make some test shots." He was amazed when a few weeks later, his "test shots" showed up in the deluxe, expensively printed brochure for the lens line. And he was in the marketing department--he wasn't even a photographer.


It's good for an f/2 lens wide open, and in any event, what you're looking for there is the quality of the out-of-focus blur, which seems quite nice.


The sample images look fine but still a bit soft (or, rather, not sharp enough) to me. And it's suspicious that there aren't any high ISO samples there. All are ISO200 except one (of the furnace) which is ISO400 (I found no visible noise). I didn't see anything 'spectacular' there. In this sensor category Leica X1 or even Sony NEX-5 can do the same or better. Actually, I have recently tried the NEX-5 with an old Russian Jupiter-3 lens and my images were crispier (http://www.flickr.com/photos/gregshanta/5334673438/). So, it boils down to the lens, after all. The modern sensors are more or less the same when it comes to performance. The lenses are the key to true quality but you're stuck with no option with this camera and that's precisely why I will pass on it.

Greg Shanta

Yes, I'd love one. But the best pricing quote I've had is Au$1500, which is a bit steep for what it is, IMO. Still, it might be a bit more realistic when (if) it ever hits the Antipodean shores...

I like cat pictures; particularly, I think, because so many people seem to find them so offensive.


So lustful. So close... aperture, shutter, and what affect exposure? Who guessed ISO? But we dont get a control for that why? I think the exposure comp dial should have iso on the other side. That way you can choose your aperture, or auto, choose your shutter or auto, choose your iso or 'auto/exposure comp'. Then in menus, you could choose how to handle iso while using the 'auto iso/exp. comp.' range such as setting upper and lower limits or a preferred setting (not to be deviated from until all other options have been exhausted).

The fixed non-interchangeable lens is a hard core deal breaker. It limits the usefulness so much that for a general hobbyist it cannot be your only camera, but its SO expensive... really fortifies the niche. I wonder if they made a companion X101 with an 85mm equivalent would some people buy the pair? But thats a ridiculous notion, the lens really ought to be removable.

I detect a bit of price creep on the X100. I seem to recall the first "confirmed" price said it would be "about $1000" and then it sort of crept up to $1100, and now Amazon has it at $1200. That means it will be $1500 over here in Canada.

I have absolutely no need for the X100, given my LX5 and GF1 with two primes, a zoom, and a few Nikkor lenses that work with the adapter I have.

But I've really been missing a viewfinder. I'm not impressed with the Panasonic EVF even though it would work on both of my Lumixs. And I have a cat. (How's my rationalization looking so far?)

I've been looking forward to this camera since photokina, or at least had pretty high hopes for it. I'm no longer as excited, unfortunately, due to the starting up time specified in todays press release. more than 2 seconds? with a fixed lens that doesn't extend before it's ready? I can only hope the "Fujifilm method" of measuring this is something more complicated than my "Power on to first picture taken, without any focusing or anything". Had it been even entry-level dslr levels (~0.1 sec from start to first picture), I'd been content. Now, I don't know, maybe I'll wait and see if Canon releases a mirrorless system camera...

The lens looks good. Sharp enough by f/2.8. Looks better than my current setup anyway. So maybe this is going to be the digital Hexar AF after all? The X100 would probably make a lovely dSLR replacement for me at least. It's half the weight of the D80 + 24/2.8, considerably smaller and a stop faster.

I really like the cat samples. Probably under the influence of the cat sitting in my lap right now.

Pretty strong showing by Fuji I'd say. I especially like the lack of the foreground/background green/magenta aberrations that are so common even in many really good lenses (by far my least favorite of all lens deficiencies).

Maybe Mike, but it'd be nice if it was in focus where it was meant to be. Pretty basic stuff IMVHO. I see nothing here that I haven't seen from the likes of a GF1.

In terms of showing what this camera might be able to do, these are poor.

Good news indeed!

I always scratch my head at the choices of camera settings on sample pics.

Like, why shoot that snow scape (of distant structures) @ f11 on such a small sensor camera? Or the bike @ f8 when you could easily shoot that f4...

Are all camera testers and reviewers perpetually stuck on the 35mm format or is there something going on that I am totally clueless about? Being clueless is of course not a stretch for me.

I'm so tired of the constant forum and blog discussion of this camera. It's not like it's the second coming of photography!

I'm going to shut down my computer and go make myself a mayonnaise sandwich.

For the uninitiated among your readers (I hope I am not alone here), would you say why a fixed lens camera at the big Fuji price point intrigues you? I've read a lot about this camera but don't understand the practical or even the existential drive to own one. Thanks.

Base ISO and tonal range are consistent with the D90/X1 sensor with a new fuji microlens array and RAW processing.

The 4 year old sensor is why the camera is so cheap. Not a dealbreaker, but still, a lot of cheddar for D90 performance.

Ergonomics and sex appeal have kept Leica in business, but they have name caché, not so with Fuji. Still, I hope its a success so this kind of thinking will be rewarded.

As I see it, this new segment involves some huge players... and an organic evolution of digital camera procurement.

1) Nikon/Pentax/Sony get a new chip for their DSLR's.
2) After 12-18 months Sony semiconductor has enough capacity overhead and reduced costs for integrated sensor components to be lifted to smaller bodies ala Ricoh GXR, Leica X(s), Fuji X100.
3) Profit.

The small players get the table scraps of Nikon/Sony R&D for cheap, and Sony gets to increase its sales for a process it has already recouped its costs on.

DDB and Mike, that first shot looks slightly front-focused to me (given the shallow dof). The tip of the nose is sharp, but the left eye is starting to go out of focus. It should have been focused on the eyes, with the tip of the nose starting to get soft. The angle of that shot is also deceptively high. We're looking down on the cat's face as much as straight at it. It is low contrast, but as Mike says that seems acceptable from an f/2 lens wide open.

I like cats and I like cameras, although my taste in cat photography runs more to Ernie. Cats are crazy, scratching, yowling little animals, and if you claim to like cats that's what you should like. I feel sorry for these poor anesthetized stuffed toys that show up in standard "cat" photography.

Anyhow, I am definitely interested in hearing about the X100.

What a beautiful silver Maine Coon. What a nice bokeh, too. :-)))) *

Anyway, David, if you take a look at the photo, you'll see that the whiskers and the long eyebrow hairs are sharp. The rest is simply out of focus. Autofocus at work?

What I wonder, though, is... why's this photo shot at -1EV? Okay, the base sensitivity of 200, cool. Okay, lens wide open, cool. But the shutter speed is measly 1/125 or 1/100, don't know what 1/105 means.

* Seriously, I like both cats and dogs. And they usually like me. For instance, my sister's cocker goes wild with joy when I visit.

Oof-- look at the picture of the bike against the corrugated metal-- quite soft at the edges, even at f/8!

So You're trying to get into the lolcats frenzy...

My cat is bugging me to buy one of these so that his pictures can look that good.

I can just see a camera company getting Daido Moriyama to shoot a sales brochure. Wait a minute, doesn't Olympus already have a Daido filter on their cameras?

Oooo those samples look nice... $1200 does not look nice though :(

Hope there's a WA version in the works!

I am a dog person......but....
the first picture is one of the absolute best uses of Depth of Field to manage the subject and the background that I have EVER seen. It's a wonderful photograph on its own, and a masterly job of image management. I just hope they did it deliberately and not by "accident."

Frame it and hang it on the wall....any decent photo instructor would love to have it as an example of artistic photography.


i hate to be a party pooper, but i am under-impressed. i downloaded the grey cat pic and i have to say it is almost un-editable. the file is thin and it feels like every tweek brings damage. good point is the noise is almost non-existing, but i am affraid the reason for that is a very strong smoothing filter applied in-camera, wich causes strange artifacts when applying sharpening.
all in all it looks like it has all the problems of digital cameras, "sensor-corner-adjustment" and what not.
the wrap, though, is way too cool! how about a film version for us chemical-junkies?

It's good for an f/2 lens wide open...
From what I read on the Interwebz, it's not as sharp as a Hattori Hanzo sword, and therefore worthless.

I see Fuji's official press release included their technical specifications.

In regard to the optical viewfinder, they write "Coverage of frame area v.s. capturing area: approx. 90%". It's unclear (at least to me) whether the viewable "frame" is larger or smaller than the captured "frame" in OVF mode.

Yes an interesting camera but I hope that they also stick the works inside an anonymous blob of grey high impact plastic (think Canon Sureshot), that doesn't shout "Hey I'm a street shooter with attitude"

By looking at the samples, suddenly I have a second thought - maybe I won't be among the first ones to buy the X100. I don't know...

I wouldn't pat yourself on the back quite so hard for your anti-establishmentarian approval of cat pictures. My anti-cat-picture stance is part joke, at least half tongue in cheek, for the simple reason that virtually everyone with access to cats takes pictures of them. Cats are born models. If I manage to make a finished portfolio in the next few years there might in fact be a cat picture in it...and I've written in the past about one outstanding book of cat pictures, Tony Mendoza's Ernie.


P.S. I like Rascal 3.

It's okay to not like the camera. Absolutely.

That said, there's nothing wrong with fixed lens cameras. Many Rolleiflex users were limited to one lens, many rangefinders of the '60s and '70s (most probably the inspiration for the Fuji) had one fixed lens, and many view camera photographers only own[ed] one lens even if they're not limited to using only that. There are great photographers in the history of the medium who only used one fixed lens, at least for most of their careers or most of their best-known work. As I've written elsewhere, it can even be an advantage of sorts, in that it removes a variable and because you learn to see with your eyes the way the lens sees.

Of course, it does have to be the lens you want--and a lens you like--or you're out of luck.


That shutter is like a Siren's song.

My own empirical experiments have led me to conclude that the 35mm equivalent FOV is perfect for full-length cat portraits, and my cats seem to agree as well. For dogs, however, 85mm is better (less chance of dog-lick on lens).

Fuji better come out with a short-tele dog portrait version immediately, lest canines howl foul!

It seems people here either don't like the Fuji x100 or think it is to expensive for a fixed lens piece of uninspired mediocrity. Myself, I opted to preorder one today. It's the street photographer camera for me...and much, much cheaper than the Leica M9 without a lens. For the same amount of money I could get the Olympus E-PL2 with the VF-2 EVF and the Panasonic 14mm f/2.5 and smaller sensor. I hope I don't regret this.

Dear Charlie,

They're trying to illustrate the lens performance over its full aperture range. This means that sometimes there are going to be photos which aren't made at the ideal aperture for the scene.


Dear Joshwa,

Agreed, there is something wonky about the bike photo. Other sample photos, at both smaller and larger apertures, are distinctly sharper. Something failed here; I couldn't say what, but I'm discounting that photo, except for evaluating distortion.


Dear Tal,

Uhhh, these are JPEGs ( probably in-camera... but maybe not, vis my comment to Mike)-- you're not supposed to be able to edit them much. That's what RAW is for.


Dear Mike,

There's something definitely hinky about some of the B&W photos. Not just the contrast/tonal rendition, but several of them show very clear aliasing artifacts-- check out the tree branches/needles in the snowy scenes. Comparable artifacts do not appear in other B&W photos or in any of the color photos. A good aliasing test photo is the one of the kid with her head on the pillow (#6). It's clean (also extremely sharp).

This makes me think that some of these were messed with post-camera, in the case of at least some of the B&W's apparently not very competently.

This makes any effort to tease out the finer lens qualities extremely tricky. I think one has to pull the very best photo at a given aperture from all the candidates, and assume that's close to original camera quality, and ignore the rest.

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

I am very tempted to tear a strip off the commenters here who are presenting opinion as fact, as if this was a DPR forum.


OK, the moment passed. Kudos to me for showing great restraint at a difficult time.

The anti-establishment stance is tongue-in-cheek too. I have to admit I am not exactly an establishment person though.

I took a Rod Plank workshop a few years ago, and I submitted a number of pictures of rabbits taken in our yard for the critique sessions. One of the things Rod told me after the workshop was that if he had rabbits in his yard, he would probably take pictures of them too.

I have a cat in the house, so I take her picture.

As for it being easy, that depends entirely on the mood of the cat. A cat will typically come over to see what you are pointing at them; rather than sit still and have their picture taken. WC Fields knew what he was talking about when it came to animals.

And thanks for the compliment, I appreciate it.

This camera looks promising except for the focal length of the lens. Who decided that 35 millimeters is the new normal? If this badboy had an effective 50mm lens on it I'd buy one right now (if I could). And I wonder if photographers who actually liked the camera and preferred the 35mm focal length would buy one if it had a 50?

Can't wait. Already pre ordered mine from Precision Camera in Austin. I will be doing a writeup ASAP, and I'll send it in to you when I do Mike. :-)

Dear Player,

I am also a fan of longer focal lengths - for a dozen years, the only two lenses I had for my Pentax 67 were the "long" normal and a telephoto (52mm and 150mm equiv.focal lengths). I was entirely happy.

That said, there are innumerable surveys and studies that all agree that something in the 35mm-40mm range is by far the most popular focal length among both amateurs and professionals. Same range that people report if asked, "If you could only use one lens..."

So, who decided?

Everyone else. You and I are not the center of the universe (come the revolution, I will fix that [s]).

pax / Ctein

I have only four concerns about this camera, two of which could be deal breakers for me, and they are (in order of concern):

1. Comfort of eye cup

The eye cup looks ridiculously puny. I like to have my camera pressed up against my eye socket. This camera doesn't appear to allow for such a holding style, well not comfortably anyway. So if I find that I have to hold it away from my face, that will be a deal breaker.

2. Viewfinder magnification

The viewfinder magnification is reported as being 0.5x.

That seems worringly low to me. My Panasonic G1 has a magnfication of, I think it is, 0.70/0.71, and that makes it the third largest behind the Canon 1D and Sony Alpha 900.

Once you have looked through such wonderfully large viewfinders it is really difficult to work with anything lower specced.

And such highly specced viewfinders make life a lot more easy for manual focusing.

This may possbily be another deal breaker for me (and it will definitely be if coupled with #1 above).

3. 35mm angle of view

This camera is being marketed as being of interest to pro and advanced amateurs.

As such I don't think a fixed lens of a 35mm angle of view is appropriate (but fine for newbies who wanna take pics of friends at the bar and get everyone in the picture).

The problem I have with a fixed lens of 35mm equivalent is the tendancy to distort shapes at close range. The picture above of the second cat shows this problem (note the huge foreleg). Working with interchangeable lenses, a 35mm is fine given that the photographer would have intentionally chosen that lens as their perspective of choice and will work to get images that compliment that angle of view.

But to my mind, a fixed lens should be a bit more of an all rounder. Therefore, I think a lens with a 40 to 50mm equivalent would have been more appropriate.

Not really a deal breaker for me, if the rest of the camera works well but a bit of an irritation.

4. Articulating LCD

I would rather the camera had an articulating LCD.

Side note

I am wondering how Leica are going to fare when this camera comes to market especially in light of this article over at Luminous Landscape (an article with which I wholehaertedly agree):http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/leica-open-letter.shtml

I really feel Leica have been too slow to modernise and something similar to this camera is pretty much what Leica should have done ............. ages ago.

Regards all,


Apparently it's hard to understand why a person would photograph with a single fixed focal length lens, but it's proven to be the only way for me to make photographs that I value. I've always had an SLR with a bunch of lenses for professional purposes, but if you asked me to show you pictures I've made that are meaningful to me, they'd all be from fixed lens cameras. Actually, I've "converted" a Hasselblad and a Mamiya 6 to fixed lens status, by only having one lens for each of them!
The Hexar AF is probably my favorite camera of all time, and the X100 appears to be the digital Hexar AF I've been dreaming of for years. I had no choice but to pre-order...

I have high hopes for this one - it may finally be what it takes for me to hang up my M6 and 35 Cron for most B&W work.

plevyadophy: "The viewfinder magnification is reported as being 0.5x.

That seems worringly low to me. My Panasonic G1 has a magnfication of, I think it is, 0.70/0.71,

You made me go and check the numbers, thanks. Because I was a little worried about this too.

The G1 is 0.7 with a normal lens (50mm equivalent), while the X100 is 0.5 full stop. If you zoom out to 35mm equiv. on the G1, the magnification drops to be... exactly the same! 0.7 * (35/50) = 0.5

In other words from these numbers the size of the picture you are taking should be identical with the two viewfinders. It sounds like the frame lines are a little inside this, but the view extends well outside it, on the X100.

The traditional Leica numbers of 0.7 (M6) and 0.58 (wide versions) are of course "direct" magnifications, like the X100. Both the origianl Hexar and the Hexar RF were 0.6 I believe.

@ improbable:

Re viewfinder magnification

Wow! Thanks dude.

Assuming your assumptions and calculations are correct, you have saved me from carting my camera along to a forthcoming trade show just to compare viewfinders. But knowing me, I probably will anyway :0)

However, again assuming you are correct, I won't be too bothered if I leave the camera at home.

So if it has a nice big view in the viewfinder, that just leaves my other major concern, which is the style and functionality of the eyecup.

I was thinking actually, that perhaps if I am unable to press the viewfinder to my eye, that pressing the camera body area beneath the viewfinder against the fleshy part of one's cheek would provide the necessary stabilization I want. But on the other hand, and I guess this will depend on how imposing a view the view is through the viewfinder, even holding a camera in such a manner might not be nice if, because my is slightly away from the viewfinder, my peripheral vision is disturbed by looking at the camera body rather than entirely viewing the scene in front of me. I dunno, what d'ya (or others) think.

Thanks in advance.

Warm regards all,


The cats don't do it for me, guess I'm just a dog person even though I share my abode with neither.
The colour shots are impressive, but I don't know what to make of the B&Ws! They look flat and lifeless - where's the blacks?
Think I'll stick with my Sigma DP2 for the time being - not least because even if it does have equivalent or better IQ I'm personally not prepared to pay that sort of premium. (I have to admit though that it does look the business).

I got to spend a little time with a pre-production X100 in-store yesterday and posted some notes on the experience at my blog. I'm pretty impressed, and I had fairly high expectations of it in the first place...did a size comparison with an S90 & Epson R-D1s as well in case anyone's interested in that.

Have a look at http://robertcatto.tumblr.com/post/3323199711/a-brief-visit-with-the-fuji-x100 if you've got a sec.

All the best,

The comments to this entry are closed.



Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 06/2007