Yes, I’m still shooting with Fujifilm X100S in 2023. I was aware that I have more to learn using my XT100, an entry-level X-Mount camera from Fujifilm. But despite the limited funding and opportunities to shoot more, I was dead set on experiencing old-school style and achieve the colors film cameras I grew up with.
Since I’ve been carrying around the Fujifilm X100S for almost a year now, I’ve used it for a variety of shoots, from orchestrated street photography to simply aiming it out the window of my grab ride and pressing the shutter release. The truth is that it’s quite straightforward and powerful.
I’ve gotten a chance to put this grand daddy through its paces throughout this period, and I’m rather impressed. From the time when it produced inexpensive point-and-shoot cameras for the general public, Fuji has come a very, very long way. Previously tagged as the poor man’s Leica. However, Fuji is definitely giving them a run for their money at a far lower price.
Where it all started
I was rocking the Fujifilm XT100 which was given by my lovely missus as a gift early 2020. And since then I never went out without it in my bag (Read my camera bag journey here). Getting rid of the kitlens early on, I started buying manual lenses just to test the waters. Throughout that period, I invested on different lenses as my shooting style evolved. The heaviest were the Viltrox lenses. That is when I missed having a lightweight camera (and a light carry-on).
Only half-way in my first year with the XT100 that I decided to get the Panasonic Lumix LX7 as I was enticed with the idea of having a compact camera handy. And it worked. The Leica lens and the utterly small footprint of the LX7 made me love shooting with street photography. But there is only so much you can do with a 10MP shooter. So it ended up with me wanting more.
So when I stumbled upon a Fujifilm X100S on Carrousell I immediately jumped on the chance (by swapping a perfectly good 256GB iPhone XS Max for it).
The Predecessor to a Legend
Fujifilm released the X-Pro and X-E1 (both of which are still in demand with avid Fujifilm photographers) in response to the X100, both of which shared some of the X100’s oddities but included updated sensors that, to be quite honest, are outright phenomenal. These sensors did away with the Optical Low-Pass Filter that most modern digital cameras have in addition to a novel pixel array that randomly places the red, green, and blue pixels on the sensor.
Images are crisper as a consequence of the lack of a low-pass filter in front of the sensor, and moiré is reduced as a result of the random array. It’s a wonderful bit of marketing talk when Fuji claims that this layout was inspired by the naturally random arrangement of the little grains of silver halide film. Whatever they did to this sensor was undoubtedly cool, which is to their credit. The X-Pro1 offered the finest low-light performance of any crop-sensor camera I had ever used when it was first announced. At ISO 3200, that camera produced wonderfully clear images, and the noise present there and at higher ISOs was stunning and film-like.
Form Factor and Handling
The X100S is essentially an identical twin of its predecessor when viewed at a distance. It is a clone in appearance and texture, right down to the wrapping of dimpled imitation leather.
When examined closely, it stands out for a few reasons, one of which is the “Q” button, a long-requested feature.
This button, which is a holdover from the X-Pro1, launches a quick menu screen where you may change a variety of settings, including ISO, Dynamic Range, the selected film emulation, and more. Speaking as an X100 user, I’m quite happy to have this capability. The original X100 users have been rather envious of it (or at least people from Reddit).
There are also additional minor upgrades when I compared it on Camera Decision website. It is now simpler to use this camera one-handedly since the button that activates the Auto Focus point selecting mode has been moved from the left of the LCD to the 4-way rocker/scroll wheel. Additionally, the exposure compensation knob is much stiffer and more difficult to mistakenly turn.
Holding the X100S is a beauty and as mentioned earlier, the camera can do single-handed shooting effortlessly.
The X-Trans sensor from the X-Pro1 and XE4 is known to be an outstanding piece of technology, and when combined with the stunning 23mm f/2 lens on the X100S, it results in some stunning photos with lots of fine detail.
There are no unpleasant color casts or other issues, and the rendering of flesh tones and colors is exquisite. I usually photograph with the exposure compensation dialed in at roughly 1/3 to 2/3 of a stop because the camera does have a propensity to overexpose pictures. This helps to preserve shadow detail while limiting blowout of the highlights.
Check out more of my work with this little beast here.
The Fujifilm X100S excels at reducing the friction in my photography. Moving and shooting with the X100S is like strolling in the park when you’re used to running lapses. Doing street photography with this is like reading a good book, or talking to an old friend. It’s just you, the camera, and your subject. Of course, I won’t be giving up my XT100 and a ridiculous collection of lenses, but I also won’t be carrying them about all the time.
All I need for everyday shooting is the X100s.