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Fujifilm Finepix X100 - Performance and Verdict

By Gavin Stoker



  • Recommended by TR
Fujifilm Finepix X100


Our Score:


The camera powers up from cold in a couple of seconds, meaning a fractional delay as you immediately move your forefinger from power switch to shutter release buton, but this is not too shabby by any means. Moreover, in not having a zoom that allows framing to be altered in seconds, the X100 promotes a more considered approach anyway, which is rarely a bad thing. That said the autofocus does take just that fraction longer than we might hope for if you're trying to capture moving object such as pets.

Take a shot, and a Fine quality, full resolution JPEG is committed to memory, here SD, SDHC or SDXC card, in around two seconds. A Raw file is only a fractionally longer wait (under three seconds), and there is the opportunity to shoot Raw in conjunction with both a Fine compression level JPEG, and a highly more compressed 'Normal' level JPEG.

We were lucky enough to be testing the X100 under some early spring sunshine, giving rise to blue skies and verdant flora, conditions that were bound to show most cameras in (literally) the very best light. Incidentally, this was also perfect weather to test the X100's built-in neutral density (ND) filter. Surely the Fuji couldn't fail to impress?

Well yes, and no. Unfortunately such 'ideal' conditions very occasionally gave rise to familiar bugbears such as visible pixel fringing - most notably on dark tress branches part silhouetted against a bright sky - as well as burnt out highlights, but as these are common issues with the vast majority of digital cameras neither are deal breakers. It is in low(er) light then where, as expected, the X100 really shines. As our ISO samples show, it's only really at top whack ISO12800 equivalent setting that we're seeing visible degradation of sharpness across the entirety of the image as detail is smoothed in the limitation of image noise, but even then the performance isn't bad at all. We'd be quite happy shooting at up to ISO6400 on a regular basis, and were hard pressed to find sign of any noise at ISO1600 and below. Impressive stuff.

In terms of which colour setting to go for on a regular basis, we found Velvia was the setting that seemed to best match what we were seeing with our own eyes at the time. Comes down to personal preference of course, but in our humble opinion the default Provia setting produced colours that were a tad drab and certainly less well saturated than nature intended, while Astia we felt was not only soft in appearance but also made images appear a little dated in style.


While for us the X100's pictures don't quite match the almost 3D richness of shots we've taken with the Leica X1, at their best we were hard pressed to distinguish them from those of a mid range DSLR, which, with a decent lens will admittedly set you back just as much as is being asked here. So as a more portable back up to an existing DSLR, provided you don't need greater lens versatility than what is being offered, the X100 indeed fills the role that Fuji intended it to.

We've just skated on the surface of the X100's possibilities here, but the bottom line is that if you are after a high-quality photo producing tool that will set your creative juices flowing then the X100 is a great choice. It particularly excels in low light and where you want the background thrown out of focus to concentrate the viewer's gaze. Plus, like those Leicas of yesteryear, the rock solid build quality should allow you to keep shooting for years.


The Fujifilm X100 certainly isn't for everyone with its fixed lens, sizeable body and even more sizeable price tag. However, its rock-solid build quality, superb image quality - with exceptional low light performance - and more compact stance than an equivalent DSLR means it will have pride of place for many enthusiasts and pros as a back up to their main kit. However, if in the unlikely event that you're considering this camera without already owning a DSLR, then we'd have to concede that any one of many low- to mid-range DSLRs, such as the Nikon D3100 or Canon EOS 550D, would be a more sensible bet. The Leica X1 offers an almost directly comparable alternative but at several hundred pounds more, the X100 is the clear choice of those two.


April 5, 2011, 5:41 pm

It would be better still had it got interchangeable lens system.


April 5, 2011, 9:24 pm

If a 28mm equivalent version is announced to match the legendary Fuji GA645W, then that will be true camera nirvana for me. No need to ever upgrade after that..

Can't imagine it'll take too long seeing how quickly the X100 seems to be selling!


April 6, 2011, 1:41 am

There is no doubt that the Fujifilm Finepix X100 is an outstanding camera in term of built and image quality,
but it is very hard to justify the high price for it is a fix lens camera;
when you can buy a Sony Alpha NEX-5K 14.2MP Digital Camera in Black with Interchangeable 18-55mm & 16mm F2.8 Lens at Amazon.com for $799 USD.
I am hoping that the Fujifilm Finepix X100 price would drop to a more reasonable level; similar to the Sony NEX-5.


April 6, 2011, 2:45 am

Great camera, however, I cant help thinking the technology involved will (like everything else) soon be out of date. I would love this camera but experience of buying such cameras in the past will hold me back from buying one for a £1000. Just give it six months and retailers will be struggling without discounts to match cheaper comparative competition. Knowing my luck though, this SHOULD have been the camera to have bought, but somehow I doubt it.


April 7, 2011, 2:03 pm

Excellent review. Perhaps, Fuji film should have this camera available also in black. Black gives this camera a pro look and does cover up dirt while shooting in the fields.

The Leica earlier models like the M1 to M 4 are silver & black just like Finepix X100 in theme & looks. Of course we are talking about Rolls Royce and Mini minor. But starting from the M 5, there are black bodies available Not colors like red, blue please etc. This will make the camera seems like a toy. Also lens should then be black too to match the body. Hope Fujifilm will think about this. Next have interchangeable lens. Asking too much ? Maybe but let the market decides.


April 8, 2011, 7:48 pm

Don't just preach about it! Go and buy one if you can afford three times the price of a camera which will do a lot more as near as well as makes precious little difference. Every week I see work friends have done on on their Canon G11,G12, S90, or Panasonic LX3, or others I forget, and I've just come home after my first morning with my Olympus XZ-1 and have been looking at the results on TV. Even though I'm a prehistoric old f--- who still uses film all production from high-end compacts that I see tells me that this retro-style X100 is not worth the difference. Not at all. OK, there's less to brag about with a high-end compact, as there's less to brag about with certain Panasonics than with certain Leica, and the X100 has indeed a pretty face, but I've got other things to do with my money than buy bragging rights or pretty faces!


April 8, 2011, 8:05 pm

@ThatOne: Says the man that has bought a premium camera? Surely you can appreciate the extra level of detail this camera brings as compared to the camera you've bought, just as you appreciated the extra quality your camera has over a basic compact?

There's a reason professional photographers use DSLRs costing thousands of pounds, just as there's a reason for this camera to exist.

Not saying I'd buy one but it fits a market niche.


April 11, 2011, 2:21 am

Thanks for the review. It comes across as well-balanced and I have to admit I'd love one of these but can't really justify (which means afford..) buying one.
Reminds me a bit of my old Yashica range-finder. I really loved using it.


April 16, 2011, 8:52 pm

To Ed: It took some time, but I've finally managed to see a Fuji x100, and some of its work. My scepticism has become knowledge: It's not worth more than £400 in terms of what can be done with it and its relative build quality. I don't foresee any build quality issues with my XZ-1, but I'll stick to a camera I know very well through "let me play with yours and I'll let you play with mine" try-outs, and which has been around long enough to be generally well-rated: Canon G11 or G12.

Compared with the G12 the X100 has a foreseeable list of weaknesses, and just one potential strength: its viewfinder... I know what you are going to say, and we have had a loud "discussion" about optical versus digital. It's certainly down to personal preference and the willingness or not to pay three times the price just to have a viewfinder and a long list of un-ticked boxes.

Finally, a question: working with film I would frequently take two bodies, or two backs, with different films in each, but what can be the reason for two digital cameras, especially when the proposed spare costs as much as a nice lens?


April 28, 2011, 6:08 am

I'm afraid many of you (especially ThatOne) are completely missing the point of this camera, as it being compared with the G12. It's about as different in its target audience from the G12 as is the Nikon D3S or the Leica M9. You're comparing apples with oranges. The X100 is a specialist item. It's not a 'jack-of-all-trades' semicompact like the G12. If you want something with mediocre low light performance, no shallow DoF ability and a distinctly average quality zoom lens, then buy the G12. If you want something with the ability to change lenses and great low light ability but will certainly not fit in your coat pocket, buy a Nikon D700 or D7000. If on the other hand you want a camera with best-in-class low light ability, totally silent shutter and you are prepared to work in the very useful fixed 35mm focal length to achieve a pocketable form factor, then the X100 is your *only* choice. If that's not what you're looking for then shop elsewhere, but please don't tell Fuji their business - they know exactly how well this camera would be received by people like me who love it for what it is and understand its intended use - i.e. reportage and street photography. This has been demonstrated by the backlog of advanced orders and X100s selling on ebay at above their RRP. In addition to my X100, I own a Nikon D700 and a Canon S95 (the pocket sized G12) and I can tell you that the X100 is an outstanding performer, giving me images very nearly on a par with my D700, but unlike the D700, I can take the X100 everywhere. When you factor in the superlative build quality, the X100 is worth every penny of its UK asking price.


July 28, 2011, 2:31 am

Despite the site's name, the feature list is anything but to be trusted. "Camera type Digital: SLR" "Optical Zoom: 12 Xx"? "Image Stabilization: Optical"? "LCD Monitor: 3 in, 2.8 in"? "50mm: fixed lens"?


June 24, 2014, 9:06 am

I know this is an old review but there are additional lenses available for this camera which are getting rave reviews. There is a wide angle and telephoto converter available now.

WCL-X100 28mm Equivalent
TCL-X100 50mm Equivalent.

These are not like DSLR converters though. they sit in front of the lens also you maintain the F2.0 aperture. They are a bit under $400 each.

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