The lovely little Fuji X100s is without doubt a great camera. I bought it originally on the back of reviews by people such as David Hobby and Zack Arias for whom it had rapidly became a firm favorite. I'd kind of hoped it would be the same for me - I wanted something small and light for overseas assignments that would get rid of the need to carry my 5D mk lll plus 3 or 4 F2.8 L series lenses and all the associated paraphanalia that goes along with it - my long suffering back would thank me and all in all life would be simpler.
Having had the camera for over 18 months now lets say I've grown to love it.. It was not an out and out love after a first date but it's a simmering relationship that has grown stronger with time. I now know the quirks and foibles but I think we might well be happy together in the long run.
So first lets talk about what's wrong with the camera.
This is actually the second one I've had - the first ended up being returned only months after receiving it with a variety of problems including a dodgy LCD and a tendency to shut down not start up again without removing the battery. Not a good start. Having got all that sorted and repaired the camera was stolen from a vehicle in Indonesia - a black version was provided by the insurance company and the camera has been fine since.
Fixed lens - with a fixed 35mm equivalent F2 lens you are obviously stuck with what you have. There's no convenient zoom or long lenses here - it's 35mm and that's it.... If you can't get you head round this and pull yourself away from your bag of zooms then this is not the camera for you.
Batteries - The batteries are woefully poor. No other way to say it. If you have an X100s the first thing you will want to do is buy a pocket full of spare batteries. The battery indicator has a habit of going from full to 2 bars without warning and then from 2 bars to shut down in the space of a couple of frames. It's got so bad that I switch the camera off if not about to take a shot - something I'd never have to do with my Canons - I could leave my 5d mklll switched on for weeks without worrying the battery would ever be flat. With the Fuji you might get a couple of hundred frames at best before the battery dies almost without warning. BUY MORE BATTERIES.
Focusing - Apparently a big improvement from the previous model the X100 - but nonetheless still a bit of a laggard compared to most modern DSLR cameras. While the green focus indicator in the optical view finder (OVF) does show you that focus lock has been achieved it takes a lot of use to develop a trust in this however it does seem to work - ok it needs light to focus reliably but then so do many cameras. The continuous focus option works kind of ok but with this you are limited to a central focus point only - useless for off centre subjects.
Both the cameras I've had have occasionally locked themselves up to the point that the camera does not wake up when pressing the shutter button - you want the camera to be alive as soon as soon as you go to shoot but this is not the case.
Menus - Far from the simplest of menu structures - I've assigned the function button beside the shutter release to be ISO selection which saves a bit of time when required.
Image quality from the camera is stellar. It's only a 16mp sensor but delivers extremely sharp high quality raw images that have a very particular look to them.
So the camera is not perfect - but then which one is. Despite it's quirks and foibles, where this camera shines is being inconspicuous, silent and delivering quality images. OK it's a fixed lens but that teaches you to move your feet rather than zoom your lens in order to get the shot - many of the great documentary images of our time were shot on fixed 35mm lenses. It's a lovely camera to use - the focal plane shutter is a real asset when working with flash and for slow fly on the wall street photography and reportage. Now if Fuji were to do a version of this with a fixed 85mm lens we'd have a perfect combo - for the time being though the best option I see is to add the more recent Fuji X-Ti with the 56mm F1.2 lens (85mm equivalent) - now that would be a match made in heaven.