Monday, January 14, 2013

It May Be a Good Time to Buy a Used Fuji X100

Fujifilm X100S
I have been very interested in some of the innovative and high quality products that Fujifilm has brought to market recently. Truly an innovative company, they have brought the world's first (and only?) hybrid viewfinder, which allows you to switch between an optical and electronic viewfinder, and also an innovative color filter design for their Xtrans sensors, which reportedly obviate the need for a low-pass filter. This has the effect of increasing image sharpness.
Fuji has a long history of building first-class lenses, as well. Their medium format lenses are spectacular. I once has a Fuji GS645 medium format rangefinder camera, with 60mm f4 lens. It was an amazingly light, high quality camera, perfect for landscape photography, especially good for hiking. I carried mine on a three day trek through the Grand Canyon, and was duly impressed with the results.
The Fujifilm X100 camera has been out for a while now (about two years), and has created quite a stir. The hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder seems to be well-received, and the sensor in the X100 reportedly does quite well at high iso. The X100 also has beautiful styling, reminiscent of Leica, for sure.
There were some initial problems with the X100 - namely slow autofocus (reportedly completely fixed by a firmware update) and an issue with sticky aperture blades. This also seems to have been fixed by Fuji.
By the way, Fujifilm has an excellent site online featuring lots of information about the design philosophy and implementation in the X100.
(Click Here) to see Fuji's informative site focused on the X100.
Well, now the X100S has been announced.
(Click Here) to see the full announcement.
Apparently, the S version offers a new sensor, using the Xtrans filter arrangement, and some new fast autofocus technology. It also has a higher resolution electronic finder in the hybrid arrangement.
It may be a good time to pick up a used X100 for a good price. However, the Xtrans sensor makes the X100S sound very attractive, too. That should make the X100 used prices drop significantly.
I've never used the X100, but a nice fixed lens (23mm f2) rangefinder-style with all manual controls seems great. It is not truly a rangefinder camera, but I'm sure the handling is very similar.
For me, the competition in this market consists of the Leica X2, and the Sony RX1. The X2 is very attractive, but as with the Panasonic X series cameras, if you add the accessory viewfinder, the nice clean and compact lines of the camera are lost. Same goes for the RX1. Not to mention that the accessory finders are quite expensive. I'd prefer the X100 design, with the finder built into the camera's body lines.
Keep the innovations coming, Fujifilm! I may have to try either the X100 or X100S (when it's available).