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The Fuji X100 is a small, rangefinder sized camera with a12.3 Mpix APS-C (crop) sensor and a fixed 23mm f2.0 lens. It provides you a pocket-sized camera that gives image quality equivalent to what you can get with an SLR. Competing with the Leica X1 (yeah, Fuji, we see the name was no coincidence) at a better price and a different feature set.
The X100 has a 460k dot, high-resolution LCD but also has a welcome hybrid optical/electronic viewfinder so you don’t have to use the LCD to focus and take a picture. It can capture images in RAW or jpg, up to ISO 12,800 (note I said “can capture” not “it is useful”). But it does seem comfortable at ISO 1600 and usable at ISO 3200. It can also record video at 720P and has a little built-in flash for fill.
The lens has a 9 blade aperture ring and at f2.0 gives very nice out-of-focus highlights. It also has an interesting feature: a built in 3-stop neutral density filter. It can focus as closely as 4 inches, which is cool. I guess. The whole “wide-angle-pseudomacro” thing is rather lost on me, but OK, it has it. Speaking of features, it has all the Fuji-like Velvia/Provia film mimicking settings for your jpgs for those of you who are RAW challenged.
The debate is all about the Leica X1 versus the Fuji X100 . They’re both really, really good — as long as your expectations are reasonable. If you’re looking for an SLR quality image from a camera that’s not quite SLR quality ergonomics you’ll be fine. If you’re expecting the equivalent of a 1Ds Mk III or D3x with an $1,800 prime lens in a 10 ounce camera, then you’ll be unhappy.
The Leica X1 has a bit sharper lens and is a bit smaller and more portable. People generally find it a bit easier to use at first, too.
The Fuji X100 has a wider aperture lens, handles high ISO a bit better, and has a really, really awesome optical/electronic viewfinder. On the other hand, it’s menu system is going to require spending a day with the manual and figuring how to do things. It’s one of the least intuitive cameras I’ve shot with. The last time I read a manual. . . . well I don’t remember, but I couldn’t even figure out the viewfinder without it.
For me, the viewfinder is the deal-maker and I bought a Fuji for myself because of it. I just hate shooting at arms-length looking at the LCD. BUT your choice may be different. If you’re more comfortable shooting from the LCD than I am you may consider the image quality of the Leica to be more important. And if you want to just take it out of the box and start taking pictures, the Fuji is not the best choice. It took me quite a while to figure out how to use it.
- X100 w/ camera strap
- Lens cap
- Rechargeable battery
- Charger w/ cord
- Camera bag
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