The Fuji X100, the camera I would’ve liked to like…

Since I’m reading about the X100 all over the place for month and see pictures made with it on the web that really look good, I had to give it a real try. Because from the specs it is the camera I’m looking for. Small and light, fast “35mm” lens, optical view finder, good EVF, RAW, gorgeous looks and video on top of that to play with. I was drooling about it since the first day it was announced. Maybe that explains my disappointed post about the X100 regarding the initial hands-on-review at dpreview.com.

So last week I went to my camera dealer with a SD card, grabbed a X100, set it up to my liking and went to find some Stolpersteine.
5 minutes later I was back in the shop, because all sorts of erratic stuff the camera was doing drove me mad. A quick reset from the sales guy brought it back to behave and do what I wanted it to do. Off I went again. With the camera set to manual focus, prefocussing with the autofocus button felt natural in minutes. Thats good because manual focussing is useless with this fly-by-wire focus ring.

Switching between the view finder and EVF was a breeze. Walking the streets with this little camera in my hand was really something I did enjoy very much. It reminded me of the three days I enjoyed a Leica M9 and Summilux 35mm/1.4 Asph., or the good times I had with my various old rangefinders, but (auto-) focussing with a button under the thumb on the X100 was much easier to do.

Sadly, the autofocus of the X100 often missed and the image quality of the 23mm Fujinon lens was not up to what I expected. It’s good enough, for sure, but not so good that I will cope with all the quirks of the X100. Granted, the D700 with the AF-S 35mm/1.4G that I ran against the little X100 in the street was an unfair contender. I knew the D700 is the better camera and the AF-S 35mm/1.4 G the better lens but that combo is as heavy as a brick and anything else than a small, stealthy street camera.

But, and this is the big but in my book, as great as the idea of the X100 is as annoying is its implementation. It still feels a lot like a beta, even with the new firmware.
I will wait and have a good look at the successor of the X100. Maybe Fuji will use the time to get it right then. They should ask some real photographers beforehand and listen carefully (someone can dream) now that they did proof there is a big enough market niche to make some money.

For starters, “real” photographers most likely use RAW all the time. A dedicated RAW button is pretty obsolete. Give the button a more useful task, like activating the ND filter. At least make it user programmable in the firmware.
A more precise autofocus, preferably with some off-center AF sensors, would be most welcome.
Fix the sluggish startup time! Guys, we have 2011! *rolleyes*
Work hard on a fast and straight to use menu! The menu of the X100 is a mess.
The little 4-way-button on the back is a disgrace in usability by the way.
Please remember Fuji you charge €1000,- for a camera that is targeted squarely on photographers who have a Nikon or Canon outfit and want a compact, highly competent, hassle free, every day camera.

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