Ian Wilkinson Reviews the Fuji X100, Part 2: Real World Use Shooting Children
by Ian Wilkinson
Further Thoughts on the Fuji X100
Having used my new X100 for a few more days and on various different occasions I have some more things to say about it. Once focus is achieved there isn’t any shutter lag. I spent quite a bit of the day in manual focus but used the AE/FL button to make it AF temporarily then took my finger off the AE/FL button leaving the lens focussed on the subject and the camera ready to fire with pretty much no lag.
ISO 800 prints superbly, there’s no sharpening here at all but I did apply a little sharpening to the A4 print I made.
I took the camera to my daughter’s friend’s birthday party and it makes me very sad to say the AF struggles with moving kids. I’d say the success rate at f/2.8 was less than 50%, maybe even 30%. I tried a mixture of single shot and continuous drive, and whilst continuous does do continuous AF to a degree, you would never use this camera to track a bride and groom moving down the aisle. I’m sure you get the occasional shot in focus but other than using zone focusing there are going to be times on a wedding this camera isn’t going to cut it. Shooting at f/5.6 was enough to noticeably increase the success rate.
Focus is not slower than the Panasonic GF1, it just doesn’t seem to be able to bite on moving subjects. I had the GF1 for a year and the AF was pretty darn cool on that camera, probably a bit more snap to it but it’s not faster. The X100 AF is just a little more wishy-washy.
Shooting Children with the Fuji X100
I thought I’d see how the files held up when not treated so well. Above is a tungsten lit shot (plasma TV screen), 1/20s, f/2 at ISO 6400, so you can tell it’s pretty dark. I shot it at 1/60s (to purposely underexpose it to see what happened) and used Silky Pix to push the exposure to the equivalent of 1/20s, then converted to B&W using Jeff Ascough’s ISO 800 B&W action and then used a basic action of mine at about 60% to add a little tone. That action does include a bit of sharpening with the high pass filter which doesn’t like reproducing in small pics, but I’m too lazy to do it manually; sorry! So what you see here is a worst case scenario, and there isn’t any noise reduction done. I could live with this for family stuff, but wouldn’t be impressed if I had to use it in a client’s wedding album though! But I’m sure I could reduce the banding somewhat if I had to, and the high pass filter has definitely hurt a bit, so if you really tried I think you could do better, but I haven’t tried. I just thought some of you may also like to see what happens when it’s pushed. 1/55s at f/2.8 ISO 800, looks like there’s a little movement but still looks pretty good. I’m a bit dodgy with the rangefinder as you can see by my composition.
My daughter’s friend McKenzie was sitting with the sun on her back blowing gum bubbles so I thought “let’s see how the X100 handles the tonal range here” (see photo at the top of the article). I chose ISO 200, and it’s the first time I’ve shot it below ISO 400. How sharp is this lens, hey! The shutter speed was only 1/80s so there could be a bit of movement in there, but it looks fabulous, looks just like it was shot on a DSLR. Check out that 100% crop above-right, with no sharpening yet!
My daughter was jumping on the trampoline after a swim so I raced inside, grabbed the Quadra strobes and the skyport and took a few quick shots. The power for the lights is up a little high and clearly overpowering the ambient, but it shows how the camera fires studio flash at 1/1000s, even through a wireless skyport. My Nikon D3s can’t do that—I am loving this little camera!
Can you believe a parent at my son’s school (that knows I’m a photographer) saw me this afternoon with the X100 and asked if I was going back to film again?
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|You can visit Ian on the web at his blog and his web site. Ian lives in Brisbane, Australia, and has been shooting weddings for 23 years now; he has picked up more than 60 national and international awards in the last 5 years alone. He enjoys the photojournalistic style of wedding photography, and strikes a refreshing balance between timeless imagery, the romance, the family values and traditions, and the fun and integral events of the day. He just loves people-watching and photography. As he says: What better way to live those two passions than wedding photography?|
All images: ©Ian Wilkinson.
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Tags: APS-C, Brisbane, Cameras, Fuji X100, Fujifilm X100, Ian Wilkinson, Photography, Rangefinders, Reviews, Wedding Photography