Ian Wilkinson Reviews the Fuji X100, Part 2: Real World Use Shooting Children

Ian Wilkinson - Fuji X100 sample photograph 05

Fuji X100, f/4, 1/150s, ISO 200.

by Ian Wilkinson

  

Editors’ Note: Ian Wilkinson, a wedding photographer from Brisbane, posted his first impressions of the Fuji X100 in part 1 of this review series on EtL: Real World Use Shooting a Wedding.

  

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

Ian Wilkinson - Fuji X100 sample photograph, underexposed and pushed in postprocess

Fuji X100, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 6400.

Ian Wilkinson - Fuji X100 sample photograph 05 100% crop

Fuji X100 100% crop.

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!

Ian Wilkinson - Fuji X100 sample photograph at max. sync speed

Fuji X100, f/2.8, 1/1000s, ISO 200, strobbed.

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?

The Fuji X100 is currently available for order or preorder at the following EtL affiliate stores:

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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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Related posts:

  1. Ian Wilkinson Reviews the Fuji X100: Real World Use Shooting a Wedding
  2. The Best Retirement Gift Ever: Julian Evans Reviews the Fuji X100
  3. DPR Previews the Fuji X100
  4. Is the Fuji X100 Really that Expensive?
  5. Shooting Macros Section 2 – The Small World


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12 Comments

  1. The skin tones on the first look great, and the detail is there too. I guess it’s a personal choice but I don’t like getting in this close with a 35mm lens because I just don’t like the distortions… I don’t find them particularly flattering or that it brings anything to an image.

    I guess the banding in the second one is normal if you underexposed and then pushed it, but like you say, it ain’t that pretty. It’s something I relate more to the old CCD sensors from dSLR’s a few years ago, rather than modern CMOS cameras. An extreme example anyway, and proof that you can get something usable. I still think stabilization would help in more static situations like this, despite what Fuji insist.

  2. Thanks for this extra review/thoughts Ian.

    Btw a typo early on in the review ‘there’s isn’t’ is incorrect. Ditch the ‘s.

  3. Good follow-up Ian. I read your initial review with much interest before getting mine. If you’re interested I’ve posted an article of my own about my first experience last weekend (http://www.laroquephoto.com/blog/2011/04/13/a-different-beast/). I love it but it’s a quirky little thing isn’t it?

    Have a great weekend

  4. Ian,

    Thanks for the review. I also took a look at the wedding photos on your blog and really enjoy your style.

    After owning it for a year, I recently had my GF1 stolen (with the 20mm lens attached, leaving me with an orphan 45-200mm) and have been struggling deciding where to go next. Somehow I have narrowed it down to the GF2 and the X100. I really enjoyed the GF1 and had gotten to know it’s strengths and limitations. However, I’m really in love with the idea of the X100 based on reviews.

    I’m not a professional photographer — the typical use case is documenting travel/vacations/family events, and the results are typically viewed on screen — rarely printed.

    We are going to Europe this summer and I will only be able to take one camera. Here is what I would be interested to know: if you were going on holiday for a few weeks to Europe and could only take your GF1 (with 20mm prime and 45-200 zoom) or your X100 on the trip, which would you take and why?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts. Hopefully the X100 will arrive in the US before our trip and I can compare the two in real life.

    • Hi Ethan, sorry about the late reply. I am in fact going to Europe for 11 weeks in 4 weeks time, and I am planning on taking only the X100.

      Part of me thinks I should pick up a D7000 and a superzoom and part of me says just take the X100. I have no desire to take the D3s’s or any of the fast Nikkors, it’s just too heavy and you spend half your time worrying about your gear.

      So guess until I’m on the plane I can’t give you an absolute answer, but at this stage the X100 is it!!

      • Thanks, Ian. I’ve just placed my order — figured I should get a head start getting used to the camera before I get on vacation.

        Looks like everyone is going to Europe. We will be in Italy from August 3 – August 13 and I’m looking forward to capturing some great shots.

        I was really nervous not to have a zoom of any sort “just in case,” but I have made that easier by telling myself that my wife’s P&S can come along for an emergency.

        Thanks for the help in making a decision!

        – Ethan

  5. Humm… I’m going to France for two weeks – in 4 weeks time as well! This was a huge factor in my decision to get the X100 which is going to be my only camera for the trip. I too couldn’t see myself carrying a D300 and lenses, even just one fast zoom.

    Question now is: JPEG or RAW. I’ll need to invest in a boatload of cards if I go RAW but I know I’m going to kick myself if I shoot JPEG and Aperture gets X100 support. Then again I’ve been doing fine so far… Decisions, decisions.

    Have a good trip Ian :)

    • Patrick,

      Try a Wolverine PicPac. I have one that I take with me on all my trips; it’s inexpensive, very simple to use and gets the job done. Mine is 2 years old and still works fine, and I paid more for less disk capacity than they cost now (digital memory always goes down in price over time).

      Anyway, I shoot RAW with 4GB cards, so I thought I would pass along my solution to you.

      Enjoy France!

  6. great review Ian, thanks
    seems like the only real issue is the less than perfect autofocus

  7. Yep, going back to film with the Fuji X100 : )

    When I was first thinking about getting one I showed a picture of it to a few friends on my phone and they laughed as if I was kidding. Why would someone who makes his living from pro photography want a toy camera? At that point I knew it was the right choice. I’m enjoying getting used to its oddness and enjoying leaving the SLR’s at home.

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