Fuji X100 comments.

A post written by me for a thread on the Fuji X100.

As has been mentioned already the Fuji marketing is very specific, and therein lies the problem. While it goes without saying that "professional" is a pretty meaningless term in reality, as any camera can be described as "professional" if its used to make money.

This problem is the staggering hype and attention that has been generated ever since it was announced, and the way Fuji have publicised and marketed it as being something "special" There seems to be an assumption that because it looks sort of like a Leica, then its going to perform like one. Well as a Leica user there are all sorts of things I most definitely wouldn't want it to emulate. Framelines is one, and to be honest so are manual focus and an optical viewfinder. If someone could magically graft AF and an EVF on to my M9, I'd be eternally grateful. It would help my experience with the M9 and not hinder it. Framelines are inaccurate at all but one specific focus point and I find optical viewfinders nowhere near as great as some people make them out to be. Where things like this fit into Fuji's scheme of a "professional" camera, I'm not sure.
"The old-fashioned styling makes it seem like a bargain-priced Leica, whereas if it was styled like a G/GH it would have been likened to an expensive G11"

I loved this comment and it sums up much of the talk about this camera. If it didn't look like it did, would there be a fraction of the "buzz" about it?

By marketing it as they have and by their publicity and particularly their website about it, Fuji have raised expectations to a very high level. If they aren't going to be a laughing stock they HAVE to deliver. The X100 has to have brilliant image quality, be beautifully and robustly made and handle and work like a dream. That's the expectation. That's what Fuji have told us it's going to be like and any falling short of this is going to result in huge disappointment. They may sell a lot at the start, but if negative user experiences start to surface then they may find they have rather a lot of stock on their hands.

If they had come out with something along the lines of "This is a pretty decent compact APS-C fixed lens camera with some retro styling" then it may have found a decent niche for itself. But that's not how they have done it. They have pretty much told us its a wonder camera, its sexy and desirable and upmarket and we'll all want one, which is how some of it's fanboys have chosen to represent it.

I used a Leica X1 for a while and enjoyed the images it produced but what I had to go through to get them frustrated me in the end and I sold it. There are disquieting noises about some of the operating parameters of the X100 being less than ideal. If the stories about the lack of image magnification for manual focus, and the restriction of shutter speeds in aperture priority are true, or even if its difficult to find these, then that's only going to prove damaging to its future.

From what I've seen of the "real" samples that are now starting to appear from people who've actually bought one, it looks to produce good images, with bright saturated colour and be very good in low light. It also seems to produce a certain "flattish" contrast and f/2 does seem to be a little "soft".

I wrote in an earlier post that a 12MP fixed lens camera costing £1000 would have to be pretty special to get a credit card out of my wallet. I'm waiting for some raw files to be able to check that out. Depending on what I've seen so far, my reaction has been yes it is, no it isn't, yes it is, no it isn't etc. etc.

"If there's any doubt at all, there is no doubt"