Fuji X100 - User Experience 7 - More Quality More Frustration

Fuji X100

First the bad news. Somehow the X100 managed to stop me shooting raw files. I discovered on returning home that I had shot jpgs only. I'm quite prepared to believe I might have pressed something by mistake, but the one thing I didn't press was the menu item that selects jpg only! 

The good news. The jpgs are really excellent. None of this over noise reduced nonsense you get with other cameras. They are very good, actually they are better than that, they are close to perfect. Plus I took everything with the Velvia film mode, so the colours are great. However not every one was perfectly exposed, so it would have useful to have the raw files. I converted the jpgs to .dng files in Adobe Camera Raw for storage, which isn't perfect, but fortunately the quality of the images saved the day.

Fuji X100

I really do not know what I did. It seems that before shooting I'm going to have to check everything is as I want it. With other cameras I just assume that the settings are as I left them. With the X100 it seems thats not the case.

Fuji X100

So its more minus points for the menus / controls. However there are more plus points on the quality front. I took some shots at ISO 640 and the quality is excellent. As before, where is the noise? There isn't any, and the pictures look like they were taken on ISO 100 or 200. Also the shot above of the steam engine with the man underneath repairing it was underexposed. I pulled the shadows up quite dramatically with very little noise generated. This means the X100 has the same kind of low ISO dynamic range and elasticity that I saw in the Pentax K-5.

So once again this frustrating mix of brilliance and ineptitude from Fuji. If these menu and control faults can be fixed then I'll be using this camera virtually all the time. 

A further example of how it works well.

Fuji X100

One of the advantages of the optical viewfinder is that it lets you see whats happening outside the frame. I was taking a picture of this duck on a bridge, and I saw the dog get very interested in it and start running towards it. I had already selected f/16 and I just fired the shutter when the dog was in the right place. (The duck escaped!) I'm very pleased with the shot. The duck on the edge of the bridge ready to fly off, and the low stalking position of the dog turn it into a nice little hunter and prey story. I'm not sure I would have got this right without the OVF, which is rapidly becoming something I love using.

Fuji X100

Fuji X100

So while I wait for Fuji to come up with a decent firmware fix, I'll have to work out some procedure that avoids this resetting that the camera does. I am going to try the new firmware today to see if it helps.

Though I'm still frustrated, and I was pretty annoyed when I realised that I had no raw files, the X100 is just so good in terms of what it produces that I'm prepared to make the effort. I don't think I should have to and I think its somewhat slack of Fuji to let the cameras go out like this, but this level of quality in lens and sensor doesn't turn up every day. It seems I can make no assumptions about the settings and having to make sure everything is as I want every time I use it is a PITA. Unfortunately however, at the moment, thats the way it is. Frustrating things, cameras!