I’m posting a few more images today and talking a bit about the last couple of months that I’ve spent with the new x-trans camera from Fuji.  In a nutshell, my initial thoughts remain totally positive.  It is a wonderful camera for many many reasons.

As usual, I’m not going to go into the technicalities of the camera, pixel peeping or list all the specifications – you can find all of that on-line (Fuji X100S Specification).  I’m going to talk candidly about my use of the camera, how I’ve adapted my use of it over the last few months and really it’s an update from a working pro using the X100S.

As always, please feel free to leave comments and questions below.  I always answer as many as I can.

Low light performance of the X100S

I’m going to start with my favourite frame I’ve shot with this camera so far.  This is what the new realm of mirror less and small compact cameras is made for.  My daughter, asleep.  It’s moments like this I would have never got three years ago before the likes of the X100 and X-Pro1 came along.

It would have been very unlikely I would have got my DSLR out to shoot this.  Granted, these days, my iPhone may do a good enough job but perhaps if I tell you this photograph was shot at 6,400 ISO handheld, at F2 on a camera that weighs 450g you can appreciate the amazing quality images this camera can produce in low light.

6,400 ISO.  F2 1/15th of a second hand held.    AND I’ve added noise in PP!  Pretty amazing huh?

X100S Review

The X100 was good, but as we all know, had it’s flaws.  The X100S raises the bar considerably and I’m now happily snapping away at home almost all the time.  The camera is ever ready.  Not having to worry about lens selection frees me up creatively as well as physically.

My X100S just sits in a drawer in the kitchen.  I can just pick it up and shoot.  If I see a shot like the one below – snap.  It works so well for me.  The camera has added a whole new dynamic to the way I simply document the stuff going on around me (mostly kids at this stage in my life of course).

So this photograph is shot at 4,000 ISO 1/125th at f/2.  It was one of the first images I shot and exposed to me one of the issues with the camera default settings.

Because of the amazing image quality, I generally shoot JPG on my Fuji cameras.  You can see in the image below though that Albie’s feet (he’s the short one) are a bit too “plastic” for my liking.  This is because the default High NR reduction setting in the camera is too aggressive for my liking.

I set the in camera noise reduction down one notch to counter the “plastic” processing. It works. Of course, this doesn’t affect RAW files.


Another one of my favourite images shot at elevated ISO with the Fujifilm X100S is next.

This is shot again at 4,000 ISO at 1/125th at F2.  If I had a penny for every time someone said to me “but what about the AF?” I’d be a rich man.  This photo is very simple, but it’s dark(ish) and technically quite challenging.  Albie is flinging the door open and closed, sometimes ducking, sometimes moving around.  I had to focus very quickly to get this shot.  In low light!

Granted, there are a couple of frames either side where the AF wasn’t quite spot on but I would expect that with any camera.  Certainly my 5D Mark III has a tendency to hunt in this low light too.

For me, as Dad, the picture tells me a thousand things and I can see the character of my little boy fully.  But for you, it should hopefully alleviate your fears about AF with the camera.

To aid with focusing I use a type of back-button focusing which is discussed further on in this article.  The “Servo” or “tracking focus” of the X100S is not amazing in my opinion so I tend not to use that.

Fuji X100S

While we are here, I might as well show a couple more shots of the kids that I love, all shot of course with the X100s.  They are just memories but hopefully they show the great opportunity that the camera presents to us in capturing those memories.

Snapshotography I call it 🙂

Fuji X100S

X100S Review

I took the camera to London for an hour too and shot a few frames on the street.  I like Street Photography, but I’m no professional however, it performed extremely well – again using a combination of MF Zone Focus and the back-button focusing technique.

Street Photography X100S

Should I buy an X100S or X-Pro1?

I wouldn’t make your mind up based on just this X100S Review.  There are lots of reviews out there and this is a substantial financial investment so perhaps using both at your local camera shop will help you too.

As you know, the Fuji X100S uses is a fixed  23mm lens.  Whilst this lens is genuinely wonderful in it’s image production, perhaps one of the questions I’m asked most about the X100S (next the AF question!) is how do I deal without having interchangeable lenses?

Actually, it’s more of a physiological challenge for me to switch between say my X-Pro1 kit (for which I have 18mm, 35mm and 60mm lenses), or my DSLR kit to the X100S.

Really, the beauty of the X100S is in the way it “makes” me become a more focused photographer.  It ensures you think about your shot, you think about the composure, you think about the exposure, you think simply, like a photographer.

The Fuji X100S, like the whole of the X-Trans range of cameras from Fujifilm harks back in look and operation to manual cameras of old and even though everything is digital if you want to get the best out of the camera you need to be a certain mind set when shooting with it.

People ask me whether they should get the X100S (because they know how good a camera it is), or if they should get an X-Pro1 (because they want the versatility).  Well, there is no straight forward answer to that.  I’m in the extremely lucky position to have both, and because of that I can pass on my experiences of both systems.

To me, the X-Pro1 is more of a professional camera.  It’s more rugged and can take more knocks, it has those interchangeable lenses and there is a great lens roadmap for the system too.  Additionally, it’s a little larger and, if being inconspicuous is your style, then the black retro look of the X-Pro1 is probably more appealing.

On the other hand, the X100S handles beautifully and by removing the element of choice (lenses) you can condition yourself to a style of shooting and, I believe, you get much more uniformity to your photography.  For wedding photographers, I think uniformity in your style is imperative and it’s one of the reasons I have shot weddings with a zoom lens for something like four years now.

To me, shooting with each camera yields a different set of results and part of that, I believe, is in the way the cameras work in my hands – how they feel – the dynamic nature of the X100S is just wonderful and you simply want to pick it up and hold it.  As Zack Arias said – it has soul.

So, you know, I’m a wedding photographer by trade and for me, the X-Pro1 remains a tool of choice there.  I’ve taken the X100S to several weddings recently (some pictures coming up) but for me the X100S really is the utopia for me when I’m in the street shooting, or I’m at home, or at the beach, or at the park.  It’s the camera that is by my side almost all the time now.  It really does have soul.

Having said all that about the X100S and the fixed lens.  The good folks at Fujifilm did have one little treat for those who wanted something a little bit more….

X100S & the WCL-X100 Wide Angle Converter

I never got to test out the WCL-X100 Wide angle converter with the original X100 and as soon as I was told that it would be compatible with the X100S I jumped at the chance of getting one, and popping it onto the camera.

The WCL-X100 Wide Conversion Lens attaches directly on to the X100 / X100S camera and increases picture taking versatility by multiplying the fixed focal length by 0.8x, converting it from 23mm (35mm in 35mm equivalent) fixed focal length to a 19mm wide angle (28mm in 35mm equivalent)

The WCL-X100 has been engineered to ensure the Fujifilm X100’s supreme optical quality remains intact. Created by the same experts who designed the X100’s lens, the WCL-X100 delivers comparable image quality even at the f/2 wide aperture setting, retaining all the original optical characteristics, including the attractive bokeh effect.

Source:  Official Fujifilm Website

I really enjoy shooting with the extension and pretty much, it sits on my X100S permanently now.

The only discernible issue I have with the WCL-X100 is the additional 35mm or so length it adds to the lens mount.  I’m guessing this is unavoidable as the additional glass in side, along with the usual excellent build quality would dictate this but if there was to be a version two of this accessory I’d love to see it a little smaller.

As the Fujifilm blurb says, it really does deliver comparable images to the X100s without the converter.  I can’t see any difference at all in the Bokeh or the files produced.

The AF remains constant too.  This is an opportunity for you to get a little wider and for people interested in shooting landscape images or wider street or social documentary then I think it’s a great addition to the camera bag.

Here are a couple of snapshots with the X100S and WCL-X100:

X100S & WCL-X100 ISO 200, 19mm F2.0

X100s & WCL-100

This next image was snapped in the garden using the wide angle converter too and it’s also a good example of how fast the AF actually is.  This was a pick it up and shoot image.  With the camera set to the back-button focusing technique I simply focused quickly and managed to reel off three frames or so whilst Rosa was actually in the air jumping into the paddling pool.

X100S & WCL-X100 ISO 200, 19mm F2.0

X100S & WCL-X100

X100S & WCL-X100 ISO 200, 19mm F2.0

Fujifilm X100S & WCL-X100

Fuji X100S

X100S Review


I tend to shoot JPG with the Fuji systems because, quite frankly, the jpg images out of the can are wonderfully constructed.

X100S Settings

The way I use the camera over the first few months has changed marginally.  As mentioned in my first X100S Review I employ the back-button-focusing-kind-of-workaround technique almost exclusively.  The only time I change out of that mode is if I am shooting a panorama or want to set a specific shutter speed for a long exposure.

I’ve really come to love the way the spot-metering works in the camera and I would say 90% of my shots are now taking using spot metering.  The spot metering is taken from the centre spot so if you are a focus & recompose type shooter you may need to consider moving the focus point a bit more often (which of course, is much easier now with the dedicated button on the back wheel).

I’ve essentially settled on a few custom settings depending on the scenario for shooting.  And, in order to switch between these configurations quickly I’ve utilised the X100S Custom Settings facility which is extremely useful.

Essentially this allows you to set up three different types of shooting configuration.  In the future, I’d like to see this facility extended to apply to more of the RAW features but for the time being, these are the X100S Custom Settings I use:

Custom Setting #1 – this setting is mostly used in good strong light.  It’s also my only colour configured Custom Setting.  I like the Pro Neg. Hi film emulation.  You will see that I have the Noise Reduction set to -1 in each setting.  This is because I think the in camera noise reduction is a little harsh on the JPGs it produces at higher ISO and so I like to bring that down a notch.

  • ISO – 200
  • Dynamic Range – 100%
  • Film Simulation- Pro Neg. Hi
  • White Balance – Auto
  • Colour – 0
  • Sharpness – +1
  • Highlight Tone – 0
  • Shadow Tone – 0
  • Noise Reduction – -1

Custom Setting #2 – this is the setting I use for most indoor shooting.  In fact, it’s probably the custom setting that gets used the most when I use the camera at weddings.

  • ISO – 3200
  • Dynamic Range – Auto
  • Film Simulation- Black and White + R Filter
  • White Balance – Auto
  • Colour – 0
  • Sharpness – 0
  • Highlight Tone – 0
  • Shadow Tone – 0
  • Noise Reduction – -1

Custom Setting #3 – this is my “go to” setting.  I find this configuration covers almost all shooting scenarios for me.  I’m nearly always shooting people so I need a quickish shutter speed and the feature I love above all on the X100 and X100S that the X-Pro1 doesn’t have is the minimum shutter speed option.

  • ISO – Auto (Default 200 ISO, Max 3200 ISO, Min Shutter 1/125)
  • Dynamic Range – Auto
  • Film Simulation- Black and White + R Filter
  • White Balance – Auto
  • Colour – 0
  • Sharpness – +1
  • Highlight Tone – 0
  • Shadow Tone – 0
  • Noise Reduction – -1

If you have issues setting the custom settings, take a look at the blog post I did talking about this very subject.

In order to get the best possible speed from the AF I use a kind of back-button focusing which I’ve adopted from my X-Pro1 shooting system.  I’ve mentioned this before on the site, but for those new to it this works amazingly well for all of the X-Trans cameras in the Fuji Range.


Using this configuration I can use the AE-L AF-L button on the back almost like the back-button focusing technique many of us adopt with out DSLRs.  For this to work you need to shoot in manual focus mode.  The camera is now configured so the AE-L AF-L button activates as a one touch focus – effectively AF.  So, the shutter release is now operated the same way, through the release button but the AF has been divorced from that.  It means that you can AF using the AE-L AF-L button and use the shutter release to expose the image much quicker (as it’s not trying to focus as well as expose).

I don’t propose using the servo/tracking mode as I just can’t get reliable results with it but by using the above technique, you can very easily shoot relatively fast moving subject.  This photograph below for example taken recently at the Tetbury Wool sack Races.

WoolSack Races

X100S for Wedding Photography

So, I’ve taken the X100s with me to several weddings and you know what, it’s been pretty marvellous.   From cramped bridal prep rooms to congested wedding venues, to churches where the Vicar is strict on photography the camera comes into it’s own.

Indeed, I think, given the right circumstances and creative licence you could photograph a whole wedding with a set of X100S’s if you really wanted to.  For me, however, the Fujifilm X100s just comes into it’s own for those moments when stealth and silence is of the essence.

With this camera in hand at a wedding you can simply explore, and shoot.  Practically un-noticed.  Along with a DSLR system or X-Pro1/XE-1 system the X100s is the perfect “wing man”.

We already know the clarity and sharpness of the lens is amazing and I think if you can get into that physiological mindset of using this camera that I talked about about you will benefit a lot from having it with you at weddings.  The silent mode is truly silent, unlike the X-Pro1 which really means you do simply blend in.

I like to explain to my wedding clients that I want, for all intents and purposes, to be seen as another guest at their wedding.  Simply roaming around and taking candid documentary photographs with the X100S is a pleasure.  Not a chore and the results I believe are just gorgeous – right out of the camera.

Don’t get me wrong – whilst I think you “could” shoot a whole wedding with a set, I probably wouldn’t recommend it. There are times such as low light dancing or very fast recessionals in dimly lit churches where you may need something a bit different.

So, some images shot at recent weddings with the Fujifilm X100S:

19mm (WCL-100), ISO 200, 1/20th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

19mm (WCL-100), ISO 200, 1/300th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

19mm (WCL-100), ISO 640, 1/125th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

23mm, ISO 1,250, 1/125th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

23mm, ISO 200, 1/125th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

19mm (WCL-100), ISO 400, 1/125th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

19mm (WCL-100), ISO 200, 1/150th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

19mm (WCL-100), ISO 800, 1/350th Second

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S

23mm, ISO 200, 1/125th Second f5.6

Wedding Photography with the Fuji X100S


A lot of people are asking me whether they should wait for the X-Pro2 or X-ProS or whatever Fuji will call the next iteration of the X-Pro1.

I have no idea of the plans from Fuji for this and no idea of time frames.  One would suspect the new X-Pro cameras will inherit a lot of the goodness from the X100S, particularly the improved AF and more logical configuration.  I can’t wait for that camera, I really can’t.  But as is quite obvious I think, the X100S is aimed at a different user and I really don’t see a reason, funds allowing, in waiting for a newer X-Pro1 model if the X100S is going to deliver what you need now.

X100S Review ~ Summary

So there you have it.  I said it wouldn’t be technical – there are plenty of technical reviews out there.  This X100S Review was meant to be an update to my initial X100S review also found on this site.  It’s a real world review and in a nutshell the Fuji X100S is, in my opinion, a camera with soul that produces outstanding images.  You need to use it, live with it, work with it and then reap the rewards of it.

Please do feel free to comment or ask questions.  I’ll answer as best I can. Also – feel free to share on social media if you find this post useful.



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