This weekend I took the highly anticipated Fujifilm TCL-X100 for a spin at a wedding I photographed. Here are my initial thoughts. As ever, I’m not going to do a pixel-peeping review. There are places on-line that will do that very well for you. My review is going to be from a “working professionals” point of view. Warts and all.
All the sample images below have been processed a little by me. Rest assured though, for the relevant image, I’ve included links to the .RAF files so you can take a peek at the actual files yourselves if you so wish.
The TCL-X100 had been rumoured for a 2014 appearance for a long time, but it wasn’t until I was at CP+ in February that I first set eyes on this Tele Conversion Lens that will fit the X100 and X100S. At CP+ I literally had a play, I didn’t really get any chance to analyse images or shoot with it in anger. The feeling I came away with though was a positive one. As many of you know I’m a huge X100S fan. In fact, I can honestly say it’s my favourite camera of all time. I shoot with my two X100S’s (and sometimes my original X100 too) at weddings a lot and I love the WCL-X100 which gives me a wider focal length than the camera without an adapter.
Here are the full range of focal lengths you can now achieve with the Fujifilm X100 and X100S:
- X100/S as standard: 23mm (35mm equivalent)
- X100/S with the WCL-X100: 19mm (28mm equivalent)
- X100/S with the TCL-X100: 33mm (50mm equivalent)
So, if you shoot with three bodies, you can have a full system of 28mm, 35mm and 50mm. Perfect I’d say for street photographers and wedding photographers – especially those that shoot in a wedding photojournalistic style as I do.
About the TCL-X100
You shouldn’t be surprised to see that the TCL-X100 is somewhat larger than the WCL-X1oo. However, I think you will be surprised actually at how light the TCL-X100 is. It’s going to add around 180 grams to the weight of your body. The WCL-X100 is only 150 grams so in real terms, the weight difference is marginal. I’ve included a few shots below to give you an idea of the difference in size between the WCL-X100 and the TCL-X100.
In the images above, you can see that the TCL-X100 I have is black and, as with the WCL-X100 there will be a choice of black or sliver when you purchase your conversion lens. Operationally, it’s identical to the WCL-X100. Once you have screwed the lens onto the front of the camera, you need to pop into Shooting Menu 3 / Conversion Lens and set it to Tele.
For me, this is a little bit of a pain. I would love to see Fuji adapt future versions of the conversion lenses with contacts so the camera can automatically adjust itself for the conversion lens attached. I’m fairly sure this is not possible through firmware (due to there not being any noticeable contacts on the lens), so hopefully on future body’s / lenses this will be the case.
You will need to update your firmware before fully utilising the TCL-X100. There was a firmware update to the X100S and X100 recently adding the functionality of the TCL-X100. Some even say there were features added to the firmware that Fuji haven’t publicised so even if you aren’t going to use the TCL-X100, I’d update your firmware: X100S Version 1.20 Firmware X100 Version 2.10 Firmware As it stands, the TCL-X100 is a really well built, solidly constructed piece of glass. It comes with a lens cap (filter size is 67mm) and the almost ubiquitous soft pouch in a well presented box. All good stuff.
Are there any downsides?
Originally, Fujifilm were quoted on the rumour sites and places like DP Review as saying they wouldn’t produce a tele converter lens for the X100S because of the intricacies of the camera, most notably around the Optical View Finder. Well, clearly they did work around that, and when shooting with the Optical View Finder you do of course, see the barrel of the lens protruding into the bright frame. To be honest, this didn’t really bother me and it’s not that much different to the WCL-X100 in that regards. What you will notice however is that you will see restricted use of the built in flash. The flash sits right above the lens and most of the fall off will be affected. It also affects the focus assist lamp in the same way. If you use your on camera flash a lot, and want to use the TCL-X100 then I’d consider investigating the Fuji EF-X20 flash system.
What about the images and using the lens?
So I took the lens to a wedding. I shot with my core cameras the X-T1 and X-E2 as usual and put the X100S with the TCL-X100 on my hip belt without any issue in terms of weight or pull on the belt. Below are a selection of images I shot on the day. I’ve included some that are typical of how I work (I don’t do group shots and “traditional” wedding photography – I’m shoot pretty much exclusively in a candid fashion). When using the camera with the adapter I found is easy and quick to focus. As quick, or certainly not noticeably different, to the WCL-X100. The viewfinder is not affected by the adapter so you will see the same bright frames and technical details as you would through the OVF or EVF as standard. Shooting with the X100/S with or without a lens converter is a dream for me. The leaf shutter means I can work extremely fast and in close quarters. With the TXL-X100 you are going to have to work that little bit further away. If found the closest focus point to be very close to that of the WCL in practical terms, but in real terms you are likely to be composing very different images. Remember, I’ve edited these images but you can download the RAF files for each one should you wish (around 30+ mb each).
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/600th Second ISO 200 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/800th Second ISO 200 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/125th Second ISO 250 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/120th Second ISO 6,400 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/125th Second ISO 3,200 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/125th Second ISO 2,000 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/125th Second ISO 1,600 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/600th Second ISO 3,200 (download RAF)
X100S with TCL-X100 @ f/2 1/125th Second ISO 1,600 (download RAF)
When I analyse the images closely I notice an absolutely tiny amount of barrelling in the corners. Generally though, I find the image quality on a par as the WCL-X100. I’m very pleased with the results, the additional depth of field and speed of use of the image.
Comparing focal lengths
So I know most of my friends in the wedding photography world are big fans of Mr Bokeh. Depth of field plays a big part in creativity, I get that, and of course having a 50mm focal length is going to give you a more narrow depth of field to work with. It’s good. I find the bokeh pleasing and I too like using depth of field as a creative attribute to an image so being able to shoot with 23, 35 and 50mm lengths have offered me that versatility at each end of the bokeh spectrum. I’ve shot the same image below three times. Firstly with no adapter attached, secondly with the WCL-X100 (wide) adapter and the third one with the TCL-X100 (tele). Again, the RAF files are there for you should you want it. Each image was shot using the same camera and at the same manual exposure of 1/125 F/2 at ISO 2000
No Conversion Lens (download RAF)
WCL-X100 Attached (download RAF)
TCL-X100 Attached (download RAF)
So, I think you’ll agree the new range that the X100S with the TCL-X100 offers is a benefit for street photographers and wedding and commercial shooters too perhaps. Of course, for many, the original attraction of the X100/S was the fact it was fixed lens. Me too in fact. It made me think more about my images and made me less lazy as a photographer. Some will also be of the opinion that if you want an interchangeable system then you are better off looking at the X-Pro1, X-E2, X-M1, X-T1 cameras. Perhaps. For me, however, the X100S remains my tool of choice when working very quietly and discreetly. The ability now to be able to shoot longer as well as wider is a huge benefit for the way I work. For me, I will likely shoot with one of my X100S’s at the wide end using the WCL-X100 and one loaded with the TCL-X100. I have the 23mm lens on my X-T1 that covers the standard focal length of the X100S. When this copy goes back to Fuji, I’ll be putting an order in for the TCL-X100 immediately.
It’s a great addition to the system. Enjoy.
You can order the TCL-X100 here.