You can’t deny the attraction of a camera that can shoot at the level we photographers need and want, but at the same time can fit in most pockets. This camera is so damn easy to take with you anywhere and its image quality is spot on – true to the Fujifilm we love and know so well.
The lens has a focal length of 18,5mm, but is the same physical size as the 23mm on the X100, so all filters, lens hoods,etc. will fit.
I’m not going to lie: it took me a while to warm to the camera, more than I’m used to with any other cameras in the Fuji X-range. I wasn’t quite comfortable with using it without a viewfinder and first couple of times I picked it up, I put it to my eye out of habit. I also found the controls a bit close to the LCD, which also comes from being used to having more real estate on my cameras.
If you do want to make movies with it, the red record button on the top is a bit difficult to get to. I am not really one to make videos that often, so that is just my view.
Over time, I got used to using the touch screen and none of it became an issue anymore. You can choose to use the touch screen to just move the focus points, or to focus and take the shot; I chose the first. It was also much faster than using the D-PAD even comparing to the other models in X-series.
The compactness of it really started to grow on me. Walking around in the streets is where it shines. When shooting in the street and at social events, you don’t draw any attention to yourself like you would with even an X-T10 or X-T1, plus you don’t look like a photographer. This little camera is so easily mistaken for a simple point-and-shoot, but is so much more.
At 18.5mm and an aperture of f/2.8, you will get a lot of depth of field without getting very close, but there will still be some nice separation from the background.
One thing I definitely missed was the ND-filter that I’m used to on the X100, although it does make up by having an electronic shutter, but you have to keep the rolling shutter effect in mind.
The biggest challenge for me was the LCD. Without the viewfinder, I struggled to see the LCD in bright light. And while it is small enough to not attract attention (like I said earlier), when shooting in dark areas, the LCD lights my face up and attracts attention that way.
What I found very interesting, was that the controls on this camera, e.g. the shutter dial and aperture rings, are identical to the X100 and seems to aim more at the amateur/pro than the beginner. It also lacks the M, A, S, P & Auto options we’ve seen on the X-M, X-A1, X-30 and most other cameras of this size. It does, however have the Auto toggle switch they introduced with the X-T10.
Another feature I really like is the tilt screen, which really comes in handy for some strange angles or to shoot from the hip. The screen even articulates to the front, so if you are in dire need for a selfie, you can see what you’re taking.
It has all the film simulations I love so much. The B/W+Red filter and Classic Chrome with my tweaks to the highlights and shadows give me the results I want. Sadly it did not come with the new ACRO film simulation, but I have read that is due to sensor and process limitations.
When they announced the camera, I didn’t pay too much attention to it as the X-Pro2 was announced at the same time. After using it for the week, it would definitely be a good consideration if you don’t own an X100 yet, and are looking for something that will be slightly easier on the wallet. I do believe this camera really suits a traveller, a street photographer and, to some extent, a documentary photographer.
One of the places I think this camera can shine is for new parents wanting to catch all the moments, without having a big, complicated camera that takes your attention away from your new edition.
Without a doubt this camera has its place. The menu structure is no different to the current range, barring the new menus of the X-Pro2. The autofocus was fast and snappy and I did not have any issues there.
Who the exact target market was here, I can’t really say. But from my experience and what I’ve seen, most photographers are really enjoying this little guy.
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