Fuji x100s Review

Fuji x100s Review

The Story

I picked up my first Fuji x100 (pictured above) off of Craig’s List years after it was introduced. I picked it up for three reasons….

  • I’m not going to lie, I thought it looked cool.
  • I wanted to evolve as a photographer.
  • I needed a cool camera to carry in my daily driver (the bag pictured above).

Sure enough, the x100 was cool but it had some quirks. It was so cool, I thought I would be moving towards the X system of interchangeable lens bodies. Then (drum roll) the x100s came out. It seemed to solve all the quirks of the original x100 and so my adventure with the x100s began.

Review Notes This is a living document and I update it as needed. Feel free to socialize with us or sign up for our newsletter for updates.

Fuji x100s Review

Gear & Tools

Here’s a listing of all the gear and darkroom tools that I use with my Fuji x100s.

Build Quality and Form Factor

When I pick it up, I’m instantly hyper-aware of shape, shadows and light. When I put it down, I just want to pick it back up. The size and weight are perfect for my hands. I’m confident in its build quality and the control layout is perfect. The controls are where they need to be, but the menu system takes a bit of getting used to.

What It Can’t Do

The Fuji x100s is a very capable camera. However, it can’t do everything so let’s get the limitations of the camera out-of-the-way first.

It Can’t Photograph Wildlife From A Distance – No way was this guy going to let me get any closer to him. Even if he did, no way was I going to scurry up the side of a cliff to do so. I shot this image with my trusty Nikon 18-200. If I need this type of image, I use my Fuji 55-200 on my XE-1.

Fuji x100s Wildlife Photography

It Can’t Compress You will hear people saying they don’t need a zoom lens because they ‘zoom with their feet’. Well, that’s fine and dandy but telephoto lenses aren’t just about framing. They are about creating optical illusions, one of which is compression. No, the Fuji x100s will not be able to create this image. That being said, the Fuji 55-200 (click here for my review) is able to.

It’s Not A Finish Line Camera You can’t expect it to perform like a Nikon 300mm 2.8 VR II. I probably didn’t need to tell you that, but just incase you had dreams of photographing the Tour de France with it. You might want to bring a second camera.

What It Can Do!

If you’re still reading, you don’t care about its limitations. All you care about is making kick ass images with it! Here’s a few things it can do, and do very well.

It Can Photograph Cats As you know, the standard by which I measure all my gear is its ability to photograph cats. The Fuji x100s is my new gold standard in cat photography. Not only is the image quality incredible, the shutter is so quiet that your feline friend will never know you snapped their photo.

Fuji x100s Cats

It Can Photograph Bike Racing Sure, it’s not going to make that finish line shot, but it can make very compelling images if you’re willing to work within its limitations.

Fuji x100s Sport and Event Photography

It Syncs Flash At High Shutter Speeds – Because of the leaf shutter and built-in ND filter, it can make photographs at f/2.0 and 1/1000 of a second in full sun. Now that’s pretty cool!

Fuji x100s Nikon SB900

Fuji x100s Leaf Shutter High Speed Sync

It Can Make Movies – We actually filmed much of our Landscape Photography Video workshop using the Fuji x100s. Watch the trailer or take the entire course to see it in action.

Click Here to join!

High ISO – The Cave Test

If you really want to test a camera’s low light capabilities, everyone knows you test it in a cave. Here is a handheld shot about 500ft below the Earth’s surface. I was shooting manual, wide open, with nothing but a few headlamps.

Fuji x100s High ISO

Sample Images

As a photographer, I’m always looking for ways to improve my creative efficiency. Whether it is lighter more compact systems (like the x100s) or techniques that need less time in the darkroom. Here are sample images from the x100s as they increase in darkroom complexity. They range from .JPGs out of the camera to Lightroom processing.

Out Of Camera (OOC) – The Fuji x100s puts out some incredible .JPG files. I normally configure my custom settings for +1 Color Boost and +1 Sharpness.

Fuji x100s Review Sample Images Out Of The Camera

Fuji x100s Review Sample Images Out Of The Camera

Fuji x100s Review Sample Images Out Of The Camera

Fun ‘life moment’ portraits are made easy with the Fuji x100s built in fill flash. No fuss, it just works!

Fuji x100s Review Sample Images Fill Flash

OOC Using The x100s Creative Filters Another option for in camera creativity is the Fuji x100s’s Creative Filters. There are quite a few filters to choose from. Everything from sepia to soft focus (pictured here). When you take a photo with the x100s, the filters apply creative effects to your image resulting in a processed .JPG. You can choose to save the original image if you like. I was actually impressed by these filters. I didn’t think I was going to dig them. However, if you are looking to limit your time in front of a computer, but still expand your creative vision, these filters work like a charm.

The classic soft focus filter makes everything dreamy and interesting….

Fuji x100s Sample Images Creative Filters

Fuji x100s Sample Images Creative Filters

The Miniature Filter makes everything, including the world famous Red Rocks Amphitheater…well…miniature.

Fuji x100s Sample Images Creative Filters Miniature Filter

Processed With An iPad & Snapseed

The Fuji x100s paired with a Snapseed equipped iPad is something I affectionately refer to as a ‘Lean & Mean Creative Machine‘. There’s nothing better than jumping on a return flight with a card full of images and processing away on your iPad. If it’s a WIFI enabled flight, you will be making all your Facebook friends jealous with amazing images from your trip.

Learn Snapseed – For only $19 $10, learn how I use Snapseed to process images in my online workshop, ‘Snapseed – The Definitive Guide’ (click here to join). Watch the trailer to learn more….

Fuji x100s and Snapseed

Fuji x100s and Snapseed

Fuji x100s and Snapseed

Processed With Lightroom –

When you get back home and want to remember what an amazing trip you had, import your photos from the Fuji x100s into Lightroom and have some fun. I kept the theme of creative efficiency alive and well in Lightroom by using some of my favorite Lightroom preset packs. You can get them here: Our Presets (click here), VSCO (click here).

Fuji x100s Review VSCO Film

Fuji x100s Review VSCO Film

Fuji x100s Review VSCO Film

Fuji x100s Review VSCO Film

Fuji x100s Review VSCO Film

Custom Settings & Tips

Here’s a quick look at how I configure my Fuji x100s Custom Settings.

Function Button – You can assign a variety of functions to the function button (FN) for quick access. Things like ISO, ND Filter, Film Simulation etc. During the day, I set mine to turn off/on the ND filter. At night, or if I’m in a situation where I need ISO control, I’ll set it to ISO. The cool thing is that by holding down the FN button, you can quickly change when the button controls. Pretty slick!

Fuji x100s Function Button

Custom Settings – I set my custom settings for three styles…a standard B&W, punchy landscape and an airy color film. The cool thing about the Q menu is that it remembers what parameter you were adjusting last. That means, if you are the type that adjusts film simulation a lot, the Q menu is kind of another FN button. Whenever you hit the Q button, it will automatically be on film simulation (or whatever parameter you control often)…well, as long as you leave it there when you quit the menu.

Fuji x100s Q menu and custom settings.

My Camera For Documentary, Events & Stories

This is my GO-TO camera for storytelling and documentary work. Because of its size and stature, my subjects rarely notice it. And because of its cool look, if they do notice it, they are excited to have their photo taken with it. I can turn on the flash, engage the ND filter and put it real close to their face. People just love this camera! Here are a few postcards I shared from a story I was working on at the 2013 USA Pro Challenge.

Fuji x100s VSCO Film

Fuji x100s VSCO Film

Fuji x100s VSCO Film

Fuji x100s VSCO Film

Fuji x100s VSCO Film

Things I Love

  • Form Factor – It feels great!
  • Weight – One of the reasons I got this camera is weight. I can carry this little guy all day and never notice it. Even with the RRS bracket.
  • Responsiveness – It wakes up fast and is ready to go.
  • Vibe – There’s something magical and romantic about it.
  • Image Quality – Wow!
  • 3 Stop ND Filter – The built in ND filter is awesome! I have my FN button assigned to turn it on and off. Super slick and more practical than you might think. Especially when shooting at f2.0. Nice work Fuji!
  • Ninja Quiet – This camera might be taking photos right now, and I would never know it!

Things To Note

  • Batteries – We don’t need no stinkin’ batteries….ahhh, yes you do! The Fuji x100s eats them up and spits them out. I roll with the original NP-95 and some Wassabis plus a car charger.
  • Weather Sealing – It’s not weather sealed, so you will need to be careful in harsh environments (dust & rain).

A Few Of My Favorites

Fuji x100s Review

Fuji x100s Review

Fuji x100s Review Sample Images

Fuji x100s Review Sample Images

Fuji x100s Sample Images

Fuji x100s Sample Image Sunset

Fuji x100s Sample Travel Images

Fuji x100s For Cruise Ship

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Comments

    • says

      Howdy Christina! Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have any specific data, but I will say I carry 5 batteries with me. Some Fuji. Some off brand. And in a heavy day of shooting, I mean really heaving shooting (video and stills) I can go through 3-4 of them.

      Hope that helps!

      Justin

    • says

      Howdy Jeff, thanks for stopping by! Yep, you nailed it. I’m not sure what the beach is called but it’s at the end of Golden Gate park south of the Cliff House. Do you know it?

      • Jeff says

        I know it well. I live just up the street. It’s Ocean Beach. Strangely enough, I also used to live not far from Red Rocks.

        Anyway, I’ll probably be picking up the x100s soon. Thanks for helping me put my mind at ease on the purchase.

        • Dave Richards says

          Jeff – That shot was taken very close to Golden Gate Bridge, so I think it would have been taken from Baker Beach, which is right next to the Bridge, at the south end. Ocean Beach is a little further away.

          Dave Richards.

  1. David Meaux says

    Justin,

    To confirm, if you have the Nikon SC-29 Sync Cable, you can get TTL off camera flash with a Nikon speed light? I’ve got an SB-600. Would love to be able to use it on my X100.

  2. Andrew Livelsberger says

    Very nice, balanced review. I used to own a Fuji X-E1, but sold it for a Nikon Df. The Df is now my favorite camera and is with me always.

    I’ve always liked the X100s nad might get one of those as well. Still on the fence. Would be a nice ultra light carry option.

  3. Diana says

    Hi,
    are all of these photos on this page taken with Fujifilm X100S?

    I’m about to buy a camera, but can’t decide between Fujifilm X100S and Canon G16. I’m not a pro, so I need something that is not too complicated, but at the same time I want my compact camera to take amazing photos :-)
    I also want a camera that is good in the dark, and I guess the Fujifilm is better than Canon G16 in that.

    Maybe you have some advice.

    Thanks in advance.

  4. HC says

    Love this camera and always happy to read different views. My question is regarding the B+W 10 ND Filter which is 77mm thread is there an equivalent for 49mm? I also have a B+W 49mm KSM MRC Circular Polarizer Filter which I’m loving for landscapes and would like to experiment with the ND filer as I go further into shooting landscapes with X100s.

    • says

      Howdy!

      Sorry for the delay. I’m sure B+W makes a 49mm filter. You could always do what I do and get a set of step up rings to accommodate the 77mm filter. Hope that helps!

      Enjoy your camera!

      Justin

      • HC says

        Thanks Justin – just got my hands on the B+W 49mm 3.0 ND MRC 110M Filter and it is fantastic glass. Have you done any long exposure work with the X100s yet? I am travelling to Iceland soon and looking forward to some long exposure sea/waterfall shots there.

  5. David says

    Thank you for making this page, I am in love with the x100s and I learned a lot from your review of the x100. Please keep up the good work, and by the way your photos are amazing!

  6. Beh says

    Hi there , stunning images you have here. I’d like to know which film simulation you normally use in these photos ? :)

    • says

      Howdy!

      Thanks for the kind words. I normally have three Custom Setting configured 1 = Standard Film for everyday street and portraits. 2 = Vivid with some punch of landscapes. 3 = Monochrome Yellow filter for my B&W works.

      Hope that helps!

      Justin

  7. Rayhan Bautista says

    Great review! Extremely detailed and well written! :)
    I was just wondering, if some of those pictures were taken as JPEG or RAW?
    Thanks! :)

  8. Robert Law says

    This is by far the most balanced, stylish, informative and useful review of the X100S I’ve seen on the internet!

    It tells you what it can do, how it does it – all backed up with great images to inspire.

    My X100S arrives next week and I can’t wait. Well done again on a premier review.

  9. Actual Death says

    Dude, Fuji should hire you full-time in their marketing division. I’m already on a site looking to buy this camera just because of your images! Did you apply some king of sherpening or do they come off the camera that good?
    Thanks and cheers, your pictures rock!

    A

  10. Juan Baron says

    Great review!! I currently own the X100S and I love it!! What file and image settings do you use right now? How does the ipad + snapseed work with RAW files? I’ve tried to use RAW with the ipad and it seems it imports them but you can only export jpegs. Are the jpegs good enough to just use JPEG only? I’m traveling for a while so only have my ipad. Thanks!!

    • says

      You are right, Snapseed only exports .JPGS. Personally, I love the .JPGS the Fuji produces. You might consider working in JPG+RAW, then edit the images you want to share during your travels with Snapseed. When you get home, you will have the RAW files if you want to work with them in Lightroom or Photoshop.

      Safe Travels Juan!

      Justin

  11. says

    Nice review! Many Thanks for all precious informations.
    Have discovered your post 3 days ago… And finally bought x100s yesterday…
    SO HAPPY!
    Jus t a question, what give you best results: autofocus or manual focus?
    Tx+++
    Bernard, Belgium

    • says

      Howdy! I’m glad the post helped you with your decision. Hmm, I get good results with both. The continuous focus is pretty worthless on the x100s, so I use MF if I need to work with a moving subject. If the subject is static or slow moving, AF is just fine.

      Enjoy your camera!

      Justin

  12. says

    Justin, I’ve had the Fuji x100s for several months and have been trolling the web looking for guidance and clarity and YOU DID IT. Thank you for the technical tips. I finally get the purpose and uses of the fn button and Q. After reading the manual 47 times you have finally cleared up many questions. I Love snap seed and have only used it on my IPHONE so I’m going to give that baby a whirl on my IPAD.
    Maria

  13. bob says

    Even after all this time, this is still a good review of a great camera. I came back to look at it to sooth my “jones” for the new version of the X100S and enjoyed reliving it.

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