With its retro design and unique specs, experts say the Fujifilm FinePix X100 sets itself apart from other compact cameras. Unlike mostly plastic rivals, the X100 echoes classic rangefinder cameras of the 1970s, with a sturdy magnesium-alloy casing and metal control dials. In addition to its "drop-dead gorgeous looks and excellent build," the X100 squeezes a hybrid viewfinder into its compact body, which "by itself is an achievement," notes Andy Westlake at DPReview.com.
An innovative fusion of optical and electronic, the X100's hybrid viewfinder lets users conveniently toggle between modes, or combine both, though experts recommend using the electronic viewfinder when snapping subjects at close range or in low light.
The X100 also features a fixed, non-collapsible 23 mm (35 mm equivalent) focal length lens that excels in macro mode, but lacks an optical zoom, image stabilization and interchangeable capability. However, Fujifilm adds a neutral-density lens filter to capture fast-moving subjects such as streams and waterfalls in bright light, and reviewers say the X100's leaf shutter operates quietly. Other features include a large APS-C sensor, 720p HD video and a 2.8-inch LCD panel, although it falls short of the 3-inch display found on most compacts.
Image-wise, the 12.3-megapixel X100 delivers superb, DSLR-like quality in a variety of shooting conditions. "Detail is high, color is excellent and the camera does a sterling job" of producing noise-free images at high ISO levels, says TechRadar's Matt Golowczynski. Others say the X100 handles well and comes with extensive manual controls that appeal to enthusiasts. But the X100's multi-layered menu, slow manual focus and sluggish write speeds frustrate testers, as does the camera's autofocus. DPReview.com details a "number of operational oddities, quirks and firmware bugs" that keep it from earning an "outright recommendation." Fujifilm has since announced a firmware update to address mode settings and ISO glitches.
The Fujifilm FinePix X100 is a looker and takes great shots, but you'll want to keep the manual on hand. PhotographyBlog.com and PhotoRadar.com provide thorough write-ups of the Fujifilm FinePix X100 while DPReview.com offers an exhaustive 27-page review that details hands-on testing. CNET Asia gives a shorter, but still helpful, evaluation of the X100's key features. Owner comments at Amazon.com provide insight about long-term use.
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1. CNET (Asia)
Editors at CNET say that the Fujifilm FinePix X100 delivers "high-quality images even at high ISOs" and that the hybrid viewfinder lives up to the hype. The camera's retro design scores lots of praise, but sluggish performance and a confusing menu structure are significant drawbacks. Battery life also disappoints, coming in at far less than Fujifilm's claim of 300 shots on a single charge.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix X100, Editors of CNET (Asia), April 21, 2011
After extensive shooting and testing, Andy Westlake and his team of DPReview.com reviewers find the Fujifilm FinePix X100 "an exasperating conundrum of a camera." Exceptional build quality, "gorgeous" looks, superb images and an impressive viewfinder are notable strengths. But the camera's sluggish operation, poor menu interface and unresponsive manual focus are disappointing. This in-depth review provides an impressive level of detail and numerous image comparisons.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix X100 In-Depth Review, Andy Westlake, Revised July 2011
Reviewer Matt Golowczynski says the "beautiful and solidly built" Fujifilm FinePix X100 delivers "what it promises," offering superb image quality with great detail and color in a variety of conditions. He also considers the X100's built-in hybrid viewfinder a key advantage over its rivals, but says well-regarded compact cameras from Panasonic and Sony are capable of producing quality results for less. Slow write times and awkwardly placed dials are minor annoyances.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix X100 Review, Matt Golowczynski, March 21, 2011
Mark Goldstein says the Fujifilm FinePix X100 is a compact camera "quite unlike any other." The design and build quality draw effusive praise and Goldstein finds that in tests, the X100's "impeccable" image quality surpasses many DSLRs. Strong low-light shooting is also a plus, but autofocus is "certainly not as quick" as the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GH2 and write speeds are slow. Yet, despite its flaws and steep price, the X100 receives the site's 5-star Essential award.
Review: Fujifilm FinePix X100 Review, Mark Goldstein, March 17, 2011
More than 100 users weigh in on the Fujifilm FinePix X100 and nearly all are pleased with the camera's retro design, sturdy build and image quality, with one avid Nikon user describing the X100's still photos as "nothing short of excellent." However, a few complain about the camera's slow manual focus, quirky menu and outdated firmware. Several also warn that the tiny plastic adapter required for the battery charger is easily lost or misplaced. The overall rating is 4.2 stars out of 5.
Review: Fujifilm X100 Digital Camera, Contributors to Amazon.com