Saturday, July 16, 2011

Fuji X100 v1.10 firmware thoughts

Photographer at Work - X100, f/2, 1/40s, ISO 3200
 With all the excitement over getting the M9, I completely forgot about the new firmware for the X100 that Fuji released a few weeks ago.  I updated my camera as soon as the firmware became available but didn't use it much.

California Theatre - X100, f/2, 1/45s, ISO 3200
 There are many places where you can get the full list of changes in the new firmware version so I won't repeat them here.  I'll stick to just talking about the things that have been most important to me.  The most important thing for me is what Fuji has done to address the parallax issues when focusing on something close with the optical finder.  I highlighted in my original thoughts on the camera that for a lot of photography where the focus point wasn't at infinity I was finding the need to switch to the EVF.  Now, the camera puts up two boxes for an AF zone, one which represents what will be in focus if it were close the other if it were distant.

X100, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 2500
Using just a little bit of intuition you can line up the appropriate box and when AF is locked a new box will blink green to highlight what was in focus compensated for distance.  Simply put, this is fantastic.  Its a clever solution to this issue and with just a little bit of thought on the part of the photographer, its now possible to get what you want in focus even at distance as close as 2 or 3 feet.  Note that it isn't perfect, but its significantly better than before.  All of the images in this post were taken with AF, all with just the optical finder and all were bang on the first time.

San Jose Museum of Art - X100, f/2, 1/50s, ISO 3200
Most of the images you see here were taken last night.  My wife and I had an opportunity to spend the evening having dinner and hanging out in downtown San Jose, eventually shooting some pool.  It was the X100 that came with me not only because I figured it would be right focal length but because its the highest quality camera I own that fits in my spring jacket pocket.  I can't emphasize just how important that is.  As you can see a lot of these images were taken at ISO 3200 and the image quality to me eye is excellent.  Granted, I won't be doing exhibition fine art prints at this ISO but they are certainly clean enough for a decent 13x19.  

They other 2 important things that Fuji fixed in this firmware version is that the camera now remembers settings like Macro AF shot to shot as well as remembering settings when changing from aperture priority to manual, etc.  Also one other annoyance thats been fixed is that its now possible to shut off Red Eye reduction when shooting RAW (which was a bug I mentioned in my first X100 post).  Finally, just to demonstrate that I do occasionally make color images:

What Shot Next? - X100, f/2, 1/60s, ISO 3200
Its by no means a perfect camera and in most cases I prefer shooting with the M9 but I find it hard to beat for its size.  I am on a waiting list for a Leica 35mm f/1.4 Summilux FLE and who knows when it will come in (if I'm unlucky, it could be 6-12 months!).  I have been tempted to pick up a f/2 Summicron in the mean time but with just how good the X100 is I have opted against it.  

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