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The Fuji X100s – The New York test. (If it can make it here, yadda yadda yadda).

After a seeming eternity of waiting for the X100s to come out, and checking Zack Arias’ blog for reviews obsessively every 6 hours, my new toy finally came on Friday.

This weekend, I gave it the full New York test. I took it to the HighLine, Midtown, Prospect Park and the completely amazing New York Easter Bonnet Parade. Here are the photos. A brief (and very unscientific) review and comparison to the X100, X-E1 and Olympus OMD is below.

I shot all of the photos in JPG. I edited them in Lightroom and sometimes Nik/Google Color Efex and Silver Efex pro. Not necessarily because the images needed it – the straight out of camera JPGs were beautiful and many of them really didn’t need any work at all. Not even a levels adjustment. I just enjoy playing in the digital darkroom, and I tend to like my images to be a bit more saturated than what I get out of the camera.

Without further adieu, here are the pictures:

The Highline.

(Or High Line. I’m never sure what’s right)

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Tourists. (Rolls eyes)

Midtown

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Disco Street
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Party in the payphone!

The New York Easter Bonnet Parade on 5th Avenue
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Happy Easter, 1980s robot guy!
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Fact: if you put a yorkie in a tiny box, people totally lose their shit.

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This couple was celebrating their 65th wedding anniversary.

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The Subway

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Shhhh. Don’t wake him!

Prospect Park (Warning: this section is nothing but gratuitous photos of my dog)

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A very brief and very unscientific mirrorless camera comparison:

Before settling on the X100s, I test-drove the Fujifilm X-E1, the Olympus OMD EM-5 EIEIO and the Fuji X100 from LensRentals.com. Here’s a quick rundown of my thoughts on the three.

Fujifilm X-E1 – I had a love/hate relationship with the X-E1. I dug the look and feel of the camera. But hated the electronic viewfinder. (That’s not to say the X-E1’s was particularly bad. I just can’t seem to get used to the electronic viewfinder look in any camera.) The image quality was great. The autofocus was sluggish. I actually thought I was going to buy this camera until I went to B&H photo, picked up the Olympus and saw how much faster the autofocus worked. So I rented the…

Olympus OMD EM5 – I had the opposite experience with the Olympus. The autofocus was so freaking fast, it practically locked in before I even thought about taking a picture. But I didn’t like the ergonomics of the camera. It felt clumsy in my hands. I didn’t like the weird thumb nipple thingy on the back. The playback button is tiny and couldn’t be more awkwardly placed. And unlike the AV and exposure compensation dials on the fuji, the ones on the OMD aren’t labeled, so you’ve got mystery settings until you look through the lens. I like to glance down at the camera and know exactly what I’m going to get at a glance so when I see the shot happening, I can know right away if I need to adjust for it. If I have to look through the viewfinder, read the settings, then change, I’ve already missed the moment. The image quality just wasn’t up to par with the Fuji either. Especially at ISOs at 800 or higher – the noise on the Olympus just looked kind of smeary. Like oil paint. Whereas the noise on the X-E1 (and the two X100s) looked more like film grain. At least to my eye.

Sony Whatever It’s Called – I picked it up at B&H Photo. I hated it. I put it back down and walked away.

Fujifilm X100 – I’m used to shooting with a zoom lens, so it took a good 2 weeks to get used to not being able to zoom in and shoot stuff across the street. Once I got used to the 23mm length, I fell in love with this camera. After trying to use the EVF on the Fuji X-E1 and Olympus OMD, the X100’s optical viewfinder was a revelation. Especially for street photography – I love that you can see people outside of the frame, anticipate, then wait for them to walk through. It’s nice to have the option to switch back and forth between EVF and OVF, but to be honest, I rarely use it. I’m in OVF about 90% of the time and only switch to EVF for close-up shots to make sure I’m not cutting off someone’s forehead. Yes, the AF was slower than I’d like, as seemed to be the interweb’s biggest gripe about the camera. But the real smack-myself-on-the-forehead-and-shout-out-obscenities frustration was the lack of accuracy. Especially when shooting people less than 5 feet away. The X100 just seemed to have a sense of humor about it. It thought it was HILARIOUS to pretend to lock focus right on some guy’s nose only to actually focus on the garbage cans 5 feet behind him. (To it’s credit, the garbage cans were tack-sharp and the dynamic range was a thing of beauty.)

Fujifilm X100s – I was giddy for the X100s to show up. Especially after reading all of the reviews claiming that all the “quirks” (namely, the friggin autofocus doesn’t work) were fixed. After 3 days of use, I can say for sure that the AF issues are definitely taken care of. I’m still not sure the AF is quite as fast as the Olympus, but we’re talking milliseconds difference. This camera (the X100s) just makes you want to go out and make pictures. I’m antsy to go out again tomorrow. It’s a joy to use.

As an aside, as soon as the X-Pro 2 or whatever it’s going to be called comes out with the X100s’ autofocus capabilities, I’m seriously considering putting my Canon 7D kit on ebay and going all-mirrorless.

I hope you enjoy the post. There will be lots more photos to come. For all the updates, follow me on Flickr at http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianeden/

Happy snapping,

Brian

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