Tag Archives | camera

Fujifilm FinePix X100

finally got mine
Canon 5D Mark II, 100/2.8L IS, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/200

The X100 is arguably the most anticipated camera this year, and rightfully so. Instead of adding crap superzoom lenses, or packing more unusable MPs onto the sensor, Fujifilm decided to include a 23mm f/2 Fujinon prime lens, a 12MP APS-C size sensor, optical viewfinder with electronic viewfinder inside (more of this later), solid body with throwback styling, and quiet leaf shutters. If you do the math, the X100 has a pixel density of 3.3MP/cm²! As a reference, the Canon 5D Mark II’s full-frame sensor has a pixel density of 2.4MP/cm² (lower is better), that’s pretty damn impressive for a cam that is small enough to lug around town. On paper, the X100 is pretty much the perfect “decisive moment digital”. I knew I had to get one to test it out, I was on the pre-order lists at almost everywhere that took X100 pre-orders, I got lucky when Amazon had them in stock for a little while last week, they have since sold out.

I’ve had it for 500 frames now, it’s by far the best small camera I’ve shot with, and I’ve tried most of them out there: G11, LX3, X1, GF1, GF2, E-P1. A couple quick points on the X100 with image samples:

Pros

  • Small and lightweight, yet build quality is superb
  • the leaf shutter is extremely quiet
  • 23mm f/2 lens is very sharp, even at wide-open. Contrast is also very good
  • _DSF0400
    ISO 800, f/2, 1/240

  • 9-blade round aperture, bokeh is better than any non-L lens I’ve seen, and it’s almost as good as L lens with curved blades
  • _DSF0506
    ISO 200, f/2, 1/250

  • Noise control in high ISO settings is spectacular, noise is very film-like. I don’t mind noise, but I do mind SHITTY noise from crap small sensors. ISO 3200 is very usable, in-camera noise reduction in JPEGs is amazingly good, luminance NR in Lightroom 3 also works really well
  • Love in Washington Square
    ISO 3200, f/2, 1/5 (handheld)

  • Color rendition, at least in JPEGs, is great. If you’re used to shooting Fuji negatives, you will like the colors. I haven’t figured out how to get the colors to look right in RAW yet, and there is no color profiles for the X100 in ACR or Lr3 at the moment
  • The tiny built-in flash works great as a fill flash, flash metering works great. I used it in slow sync mode and it worked really well
  • OVF is bright and the superimposed info and AF points are useful. Using a VF also helps stabilize the cam when you’re shooting at shutter speeds that you probably shouldn’t be handholding at
  • EVF image review is great, I had an “holy shit” moment when I first saw it pop up
  • EVF allows live-mode shooting, great for macros and when you need precise framing
  • The AF pattern is awesome, much better than the odd diamond pattern on my 5D Mark II, off-center AF is relatively fast
  • Built-in sheet-type ND filter reduces light to 1/8 (3 stops), this is useful for shooting portraits outdoor at wide  apertures
  • Metering is very accurate, I shot mainly with “multi” metering setting with EV compensation adjustments. It handled tricky situations flawlessly
  • ISO3200
    ISO 3200, f/2, 1/40, multi-zone metered with 0 EV

  • Manual controls for EV adjustments, apertures and shutter speeds

Cons

  • Small buffer and slow SD card write speed, worse yet, you can’t change AF point or any camera settings during SD writeback
  • MF is difficult, it takes forever to turn the focusing ring. If you’re used to using real rangefinders, by the time you put your eye to your VF the lens should already be in focus from experience. You can’t do that with the X100. You also can’t use OVF to MF (X100 is NOT a rangefinder, in case you’re still confused)
  • Need more customizable buttons, the RAW button is unnecessary, there’s only 1 programmable button, I set it to ISO adjustments, but also want a button for DoF preview
  • Some features are silly, like fake shutter sounds (you can choose between leaf shutter, focal plane shutter, or mirror reflex sound). At least for me, I love how the leaf shutter is quiet and I don’t need any stupid sound when I press the shutter
  • It’s hard to hold the AF switch in the back of the cam to choose AF points. There should be a AF points selection mode, and you should be able to enter that mode with a switch accessible with your right hand while shooting, leaving your left hand on the lens
  • Menu is not very intuitive, it’s also slow, and I find the command dial a bit hard to use
  • OVF is only good to 80cm because of parallax, the X100 should automatically switch to the EVF when it’s below that
  • Battery takes forever to charge, I have no idea why, it’s not a super high capacity battery. The charger sucks, it has no flip-out prongs

More shots from the X100


ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/600, ND filter


ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/500, ND filter, +1/3 EV

_DSF0422
ISO 800, f/2, 1/240

_S030426
ISO 800, f/2, 1/20

_S070431
ISO 800, f/2, 1/450, -2/3 EV

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Canon PowerShot G11 initial impressions

G11 shots

I was pretty excited when Canon announced the

Canon PowerShot G11. My SLR rig is too large, and I want a decent walk-around camera. The G11, from the specs, seems to fit the criterias for a DMD (decisive moment digital). You can tell the lens on the G11 is incredible from the samples at the Canon Japan site. The decreased pixel count is great as that means lower (better) pixel density – 23MP/cm² – which should translate to better noise performance in high ISO settings. Noise control is very important to me, especially with a P&S. Built-in flash almost never yield decent shots, it is best to turn flash off when shooting indoor. In fact, I only use it for fill flash, and to get catch lights in the eyes, not as a primary light source. I was really anxious to pick up a G11, I checked Amazon daily for weeks. When I learned that Best Buy had them in stock, I immediately went to check it out. I played with their demo unit in store, it was fairly obvious that the noise performance wasn’t great from playback shots on the LCD. The next day I found a 10% coupon, that made Best Buy’s price comparable to ordering online. Knowing that American Express would refund my restocking fee if I want to return it, I went back and picked one up. I’ve had the G11 for 5 days, shot around 500 frames. I am not 100% happy satisfied with it, and I haven’t decided if I’m keeping it. Some quick thoughts on this camera:

Pros

  • Great lens, the lens is one of the best I’ve seen in a P&S, and I would say it’s better than crappy “kit lens” that come with most entry-level D-SLRs. The G11 is actually very sharp at wide open aperture
  • Wide angle, pretty useful when shooting in tight spaces. It also shoots great WA macro shots, something you really need a P&S for
  • It shoots RAW, this gives me more flexibility in post-processing
  • Hotshoe for flash! I can mount a Canon Speedlite on it and the camera does accurate E-TTL flash metering. It works very well with bounced flash as well. The hotshot also allows syncing to strobes in studio with PocketWizards and other remote triggering devices. The following shot was done with a bounced 580EX II:

G11 takes decent macro shots
G11, ISO 100, 6.1mm, f/2.8, 1/60s

G11 shots
G11 + 580EX II

G11 shots
side profile of camera with 580EX II attached

  • Manual controls, this is pretty important to me, the G11, like most highend P&S, allows full manual controls of aperture, shutter speed, and focus
  • Image Stabilization works well
  • Swivel screen is nice, not because I like to take pictures of myself, but because I can flip it around to protect the screen

G11 shots

G11 shots

  • Control knobs for ISO settings, EV compensation, and shooting modes. They allow quick adjustments without having to go through the menu, they also feel really solid

G11 shots

G11 shots

  • Noise control in JPEGs is decent (more on this later)
  • Metering is very accurate, and it even has a spotmeter
  • Great battery life, after a few days of decent use the battery is still full

Cons

  • NOISE!! Anything above ISO 800 is unusable IMO, especially in RAW. This is very disappointing, I expected much better noise control from this sensor – maybe my expectation is unrealistic. JPEGs are clearner because the camera has hardware noise reduction, so I shoot RAW+JPEG
  • Weight! Very solid construction, but heavy for a P&S, it is also large enough that it won’t fit in jeans pockets (unless you want sick stretch and fades)
  • Price. MSRP is $500, and street prices are higher than the Panasonic LX3 right now, for a bit more I could get the DLUX4, both of these got a even better lens!
  • The viewfinder is absolutely useless, I don’t even see AF points or even just a bracket in there
  • Slow AF, maybe it’s fast for a P&S, but AF and response time is not even close to what I’m used to, and not much faster than the SD series P&S
  • Variable aperture, I hate zoom lenses with variable aperture
  • It would be nice to have a front adjustment ring around the lens like the S90, that would be useful for manual focusing
  • AF assist light, it is on by default, and is very annoying
  • Video capability is a joke, for $500, it really should do HD videos

Some test shots with the G11

more g11 snaps
G11, 6.1mm, f/8, 1/200s, ISO 80

more g11 snaps
G11, 12mm, f/8, 1/125s, ISO 125

more G11 tests
G11, 6.1mm, f/2.8, ISO 80

G11 photowalk
G11, 30.5mm, f/4.5, 1/100s, ISO 800

G11 photowalk
G11, 6.1mm, f/3.2, 1/60s, ISO 640

By the way,

Amazon now has it in stock:

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