While opining about the iPhone, Chase Jarvis has eloquently coined the phrase “The best camera is the one you have with you”. How true. Yet I sometimes get a little frustrated with the ‘no-controls’ world of the iPhone and have often wished I had a fully functional, top-image quality point-and-shoot. So when word hit the street that Fuji had introduced the Finepix X100 I knew I wanted one.
Now, it’s not a Leica…but so far it is pretty damn close. And at 1/6th the price is just within reach of a substantial audience. I’ve had this camera for less than two weeks and since it has rarely left my side, numerous people have commented on the sweet, retro thing hanging around my neck. Though Fuji might be betting the farm on the X100, this beautiful, mostly metal homage to classic film cameras of the past looks AND feels like the real thing, albeit with a large digital sensor and plenty of bells and whistles.
The top and bottom are magnesium alloy and the dials on the top (allowing fully manual control) are made from metal, all lending the petite performer a solid, comforting feel. The shutter is virtually silent and its response is almost instantaneous. I wandered around the Baltimore Museum of Art recently, getting used to the interface and feeling wonderfully liberated.
The camera has a fixed 23mm f2 lens that mimics a 35mm lens on a traditional SLR and can be programmed to record digital images matching several of Fuji’s classic color emulsions. Combined with the ability to shoot HD movies and excellent-quality still images at high ISO’s, this camera rocks.