Fujifilm X100S Review

Fujifilm X100S Review

The Fujifilm X100S retains the proven classic housing concept of the X100 as well as the concept with APS-C large sensor, fast fixed focal length lens and optical-electronic hybrid viewfinder. Technically, however, the Japanese manufacturer has significantly further developed the premium compact camera. A new APS-C sensor with 16.3 megapixel resolution and X-Trans technology is used. A color filter that is different from the usual Bayer filter provides a seemingly more random distribution of pixels, similar to that of the analog grain. This means that the resolution-reducing low-pass filter can be dispensed with, since moirés that would have to be suppressed cannot be created in the first place. In addition, the X100S features a more powerful EXR II image processor, which is now able to calculate diffraction blur and chromatic aberrations from the photos. The noise behaviour is said to have been improved by 30 percent compared to its predecessor.

Short evaluation


  • Very good image quality on the sensor side with high resolution potential and low noise
  • High-quality workmanship with classic design
  • Good operating concept with direct keys and Quick menu
  • Optical hybrid viewfinder with very fine resolution EVF


  • Weak-chested internal flash without sync to second shutter curtain
  • No smaller video resolutions than Full-HD
  • Inappropriately small and low resolution screen in the price range
  • Lens with weak resolution at open aperture, especially at the edge of the image, best results only from F11 on

Another new feature is the phase contrast hybrid autofocus. Depending on the situation, the camera determines the sharpness by means of the usual contrast measurement on the sensor or converts certain pixels to a phase sensor. Phase detection is particularly fast, contrast detection is more accurate. Fujifilm wants to achieve focusing times of 0.08 seconds according to the CIPA standard. The camera decides which measuring method is used at the moment; in dark environments, for example, the contrast autofocus works better. Manual focusing is now also easier thanks to two aids: either a peaking function is activated or the contrast edges are marked in color. This allows the photographer to see at a glance where the focus is. Or the camera simulates a split image indicator on the monitor with the help of phase measurement sensors. Now it’s up to the photographer, as with a classic split image indicator, to get interrupted lines in the subject congruently, because that’s exactly where the focus is.

Not only was Fujifilm able to accelerate the autofocus, but a new processor with its higher clock frequency enables a switch-on time of less than half a second, even between two shots only this short time passes by. The X100S takes continuous pictures at a maximum frequency of six frames per second, at full resolution even 29 shots at a time. The hybrid viewfinder is already known from the X100. It combines the advantages of a bright optical viewfinder with 0.5x magnification with those of an electronic viewfinder. Information can be displayed transparently in the optical viewfinder, such as the illuminated frame for the picture section, or the photographer can switch completely to the electronic display. This now resolves extremely fine 2.36 million pixels, which is particularly helpful for manual focusing or macro photography, for example, since the electronic viewfinder shows the image detail 100 percent and without parallax errors. If only the optical viewfinder is used, the battery power can be doubled by an energy saving mode. The 2.8-inch rear screen with a 7.1-centimeter diagonal, on the other hand, has a resolution of 460,000 pixels.

The X100s’ proven 23 mm lens offers a high luminous intensity of F2. Thanks to the APS-C sensor, it corresponds to a 35 millimetre lens with 35 mm image angle. The lens has an aperture with nine lamellas and a swing-in neutral density filter that reduces the light by three aperture steps. This allows a large aperture to be used to crop the subject against the background even in bright environments. Furthermore, the lens has a manual aperture ring, so that classic operation is possible together with the exposure time and exposure correction wheel. The classic operating concept is complemented by a Quick Menu, which provides quick access to important camera settings. The classic-looking case is made of die-cast magnesium and is extensively covered with a leather-like rubber that is said to be much more durable than leather. Creative photography supports the Fujifilm X100S with film simulation modes, some filter effects and a multiple exposure function that combines two shots into one. Fujifilm has also “drilled out” the video mode. This now captures 60 frames per second in full HD resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels and stores them at a high bit rate of 36 Mbps.

Ergonomics and workmanship

At first glance, the Fujifilm X100S hasn’t changed much in terms of appearance. It has the same solid metal case as the X100, which is in silver-black. The classic leathering is a rather smooth, grained rubber, which might be a bit more handy to hold the camera more securely. The Fujifilm X100S can’t necessarily be described as a particularly compact camera, despite the missing handle it’s easy to grab, after all its case offers enough volume and a healthy weight of 440 grams. Unfortunately, the metal tripod thread on the underside of the housing is still located away from the optical axis and in direct proximity to the battery and memory card compartment, so that both cannot be changed during tripod operation, a quick-release plate also prevents access. The SD card slot is compatible with SDHC and SDXC, providing a large arsenal of compatible cards even with very high storage capacities. The lithium-ion battery, which is charged outside the camera in the supplied charging cradle, is only sufficient for 300 shots according to the CIPA standard, so a second battery is advisable at least for more extensive photo tours.

On top of the camera there is a TTL flash shoe, the exposure time wheel, the switch directly on the shutter release, a programmable Fn button, which is also suitable due to the missing ISO button, and the exposure correction wheel, which in contrast to the exposure time wheel works in third steps instead of full time steps. The wheels are of high quality and made of metal. The shutter release has two well-defined pressure points and a thread that can be used to connect a classic cable release. While the left side of the camera hides the USB and HDMI ports behind a plastic flap that doesn’t look quite as high quality, the right side of the camera contains only the focus mode switch (more about this in the “Lens” section).


The camera front also has an important control element to offer: The small lever switches the viewfinder mode. The X100S is equipped with an optical-electronic hybrid viewfinder. This provides an optical viewfinder which uses a large, bright viewfinder image. Numerous electronic viewfinder displays as well as a luminous frame, which displays the picture section, are faded in. This moves closer to the lens with the focus distance or further away to compensate for parallax. Nevertheless, this illuminated frame is not 100 percent accurate. But if you pull the small lever at the front of the camera, the optical viewfinder is closed and you only see an electronic viewfinder image. With 2.36 million pixels, it has an even higher resolution than the X100, you can hardly recognize any pixels in it, the viewfinder image looks so fine. The electronic or hybrid viewfinder is activated by a proximity sensor, and Fujifilm has also thought of diopter compensation. The one for whom this is sufficient will be happy, because with glasses you cannot see the viewfinder completely, because then the eye is too far away from the viewfinder. The electronic viewfinder is a real delight, however, as it not only shows the finest details, but also a lot of other information such as the color effect or the exposure preview, which is only activated when the shutter release button is pressed halfway.

The fact that Fujifilm concentrated on the viewfinder can be seen on the 2.8 inch diagonal, somewhat small screen with a very poor resolution of 460,000 pixels. Especially in comparison to the viewfinder it seems quite pixelated, but you can work with it. The fact that the screen is barely legible in the brightest environments can be forgiven for the X100S’s great viewfinder concept. The X100 was criticized for its operating concept, because there are more options for setting up a diagital camera than an analog camera, white balance, ISO sensitivity, digital filters, resolution and compression, exposure measurement, autofocus fields, etc. The X100 is the only camera that can be used with a digital camera. Access to many of these parameters on the X100 was still via the menu or, after the firmware update, via a new quick menu. This is exactly what the X100S also has, instead of the RAW button at the bottom right of the back, the X100S has a Q menu button to call it up directly. What is annoying, however, is the fact that the video function or the panorama mode, for example, are still hidden in the “Drive” setting and are therefore rather neglected. A fast moving picture snapshot is therefore not possible with the X100S. As with the X100, Fujifilm has designed the menus quite clearly, the vertical scrolling can be accelerated by the tabs in order to get to the required functions faster.


Even though the X100S looks classic, it still offers numerous functions. However, motif programmes are not included. Depending on the setting on the exposure time wheel and the aperture ring, the X100S functions as a program machine, aperture machine, automatic timer or is controlled completely manually. ISO sensitivity can also be adjusted automatically or manually. The auto mode works even with manual selection of exposure time and aperture. In contrast to the X100, the ISO automatic can also be controlled directly via the ISO function and is no longer hidden deep in the menu. Upper and lower limits as well as the longest exposure time can be configured. But Fujifilm missed one improvement: The live histogram doesn’t work with the exposure preview, but fades out as soon as the exposure preview is activated. So it’s not good for manual exposure. The fade in virtual horizon and the grid lines, on the other hand, are very useful.

Fujifilm has significantly accelerated the reaction speeds of the camera, which is probably due to the new tandem of image sensor and image processor. The X100S thus achieves a continuous shooting speed of around 5.5 frames per second, slightly slower than the specified 6 frames per second. With the JPEG format, the camera holds out for a respectable 35 shots, a good six seconds. Raw, on the other hand, is already finished after eight pictures, i.e. after a good 1.5 seconds. In contrast to the X100, Full HD video mode records at 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, even at 30 or 60 frames per second, with modern H.264 compression. However, it is annoying that you cannot reduce the resolution to HD or VGA to save storage space or to do justice to a less powerful computer. After all, the X100S records the sound in stereo, but only via the built-in microphone. The Fujifilm can also adjust the focus during the recording with a very low background noise, as long as it is switched to AF-C. The Fujifilm is not affected by the noise. However, light pumping or driving off in the wrong direction, so that the image becomes blurred instead of sharper, has to be accepted with pans with focus shift.

The panorama function works with continuous images, whereby the pan direction and the pan range (120 or 180 degrees) can be selected. The vertical resolution is limited to 1,440 pixels for horizontal pans and 2,160 pixels for vertical pans, resulting in panorama resolutions between 9.2 and 20.7 megapixels. Thus, one should prefer vertical pans and turn the camera into portrait format if one wants a horizontal panorama. Thanks to the orientation sensor, the camera notices the use of the portrait format and displays the panorama correctly aligned in playback mode.

The built-in flash of the X100S still has more of an alibi function. With a guide number of only 4.5, it has a decent range due to the fast lens alone and higher ISO sensitivities. He cannot even flash on the second shutter curtain (at the end of the exposure), but thanks to the central shutter he can flash with any exposure time. For reasonable flash functions you should attach an external flash unit, thanks to the TTL system flash shoe this is no problem.

Some image effects (film simulation modes) are available for the recording, which are based on the analog films of Fujifilm. Velvia, for example, for particularly strong colours or Astia for muted presentation with soft colours and contrasts. Also black and white (even with simulated color filters) and sepia belong to it. Interesting are also two modes, which are particularly suitable for portrait shots, something by a softer representation of the skin. In playback mode, JPEG images can only be edited rudimentarily, such as cropping or resizing, and red-eye correction is also available. Raw images, on the other hand, offer numerous processing options, because the development function directly in the camera allows, for example, the adjustment of the white balance or the application of film simulation modes.


Everything’s the same here. Like its predecessor, the X100S has an F2.0 high-intensity fixed focal length with a focal length of 23 millimetres, which due to the APS-C sensor covers the same image angle as a 35 millimetre 35 mm lens; a classic reportage focal length. The practical aperture ring on the lens allows ergonomic manual dipping in full steps up to F16, and the aperture ring also has an automatic position, allowing the camera to switch to aperture or program automatic depending on the position of the exposure time wheel. Although the automatic position has no locking mechanism, the aperture ring engages so tightly that it is unlikely to be accidentally adjusted in practice. If, on the other hand, you want to adjust the aperture in finer third steps, you have to use the wheel-like rocker on the back of the camera. Up to 2/3 steps up or down the aperture can be corrected. The same applies, by the way, to the exposure times, which can be corrected in the same way, whereby one press on the wheel-like rocker is enough to change the setting option. Due to the central shutter, the X100S triggers very quietly, but not all exposure times are available for all apertures. At F2 and F2.8, 1/1,000 second is the shortest time, up to F5.6 it is 1/2,000 second and only at F8 is 1/4,000 second available. Fortunately, the X100S has a swing-in grey filter with three f-stops of light loss, so that the open aperture can also be used in brighter environments.

By the way, the X100S also has a dimming function: When the shutter release button is pressed halfway, the aperture closes to the set value and you can see how the depth of field expands or affects the image. By the way, the evaluation works much better in the high-resolution electronic viewfinder image than on the rather coarse-resolution screen. After all, the viewfinder offers five times the number of pixels. Unfortunately the Fujifilm does not offer a filter thread as standard, only the optional sun visor has a thread of 42 millimetres.

The autofocus of the X100S works much faster than that of the X100, but with about 0.44 seconds it doesn’t set any records either. The shutter release delay of only 0.02 seconds is excellent. The X100S is also excellent for manual focusing. Instead of the usual magnification that the X100s continues to offer, Fujifilm has given it a very innovative feature that makes nostalgics sit up and take notice and puts a focus-peaking function in the shade: The X100S has a digital split image indicator. The central area of the image field is slightly enlarged when the focus ring is rotated and divided into horizontal bars. The image is black and white and at the borders of these bars, the vertical or oblique motif structures are torn apart when they are not in focus. When you turn the focus ring, you can immediately see whether you are turning in the right direction and whether the image is sharp. It’s a shame, however, that the X100s doesn’t automatically focus with one press of the AF button when you focus manually, which would save a lot of fuss on the electronic lens focus ring.

By the way, Fujifilm has also changed another ergonomic detail: The focus mode selector switch on the camera side now has a different order of settings. AF-S and AF-C have changed position, which is why even gross motorists can now safely switch from automatic to manual focusing in the heat of the moment, whereas previously the AF-S position was in the middle. The Fujifilm X100S is less suitable as a macro camera. The close-up limit of 20 centimeters is quite respectable and shrinks to 10 centimeters in macro mode, but due to the short focal length this is not enough for breathtaking enlargements. About 7.5 centimetres in the picture width are only enough for larger insects, but whole flowers such as roses or tulips can already be impressively staged with it.

Picture quality

Compared to the X100, the X100S not only has an image sensor with 16 megapixels, about 30 percent higher resolution, but also does without a resolution-reducing low-pass filter and uses the new X-Trans technology, which was introduced with the X-Pro1.

In fact, the X100S achieves 20 to 50 percent higher resolution than the X100, depending on the aperture; it even cracks the limit of 50 line pairs per millimeter (lp/mm) at F11 in the image center. With an open aperture, on the other hand, the resolution is significantly lower, so the X100S should be dimmed for high-resolution images or the softer characteristics should be used profitably for your shots. The new sensor is less able to conceal the extremely weak edge resolution. In some cases it is less than half the resolution of the image center. More than 30 lp/mm can only be achieved with F11 and F16. Even on an A4 small print, the softer edge of the image can be seen, so that the X100S should be clearly dimmed. Sharpness artifacts are low on the X100S, by the way.

The lens performs better during vignetting. The brightness decreases very gently towards the edge of the image and is more noticeable in the measurement laboratory even with an open aperture; in practice, this is unlikely to play a role. The maximum 0.5 percent barrel distortion is also negligible. One could only criticize the slightly wavy characteristic here, since the distortion in the outermost corners of the picture decreases minimally again. Even chromatic aberration is almost perfectly under Fujifilm’s control, even at maximum they remain below one pixel width and thus play no role in practice.

There are very significant improvements in signal-to-noise ratio, although the X100S with 16 megapixels has a higher resolution than the X100 with 12 megapixels. Up to ISO 800 the X100S is over 40 dB, at ISO 100 and 200 the signal-to-noise ratio is even a very good 45 dB. Only at sensitivities above ISO 6.400 is the critical value of 35 dB undershot. Color noise plays no role over the entire sensitivity range, but brightness noise is easily visible over ISO 6,400. The noise of less than two pixels remains quite fine for a 16-megapixel camera. However, the low noise is obviously due to strong noise suppression. Only at ISO 100 is the X100S really crisp. Already at ISO 200, the texture sharpness drops abruptly, but then remains at a level up to ISO 1,600 where losses are measurable, but the images subjectively hardly appear softer. From ISO 3.200, on the other hand, the photos also become more detailed for the eye, above ISO 6.400 they are significantly softer. In the discipline of “texture sharpness”, the X100S even has to admit defeat to its predecessor X100.

The X100S also doesn’t cover itself with fame when it comes to input dynamics; it barely exceeds nine f-stops. However, the level of 8.6 to 9.1 f-stops can be maintained up to ISO 12,800, even the 8.2 f-stops at ISO 25,600 do not deviate greatly from it. However, the X100 has to admit defeat to the X100S in this discipline, which had peak values of up to 11.2 f-stops up to and including ISO 3,200 at a level of at least 10 f-stops. With the exception of ISO 100, the tonal value curve of the X100S is visibly divided, with mid-tones in particular being very rich in contrast and thus subjectively crisp. At ISO 100, the tonal value curve is significantly softer. This is due to the fact that the sensor has its basic sensitivity at ISO 200, the 100 ISO are achieved by signal attenuation, which is also clearly indicated in the ISO menu by the addition “(L)”. The X100S can shine again with the tonal range, here in particular up to ISO 800 peak values are reached. The Fujifilm only becomes noticeably worse at values of ISO 6,400 and higher. Their manual white balance is absolutely precise, and the colour reproduction is also pleasing with its accuracy. Even the colours that deviate the most from the original are still acceptable close to the original. The X100S is capable of differentiating between many colour gradations (over eight million), especially up to ISO 800, but even at the highest ISO levels there are no critical drops, because over two million colours are always achieved. All in all, it remains to be hoped that Fujifilm will equip the successor model with a lens with a higher resolution at the edge of the picture, because the bottom line is that the edge blur remains the biggest flaw of the X100S, which is also noticeable in practice.


Bottom line

Overall, the Fujifilm X100S makes a more mature impression than the X100. Many functions and the operation have been improved, also the image quality increases by the new sensor and the improved processing; even the speed of the camera profits. But Fujifilm still leaves some potential for a successor open, some smaller functions and especially the quality of the lens can be improved on the way to perfectionism. With its outstanding workmanship, professional equipment and above all the outstanding viewfinder with its operating concept that is well suited to practical use, the Fujifilm X100S already contributes to making it a convincing camera that you don’t like to forget at home when it comes to capturing subjects authentically.

Fact sheet

Fact sheet
Manufacturer Fuji film
Model X100S
Price approx. 1.200 EUR
Sensor Resolution 16.3 megapixels
Max. Image resolution 4.896 x 3.264
(aspect ratio) (3:2)
Lens F2,0/35mm
Filter threads 42 mm (optional)
Viewfinder Hybrid (optical and electronic)
Diopter correction -2 to +1 dpt.
Disbandment 2.360.000
Enlargement 0,5x
Field coverage 90-100 %
LCD monitor 2,8″
Disbandment 460.000
as viewfinder yes
Video output HDMI
as viewfinder yes
Program automation yes
Aperture priority yes
Aperture priority yes
manual exposure yes
BULB long-term exposure yes, B- and T-mode
Scene modes
Exposure metering Multi-field, Centre-weighted Integral, Spot
Flash yes
Guide number approx. 4,5
Flash connection TTL system flash shoe
Remote release wire
Interval shooting
Storage medium SD/SDHC/SDXC
Video mode
Size MOV
Codec H.264
Resolution (max.) 1.920 x 1.080
Frame rate (max.) 60 images/s
automatic ISO 200-6.400
(upper and lower limit adjustable)
manually ISO 100-25.600
White balance
Automatic yes
Sun yes
Clouds yes
Fluorescent lamp yes
Light bulb yes
Other Diving, manual color temperature selection, WB fine correction
Manual yes
Number of measuring fields k. A.
AF auxiliary light whitely
Speed approx. 0.44 s
Languages Yes
more 34 languages
Switch-on time approx. 1 s
One-hand operation
(zoom and shutter release)
440 g
Continuous shooting function*
Number of series images
35 (JPEG)
8 (RAW)
5.5 (JPEG)
5.6 (RAW)
Endurance run
2.6 (JPEG)
0.5 (RAW)
with flash
Zoom adjustment
Zoom levels
Time WW to Tele
Memory speeds*
JPEG approx. 1 s (5.5 MByte)
RAW approx. 3 s (32.2 MByte)
Triggering during
.Save as possible.
Battery life approx. 300 pictures (acc. to CIPA)

8 GByte SanDisk Class 10 30 MB/s SDHC Memory card


Short evaluation


  • Very good image quality on the sensor side with high resolution potential and low noise
  • High-quality workmanship with classic design
  • Good operating concept with direct keys and Quick menu
  • Optical hybrid viewfinder with very fine resolution EVF


  • Weak-chested internal flash without sync to second shutter curtain
  • No smaller video resolutions than Full-HD
  • Inappropriately small and low resolution screen in the price range
  • Lens with weak resolution at open aperture, especially at the edge of the image, best results only from F11 on

Fujifilm X100S Datasheet


Sensor CMOS sensor APS-C 23.6 x 15.8 mm (Crop factor 1.5
)16.3 megapixels (effective)
Pixel pitch 4.8 µm
Photo resolution
4.896 x 2.752 pixels (16:9)
2.592 x 2.592 pixels (1:1)
2.496 x 1.664 pixels (3:2)
Picture formats JPG, RAW
Colour depth k. A.
Metadata Exif (version 2.3), DCF standard
Video resolution
1.920 x 1.080 (16:9) 60 p
Video format
MOV (Codec H.264)
Audio format (video) WAV


Focal length 35 mm (35mm equivalent)
Apertures F2 to F16 (wide angle)
Autofocus yes
Autofocus Functions Single AF, Continuous AF, Manual, AF Assist Light
Focus control Depth of field check
Filter threads 42 mm

Viewfinder and Monitor

Monitor 2.8″ TFT LCD monitor with 460,000 pixels
Video viewfinder Video viewfinder available


Exposure metering Center-weighted integral measurement, matrix/multi-field measurement over 256 fields, spot measurement
Exposure times 1/4,000 to 1 s (Auto
)1/4,000 to 30 s (Manual)Bulb Function
Exposure control Program automatic, Aperture automatic, Time automatic, Manual
Bracketing function Bracket function with maximum 3 shots, step size from 0.3 to 1 EV
Exposure compensation -2.0 to +2.0 EV with step size of 1/3 EV
Sensitivity to light ISO 200 to ISO 6,400 (automatic
)ISO 100 to ISO 12,800 (manual)
Remote access non-existent
Scene modes This model does not have any scene mode feature.
White balance Sun, Shadow, Incandescent light with 3 presets, Manual
Color space Adobe RGB, sRGB
Continuous shooting Continuous-advance function max. 6 frames/s at highest resolution and max. 31 stored photos, 9 consecutive images at RAW, optional recording at 3 or 6 frames/s
Self-timer Self-timer at intervals of 2 s, special features: or 10 s (optional)
Shooting functions Live histogram


Flash built-in flash shoe
: Fujifilm, standard center contact
Flash range 0.5 to 9.0 m at wide-angle at
ISO 1.600
Flash functions Auto, Flash On, Flash Off, Slow Sync, Red-eye Reduction


Image stabilizer no optical image stabilizer
Internal memory yes (20 MByte)
Power supply Power supply connection
Power supply 1 x Fujifilm NP-95 (lithium ion (Li-Ion), 3.6 V, 1,800 mAh)
Playback Functions Red eye retouching, image index, slide show function
Voice memo Voice memo (WAV format)
Grid can be faded in during recording yes
Special functions Electronic spirit level
Ports Data interfaces: USB USB Type
: USB 2.0 High Speed Video Output
: yes (HDMI Mini Output (Type C))
Supported direct printing methods Exif Print, PictBridge
Tripod socket 1/4″
Features and Miscellaneous Hybrid viewfinder system (optical viewfinder with mirrored EVF
)ND filter (3 EV steps)
Exposure time of 1/4000 s only at F8 or low dynamic range setting
(100 %, 200 % and 400 %)
Film simulation bracketing (Provia/Standard, Velvia/Vivid, Astia/SoftDynamic range
Bracketing (DR 100 %, DR 200 %, DR 400 %)
ISO bracketing ( /- 1/3, 2/3 or 1 EV)
Maximum exposure time in bulb mode: 60 minute continuous
autofocusdistance indicatorTTL flash shoe(Fujifilm)
Stereo sound during video recordingFocus controlRAW buttonAdjustmentof image sizeAdjustment of
image sectionFavorites playback digitalsplit imageinidkatorelektronische

Size and weight

Weight 460 g (ready for operation)
Dimensions W x H x D 126 x 74 x 54 mm


included accessories Fujifilm NP-95 Special batteryBattery charger
BC-65NUSB-connection cableLens protection capRiser strap
optional accessory Fujifilm AC-3/5V power supply unitFujifilm
EF-42 clip-on flash with swivel reflectorremovable memory cardadapter ringAR-X100flash unit
EF-20leather bag
USB 2.0 High Speed


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