As camera lovers there are some cameras that have a special place. The Fujifilm X100 is one such camera. And having spent just a few minutes with the Fujifilm X100S - don't forget the all important "S" - that experience looks to have just got a whole lot better.
There are some standout features in this latest snapper, such as the X-Trans CMOS II sensor. We weren't able to test it out in full by any means, but if Fujifilm's claims of a 30 per cent improvement in low-light capabilities is true then that's a significant jump forward from what was already a quality sensor. It's the X-Trans part that's particularly important, however, as this means there's no low-pass filter and, if the X-Pro1's shots were anything to go by, then the X100S ought to be an absolute stormer.
READ: Fujifilm X-Pro1 review
What we can positively confirm is that the autofocus system has seen a significant jump forward. It's a whole lot faster than its two-year-old predecessor, though whether it's the "world's fastest" on all occasions is for debate. We were shooting in a dim room and, as long as there was enough contrast present, shots were jumping into focus on the rear LCD screen, but, predictably, more tricky scenes with a lack of contrast did cause the system to falter on occasion.
It is a shame that the 2.8-inch LCD screen is the very same as its predecessor as, for such a high-end compact, we feel it ought to be as cutting edge as they come. Bigger and more resolute next time please, Fuji.
But the viewfinder hasn't been left the same. Its higher-resolution 2.36-million dot resolution is so much sharper it almost hurts. It makes the likes of manual focusing that much easier and, in conjunction with either digital focus peaking or split image, it's quite exceptional.
The digital focus split will be one feature that ought to gather a lot of attention, particularly from rangefinder fans used to focusing in that way, or who simply find it easier to achieve focus by watching two opposing images drift into focus and "match" as the focus is achieved. The split image area is central to the screen only and will only show in black and white, not colour, in order to differentiate it from the remainder of the view.
But from what we've seen so far this is more than a worthy update to the classic camera. The Fujifilm X100S will be in the shops from March with a price of a fairly eye-watering $1,300, with other territory prices yet to be announced.
Is it worth the cash? We think so, but then this camera sure won't be for everyone. Its 23mm (35mm equivalent) focal length means no zooming, and the angle of view is fairly wide. But for those who have tried the original and loved it, this is the sort of natural progression we were hoping for.
READ: Fujifilm X100 review
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