Ever since I switched from Canon to Sony ive been a huge promoter of Sony cameras. One for their size, amazing autofocus, and dynamic range. However Id been hearing things about these little “street cameras”. Given my day job of flying planes I thought this could be a great suitcase camera. They sport a 35mm equivalent lens that shoots wide open at f2. Sony has a variant, but its ludicrously expensive. Being that I wanted to compliment my pro gear, not replace it, my budget was not that high. I landed on a used X100F on craigslist locally. First impressions, it looks and feels great in my hands. Has a nice weight of quality to it and the black and silver color scheme are classic.
The controls are simple enough. Fuji smartly designed a quick menu (Q button on the back) where you can change all the normally used settings. Everything can also have a custom function. Even the focus ring, can be set to different functions. In the interest of keeping this as point and shoot as possible, the only thing I changed was to turn all the buttons off except the Q button and set the top custom button to turn the ND filter on and off. Auto focus performance isn’t Sony good but its damn good. It even manages face and eye recognition when subjects are facing you! So for those group photos when you hand the camera to someone, it WILL be in focus in the correct place.
The 35mm equivalent lens thats permanently attached is a perfect focal length for most casual shots. The background blur is rendered well on the crop sensor and the raw files it cranks out have excellent dynamic range. Im used to Sony full frame dynamic range and the Fuji didn’t feel lacking as a comparison.
Shooting into the sun wide open I expected to see some chromatic aberration, but was pleasantly surprised to see little to none. The shutter can go to some ridiculous 1/32000th of a second so shooting wide open is never an issue. And if you happen to be shooting pictures next to the sun it has a built in ND filter?!
Low light performance was shockingly good. Shooting as high as ISO 3200 is no problem. ISO6400 the noise starts to become noticeable but by no means is it unusable. It doesn’t however have any vibration reduction, so Id stick with 1/60th or faster on the shutter speed for hand held shots.
Here’s an edited shot from a RAW file. Just look at the detail in the shadow areas?! This camera is a little beast. Something I never thought I would need because I have my pro level full frame sony stuff, but its a worthy contender for the times when you don’t want a 5lb weight in your hand with thousands of dollars in glass hanging off it. Youll get pictures you always wanted but couldn’t get because you didn’t feel comfortable lugging out that pro gear. Its so easy to use your significant other will now be able to include you in the family photo albums!
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