By Thom Hogan.
Some selected quotes.
"But the camera has an incomplete feel to it, and that mostly comes through the firmware, which means the buttons and menu system, as well as the underperforming focus system."
"The viewfinder, which is the center of attention on this camera, is good, but I have to admit I'm a bit disappointed in practice: the optical side isn't nearly accurate enough and the EVF side is good but not outstanding."
"Still, the camera has some near fatal flaws: for example, if it powers down due to inactivity, pressing the shutter release doesn't bring it back to life. So you cycle the On/Off button and the power-on sequence is not fast to begin with."
"Oh, and a proprietary US$130 lens hood? Stinkaroo on that. Shame on Fujifilm for playing that game. Skip for now"
A review and comparison with the Panasonic GF1 from Michael Carpentier. Translated by Google, so beware.
So its a familiar route for a new camera. First the hype, followed by the raves, followed by the doubts, followed by the kicking.
In a world dominated by by impatience and the desire for instant gratification, the notion of a camera that you have to work with and learn how to use seems very old-fashioned. I'm as keen as the next photographer for easy intuitive handling and I had many criticisms about the X100 and its menu system. While it does need some improving, my suspicions about how and why it is structured like it is are beginning to make sense. I've mentioned before that there are no easy options. There's no default auto everything. You have to tell the camera what you want, how you want to work. To a certain extent you have have to do this every time you switch on the camera.
I'm beginning to work out what I want with it and how I want to set it up. I'm still making errors but its getting easier. There are however good reasons for me taking this time and trouble.
The Image quality really is extraordinary. Beautiful rich colour, sharp and with little CA and fringing, the pictures are a delight to look at, either jpg or from raw.
The viewfinder is such a pleasure to work with. I don't want to use any other camera at the moment and this is mostly the reason why.
The focusing, provided I select the right mode (macro or normal) is 100% accurate. No its not the fastest, but its fast enough for me and give me accuracy over speed any time.
Its a pleasure to hold in the hand. Its also very easy to change settings when holding the camera up to my eye. I had some concerns about this, but once I started to get more familiar with it, the layout is actually very well designed.
Its not perfect, what is, but even if there is no serious firmware update, I can live with whats there now. In many ways its a quite revolutionary camera, though the virtues of handing back control to the photographer are hardly new. However these days it is a quite radical approach. Perhaps the thing I like the most is the same feeling I get from Leicas. The impression that I'm not being treated like an idiot, that I have a brain and can make my own decisions about what and how I photograph. I also like the assumption that I know something about photography or am prepared to learn, and that I'm prepared to take some time to get the best out of it.
It is a "photographers camera" and there's nothing wrong with that.