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Act a Fuji: Four Months with the X100S

For all you hipster and pro photogs out there, I’m sure you already know that the X100S has already been out for quite some time now. So if you’re looking for another one of those lengthy, technical, in-depth pixel peeping reviews about this camera? Then you’ve most definitely came to the wrong place.

This is about a four month adventure with a piece of technology that the good folks from Fujfilm generously offered to let me put on my left shoulder. A journey through life as someone who makes pictures for a living. 

I didn’t know much about the X100S to be honest other than all the Internet hype I’ve read. But that’s about it. I already own the best set of tools for myself that is needed to do my job, so it didn’t really cross my mind to look elsewhere at that time.

But then this X100S made me turn my head…a few times. For some reason I still don’t know.

Ah, why not give this unusual opportunity a shot I asked myself.

So here goes:

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Box from Fuji arrives on the doorstep.

If you're like me who just tends to leave the manual still in its plastic wrap or briefly flip through the pages under a minute, then you'll find yourself not taking full advantage of what this camera can do. This was the case for me and it involved Fuji directing a few tips out via email with some links and PDF's. Nice of them to do this really whereas I should’ve been checking out the manual prior to running around like a chicken with its head cut off. So step 1: spend some time looking at the manual.

During the period of four months, this camera has seen some domestic and international miles. Nagoya, Kyoto, South Korea, and two trips to Los Angeles. Enough travel to be convinced that this thing actually made my life a little easier. Since the X100S has been inside my working bag along with the Canon gear. Never left home without it. Even shot a couple jobs with it as my primary camera but the Canon’s still in the bag as backup. You gotta always have a backup. Always.

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The very first thing that stood out most when shooting pictures with the X100S is that it achieves nearly perfect color and tone in almost every shot. And the feel of my images gave it that sorta sweet film look to it rather than those artifical looking colors that most DSLR's produce. Say goodbye to Photoshop when using this camera. If you're a digital artist/Photoshopper this camera probably isn't for you. This camera is made for photographers.

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This photo is shot inside the hipster hangout of Urth Caffe in the Arts District of Downtown Los Angeles. 1/15 at F2, -0.7 EV, ISO 800.

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The X100S is dead silent which made it appropriate for me to use it on assignment during a corporate conference. 1/15 at F2, ISO 1600.

How about highlights and shadows? Effortless. Not much fiddling around with camera settings. Just point and shoot and you're good (assuming you already know your basic photography fundamentals).

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Above is the original photo shot straight from the camera up in the hills at the Getty Museum in Los Angeles. 1/220 at F16, +1 EV, ISO 800. 

This camera does a pretty amazing job at handling those ranges from light to dark. If I used my Canon, something would've been either over, under, or just simply unusable.

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This is the edited version in Photoshop with slight adjustments to the exposure, contrast, highlights, and shadows. I actually prefer the unedited version.

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No light modifiers or anything fancy here. Details are all in the photo and nothing seems to be lost. Aperture Priority at F2, ISO 400.

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I love shooting sunsets with the X100S. On the plane at LAX. 1/800 at F8, ISO 800.

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This Fuji can render skin tones and balance the available light like no other camera that I've seen straight out of the camera. 1/60 at F2, ISO 800. Ran a 30 percent unsharp mask in Photoshop and that's it.

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The X100S is great for shooting people even in low light without any flash. 1/60 at F2, ISO 800 with a 30% unsharp mask. Done deal.

And here are some other shots taken with the X100S:

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The exterior of Urth Caffe in Los Angeles. For decent coffee and good food, this is the place to hang if you're a hipster.

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A good day to be on the streets of Seoul with the X100S. It's fast, quiet and responsive. The perfect camera for street shooting.

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Beautiful blues in Seoul. 1/1300 at F4, +0.7 EV, ISO 200.

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The X100S is the go to camera you want to take when you travel. Leave the DSLR's at home. Enjoy your actual vacation by not having to dig around in your camera bag deciding which body and lens to use. As some would say, "keep it simple, stupid!"

So there you have it. If you could live with a fixed lens then this is the near perfect camera for the full-time working professional to use on certain jobs, to serious camera enthusiasts.

If you had to ask me: will the X100S go in my bag for work or pleasure? It certainly will.

Unless tomorrow's January 28th official release of the Fujifilm X-T1 so happens to suddenly change my mind... ;-)