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Why I sold my X100
Old 11-17-2011   #1
intheviewfinder
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Why I sold my X100

The basic feel of the camera was wonderful, the viewfinder is spectacular, a quite capable lens, and the sensor could create some beautiful images.

But there were just too many issues to really satisfy. Too many times I had to fiddle with the darn thing. The best thing about this camera is the viewfinder and it's sensor. At best the controls are a mixed bag. If I put the camera in a bag or a jacket pocket dials would turn and settings would change. Often the exposure compensation dial rotated (I've noticed I wasn't the only one with this problem). The tiny rear jog dialed just plain sucked for feel (and I don't have big meaty hands). Manual focus is unusable. Auto focus was always an issue especially anything within 3 feet. If both the subject and I were moving AF sucked. I always had to plant myself and let the subject come into view and then fire, even then it could miss 30% of the time. And shooting f/8 all the time is not my idea of fun.

Can you tell I'm pretty disappointed? I thought there was a chance they would improved this design. I sense an engineering staff with loose oversight. They are already dropping the current sensor to put in something completely new while ignoring all of the minor design flaws in the current product. They need some product engineers to slow them down a bit in order to mature their ideas. Maybe Fuji should purchase Olympus and use their ergonomic engineering staff to supplement their sensor group. I can only hope they get one of these cameras right someday.

I'd give it a 6 out of a 10. Not good enough to keep. I sold it.

In any case you can see some of my shots with the camera over in my Flickr set including one of the bad ones.

It's a nice camera but too many problems for me to tie $1200usd into. For those of you enjoying it great, I'm sure you'll produce wonderful images. I'm not out to spoil the party but just give a little different point of view. Now where did I put my MP?

--Rich

Last edited by intheviewfinder : 11-17-2011 at 16:07.
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Old 11-17-2011   #2
anthony_semone
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Hey Rich,

rented one from LensRentals prior to going to Paris. Thought it'd be just what I needed for photo'g on the streets. Your experiences with it duplicated mine. Sent it back to LensRentals (a fantastic outfit BTW) straightaway.
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Old 11-17-2011   #3
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I just sold mine too, for many of the same reasons. I never really got along with the camera, though it could indeed take great pictures given the sensor and lens.
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Old 11-17-2011   #4
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I agree. The sensor and viewfinder along with the amazing high ISO performance aren't worth a cracker if you use it in conditions where it's difficult to achieve consistent focus.

Damned fine effort by Fuji none the less IMO ... 'mighty oaks from little acorns grow!'

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Old 11-17-2011   #5
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I love mine. I can't see myself selling it. The little issues you mention don't seem to bother me. Manual focus does suck, but I don't have any problems with AF and i'd probably use it mostly on this camera anyway due to the lack of a rangefinder or split screen. That said, I don't shoot a lot of things in motion. Close focus is fine with the EVF btw. The only real issue I had was the 'sticky aperture blade' problem, but Fuji fixed it and it's good as new. I love mine.
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Old 11-17-2011   #6
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The manual focusing of these cameras is misunderstood, in my opinion. Yes, if you try to manually focus by rotating the focus ring, it takes forever to reach focus. However, just like the Contax G cameras, if you use the focusing button on the back (it falls right under your thumb when holding the camera in your right hand), 'manual' focus is a snap. And I mean SNAP!

Put the camera in manual mode (simple slider button on the side of the camera). Press the focusing button and the focus immediately locks on whatever you have it pointed at, and it stays focused at that distance until you re-press the button. Perfect for manually focusing on a desired object, or for zone focusing. Its a GREAT system. I can easily focus on the subject as fast as I ever did with Leicas, maybe faster.
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Old 11-17-2011   #7
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Richard, I just had a look at your flickr set using the X100. Man... a LOT of gorgeous shots there!! Sorry the camera didn't work out for you.

I'd bet that the re-sell rate on this camera is about the same as for the Konica Hexar AF. Both have similar quirks that take some getting used to. But when I look back at the images I got with the Hexar, I created my best sustained body of street photography with it. I expect the same from the X100. :-)
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Old 11-17-2011   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
The manual focusing of these cameras is misunderstood, in my opinion. Yes, if you try to manually focus by rotating the focus ring, it takes forever to reach focus. However, just like the Contax G cameras, if you use the focusing button on the back (it falls right under your thumb when holding the camera in your right hand), 'manual' focus is a snap. And I mean SNAP!

Put the camera in manual mode (simple slider button on the side of the camera). Press the focusing button and the focus immediately locks on whatever you have it pointed at, and it stays focused at that distance until you re-press the button. Perfect for manually focusing on a desired object, or for zone focusing. Its a GREAT system. I can easily focus on the subject as fast as I ever did with Leicas, maybe faster.

That's just another way to skin a cat IMO ... if the AF system can't detect sufficient contrast it won't focus no matter which method you choose. What you describe is not manaul focus ... it's user selected auto focus!

One thing that really did impress me was the metering ... I though it was as good as or better than my D700!
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Old 11-17-2011   #9
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I really love mine. Compact, quiet, great VF, sharp lens, great macro, terrific fill-flash, 100% VF on-demand, 720p video for vacations, and the RAW files are awesome with terrific dynamic range.

Oh...and no souping, scanning, or runs to the lab.
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Old 11-17-2011   #10
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You might be right Keith; I'll have to check it out. But my sense has been that the manual focus method snaps in quickly and there's no hunting. But I haven't compared the two precisely. If I have time in the next day or two, I'll report back.
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Old 11-17-2011   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
You might be right Keith; I'll have to check it out. But my sense has been that the manual focus method snaps in quickly and there's no hunting. But I haven't compared the two precisely. If I have time in the next day or two, I'll report back.


In some ways focusing manually as you describe is better but still no answer.

I would have liked a manual focus wheel with fixed distance steps ... I could live with that!
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Old 11-17-2011   #12
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Thanks Jamie I'm not trying to 'bad mouth' this camera too much as I could make it produce. In some ways it is a fine piece of gear it just does not live up to expectations. It's just not for everyone. I just wish Fuji would work on the ergonomics and design more instead of going onto the 'next big thing.'

--Rich

Last edited by intheviewfinder : 11-17-2011 at 16:55.
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Old 11-17-2011   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie Pillers View Post
...I'd bet that the re-sell rate on this camera is about the same as for the Konica Hexar AF. Both have similar quirks that take some getting used to. But when I look back at the images I got with the Hexar, I created my best sustained body of street photography with it. I expect the same from the X100. :-)
If it had anything as good as the Hexar AF auto-focus then it would be kicking butt.

I'm also skeptical that camera companies actual improve with model progression... look at the Panasonic G1 follow-ups, the Canons that have had major AF issues, etc. Instead they focus on video and megapixels....
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Old 11-17-2011   #14
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I am not sure what people expect of this camera. I love mine so much I bought it twice. If I want to manually focus I will use my M9, I bought this back again for the ISO performance and for when I require AF. I think the AF assist in recent firmware upgrade has certainly helped AF performance for me. It to many functions/buttons etc in menus for me as well but it is the result that counts and I just use it the functions that I require and ignore the rest.
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Old 11-17-2011   #15
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Its a great little camera, but I always liked something with interchangeable lenses. The tiny rear jog dial is also too small for a small hand like mine, so I never use it anyway. And yes, I tend to bump the exposure compensation dial from time to time as well whenever I put it inside my bag.
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Old 11-17-2011   #16
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I find that Luigi's X100 half-case really helps handling - the built-in grip makes it considerably nicer to hold, and with the back covered I no longer accidentally press any buttons.

I too was a bit annoyed in the beginning but I've become less so as time has passed - and especially after the case arrived The only things I ever change while shooting are ISO, exposure compensation and aperture/shutter, so I never have to open the back door.

AF was sometimes irrititating at first but I now know instinctively when to switch to EVF so that very rarely gives me any grief. Of course, it's not anywhere near the Hexar AF in terms of speed and accuracy, but then again what is?
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Old 11-17-2011   #17
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The menus are a pain (if only every company used Nikon's method of a two-button card format!), but I haven't really delved into them since setting it up to my specifications.

Buffer time is still absurd, but with a UHS-1 card much more manageable. I've noticed that my GRD IV is kind of slow, too - I don't have any experience with small cameras or SD cards other than these, maybe it's just an issue with size.

AF-wise, I pretty much only use the EVF so I haven't had any issues. I like the concept of the OVF w/ overlays, but I can't see any advantage to it except in very low light (for me, of course).
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Old 11-17-2011   #18
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That's funny... Meanwhile, the Hexar AF doesn't seem to miss a shot.

Why they don't put active IR AF on a modern camera is beyond me.
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Old 11-17-2011   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bensyverson View Post
That's funny... Meanwhile, the Hexar AF doesn't seem to miss a shot.

Why they don't put active IR AF on a modern camera is beyond me.

I asked this question the other day and apparently it's because it can't be configured for multi pattern intelligent (read stupid) focusing!

And that's what the average sheep wants ... or so marketing believes!
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Old 11-17-2011   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hausen View Post
I am not sure what people expect of this camera. I love mine so much I bought it twice. If I want to manually focus I will use my M9, I bought this back again for the ISO performance and for when I require AF. I think the AF assist in recent firmware upgrade has certainly helped AF performance for me. It to many functions/buttons etc in menus for me as well but it is the result that counts and I just use it the functions that I require and ignore the rest.
+1

Same here... Once I set it up the way I want... I basically ignored everything else.. So far I still like it. I use it only in af mode. I gotten pretty comfortable switching from evf and ovf modes depending on situation.

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Old 11-17-2011   #21
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If one doesn't enjoy using the X100, then of course they will be disappointed. No camera will please every photographer. I did not enjoy the Canonet G-III (focus) and the Lumix G-1 (IQ) ... so I sold them.

I enjoy mine. I accepted the fact that the X100 is an autofocus platform and moved on. I use mostly focus and recompose. I use AF-S sometimes and MF other times (with the AF button) depending on the circumstances. It's about as fast as a analog rangefinder (I useded to a ZM body for a couple of years). It is much slower than a DSLR. My keeper rate (focus wise) is similar to what I experienced with the ZM. I don't mind glancing at the exposure compensation dial when I take it out of the bag.

I take it with me wherever I go.
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Old 11-17-2011   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hausen View Post
I am not sure what people expect of this camera. I love mine so much I bought it twice. If I want to manually focus I will use my M9, I bought this back again for the ISO performance and for when I require AF. I think the AF assist in recent firmware upgrade has certainly helped AF performance for me. It to many functions/buttons etc in menus for me as well but it is the result that counts and I just use it the functions that I require and ignore the rest.
Agreed - I absolutely love mine. The best thing is that the metering and the auto-iso are so good that I can just leave them on auto and shoot aperture priority and it works perfectly.

What do you guys use the jog dial for? I've never had a reason to use it?
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Old 11-17-2011   #23
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Quote:
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Agreed - I absolutely love mine. The best thing is that the metering and the auto-iso are so good that I can just leave them on auto and shoot aperture priority and it works perfectly.

What do you guys use the jog dial for? I've never had a reason to use it?

And you can now lock it!
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Old 11-17-2011   #24
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I've never used the jog dial. And my modified Thumbs Up pretty much covers up the jog dial anyway. I'm sure there's something cool you can use it for. Maybe I'll read the manual someday. :-)
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Old 11-17-2011   #25
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Speaking of ergonomics, I use a modified older Thumbs Up and it improves the hold-ability IMMENSELY! And now there's a Thumbs Up built specifically for the X100. I covered the Thumbs Up in gaffers tape for even more 'grip'.
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Old 11-17-2011   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fdigital View Post
Agreed - I absolutely love mine. The best thing is that the metering and the auto-iso are so good that I can just leave them on auto and shoot aperture priority and it works perfectly.

What do you guys use the jog dial for? I've never had a reason to use it?

I use mine mostly for adjusting iso. I haven't really used auto iso, as I like to keep it as low as possible and adjust up only if I have to.
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Old 11-17-2011   #27
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i miss mine...it would have been nice to be able to afford it and a second rd1...i hope to get another someday...

i found that once i set it up for my way of doing things that it responded quickly and surely...maybe the second gen will be more user friendly for folks.
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Old 11-17-2011   #28
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Yep I was disappointed the moment I handled it in person at B&H earlier this year.
Wish we could load our own software greatly taking all the BS out...
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Old 11-17-2011   #29
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I missed many with the Hexar. That camera often wouldn't lock focus fast enough for quickly changing street opportunities. Capabilities of these two cameras really do feel about the same to me.
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Old 11-17-2011   #30
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I don't think I was disappointed in the X100 as such ... more just came to the realisation that it couldn't do what I was asking of it.

It was a stunning little camera and that viewfinder was absolute heaven.

Paul is using the RFF X100 to great effect IMO ... but he's not into blundering around in the dark trying to take photos as much as I am!
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Old 11-17-2011   #31
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Very similar to my GXR experience (prior to the M Mount announcement). The GXR is the perfect camera, but the AF was so slow, that it was unusable for anything non static.

If I knew the mount module was coming, I would have kept it, alas I haven't...

Quote:
Originally Posted by intheviewfinder View Post
Manual focus is unusable. Auto focus was always an issue especially anything within 3 feet. If both the subject and I were moving AF sucked. I always had to plant myself and let the subject come into view and then fire, even then it could miss 30% of the time. And shooting f/8 all the time is not my idea of fun.
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Old 11-17-2011   #32
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And you can now lock it!
That is 'rock it' in official Fuji documentation.
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Old 11-18-2011   #33
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My biggest disappointment is with the focusing. At that price point I expect more. The camera cost as much as a Nikon D90 yet cannot comparably focus. Also I bought the camera for the OVF not that nightmare they call EVF.

I used the jog in aperture priority mode to get 1/3 stops. And if I remember correctly I could use the Fn button and jog in combination to change ISO.
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Old 11-18-2011   #34
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My biggest disappointment is with the focusing. At that price point I expect more. The camera cost as much as a Nikon D90 yet cannot comparably focus. Also I bought the camera for the OVF not that nightmare they call EVF.

I used the jog in aperture priority mode to get 1/3 stops. And if I remember correctly I could use the Fn button and jog in combination to change ISO.
Thats right the jog + ISO. I use auto ISO so that slipped my mind!

Could you elaborate on the focussing issues you had though? I've used mine in street parades with people moving and found the focussing different, but really no worse than my 5d, which I use center point/recompose. (I use a d90 for work too, so it's not that just that the 5d is crap!)

edit: After enabling the corrected AF frame (for parallax) I don't get mis-focussed shots anymore, even up on minimum focus distance.
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Old 11-18-2011   #35
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Yes, definitely agree. I have an X100 and have no plans to sell it. I just love the IQ too much. But focus (in general) is this camera's biggest flaw. AF is not all that fast (slower than m4/3) and MF is poorly implemented. Even if you use the AFL button, it still has to rely on the camera's AF. I would've loved fast AF and poor MF implementation OR slowish AF and good MF implementation (i.e., mechanically-coupled focusing ring with distance scale). Oh well, no camera is perfect. And you can't fault this camera's pictures.

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My biggest disappointment is with the focusing. At that price point I expect more. The camera cost as much as a Nikon D90 yet cannot comparably focus. Also I bought the camera for the OVF not that nightmare they call EVF.

I used the jog in aperture priority mode to get 1/3 stops. And if I remember correctly I could use the Fn button and jog in combination to change ISO.
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Old 11-18-2011   #36
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Hi, no fuji, but i sold my leica x1 because of similar "issues" by the way i just never get used to the fact of having a 23mm lens (super wide) in order to achieve 35mm fov!
No fun at all @ 2.8 and 10 feet you get 13 feet of dof, with my m9 or other m cameras i focus way faster than these small P&S digital miracles!

I shoudn´t have sold my contax t3!!!
It is faster and better in everyway than my x1 or sigma dp2, and i think better than the x100 too.

Bye, i´ll et some t3 right now!!!
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Old 11-18-2011   #37
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the X100 made me remember why I went after rangefinders: quick low light focusing. it's a bit ironic that it struggles to focus (or just won't focus at all) in very dim lit situations and yet its high ISO is superb... tried many different focusing techniques (including MF with AEL/AEF button) but still I find myself trying and trying to get focus in places like bars and streets at night and it gets lost.

I realised I just am too used to manual focusing and not leaving much for the camera to think.
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Old 11-18-2011   #38
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The X100 is basically my poor-man's version of the M9. Quality images and optics. Fuji is not producing cameras with quirks intentionally. The quirkiness is related to the complexity of operation of a camera as advanced as this and one must take the time to let this system grow on you. I am amazed by the number of people who claim to dislike this camera. It certainly motivates folks to comment though and that in itself indicates the impact this has had on digital photography. What happened to us that we demand such perfection in products such as this? The essential function of this camera works absolutely perfectly - it takes wonderful photographs in the right hands.

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Old 11-18-2011   #39
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Quote:
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Could you elaborate on the focusing issues you had though? .
As someone else said "it struggles to focus (or just won't focus at all)." My pet peeve is the slowness of the thing. If you're standing still and shooting f/4 or better you've got a chance. But if both you can the subject are moving forget it.

BTW I got this camera very early on. Mine was number 755. I made sure to update the firmware. I shot ~3k photos with it. It wasn't like I didn't give it a fair chance. There were just too many misses for my style of street photography.




Nice shot but she's sitting down and almost posed. I actually came up behind her and she turned as I was composing. Note the DOF. I can get this sort of shot with any camera.





It couldn't get this one. Never. I'm moving. She's moving. I'm in her face with a 20mm wide open. The X100 couldn't get this.

This is what I want it for, hanging off a wrist strap and ready to fire a moment's notice.

--Rich
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Old 11-18-2011   #40
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I struggled to really like the X100 for quite some time - nothing to do with functionlity or focusing or IQ. However, I have come to really like it and happily use it along side my M8. It isn't necessarily low light that produces focusing problems, but low contrast (which often accompanies low light), so if you can find a bit of contrast it will lock on. It does take some time to get it set up and this requires you to RTM from front to back. This may be part of the reason why some people have struggled with it. I have no plans to sell mine.
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