Many of you asked me my thoughts about Fuji cameras and in this review, I'll try to fully share them with you.

I won't make a "scientist" nor a "nerd" review about specs, there's hundreds reviews like these all over the web.

So, it's been one year since I've switched to Fuji. Before that, I guess, I was like you, a DSLR shooter, and also, I only praised Full Frame cameras.
But that was before.

Here's my past gear:

  • Nikon D700
  • Nikon D7000
  • Nikon 14-24mm 2.8 G
  • Nikon 35mm 1.4 G
  • Nikon 50mm 1.8D G
  • Sigma 85mm 1.4

I was pretty satisfied with these, but what drives me crazy each days, the weight of my bags.

When Fuji first released the X100 and the X-PRO 1, as many of you I spent my whole time reading each reviews.

Little sexy cameras with huge image quality for twice less the price than any pro DSLRs or any Leicas!

OH MY GOD! That's what I've always dreamed of!!!!!!
Wait a minute... it's not Full Frame...

Yeah I was this kind of dick and I assume it, and as the saying goes, only fools never change their minds.
This was the only reason at that time, that makes me hesitate to do the jump.

One year later comes the X100S, I finally did it and buy one to make my own opinion.

It was a long wait, out of stock for months, I've ordered mine at it release date and I've been ship three months later. Was it worth the wait?

Once I received it, I packed my bags with my girlfriend for a two weeks' holiday at the beach to test this "Holy Grail". I let my DSLR bag at home for saving my poor little shoulders.

« We don't care about your life give us your impressions! Show us pics! »

Ok Ok! SORRY! So Let's take a look then!

Here's some of my firsts pics with the X100S. I decided to only shoot in JPG and use the black and white directly from the camera since all reviews said that the Fuji's JPG files are so awesome.

Well it's fucking light (no kidding?!), it's fucking sharp and the dynamic range is stunning!
The AF isn't as fast as a DSLR. I won't lie it's very slow compare to my D700, even if it was well improved and performs far better than its predecessors the X100 and the XE1. It's still very usable for street photography and portraiture. I'm not an action or sport photographer so i'm okay with it.

Shoreditch, London Trip (direct jpg)

Bordeaux, France — Place de la Bourse

I was surprised by the EVF, as a DSLR shooter EVF was considered as the dark side of the force (it's so laggy, I don't want to look through a tv screen blah blah blah), but it's not. Personnally I can't live without, what you see it's what you'll get.

Great ISO performance for an APSC sensor, compare to my D7000 for example, it's far better, and plus, the noise is beautiful, like an analog film.

Here's an example. I like the grain of the noise, sometimes when I need this rendering, I put the ND filter then I bump my iso up to get it.

1/1000s @ f/2 ISO 800 / ND Filter ON

« Ok the X100S makes great imagery but is it capable for a professional purpose? »

Yes.

The image quality and the DR of the X100S is comparable to a pro DSLR. I also find the image quality better than my D700.

« You're crazy! How an APSC can compete with a FF PRO DSLR?! »

You asked me my thoughts! Guess what? Since these two weeks' holiday testing this camera, I ain't reuse my DSLR equipement, even for my professional commissionned works.

For a studio purpose or potraiture, the X100S performs very well.
The sync speed with flash is insane. Max sync speed is 1/4000!
Nikon is 1/250...

Here's my first editorial commissionned work with the X100S.

P//F, French Rap/Rock Band :  1/1000s @ f11 ISO 200 / Flash : SB80DX triggered with Cactus V5

Fashion Week Backstages

Is this answer to your question?

Well, now let's talk about what you're all waiting for, the X-T1!

« FINALLY!!!! »

I knew it you don't give a shit about the X100S!

The X-T1 is the best Fuji camera at this time. The more mature with intuitive ergonomics, again my opinion.
As mentionnend below, I only missed one thing from the X100S, an ISO dial.
If I bought the X-T1, it's only for this. Really.

So, the EVF is.... superb, very responsive, great quality nothing to say.
If you are like me a manual focuser, with this EVF you'll be in heaven.

The AF, hell yes it's very very very fast.
Not the fastest AF in the world as claimed by Fuji, but we're getting closer to DSLRs.
In low light situation, it's still a little bit complicated for it to focus, depending the situation, but Fuji is on the good way.

For the ISO performance, same as the X100S, very good.

What I regret in this camera, no integrated ND filter and the max flash sync speed around 1/180s.

With this bad guy I got two lenses, the Fujinon 23mm 1.4R and the Fujinon 56mm 1.2R.
Let's talk about them.

The 23mm it's a great lens. I've read some reviews comparing the 23mm 1.4R with the 23mm 2.0 of the X100S. Technically the 23mm 1.4R performs better. Well I do prefer the 23mm of my X100S, that's why I still using my X100S. All shot in 35mm range, I do it with the X100S. In term of sharpeness, the 23mm 1.4 is slighty better but it's negligible. To be honest, I'm also considering selling my 23mm 1.4 R since I barely use it.

The Fujinon 56mm 1.2R.
This lens is the best Fuji Lens. It's always mounted on my X-T1.
It's fucking sharp wide open! I only shoot at 1.2 and oh my god!
I found it more sharper wide open than the Canon 1.2L, my opinion again.

This is how sharp it is.

Enlarge here : http://500px.com/photo/73275033/maybe-memories-by-thierry-nguyen

My FEELINGS after one year

Shooting with these cameras is very different from shooting with DSLRs. It's another philosophy.

Working with Fuji has totally changed my vision of how I see things and how I shoot them. It’s not only about specs, neither its image quality nor its design, Fuji cameras have something more, « un je ne sais quoi ». There's a kind of magic in it, a real soul. You're not only taking a picture, you feel it, and also, you're not only a witness of the moment, you're part of.

It's like getting back to the basis like the old time of film. The only preoccupation is composing the image, we're not disturb by all those useless gadgets, and we don't lose our time in the menu. We see, we look and we catch it. That's it.

Moreover, you're kind of invisible to others, it's less intrusive than a DSLR.
Have you ever been shooting outdoor and see people stopping by and stares at you? I hated that. Well since I've switched, it's over. People may think I'm an asian tourist so they ain't disturb me anymore. Pretty convenient.

Well, Fuji Cameras, X100S, XPRO-1, X-T1, are fantastic cameras and they're fully capable for a professional use, again depending on what you do. If you do sport photography, DSLR still remain the best weapon of choice, for the moment as technology evolves, and in particular, Fuji evolves very fast.
These last years I find that DSLR stagnates whereas APSC getting better and better.

That being said, don't forget that cameras are only tools that teach your eyes to see without cameras, and off course to capture the moment. What's matter is the guy behind, you.

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Thierry NGUYEN

Visual Storyteller


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