Fujfilm FinePix X100: Video and Image Quality

by Jim Keenan Reads (681)
Editor's Rating
7.50

TG Ratings Breakdown

    • Image/Video Quality
    • 9
    • Features
    • 9
    • Design / Ease of Use
    • 6
    • Performance
    • 6
    • Total Score:
    • 7.50
    • Rating 1 to 10, top score 10

Video Quality
The 720 HD video of the X100 is quite good as 720 HD goes – the camera defaults into AF-C (continuous autofocus) when movie capture is initiated and the camera is pretty good about holding focus as subject distances vary. Sound is recorded in stereo. Movie length is the shorter of 10 minutes or memory capacity exhaustion. Focus, exposure and white balance are adjusted automatically during recording and the camera audio may record lens or other camera noise as well as wind noise. There is no wind cut feature.

The X100’s CMOS sensor can be susceptible to rolling shutter effect when panning during video capture, but the pan speed needs to be fairly fast (much faster than would ordinarily be employed) to bring the effect to objectionable levels. Fuji recommends a class 4 or faster memory card for video capture.

Download Fujifilm FinePix X100 Sample Video

Video recording is a matter of accessing the drive options via the control dial, selecting movie and pushing “OK”. The camera will switch to the EVF if the OVF had been selected and select continuous AF as well; a full push of the shutter button commences capture and a second full push stops it. Not overly onerous, but a far cry from the excellent one-push video capture modes appearing in some cameras.

Image Quality
Default still image quality out of the X100 is very good, with accurate color rendition and pleasing sharpness.

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image Fujifilm X100 Sample Image

And if it doesn’t meet with your approval, the X100 offers myriad settings to produce images that should satisfy the fussiest user. Sharpening, for example, offers five settings: standard, which is the default, and two steps softer and harder. Here’s a look at the default and hard settings – at first blush they look quite similar, but on closer examination there’s an additional bit of crispness to the hard setting missing from the default.

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Default Sharpening
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Hard Sharpening

The camera’s basic color palette is called “film simulation” and offers standard, vivid and soft color options based on the look of three Fuji films: Provia, Velvia and Astia. There is also monochrome, monochrome with yellow, red or green filters, and sepia. Here are the three colors, along with the monochrome and monochrome/red filter options.

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Standard
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Vivid
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Soft
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Monochrome
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Monochrome-red

Can’t decide which color setting you like best? Set the X100 to “film simulation bracket” and take single photos which the camera then processes to create copies in the standard, vivid and soft settings. You can also set the camera to bracket auto exposure, ISO and dynamic range. Here are shots in the mission chapel – the first is an aperture priority at 200 ISO, then dynamic range bracketing shots at 100, 200 and 400% levels.

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Aperture Priority
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Dynamic Range 100%
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Dynamic Range 200%
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Dynamic Range 400%

The major difference in the shots was that DRB increased ISO to 800 and shot a much shorter shutter speed than the aperture priority shot. The histograms on all four shots are quite similar, with minor differences in light distribution. DRB 400 clipped highlights a little less than the others, and all were about equal in preserving shadow detail.

Multi metering for exposure calculation is the default method, using a 256-zone TTL (through the lens) system that is recommended for most situations. This method was used for most shots in the review and did a fairly good job overall, but on occasion the camera would lose some highlights in high contrast scenes. There are also spot and average metering options on tap.

Auto white balance was used for all shots in the review and did a good job in most conditions, including our studio fluorescents. The X100 shot warm in auto WB with incandescent lighting. In addition to auto there are custom, Kelvin temperature, direct sunlight, shade, three fluorescent settings, incandescent and an underwater setting that reduces the blue cast typically associated shooting underwater without flash.

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Auto White Balance, 5500k fluorescent light

Cropped sensor DSLRs of the latest generation have shown some significant ISO noise improvement over their predecessors in low light conditions, and with the X100 packing a DSLR style APS-C sensor you’d expect it to perform pretty well in the low light arena. Your expectations have been met.

The X100 has a nominal 200-6400 ISO sensitivity range, with extensions to 100 and 12800 available. There’s really nothing to be gained by shooting at 100 on the low end, so we didn’t. But you might come upon a scene where 12800 is the only way to get the shot, so we did take a look at that sensitivity. ISO 200, 400 and 800 are really hard to tell apart – 1600 is the level at which some deterioration becomes more easily visible, but even then it’s pretty mild.

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 200
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 200, 100% crop
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 400
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 400, 100% crop
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 800
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 800, 100% crop
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 1600
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 1600, 100% crop
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 3200
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 3200, 100% crop
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 6400
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 6400, 100% crop
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 12800
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
ISO 12800, 100% crop

ISO 3200 shows a more marked decline over 1600, but it’s still quite good and I’d shoot it without hesitation if the situation required. ISO 6400 is the clearly the most dramatic drop off to this point, with noise on the increase accompanied by increased smudging and loss of fine details. This sensitivity is best left for small print/internet work. ISO 12800 is worse still, with only the grossest of details holding up – clearly the choice of last resort.

I’ve had the opportunity to review the Nikon D7000 and Canon 60D DSLRs for this site and their APS-C sensors have had the best cropped sensor low light performance I’ve had my hands on. The X100 looks very competitive to my eye, certainly through 1600 ISO. The Fuji seems to take a slightly different tack than the Nikon when ISO hits 3200 – there seems to be more noise reduction at work in the Fuji, which produces a smoother looking file at the expense of fine detail.

The Nikon looks grainier, but sharper with better fine detail. Some of that may be due to the 16.2 megapixel resolution of the D7000 versus 12.3 in the Fuji, but it also shows the high bar set by the best cropped-sensor equipment today in the low light arena.

Additional Sample Images

Fujifilm X100 Sample Image Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image Fujifilm X100 Sample Image
Fujifilm X100 Sample Image Fujifilm X100 Sample Image


Pages: 1 2 3 4 5

LEAVE A COMMENT

0 Comments

|
All content posted on TechnologyGuide is granted to TechnologyGuide with electronic publishing rights in perpetuity, as all content posted on this site becomes a part of the community.