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Fujifilm X100 Digital Camera Review$1,199.95
The Fujifilm X100 has good color accuracy, easily contending with mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras and SLRs. Color accuracy in standard (Provia) mode with no color adjustments was 3.46, with a saturation of 114.1%. Accuracy was improved further by setting the camera to its "low color" option, for an accuracy of 2.88 and saturation of 104.2%. As we've found with other Finepix cameras, Fuji seems to believe that consumers prefer oversaturated colors, even if it means sacrificing accuracy. More on how we test color.
Unsurprisingly, the results using the Provia film simulation are the most accurate. We also tested color accuracy using the camera's Velvia and Astia options, which proved to be even more saturated than Provia. This is more or less in line with Fuji's storied film lines that serve as the namesakes for the modes; Fuji color film was well known for its bold colors.
NOTE: Because of the way computer monitors reproduce colors, the images above do not exactly match the originals found on the chart or in the captured images. The chart should be used to judge the relative color shift, not the absolute captured colors.
When it comes to color performance, the comparison models we selected for the X100 turned out to be... well, comparable. All of these cameras have incredibly strong color performance, with slight differences being mostly a matter of personal taste. The Olympus E-P3 had by far the most accurate colors, following the tradition of earlier PEN cameras, which all knocked this test out of the ballpark.
Color modes on the X100 are labelled as "Film Simulation" modes, each one named after a popular color reversal film branded and manufactured by Fujifilm in the 90s. The "standard" mode for the X100 is Provia, which Fuji describes as "ideal for a wide range of subjects." Velvia is essentially a vivid mode: "Vibrant reproduction, ideal for landscape and nature." Astia is intended for "softer color and contrast for a more subdued look."
In addition to the three primary color modes, there are four monochrome modes and a sepia option. You can see samples of these (and Provia, Velvia, Astia) in the Picture Settings section.
The Fujifilm X100 had adequate white balance performance under most lighting conditions. Whether you're in auto white balance mode or taking a custom white balance, color temperature didn't have a negative impact on most of the shots we took. The White Balance Options section below describes the slew of additional controls that allow the user to tweak white balance.
Automatic White Balance ()
The auto white balance performance of the X100 is actually quite strong, especially in daylight and fluorescent light. Like most cameras, the Fuji struggled a bit in typical indoor incandescent lighting, but it fared better than many of the cameras that come through our labs.
Custom White Balance ()
The X100's custom white balance function is surprisingly inaccurate, given that many advanced photographers use this feature to obtain accurate color temperatures. The vast majority of cameras in this price range have much better custom white balance functions.
If you are intent on using a custom white balance, at least Fuji has made the process simple and intuitive. You can't save a custom white balance for future use, but taking a new one is fast and easy. We suggest you use auto white balance settings for most of your shooting needs, reserving custom white balance only for trickier indoor lighting conditions.
The cameras in this comparison group all had better white balance performance, primarily due to superior custom white balance functions. Many of these models also had more consistent auto white balance performance; the X100 tended to skew either too cool or too warm somewhat randomly, while the competition skewed in a certain direction every time.
White Balance Options
The Fujifilm has one saving grace to compensate for mediocre white balance performance: a slew of controls that allow the user to make adjustments to color temperature. You can begin by selecting one of the camera's white balance presets (sunlight, shade, incandescent, underwater, or one of three fluorescent light settings). If you don't like those options and aren't keen to do a custom white balance, you can manually select the Kelvin color temperature. The X100 offers a range from 2500 K to 10000 K, with a total of 36 increments.
An alternate method of tweaking color temperature is buried a bit deeper in the menus. White Balance Shift allows the user to alter the white balance along two scales (red to cyan or blue to yellow).
Surprisingly, there is no white balance bracketing option.
The Fujifilm X100 scored very well in our long exposure test, besting most of the interchangeable lens competition, including many DSLRs. Color and noise performance remained strong across a range of exposures, with long exposure noise reduction having little impact on the already strong results. More on how we test long exposure.
In aperture priority mode, shutter speeds max out at 1/4 second, but the camera's Time mode allows you to select exposures up to 30 seconds. The X100 also has a Bulb mode that will capture exposures of up to 60 minutes long (in full manual mode). We only test exposures from 1 second to 30 seconds, but the results were very good. Noise topped out around 1.02% and color accuracy never rose above 3.51.
The X100 does come equipped with a Long Exposure Noise Reduction feature, but we found that this made very little difference in the amount of noise captured in our tests. It's possible that noise reduction might have some impact at exposures longer than 30 seconds, but we're doubtful.
Despite the ineffective noise reduction, the X100 had some of the best long exposures we've seen, with very little noise and excellent colors in the full range of exposures. The camera outperformed much of the competition, with the exception of the surprisingly impressive Samsung NX100. Though the X100 had more accurate colors than the NX100, the Samsung had unbelievably low noise totals across all exposures. It averaged just 0.53% noise with noise reduction turned on.