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Fujifilm X100 Digital Camera Review$1,199.95
The X100 offers five settings for noise reduction (in addition to the special selection for long exposure noise reduction). On most cameras, noise reduction tends to lessen the amount of noise, but also reduce sharpness. The X100 certainly had its share of reduced sharpness, but the blurring was only distinctive at the higher NR levels. Medium and Medium Low noise reduction was incredibly effective—especially at ISO 400 and above—but did not deteriorate image sharpness significantly. More on how we test noise.
The X100 comes equipped with an incredibly robust set of options. To start, the range of ISO settings is quite broad: from ISO 100 (marked as Low) to ISO 12800. The Fuji also allows you to choose from numerous intermediate increments, for a total of about 18 discrete levels. The only drawback is that you have to go into the menus to alter ISO—unless you choose to leave ISO mapped to the camera's customizable Function button.
If you prefer to shoot with auto ISO equipped, there is an auto ISO limiter, enabling the user to set a maximum sensitivity of ISO 400, 800, 1600, or 3200. (The minimum sensitivity in Auto ISO is 100.) As an added bonus, you can set a minimum shutter speed as well; when using Aperture Priority or Auto modes, sensitivity will be adjusted only when required to prevent a shutter speed lower than the selected value.
For a little icing on the ISO cake, the Fujifilm X100 offers an ISO bracketing option, which will capture a single exposure, then process two copies: one with sensitivity raised by the selected amount, and one with sensitivity lowered by the selected amount.
We found the autofocus to be terribly disappointing on the X100, with the camera struggling to find an accurate focus in anything but the brightest scenarios. In situations where virtually any camera had no trouble autofocusing, the X100 would either refuse to focus or get the focus wrong. When shooting in any dim indoor light, the AF assist lamp is virtually a necessity—and its disturbing brightness won't earn you any new friends.
There's also no face detection on the X100—a feature we take for granted on modern cameras. We wouldn't usually complain about this conspicuous absence, but with the Fuji's numerous autofocus woes, the camera could use all the help it can get.
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.
Video: Low Light Sensitivity
With its fast f/2 lens, the Fuji X100 was able to churn out quality videos in our low light testing. The camera required just 8 lux of light to record an image that could pass the minimum illumination standards of broadcast television (50 IRE). This is a much better result than what the Olympus E-P3 showed us recently, although the Panasonic GF2 and Sony NEX-5 also did well in this test.