cameras

Fujifilm Finepix X100 Review

The Fujifilm X100 is a unique camera with great performance and features, but definitely try before you buy.

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Science Introduction

The Fuji X100 performed well in many of our lab tests, though it struggled in several key areas. The X100 offered acceptable color accuracy, excellent noise performance, but disappointing dynamic range scores. The most frustrating aspect of the camera's lab performance was its spotty white balance, as it struggled to correctly determine color temperature consistently.

Color Accuracy

Though it's not the camera's main goal, the Fuji X100 is capable of fairly accurate shots when necessary.

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 Fuji cameras, Fuji seems to believe that consumers prefer oversaturated colors, even if it means sacrificing accuracy.

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.

Noise Reduction

The Fuji X100 is able to keep noise down, but at the expense of fine detail.

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 notable at the higher NR levels. The Medium and Medium Low noise eduction settings were incredibly effective—especially at ISO 400 and above—and didn't deteriorate image sharpness significantly.

We were impressed with the X100's noise performance, with clear photos up through ISO 3200. While we wouldn't necessarily suggest using ISO 6400 or ISO 12800, even those noise percentages were reasonably low with noise reduction applied. (Noise stayed well below 1% through ISO 800.) Overall, Fujifilm is offering excellent image quality when it comes to pristine, noise-free photos.

White Balance

Mediocre white balance performance is an occasional headache with the X100.

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 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.

On the other hand, the X100's custom white balance function is surprisingly inaccurate, given that many advanced photographers use this feature to obtain more 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.

Other Tests

Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.
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