Field of view
The rest of the camera is logically laid out. A function button next to the shutter release is pre-set to bring up the ISO option menu, although it can alternatively be set to preview the depth of field or set the self-timer. The only problem with the controls is that the jog dial on the back – on my review sample, at least – was far too weedy. Put enough effort in to turn it and there’s a danger you’ll end up prompting a menu onto the screen. It’s problem similar to that of the Olympus E-PL2.
Both optical and electronic viewfinders are on-board along with the LCD panel option
The menu button in the middle of the jog dial is also almost flush with the wheel itself, making it difficult to press it precisely. These aren’t unique or unprecedented problems, but it’s annoying to see them on a camera that costs almost as much as a Nikon D300s.
The viewfinder has some interesting tricks up its sleeve. You can use it as a traditional optical viewfinder, in which case part of the frame is occupied by the top right of the lens and you’ll obviously suffer the effects of parallax distortion.
Moreover, the viewfinder only covers 90 per cent of the sensor’s field of view. Even so, you still get, an exposure meter and shot information. Push the lever on the front of the camera, and a mirror flicks across, giving you a miniature, 0.47in EVF (electronic viewfinder). This provides you with a view of precisely what the sensor sees.
The flexibility is useful, although my personal preference is to use the optical viewfinder, which feels faster. The alternative is to rely on the 2.8in screen on the back, which is handy for framing more pre-meditated shots. This panel consists of 460k pixels and has superb contrast. Blacks aren’t quite as deep as they are on the AMOLED displays championed by Samsung, but there’s still plenty of detail and colour.
RAW shooting has its own dedicated button
Of course, all of this is meaningless if the X100 takes bad pictures, but ISO testing revealed surprising results. The sensor inside the X100 is a 23.6 x 15.8mm CMOS chip. It’s the same size sensor that you’ll find in most consumer DSLRs, so low noise seemed a reasonable expectation.
Next page: Sample Shots
The ISO 6400 image is about 1.5 stops underexposed compared to the others, and therefore can't be used for comparison because if you boost it to the same exposure it will be an effective ISO ~18000. What happened there?
'(and watching, for trainspotters)'
Oi! I'll have you know there is nothing at all wrong with appreciating a well-designed iris! At worst, it's *certainly* not up to the level of social deviance involved in sitting in a bush all day with a pencil, a notepad, and a stopwatch.
It's made for me!
I still shoot rangefinders with film and mostly with a 35mm lens.
When I want to shoot machine gun style, I have access to Canon 1D bodies, but even my slow 5D is enough for what I want to take pictures of.
This beast ist what I longed for, OK, exchangeable lenses would be a boon. But I happily trade a very good fixed 63° f2 lens for a very reasonable viewfinder and controls I can set without taking the camera from my eye.
The price is high, but where do I get a digital camera which handles like my trusty M2 for less than that?
Re: I miss my manual SLR
Not that SLRs are on topic at all, but you do realise you can operate a DSLR in full manual mode... right?
I miss my manual SLR
One of the advantages of manual cams that the full-auto brigade seem to have overlooked is that a manual cam can be prepped for a series of shots before the action starts. When the time comes you can then raise the camera and shoot in one motion, the only delay being your own reflexes.
What's more, you can lower the camera and then raise it again without losing your settings.
Meanwhile the full-auto cam user is frantically trying to get the focus, zoom and exposure back to exactly where they were a few seconds ago ....and misses the shot.