Upgrading to Fuji X100s if You Already Have the Fuji X100

I don’t think it’s worth it.  

I don’t want to give a detailed review of the Fuji X100s. I’m late to that party already. You can probably find a ton of reviews of the Fuji X100s on a ton of sites.

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At first, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to upgrade to the Fuji X100s. The improvements did look tempting: faster AF, better MF, updated X-trans sensor, etc. 

After rave reviews by a lot of people I respect who use the Fuji X100, it seemed like upgrading was the right choice.

Whether you respect me or not, my opinion is: don’t believe the hype. 

Autofocus

The Autofocus isn’t that fast compared to Fuji X100. In broad daylight, I did notice some improvement. If you don’t recompose, you get instantaneous AF lock. Also, if you keep the AF box at the largest size, it seems faster. But I like to keep the AF box the smallest size to be more precise with my focusing. At the smallest size, the AF speed didn’t seem improved.

In low light, I couldn’t tell a difference. The X100s still uses contrast-detect AF in low light and felt no faster than my Fuji X100. Also, the AF wasn’t more accurate since it still failed to lock on in certain conditions. 

So the AF hype? Overrated. Don’t believe it. It’s about the same as the Fuji X100 in its latest firmware except in certain situations. 

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Image Quality

Honestly, unless you pixel-peep, I couldn’t really tell. They look like the same quality pictures to me. And to 99% of the people, the quality will look simliar to Fuji X100. 

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Manual Focus

Now, this is where it gets good. The manual focus has improved a lot. I love it. You can go from infinity to 1 feet in like half a turn of the MF ring. Also, the focus peaking is a lifesaver. 

So when the X100s can’t lock focus, you can now use MF with confidence. 

Other Improvements

Fuji made other small improvements in the UI, the menu, the EVF, and others. They do feel more convenient but not life changing.

Overall Impression

You can say that the improved MF is worth the upgrade. Is it? I’m not sure. I do love the MF improvement. But I’m not sure if that’s enough to shell out the cash for a new Fuji X100s if you already have the Fuji X100.

If you don’t own a Fuji X100, get the Fuji X100s. It is an awesome camera. 

For people that own the Fuji X100 series, I think the main thing is to follow the iPhone upgrade scheme—upgrade after every other iteration. So if you have the Fuji X100, I would wait until the Fuji X200. For me, since I have the X100s, I would probably wait until the Fuji X200s. 

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My Obligatory Fuji X200 Speculation

Everyone has one, and these would be mine on what more Fuji can do to improve the X100 series. As it stands now, I have no idea what Fuji can do. Maybe they can actually make the AF noticeably fast.

Also, they can make MF better by making the split focusing feature better and giving more colors for focus peaking. Right now, the only color available is white. They should add red, blue, and others. 

I’m not sure how much the X-Trans sensor can push the APSC-sized sensor. So for X200, maybe they can move up to the full frame or APS-H sensor. 

They can attach a faster lens—maybe 23mm/1.4 or 1.8. Or they can keep the same 23mm/2.0 but make it sharper at all apertures

Even though I love prime lenses, maybe they can attach a zoom lens. Perhaps a 28mm-50mm/2.0 equivalent zoom. If they can attach a fast zoom lens with the same IQ, that would be incredible. That would remove the need of the WCL-X100.

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Photography Awesomeness: Lines and Shapes

I talked about photography errors here and here. Now, I want to talk about photography awesomeness. 

I’m going to give you examples from my photos. If you think my pictures suck, then you can ignore this post and assume I’m talking out of my butt. If you like my pictures, then you can see a glimpse of how I compose my scene and the way I think. 

These are just my opinions and how my eye sees if a picture is pleasant to the eye. Of course, there are many factors that make a picture pleasant to the eye. 

One way is placement of the subject in the rule of thirds (which is derived from golden ratio). Another way is repeating patterns. Another way is good lighting. Another is nailing the technical aspects like focus, exposure, and white balance. Another is the actual subject itself. And so on. There are many ways to make a picture look good. 

For this post, I’m going to talk about lines (shapes will come next). You have horizontal lines, vertical lines, and diagonal lines. I feel diagonal lines to be the strongest. I feel it makes the picture a bit more interesting. So I constantly look for diagonal lines in the scenes when I’m taking a picture. 

I also think that people love that crappy dutch angle because it creates a diagonal line. Maybe that’s why they feel it makes the picture look somewhat interesting even though it doesn’t. 

There’s 3 ways for a diagonal line to form, actual, strong-implied, and weak-implied.

Actual Diagonal Line

Actual diagonal lines have real diagonal lines in them. If I see it, I immediately frame the subject with the diagonal line and snap the picture. 

In the picture above, Christin is framed under the actual diagonal lines of the handrail and the baseboard.

In this picture, there are actual diagonal lines everywhere.  Do I even need to point them out to you? Although, I should’ve framed her under the diagonal behind her head. So I actually made a photography error. -_-;

Strong-Implied Line

When there isn’t an actual diagonal line in the scene, you can see a strong implied one. This is where we get a bit theoretical and artsy-fartsy. I consider strongly implied line where you can see an imaginary diagonal line in the scene. You see it immediately. 

One way is to have 2 subjects look at each other. When 2 people (or animals, statues, etc) look at each other, there is a strong implied line. You can “see” the line. For example:

The girl (Tuong) and the boy (Raciel) are looking at each other. There is a strong-implied line. 

Another way is repeating patterns. If you have repeating elements, you can line them up. Here are some examples:

You can see the pattern of 2 people taking pictures. They are in the same stance. So they are repeating patterns.  I saw this strong-implied line and immediately took the pic. 

Weak-Implied

Weak Implied lines are harder to see. But they exist. And you may not realize that it exists in a scene. Also, One weak-implied line is not enough. You need multiple of them or have it supported by actual or strong-implied diagonal lines. Here is an example: 

The weak line starts from the woman in the top left corner leaning in and completes it by the end of the cell phones. Although you can say that the cell phones creates a strong-implied line because they are repeating patterns. So the weak line is supported.

It’s also supported by the other weak line. The angle of the shoulder and heads creates a diagonal line. 

Here is another example: 

Here, the weak line is the angle of her leg to her head. I physically posed Christin exactly like that to create that line. It’s supported by the actual diagonal line at the top. You can even say her arm creates a weak line too. I should’ve had her stretch her arm out and grab her dress or something to create another line. But you get the point. 

So there you have it. I consider my shoots as design exercise. I deliberately look for and create those lines. Of course, sometimes, I turn off my brain and shoot away randomly. But sometimes, I’m deliberate and look for these things. 

Shooting Raw

I shot raw for the first time at the Bridal Shoot (seen a few posts below). I’m a JPEG shooter, but I decided to do RAW and see how that was like. 

Well, I wasn’t happy that the Fuji Colors weren’t present in the RAW files. I use the Astia Film setting. It gives me a great look in people. I haven’t figured out how to get that look in RAW processing. 

Also, my camera turned really slow when I shot RAW+Jpeg. I mean really slow. Now I know what people meant when they complained about the Fuji X100 being sluggish. They were probably shooting RAW. I never noticed the slowness when shooting straight JPEG due to its smaller size. It can write to the SD card faster. 

In the end, however, RAW was pretty amazing. One thing I noticed was that I was able to fix my exposures no problem. I get nervous when I get bad exposures in my JPEGS because I have no idea how far I can push my JPEGs. But my RAWs were fine for 3-4 stops of exposure. I felt like I didn’t even have to worry about my exposure when I shot in RAW. I just had to expose for the highlights and made sure I didn’t blow out anything.

So would I continue shooting RAW? I’m not sure. It does give me a lot of flexibility when I’m post processing photos. I think I might do it in challenging lighting conditions like dark places.  Otherwise, I’ll just shoot in JPEG. I just love the speed JPEG provides me.  

Photography Errors 2

I make this error a lot. Usually it’s because I’m shooting fast, reactive, and not paying attention. But even when I’m deliberate, I just become human and miss it. 

This is my #2 pet peeve in photographs: stuff growing out of people’s heads. 

Make sure you frame the head correctly so nothing is growing out of their heads. If you can’t find a clear space, make sure it’s busy enough.

Here are some examples where I make this mistake:

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Woah, Brooke has 3 branches growing out the top of her head!

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OMG, Elizabeth grew a mean goatee!

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This is even more impressive. Mia has a whole fountain growing out of her head! That’s awesome! 

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Hannah has a whole tree growing out of her head. Not only that, she’s not even in focus! WTF?

How Do You Fix This?

  • You move around until you find a good, empty space for the head to be in. 
  • If there is absolutely no clear space, make sure it’s busy. 
  • You crop the top of the head so the offending growth doesn’t show.
  • You photoshop it, like so:

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Now Elizabeth looks clean shaven. Can you tell by the pixels?

Photography Errors

I see a lot of errors when looking at photos. Whenever I see them in my photos or in other people’s photos, it weakens the image. I try to avoid making these, but sometimes, it’s unavoidable.

I want to write about my #1 pet peeve when looking at other people’s photographs: the dutch angle. 

The dutch angle is a photo where the horizon is not straight. For example, here is one that I intentionally did for the purpose of this post:

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Watch out Brenna! You’re gonna slide off of the earth! 

If you can’t make a subject look interesting so you have to tilt it, it’s still a boring subject. Yes, that picture of the cup you took with a dutch angle is still a boring, old cup.

Did that picture of Brenna become awesome because I used a dutch angle? Nope. It still a sucky picture. Hey, at least I framed her in between the water spouts and flag pole. Oh yeah, I actually didn’t shoot this with a dutch angle, I used Lightroom to tilt it. 

There are times when you can use it though. And I can only think of 2 instances: conveying movement and when the framing or composition forces you to use it. 

Here’s a picture of mine using the dutch angle. This is an example where the dutch angle may convey movement.

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I didn’t like it, but I used a dutch angle to take this. He was dipping her so I wanted to convey the movement of her dipping. Even still, I wonder if the dutch angle was needed. 

I don’t have an personal example of composition needing dutch angles, but here’s one from someone else: http://500px.com/photo/30227051

Architecture and building photography works with dutch angles because it’s all about the lines and patterns. It’s abstract enough to not have the sense something is going to slide off of the earth. So the lines can point to the diagonals.

Furthermore, when you look up at buildings, the buildings usally converge at a vanishing point that is not in the middle. Also, it gives a feeling of height.

In my portfolio, maybe 1 in 2000 pictures have a dutch angle. Even then, a few were mistakes since some people were leaning, and I couldn’t figure out which way was straight. 

So look at your portfolio. If more than 10% of your pictures have some crappy dutch angle to it and you’re not an architectural photographer, you need to stop that. It doesn’t make it dramatic, interesting, or whatever.