This past year I decided to enter the mirrorless camera world. After reading many reviews and doing some research I purchased a Fujifilm x-100s. I had taken a bit of a break from photography, selling my DSLR and Leica cameras years ago. I decided to focus on my mobile photography, which was one of the best things I've ever made for myself, but that's another story. I was initially hesitant to buy my Fuji and wondered if I should get back into either a Canon or Leica system. On one hand I loved the retro look, but was the quality there? Another thing I liked about the x-100s was the compact size. I didn't want an excuse to not capture photos while out on a hike, or exploring on a vacation. Lugging around a DSLR can be a hassle and a strain on the neck. I also wanted to take into consideration that I wanted to start traveling more in my photography and having a DSLR just shouts photographer. A small mirrorless camera would mean I could probably get away with taking more shots by being more covert and also I wouldn't be as much of a target for theft. Lastly, I decided that I wanted something with a fixed lens. I believe that the challenge of only shooting with the x-100s 35mm fixed lens would only continue to push my limits as a photographer.
The x-100s has a fixed 23mm F2 lens and SLR-sized APS-C sensor. I must say this APS-C is an amazing sensor and I love the colors that come out of this machine. This camera is also built very well. Fuji did an excellent job of laying out all the manuel controls on this camera. There is an aperture ring, shutter dial, and exposure compensation easily at the reach of your fingers. It feels solid in the hands and is made mostly of metal. Since the camera is not a full frame system the 23mm lens converts to a 35mm lens. I always thought the 35mm lens was just about the perfect setup. It's wide, but not too wide and can be used for landscape, street photography, and portrait photography. Plus you can't complain about getting an F2 high quality aspherical lens. This thing is sharp and combined with the amazon fuji sensor I just can't go wrong. I have been beyond impressed with the images that I have made with this camera. There have been a few times that I wish I could have a wider lens on here, but that isn't too often. Fuji does offer an attachment to convert the camera to a 28mm F2 lens with no loss in quality and and another attachment was just released to convert the lens to a 50mm F2.
Something that will appeal to the street photographer is the hybrid optical and electronic viewfinder the x-100s has. You have the ability to toggle to either of these with a quick flip of a switch. Optical viewfinders work wonders for street photography. Having the ability to see a larger frame then what you are shooting is great for journalism and shooting street work. The electronic viewfinder is also fantastic and I love that after a shoot you get a preview of your shot. This quick reference really is helpful as I don't have to take the camera away from my eye to check the image on the screen.
While reading reviews from many of the professionals that use the x-100s, many of them talked about the amazing jpegs coming from this sensor. In fact this is one of the few cameras that I think you could almost skip shooting RAW, unless you knew you really needed to tinker with an image while post processing. The ISO rating on this little machine is just amazing and many reviewers state that they can shoot up to 6400 ISO in print quality. I have shot up to 3200 ISO and had no problem printing large size images. With the F2 lens and the ability to shoot high ISO, this camera is one of the best low light shooting cameras on the market. Oh and let me not forget to mention that this camera shoots silent! Yes DSLR users this camera does not make any noise while taking photos. No more loud shutter slaps while working on street photography, or loud shutter slaps while shooting in a church.
If you are looking for a new camera format to get into I would highly recommend a Fujifilm. This company is definitely moving in the right direction and their technology has only been getting better. Fujifilm is well known for listening to their camera users and often release firmware updates that fix any problems with the cameras operating system. It is nice to know that a company stands behind their product and does whatever it can to make their product better without just rereleasing another model. When I called the fujifilm x support line with a question I was greeted with a an actual person! Good support alone might make Fujifilm one of the best choices among camera systems. With the x-100s, you get a professional camera, that is sleek, well built, compact, silent, and takes amazing images in low light condition. This is a great camera to build a system around or would even make a great backup to a DSLR kit.