Fujifilm just announced the X100S large sensor point and shoot, the replacement model to the immensely-successful X100, announced 2 years ago. While appearing as a virtual X100 clone on the outside, according to Fuji, the camera is completely new on the inside, updated with all the latest technological tricks, tops among them: Digital Split Image Focus.
A digital imaging first, Fuji has employed a truly original (to digital) manual focusing system wherein the image, when out of focus, appears as two separate images. As the lens is focused, the images will slowly start to meld together until they overlap to form a single-true to life image when the lens is is focus. The interesting point here: Fuji has essentially allowed the photographer to see how phase-detect AF works in slow motion.
The phase-detect AF mechanism uses separate sensors to capture light on the left and right side of the lens. Thanks to the slight distance from each other, the camera essentially creates two separate images that are slightly offset from each other. Next, the AF mechanism kicks into gear, telling the lens to stop focusing when the two images become one. The difference from what Fuji is doing: phase-detect AF in the camera simply operates way too fast to see.
End result: easy electronic viewfinder manual focusing that eliminates the need to use a magnified view in live view mode, which is common (and annoying) on all current digital cameras that have non-optical focusing.
So, what else is there to like about the X100S?
First of all, there's the continuity from the previous model as both cameras are virtually identical in outside appearance, which is a good thing for anyone who currently owns a X100 and/or who was looking to buy the X100. Bottom line here: virtually no learning curve for current X100 owners.
Moving 'under the hood,' things are all new here, starting with the sensor, a 16Mp APS-C chip that is based off of the one that is used in Fuji's X-mount line of interchangeable lens cameras, the X-Pro1 and X-E1. Difference here? A different color filter array which, according to Fuji, both eliminates the need for a low-pass filter (to eliminate false color and moire) and, by removing the filter, effectively boosts the resolution without upping the pixel count by being able to create sharper, more detailed pictures.
Looking into the camera, there are also some very obvious differences. First, the hybrid optical with digital overlay viewfinder introduced with the X100 has been refined by way of an ultra-high resolution LCD screen. The new screen has a stunning resolution of 2,360K dot panel, which produces images that are more true to life than ever before. Then there is the aforementioned Digital Split Image Focus.
On the AF front, the X100S features I, is the world's fastest with a reported AF speed of just 0.08 seconds. To get to this lightning speed, Fuji has equipped the camera with a new generation of processor, the EXR II.
On the optical front, the X100S comes equipped with a 23mm f2 lens (35mm equivalent on film/FF digital). The lens consists of 8 elements in 6 groups, including an aspherical element and highly-refractive converging glass elements, which combine to deliver a high level of detailed performance with minimal aberrations. In addition, the lens is equipped with Fuji's HT-EBC coating, which is designed to control image flare and ghosting. The lens also features a 9 blade diaphragm for smooth bokeh. Lastly, the lens can focus down to 10cm in macro mode.
Want one yet?
As for availability, this is still TBA. The good news: pricing has already been announced at $1299.99 which, while not cheap, at least provides prospective buyers with an idea of how much cash outlay there will need to be when the camera hits stores.
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