I am a still life photographer and my needs in a mirrorless camera are vastly different to the majority of photographers. They are probably much simpler than yours. A very few are sophisticated. The first things I check for in a still life camera are: a good WiFi app, a decent flip-out screen, and the ability to pan and zoom at 100% magnification.
I don't use native lenses, and until recently, I've had no need for autofocus.
But about a month ago, I sold my X-Pro 1. As much as I loved that camera, it wasn't the ideal backup camera for what I do and how I shoot. In particular, card write-time was too long for audiophile events/press events. Perhaps worse was its jumpy EVF. I replaced it with an X100s. Saying goodbye was difficult.
The good news is that the X100s has blown me away. Silent and deadly that little beasty is.
Its autofocus lens is sharp, contrasty, and tiny. I'm not a fan of how it renders busy out of focus highlight elements, but then again, bokeh isn't that important for my work. Actually, a bit of bokeh showed up in a recent review I wrote for Headfonia of the Nuforce DAC-80. (Full text: Nuforce DAC-80: Cornerstone.)
Below are simple hold-and-click images lit by the window at the back and a reflector card in front. Sometimes, I spend time making review images, sometimes I do not. For this sort of image, AF was a blessed miracle. It made the shoot quick and painless, especially as I held the card in my left hand, while my right clicked the shutter button.
The X100s also took all the non-Skype images seen at the Master & Dynamic MH40 interview at the same website. (Full text: AN INTERVIEW WITH MASTER & DYNAMIC – THE PRICE OF 8 BOTHANS.)
Every above image in both sets was taken on the same day. And both sets feature simple photography whose sole purpose it is to give a casual view of a product with its friends. Neither represent the sort of photography I do for a living.
I'm convinced that the X100s is good enough for certain, non-tripod, non-macro advertising work. Its strong points are:
- near noiseless operation
- fast flash sync speed
- zero shutter shock
- tight AF
- small package
- OVF (for dark venues)
When stuck on a tripod and used with studio lights, it is less impressive. Because it lacks WiFi, previews can't be squirted to an iPad or iPhone. Previews help whilst running around the studio adjusting reflectors and lights, angles, and refilling the whisky glass. I have to return to the camera to check what I've done, then go back to the reflectors and lights and flags. The process is extremely time consuming. I replaced a Nikon D800 with a Sony A7r because of its better live view system, and WiFi functionality. With WiFi, a shoot that used to take 8 hours to shoot can take less than half that.
The other thing, which plagues all Fujifilm X cameras is the lack of concurrent functionality for zoom/pan at 100% magnification. To ensure proper focus, you have to zoom in, compare focus, refocus (if necessary), then zoom back out again before selecting a new point to check. Even my D800, whose live view is awful, can zoom and pan around a 100% magnified image its heart's delight.
Of course, the X100s wasn't made for studio shooting. Actually, for what I do, no Fujifilm X camera is that productive. Even if WiFi functionality is better than Sony's, checking focus simply takes too long.
That said, the X100s is more than able to take decent images for website review. And its RAW files hold up under a lot of editing. I don't think I would bother using it for any commercial still life work, but who knows. It will be employed in the next real-life headphone shoot (which will make use of its fast flash sync speed) I do- it's just too easy and fun to not use.
The below image was taken for headfonics.com's review of the iBasso DX90 hi-res DAP. Obviously, this, too, was a casual capture, but I put the X100s on a tripod and used my large strobes to illuminate the the player and table.
Very swiftly, the X100s is becoming my favourite camera. It's easy to use, light, and fun. I wish it had half-stops on its exposure dial. I wish its lens focused on helicoids rather than a ratcheted motor. I also wish that Fujifilm target professional journalists rather than casual users by expanding into a line of cameras with compact/speedy lenses of different focal lengths. 23mm is wider than I typically use.
But whatever. The X100 is what it is. And most of the time, it works just fine.