Looking for a great compact camera for the holiday season? We go hands-on with one of the most interesting cameras on the market today. Photography has changed radically in the past seven years. Since the first iPhone was released in 2007, more and more people have been using their smartphones as their primary camera. Sales of DSLRs (Digital Single Lens Reflex) are in decline as people look for lighter, more compact cameras.
Smartphones have their limitations, however. The main being the size of the photo sensor they use. To fit a camera into a phone, manufacturers have to resort to tiny sensors, which, even though they have come a long way, cannot deliver the same image quality as a larger camera. Sensor size is a huge component of image quality and affects how a camera performs in low light and how much the photographer can isolate the subject when taking portraits (through depth-of-field). Generally speaking, bigger is better.
Camera manufacturers are responding to this by developing cameras that are light and compact, but still pack a large, high-quality sensor. Fujifilm has been a part of this charge, beginning with the X100 compact camera, which debuted in 2012. They have since released its successor, the X100S. This camera packs a sensor far bigger than most compact cameras. In fact, it is even bigger than most midrange DSLRs: This 16.3MP sensor delivers excellent low-light performance and along with the fixed 23mm F2 lens, brings great versatility, including the ability to shoot portraits with shallow depth-of-field.
We spent a weekend with the X100S at the International Fleet Review in Sydney and found it to be the perfect travel camera. It is light, compact and just a fun camera to use. It caters to both novices and enthusiasts, with a range of automatic modes as well as manual control.
The camera has a great vintage-inspired look which carries through in the accessories (more than one person asked me which thrift store I bought it from).
As someone who shoots with an iPhone 5 and a Canon EOS 5D Mk III nearly every day, I was really sad to let go of the X100S. It’s an amazing little camera and definitely deserves the accolades it’s receiving.