Recently I had the opportunity to photograph the changing of the seasons in Central Park when the fall leaves start to show their magnificent colors. Its a great time to use the Fuji X100s.
The Fuji X100S, as you may recall, is the vastly improved update from the original ground breaking Fuji X100 that started the whole retro craze a few years back. Fuji has taken a a decidedly retro look and feel in the X100 S and other Fuji Cameras like the Fuji X-Pro1 and Fuji XE-2 cameras and added an amazing organic array sensor that does not have a low pass filter that most DSLR have. The result is very sharp and stunning resolution and gorgeous colors. The Fuji X100S has a fixed 23mm F/2 lens with Fujinon Super EBC coatings. Matched with their new APS-C X-Trans CMOS ll sensor the resolution and sharpness as well as the color fidelity that creates stunning image quality.
The sensor is 16 Megapixels and an open file shot in RAW creates a file size of about 32 megs.The Camera has an aluminum alloy body on both top and bottom.The camera is very light in hand and you barely feel it as you walk around and carry it on your shoulders. Its effortless. The huge advantage is that you DO carry it all the time! If you carry it you will take lots of images, and are much more likely to get great results because your “shooting eye” will be in tune and trained to see better. The huge draw backs that other cameras have is that they are heavy and a drag to carry around especially with a longer focal length lens.
Fuji X100S creates an effortless option.The sensor is a brand new Series ll sensor from the original groundbreaking Fuji X100 that started the ball roiling.
FUJI X100S F/2 1/340 ISO 200
The secret to great color images when shooting fall foliage is to get in close if you can.These yellow leaves were a prime example of the simple mantra of keep moving closer.Though a Fuji X100S has a fixed 23mm F/2 lens which is a 35mm equivalent lens, it allows you to get in real close to your subject. Need it wider,walk back a few yards and you get a wide angle lens perspective. Need a closer view such as a 100-200mm view, close in to your subject.Your feet are the best and cheapest long zoom and fast lens money cannot buy!
One of the great qualities that the Fuji X100S has is superb image quality. The lens is a fixed lens and has very high resolving power and also is very sharp in the corners whether it is wide open as well as stopped down. In fact, stopped down to F/5.6 its as sharp as any top of the line Leica or Nikon 35mm lens.The secret is that the Fuji is a fixed lens that has very high resolving power and is fast and also has great lens coatings. The Camera allows for shutter speeds up to 1/4000 of a second. My preferred shooting setup is to set the shutter speed to A and set the aperture manually on the well designed and superbly milled aluminum alloy aperture ring on the lens itself. It's both old school and has great tactile response too. I tend to like to shoot wide open with an F/2 a lot. I love the soft blurred look of the back ground with just one element of the image in razor sharp focus.
FUJI X100S F/2 1/400 ISO 200
This shot was focusing on a single leaf on a tree and yet it also shows the tree too. The image created requires that the camera and lens create a sharp focus point and great color. Both qualities that Fuji excels at. There is a noticeable lack of Chromatic aberration in these images. Chromatic aberration often plagues images that are shot wide open and of tree’s and sharp edged elements. In a highly corrected lens like this Fuji 23mm F/2 in concert with the Fuji sensor you see almost none. This is a strong testament to the sensor design and fuji’s attention to image quality.You some times see Chromatic aberration even in high-end Leica and Zeiss as well as Nikon and Canon lenses. Its very complex to design and get rid of this in a lens. Shooting in Central Park affords one a great opportunity to capture scenes that are organic and simple and this autumn foliage was a pleasure to photograph.
FUJI X 100S F/2 1/400 ISO 340
This image is a close up of several fall leaves with a drop of rain water falling of the leaf. I shot it with a focus on the leaf and the water drop.The image shows the extreme image quality that the Fuji can attain with its lens and 16 meg CMOS sensor.The colors are dead on and the image is sharp as a tack yet shot wide open at F/2. this creates a very shallow depth of field and isolates the leaf and the areas of sharp focus you want to emphasize. Fuji’s sensor also creates a truly lovely color palette. The image colors are very true to what I saw, and required very little image tweaking. The secret to capturing great images is to try to capture almost everything in camera when you push the shutter, not after hours in Photoshop. Fuji X100S has such a high quality sensor and great lens that it makes this very easy to do.
Fuji X100S F/2 1/200 ISO 320
This shot is a real challenge for cameras because you're trying to get the full perspective of the building in and keep focus sharp throughout. I focused on the mid point closer to the far shore to get everything in focus with the best depth of field possible.
The image required a slight boost in Apple Aperture 3,where I boosted the contrast a bit. When shooting in raw, with all cameras, but also the Fuji X100S you need to boost contrast sometimes because the native raw files are often a bit flat.The resolution and color and sharpness are all there so its just a small boost of contrast. This shot could also be reshot with a tripod and stopped down to f/11 but it would lose a certain fall spontaneity to it.
Fuji X100S F/2 1/200 ISO 340
This image of a growth on a tree in Central Park is very cool. The camera lens focus is on it. The Fuji Lens is very sharp and brought out the detail in this tree growth and yet the background is soft as intended. The close focus abilities of the Fuji X100S are remarkable.Very little distortion and no chromatic aberrations.
The Fuji X100S creates images that seem very natural.This is a result I feel of Fuji’s long standing understanding of Photographer's sense of film and color. Fuji has a deep back ground in creating film and then sensors that create very smooth images and fantastic colors.
Fuji X100S F/2 1/400 ISO 200
So, if you want to shoot in the great tradition of Robert Frank and others and get great color fidelity and razor sharp images, the Fuji X100S is truly up to the task.
All photos in this article are from Scott W. Baker. For more great images, visit his website.