Monday, September 20, 2010

Fuji goes retro with FinePix X100


Photokina is this week-- the once-every-two-years trade show for the photography industry.  As a result there's sure to be a bunch of new products announced, and Fuji got things started yesterday with an interesting new camera, the Fuji FinePix X100 compact.  It's a fixed lens camera, with a fixed focal length of 23mm (35mm equivalent) using a custom APS-C 12.3mp sensor.  Fuji claims that it's manufactured the 23mm lens to perfectly match the APS-C sensor, and that the priority for this model is "picture quality".

The X100 is a camera that's likely to confuse your Average Joe Best Buy shopper (what, no zoom lens?) but should get photography enthusiasts plenty excited, and in particular those familiar with 1960 and 1970s era rangefinders that this camera is clearly an homage too.  Check out that all metal top and leather covering-- if that doesn't scream 1970 I don't know what does.


Of course, the whole retro concept isn't skin deep.  There are dedicated manual controls for shutter speed, aperture, and exposure compensation, and also included is a brand new and thoroughly unique "hybrid viewfinder" that can toggle between an electronic and an optical display.  Fuji claims this will give the user the "best of both worlds", pleasing traditionalists without sacrificing on the modern conveniences of the digital era.

The one omission is a dedicated dial for manual focus, and Fuji has conveniently left any mention of manual focusing out of their literature-- I guess we'll have to wait for a production model to see how that works.

Overall, the X100 is a nice development from Fuji, who have spent the last few years chasing a 3D camera market that just isn't there. 

Want to learn more?  I suggest checking out the excellent write up at The Online Photographer or head over to Fujifilm dot com.  There's also a helpful promotional video at Engadget which explains the concept.  Fuji says we can expect this camera in early 2011, and pricing will apparently be in the ballpark of $1000.


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