Fujifilm announced the new FinePix X100, a high-grade digital compact camera featuring an APS-C CMOS sensor, a Fujinon 23mm fixed focal length lens and a newly developed Hybrid Viewfinder, due for commercial release in early 2011.
The FinePix X100 is aimed at the professional photographer or keen enthusiast looking for exceptional quality pictures from a compact camera. It is designed to appeal to the millions of DSLR users who need a slim back-up camera for high quality in-fill shots when the use of a bigger SLR system is either inconvenient or impractical. Or, of course, it can be used as a professional’s only top-end camera, if size and versatility are the primary considerations.
Fujifilm has closely studied the current line-up of professional cameras and feels that there is a strong need for a compact high-quality (APS-C based) camera as a counterpoint to an SLR. Using the experience of working with generations of photographers using famous emulsions like Velvia, Provia, Astia etc., Fujifilm engineers distilled this knowledge into months of careful study to create the perfect compact-sized professional camera.
The priority for this model is picture quality, so it was decided to make the highest quality possible lens and sensor combination, built from the ground-up. The lens chosen is a fixed, prime F2 lens, made by Fujinon, manufactured to perfectly match the APS-C custom sensor. Added to this is the newly-developed EXR Processor, which combines all the latest image processing technology Fujifilm has technology built up over the years.
Other cameras on the market look to fill the need for the ultimate ‘compact’ professional camera, but the Fujifilm development team believe that, having listened to the marketplace, the FinePix X100 offers a number of technical developments that will set this camera apart from other contenders. The main technologies employed in this camera are as follows:
Hybrid Viewfinder (New Development)
The Hybrid Viewfinder on the FinePix X100 combines the window-type “bright frame” optical viewfinder found in high-end film cameras such as 35mm or medium- format cameras, and the electronic viewfinder system incorporated in fixed single lens or mirrorless digital cameras. By using integrating a prism for the 1,440,000 dot LCD panel image on the viewing screen in the reverse-Galilean optical finder, the Hybrid Viewfinder can show both the shooting frame and a variety of shooting data. Of course, it can also be used as a high-quality electronic viewfinder to compose or playback shots. With this ability to instantly switch between optical and electronic viewfinder images with simple “one touch” control. The new Hybrid Viewfinder offers users expanded freedom in the composition and enjoyment of photography in a range of challenging shooting conditions.
While digital compact cameras have become ever slimmer and more compact in recent years, composing and viewing shots on large, higher resolution LCD panels on the back of the camera has become the mainstream practice for today’s users. On the other hand, shooting with an optical viewfinder is the standard practice for conventional film cameras and the preferred method for large numbers of digital camera owners. Many prefer the finder to be as close as possible to the eye so the user can focus attention exclusively on photo composition to get a clear view of the subject without distraction.
While traditionalists prefer the clear, sharp view of an ‘optical’ finder, modern electronic displays, giving data like shutter speed, aperture, white balance, exposure correction and sensitivity can aid the photographer tremendously. The new Hybrid Viewfinder on the FinePix X100 aims to give the user the ‘best of both worlds.’
Further specifications for the Hybrid Viewfinder are as follows:
- The reverse Galilean optical finder with a 0.5x magnification features all-glass elements made from high-refractive index glass and demonstrates low chromatic aberration and distortion.
- In optical viewfinder mode, the brightness of both the “bright frame” and text data is automatically adjusted according to the brightness of scene area, ensuring that shooting information is always easily and clearly viewable.
- Displayed shooting data is constantly updated according to changes in shutter speed, exposure, sensitivity and other settings.
- In electronic viewfinder mode, the photographer can preview the picture or playback the result with the “through the sensor” image review. Available with one- touch switching ease, this capability enables the user to preview and confirm exposure settings, depth-of-field effects, white balance, and macro shots.
12.3 Megapixel APS-C CMOS Sensor
- The FinePix X100 features a custom CMOS high-performance sensor, internally optimized and developed exclusively for this model.
- Optimization of the angle-of-incidence in conjunction with the specially developed lens maximizes light gathering efficiency extending to the perimeter of the sensor for a sharper image with exceptional clarity.
- When shooting HD movies, the combination of the large-sized sensor and the large aperture F2 lens, lets users shoot a soft out-of-focus touch (bokeh) — a capability not available in conventional compact cameras.
- The ideal combination of a fixed focal length lens, high-sensitivity sensor (approx. 10 times the sensitivity of a conventional compact*) and a high-performance image processor captures exceptionally high-quality images over the entire sensitivity
- range from low to high ISO settings.
- The high-speed CMOS sensor read-out and the EXR Processor’s enhanced focusing
- system contributes to the high-speed AF performance, while the combination of the optical viewfinder and extremely low shutter time lag enhance the pleasure of every shot.
23mm F2 Fujinon (Aspherical) Lens
- The newly-developed lens offers a focal length of 23mm (135 equivalent: 35mm) and a widest aperture of F2. Made from molded glass, the lens contains 8 elements in 6 groups.
- The adoption of the non-collapsible lens structure with minimized lens length not only contributes to the compact size but also eliminates telescoping of the lens when the power is on. It’s ready to start shooting the moment you turn it on.
- Exploiting the merits of fixed focal length lens, this lens delivers sharp resolution of the total image from the center to the corners. In addition, the lens features not only the large F2 aperture value, but also an optical architecture that maintains a high degree of resolution even when closed by 1 to 2 stops.
- The lens uses a 9-blade aperture diaphragm. A large F2 aperture and high-quality optics let users take beautiful photos with a soft out-of-focus (bokeh) effect.
- The lens enables macro shooting as close as 10 cm.
- Featuring a built-in ND filter (equivalent f-stop reduction of 3), the lens can enhance depth-of-field even in bright shooting conditions by enabling the aperture to be kept wide open. Shutter speed can also be reduced to capture waterfalls, or any shot where intentional blur is required.
EXR Processor Newly Developed
- When combined with the high-performance lens and high-sensitivity sensor, the newly developed EXR Processor achieves the highest definition, sensitivity and wide dynamic range image quality of any digital camera produced by Fujifilm.
- Throughout development of the processor, Fujifilm has re-examined every aspect from response to the circuit structure, and achieved a significant leap in signal processing performance for a more responsive and faithful reproduction of the image.
- The graphical interface (style and rendering of the LCD information) has been upgraded in the newly developed LSI to enhance the user experience and to improve the clarity of the information presented.
- Inspired by the beauty and form of classic cameras from the past, the FinePix X100 combines all the latest technical digital innovations in a beautiful, traditional chassis which oozes class and prestige.
- The ergonomics of the design offer the perfect balance between compact convenience and user-friendly operation.
- The camera controls have been carefully thought out to give the photographer simple and speedy access to aperture, shutter speed, ISO etc, to allow maximum creative expression with minimum hassle. Custom modes can also be used for a one-touch change in settings.
- The upper control deck/bottom surface has been cast from magnesium alloy (semi- solid metal casting) to contribute to a high-precision camera body with high rigidity.
- All dials on the upper control deck are fabricated from metal. Adoption of traditional ‘manual’ dials lets the user confirm the position of the settings without turning on the power.
- Premium quality is evident in every detail. The chassis has been finished with high- quality leather accents and is a delight to use and a pleasure to hold.
Pricing and Availability
The FinePix X100 digital camera will be available in March 2011, and will be priced at $1,199.95.