Yesterday I decided to take my new camera – a Fuji X100 to a wedding that I was photographing.  It was a late decision.  The camera turned up from the brilliant guys at Warehouse Express at 10am and the wedding was at 3pm.  Batteries charged I headed off to Cripps Barn in The Cotswolds.

Of course, I had my trusty Canon EOS 1D Mark IV and my Canon EOS 5D Mark II with me (as well as my trusty Canon EOS 50D backup camera).  I would never risk using a new camera on a professional assignment until all the relevant coverage was done with the tools I am familiar with and so the Fuji X100 did not come out until well into the evening dancing.

Now, those of you who know Cripps Barn will understand that, whilst it’s a wonderful venue, its pretty dark in that barn when the music gets going.  The wedding had a Ceilidh which made things a bit more tricky as it meant everyone would be moving (and, as it turned out, not always in the correct direction).

Before I go onto the images, I wanted to mention that these images have had no noise reduction done to them with the exception of the standard settings from Lightroom 3.  In fact, as they have each gone through my standard editing procedure, they have actually had noise added to them.  As you’ll see when you look at the EXIF details – the Fuji X100 is a very viable camera for wedding photography.  Especially my style, which is documentary wedding photography.

These images are very quick edits, done on my laptop so not colour calibrated.  They may not be the finished edits.  I am only putting them on here to demonstrate the power of the X100 really – I will hope to have the full set from the wedding on the blog in a few weeks.

My preference was using the OVF as it allowed for much faster focusing and frame capture in my mind.  It was dark, so there was a fair amount of mis shots, but I really wanted to test the camera so didn’t use the built-in flash.

So, onto the wedding photography images using a Fuji X100:

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #1:
Prior to the wedding we had a storm of biblical proportions in Gloucestershire.  I took this shot very quickly out the window of my car.  I managed to flip down the built-in ND Grad filter which worked amazingly well.  This was pretty much the first shot I ever took with the camera and in essence, had forgotten to move the aperture ring out.  Personally I like the focus on the cloud, but at f/16 or 22 this would have been better.  I’m used to shooting documentary style at wide open apertures – not rain storms 🙂

1/320th Second at f/2.0
ISO 200
Manual Exposure

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #2:
This is one of the images that impressed me most.  Considering the very large square of window light affecting the scene, the pattern metering mode performed admirably.  Focus was locked and I used the by then newly found rocker switch to adjust my ISO.

1/250th Second at f/2
ISO 4000
Manual Exposure.

I found ISO 4000 to be more than workable, and remember, these shots have had digital noise added in post.

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #3:
This shot was more test the depth of field of the f/2.0 fixed lens on the X100.

1/250th at f/2
ISO 4000
Exposure Compensation +1
Manual Exposure

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #4:
This image I think is just gorgeous from a compact camera.  The shot was just before dusk and again the ND Grad filter was employed.  By now I had figured out the best way of using my hands to control the exposure without taking my eye out of the viewfinder.  By the way, the menus are in the viewfinder themselves and the brightness and overall vividity of the viewfinder is just stunning.

The image was shot at 9:10pm and I knocked up the exposure compensation slightly.

1/250th Second at f/2
ISO 320
Manual Exposure
ND Grad filter on

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #5:
One of my favourite images.  Not because its particularly spectacular but because it shows exactly what I can do with the X100 as a documentary wedding photographer that I could not do with a traditional DSLR.  This image was shot from the self timer on the camera.  I had moved away from the scene after setting the exposure and put it down on the bar.  I couldn’t get away with that level of discreetness with my Canon cameras.

1/140th Second at f/2
ISO 3200
Manual exposure
Fuji x100 self timer mode

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #5:
As a photojournalist it’s all about capturing the moment right?  I am the first person to say that many of my wedding photographs are not technically perfect.  I don’t pose or orchestrate a scene and if a moment is captured, and it’s not perfectly on the 3rd then so be it – its more important to capture the moment for me.

So, this image;  The gentleman and his daughter had been playing all day.  A really lovely relationship to see and I’d kept my eye on them throughout as I was hoping to get some kind of fun interaction.  They happened to be exiting the marquee at Cripps Barn when the band struck up.  Immediately the little girl put her hands to her ears (in fun) and ran for it.  Her father emulated her – it was a lovely moment.  I was sat on a chair waiting for something to happen.

Throughout the day every time the little girl saw me, she stopped in her tracks and gave me a smile – because she could see me with my big black camera.  This time, I believe she didn’t even notice me. I had the camera set to use the OVF, plopped it my eye focused and panned.  Of course, the focus isn’t perfect – it was panned shot – but to me, this picture is one of the best of this set.  I adore it because I know how much that little girl and her father had played all day.  It’s a moment captured.  A bit blurry, but still captured.  I genuinely think this moment would never have occurred if I had my DSLR sticking out of my face.  And that an honest opinion.

1/25th Second at f/2
ISO 3200
Manual Exposure panned movement.

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #6:
The last of the dance shots.  It was dark now, very dark.  There were some missed focus shots but this one made the mark.  I really wanted to include this to show how clean the images are.  Remember noise has been added in my workflow.

1/90th Second at f/2
ISO 4000
Aperture priority (hence the lower shutter speed)

Fuji X100 Wedding Photographs

Fuji X100 Wedding Photograph #7 Panorma):
And finally – this image.  Please click it for a larger version.

This image is a 120 degree panorama.  Essentially the barn was in front of me, and the bit of grass on the right of the frame was directly behind me.  This is an automated feature built into the Fuji X100.  Apart from a Canon G10 I don’t use compacts so I don’t know if this feature is new for compacts, or even if its good, but to me its astounding.

I take panoramas at pretty much every wedding – and stitch them manually.  This photograph, for me, is incredible and opens up a whole world of creative opportunities that you simply wouldn’t get away with a DSLr at a wedding.

Fuji X100 Panorama

So, in summary, I’m extremely pleased with this Fuji X100.  I genuinely believe, because of its technical merits, that it opens up a whole world of opportunities for us wedding photographers.  Especially those of us who specialise in reportage wedding photography.

There are quirks of course.  The menu system takes a bit of getting used to and the buttons are all a bit, well, small – compared to a DSLR.  My DSLRs go through some pretty rough moments with me and get knocked about all over the place.  This little thing felt sturdy and strong but very fragile too in my hands.

If it keeps performing like this, and I can can control it quicker and be more responsive with the exposure, I expect this camera to replace my Canon 5D Mark II as my second camera at weddings soon.

Comments and questions of course appreciated.

Update (11th July):  I used the X100 again at Saturday’s wedding and it was still astounding.  Even more challenging situation regarding light but using the OVF is definitely the way forward if you want to capture the moments.

  • Nice work Kevin… very interesting point about the compact camera and the ability to really be discreet…4000 iso seems very good noise wise and the colour depth is also very good at the rating image 6 colour is quite impressive.

    Nice work how do you find dynamic range overall as I think this is one thing that digital cameras are a fair bit behind on…? and fuji historically had the lead in that area. End the mega pixel wars and give me more dynamic range…

    • Kevin Mullins

      Dynamic range is fine as far as I can tell. You can actually increase it in the camera to 200%. Its a very adaptable piece of kit. It does take time getting used to. As with my DSLRS though I have found a configuration that works for me. Using the OVF is by far the quickest way to shoot – thought the EVF offers some very nice features in the view finder.

  • Hey Kevin… twice in one week, you’ll be beginning to think I’m stalking you. I’ve just ordered this camera, so I’m thrilled to see the results… I’ve had fun with the Leica M8, but I’d like to have something just a tad easier on the mind. Anyone fancy an M8 by the way with 50mm? 😉 Anyways, some wonderful images here, and so impressed with the high ISO! Was there much delay between shutter press and result?

    • Kevin Mullins

      There is a slight shutter lag – but the exposure is captured. It basically depends a lot on how you have the camera set up. There is also a “lock up” of the camera when images are being buffered. You can still shoot, but can’t change the settings. This isn’t a problem for me.

      Its no DSLR in terms of speed of processing but its eons better than my Canon G10. Ahem, I mean, my G10 is great to so I’ll swap that for your M8 🙂 . I shot more images at yesterdays wedding and will be doing JPG comparisons soon so watch this space (though you will probably have had the camera by then).

      • I managed to get my grubbies on one last Monday before flying out to Tenerife for a week’s holiday. Had some interesting times with it. I think I will grow to love, though the focus does take some time, and you miss some stuff. Manual focus seems to be a no go option on this one for me. The low light capability is great, it’s pin sharp when you get it spot on, it’s just the delay in focus that is sometimes a little disturbing. This is probably not a high energy camera, although you may argue otherwise since you seem to be covering movement well?!?!

        • Hi Neale – did you put the firmware upgrade on there before using it? That corrects a substantial amount of focus issues, especially with the manual focus. I don’t manually focus (unless I’m in close-up mode) so haven’t really been impacted.

          My biggest gripe is getting the camera to keep the settings consistent. I expect another firmware update to correct that at some point from Fuji.

  • Raul

    Thanks fo the review, Kevin.

    One question for u as I live in Mexico City and can’t test drive the machine in my local shop. The most important thing for me is to be able to focus manually. I know the aperture ring turns to focus, in OV do u see the subject come focus and viceversa, like in a typical 35mm camera? What about in EV?

    Best,

    Raul

    • Hi Raul, as above – I now have this camera too. Love it, though manually it’s not as quick and accurate to focus as my experience with Leica. Having said that, I’m only a couple of hours into use, and intend to use it at a wedding I’m shooting this weekend. Kindest, Neale

  • Sacha

    Wow. This is really impressive. With ISO4000! Unbelieveable!

  • Thanks for sharing Kevin, my Mum owns one but can I get my hands on it !!! NO, might just have to get my own now. J

  • Hi,

    I have had mine for a while now… Just been waiting for the Really Right Stuff L-plate to start photographing the way I want…

    Nice work!

    Thanks for sharing!

  • SeanG

    Very nice images. Keep rocking!

  • Er – ISO on the rocker switch? How have I not found this yet? Brilliant – an easy way to adjust the ISO is just what I’ve been looking for! 🙂

  • excellent piece Kevin, a good honest review. I’ve had mine now since july and love it. I also use mine extensively as a family camera too. There is always pressure on me to capture more “snaps” of the kids. The x100 allows me to do this giving me quality and freedom without trawling the big kit everywhere or leaving it out in the house. Anyone wanting a fuji but needs to justify to management costings, then buying for the family worked for me 🙂
    Keep inspiring my friend
    C

  • Mark Dell

    Can’t wait!
    Mrs D says it’s ok for my 50th to have one whooooo hooooo

    • Kevin Mullins

      You will love it. Try and get the lens hood too if you can.

      • Mark Dell

        Well you know I got one and boy do I love it!
        Best images so far are my GSD photos at high shutter sync

  • Kevin. Great review.

    I’m very much tempted to get one to play with. Trouble is, my ‘want’ list is getting bigger and bigger 🙂

    Dav

  • Luce

    The X100 is a “big” small camera indeed.
    You mention several times that you did add “noise” in post but I’d replace it by “grain” ! ( no one likes “noise) 🙂

  • Colin bate

    Hi kevin , updated the firmware today ,had a bit of a freight, i had fitted the 49mm filter and when i tried to get into Macro mode ,an instruction came up on the back of the screen informing me to switch off , when i did it made such a noise,, i took the filter off ,the problem went away i hope!!! it’s working fine now, i wonder if anyone has come across the same problem.

    Colin Bate

  • My best small camera for walkaround, love it.

  • Steve Ramsay

    love this camera, had it a week . . . is anyone using the auto iso setup . . . seems very accurate . .
    how do you get the iso function on the rocker arm . . . ?

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  • Natasha

    Hi Kevin !

    I’ve read all your posts regarding the fuji x series etc , I’m a part time photographer ( that just sold of part of my gear for and urgent extra cash and I’ve tried the fuji x100T and fuji x-T1 and I loved it a lot !

    But the thing is, I can’t afford an x-T1 yet, so I was thinking to just get a x100T with WCL.

    Personally, do you think it would do good (as the main camera) for weddings and engagement? I love adjusting myself around so the available 35mm wouldnt really be a problem. But I’m worried about the specs and fx and etc if it could sustain being the main cam ?

    I know my question is a bit odd. But I’m interested to know your say on this . Thx

    • Hi Natasha,

      I often shoot a majority of the wedding on the X100 with WCL. You’ll be fine 🙂

      Kevin

  • Hi Kevin

    Blow the dust off this old post…that’s better!

    Firstly can I just say I enjoy your photographic style and approach – you get the balance right between the technical, and artistic in an engaging way my opinion……

    It’s July 2017 as I write, and I have just bought a black, (well used with nice patina!) X100. Early adopter? Mmm maybe not.

    I am fed up with constantly changing equipment searching for some sort of photographic panacea…(First Fuji -x10 (great compact used as a holiday travel camera but a bit slow with limited ovf, great lens though) > XT10 > X-T1 > manual 35mm f1.7, 35mm f2, 27mm f2.8, 18mm f2…..all good but as an Amateur budget constraints limit what can be kept at one time..)
    I really hope my lovely (slightly shiny in the wrong places and certainly not new!) x100 will allow more thoughtful and considered photographs, and a more rewarding experience.

    Anyway I am happy to see it appears to hold its own in the image quality stakes – at least looking at the old comparison photos you posted between x100-s-t-f…..gives me confidence in it and hopefully quell the urge to upgrade…

    Would love to come to one of your workshops on Street photography sometime – but usually sold out understandably…

    Any resources or suggestions re x100 appreciated.

    If your interested my (cobbled together quickly) website has a couple of images….
    http://asqphoto.zenfolio.com/

    Keep up the good work Kevin!

    All the best
    Andy Quinn