Fujifilm Finepix X100 and other Compacts
Are you considering a higher end compact camera? Okay then, read on. For a while now I have been researching compact cameras. Friends are often asking me what to get and I am also looking for a good match for my own style of shooting. There is something intriguing about this camera category. The ability to just put the camera in your pocket and go appeals to me. I am used to packing quite a heavy camera bag when heading out for photo shoots but often you come across great shooting opportunities when you least expect it and murphy's law will often have it so, that the great photo opportunity will happen when you leave you SLR gear behind. Carrying a compact camera instead of an SLR often means a compromise in image quality but the compacts are getting better so the search is on for the best solution.
For the past year or so I have been using a Panasonic DMC-LX3 for this type of situation. I would still highly recommend this camera or it's successor, the Panasonic DMC-LX5. One of the main assets of this camera is the fast f/2 24mm equivalent wide angle lens and HD video recording. If you have been looking to upgrade your point and shoot camera, take a serious look at this type of camera. The Canon S95 is another strong contender in this field.
Another system I have looked at is the micro 4/3 system and having shot with a Panasonic before I zoned in on the Panasonic Lumix DMC-GF1, mainly due to the fast 20mm f/1.7 lens. Recently I have recommended this system to two friends and although this happened very recently both have come back and reported that they are very happy with the purchase. The micro 4/3 system allows for interchangeable lenses and with lens adapters you can use some very nice lenses from Zeiss or Leica among others. Mind you it can get quite pricy and you will need to focus manually. For my use I would still be looking for a larger sensor being used to a full frame 21.1 mega pixel sensor in my 5D Mark II. In this category check out the Olympus Pen cameras and the Sony NEX also. A new Panasonic DMC-GF2 is also on the horizon and will be in stores early 2011.
Researching cameras in this category inevitably leads to Leica and the very beautiful cameras they produce. The Leica M9, which has a full frame sensor, starts at $7.000 and then you would most like spend another few thousand on lenses. These camera are manual focus and a delight to use for some. I base this solely on online reviews as I have not yet had the pleasure of trying one out.
And then I bumped into the Fujifilm Finepix X100 with a rumoured price around $1000. I had totally missed the release of this camera earlier on this year at Photokina but I must say this camera looks very interesting to me on paper and looking at the specs. We are looking at a camera with a fixed 35mm equivalent fast f/2 lens with a 12.3 megapixel APS-C CMOS sensor and it does have HD 1280 x 720 video, which I find comes in handy on a portable camera. So what does this boil down to. A camera with a larger sensor that either the LX-5, DF1, which appeals to me. You cannot switch lenses but look a the bright side, you avoid a dusty sensor, the price point is certainly easier to swallow than the Leica M9 and the lens is said to be customized to the sensor and camera. The Leica X1 may be a similar option but it but the cost doubles compared to the Fuji X100 and has a slower f/2.8 lens. I have an old Zeiss Ikon, Ikoflex, which I inherited from my dad so I am certainly drawn to this old style of range finder camera. I would still need to see the X100 when it comes out, probably some time in the spring of 2011. I will look forward to the first reviews and we shall see if I end up with one of these.