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Fuji X100S versus
Canon 5D Mark III
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Fuji X100S
Canon 5D Mark III


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June 2014   Fuji    Canon    Nikon   LEICA   Better Pictures   All Reviews

Fuji X100S Review

Canon 5D Mark III Review


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If the Canon 5D Mark III is the world's best DSLR and the Fuji X100S is the world's best digital camera, which is best?

Easy: they are each best for different things. They are each completely different kinds of cameras, just as girls are completely different from boys.

The X100S is the best camera for candid people and family photos. Not only is it tiny, its pictures are better than from a DSLR in typical uncontrolled candid lighting conditions, and the X100S renders skin tones better than anything, especially under mixed light under which we're usually shooting family, candid and travel photos.

When you're in control of the light, if you need different lenses or have at least a few moments to get the camera dialed-in for each shot, the 5D Mark III (or other Nikon or Canon DSLR) ultimately will create better results. The Fuji's color rendition is optimized for people, while the DSLRs are better for products, places and things, and do extremely well for people shots if you're in control of the light.

The key is that for candid shots, the X100S always nails auto white balance and exposure and flash fill under every possible unfavorable lighting condition on the very first shot, while with DSLRs it always takes a few tries to get everything dialed-in as the light changes.

If you're in control of the light, either in the studio, outdoors or under familiar conditions — or have a moment to make a few trial shots — the DSLR wins. The Nikon or Canon DSLR will have much better color rendition for shots of everything other than people.

The DSLR also wins for action and sports. DSLRs are better than mirrorless here.

There are no high-image-quality full-frame mirrorless cameras. Image quality has nothing to do with resolution, high ISOs, color accuracy or sharpness. Picture quality has everything to do with color rendition, which is how the camera renders real-world colors. The Sony A7 etc. lacks the color rendition and ergonomics I get from Nikon and Canon DSLRs, and the LEICAs are sharp, but also are lacking real image quality that goes far beyond just sharpness. Color rendition is everything.

So, for family vacations, the last thing I'd lug with me is a DSLR (the Fuji X100S or Olympus 35 SP are my first choices), but when I have a moment to pay attention, nothing beats my 5D Mark III.

The X100S is unique; no other Fuji or other mirrorless camera other than the older X100 is anywhere near as complete a package as the X100S (the Fuji XT-1 is fun, but not as good as the X100S), while for DSLRs, all the Nikon and Canon models are superb; I just happen to prefer my 5D Mark III when I run out for serious portraits or outdoor and nature photography.

So which is best? Just like whether a boy or girl is best for the job at hand, it all depends on the job. For family and vacation, I'm taking the girl (Fuji X100S), and for the heavy lifting needed for serious business or fast action, I'll take the boy (DSLR).

Mirrorless cameras are toys, and I love toys. If the lighting is screwy, the X100S gives better results. I made the mistake of grabbing my 5D Mk III and 50/1.2 L to get the job done right at Katie's sixth birthday party, and forgot how awful the light was at that restaurant The results were awful! (I'm not showing most of the images because they were too hideous to publish.) If I had brought my X100S, the results would have been much better.

There's no free lunch. I need both kinds of camera to cover all the jobs I have to shoot, and I have to remember to bring the right one:

Nature, sports, landscapes, head-shot portraits, weird lenses, controlled conditions and studio work: DSLR.

Vacation, family, crappy mixed light and environmental or group portraits in any light: X100S.

The X100S comes complete with a LEICA-klass ASPH lens for a total of less than a serious DSLR body or lens alone, I don't know why everyone doesn't have an X100S and take it everywhere; it weighs less than a spare DSLR body or lens, too. The X100S is better than my LEICA M240 and 35mm ASPH SUMMILUX or 35 SUMMICRON lens for actual shooting; but people forget that the X100S is practically free if you stand back and realize what it does.


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Mr. & Mrs. Ken Rockwell, Ryan and Katie.


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